IASbaba’s Daily Current Affairs (Prelims + Mains
Focus)- 26th November 2018
(PRELIMS + MAINS FOCUS)
Self-defence: Kerala village set to become first local body to train all its women
Part of: GS Mains II – Social issue; Women empowerment; Government schemes and policies
- Kangazha village in Kottayam (Kerala) is set to earn the distinction of having all its women aged 10-60 trained in self-defence — a first for any local body.
- Launched as part of the Nirbhaya scheme in April 2017, the project has so far covered over 7,800 women and is slated to include the remaining 2,000-odd soon.
Kerala state had also earned distinction because of its unique of community service model – Kudumbashree
- Launched by Government of Kerala in 1998, it was envisioned as a part of the People’s Plan Campaign and local self-governance, with women at the centre of it.
- Aim: To wipe out absolute poverty from state through concerned community action under the leadership of local self-government
Employee has right to resign, says Supreme Court
Part of: GS Prelims and Mains II – Role of Judiciary; Fundamental Rights; Polity
- To resign is a right of an employee and he cannot be forced to continue, the Supreme Court has said in a recent order.
- An employee cannot be compelled to serve in case he is not willing “until and unless there is some stipulation in the rules or in the terms of appointment or disciplinary proceedings is pending or contemplated which is sought to be avoided by resigning from the services.”
Tiger Reserves/National Parks in news: Dudhwa Tiger Reserve and Bhitarkanika National Park
Part of: GS Prelims and Mains III – Environment and Biodiversity; Animal conservation; Protected Areas
In news: Dudhwa Tiger Reserve
- Dudhwa Tiger Reserve is a protected area in Uttar Pradesh.
- It comprises the Dudhwa National Park, Kishanpur Wildlife Sanctuary and Katarniaghat Wildlife Sanctuary.
- The protected area is home for tigers, leopards, Asiatic black bears, sloth bears, Swamp deer, rhinoceros, elephants, cheetal, hog deer, barking deer, sambar, wild boar and hispid hare.
- It shares the north-eastern boundary with Nepal and hence Dudhwa Tiger Reserve and border security agency Sashastra Seema Bal have joined hands to provide security to Dudhwa forests and its rich wildlife.
In news: Bhitarkanika National Park
- Bhitarkanika National Park : : Odisha
- The Bhitarkanika National Park is one of the largest habitats of endangered estuarine crocodiles in the country .
- It is a prominent heronry (breeding ground for migratory birds) of the State.
About Saltwater crocodile
- The saltwater crocodile, also known as the estuarine crocodile, is the largest of all living reptiles, as well as the largest riparian predator in the world.
- As its name implies, this species of crocodile can live in marine environments, but usually resides in saline and brackish mangrove swamps, estuaries, deltas, lagoons, and lower stretches of rivers. They have the broadest distribution of any modern crocodile, ranging from the eastern coast of India throughout most of Southeast Asia and northern Australia.
- IUCN status: Least Concerned
Do you know?
- In India, the BNP, the Sundarbans and the Andaman & Nicobar Islands are the prime habitats of the saltwater crocodile.
Andaman & Nicobar Islands: home to a tenth of India’s fauna species
Part of: GS Prelims and Mains III – Environment and Biodiversity; Animal conservation; Protected Areas
- Andaman & Nicobar Islands, which comprises only 0.25% of country’s geographical area, has 11,009 species, according to a publication by the Zoological Survey of India.
- Zoological Survey of India (ZSI) has for the first time come up with a database of all faunal species found on the island, putting the number at 11,009.
- ZSI report highlighted that – tourism, illegal construction and mining are posing a threat to the islands’ biodiversity, which is already vulnerable to volatile climatic factors.
Do you know?
- The Narcondam hornbill, its habitat restricted to a lone island; the Nicobar megapode, a bird that builds nests on the ground; the Nicobar treeshrew, a small mole-like mammal; the Long-tailed Nicobar macaque, and the Andaman day gecko, are among the 1,067 endemic faunal species found only on the Andaman and Nicobar Islands and nowhere else.
