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DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS IAS | UPSC Prelims and Mains Exam – 19th September 2022

  • IASbaba
  • September 19, 2022
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Ecological niche modelling

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Syllabus

  • Prelims – Science & Tech

In News:

  • Researchers at the Institute of Himalayan Bioresource Technology, Palampur, Himachal Pradesh used ecological niche modelling strategies to examine the economically important of spice, saffron.

About Saffron:

  • Crocus sativus, is a flowering plant, propagated through underground stems called corms.
  • It grows best under Mediterranean climate
  • According to latest reports, Iran grows nearly 90% of the worlds saffron.
  • Uses: Adds flavour to food, helps in healing disorders of the nervous system, acts as an anti-depressant, and also shows anti-cancer
  • India produces 5% of the worlds saffron and historically, some of the world’s most prized saffron has been grown in old lake beds of Kashmir.
  • Agro-climatic conditions: well-drained soil of high pH value (6.3 to 8.3), summer temperatures (when flowers develop) of around 25°C and good soil nutrient availability.
  • Average national yield = 2.6 kg per hectare

About ecological niche:

  • An ecological niche is the right set of environmental conditions under which an animal or plant species will thrive. A range of ecological niches can occur within an ecosystem. Biodiversity is the result of these niches being occupied by species that are uniquely suited to them.
  • Desert plants, for example, are suited for dry, arid ecological niches because they have the ability to store water in their leaves. Non-living, or abiotic factors like temperature, amount of available light, soil moisture also affect ecological niches.
  • Due to Climate change, the ability of existing species to hold on to their biogeographic niches may be altered.
  • Effect on Agriculture: Practices and crop choices that have worked well for centuries may no longer be ideal thereby affecting availability of food and nutrients, occurrence of predators and competing species.

About Ecological Niche modelling:

  • It is a predictive tool for identifying new possibilities using computer algorithms such as — new inhabitants for an existing habitat, or new geographical locations where a desirable plant may grow well.
  • It compares data about the environment and makes forecasts about what would be ideal for a given ecological niche.

Need:

  • To bridge ecological considerations and economic realities and to examine economic feasibilities within the context of changing ecological scenarios.
  • The study identified 4,200 sq. km. of new areas suitable for saffron cultivation in places in Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, North Sikkim, Imphal, Manipur and Tamil Nadu.

The above studies carried by using the following technologies.

Big Data:

  • It refers to extremely large data sets that may be analysed computationally to reveal patterns, trends, and associations, especially relating to human behaviour and interactions.
  • It is characterised by 3Vs – Variety, Volume, Velocity

Space shuttle radar topography mission (SRTM):

  • It is an international research effort spearheaded by the S. defence agency and NASA to generate the most complete high-resolution digital topographic database of Earth.
  • SRTM payload was outfitted with two radar antennas using the technique “interferometric synthetic aperture radar”.

Synthetic aperture radar (SAR):

  • It uses pulses of radio waves to create high-resolution images of objects, such as landscapes with comparatively small physical antennas.
  • SAR is typically mounted on a moving platform, such as an aircraft or spacecraft and uses the motion of the radar antenna over a target region to provide finer spatial resolution than conventional stationary beam-scanning radars.
  • The larger the aperture, the higher the image resolution will be.

Source: The Hindu

Previous Year Question

Q1) Which one of the following terms describes not only the physical space occupied by an organism, but also its functional role in the community of organisms?   (2013)

  1. Ecotone
  2. Ecological niche
  3. Habitat
  4. Home range

Using ‘spooky action at a distance’ to link atomic clocks

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Syllabus

Prelims – Science and Technology

Context:

  • An experiment carried out by the University of Oxford researchers combines two unique and one can say even mind-boggling discoveries, namely, high-precision atomic clocks and quantum entanglement, to achieve two atomic clocks that are “entangled.” This means the inherent uncertainty in measuring their frequencies simultaneously is highly reduced.

