Table of Contents:
GS Paper 1:
GS Paper 2:
GS Paper 3:
Facts for Prelims:
1. Pakke tiger reserve.
2. Olive Ridley turtles.
3. Rohtang pass.
4. Surajkund International Crafts Mela.
5. Malai Mahadeshwara Wildlife Sanctuary.
6. Craspedotropis gretathunbergae.
7. Places in News- Idlib.
8. SERB Women Excellence Award-2020.
9. International Judicial Conference.
GS Paper : 1
Topics Covered: Important Geophysical phenomena such as earthquakes, Tsunami, Volcanic activity, cyclone etc., geographical features and their location- changes in critical geographical features (including water-bodies and ice-caps) and in flora and fauna and the effects of such changes.
What to study?
For Prelims and Mains: What is leap year, when and why it is considered?
Context: The year 2020 is a ‘leap year’, meaning the month of February will have 29 days instead of 28, and the total number of days will be 366 instead of 365. This was also the case in 2016, and 2024 will again be a leap year.
Why do we have leap years?
- The time required by the Earth to complete its orbit around the Sun is approximately 365.242 days. But years are usually only 365 days.
- To adjust for the extra 0.242 days in the orbital period, which becomes almost one full day in four years, the calendar adds an extra day once every four years.
- This approximates the time to 365.25 days, which is close to the actual 365.242 days.
In the Gregorian calendar, a century year (a year ending with 00) is not a leap year, even though it is a multiple of 4. Thus, the year 2100 will not be a leap year. To ensure that, some century years remain leap years. In the Gregorian calendar, leap years include those century years which are exactly divisible by 400. Thus, 2000 remained a leap year even though it ended with 00.
Sources: Indian Express.
GS Paper : 2
Topics Covered: Statutory, regulatory and various quasi-judicial bodies.
What to study?
For Prelims and Mains: Composition, functions and significance.
Context: The National Biodiversity Authority (NBA) is set to tell the National Green Tribunal that it created 243,499 biodiversity management committees (BMC) and 95,525 people’s biodiversity registers (PBR) as of January 2020.
NGT is hearing a case on the full implementation of the Biodiversity Act, 2002.
What are Biodiversity Management Committees (BMC)?
As per the Biological Diversity Act 2002, BMCs are created for “promoting conservation, sustainable use and documentation of biological diversity” by local bodies across the country.
It shall consist of a chair person and not more than six persons nominated by the local body, of whom not less than one third should be women and not less than 18% should belong to the Scheduled Castes/ Scheduled Tribes.
- The Chairperson of the Biodiversity Management Committee shall be elected from amongst the members of the committee in a meeting to be chaired by the Chairperson of the local body.
- The chairperson of the local body shall have the casting votes in case of a tie.
The main function of the BMC is to prepare People’s Biodiversity Register in consultation with the local people. The Register shall contain comprehensive information on availability and knowledge of local biological resources, their medicinal or any other use or any other.
Topics Covered: Welfare schemes for vulnerable sections of the population by the Centre and States and the performance of these schemes; mechanisms, laws, institutions and bodies constituted for the protection and betterment of these vulnerable sections.
What to study?
For Prelims: Features of Hunar Haat and USTTAD scheme.
For Mains: Significance and the need for these scheme, performance analysis.
Context: Held recently in New Delhi.
WHAT IS IT?
Organised by ministry of minority affairs under “USTTAD” scheme at different parts of the country. It is an exhibition of handicrafts and traditional products made by artisans from the minority communities. These Haat aim to provide market exposure and employment opportunities to artisans, craftsmen and traditional culinary experts.
“Hunar Haat” have become a successful mission to provide employment and employment opportunities and national as well international markets for thousands of master artisans, craftsmen and culinary experts.
What is USTTAD SCHEME?
USTTAD (Upgrading the Skills and Training in Traditional Arts/Crafts for Development) scheme aims to preserve heritage of traditional arts and crafts of minority communities and build capacity of traditional craftspersons and artisans and establish linkages of traditional skills with the global market.
GS Paper : 3
Topics Covered: Issues related to direct and indirect farm subsidies and minimum support prices; Public Distribution System objectives, functioning, limitations, revamping; issues of buffer stocks and food security; Technology missions.
What to study?
For Prelims: Features of the scheme.
For Mains: Significance and performance of the scheme.
Context: PM-KISAN Scheme completes one year on February 24, 2020.
So far, over 8 crore 46 lakh farmers covered under Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi. Central Government transfers Rs.6,000 in three tranches every year to beneficiaries.
About Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi:
The scheme was started with a view to augment the income of the farmers by providing income support to all landholding farmers’ families across the country, to enable them to take care of expenses related to agriculture and allied activities as well as domestic needs. Under the Scheme an amount of Rs.6000/- per year is transferred in three 4-monthly installments of Rs.2000/- directly into the bank accounts of the farmers, subject to certain exclusion criteria relating to higher income status.
