IASbaba’s Daily Current Affairs (Prelims + Mains
Focus)- 19th November 2018
(PRELIMS + MAINS FOCUS)
National Park/Tiger reserves in news:
Part of: GS Prelims and Mains III – Environment and Ecology; Biodiversity; Animal Conservation; Protected Areas
- Kanha Tiger Reserve in Madhya Pradesh
- Bandhavgarh Tiger Reserve in M.P.
- Satkosia Tiger Reserve in Odisha
- Parambikulam Tiger Reserve in Kerala
- Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary in Kerala
Why in news?
- National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) has hinted at first-ever inter-State tiger translocation project in Odisha’s Satkosia Tiger Reserve.
- Odisha’s Satkosia Tiger Reserve planned to get 6 tigers from MP’s Kanha Tiger Reserve.
- Parambikulam Tiger Reserve was in news for its forest filled with 221 varieties of butterflies (11 of which are endemic to the area).
- Survey team spotted – Red-disc Bushbrown, a high-altitude species endemic to Western Ghats; rare species — Dark Blue Tiger and Common Crow and also Budha Peacock or Budha Mayoori, which was recently declared as State butterfly of Kerala.
- Rare bird – Sri Lankan Frogmouth – was sighted in Kerala’s Chinnar sanctuary.
About Sri Lankan Frogmouth
- Sri Lankan Frogmouth (Batrachostomus moniliger) is a relative of Nightjar, a crepuscular and nocturnal bird breeding in Europe and temperate Asia. Its preferred habitat is a dry and open area with some small trees or bushes.
- It is usually found on the western side of the Ghats but its presence was noticed on the eastern side of the Western Ghats for the first time. (This has sparked much interest among ornithologists)
- The Sri Lankan Frogmouth, like the Nightjar, eats insects and mainly seeks prey during night time.
- The main feature is that it lays only one egg a year after the mating season in April-May. The nest is made using moss or leaves of soft plants and the bark of the trees. The male bird destroys the nest and flies away with the new born bird.
- The bird has a unique habitat in Sri Lanka and is also believed to be present in the Thattekad bird sanctuary. It is also found in Karnataka, Goa, and Maharashtra.
- It was believed that the species had gone extinct in the State after its presence was not noticed for a long period.
- IUCN status: Least Concern
National Cyclone Risk Mitigation Project (NCRMP)
Part of: GS Prelims and Mains III – Disaster Management; Government schemes and policies
- NCRMP was started by the Ministry of Home Affairs to mitigate vulnerability to the cyclone and hazards prone coastal communities.
- After the formation of National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA), management of the project was transferred to NDMA in September, 2006.
- NCRMP-I covers States of Andhra Pradesh and Odisha.
- NCRMP-II covers States of Gujarat, Maharashtra, Goa, Karnataka, Kerala, and West Bengal.
- The project is implemented by the Ministry of Home Affairs through National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) and executed by the respective State Disaster Management Authorities at the State level.
- The project is partly funded by the World Bank.
Objectives of NCRMP
- The overall objective of the National Cyclone Risk Mitigation Project (‘NCRMP’) is to minimize vulnerability to cyclones and make people and infrastructure disaster resilient in harmony with conservation of the coastal eco-system in the cyclone hazard prone States and Union Territories of India.
For more details – https://ncrmp.gov.in/about-ncrmp
India steps up agro-diplomacy with China
Part of: GS Prelims and Mains II and III – India and its neighbours; Bilateral economic ties
- As the trade war with the United States continues to impact, China appears to be opening up to non-U.S. imports.
- India has stepped up its agro-diplomacy with China, as China would look first at its food security by diversifying imports in view of the trade war.
- India has started exporting soya bean, sugar, black tea, non-Basmati rice etc. after China has imposed more levy on U.S. imports.
- ‘Freedom is that which helps us to break out of the confines of fear and hate, of chauvinism and obscurantism and the shackles of dead habit. Freedom is the atmosphere which enables each individual to grow to his full height. This is the freedom for which we must strive.’ – Indira Gandhi
- F1H2O Grand Prix : : Team Abu Dhabi wins powerboat grand prix at Amaravati
- Composite Water Management Index (CWMI) is released by the NITI Aayog and is published in association with the Ministry of Water Resources, Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation and the Ministry of Rural Development. CWMI has placed India at a dismal 120 among 122 countries in the water quality index.
- The CWMI report covers these broad themes — ground water and surface-water restoration; major and medium irrigation; watershed development; participatory irrigation management; on-farm water use; rural and urban water supply; and policy and governance.