Quantum Entanglement:

  • In quantum physics, entanglement is a weird phenomenon described as a “spooky action at a distanceby Albert Einstein.
  • It is a way of saying that the physical attributes of two independent systems, say spin or frequency, vary in tandem.
  • Instead of making separate measurements of those attributes which involves a fundamental limitation of precision in measurement, you can compare the two together – measuring the attribute on one system, tells you about the other system in Quantum Entanglement. This in turn improves the precision of the measurement to the ultimate limit allowed by quantum theory.

Atomic clocks:

  • An atomic clock is a clock that measures time by monitoring the resonant frequency of atoms. It is based on atoms having different energy levels. This phenomenon serves as the basis for the International System of Units’ (SI) definition of a second – time taken by 9,19,26,31,770 oscillations of a caesium atom with accuracy of gaining or losing a second only once in about 20 million years.
  • Optical lattice clocks” uses strontium atoms and are more precise as they lose a second only once in 15 billion years.

Proof of concept:

  • Quantum networks of this kind have been demonstrated earlier, but this is the first demonstration of quantum entanglement of optical atomic clocks.
  • The key development here is that we could improve the fidelity and the rate of this remote entanglement to the point where it’s actually useful for other applications, like in this clock experiment.
  • For their demonstration, the researchers used strontium atoms for the ease in generating remote entanglement. They plan to try this with better clocks such as those that use calcium.
  • We can now generate remote entanglement in a practical way. At some point, it might be useful for state-of-the art systems.

Applications:

  • Studying the space-time variation of the fundamental constants, probing dark matter, precision geodesy, accurate time keeping in GPS, or monitoring stuff remotely on Mars etc.

Source: The Hindu


Commonwealth Nations

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Syllabus

Prelims – International Groupings

Context: The death of Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom, the country’s longest serving ruler, who reigned for over 70 years, marks not only the end of an era for the British monarchy, but also a turning point for the 14 Commonwealth realms of which she was the Head of State.

What is the Commonwealth and what are its realms?

  • The Commonwealth of Nations is a group of 56 countries comprised mostly of former British colonies including India.
  • The Commonwealth consists of both republics and realms. The British monarch is the Head of State for the realms, whereas the republics are ruled by elected governments, except in the case of five countries — Brunei Darussalam, Eswatini, Lesotho, Malaysia, and Tonga — each a self-governed monarchy.
  • The realms are comprised of Antigua and Barbuda, Australia, the Bahamas, Belize, Canada, Grenada, Jamaica, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, the Solomon Islands, and Tuvalu.

How is the Commonwealth viewed by its members?

  • Even if the situation is changing vis-à-vis ,the broader Commonwealth group, remains strong and fosters policy coordination among its members through its Heads of Government Meetings, even post-pandemic economic recovery.
  • This has not always been the case. During the Queen’s third and final visit to India in 1997, many expected an apology for the Jallianwalla Bagh massacre of 1919, carried out by the erstwhile colonial government, and ordered by General Reginald Dyer.
    • Yet that apology never came, and instead the Queen only referenced the killings during a banquet speech when she said, “It is no secret that there have been some difficult episodes in our past. Jallianwala Bagh is a distressing example.”
  • It was also in 1997 that the U.K. handed over control of Hong Kong to the People’s Republic of China, thereby losing after 156 years what was considered to be one of the most important colonies in Asia.

Which nations are moving towards ending formal ties to the British monarchy?

  • The debate in some of the Commonwealth realms, including for example Australia, has led to popular movements to reposition the country in question as a republic. In this regard it is likely that there will be a referendum on the question of severing official ties to the monarchy in the months ahead.
  • While Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern of New Zealand has said that her country would support King Charles, she added that it would become a republic “in time”.
  • Similarly, Prime Minister Philip Davis of the Bahamas has said he intends to conduct a referendum to remove King Charles from the role of official Head of State, thereby moving the country, which gained independence in 1973, towards being a republic.
    • Governments in five other Caribbean nations — Antigua and Barbuda, Belize, Grenada, Jamaica and Saint Kitts and Nevis — have signalled their intention to act similarly.