- The population of the islands, which includes six particularly vulnerable tribal groups (PVTGs) — Great Andamanese, Onge, Jarawa, Sentinelese, Nicobarese and Shompens — is not more than 4 lakh.
- In a recent development, the Government of India relaxed the Restricted Area Permit (RAP) norms for some foreign nationalities notified under the Foreigners (Restricted Areas) Order, 1963, to visit 29 of its inhabited islands, till December 31, 2022. This has triggered further concerns of increased anthropogenic pressures over the islands’ ecosystem.
- Of the ten species of marine fauna found on the islands, the dugong/sea cow, and the Indo-Pacific humpback dolphin, are both classified as Vulnerable under the IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) Red List of Threatened Species.
- Among the 46 terrestrial mammalian species found, three species have been categorised as Critically Endangered — Andaman shrew (Crocidura andamanensis), Jenkin’s shrew (C. jenkinsi) and Nicobar shrew (C. nicobarica). Five species are listed as Endangered, nine species as Vulnerable, and one species as Near Threatened, according to the IUCN.
- Among birds, endemism is quite high, with 36 among 344 species of birds found only on the islands. Many of these bird species are placed in the IUCN Red List of threatened species under the Wildlife Protection Act (WPA).
- Another unique feature of the islands’ ecosystem is its marine faunal diversity, which includes coral reefs and its associated fauna. In all, 555 species of scleractinian corals (hard or stony corals) are found in the island ecosystem, all which are placed under Schedule I of the WPA.
Animal in news: Amur falcon
Part of: GS Prelims and Mains III – Environment and Biodiversity; Animal conservation
- Amur falcon is a small raptor of the falcon family.
- It breeds in south-eastern Siberia and Northern China before migrating in large flocks across India and over the Arabian Sea to winter in Southern Africa.
- The raptor (bird of prey) — the size of a pigeon — makes its home in Nagaland, flying a staggering 22,000 km from there to South Africa, then onto Mongolia and back to Nagaland. The bird has one of the longest and most fascinating migratory paths in the avian world.
- The falcon breeds in south-eastern Siberia and north-eastern China, where the Amur River divides the Russian Far East and China.
Do you know?
- It is a small raptor, of the size of a pigeon. It covers one of the largest migratory distances from Mongolia and Russia to South Africa.
- It is not a critically endangered species and is found in large numbers. However, due to indiscriminate killing, their numbers are rapidly coming down.
- It is considered as a delicacy in Nagaland and widely hunted and sold in the local market.
- The Centre decided to develop Doyang Lake in Nagaland, famous as a roosting site for longest travelling raptors Amur Falcons, as an eco-tourism spot for bird-watchers.
Regional Integrated Multi-Hazard Early Warning System (RIMES)
Part of: GS Prelims and Mains III – Disaster Management; International bodies
- Regional Integrated Multi-Hazard Early Warning System (RIMES) for Africa and Asia, a 45-nation international organisation on disaster warning, has termed ‘Titli’, the severe cyclonic storm that devastated Odisha in October, as ‘rarest cyclone’.
- The UN-registered organisation said: Considering the history of cyclone tracks, no synthetic track projection captures the Titli type of cyclones. The forecast information available lacks actionable early warning information such as no indication of occurrence of secondary hazards, including landslides far away from the coasts.
- The RIMES has recommended that a detailed risk assessment has to be carried out for Odisha to understand the risks in the light of the Titli devastation.
Do you know?
- Earlier, India Meteorological Department had called the formation of Titli as a ‘rarest of rare’ occurrence.
Important value additions
About Regional Integrated Multi-Hazard Early Warning System (RIMES)
- The RIMES is an intergovernmental body registered under United Nations.
- It was established registered with UN in 2009.
- It is owned and managed by 45 collaborating countries in Asia Pacific and Africa Region.
- India is chairman of the body.
- It operates from its regional early warning centre located at campus of Asian Institute of Technology in Pathumthani, Thailand.
- It has evolved from efforts of countries in Africa and Asia in aftermath of 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami.
