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DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS IAS | UPSC Prelims and Mains Exam – 5th January 2023

  • IASbaba
  • January 5, 2023
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Pravasi Bharatiya Samman Award (PBSA)

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Syllabus

  • Prelims – Miscellaneous

Context: Guyana’s President Mohamed Irfaan Ali, US-based businessman Darshan Singh Dhaliwal, and DSB Group CEO Piyush Gupta are among 21 recipients of the 17th Pravasi Bharatiya Samman Award (PBSA).

  • The 17th PBD Convention will be held from 8 – 10 January 2023 in Indore, Madhya Pradesh.

The Pravasi Bharatiya Divas:

  • Aims:
    • to highlight the contribution of Overseas Indians (OICs) towards India’s development,
    • to showcase India as a dynamic and attractive destination for investment, tourism, and business, and
    • to recognize the services of the Indian diaspora in strengthening India’s ties with other countries.
  • On the 9th of January every year, Pravasi Bharatiya Divas is celebrated.
  • It denotes the day when Mahatma Gandhi, along with a group of Indian emigrants, returned to India from South Africa on 9 January 1915 after spending 21 years in the African country.
  • It marks the homecoming of the Indian diaspora.
  • The format of the PBD Convention was revised in 2015 and since then it has been organised every two years.
  • The theme of the 17th Pravasi Bharatiya Divas (PBD) Convention 2023 is: “Diaspora: Reliable Partners for India’s progress in Amrit Kaal”.

About PBSA:

  • The Pravasi Bharatiya Samman is the highest Indian award for Non-resident Indian and Overseas Citizen of India or an organisation or institution established and run by Non-Resident Indians or Persons of Indian Origin.
  • It was constituted by the Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs in conjunction with the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas (Non-Resident Indian Day), to honour exceptional and meritorious contribution in their chosen field/profession.
  • The award is given by the President of India.
  • It is conferred for outstanding contributions in any of the following areas:
    • Better understanding of India
    • Support to India’s causes and concerns in a tangible way
    • Building closer links between India, the overseas Indian community and their country of residence;
    • Social and humanitarian causes in India or abroad
    • Welfare of the local Indian community
    • Philanthropic and charitable work
  • Eminence in one’s field or outstanding work, which has enhanced India’s prestige in the country of residence;
  • Eminence in skills which has enhanced India’s prestige in that country (for non-professional workers).

Source:  Indian Express


Passport as a fundamental right under article 21

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Syllabus

  • Prelims – Polity and Governance

Context: The Jammu & Kashmir and Ladakh High Court slammed the Passport Office, Srinagar, for not considering the application of the mother of PDP chief.

Earlier interpretation of article 21 and Judicial pronouncements:

  • The Supreme Court of India significantly broadened the interpretation of Article 21 of the Indian Constitution in Maneka Gandhi v. Union of India, a historic judgement.
    • It overruled K. Gopalan v. State of Madras, which had implied the exclusiveness of fundamental rights, and established a relationship between Articles 14, 19, and 21 of the Constitution (known as the ‘golden triangle’ or ‘trinity’).
  • It held that  a law depriving a person of ‘personal liberty’ must not violate any of them.
  • The decision also held that a procedure under Article 21 of the Constitution cannot be arbitrary, unfair, oppressive, or unreasonable.
  • Recently the Delhi High Court also observed that every citizen has a fundamental right to go abroad and have a passport issued in his name.
  • In Poulami Basu vs The Government of India:
    • A Single Bench of Karnataka HC has held that, right to travel abroad is a fundamental right guaranteed under Article 21 of the Constitution of India.

Source:  Indian Express

Previous Year Questions

Q.1) ‘Right to Privacy’ is protected under which Article of the constitution of India? (2021)

  1. Article 15
  2. Article 19
  3. Article 21
  4. Article 29

Q.2) Which Article of the Constitution of India safeguards one’s right to marry the person of one’s choice? (2019)

  1. Article 19
  2. Article 21
  3. Article 25
  4. Article 29

Q.3) Right to Privacy is protected as an intrinsic part of Right to Life and Personal Liberty. Which of the following in the Constitution of India correctly and appropriately imply the above statement? (2018)

  1. Article 14 and the provisions under the 42nd Amendment to the Constitution
  2. Article 17 and the Directive Principles of State Policy in Part IV
  3. Article 21 and the freedoms guaranteed in Part. III
  4. Article 24 and the provisions under the 44th Amendment to the Constitution

Mural Art

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Syllabus

  • Prelims – History and Art and Culture

Context: The Wall of Peace, a great work of modern mural art on the 700-feet long compound wall of Government Vocational Higher Secondary School at Cherpulassery, was recently inaugurated.