- The CWMI noted that water-scarce States such as Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Maharashtra and Telangana are leaders in the Index.
- Rohingya relocation plan pushed to 2019 – Bangladesh’s plans to tackle the Rohingya refugee crisis have been stalled until the new year with repatriation and relocation programmes only likely to be revisited following the year-end general election.
- A small Japanese company founded in 2013, Astroscale, is developing a system to approach and capture space debris and broken satellites.
TOPIC:General studies 2
- Judiciary: Functions and appointments
A crippling shortage: on vacancies in courts
- Other than slow judicial processes, the important reason behind rising number of pending cases in lower judiciary is the chronic shortage of judges and severe understaffing of the courts they preside over.
- More than a decade after the Supreme Court laid down guidelines in 2007 for making appointments in the lower judiciary within a set time frame, a similar issue is back before the highest court.
- There are more than 5,000 vacancies in the subordinate courts.
- A Bench headed by Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi has pulled up State governments and the administration of various High Courts for the delay in filling these vacancies.
- Answers provided in the Rajya Sabha reveal that as on March 31, 2018, nearly a quarter of the total number of posts in the subordinate courts remained vacant.
- The court has put the actual figure at 5,133 out 22,036 sanctioned posts.
- The State-wise figures are quite alarming, with Uttar Pradesh having a vacancy of 42.18% and Bihar 37.23%.
- Among the smaller States, Meghalaya has a vacancy level of 59.79%.
Reasons behind vacancies
- Utter tardiness in the process of calling for applications, holding recruitment examinations and declaring the results.
- A study revealed that the recruitment cycle in most States far exceeded the time limit prescribed by the Supreme Court.
- This time limit is 153 days for a two-tier recruitment process and 273 days for a three-tier process.
- Most States took longer to appoint junior civil judges as well as district judges by direct recruitment.
- Delayed funds to pay and accommodate the newly appointed judges and magistrates.
Process of appointments
- According to the Constitution, district judges are appointed by the Governor in consultation with the High Court.
- Other subordinate judicial officers are appointed as per rules framed by the Governor in consultation with the High Court and the State Public Service Commission.
- In effect, the High Courts have a significant role to play.
- A smooth and time-bound process of making appointments would, therefore, require close coordination between the High Courts and the State Public Service Commissions.
Why, vacancies in lower courts, is serious cause of concern?
- Subordinate courts perform the most critical judicial functions that affect the life of the common man: conducting trials, settling civil disputes, and implementing the bare bones of the law.
- Any failure to allocate the required human and financial resources may lead to the crippling of judicial work in the subordinate courts.
- It will also amount to letting down poor litigants and under-trials, who stand to suffer the most due to judicial delay.
- The situation demands a massive infusion of both manpower and resources.
- Public Service Commissions should recruit the staff to assist these judges, while State governments build courts or identify space for them.
Connecting the dots:
- Large number of vacancies in lower courts is one of the important reasons behind the burgeoning burden of pending cases. Comment.
TOPIC:General studies 2
- Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests
- Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests
New ripples in Andaman Sea
- Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s second visit to Singapore this year is nicely framed by the largest ever naval exercise between the two nations (India and Singapore) in the Andaman Sea and the Bay of Bengal.
- The exercises, called the Simbex, began 25 years ago as India embarked on the so-called Look East Policy that sought a renewed economic, political and military engagement with South East Asia.
- The two sides hope that these bilateral exercises will eventually involve the participation of other South East Asian nations and form the basis for a cooperative security framework in the heart of the Indo-Pacific.
- Indo-Pacific is also a sum of its many sub-regions that include the East China Sea, South China Sea and South Pacific to the east of the Malacca Straits as well as the Bay of Bengal, Arabian Sea and the waters of Africa to the west.
- PM Modi outlined India’s broad vision for the Indo-Pacific in his address to the Shangri La Dialogue, an annual forum that brings the region’s defence establishments together.
- The PM’s speech on the Indo-Pacific helped bring the new geopolitical construct to the centre of India’s worldview.
- A “stable, secure and prosperous Indo-Pacific Region” is an “important pillar” of India’s strategic partnership with the United States.
- The emphasis shown by the US on the ‘Indo-Pacific’ can be termed as its strategic initiative towards India.
- ASEAN is one of the crucial building blocks of the Indo-Pacific. United States, India, Japan, and Australia the “Quad” group is emphasizing “Indo-Pacific” as a new strategic space.
