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[Mission 2023] INSIGHTS DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS + PIB SUMMARY 1 December 2022

 

InstaLinks :  help you think beyond the issue but relevant to the issue from UPSC prelims and Mains exam point of view. These linkages provided in this ‘hint’ format help you frame possible questions in your mind that might arise(or an examiner might imagine) from each current event. InstaLinks also connect every issue to their static or theoretical background. This helps you study a topic holistically and add new dimensions to every current event to help you think analytically

 

Table of Contents:

GS Paper 2:

1. Assam-Meghalaya border dispute

2. Why constitutional validity of J&K reorganisation act cause went unchallenged: SC

3. PM on India’s G-20 agenda

 

GS Paper 3:

1. How to read Q2 GDP data

2. Gas pricing freedom

3. WMO’s State of Global Water Resources 2021

4. A Greener Cooling Pathway

 

Facts for Prelims:

1. Manipur Sangai Festival

2. Wildlife Trust of India (WTI)

3. Great Indian Bustards

4. Revival of Oldest Zombie Virus

5. Rooibos tea

6. World AIDS Day

7. ‘Yudh Abhyas’

 


 

Assam-Meghalaya border dispute

GS Paper 2 and 3:

Topics Covered:  Polity: Border demarcation, Internal security-related issues.

 

Source: The Hindu

 Direction: Boundary disputes between the states are in news of late. Also check Maharastra and Karnataka boundary dispute. (See Infographic)

  

Context: Recent killing of 6 personnel in Assam police firing while catching timber smugglers from Meghalaya has flared up the Assam-Meghalaya boundary dispute.

Background of the issue:

Meghalaya was carved out of Assam & became a full-fledged state in 1972. They share 884 km of border. 12 points of dispute between the two states emerged when Meghalaya refused to accept the Assam Reorganization (Meghalaya) Act of 1969. Out of the 12, border disputes along six sectors have been partially resolved last year (2021).

 

Assam Reorganization (Meghalaya) Act of 1969 is based on Gopinath Bordoloi committee recommendations (1951). It recommended that Blocks I and II of Jaintia Hills (Meghalaya) be transferred to the Mikir Hill (Karbi Anglong) district of Assam, besides some areas from Meghalaya’s Garo Hills to the Goalpara district of Assam. Meghalaya rejects these claims.

 

The six disputed sectors are:

Tarabari, Gizang, Hahim, Boklapara, Khanapara-Pillangkata and Ratacherra under the Kamrup, Kamrup (Metro) and Cachar districts of Assam and the West Khasi Hills, Ri-Bhoi and East Jaintia Hills districts of Meghalaya.

 

 

Langpih:

A major point of contention between Assam and Meghalaya is the district of Langpih in West Garo Hills bordering the Kamrup district of Assam. Assam considers it to be part of the Mikir Hills in Assam. Meghalaya says these were parts of erstwhile United Khasi and Jaintia Hills districts, and therefore part of Meghalaya.

 

What was the immediate fallout of the killing incident?

  • Social:
    • Violent clashes, arson and killing
    • Threat to social harmony in the region
  • Economic:
    • Restrictions on the movement of vehicles: Assam police restricted the movement of vehicles to Shillong while there were cases of arson, vandalisation of Assam-registered vehicles
    • Hard impact on tourism: A record highest tourist footfall in Meghana has been badly hit due to the issue
  • Political:
    • Delay in resolving the border dispute. The complications arising out of the incident also delayed the process of resolving the boundary dispute between the two States in the remaining six of the 12 sectors.

 

Way forward:

  • State committees to work with Survey of India for new demarcation of borders while keeping the interest of local communities
  • Using Inter-state councils (Article 263) and Zonal Council for convergence of interests
  • Establishment of tribunals for time-bound resolution of inter-state disputes

Insta Curious:

Do you know, under Article 131(c), the Original jurisdiction of the supreme court can extend to any dispute between two or more states involving legal rights (exclusively)? E.g. the Assam-Arunachal Pradesh border dispute has been in SC since 1989.