RIMES caters to differential needs and demands of its Member States by enhancing capacities for end-to-end multi-hazard early warning, in particular:
- Hazard monitoring, detection, analysis, prediction, and forecasting
- Risk assessment
- Potential impact analysis
- Generation of tailored risk information at different time scales
- Risk communication
- Application of tailored risk information in decision-making
Miscellaneous: Vetiver – also called as ‘the wonder grass’ of Tamil Nadu
- Vetiver has gained popularity in the State for its wide range of applications in the pharma and cosmetic industries, besides anti-soil erosion properties.
- It has huge global demand in the aromatic industry.
- The grass is popular for its quality to combat soil erosion and absorb carbon dioxide, thus erasing carbon footprints.
- Vetiver is ideal for the long coastline, as it is suited for sandy soil. Its moisture retention property makes vetiver a natural choice for soil conservation and replenishment of ground water.
- It is ideal for dry land cultivation using organic farming practices. Another quality of vetiver is that it is an anti-depressant.
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
Looking beyond the optics: India – Vietnam relations
- President Ram Nath Kovind visited Vietnam. Vietnam is a close ‘ally’ of India for over 70 years, and not limited to official diplomatic ties.
- Vietnam is critical for India’s foreign policy at the regional and systemic levels.
- There is a need to understand how Vietnam has calibrated its domestic and foreign policy shifts and where India’s relevance can fit into these policy changes.
- Vietnam’s Doi Moi policy, a political and economic renewal campaign started in 1986.
- Since then Vietnam has made dramatic strides.
- Today it is a rapidly growing, regional economic giant, showing both dynamism and pragmatism in its calculations.
- While earlier it imported agricultural products, today it is a major exporter.
- Agricultural competence has furthered Vietnam’s entry into the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP).
- The Vietnam National Assembly ratified the CPTPP, asserting its growing economic impact globally, with exports increasing to approximately $240 billion for the year 2018.
- Membership to the CPTPP will boost Vietnam’s economic growth, from 6.8 % in 2017-18, by a further 1.1% to 3.5% by 2030.
- India is focused on furthering cooperation with Vietnam in agriculture and innovation-based sectors, pushing the potential for increasing bilateral trade to $15 billion by 2020.
Common ground of health
- An area of potential convergence for both Vietnam and India is health care.
- The National Congress of the Communist Party of Vietnam highlighted the importance of linking economic growth to universal health care, whereby 80% population would be covered by health insurance.
- India too has been focusing on the need to deliver accessible and affordable health insurance to weaker sections of society.
- With Indonesia ratifying the India-ASEAN Services agreement, India is a step closer to signing the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, bringing India to the forefront of the services sector globally.
- A potential area of convergence in the realm of health care through joint public-private partnership agreements can be explored by the two countries.
Vietnam’s foreign policy
- Internationally, Vietnam’s foreign policy is characterised by ‘multidirectionalism’, which addresses regional asymmetries of the power balance by engaging across a broad spectrum of states to achieve its interests.
- Asymmetrical power structure in the region, offset by the rise of China, is bringing regional and extra-regional states together to address the shifts in the normative order. Within this context, Vietnam even normalised relations with the U.S., its former opponent.
- Today there is increasing commonality of security concerns between Vietnam and its ASEAN partners — as well as with Australia, India, Japan and the U.S., particularly in the areas of maritime security and adherence to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.
- India also referred ‘rules based order in the Indo-Pacific’, reiterating India’s own concerns over troubled maritime spaces.
- The two countries have planned a bilateral level maritime security dialogue in early 2019.
Focus on sub-regionalism
- As ASEAN continues to focus on its centrality in the region, there will undoubtedly be shifts in how smaller members of ASEAN perceive the centrifugal forces of China’s rise.
- Vietnam has helped to mitigate these by focussing on both sub-regionalism and regionalism as the core of its priorities.
- India too looks at both sub-regionalism and regionalism as priority avenues to pursue its foreign policy.
- The India-Vietnam Joint Statement of March 2018 reiterates the focus given to sub-regionalism and the Mekong Ganga Cooperation framework.
- Another area is emerging in the CLV, or Cambodia-Laos-Vietnam growth triangle sub-regional cooperation, bringing these three countries together.
