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Press Information Bureau (PIB) IAS UPSC – 23rd October to 27th October – 2019

  • IASbaba
  • October 30, 2019
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Press Information Bureau (PIB) IAS UPSC – 23rd to 27th October, 2019

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GS-2

Cabinet approves 

Proposed Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between India and St. Vincent & the Grenadines on cooperation in the field of Traditional Systems of Medicine

  • It will lead to promotion and propagation of Traditional Systems of Medicine in St. Vincent & the Grenadines. 
  • Activities mentioned in the MoU will boost the importance of AYUSH Systems of Medicine in St. Vincent & the Grenadines. 
  • As a consequence of the MoU, exchange of experts for training of the practitioners and Scientists undertaking collaborative research in Traditional Systems of Medicine are expected to lead to new innovations in drug development and practice of Traditional Medicine.

Proposal for Agreement on Science and Technology Cooperation between India and the United States of America

  • Agreement will open a new chapter in bilateral relations as both sides will leverage complementary strengths spurred by a significant convergence of mutual interests in science and technology.
  • The Agreement would provide an opportunity to promote ‘high quality’ and ‘high impact’ research and innovation partnerships as well as broadening and expanding relationships between the extensive scientific and technological communities.

MoU between India and Kuwait in the field of accounting, finance and audit knowledge base

  • ICAI has a strong membership base of over 6000 members in the Middle East region and the contemplated MoU for providing assistance to KAAA, Kuwait shall benefit the ICAI members in the region and would provide an additional impetus to the prospects of the ICAI Members.
  • The aim of the MoU is to work together to develop a mutually beneficial relationship for the best interest of ICAI members, students and their organizations.

New World Bank Project to Support Climate Resilient Agriculture for 125,000 Small holder Farmers in Odisha

(Topic: Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests)

The Government of India, Government of Odisha and the World Bank signed a US$165 million loan agreement to support smallholder farmers strengthen the resilience of their production systems as well as diversify and improve the marketing of their produce, for increased income.

The Odisha Integrated Irrigation Project for Climate Resilient Agriculture 

  • Will be implemented in rural areas vulnerable to droughts and largely dependent on rain-fed agriculture
  • It will benefit about 125,000 smallholder farmer households from 15 districts of Odisha managing 128,000 ha of agricultural land. 
  • The project will strengthen the resilience of smallholder farmers against adverse climate by improving access to resilient seed varieties and production technologies, diversifying towards more climate-resilient crops, and improving access to better water management and irrigation services.

The project will

  • Support the rehabilitation of 532 water tanks – expected to irrigate 91,435 ha
  • Promote productivity improvements at the farm level
  • Support farmers to reduce the current emphasis on food grains (especially paddy and wheat)
  • Increase the share of high-value and more nutritious products like fruits and vegetables
  • Provide marketing support to farmers who are able to generate a marketable surplus
  • The project will also support aquaculture in rehabilitated tanks, help farmers access affordable and quality fingerlings, and disseminate improved aquaculture practices and post-harvest management.

Why?

In recent years, climate variability has seriously affected agriculture in Odisha, where farming is largely dominated by farmers with landholdings of less than two hectares. More and more agricultural areas are coming under the ambit of extreme weather events. Since 2009, the frequency of droughts in the state has increased from 1 in 5 years to 1 in 2 years. Today, about 70 percent of total cultivated area is prone to droughts compared to 40 percent in the 1970s. In fact, since 2013, floods are now devastating areas beyond the traditional flood zone. Drier areas are projected to become drier, while wetter areas will become wetter. Agriculture is also a major source of Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions in Odisha, responsible for about 25 percent of the GHG emissions in the state.


Kais Saied sworn-in as President of Tunisia

(Topic: India and its neighbourhood)

Kais Saied has been sworn in as Tunisia’s new president. The 61-year-old law professor has no prior political experience, never held office and barely ran a campaign. Saied sealed a resounding victory in a runoff election on October 13, largely buoyed by a groundswell of support from young voters.