Insta Links:

Towards a resolution of the Arunachal-Assam border dispute

Assam-Meghalaya border dispute

 

Mains Links

Q. The concept of cooperative federalism has been increasingly emphasized in recent years. Highlight the drawbacks in the existing structure and the extent to which cooperative federalism would answer the shortcomings. (UPSC 2015)

 

Prelims Links: 

Which of the following is the correct arrangement of Northeastern states from North to South?

    1. Arunachal Pradesh-Assam-Nagaland-Meghalaya-Mizoram
    2. Arunachal Pradesh-Nagaland-Assam-Meghalaya-Mizoram
    3. Assam-Arunachal Pradesh-Meghalaya-Mizoram-Nagaland
    4. Arunachal Pradesh-Assam-Mizoram-Meghalaya-Nagaland

Ans: (1)

Justification: See the map above

Why constitutional validity of J&K reorganisation act cause went unchallenged: SC

GS Paper 2

Syllabus: Indian Constitution- historical underpinnings, evolution, features, amendments, significant provisions and basic structure

 

Source: TH

 Direction: The article highlights the process of delimitation and discusses the controversy around the delimitation of UT of J&K.

  

Context: The Supreme Court questioned petitioners on why they did not challenge the constitutionality of a specific provision in the J&K Reorganisation Act, 2019.

 

Background:

  • In 2019, the State of J&K lost its special status and was divided into two UTs – J&K and Ladakh, after the revocation of Article 370.
  • The J&K Reorganisation Act, 2019, confers the Delimitation Commission power to carry out the re-adjustment of constituencies in the UT of J&K.
  • Because Ladakh was created as a separate UT, J&K was reduced to 107 seats. The Reorganisation Act increased the number to 114, bringing the effective strength of the assembly to 90, omitting the 24 seats allotted for PoK.

  

 

About delimitation:

  • It is the act of redrawing the boundaries of an Assembly or Lok Sabha constituency to reflect changes in population over time, based on the latest Census data so that the population of all seats is as uniform as possible across the state.
  • Apart from modifying the boundaries, the process may also alter the number of seats in a state.
  • Article 82 of the Indian Constitution: Following each census, the allocation of Lok Sabha seats to the states, as well as the division of each state into territorial constituencies, shall be readjusted by such authority as Parliament may by law determine.

 

Delimitation Commission:

  • Delimitation is the responsibility of the Delimitation Commission or a Boundary Commission, whose orders have the force of law and cannot be challenged in court.
  • Article 82 provides for the establishment of such a commission through an act of
  • The orders will take into effect on a date to be determined by India’s President.

  

The SC’s assertion:

  • The petitions challenged the notification issued by the Centre establishing the J&K Delimitation Commission and extending its term for the purpose of conducting delimitation only for J&K.
  • The notifications drew their power specifically from Section 62(2) of the 2019 Act, which provides for the readjustment of constituencies to be carried out by the Delimitation Commission.
  • Why did the petitioners without challenging the source of the government’s notifications – Section 62(2), had confined their challenge solely to the notifications?

 

The petitioners’ argument:

  • Only the Election Commission of India (ECI), under Section 60 of the 2019 Act, was empowered to conduct the delimitation exercise.
  • Article 170 of the Constitution barred delimitation exercise on the basis of the 2011 census. It had to either be on the basis of the 2001 census or the first census after 2026.
  • Sections 60 and 61 of the 2019 Act contradict Section 62.
  • Why J&K was “singled out” for delimitation in the 2021 notification? The earlier notification (2020) constituted the Delimitation Commission for the delimitation of UT of J&K as well as Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur and Nagaland.
  • If the 2019 Act was to unite J&K with India, the delimitation process had defeated the purpose of “One Nation One Constitution”.

