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Insights Daily Current Events, 12 March 2015

Insights Daily Current Events, 12 March 2015

Sindhudurg comes alive with a ‘pristine’ coral collection

The Zoological Survey of India (ZSI) has found three new records of coral reef on the Sindhudurg coast near Malvan of Maharashtra during a recent survey.

  • Efforts are on to protect the reef with the assistance of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), which has sanctioned Rs. 80 lakh towards capacity building of the local people.
  • The three new records are Goniatsrea sp, Porites sp and Turbinaria sp.

Coral reefs:

Coral reefs are diverse underwater ecosystems held together by calcium carbonate structures secreted by corals. Coral reefs are second only to rainforests in biodiversity of species.

Composition:

  • Coral reefs are built by colonies of tiny animals found in marine waters that contain few nutrients.
  • Most coral reefs are built from stony corals, which in turn consist of polyps that cluster in groups. The polyps belong to a group of animals known as Cnidaria, which also includes sea anemones and jellyfish. Corals secrete hard carbonate exoskeletons which support and protect the coral polyps.
  • Reefs grow best in warm, shallow, clear, sunny and agitated waters.

Threats:

  • Coral reefs are fragile ecosystems, partly because they are very sensitive to water temperature.
  • They are under threat from climate change, oceanic acidification, blast fishing, cyanide fishing for aquarium fish, sunscreen use, overuse of reef resources, and harmful land-use practices, including urban and agricultural runoff and water pollution, which can harm reefs by encouraging excess algal growth.

About ZSI:

Established in 1961, it is a premier organisation in zoological research and studies.

  • It was established to promote the survey, exploration and research of the fauna in the region.
  • The activities of the ZSI are coordinated by the Conservation and Survey Division in the Ministry of Environment and Forests, Government of India.

 

Main objectives:

  • Exploration and Survey of Faunal Resources
  • Taxonomic Studies
  • Status Survey of Endangered Species
  • Publication of Results through Departmental Journals
  • Publication of Fauna of India
  • Maintenance and Development of National Zoological Collections

Red Data Book:

  • Similar to the Red Data Book produced by IUCN, ZSI also releases a Red Data Book on Indian Animals. It was first published in 1983.

The ZSI also participates in the Indian Antarctic Program, since its inception in 1989.

Sources: The Hindu, zsi.gov.in, Wiki.

 

IMF raises India growth forecast to 7.2 % this fiscal

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has forecast India will grow 7.5% in 2015-16, up from 7.2% in the current year.

  • In the Union budget 2015, the government estimated growth of up to 8.5 per cent in 2015-16.

Important observations made by the Report:

  • The report stressed the urgency of certain key reforms, including the bottlenecks in the energy, mining and power sectors; infrastructure gaps, land acquisition processes and environmental clearances.
  • The report says that India’s vulnerabilities have receded more than those of most emerging markets and sentiment has been revived.
  • The Indian economy is reviving, helped by positive policy actions that have improved confidence and lower global oil prices. To continue on this trend, India needs to revitalise the investment cycle and accelerate structural reforms
  • The IMF report also said that India’s economic profile recently got a lift as the country improved the way it measures economic output.
  • The recent move to introduce a flexible inflation-targeting framework has also received appreciation as it will help deliver low and stable inflation, and diminish the prospect of renewed bouts of high inflation.

 

Reforms suggested by the IMF:

  • The report has recommended for efficient procurement, distribution, and storage of food in the public system.
  • It has also recommended for greater flexibility in labour markets and improvements in education for meeting the rising shortages of skilled labour.

Sources: The Hindu.