Thus, it is not beyond imagination that following the death of Queen Elizabeth, the Commonwealth realms might fade into being a relic of the past, and nations that suffered a history of colonialism — along with its attendant violence and resource extraction — will move forward to establish themselves as republics.

Source:   The Hindu


Geopolitics without geoeconomics, a fool’s errand

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Syllabus

  • Prelims – International Organizations
  • Mains – International Relations

Context:

  • Over the past few years, New Delhi has managed to emerge as a major pivot of the global Indo-Pacific grand strategic imagination, avoided the temptations to militarise/securitise the Quad (Australia, Japan, India, and the United States), and has ensured that the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) states do not feel uneasy by the ever-increasing balance of power articulations in the Indo-Pacific.

Indo-Pacific (IP) Region:

  • The term ‘Indo-Pacific’ has gained currency as a new construct in recent times. The Indo-Pacific provides a geographic and strategic expanse, with the two oceans being linked together by the ten ASEAN countries.

Significance of Indo-Pacific region for India:

  • Strategic significance: Indio-Pacific is a multipolar region, contributing more than half of the world’s GDP and population. A stable, secure, and prosperous Indo-Pacific Region is an important pillar of India’s strategic partnership with the other countries especially USA.
  • Mineral Resources: Maritime territories have also emerged as depositories of vital resources ranging from fish stocks to minerals and offshore oil and gas. The South China Sea, for instance, is estimated to hold some 10 per cent of the global catch of fish as well as 11 billion barrels of oil and 190 trillion cubic feet of gas.
  • Economic Growth: According to a report of the Asian Development Bank (ADB), countries in the Indo-Pacific produce over 60% of global GDP, making the region the largest single contributor to global growth.
  • Commerce: The region consists of many of the world’s vital choke points for global commerce, including the Straits of Malacca which is very critical for the growth of world economy.  The Indo-Pacific region also stands at the intersection of international trade, with around 32.2 million barrels of crude oil pass through annually and 40% of global exports come from the region.
  • Maritime Trade: Pacific islands are strategically significant from New Delhi’s point of view as they sit astride important sea lines of communication through which important maritime trade is conducted.

Chinese threat and increasing presence:

  • The Chinese regime claims that it has historical ownership over nearly the entire region, which gives it the right to manufacture islands, declare defensive perimeters around its artificial islands, and to chase ships from other nations out of the South China Sea. The International Court of Arbitration at Hague rejected this claim in 2016 but China rejects the authority of PCA, Hague.
  • China’s increasingly active presence in the Indian Ocean region as well as its efforts to expand geopolitical reach in Asia and beyond by the use of trade and military Demand rule-based order to secure India’s interests and free trade. In the present time, the control of sea lanes and ports would be the game.

What New Delhi is missing:

  • And yet, New Delhi’s vision for the Indo-Pacific appears half-baked. Policymakers in New Delhi today do not appear to appreciate the inescapable linkages between geopolitics and geoeconomics.
  • China’s share in global trade today is 15% and India accounts for 2%.
  • India’s decision to take to the Indo-Pacific and Quad in a big way while unwilling to join two of the region’s key multilateral trading agreements goes to show that geoeconomics and geopolitics are imagined and pursued parallelly in New Delhi, not as complimenting each other.
  • The most recent example is India’s refusal to join the trade pillar of the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF) while deciding to join the three other pillars of the IPEF — supply chains, tax and anti-corruption, and clean energy.
  • India’s move to stay out of IPEF, a U.S.-sponsored soft trade arrangement at best, comes two years after India walked out of the negotiations on the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) which came to effect earlier this year. Both the agreements lay at the heart of the Indo-Pacific and could potentially shape the economic character of the broader Indo-Pacific region.

