Insights Daily Current Affairs, 05 June 2017
Paper 3 Topic: Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment.
Tiny Orang roars on tiger density
According to a survey, Orang tiger reserve in Assam, which has the smallest core, is host to 28 big cats, thus having the highest density nationally. The count was revealed during phase IV of the all-India tiger estimation programme of the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA).
Know about Orang tiger reserve:
Spread over Darrang and Sonitpur districts and notified in February 2016, Orang Tiger Reserve is the 49th in the country. It has the smallest core of 78.28 sq. km.
- It is located on the north bank of the Brahmaputra River. It is also known as the mini Kaziranga National Park (IUCN site) since the two parks have a similar landscape made up of marshes, streams and grasslands.
- The park has a rich flora and fauna, including great Indian one-horned rhinoceros, pigmy hog, elephants, wild buffalo and tigers. It is the only stronghold of rhinoceros on the north bank of the Brahmaputra river.
The National Tiger Conservation Authority is a statutory body under the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change constituted under enabling provisions of the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972, as amended in 2006, for strengthening tiger conservation, as per powers and functions assigned to it under the said Act.
The National Tiger Conservation Authority has been fulfilling its mandate within the ambit of the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972 for strengthening tiger conservation in the country by retaining an oversight through advisories/normative guidelines, based on appraisal of tiger status, ongoing conservation initiatives and recommendations of specially constituted Committees.
Sources: the hindu.
Paper 2 Topic: Statutory, regulatory and various quasi-judicial bodies.
CSIR faces fund crunch, asks labs to look outside
The Council of Scientific and Industrial Research is staring at a fund crunch this year. Hence, CSIR’s chief has asked the directors of all of the organisation’s 38 labs to look outside of the CSIR to meet their expenses.
In any given year, the CSIR— with a ₹4,000 crore annual budget — apportions out about ₹1,200-1,400 crore to its labs for research. This year only about ₹360 crore would be available. Pay panel and pension payouts along with scrapping of plan panel’s block grants has crippled the scientific organisation.
Know about CSIR:
It was established as an autonomous body that has emerged as the largest research and development organisation in India.
- It runs several laboratories and field stations or extension centres throughout the nation, with a collective staff of over 17,000 workers.
- Although it is mainly funded by the Ministry of Science and Technology, it operates as an autonomous body through the Societies Registration Act, 1860.
- The research and development activities of CSIR include aerospace engineering, structural engineering, ocean sciences, life sciences, metallurgy, chemicals, mining, food, petroleum, leather, and environmental science.
Sources: the hindu.
Paper 2 Topic: Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests, Indian diaspora.
India major defence partner: U.S.
Defence Secretary James Mattis recently said that the U.S. recognises India as a major defence partner partly out of respect for New Delhi’s indispensable role in maintaining stability in the Indian Ocean.
Major defence partner:
In a significant development, the US recognised India as a “major defence partner” in June 2016, which means that for defence related trade and technology transfer the country would now be treated at par with America’s closest allies.
So, what does it mean to be a “major defence partner” partner of the US?
Under the ‘major defence partner’ recognition, the US will continue to work toward facilitating technology sharing with India to a level commensurate with that of its closest allies and partners.
It “institutionalises the progress made to facilitate defence trade and technology-sharing with India to a level at par with that of the United States’ closest allies and partners, and ensures enduring cooperation into the future.
Sources: the hindu.
Paper 2 Topic: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.
Aadhaar must for Atal Pension Yojana
Aadhaar has now been made mandatory to get benefits of the Atal Pension Yojana. Those subscribing to the pension scheme will be required to furnish proof of possession of the unique ID or undergo the enrolment process to get the benefits.
What you need to know about APY?
The Atal Pension Yojana became operational from June 1, 2015 and is available to all the citizens of India in the age group of 18-40 years.
- Under the scheme, a subscriber would receive a minimum guaranteed pension of Rs 1,000 to Rs 5,000 per month, depending upon his contribution, from the age of 60 years.
- The same pension would be paid to the spouse of the subscriber and on the demise of both the subscriber and the spouse, the accumulated pension wealth is returned to the nominee.
- The Central Government would also co-contribute 50% of the total contribution or Rs. 1000 per annum, whichever is lower, to each eligible subscriber account, for a period of 5 years, that is, from 2015-16 to 2019-20, to those who join the NPS before 31st December, 2015 and who are not members of any statutory social security scheme and who are not Income Tax payers.
Sources: the hindu.
Paper 3 Topic: Awareness in the fields of IT, Space, Computers, robotics, nano-technology, bio-technology and issues relating to intellectual property rights.
Citizen scientists find cold new world near solar system
A brown dwarf over 100 light years away from the Sun has been discovered using a new citizen science tool that helps astronomers pinpoint new worlds lurking in the outer reaches of our solar system. These sightings were made by the Backyard Worlds volunteers.
Know about Backyard Worlds project:
The Backyard Worlds project lets anyone with a computer and an Internet connection flip through images taken by NASA’s Wide Field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) spacecraft.
- If an object is close enough to Earth, it will appear to “jump” when multiple images taken of the same spot in the sky a few years apart are compared.
- The goal for Backyard Worlds volunteers — of which there are more than 37,000 — is to flag the moving objects they see in these digital flipbooks for further investigation by the science team. So far, volunteers have classified more than 4 million flipbooks.
What are brown dwarfs?
Brown dwarfs are objects which have a size between that of a giant planet like Jupiter and that of a small star. In fact, most astronomers would classify any object with between 15 times the mass of Jupiter and 75 times the mass of Jupiter to be a brown dwarf. Given that range of masses, the object would not have been able to sustain the fusion of hydrogen like a regular star; thus, many scientists have dubbed brown dwarfs as “failed stars”.
Sources: the hindu.
Facts for Prelims:
- It is the first university satellite of Mongolia named after the Mongolian endangered Gobi bear – Mazaalai. The satellite has been designed by students.
- It was sent off into space in the United States recently. The satellite accompanied the “SpaceX Falcon 9” rocket. The project under which the satellite was launched is supported by UNESCO and Japan.
- Mongolia will be able to contact the satellite which will be sent off 400km away from the earth 5-6 times a day. A satellite is advantageous for the nation in many ways such as bringing the ability to conduct independent space studies, capture the geographic picture of a country, develop more accurate maps, and better prevent natural disasters.