 

The government’s counter:

  • There were two alternative mechanisms to carry out delimitation for the UT of J&K.
  • By virtue of Sections 60 & 61, where the power to determine delimitation was conferred on the ECI, Sections 62(2) and 62(3) conferred the powers to carry out delimitation to the Delimitation Commission.
  • The Home Ministry and the ECI argued that the delimitation order had already acquired the “force of law,” and it can’t be questioned in a court of law.

 

Insta Links:

‘Voter islands’ after J&K delimitation exercise

 

Mains Links:

Q. What is delimitation? Examine its objectives and how delimitation affects the representation of the people act. (250 words)

PM on India’s G-20 agenda

GS Paper 2

Syllabus: Bilateral, Regional and Global Groupings and Agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests

 

Source: TH

 Direction: The article contains many fodder points for mains taken from the letter written by the PM himself as India commences its G20 Presidency.

  

Context: On December 1, 2022, India commences its G20 Presidency

Highlights of the PM’s letter:

 The world remains trapped in the zero-sum mindset:

  • Confrontation and competition between ideas, ideologies and identities have become the norm.
  • For example,
    • Countries fight over territory or resources
    • Supplies of essential goods are weaponised
    • Vaccines are hoarded by a few, even as billions remain vulnerable

 

Tradition in India:

  • It looks at all living beings (even inanimate things) as composed of the same five basic elements (panch tattva) of earth, water, fire, air and space.
  • Harmony among these elements (within us and between us) is essential for humanity’s physical, social and environmental well-being.

  

India’s G20 agenda – Inclusive, ambitious, action-oriented and decisive:

  • Inclusive: India’s G20 Presidency will work to promote the universal sense of one-ness.
    • Hence, “One Earth, One Family, One Future” is the theme of India’s G20 Presidency. It takes into account recent changes in human circumstances.
    • For example, the greatest challenges the world face today are climate change, terrorism and pandemics, which can be solved not by fighting, but only by acting together.
  • Ambitious: The previous 17 Presidencies delivered towards ensuring macro-economic stability, rationalising international taxation, relieving debt burden on countries, etc. India will further work on the achievements of these.
  • Action-oriented: India’s G20 priorities will be shaped in consultation with not just G20 partners, but with the Global South, whose voice often goes unheard.
  • Decisive: India will encourage sustainable and environment-friendly lifestyles, based on India’s tradition of trusteeship towards nature.

 

Comparative advantage to India:

  • Housing one-sixth of humanity and with its immense diversity of languages, religions, customs and beliefs, India is a mirror of the world.
  • With the oldest-known traditions of collective decision-making, India contributes to the foundational DNA of democracy.
  • Today, India is the fastest-growing large economy, having a citizen-centric governance model – national development is a citizen-led “people’s movement”.
  • India has leveraged inclusive technology, delivering revolutionary progress in fields as varied as social protection, financial inclusion and electronic payments.
  • For all these reasons, India’s experiences can provide insights into possible global solutions.

  

Way ahead:

  • For promoting harmony within the human family: Depoliticise the global supply of food, fertilisers and medical products, to ensure that geopolitical tensions do not lead to humanitarian crises.
  • For instilling hope in future generations: Honest conversation among the most powerful countries on mitigating risks posed by weapons of mass destruction and enhancing global security.

Conclusion: India’s G20 Presidency offers the country an opportunity to work together to shape a new paradigm of human-centric globalisation based on the principles of healing, harmony and hope. Fortunately, today’s technology gives the means to address problems on a humanity-wide scale.

 

Insta Links:

As India takes G20 presidency, key takeaways from the summit in Bali

 

Mains Links:

Q. India’s Presidency of the G20, SCO and UNSC is a historic opportunity for reinventing the United Nations. Discuss.

  

Prelims Links:

Consider the following statements:

  1. G20 is a major international grouping with its members accounting for more than 80% of global GDP.
  2. Till now India has never hosted the G20 Leaders’ Summit.
  3. India was not a member of the G20 during its inception but joined later.