A regressive step, China factor:

  • There are several reasons why New Delhi’s decision to stay out of various regional trading agreements is a regressive policy decision.
    • For one, the absence of the world’s fifth largest economy from various regional trading platforms will invariably boost China’s geo-economic hegemony in Asia.
  • Given the growing fear in India about the negative implications of China-India trade, it is important to have a nuanced view of this.
    • For one, the fear in India of China dominating the Indian market is not entirely unreasonable.
  • The reality is that despite the military stand-off on the Line of Actual Control (LAC), India-China trade has only increased in the past year.
    • Therefore, if it is not possible for India to avoid trading with China; it is better for India to deal with the issue sooner rather than later .
  • The optimism that many of the foreign investments and businesses in China would relocate to India after COVID-19, did not materialise.
    • Most of them went to countries such as Vietnam thereby highlighting the fact that we need to get our house in order; joining some of these multilateral trading arrangements will force us to do precisely that.
  • if India is indeed serious about its maritime grand strategy, which cannot be solely military in nature, it needs to get the states in the region to create economic stakes in India (something China has done cleverly and consistently) and vice-versa.
    • More so, without creating economic stakes with the states of the region, India’s ‘Act East’ policy will revert to its earlier avatar — ‘Look East’.

Way forward:

  • New Delhi should rethink its geo-economic choices if it is serious about enhancing its geopolitical influence in the region. Given that India has not closed the door on the trade pillar of the IPEF, we have an opportunity to rethink our position.
  • India should also rethink its decision not to join the RCEP and seek to join the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) from which the U.S. walked out and China is seeking to join.
  • India should also proactively lobby to become a part of the Minerals Security Partnership, the U.S.-led 11-member grouping to secure supply chains of critical minerals.

Source:  The Hindu

Previous Year Questions

Q.1) In which one of the following groups are all the four countries members of G20? (2020)

  1. Argentina, Mexico, South Africa, and Turkey
  2. Australia, Canada, Malaysia, and New Zealand
  3. Brazil, Iran, Saudi Arabia, and Vietnam
  4. Indonesia, Japan, Singapore, and South Korea

Blended Biodiesel

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Syllabus

  • Prelims – Current Affairs
  • Mains – GS-3: Economy & energy; Environmental Conservation
    • GS-2: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.

Context: As part of efforts to reduce its carbon footprint, the Indian Air Force (IAF) is looking to fly an AN-32 transport aircraft modified to operate on 10% blended biodiesel for 200 flight hours in the next six months.

  • The global aviation industry is one of the biggest emitter of greenhouse gases that cause global warming. The fuel consumption of the IAF for 2021-22 was 6.2 lakh kilo litres, which contributed 15 lakh tonnes of carbon dioxide.
  • On the civil aviation front, an official from aircraft manufacturer Airbus said it had plans to offer 100% sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) compatibility on its commercial aircraft latest by 2030.
  • The aircraft took flight on biodiesel blended with aviation turbine fuel (ATF) for the first time in December 2018.
    • So far, an AN-32 has flown 65 hours with a 10% blend of biofuel and the performance has been very satisfactory.
  • A second aircraft, a Dornier, was now undergoing ground tests after it had been cleared by the original manufacturer of the engine, Honeywell, for use of 50% biofuel.

MUST READ:  Ethanol Blending

Source: The Hindu

Previous Year Question

Q.1) According to India’s National Policy on Biofuels, which of the following can be used as raw materials for the production of biofuels?

  1. Cassava
  2. Damaged wheat grains
  3. Groundnut seeds
  4. Horse gram
  5. Rotten potatoes
  6. Sugar beet

Select the correct answer using the code given below:

  1. 1, 2, 5 and 6 only
  2. 1, 3, 4 and 6 only
  3. 2, 3, 4 and 5 only
  4. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6

New rules for child welfare panel members

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Syllabus

  • Prelims – Current Affairs
  • Mains – GS 2 (Governance)

Context: Recently, the Government of India recently notified the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection Amendment) Model Amendment Rules 2022.