The entire responsibility of identification of beneficiaries rests with the State / UT Governments.
The Scheme initially provided income support to all Small and Marginal Farmers’ families across the country, holding cultivable land upto 2 hectares. Its ambit was later expanded w.e.f. 01.06.2019 to cover all farmer families in the country irrespective of the size of their land holdings.
Affluent farmers have been excluded from the scheme such as Income Tax payers in last assessment year, professionals like Doctors, Engineers, Lawyers, Chartered Accountants etc and pensioners pensioners drawing at least Rs.10,000/- per month (excluding MTS/Class IV/Group D employees).
Similar programmes by states:
- Bhavantar Bhugtan Yojana- MP.
- The Rythu Bandhu scheme- Telangana.
- Krushak Assistance for Livelihood and Income augmentation (KALIA)- Odisha.
Topics Covered: Conservation related issues.
What to study?
For Prelims: Features of the programme.
For Mains: Significance and why was it scrapped?
Context: Maharashtra government has scrapped the Jalyukta Shivar- the flagship water conservation project.
What is Jalyukta Shivar?
Launched in December 2014 after Maharashtra experienced consecutive droughts. Aimed at rolling out measures that could potentially mitigate water scarcity in the most drought-prone villages in a systematic manner.
- The project targeted strengthening and streamlining existing water resources like canals, bunds and ponds by arresting maximum run-off rainwater during monsoon.
- Tasks to widen and deepen natural water streams and connect them to nearby water storage facilities like earthern or concrete check-dams was proposed.
What necessitated this?
Nearly 52 per cent of the state’s geographical area is prone to drought, either naturally or due to poor rainfall. This includes Marathwada and adjoining areas of Madhya Maharashtra and large parts of Vidarbha.
Was Jalyukta Shivar beneficial?
By January 2019, the scheme had transformed 16,000 drought-prone villages of Maharashtra. The irrigation cover had been increased by 34 lakh hectares. In the process, thereby, increasing the crop yield each year, particularly the kharif crops. Until mid-2019, interventions resulted in stocking of water measuring 24 lakh trillion cubic metre.
Sources: Indian Express.
Topics Covered: Various Security forces and agencies and their mandate
What to study?
For Prelims: What are joint commands, their features?
For Mains: Need for and significance of joint commands.
Context: Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) office is working on a tentative timeline for the establishment of joint commands among the three defence services — Army, Navy and Air Force — beginning with an Air Defence Command.
What are joint commands?
- It is a unified command in which the resources of all the services are unified under a single commander looking at a geographical theatre.
- Meaning, a single military commander, as per the requirements, will have the resources of the Army, the Navy and the Air Force to manage a security threat.
Functions of joint command:
- The commander of a joint command will have the freedom to train and equip his command.
- He will have logistics of all the services at his beckoning.
However, the three services will retain their independent identities as well.
Joint command at present:
There are two tri-services commands at the moment.
- The joint command at the moment, the Andaman and Nicobar Command (ANC), is a theatre command, which is headed by the chiefs of the three services in rotation. It was created in 2001 after a Group of Ministers had given a report on national security following the Kargil War.
- The Strategic Forces Command was established in 2006 and is a functional tri-services command.
What is the structure right now?
There are 17 commands, divided among the three services.
- The Army and the Air Force have seven commands each, while the Navy has three commands.
- These commands report to their respective services, and are headed by three-star officers.
- Though these commands are in the same regions, but they are no located together.
Need for joint commands?
The leader of a unified command has control over more varied resources, compared to the heads of the commands under the services now. And the officer commanding will have access to the Air Force’s fighter jets and can use them if needed. Through such integration and jointness the three forces will be able to avoid duplication of resources. The resources available under each service will be available to other services too. The services will get to know one another better, strengthening cohesion in the defence establishment.
Do militaries of other countries have such commands?
Several major militaries are divided into integrated theatre commands. China’s People’s Liberation Army has five theatre commands: Eastern, Western, Northern, Southern and Central. Its Western Theatre Command is responsible for India. The US Armed Forces has 11 unified commands, of which seven are geographic and four functional commands. Its geographic commands are Africa, Central, European, Indo-Pacific, Northern, Southern and Space. Cyber, Special Operations, Transportation and Strategic are its functional commands.
Sources: Indian Express.
Facts for Prelims
Pakke tiger reserve:
Why in News? Arunachal Pradesh State government is planning to build a 692.7 km highway through the Pakke Tiger Reserve (PTR) in East Kameng district. Named the East-West Industrial Corridor, the highway aims to connect Bhairabhunda in West Kameng district and Manmao in Changlang district along Arunachal Pradesh’s border with Assam.