Brief History about Andaman Sea:
- The consolidation of British hegemony in the Indian Ocean at the dawn of the 19th century and its accommodation with France (in Indo-China) and the Netherlands (in the East Indies, now known as Indonesia) left the Andaman Sea in a tranquil state.
- The extended peace was shattered during the Second World War when Japan occupied large parts of East Asia, ousted Great Britain from Singapore and raced towards Northeast India through Burma.
- Imperial Japan also occupied the Andaman and Nicobar Islands. It needed a massive collaborative effort to reverse the aggression.
- After the Second World War, the Andaman Sea and the Bay of Bengal became marginal to the power play between Washington and Moscow during the Cold War.
- Now, the rise of China and Beijing’s projection of naval power way beyond its home waters is beginning to put the Andaman Sea back in play.
Importance of Sub-region of the Andaman Sea:
- The Andaman Sea is flanked by the Andaman and Nicobar chain of islands in the West, Myanmar to the north, the Thai-Malay peninsula to the east, and the Sumatra island to the south.
- It funnels into the Straits of Malacca that connects the Indian and Pacific Oceans.
- The large amount of shipping that enters the Andaman Sea from the east heads to Singapore, from where it turns the Pacific Ocean.
- Andaman Sea is rapidly regaining its strategic salience. At the dawn of the modern era, many of the geopolitical contestations involving the Portuguese, Dutch, French and the British took place in the waters of the Andaman Sea.
Recent Actions by China in Sub-region of Andaman Sea:
- Beijing signed an agreement with Myanmar on building a deep-water port at Kyaukpyu. It will be an important part of the China-Myanmar Economic Corridor, which would connect Kyaukpyu to the Yunnan Province through rail and highways.
- China already built an oil and gas pipeline system that moves hydrocarbons from Kyaukpyu to inland China.
- Thailand ordered a feasibility study of the Kra Canal, which will cut through the Kra Isthmus and link the Andaman Sea to the Gulf of Thailand. There is a push from china to launch the Project.
- Beijing has sold submarines to Thailand and Bangladesh and its military cooperation with other littoral states of the Andaman Sea has grown steadily. Recently, China conducted naval exercises with Thailand and Malaysia.
- Building strategic infrastructure, like China-Myanmar Economic Corridor and the Kra Canal allows Beijing reduce its current dependence on the Malacca Straits and access the Indian Ocean directly.
- As the waters of the Andaman Sea turn turbulent, India too has begun to accelerate the development of civilian and military infrastructure in the Andaman and Nicobar Island Chain.
- It has also stepped up political engagement with the Andaman littoral states. But Delhi’s pace might turn out to be too slow to cope with the rapid strategic transformation of the Andaman Sea.
- Therefore, ASEAN must form the geographic core to any Indo-Pacific architecture.
- India must increase its strategic alignment with the other countries in Indo-Pacific region in order to balance the security concerns emanating from China’s aggressive stance.
- Freedom of navigation, unimpeded commerce, and peaceful settlement of disputes in accordance with international law will make our sea lanes the pathway to prosperity.
Connecting the dots:
- Briefly examine the geopolitical significance of Andaman Sea for India.
(Note: look for Kra Canal, Gulf of Thailand and Andaman Sea. And study the map surrounding this region from prelims point of view.)
(TEST YOUR KNOWLEDGE)
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Q.1) Budha Peacock or Budha Mayoori was recently declared as –
- State bird of Kerala
- State bird of Karnataka
- State butterfly of Kerala
- State butterfly of Karnataka
Q.2) Arrange the following Tiger Reserves of India from North to South direction:
- Bandhavgarh Tiger Reserve
- Parambikulam Tiger Reserve
- Satkosia Tiger Reserve
- Kanha Tiger Reserve
Select the correct answer using the code given below:
Q.3) Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary is located in –
- Tamil Nadu
- Andhra Pradesh
- Madhya Pradesh
Q.4) Consider the following statements about National Cyclone Risk Mitigation Project (NCRMP)
- The project is implemented by the Ministry of Home Affairs.
- The project covers only coastal states on eastern side of the country which are prone to cyclones.
Select the correct statements
- 1 only
- 2 only
- Both 1 and 2
- Neither 1 nor 2
Q.5) Consider the following statements:
- Composite Water Management Index (CWMI) is developed by NITI Aayog.
- Mihir Shah Committee deals with restructuring the Central Water Commission (CWC) and the Central Ground Water Board (CGWB).
Which of the statements given above is/are correct?
- 1 only
- 2 only
- Both 1 and 2
- Neither 1 nor 2
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