  • The mural, in dimmed golden shade done with cement and sand on the 10-ft-high wall, has already won many an accolade, including the Eurasia World Record for the largest public art project.

About Mural Art:

  • The word ‘mural’ derived from the Latin word ‘murus’ which means wall.
  • It can be defined as any piece of artwork painted or applied directly onto a wall, ceiling or other larger permanent surfaces, flat, concave or convex, to be precise.
  • India has a rich tradition of mural wealth. The treatises such as Vishnudharmottara, Silpashastra, Manasollasa, Shilparatna, Narada-shilpa-shastra and Kashyapa-shilpa, discuss at length all aspects of painting, including murals.

Features of Indian Mural Paintings:

  • It depict the activities of a particular civilization‘s people, encapsulating a moment in time, and range from scenes of hunting, gathering, and family life, to religious and funerary scenes.
  • It is a combination of wide variety of artistic style, Realism with a dramatic sense of scale and amazing depth.
  • Artwork depicts the expression of emotions through hand postures.
  • It played an important role in reflecting changes in the political culture through the depiction of subjects ranging from religion to sex.
  • It often served the role of creating public awareness of certain issues and in decisive ways performed the function of socio-political critique, as well as reinforcing political and community identities.
  • It acts as a mediator between the public, the government, and artists. It is complex and very prickly at times, especially when, as is so often the case in Iran, art is politicized and politics is aestheticized.
  • It is three-dimensional form of artwork.

Types of Indian Mural Paintings:

  • Tempera Painting: Tempera painting is done by preparation of pigment into a water-miscible medium.

  • Oil Painting: Oil Painting is a standard of painting in oil colours which grips suspension of pigments into drying oils.

  • Fresco Painting: Fresco Painting is an ancient practice that engrossed painting of water-based pigments on recently applied plaster, usually on wall façade.

Mural Paintings in India:

  • There are fragments of paintings of the time of Ajanta which survive at many Buddhist cave sites, including Pitalkhora near Ellora, in Maharashtra.
  • Nine caves were excavated on the slopes of the Vindhya hills above the Bagh river during the reign of the Guptas, between the 4th and 6th centuries A.D.
  • Very little of the paintings survive in the 6th century Hindu caves of Badami in Karnataka.
  • Expression to themes relating to Siva in the paintings in the temples of Panamalai and Kailashanatar in Kancheepuram.
  • In the 9th century Jain cave of Sittannavasal in Tamil Nadu, there is a marvellous lotus pond painted on the ceiling.
  • The monastery of Alchi is an oasis of beauty and colour in the midst of the vast and barren landscape of Ladakh.
    • One of the masterpieces of the Alchi paintings is the Green Tara.
  • Mural Paintings at Lepakshi temple which was built in the 16th century by the Nayaka brothers, Virupanna and Viranna, at a centre of trade and pilgrimage in the Vijayanagar empire.

Source: The Hindu

Previous Year Question

Q.1) Kalamkari painting refers to

  1. a hand-painted cotton textile in South India
  2. a handmade drawing on bamboo handicrafts in North East India.
  3. a block-painted woollen cloth in the Western Himalayan region of India
  4. a hand-painted decorative silk cloth in North-Western India

African animal trypanosomosis (AAT)

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Syllabus

  • Prelims – Science and Technology

Context: Recently Ethiopia has released the first edition of an atlas to map Tsetse and Trypanosomosis affecting livestock in the country and the vector behind it.

About ATT:

  • Also known as nagana or nagana pest, Animal African Trypanosomosis (AAT), is a protozoan parasitic disease of vertebrate animals.
  • It affects cattle, water buffalo, sheep, goats, horses, pigs, dogs and other species.
  • The disease is caused by the protozoan parasites Trypanosoma congolense, Trypanosoma vivax and, to a lesser extent, Trypanosoma brucei brucei which are all mainly transmitted by tsetse flies.
  • Distribution: From the southern edge of the Sahara desert to Zimbabwe, Angola and Mozambique in the South.
  • Impact: Animal African Trypanosomosis (AAT) is estimated to kill 3 million cattle annually.
    • Losses directly attributed to trypanosomosis from reduced meat and milk production, and the cost of treatment and vector control, are estimated to be USD $1.2 billion.
    • Losses in agricultural gross domestic product for all tsetse-infested lands was estimated to be USD4.75 billion per annum.
  • Epidemiology: Most trypanosomes develop for one to a few weeks in tsetse flies (Glossina spp.), which act as biological vectors.
    • The parasites are transmitted to the host animal in saliva when a fly bites the host.
    • Trypanosomes can also be spread by fomites such as surgical instruments and mechanical vectors like biting flies including horse flies—especially T. vivax.
  • Trypanosomes infect the blood of the host causing fever, weakness, lethargy and anaemia, which lead to weight loss and a reduction in fertility and milk production.
  • Control: AAT can be controlled by reducing tsetse fly populations with traps and insecticides.
    • Animals can be given antiparasitic drugs prophylactically in areas with a high population of trypanosome-infected tsetse flies.
    • No vaccine is available to prevent trypanosomiasis.