Which of the above statements is/are correct?

a) 1, 3

b) 1, 2

c) 1 only

d) 1, 2, 3

 

Solution: b)

  • G20 is a major international grouping that brings together 19 of the world’s major economies and the European Union, with its members accounting for more than 80% of global GDP, 75% of global trade and 60% of the global population.
  • India has been a member of the G20 since its inception in 1999. India will be holding the G20 Presidency from December 2022 and will convene the G20 Leaders’ Summit in 2023 for the first time.
/ Dec 1 CA, Today's Article

How to read Q2 GDP data

GS Paper 3

Syllabus: Indian economy and related issues

 

Source: IE

 Direction: This is an explained article from the Indian Express. The article explains basic concepts of the economy like GDP, GVA and their relationship.

  

Context: The Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation released India’s economic growth data for the second quarter (July-Sept – Q2) of the current fiscal year (FY 2022-23).

 

Key highlights of the data:

  • India’s gross domestic product (GDP) grew by3% year on year in Q2, slower than in 2021.
  • The gross value added (GVA) has grown by 6% year on year in Q2, against 8.3% in 2021.
  • Output growth in India’s 8 core sectors (Electricity, Steel, Refinery products, Crude oil, Coal, Cement, Natural gas, and Fertilisers) slowed drastically to 0.1% in October 2022, down from 7.8% the previous month.

 

Key economic concepts and how recent data shows them:

 GDP:

  • It is a monetary measure of all final products and services produced in a country over a certain period.
  • It measures national income by calculating the economy’s overall “demand.”
  • 4 key engines of GDP growth: The GDP is calculated by adding total expenditures in the economy with respect to –
    • Private Final Consumption Expenditure (PFCE): The biggest engine of growth, which contributes over 55% of India’s total GDP.
    • Government Final Consumption Expenditure (GFCE): Just 10-11% of GDP.
    • Gross Fixed Capital Expenditure: 33% of the total
    • Net Exports (Exports minus imports)

  

GVA: It derives the same national income from the supply side by summing up all the value added (the value of output minus the value of its intermediary inputs) across various sectors.

 Relationship between GDP and GVA:

  • GDP = (GVA) + (Taxes earned by the government) — (Subsidies provided by the government).
    • If taxes exceed the subsidies provided, GDP will be higher than GVA. For example, for Q2, the GDP (at Rs 38,16,578 crore) is much higher than the GVA (which is at Rs 35,05,599 crore).
  • By examining GVA growth, one may determine which sectors of the economy are doing well and which are struggling.
  • Though GDP is produced from GVA data, GDP data is more relevant when looking at annual economic growth and comparing a country’s growth to that of the past or another country.

 

Takeaways from the recently released data:

  • Since the pandemic, the economy has recovered, but the manufacturing sector’s contraction (by 4.3%) has put doubt on future demand, as the sector has a great potential for job creation and can absorb excess farm labour.
  • Agriculture (together with forestry and fishing) has performed better than projected, rising at a 4.6% annual rate.
  • Private consumption expenditure is the most important driver of GDP growth, incentivizing businesses to make new investments.
  • The biggest surprise is the decrease in government final consumption expenditures, which can boost an economy when consumers and businesses reduce spending.

 

Future challenges: Higher interest rates and no significant increase in demand, along with a slowing global economy, may create challenges in the current fiscal year.

 

Insta Links:

Whose GDP is it anyway?

  

Mains Links:

Q. What is Gross Domestic Product (GDP)? Examine the limitations pertaining to GDP as an economic performance measurement framework of the country. (250 words)

  

Prelims Links:

Consider the following statements:

  1. Nominal GDP is calculated in a way such that the goods and services are evaluated at some constant set of prices.
  2. If the Real GDP changes, it implies that the volume of production is undergoing changes.
  3. The ratio of nominal GDP to real GDP gives us an idea of how the prices have moved from the base year to the current year.