The Juvenile Justice (Care or Protection of Children) Act/JJ Act, 2015:

  • The Act was introduced (by the Ministry of Women and Child Development) and passed in 2015 to replace the Juvenile Delinquency Law and the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2000.
  • One of the main provisions of the Act is allowing the trial of juveniles in conflict with law in the age group of 16-18 years as adults.
    • Under the Act, offences committed by juveniles are categorised as heinous (with minimum or maximum sentence of 7 years), serious (with 3-7 years of imprisonment) and petty offences.
  • According to the Act, juveniles charged with heinous crimes and between the ages of 16-18 years would be tried as adults and processed through the adult justice system.
  • The nature of the crime and whether the juvenile should be tried as a minor or a child, was to be determined by a Juvenile Justice Board.
  • The Act streamlined adoption procedures for orphans, abandoned and surrendered children and the existing Central Adoption Resource Authority (CARA) has been made a statutory body to enable it to perform its function more effectively.
  • The State Government may, by notification, establish one or more Child Welfare Committees (CWC) for each district or group of districts to exercise the powers conferred under this Act.
  • The Committee shall be composed of a Chairperson and four other members, at least one of whom shall be a woman and another a child expert.

The Juvenile Justice (Care or Protection of Children) Amendment Act, 2021:

  • The amendment has been based on a National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) report (2018-19) in which over 7,000 Child Care Institutions (CCIs or children’s homes) were surveyed.
    • The report found that 1.5% of CCIs do not conform to rules and regulations of the JJ Act and 29% of them had major shortcomings in their management.
    • It also found that not a single CCI in the country was found to be 100% compliant to the provisions of the JJ Act.

The amendments:

  • According to the amendment, District Magistrates (DMs), including Additional District Magistrates (ADMs), can now issue adoption orders under the JJ Act.
    • This is to ensure faster case resolution and increased accountability.
  • The new amendment prohibits the opening of any new CCI without the sanction of the DM.
    • Now, DMs are also responsible for ensuring that CCIs falling in their district are following all norms and procedures.
    • The DM will also carry out background checks (including educational qualifications) of CWC members, who are usually social welfare activists, as there is no such provision currently.
  • According to the Act, serious offences will also include offences for which the maximum punishment is more than seven years in prison and the minimum punishment is not prescribed or is less than seven years.
  • The Model Rules state that a person associated with an organisation receiving foreign contribution shall not be eligible to be a Chairperson or member of the Committee.
  • As per the Chairperson of NCPCR (Priyank Kanoongo), those on CWC have the power of a magistrate and are equivalent to government officials, who are barred under Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act, 2010, from receiving foreign funds.
  • It also states that anyone involved in the implementation of the JJ Act in any NGO or organisation that creates a conflict of interest will be ineligible to serve on a CWC.
  • It goes on to say that anyone with “any family member” or “close relation” working for an NGO is ineligible to be on a CWC.
  • Anyone involved in rescue and rehabilitation in the district, as well as anyone representing someone running a CCI or a member of the Board or Trust of any NGO, is not eligible to serve on a CWC.
  • Retired judicial officers have also been omitted from the category of persons who can be considered for appointment to a CWC.

Criticism of the new rules:

  • The rules are broadly worded, with no definition of who is a family member or close relative.
  • This reduces the pool of human resources available for CWC appointments. Many CWCs have yet to be appointed because they cannot find members to fill those positions.

Source: The Hindu


Semiconductors

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Syllabus

  • Prelims – Science and Technology
  • Mains – GS 2 (Governance) and GS 3 (Science and Technology)

Context: Emphasising on the need for India to build semiconductor manufacturing capacity to cater to its organic demand, the country could face competition from regions such as the US and Europe as they deleverage dependence on Taiwan — the world’s largest semiconductor country.

In this context let’s discuss semiconductors in detail:

What is Semiconductor?

  • It is a material product usually composed of silicon, which conducts electricity more than an insulator, such as glass, but less than a pure conductor, such as copper or aluminium.
  • Semiconductors are critical technological components for emerging technologies viz. artificial intelligence (AI) and internet of things applications, 5G communications, cloud computing, automation, electric vehicles, with a wide coverage of applications from basic consumable electronic gadgets and automobiles to areas of strategic operations.