Expectations

  • Must strengthen the protection of human rights in the country
  • Urgently put an end to abuses in the name of security, including the abusive use of emergency measures – Since November 2015, Tunisia’s authorities have used a 1978 presidential decree to impose a continuous state of emergency. The decree, which grants the executive branch sweeping powers to suspend the right to freedom of expression, assembly, association and movement has been repeatedly used to impose emergency measures in an often arbitrary, discriminatory and disproportionate manner, leading to a range of human rights violations. This decree has also been criticized for being overly vague, as it lacks judicial and constitutional oversight, and for the fact it can be renewed indefinitely.
  • Commit to implementation of the recommendations of the transitional justice commission, elect the remaining members of the constitutional court and maintain the moratorium on the death penalty – Although no executions have been carried out in Tunisia since 1991, courts continue to hand out death sentences, particularly in counter-terrorism cases.

Tunisia: Key Details

  • A country in the Maghreb region of North Africa
  • Tunisia’s name is derived from its capital city, Tunis, which is located on its northeast coast.
  • Its northernmost point, Cape Angela, is the northernmost point on the African continent. 
  • Geographically, Tunisia contains the eastern end of the Atlas Mountains, and the northern reaches of the Sahara desert.
  • It is bordered by 
    • Algeria to the west and southwest
    • Libya to the southeast
    • The Mediterranean Sea to the north and east

GS-3

First National Protocol to Enumerate Snow Leopard Population in India Launched

(Topic: Conservation)

Snow Leopard enumeration of the Nation, which is the first of its kind, has been developed by scientific experts in association with the Snow Leopard States/UTs namely, Ladakh, Jammu & Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Sikkim and Arunanchal Pradesh

Will contribute to global ‘Population Assessment of the World’s Snow Leopard’s (PAWS) initiative

Snow Leopard is found in 12 countries: India, Nepal, Bhutan, China, Mongolia, Russia, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.

23rd October: International Snow Leopard Day

Project Snow Leopard is an initiative which aims to safeguard and conserve India’s unique natural heritage of high altitude wildlife populations and their habitats by promoting conservation via participatory policies and actions.

Why: 

  • Threatened by poaching for their fur – body parts used for traditional Chinese medicine
  • Habitat destruction by infrastructure developments and climate change
  • Hostility from communities because of its attacks on livestock
  • No clear knowledge about its population health, in remote habitat in the alpine zones of the Himalayas and trans-Himalayas.

Status:

  • Listed in Schedule I under Wildlife (Protection) Act 1972
  • Appendix I of Convention on International Trade of Endangered Species (CITES)
  • Appendix I Convention on Migratory Species (CMS)
  • In September 2017, International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) had downgraded conservation status of snow leopard to “vulnerable” from “endangered”. 

National Heritage Animal of Pakistan and Afghanistan

State animal of Himachal Pradesh

Inhabits alpine and subalpine zones at elevations from 3,000 to 4,500 m (9,800 to 14,800 ft)

It is vital that the momentum of conservation should not be lost merely on account of the technicality.

  • The existing conservation must be strengthened by enlarging protected areas in all the range countries.
  • Studies on the leopard’s vulnerability have to be intensified.
  • The task of monitoring its entire habitat of high mountains must speeded up.
  • The reasons for hunting livestock must be dound out to insulate the owners from losses.
  • They should be encouraged to move away from traditional pastoral grazing.
  • Incompatible activities such as mining and human interference in their habitats should be kept out.

Note: 

  • India’s success in tiger population – with 2967 tigers i.e. 77 per cent of world’s tiger population residing in the country, wherein 26000 cameras were used to enumerate the near exact number. India is also home to 500 plus lions, 30000 plus elephants, 2500 plus single-horned rhinos.
  • SECURE Himalaya: Global Environment Facility (GEF)-United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) funded the project on conservation of high altitude biodiversity and reducing the dependency of local communities on the natural ecosystem. This project is now operational in four snow leopard range states, namely, Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, and Sikkim.