Which of the above statements is/are correct?

a) 1, 2

b) 1, 3

c) 2, 3

d) 1, 2, 3

Solution: c)

  • In order to compare the GDP figures (and other macroeconomic variables) of different countries or to compare the GDP figures of the same country at different points in time, we cannot rely on GDPs evaluated at current market prices. For comparison, we take the help of real GDP. Real GDP is calculated in a way such that the goods and services are evaluated at some constant set of prices (or constant prices).
  • Since these prices remain fixed, if the Real GDP changes, we can be sure that it is the volume of production which is undergoing changes. Nominal GDP, on the other hand, is simply the value of GDP at the current prevailing prices.
  • Notice that the ratio of nominal GDP to real GDP gives us an idea of how the prices have moved from the base year (the year whose prices are being used to calculate the real GDP) to the current year.
  • The ratio of nominal to real GDP is a well-known index of prices. This is called GDP Deflator.

Gas pricing freedom

GS Paper 3

Syllabus: Infrastructure: Energy, Ports, Roads, Airports, Railways etc.

 

Source: Indian Express, The Hindu

Direction / Tips: Theme ‘ ENERGY’ – Natural gas, petroleum etc is very important both for Prelims & Mains.

 

Context: Oil ministry committee under economist Kirit Parikh has recommended liberalizing the pricing of gas produced from legacy fields of state-run operators, recommending a floor and ceiling price, and complete pricing freedom starting January 1, 2027.

Gas from legacy fields is described as ‘APM (administered pricing mechanism) gas’ and is allotted by the government.

 

Need for liberalizing the gas pricing :

  • To ensure investment, as costs of finding and producing natural gas from deposits lying several hundred meters below the seabed are market-driven.
  • Shifting towards a gas-based economy.
  • Helps in improving the environment – dependence on coal and oil needs to be reduced.
  • Will enhance the Ease of Doing Business.
  • A price band will ensure a predictable pricing regime for producers and protect consumers by moderating CNG and PNG price spikes.

Suggestions given by the panel:

  • Linking the price of gas produced by the state-owned firms with the imported crude oil prices rather than benchmarking them to gas rates in international markets.
  • Including natural gas in the one-nation-one-tax regime of GST by subsuming excise duty charged by the central government and varying rates of VAT levied by state governments.
  • Price escalation for the old fields, with an increase of $0.5 per metric million British thermal units (mmBtu) annually with no change in pricing for the first two years or a $0.25 per mmBtu escalation for five years.

 

About natural gas:

Natural gas, also called methane gas or natural methane gas, is a colourless highly flammable gaseous hydrocarbon consisting primarily of methane and ethane. It is a type of petroleum that commonly occurs in association with crude oil. It can be used as a domestic and industrial fuel.

petrolem_natural_gas 

 

Insta Links:

Natural Gas

 

Mains Link:

Q. Will natural gas be the game-changer in India’s energy future? Discuss. (150 Words)

  

Prelims Link:

In India, in the overall Index of Industrial Production, the Indices of Eight Core Industries have a combined weight of 37.90%. Which of the following is among those Eight Core Industries? (UPSC 2012)

    1. Cement
    2. Fertilizers
    3. Natural Gas
    4. Refinery products
    5. Textiles

Select the correct answer using the codes given below

(a) 1 and 5 only

(b) 2, 3 and 4 only

(c) 1, 2, 3 and 4 only

(d) 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5

Solution: C

The index of eight core industries measures combined and individual performance of production in selected industries namely coal, crude oil, natural gas, refinery products, fertilisers, steel, cement and electricity.

WMO’s State of Global Water Resources 2021

GS Paper 3

Syllabus: Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment Disaster and disaster management.

 

Source: Hindustan Times, WMO

 Context: The World Meteorological Organization has published its first State of Global Water Resources report in order to assess the effects of climate, environmental and societal change on the Earth’s water resources.

 The recent UN climate change conference, COP27, urged governments to further integrate water into adaptation efforts, the first-time Water has been referred to in a COP outcome document in recognition of its critical importance.

The first edition of the report looks at streamflow, terrestrial water storage, and the cryosphere.

