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Daily Current Affairs IAS | UPSC Prelims and Mains Exam – 30th July 2019

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  • July 30, 2019
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IAS UPSC Prelims and Mains Exam – 30th July 2019

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(PRELIMS + MAINS FOCUS)


Geographical-Indication Tag (GI Tag)

Part of: GS Prelims and Mains GS- III – Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization, of resources.

In News

  • After West Bengal(2017), Odisha gets GI tag for its version of Rasgulla
  • The GI tag for the same product to both the neighbouring states recognizes the two distinct varieties of Rasgullas in taste and texture

Do you know?

  • A GI is a distinctive sign used to differentiate goods on the basis of its unique characteristics
  • A GI tag helps in the branding and marketing of a local product
  • It attracts penalties if copied by anybody outside that geographical region.GI enjoys legal protection under GI of Goods (Registration and Protection) Act, 1999
  • While Bengalis claim the sweet was invented by Nobin Chandra Das (Birth: 1845) at his residence in Kolkata, Odias cite the tradition dating back to 12th century of rasgulla being offered at the Puri Jagannath Temple

Tiger census

Part of: Mains GS III- Conservation of Environment

In News

  • Tiger count rises by 33% in India with 2,967 tigers in the wild (2014 census-2226)
  • However, the rise is uneven across states.
  • MP had the highest rise of 218 tigers, reaching an estimated 526, while Chhattisgarh saw drastic fall in its count from 46 to 19
  • No tigers were found in Buxa (West Bengal), Dampa (Mizoram) and Palamau (Jharkhand), reserves that had very low numbers in earlier assessments
  • Poaching(accounting for 24% of Tiger mortality), lack of protection and management measures, pressure on forests for expansion of human settlements are some of the hurdles in Tiger conservation

Do You know?

  • Tiger Census of India is considered to be the world’s largest wildlife survey, covering 381,000 sq. km
  • India along with 12 other tiger range countries had committed to doubling the population of tigers in their respective countries by 2022, as part of the WWF programme Tx2
  • India completed its Tx2 target 4 years earlier
  • India with 50 tiger reserves in 18 states has over 80% of the global tiger population which stands at 3,159
  • International Tiger Day is celebrated on 29 July annually to raise awareness about Tiger conservation

National Commission for Minorities (NCM)

Part of: Mains GS II- Mechanism for protection of vulnerable sections of society

In News

  • NCM has refused to entertain a plea to declare Hindus a “minority community” in those States where they do not form a majority of the population.
  • NCM has no power/jurisdiction to declare new minority communities, such powers lie with the Central government.
  • NCM instead works to ensure the progress and development of minorities and protect their religious, cultural and educational rights.
  • Supreme Court in its judgement in the Bal Patil Vs Union of India case of 1999 had said that NCM’s role was to maintain the unity and integrity of India by eliminating the need for identifying communities as majority and minority

Do you know?

  • According to 2011 Census, Hindus are in monitory in eight states — Lakshadweep (2.5%), Mizoram (2.75%), Nagaland (8.75%), Meghalaya (11.53%), J&K (28.44%), Arunachal Pradesh (29%), Manipur (31.39%), and Punjab (38.40%).
  • Constitution of India doesn’t define the word ‘Minority’ but has used the word minorities considering two attributes religion or language of a person
  • The Union Government set up NCM under the NCM Act, 1992 (Statutory body)
  • Six religious communities, viz; Muslims, Christians, Sikhs, Buddhists, Zoroastrians (Parsis) and Jains(6) have been notified in Gazette of India as minority communities all over India

Economic Census

Part of: GS Prelims and Mains GS III- Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization, of resources

In News

  • The government started off the 7th Economic Census (EC) from Tripura. It will be launched in other states and UT in August and September
  • EC is the complete count of all establishments/units located within the geographical boundaries of India
  • Agriculture is not covered in Economic Census
  • It is being conducted by Ministry of Statistics and Program implementation (MoSPI)
  • MoSPI has partnered with Common Service Centres, CSC e-Governance Service India Ltd(SPV of Ministry of Electronics & IT) as the implementing agency for EC
  • The data will be collected through door to door survey of each household and commercial establishment under the provisions of Collection of Statistics Act, 2008

Do You know?