Prelims Oriented News

25th October: Ayurveda day

India ranks 63rd in World Bank’s Doing Business Report

India improves rank by 14 positions; India has improved its rank in 7 out of 10 indicators and has moved closer to international best practices (Distance to Frontier score).Significant improvements have been registered in ‘Resolving Insolvency’, ‘Dealing with Construction Permits’, ‘Registering Property’, ‘Trading across Boards’ and ‘Paying Taxes’ indicators.

  • India’s leap of14 ranks in the Ease of Doing Business ranking is significant considering that there has been continuous improvement since 2015 and for the third consecutive year India is amongst the top 10 improvers. As a result of continued efforts by the Government, India has improved its rank by 79positions in last five years [2014-19].
  • The Doing Business assessment provides objective measures of business regulations and their enforcement across 190 economies on ten parameters affecting a business through its life cycle. The DBR ranks countries on the basis of Distance to Frontier (DTF), a score that shows the gap of an economy to the global best practice. This year, India’s DTF score improved to 71.0 from 67.23 in the previous year.

DHRUV, Pradhan Mantri Innovative Learning Programme: Seeks to enrich skills and knowledge of talented children

  • Under the DHRUV programme, talented students from science and performing arts from schools across India are brought together and mentored by experts to enhance their knowledge and skills. 
  • IIT Delhi in association with Atal Innovation Mission, NITI Aayog, NCERT, Sangeet Natak Academy, SPIC-MACAY and Center for Cultural Resources and Training, Delhi are involved in honing the innovative and creative skills of the students.

Launch of Spatial Planning Application ‘Gram Manchitra’: A Geo Spatial based decision support system for the panchayats. The panchayats can utilize this App to plan, develop and monitor developmental activities on real time basis.

India signs the Kartarpur Sahib Corridor Agreement with Pakistan: The Agreement is intended to facilitate pilgrims to visit Gurudwara Darbar Sahib Kartarpur through Kartarpur Sahib Corridor

  • The main issue that has been a point of discussion is the insistence of Pakistan to levy US Dollars 20 as service charge per pilgrim per visit. India has consistently urged Pakistan to not levy any fee on the pilgrims. However, in the interest of the pilgrims and timely operationalization of the Kartarpur Sahib Corridor before the 550th Prakash Purb, India has agreed to sign the Agreement today. While the Agreement has been signed, Government of India continues to urge this issue with the Government of Pakistan to reconsider its insistence on levying the fee. India remains ready to amend the Agreement accordingly.
  • India continues to pursue the issue of all-weather connectivity through the corridor. In this context, Government of India has built the bridge on Indian side and a temporary service road as an interim arrangement. It is expected that Pakistan will fulfil the assurance that it would build the bridge on their side at the earliest.

National Corporate Social Responsibility Awards (NCSRA):

The Awards have been instituted in 2017 subsequent to the recommendations of the High Level Committee on CSR.

Objectives:

  1. a) Increase competition in various categories of companies to infuse excellence in their CSR activities
  2. b) Encourage companies to spend the entire amount i.e. eligible CSR spend
  3. c) Recognise the impact, innovation, usage of technology, gender and environment issues, sustainability, scalability and replicability of CSR activities.
  4. d) Channelize CSR activities of corporate so that the benefits of their activities reach the marginalised sections of society and in remote areas of the country

Quotes

The Vice President Shri M Venkaiah Naidu 

India needs a scientific renaissance and cultural revitalization as both science and culture were essential for any civilization to flourish.  

  • Theatre and art should be part of our school curriculum.
  • Stressing the need to create the right conditions in schools, colleges and Universities for the spirit of excellence and innovation to thrive, Shri Naidu said that greater emphasis should be laid on quality education.
  • Observing that education should be holistic and propel children to move from narrow confines of competition to the limitless world of collaboration, he pointed out that the world we live in today is facing challenges from poverty to climate change. Collective synergy and creative energy of our youngsters are needed to overcome these formidable obstacles.

Indian diaspora plays a crucial part in India’s aspiration to be an inclusive, equitable and prosperous nation

  • Indian ‘Diaspora’ forms the 4th ‘D’ in the quartet of ‘D’s that was propelling India forward, the first three being Democracy, Demand and Demographic Dividend.

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