 

 Key Points of State of Global Water Resources 2021:

  • There is a lack of accessible verified hydrological data.
  • Large areas of the globe recorded drier than normal conditions in 2021 – a year in which precipitation patterns were influenced by climate change and a La Niña event.
  • Disturbance in hydrological cycles has left global food security management in a vulnerable state.
  • Between 2001 and 2018, UN-Water reported that 74% of all-natural disasters were water-related.
  • 6 billion people face inadequate access to water for at least a month per year.
  • Annual glacier runoff increased initially due to the melting of glaciers until the turning point called peak water is reached after which the runoff declines.

  

Recommendations of the report:

  • Accelerate the availability and sharing of hydrological data, including river discharge and transboundary river basin information.
  • Invest in filling the capacity gap in collecting data.
  • Working together as a global hydrological community on developing the annual State of Global Water Resources.
  • Development of end-to-end drought and flood early warning systems.

 

Insta Links:

Water Resources

 

Mains Link:

Q. Effective management of water resources will significantly reduce human despairs. Elucidate. (150 Words)

 

Prelims Links:

 What are the benefits of implementing the ‘Integrated Watershed Development Programme’?

  1. Prevention of soil runoff
  2. Linking the country’s perennial rivers with seasonal rivers
  3. Rainwater harvesting and recharge of groundwater table
  4. Regeneration of natural vegetation

Select the correct answer using the code given below.

(a) 1 and 2 only

(b) 2, 3 and 4 only

(c) 1, 3 and 4 only

(d) 1, 2, 3 and 4

Solution: C

Justification: Primary objectives are harnessing, conserving and developing degraded natural resources such as soil, vegetative cover and water, prevention of soil runoff, rainwater harvesting and recharge of groundwater table etc.
It does not include linking the country’s perennial rivers with seasonal rivers.

A Greener Cooling Pathway

GS Paper 3

Syllabus: Environment Conservation

 

Source: The Hindu, World Bank

Direction: Innovative solutions for Important reports can be good fodder for your answers

 Context: A new World Bank report “Climate Investment Opportunities in India’s Cooling Sector”, has highlighted the need for using alternative and innovative cooling technologies.

Issues highlighted in the report:

  • Vulnerability to heat waves: From 2030 onwards, more than 160 to 200 million people could be exposed to a lethal heat wave in India every year.
  • Loss of job: Around 34 million Indians will face job losses due to heat stress-related productivity decline.
  • High food wastage: Currently, around one-third of the food is lost. This could dramatically increase with increasing temperature.

Opportunities highlighted in the report:

  • Need for new cooling solutions: By 2037, the demand for cooling is likely to be eight times more than current levels. This could open an investment opportunity of $1.6 trillion by 2040
  • Need for a more energy-efficient pathway: With the demand for cooling shooting up, there is a need to shift to a more energy-efficient pathway to reduce CO2 levels.

 

Suggestions given in the report:

  • Support New Delhi’s India Cooling Action Plan (ICAP) 2019: See the infographic for the cooling action plan
  • Can adopt climate-responsive cooling techniques: E.g. India’s affordable housing program for the poor, the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (PMAY), can adopt techniques such as white-painted rooftops, efficient air movement, cooling breezes, evaporation and earth coupling as natural cooling solutions.
  • Policy for district cooling (using chilled water): This could help reduce the consumption of 20-30% less power than the most efficient conventional cooling solutions.
  • Investing in pre-cooling and refrigerated transport: To bring down food and pharmaceutical wastages during transportation
  • Creating jobs in servicing, maintenance and disposal of equipment involved in refrigeration

Conclusion:

India’s cooling strategy can help save lives and livelihoods, reduce carbon emissions and simultaneously position India as a global hub for green cooling manufacturing. A sustainable roadmap for cooling has the potential to reduce 300 million tons of carbon dioxide annually by 2040.

 

Insta Curious:

Did you know that Refrigeration and cooling cause around 10% of global CO2 emissions?