- India and Vietnam can jointly explore the potential for enhancing capacity building and providing technical assistance and training within sub-regional groupings.
- In the ‘cooperation model’, India offers providing choices and opportunities for its friends. This model highlights India’s willingness to address issues on which increasing synergies need to evolve.
- One such area where convergence is likely, but has been held back due to individual preference, is the $500 million line of credit offered to Vietnam.
- Both India and Vietnam possess the capacity to find compatibility in areas promoting defence cooperation and infrastructure simultaneously.
- Vietnam’s role as country coordinator for India in ASEAN will come to a close in 2018.
- While the ties have progressed under the Look East and Act East Policies, going forward they need to factor in pragmatism, helping relations to move forward.
Connecting the dots:
Vietnam is crucial to India’s Look East Policy. Critically comment.
TOPIC:General studies 1&3
- Geography and society (Tribes, vulnerable sections of the society)
- Health and related issues
Do not disturb this Andaman Island
- ‘Civilisation’ has destroyed the aboriginals of Andaman & Nicobar. The death of an interloper on North Sentinel Island underlines the threat to the 55,000-yr-old sovereignty of the Islands’ last tribe standing.
- After 12 years, the Sentinelese have again rejected external contact in the most emphatic way possible.
Free in spirit and faith
- Chau apparently went to preach Christianity to the Sentinelese. Missionaries have been historically unwelcome in the Andamans, and the tribes of the Islands have resisted every occupation force with bows and arrows.
- The Great Andamanese fought the Battle of Aberdeen against the British in 1859, and were enslaved and eventually killed in large numbers.
- The seafaring Onge were forced to make room for the settlers.
- The forest-dwelling Jarawa fiercely resisted outsiders until the late 1990s.
- The reclusive Sentinelese still hold their tiny fort. All remain animistic in faith.
- Missionaries had greater success on the Nicobar Islands to the south, which lie on the ancient marine trade route between Europe and the Far East.
- Evangelists started to approach the Nicobar tribes from the 15th century onward, and a Christian movement eventually succeeded on the Islands during the final decades of British occupation.
An island of isolation
- The Nicobar tribes are Mongoloid; the Andaman tribes, including the Sentinelese, are Negrito — evidence for the Homo sapiens migration from East Africa some 70,000 years ago.
- The Sentinelese are a pre-Neolithic people who have inhabited North Sentinel Island for an estimated 55,000 years without contact with the outside world.
- They are short statured possibly due to the “island effect” that causes genetic limitation over time.
- The Sentinelese and other aboriginal tribes of the archipelago are protected under The Andaman and Nicobar (Protection of Aboriginal Tribes) Regulation, 1956.
- Due to their isolation, it is unlikely the Sentinelese have immunity against even common diseases.
Immunity and declining population
- A large chunk of the population of the 10 Great Andamanese tribes was wiped out after the indigenous peoples caught syphilis, measles, and influenza on an epidemic scale following contact with the early settlers.
- Between 1998 and 2004, when the Jarawa started to respond to the state, all government hospitals bordering their reserve opened special wards to treat them for infections.
- The Sentinelese remained hostile from the time efforts began to reach out to them in 1967.
- The government gave up in the mid-1990s, and in order to safeguard their health and sovereignty, decided that no one could enter a 5-km buffer zone around their island, which was already out of bounds.
Commerce vs caution
- Under the Foreigners (Restricted Areas) Order, 1963, the Andaman & Nicobar Islands are a “Restricted Area” in which foreigners with a restricted area permit (RAP) can stay on 13 islands, and make day visits to another 11.
- But in recent years, the Andaman Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Andaman Association of Tour Operators have pressed to have the RAP restrictions relaxed.
- In August 2018, the Home Ministry dropped the RAP requirement for visiting 29 inhabited islands until 2022, even though separate approvals continue to be required for visiting Reserve Forests, Wildlife Sanctuaries and Tribal Reserves.