  • Six Economic Censuses have been conducted till date: 1977,1980,1990,1998,2005 and 2013
  • The EC is the only source of information on the significantly large unorganized sector in the economy
  • As per the last EC conducted in 2013, there were 58.5 million establishments employing around 131 million workers

(MAINS FOCUS)


ENVIRONMENT/ECOLOGY

TOPIC: General Studies 3

  • Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment

Tiger census

Context

  • The four-year tiger census report, Status of Tigers in India, 2018, released by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday, shows numbers of the big cat have increased across all landscapes. The total count has risen to 2,967 from 2,226 in 2014 — an increase of 741 individuals (aged more than one year), or 33%, in four years.

Concerns:

  • More than 80% of the world’s wild tigers are in India, and it’s crucial to keep track of their numbers

More about tiger conservation:

Why is a tiger census needed?

  • The tiger sits at the peak of the food chain, and its conservation is important to ensure the well-being of the forest ecosystem.
  • The tiger estimation exercise includes habitat assessment and prey estimation.
  • The numbers reflect the success or failure of conservation efforts.
  • This is an especially important indicator in a fast-growing economy like India where the pressures of development often run counter to the demands of conservation.

How the tiger census was carried out?

The census was carried out in four phases.

Phases 1 and 2

  • It covered forest beats, generally spread over 15 sq km each, by Forest Departments, to collect signs of tiger presence like scat and pugmarks. Enumerators walked paths called line transects to estimate the abundance of prey.
  • This was followed by sampling of plots along the transects to assess habitat characteristics, human impact, and prey dung density.

Phase 3

  • The information was plotted on the forest map prepared with remote-sensing and GIS application. Sample areas were divided in 2-sq-km parcels, and trap cameras were laid in these grids.

Phase 4

  • Data were extrapolated to areas where cameras could not be deployed.

Which states/regions have done bad?

  • Only one of the 20 tiger-bearing states has seen a fall in numbers — Chhattisgarh, where the census counted 19 tigers, significantly fewer than the 46 of 2014.
  • The report has cited law and order as the reason — large parts of the state are hit by the Maoist insurgency.
  • Greater conservation efforts are needed in the “critically vulnerable” Northeast hills and Odisha.
  • No tiger has been found in the Buxa, Palamau and Dampa reserves.

Which states have done good?

  • The biggest increase has been in Madhya Pradesh — a massive 218 individuals (71%) from 308 in 2014 to 526.
  • In Maharashtra, the number has gone up from 190 to 312 (64%), and
  • In Karnataka, from 406 to 524 (118, or 29%).
  • Uttarakhand has gained over 100 tigers (340 to 442; 30%)
  • Madhya Pradesh’s Pench sanctuary and Kerala’s Periyar sanctuary emerged as the best managed tiger reserves in the country.

Why Pench sanctuary was considered best for tiger reserves?

  • Pench was a well-managed reserve because it had a season-wise biodiversity plan as well as flying squads and tactical patrolling for managing security.
  • There were regular meetings with local communities and funds collected from tourism were largely making it to the authorities for conservation purposes.

India’s five tiger landscapes :

  1. Shivalik Hills and Gangetic Plains,
  2. Central Indian Landscape and Eastern Ghats,
  3. Western Ghats,
  4. North-East Hills and Brahmaputra Plains,
  5. The Sundarbans.

Why the tiger population has been increased?