Heat waves:  A Heat Wave is a period of abnormally high temperatures, more than the normal maximum temperature. The heat wave is considered if the maximum temperature of a station reaches at least 40°C or more for Plains and at least 30°C or more for Hilly regions

 

Insta Links:

India Action Cooling Plan

 

Mains Links

Q. List down the objectives of the India Cooling Action Plan. Explain how it is a bold response to addressing India’s future cooling needs while neutralizing its impacts. (250 words)

 

Facts for prelims


Manipur Sangai Festival

Context: PM addresses Manipur Sangai Festival via video message.

  • The theme of the Sangai Festival – ‘Festival of One-ness’
  • Sangai is the state animal of Manipur and has a special place in India’s faith and beliefs.
  • The Sangai Festival also celebrates the biodiversity of India

Additional points

Brow-antlered deer

Common Name: Sangai, Brow antlered deer, Dancing Deer

Status: State animal of Manipur, Schedule-1 of Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972, Endangered on IUCN Red List

 

Sangai faces threat from the degradation of water quality in the reservoir  and the steadily degenerating habitat of phumdi

  • as a result of continuous inundation and flooding caused due to artificial reservoir
  • invasion of non-native plants like Paragrass has decreased in the area of phumdi

 

Wildlife Trust of India (WTI)

Context: Man-animal conflict mitigation team under the Munnar forest division has been selected for the Wildlife Trust of India award

  • The Wildlife Trust of India (WTI) is an Indian nature conservation organisation.
  • It was formed in 1998 in response to the many crises confronting India’s wildlife and wild habitats.
  • WTI is a registered charity in India (under Section 12A of the Income Tax Act, 1961)

 

Great Indian Bustards

Context: Supreme Court floats the idea of Project GIB to protect Great Indian Bustard.

Distribution

  • Dry grasslands and scrublands on the Indian subcontinent.
  • In India, its population is confined mostly to Rajasthan and Gujarat.
  • Small populations occur in Maharashtra, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh.

Threats

The biggest threat to this species is hunting, followed by occasional poaching outside Protected Areas, collisions with high-tension electric wires, fast-moving vehicles and free-ranging dogs in villages.

 Conservation Status

  • Schedule I of the Indian Wildlife (Protection)Act, 1972
  • Appendix I of CITES
  • Appendix I of Convention on Migratory Species (CMS)
  • Critically Endangered on the IUCN Red List

It has been identified as one of the species for the recovery programme under the Integrated Development of Wildlife Habitats of the Ministry of Environment and Forests, Government of India.

 

Revival of Oldest Zombie Virus

Context: French scientists have warned of the onset of another outbreak after they revived a 48,500-year-old zombie virus.

Zombie virus is the term used for those viruses, which have been dormant for thousands of years.

  • The virus emerged due to the thawing of permafrost as the global temperature is rising.
  • All of the “zombie viruses” have the potential to be infectious and hence pose a “health danger”.

The oldest Zombie virus is Pandoravirus yedoma, named after the mythological character Pandora.

  • Pandoravirus was discovered in a lake in Yukechi Alas in Yakutia, Russia.
  • 48,500 years old.

 

Rooibos tea

Context: COP15- Indigenous group to benefit from Rooibos tea

  • It is endemic to South Africa.
  • It is a natural herb unique to the South African Cedarberg Mountains.
  • The natural herb is then processed into a naturally soothing drink, sweet in taste, naturally caffeine free, additive free, preservative free, colourant free and very low in tannin.
  • The San and Khoi communities were the first to learn about the health benefits.

 

World AIDS Day

Context: People around the world unite to show support for people living with and affected by HIV and to remember those who lost their lives to AIDS.

 

‘Yudh Abhyas’

Context: 18th edition of the India-US joint military exercise ‘Yudh Abhyas’ is currently underway in Uttarakhand.

  1. It aims to enhance interoperability and share expertise between both armies in peacekeeping and disaster relief operations
  2. Other Indo-US military exercise
    1. Army – YUDHABHAYAS & VAJRA PRAHAR
    2. Navy – MALABAR (Multilateral)

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