Opportunities for India:

  • India’s consumption of semiconductors is expected to cross $80 billion by 2026 and is expected to reach $110 billion by 2030.
  • India has exceptional semiconductor design talent pool, accounting for up to 20% of the world’s semiconductor design engineers.
  • The current decade presents a unique opportunity to India. Companies are looking to diversify their supply chain and for alternatives to their bases in China.
  • The establishment of the value chain for semiconductors would ensure a multiplier effect on the entire economy.
  • The semiconductor manufacturing and testing bases are heavily concentrated in East Asia, the Act East policy provides an opportunity to connect and strengthen ties with key players in the region.

Challenges before semiconductor industry:

  • Huge requirement of Investment
    • Multi billions of dollars are needed to set up a fab manufacturing unit.
    • The conversion of raw water to water of ultrahigh purity is thus a significant and costly activity for all semiconductor fabs.
  • Water and Electrical supply
    • Semiconductor manufacturing consumes large quantities of water for a variety of purposes ranging from equipment cooling to wafer surface cleaning.
  • Technological competitiveness
    • The making of a semiconductor chip involves some technological skill .
  • Inadequate logistics and absence of proper waste
    • Inadequate logistics and absence of proper waste disposal have further exacerbated the poor state of its production.
  • Uninterrupted quality electricity supplies.
  • Covid-19
    • The trigger point was the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic and the subsequent lockdowns across the world that forced shut crucial chip-making facilities in countries including Japan, South Korea, China, and the US.
    • The chip shortages due to Covid-19 have hit automakers with a revenue loss of $110 bn in 2021.
  • Russia-Ukraine conflict
    • The Russia-Ukraine conflict and its implications for raw material supplies for the semiconductor value chain has also poised chipmakers to invest in strengthening the semiconductor supply chain.

Initiatives  taken by India:

  • Semicon India programme
    • It provides $10 bn fiscal support and other non-fiscal measures
    • The Semicon India Program aims to provide attractive incentive support to companies / consortia that are engaged in Silicon Semiconductor Fabs, Display Fabs, Compound Semiconductors / Silicon Photonics / Sensors (including MEMS) Fabs, Semiconductor Packaging (ATMP / OSAT) and Semiconductor Design.
  • India Semiconductor Mission:
    • It has been set up as an Independent Business Division within Digital India Corporation having administrative and financial autonomy to formulate and drive India’s long-term strategies for developing semiconductors and display manufacturing facilities and semiconductor design ecosystem.
  • Production Linked Incentive scheme
    • The government also recently announced the PLI and DLI schemes as major steps towards building a semiconductor ecosystem in the country.
  • The recent Cabinet approval with an outlay of Rs.76,000 crore spread over a period of six years for the development of semiconductors and display manufacturing ecosystem is expected to be a shot in the arm.
    • This will claim to attract Rs. 1.7 lakh crore private investment in India.

Way Forward:

  • Semicon diplomacy
    • India must seize opportunity and become an attractive alternative destination for semiconductor manufacturing.
    • The way ahead is conceptualising a semicon diplomacy action plan.
  • Semicon diplomacy is pivotal to India’s Act East Policy, which aims to build resilient ties in the Asia Pacific region.
  • It can be leveraged by increasing multilateral and bilateral cooperation and Quad has immense potential in this regard.
  • Development of Policies
    • The semiconductor value chain is interrelated and linked with several industries; governments must develop policies that address all the crucial characteristics in the long run.
  • Government policies should also focus on assuring and securing access to foreign technology suppliers through trade and foreign policy to ensure a global level of collaboration.

Source:   Indian Express

Previous Year Question

Q.1) Which one of the following is the context in which the term “qubit” is mentioned? (2022)

  1. Cloud Services
  2. Quantum Computing
  3. Visible Light Communication Technologies
  4. Wireless Communication Technologies

Q.2) Consider the following communication technologies:  (2022)

  1. Closed-circuit Television
  2. Radio Frequency Identification
  3. Wireless Local Area Network

Which of the above are considered of the Short-Range devices/technologies?