  • Due to increased vigilance and conservation efforts by the Forest Department.
  • The rehabilitation of villages outside core areas in many parts of the country has led to the availability of more inviolate space for tigers.
  • organised poaching rackets have been all but crushed
  • According to Nitin Desai of Wildlife Protection Society of India, there has been no organised poaching by traditional gangs in Central Indian landscapes since 2013.
  • The increased protection has encouraged the tiger to breed.
  • Also, because estimation exercises have become increasingly more accurate over the years

App developed to estimate tiger population:

  • Wildlife officials used mobile application M-STrIPES (Monitoring System For Tigers-Intensive Protection and Ecological Status) to estimate the big cat population
  • The M-STrIPES, the application used by forest guards, is GPS-enabled and helps to capture data relating to tiger sightings, deaths, wildlife crime and ecological observations while patrolling.
  • This mobile app records the track a forest official walks and geotags the sightings of tigers and even other animals or signs which helps in the estimation
  • The other software used for tiger estimation was Spatially Explicit Capture Recapture (SECR) and Extract Compare, which helps differentiate between the stripes of tigers as each has a different pattern.

Key notes:

Project Tiger

  • Aims at conserving India’s national animal i.e. Tiger.
  • Launched in 1973
  • The tiger reserves are constituted on a core/buffer strategy.
  • The core areas have the legal status of a national park or a sanctuary, whereas the buffer or peripheral areas are a mix of forest and non-forest land, managed as a multiple use area.
  • The Project Tiger aims to foster an exclusive tiger agenda in the core areas of tiger reserves, with an inclusive people oriented agenda in the buffer.
  • It is a Centrally Sponsored Scheme of the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change providing central assistance to the tiger States for tiger conservation in designated tiger reserves.
  • The National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) is a statutory body of the Ministry, with an overarching supervisory / coordination role, performing functions as provided in the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972.
  • The All India tiger estimation is carried out once in every four years.

Action and initiatives were taken by the government for Tiger conservation

The government of India has taken several steps which includes legal steps, administrative steps and financial steps to ensure and promote Tiger conservation in India.

1. Legal initiatives

The Wildlife Protection Act 1972 was amended in 2006 to provide enabling provisions and constituting National Tiger conservation authority. Also, tiger and other endangered species crime control bureau were created through this amendment.

The punishments for cases of offences related to the Tiger Reserves and its core area was increased.

2. Administrative Actions

  • The government has taken steps for preventing poaching activities which includes a special strategy for monsoon patrolling etc.
  • Under the chairmanship of respective Chief Ministers, state-level steering committees have been established along with the establishment of the Tiger Conservation Foundation.
  • A special Tiger Protection Force was created by the Union budget 2008.

3. Financial initiatives

The Government of India is providing financial and technical Support to the state Governments under the centrally sponsored schemes such as Project Tiger, and integrated development of wildlife habitats etc.

Conclusion:

  • Tigers are terminal consumers in the ecological food pyramid, and their conservation results in the conservation of all trophic levels in an ecosystem
  • We have to create a healthy balance between sustainability and development.

Connecting the dots:

  • Discuss the challenges for the conservation of Tiger and suggest the measures to conserve the tigers?

INTERNATIONAL

TOPIC: General Studies 2

  • International Relations
  • Bilateral, regional & global groupings & agreements involving India &/or affecting India’s interests

Regional Comprehensive Economic partnership (RCEP) and India

Context

  • Australia is leading diplomats from various countries involved in the negotiations for the 16-member Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) free trade agreement to convince India to commit to the deal by the end of the year.

Concerns:

  • Serious concerns, including worries over the flooding of the market with Chinese goods
  • The lack of access for Indian services in the RCEP countries

What is RCEP?

  • The Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) is a proposed mega-regional Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between 16 Asia-Pacific countries.
  • Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) was established in order to broaden and deepen the engagement among parties and to enhance parties’ participation in economic development of the region.
  • It was established by the leaders of 16 participating countries on November 12, 2012 at Phnom Penh summit.
  • The RCEP will include all the nations with which the ASEAN has trade deals — New Zealand, Australia, China, India, Japan and South Korea.
  • The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) has free trade agreements with six partners namely People’s Republic of China (ACFTA), Republic of Korea (AKFTA), Japan (AJCEP), India (AIFTA) as well as Australia and New Zealand (AANZFTA).
  • The Partnership will account for nearly 45 % of the global population with a combined gross domestic product of $21.3 trillion

How RCEP benefits India?

