Insights Daily Current Events, 26 October 2015
Paper 3 Topic: Biodiversity.
Four new crab species found in Kerala
Researchers at the Department of Aquatic Biology and Fisheries, University of Kerala, have reported the discovery of four new species of crab from the Kerala coast. These discoveries highlight the crustacean diversity in the State.
About the species:
- Paguristes luculentus: This hermit crab species was collected off the coast of Kollam. It represents the ninth of the genus known from Indian waters. The species name luculentus (meaning colourful) refers to the livid living colour of the crustacean. It belongs to the family Diogenidae, which are left handed hermits because the left claw is larger.
- Diogenes canaliculatus: This species is light brown or tan and is named after the longitudinal furrows on the outer surface of the arm of the left chelate leg. These are narrow bodied and live inside a shell shaped like an elephant tusk. Even this belongs to the family Diogenidae.
- Pagurus spinossior: It was collected from Neendakara, Kollam. It belongs to another hermit crab family Paguridae known as right handed crabs and is tan in colour. The name spinossior refers to the strong armature on the clawed legs of the species.
- Afropinnotheres ratnakara: This is a new species of pinnotherid crab. It was found inside the brown mussel ( Perna perna ) at Kovalam. The species is named ratnakara which means Indian Ocean in Sanskrit, as the genus was reported for the first time from the Indian Ocean.
- Hermit crabs are ubiquitous animals often not considered to be ‘true’ crabs as they lack an external shell on their soft abdomen which leaves them vulnerable to predators.
- To protect themselves, they live in abandoned gastropod (snail) shells and often select larger shells as they grow up.
- Their last two pairs of legs are small and modified and, along with their uropods (appendages at the end of the abdomen), are used to clamp onto the internal whorls of the shell.
More than 40 species of hermit crabs were documented from the Kerala coast during the research project.
sources: the hindu.
Paper 3 Topic: Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization of resources, growth, development and employment.
‘Sin tax’ for alcohol, tobacco industries in GST regime
Alcohol and tobacco industries will soon have to pay more taxes towards an additional ‘sin tax’ under the proposed GST structure.
- There is a provision in the proposed GST bill under which the sinful industries such as alcohol and tobacco will have to pay an additional tax. However, the rate at which this tax would be levied under the proposed GST regime is not yet decided.
What is Sin tax?
- ‘Sin tax’ is a globally prevalent practice under which products like alcohol and tobacco attract higher rates of tax. Typically, ‘sin tax’ is an excise tax that is levied on products and services considered to be bad for health or society such as alcohol, tobacco and gambling.
- These additional taxes are also seen as efforts to discourage people from use of such products or services. Besides, such taxes are often the most common measures by the governments to shore up their tax revenues as people generally refrain from opposition to such levies as they are indirect in nature and affect only their end users.
- GST is being seen as one of the biggest tax reforms in the country. It will subsume various taxes like excise, service tax, sales tax, octroi, etc, and will ensure a single indirect tax regime.
- The Finance Ministry is currently seeking inputs from the industry and other stakeholders at national, state and local levels on the Goods and Services Tax (GST) law.
- While the Constitution Amendment Bill to roll out GST law has been passed in Lok Sabha, it is awaiting clearance from the Rajya Sabha where the ruling NDA lacks a majority.
- The government is currently undertaking the preparatory work necessary for GST implementation.
sources: BS, pib.
Paper 3 Topic: Disaster and disaster management.
NDRF ties up with 30 PSUs like ONGC and GAIL to tackle disasters
The NDRF, country’s elite disaster mitigation combat force, has tied up with about 30 PSUs in order to develop mutual understanding and enhance capabilities to jointly tackle man-made or natural emergencies.
- A coordination meeting in this regard was held recently between the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) and prominent Public Sector Undertakings including ONGC and GAIL.
- The NDRF has proposed to these large establishments that it could extend its skill modules like on tackling nuclear, biological and chemical disasters to train their personnel. Once trained, the workforce of the PSUs can effectively act to help the NDRF as force multipliers during big challenges and they can render a relief and rescue task independently when any state government or local administration seeks their help.
- This is the first of its kind initiative, which will ensure that in case of any emergency or disaster the two sides can come together and act as one strong unit and also ensure that in case of small or mid-level exigencies these units can function as first responders till the NDRF arrives on the scene.
The Disaster Management Act has made the statutory provisions for constitution of National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) for the purpose of specialized response to natural and man-made disasters.
- Two national calamities in quick succession in the form of Orissa Super Cyclone (1999) and Gujarat Earthquake (2001) brought about the realization of the need of having a specialist response mechanism at National Level to effectively respond to disasters. This realization led to the enactment of the DM Act on 26 Dec 2005.
- NDRF has been proving its importance by highly skilled rescue and relief operations, regular and intensive training and re-training, capacity building & familiarization exercises within the area of responsibility, carrying out mock drills and joint exercises with the various stakeholders.
- Specialized response during disasters.
- Proactive deployment during impending disaster situations.
- Impart basic and operational level training to State Response Forces (Police, Civil Defence and Home Guards).
- Community Capacity Building Programme.
- Public Awareness Campaign.
Why it is said to be UNIQUE?
- It is the only dedicated disaster response force of the world.
- It is the only agency with comprehensive response capabilities having multi-disciplinary and multi-skilled, high-tech, stand alone nature.
- It consists of experienced paramilitary personnel specially trained and equipped for disaster response.
- It has the capabilities for undertaking disaster response, prevention, mitigation and capacity building.
sources: et, pib, ndrf.
Paper 1 Topic: Role of women and women’s organization.
MoD Approves Induction of Women as Fighter Pilots
The Ministry of Defence has approved the induction of women into the Fighter (Combat) stream of the IAF. With this decision to open up induction of women in the fighter stream, women have become eligible for induction in all branches and streams of the IAF.
- This progressive step was taken keeping in view the aspirations of Indian women and is in line with contemporary trends in Armed Forces of developed nations.
- Inducting women into the fighter stream would provide them with an equal opportunity to prove their mettle in combat roles as well.
- The first women pilots would be selected from the batch which is presently undergoing flying training at Air Force Academy. After successful completion of ab-initio training, they would be commissioned in the fighter stream in June 2016.
- The IAF is presently inducting women in the Transport and Helicopter stream of the flying branch, Navigation, Aeronautical Engineering, Administration, Logistics, Accounts, Education and Meteorology branches.
Role of women in other forces:
- Presently, the Indian Army is inducting women into the Signals, Engineers, Army Aviation (Air Traffic Control), Army Air Defence, Electronics & Mechanical Engineers, Army Service Corps, Army Ordinance Corps, Intelligence Corps, Army Education Corps and Judge Advocate Generals Branches/Cadres.
- The Indian Navy is inducting women in the Judge Advocate Generals, Logistics, Observer, Air Traffic Controller, Naval Constructor and Education branches/cadres.
The Ministry of Defence has taken up a comprehensive review pertaining to induction of women in Armed Forces, both in short service commission and permanent commission (SSC & PC) and once finalised more and more branches would be opened up for induction of women to give them the space which they deserve in the Armed Forces of the country.