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

Sea Cucumbers illegal trade

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Syllabus

  • Mains: GS 3 Environment

In news: The study conducted by the Counter Wildlife Trafficking team of the WCS-India (Wildlife Conservation Society- India) regarding illegal trade of marine species recorded 187 media reports citing marine wildlife seizures by various enforcement agencies in India from 2015 to 2021.

The publication also shed light on the international trade routes for seahorse and pipefish and sharks and rays.

About the findings:

  • Sea cucumbers were the most frequently seized marine species group.
  • Tamil Nadu recorded the highest enforcement action followed by Maharashtra, Lakshadweep, and Karnataka.
  • Sea cucumber illegal trade was followed by sea fan, seahorse and pipefish, seashell, shark and rays, sea coral and sea turtles.
  • Due to the legalised trade of sea cucumbers in countries with close proximity to India, the sea cucumber consignments were often smuggled through those countries, to be laundered and then re-exported to the Southeast Asia markets (34 incidents either mentioned attempts to illicitly export sea cucumbers to neighbouring countries)

Methodology:

  • Sea cucumber trade was researched using ‘crime scripts’, to understand how the smuggling networks operated. The crime script had been prepared on the basis of the 122 incidents of seizure bringing out what went into the preparation, pre activity, activity, and post activity phase of the smuggling of the marine group of species.
  • The largest volumes were harvested as an incidental catch in unselective fisheries such as trawling and gillnetting.
  • A high number of seizure incidents alone does not always indicate a high frequency of wildlife crime, and it may be a result of effective enforcement or more media interest

About Sea Cucumbers:

  • Sea cucumbers are named for their resemblance to the fruit of the cucumber plant.
  • These are echinoderms – marine animals with a leathery skin and an elongated body containing a single, branched gonad.
  • Found on the sea floor worldwide with the greatest number being in the Asia-Pacific region
  • Uses include human consumption or use in aquaculture systems. They serve a useful role in the marine ecosystem as they help recycle nutrients, breaking down detritus and other organic matter, after which bacteria can continue the decomposition process.

What are crime scripts:

  • A narrative crime script is a step-by-step account of the procedures and decision-making processes involved in a particular event, usually relating to an illegal activity
  • It is constructed using a logical sequence of events that is easily interpreted by an observer to make themselves a participant viewer.
  • Example, an observer doesn’t need to see firefighters at a burnt house to know they were there.

Impact of Illegal Wildlife Trade:

  • Species face extinction because of demands arising out of illegal wildlife trade.
  • Overexploitation of the wildlife resources due to its illegal trade creates imbalances in the ecosystem.
  • Illegal wildlife trade as part of the illegal trade syndicates undermines the economy of the country and thereby creates social insecurity.
  • Wild plants that provide genetic variation for crops (natural source for many medicines) are threatened by the illegal trade.

Various Species-Specific Enforcement Operations:

  • Operation Save Kurma: To focus on the poaching, transportation and illegal trade of live turtles and tortoises.
  • Operation Turtshield: It was taken up to tackle the illegal trade of live turtles.
  • Operation Lesknow: To gain attention of enforcement agencies towards the illegal wildlife trade in lesser-known species of wildlife.
  • Operation Clean Art: To drag attention of enforcement agencies towards illegal wildlife trade in Mongoose hair brushes.
  • Operation Softgold: To tackle Shahtoosh Shawl (made from Chiru wool) illegal trade and to spread awareness among the weavers and traders engaged in this trade.
  • Operation Birbil: To curb illegal trade in wild cat and wild bird species.
  • Operation Wildnet: It was aimed to draw the attention of the enforcement agencies within the country to focus their attention on the ever-increasing illegal wildlife trade over the internet using social media platforms.
  • Operation Freefly: To check illegal trade of live birds.
  • Operation Wetmark: To ensure prohibition of sale of meat of wild animals in wet markets across the country.