  • It is expected to provide market access for India’s goods and services exports and encourage greater investments and technology into India.
  • It would also facilitate India’s MSMEs to effectively integrate into the regional value and supply chains.
  • On the other hand, India is not a member of the Asia-Pacific Economic Co-operation (APEC) which is a grouping of twenty-one countries in the Asia Pacific region with an aim to deepen and strengthen economic and technological cooperation amongst APEC member countries.
  • The RCEP negotiation includes: trade in goods, trade in services, investment, economic and technical cooperation, intellectual property, competition, dispute settlement, e-commerce, small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and other issues.
  • India has consistently focused on services trade norms, such as those allowing the free movement of trained professionals across national boundaries.
  • This would effectively allow Indian professionals — such as chartered accountants, teachers and nurses — to practice in other RCEP nations without the need for bilateral mutual recognition agreements.
  • Since India has an abundance of trained labor that is interested in migrating while sending remittances back home, this is a prime focus area for the country.

What are the hurdles where the India got stuck?

  • The talks have seen little movement since partner nations have been unwilling to concede on crucial issues under planning since 2012.
  • The crucial issues of goods, services including easier movement of professionals and, investment are also the areas of negotiation.
  • The main bone of contention is market access for foreign goods and reduction of import duties on them.
  • This is the discussion area where India is gravely cautious since manufacturing powerhouse China is part of the arrangement.
  • India fears the RCEP pact will allow China to push its products at lower prices and finally capture the market.
  • At present, India’s import barriers remain high to Chinese products.
  • The $63 billion trade deficit with China remains a burning political issue for the government and security concerns have also arisen over Chinese conglomerates dictating market trends in sectors such as telecommunication.
  • On the other hand, richer nations like Australia and New Zealand have remained adamant on issues such as seeking more leeway in selling specific products such as dairy and fruits in India.
  • India has also moved slowly on investment norms, especially dispute settlement guidelines.

The Australian High Commissioner to India :

  • It was the industry’s responsibility to use the FTAs well.
  • Australia is leading diplomats from various countries to convince India to commit to the deal by the end of the year.
  • Indian negotiators like any good negotiators can get the best deal in their own country’s interests.
  • But the second part is that industry has to use the access that they gain from the agreement to extend their reach

Conclusion:

  • Despite the challenges to be faced by industry, the government is keen to be part of the pact as once implemented the RCEP could be the largest free trade zone in the world as member countries account for 25 per cent of global GDP, 30 per cent of global trade, 26 per cent of global foreign direct investment (FDI) flows and 45 per cent of the total population.

Connecting the dots:

  • Discuss the gains of India from joining RCEP negotiation table and what are the challenges to India?
  • How RCEP is important for India? Discuss.

(TEST YOUR KNOWLEDGE)


Model questions: (You can now post your answers in comment section)

Note: 

  • Featured Comments and comments Up-voted by IASbaba are the “correct answers”.
  • IASbaba App users – Team IASbaba will provide correct answers in comment section. Kindly refer to it and update your answers.

Q.1) Consider the following statements

  1. National Commission of Minorities is a Constitutional Body
  2. National Commission of Minorities declares whether a Community is minority or not
  3. Article-29 and 30 in Constitution has defined the meaning of Minority

Which of the above statements are incorrect?

  1. 1 and 2 only
  2. 2 and 3 only
  3. 1 and 3 only
  4. 1,2 and 3

Q.2) Consider the following statements about Economic Census

  1. It is being conducted for first time in country to ascertain the size of informal sector
  2. Ministry of Statistics & Program implementation is conducting this Census
  3. All Farm and non-farm activities are considered in this census

Which of the above statements is/are correct?

  1. 1 and 2 only
  2. 2 only
  3. 1 and 3 only
  4. 1,2 and 3

Q.3) Consider the following statements

  1. National Tiger Conservation authority is a statutory body headed by Minister of Environment, Forest and Climate Change
  2. Dampa Tiger reserve is the largest wildlife sanctuary in Arunachal Pradesh

Which of the above statements is/are correct?

  1. 1 only
  2. 2 only
  3. Both 1 and 2
  4. Neither 1 nor 2

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