- Pakke Tiger Reserve is also known as Pakhui Tiger Reserve.
- This Tiger Reserve has won India Biodiversity Award 2016 in the category of ‘Conservation of threatened species’ for its Hornbill Nest Adoption Programme.
- It is bounded by Bhareli or Kameng River in the west and north, and by Pakke River in the east.
- Neighbours: Papum Reserve Forest in Arunachal Pradesh, Assam’s Nameri National Park, Doimara Reserve Forest and Eaglenest Wildlife Sanctuary.
- The main perennial streams in the area are the Nameri, Khari and Upper Dikorai. West of Kameng River is Sessa Orchid Sanctuary.
Olive Ridley turtles:
Why in News? Preparations are almost done at the Rushikulya rookery on the Odisha coast to welcome and protect olive ridley turtles during mass nesting.
Security: To provide security to mother turtles as well as the eggs from human and predator intervention, the forest department is erecting an over 5-km-long fence of metal net from Gokharkuda to Bateswar. This stretch is the most preferred location for mass nesting in the Rushikulya rookery.
- The Olive Ridleys are the second smallest and most abundant of all sea turtles found in the world.
- They inhabit warm waters of the Pacific, Atlantic and Indian Oceans.
- It is well known for its arribadas or annual mass nestings.
- IUCN Status: Vulnerable.
- Protection under CITES Appendix 1 and the Indian Wildlife Protection Act of 1972.
- Operation Kachhapa: Launched by the Wildlife Protection Society of India in collaboration with the Orissa State Forest Department and the Wildlife Society of Odisha and other local NGOs.
Located on the eastern Pir Panjal Range of the Himalayas.
- It connects the Kullu Valley with the Lahaul and Spiti Valleys of Himachal Pradesh.
- The pass lies on the watershed between the Chenab and Beas basins.
Surajkund International Crafts Mela:
What is it? It is unique as it showcases the richness and diversity of the handicrafts, handlooms and cultural fabric of India, & is the largest crafts fair in the world.
- This is 34th time the Surajkund Mela will be held at Faridabad.
- The Mela is organized by the Surajkund Mela Authority & Haryana Tourism in collaboration with Union Ministries of Tourism, Textiles, Culture and External Affairs.
- Theme state: For the 34th Surajkund International Crafts Mela-2020, the state of Himachal Pradesh has been chosen to be the Theme State.
- The main motto behind this festival is to promote handicrafts, handlooms with the aid of craftsmen invited from all over the country. So basically this craft festival is a platform for artists across the globe to showcase their culture and talent.
Malai Mahadeshwara Wildlife Sanctuary:
Context: The decks have been cleared to notify the Malai Mahadeshwara Wildlife Sanctuary in Karnataka’s Chamarajanagar district as a tiger reserve. The approval from the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) is expected any time now.
- The sanctuary presently has about 20 tigers.
- Once notified, Chamarajanagar district will have the rare distinction in the country of having three tiger reserves. It already has Bandipur and Biligiri Ranganatha Temple (BRT) Tiger Reserve within its territorial limits.
- Also, with this, Karnataka will have six tiger reserves, the others being Nagarahole, Bhadra, and Anshi-Dandeli, apart from Bandipur and BRT Tiger Reserves.
It is a new species of land snail discovered recently.
It is named in honour of Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg.
- The new species comes from tropical rainforests and is sensitive to drought and extreme temperatures.
- The snails were found during a field course conducted by Taxon Expeditions at Kuala Belalong Field Studies Centre in Brunei.
- Features: The two-millimetre-long snails have dark grey tentacles, a pale body and a concave shell, whose outer part is greenish-brown.
Places in News- Idlib:
Why in News? The nine-year-old war in Syria is currently raging in the northwestern province of Idlib, with rapidly escalating tensions between government forces of President Bashar al-Assad and the Turkish military.
Where is it located?
Idlib is a city in northwestern Syria, 59 kilometers southwest of Aleppo, which is the capital of the Idlib Governorate.
SERB Women Excellence Award-2020:
- Dr Niti Kumar, Senior Scientist from Division of Molecular Parasitology and Immunology, CSIR-CDRI, Lucknow has received SERB Women Excellence Award-2020.
- This award is given to women scientist below 40 years of age who have received recognition from national academies.
- The women researchers will be supported by research grant of 5 lakhs per annum for 3 years by Science and Engineering Research Board, Department of Science & Technology, Government of India (SERB-DST).
International Judicial Conference:
Held recently in New Delhi.
- The Conference discussed the changes being introduced by the Government of India to bring Gender Equality in recruiting women in military services, selection process of fighter pilots.
- It also discussed on freedom of women to work in mines at night.
- The Conference also focused on the need for technology to deliver rapid justice.