India’s Domestic Legal Framework for Wildlife Conservation:

Constitutional Provisions for Wildlife:

  • The 42nd Amendment Act, 1976, Forests and Protection of Wild Animals and Birds was transferred from State to Concurrent List.
  • Article 51 A (g) of the Constitution states that it shall be the fundamental duty of every citizen to protect and improve the natural environment including forests and Wildlife.
  • Article 48 A in the Directive Principles of State policy, mandates that the State shall endeavour to protect and improve the environment and to safeguard the forests and wildlife of the country.

Legal Framework:

  • Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972
  • Environment Protection Act, 1986
  • The Biological Diversity Act, 2002

India’s Collaboration with Global Wildlife Conservation Efforts:

  • Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES)
  • Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS)
  • Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD)
  • World Heritage Convention
  • Ramsar Convention
  • The Wildlife Trade Monitoring Network (TRAFFIC)
  • United Nations Forum on Forests (UNFF)
  • International Whaling Commission (IWC)
  • International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN)
  • Global Tiger Forum (GTF)

About Wildlife Conservation Society:

  • It is a non-governmental organization. Founded in 1895 as the New York Zoological Society, the organization is now headquartered at the Bronx Zoo in New York.
  • It aims to conserve the world’s largest wild places in 14 priority regions.

Way forward:

Countering marine wildlife trade requires paradigm changes in fisheries management as a whole to reduce their capture in the first place. Thus, the international organization, national  governments along with civil society should work to bring comprehensive changes in the conservation of marine species and prohibit their illegal trade.

Source: The Hindu

Previous Year Questions

Q.1) Consider the following statements in respect of Trade Related Analysis of Fauna and Flora in Commerce (TRAFFIC):

  1. TRAFFIC is a bureau under United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).
  2. The mission of TRAFFIC is to ensure that trade in wild plants and animals is not a threat to the conservation of nature.

Which of the above statements is/are correct? (2017)

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

Inflation and Monetary Policy

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Syllabus

  • Prelims – Economy
  • Mains: GS 3 (Economy)

In News: India is not out of the woods on inflation management, with inflation in August at 7% and the wholesale price index (WPI) at 12.4%.

  • However, in comparison with the US and most European countries, where inflation is higher (8 to 12 per cent), India has done fairly well. Pakistan has an inflation at 27 per cent, and Sri Lanka at 64 per cent. On average, during 2004-05 to 2013-14, inflation averaged 7.9% (and GDP growth was at 7.7 per cent) and during 2014-15 to 2022-23 it’s 1% inflation but GDP growth at 5.6% has been poorer.
  • It seems that GDP growth is likely to come down a bit lower than the RBI’s earlier forecast of 7.2 per cent, and the IMF’s 7.4 per cent. If India manages 7 per cent GDP growth along with 7 per cent inflation in 2022-23, it would still do fairly well, though that is not the most desirable outcome.

MUST READ: Inflation

MUST READ:   Monetary Policy

Source:  Indian Express   

           


Daily Practice MCQs

Daily Practice MCQs

Q.1) In which one of the following groups are all the four countries members of ASEAN?

  1. Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, and Singapore
  2. Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, and India
  3. Singapore, Thailand, Bangladesh, and Vietnam
  4. Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, and Papua New Guinea

Q.2) Application of semiconductors involves in which of the following digital consumer products:

  1. Mobile phones / Smartphones
  2. Televisions
  3. Washing machines
  4. Digital cameras
  5. Refrigerators
  6. LED bulbs

Select the correct answer using the code given below:

  1. 1, 3, 5, and 6 only
  2. 1, 2, 4, 5 and 6 only
  3. 2, 3, 5, 4, and 5 only
  4. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6

Q.3) In India, which one of the following is responsible for maintaining price stability by controlling inflation?

  1. Department of Consumer Affairs
  2. Expenditure Management Commission
  3. Financial Stability and Development Council
  4. Reserve Bank of India

Comment the answers to the above questions in the comment section below!!

ANSWERS FOR ’19th September 2022 – Daily Practice MCQs’ will be updated along with tomorrow’s Daily Current Affairs.


ANSWERS FOR 17th September – Daily Practice MCQs

Answers- Daily Practice MCQs

Q.1) – d

Q.2) – b

Q.3) – c

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