- Following criticism that the move compromised the safety of the tribes and ecology of the islands, the UT Administration clarified that Indian nationals would continue to require a pass issued by the Deputy Commissioner for entering a tribal reserve, and foreigners would need prior approval from the Principal Secretary (Tribal Welfare).
Cost of exposure
- Fewer than 50 Great Andamanese are alive today.
- In 2010, Boa, the last of the Bo, a Great Andamanese tribe, died — taking with her the knowledge and language of her people.
- A few months earlier, another ancient language, Khora, had passed with Boa’s neighbour Boro.
- In December 2008, at least 15 Onge men died after drinking from a plastic container that had washed up on Dugong Creek.
- The Onge, who now number fewer than 100, have abandoned hunting-gathering and depend entirely on government help.
- From 2004 onward, the 400-odd surviving Jarawa began to retreat into the forest, closing the window of their willing interaction with the world.
- But the highway continues to bring the world and sexual exploitation, substance abuse and disease — into their shrinking sanctuary.
- The Sentinelese have been the exception, protected by coral reefs that make landing on their island dangerous, and by the tribe’s unwavering hostility towards outsiders.
- In December 2014, the A&N administration announced a change of policy from “hands off” to “hands off but eyes on” to protect the Sentinelese.
- Chau’s tragedy underlines the need to re-examine security and tighten vigil around North Sentinel Island.
- While the “island effect” may eventually wipe out the tiny tribal populations in the archipelago, allowing their sanctuaries to be invaded by outsiders will only hasten that process.
- As President Pranab Mukherjee said in 2014, it is the job of the Indian state “to protect them in their own environment and in their own circumstances”.
Connecting the dots:
- What is “island effect”? Critically examine the causes of declining tribal population on Anaman and Nicobar islands.
(TEST YOUR KNOWLEDGE)
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Q.1) ‘Kudumbashree’ is the women empowerment and poverty eradication program conceived by which of the following states?
- Tamil Nadu
Q.2) Consider the following statements about Bhitarkanika National Park
- It is included in the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites
- It is unique in being a swamp with floating vegetation
Select the correct statements
- 1 Only
- 2 Only
- Both 1 and 2
- Neither 1 nor 2
Q.3) The salt-water crocodile is found along the:
- Eastern coast and the Andaman and Nicobar Islands
- Western coast and Lakshadweep islands
- Gulf of Kutch and Gulf of Khambhat along with some areas near Gulf of Mannar
- All the Above
Q.4) Consider the following statements regarding Bhitarkanika National Park
- It is surrounded by Gahirmatha Beach
- It is known for salt water crocodiles
- It is located in the mouth of Mahanadi Delta
Which of the statements given above is/are correct?
- 1 only
- 2 and 3 only
- 1 and 2 only
- 1, 2 and 3
Q.5) Dudhwa National Park, Kishanpur Wildlife Sanctuary and Katarniaghat Wildlife Sanctuary are located in –
- Uttar Pradesh
- Madhya Pradesh
- West Bengal
Q.6) Amur falcons has one of the longest and most fascinating migratory paths in the avian kingdom. Consider the following statements regarding Amur falcons:
- It is one of the largest raptor species.
- It migrates from Mongolia to South Africa via India.
- It is amongst the critically endangered species and very few left in wild.
- It considered a delicacy in Nagaland and widely hunted during their short stay in India.
Select the correct statements from above:
- 1 and 3
- 2 and 4
- 3 only
- All of the above
Q.7) Doyang Lake, famous as a roosting site for longest travelling raptors Amur Falcons is located in which state?
- Arunachal Pradesh
Q.8) Consider the following statements about RIMES (Regional Integrated Multi-hazard Early Warning System for Asia and Africa)
- It is an international and intergovernmental institution, owned and managed by its Member States, for the generation and application of early warning information
- It provides regional tsunami watch within the framework of Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of UNESCO (IOC-UNESCO)
Select the correct statements
- 1 Only
- 2 Only
- Both 1 and 2
- Neither 1 nor 2
Q.9) Which of the following mammals is also known as the ‘Sea Cow’?
Q.10) Dugongs are found predominantly in
- Bay of Bengal
- Gulf of Mannar
- Gulf of Khambhath
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