Source:  DownToEarth

Previous Year Questions

Q.1) Which one of the following statements best describes the role of B cells and T cells in the human body? (2022)

  1. They protect the body from environmental allergens.
  2. They alleviate the body’s pain and inflammation.
  3. They act as immunosuppressants in the body.
  4. They protect the body from the diseases caused by pathogens.

Q.2) With reference to recent developments regarding ‘Recombinant vector Vaccines’, consider the following statements:

  1. Genetic engineering is applied in the development of these vaccines.
  2. Bacteria and viruses are used as vectors.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct? (2021)

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

Rani Velu Nachiyar

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Syllabus

  • Prelims – History and Art and Culture

Context: Recently, the Prime Minister of India has paid tributes to Rani Velu Nachiyar on her birth anniversary.

About QUEEN VELU NACHIAR (3 January 1730 – 25 December 1796):

  • She was the first queen to fight against the British colonial power in India.
  • She is known by Tamils as Veeramangai.
  • She was the princess of Ramanathapuram and the only child of Raja Chellamuthu Vijayaragunatha Sethupathy and Rani Sakandhimuthal of the Ramnad kingdom.
  • She was trained in war to match weapons usage, martial arts like Valari, Silambam (fighting using a stick), horse riding, and archery.
  • She was a scholar in many languages and she had proficiency with languages like French, English and Urdu.
  • She married the king of Sivagangai, with whom she had a daughter.
  • She succeeded her husband in 1780 and She granted powers to the Marudu brothers to administer the country in 1780.
    • She died a few years later, on 25 December 1796.

Source: NewsOnAir

Previous Year Questions

Q.1) In the context of Indian history, the Rakhmabai case of 1884 revolved around

  1. Women’s right to gain education
  2. Age of consent
  3. Restitution of conjugal rights

Select the correct answer using the code given below : (2020)

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

Q.2) With reference to Indian freedom struggle, consider the following events:

  1. Mutiny in Royal Indian Navy
  2. Quit India Movement launched
  3. Second Round Table Conference

What is the correct chronological sequence of the above events? (2017)

  1. 1-2-3
  2. 2-1-3
  3. 3-2-1
  4. 3-1-2

National Genome Editing and Training Centre

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Syllabus

  • Prelims – Science and Technology

In News: Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) Science & Technology; Minister of State (Independent Charge) Earth Sciences; MoS PMO, Personnel, Public Grievances, Pensions, Atomic Energy and Space will be inaugurating the ‘National Genome Editing and Training Centre (NGETC)’ and ‘International Conference on Food and Nutritional Security-2023 (iFANS-2023)’ at NABI, Mohali.

NGETC:

  • NGETC is a one-roof state-of-the-art facility that will serve as a national platform to cater to the regional needs to adapt different genome editing methods, including CRISPR-Cas mediated genome modification.
  • In the current climatic scenario, improving crops for better nutrition and tolerance to the changing environmental condition is a significant challenge.
  • Genome editing could be a promising technology that Indian research could adapt to offer the desired tailor-made traits in crops.
  • NABI has shown ability and can expand the genome editing tools to vast arrays of crops, including Banana, Rice, Wheat, Tomato, Maize and Millets.

The International Conference on Food and Nutritional Security:

  • iFANS-2023 will be jointly organized by the National Agri-Food Biotechnology Institute (NABI), Centre for Innovative and Applied Bioprocessing (CIAB), National Institute of Plant Biotechnology (NIPB), and International Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology (ICGEB) at NABI, Mohali.
  • The conference envisages bringing together international experts and young researchers in the areas of agriculture  , food, and nutrition biotechnology, and genome editing.
  • The theme of the conference is pertinent to inspire young students and researchers considering the fact that food and nutrition security is a global demand.
  • Advanced biotechnology tool such as genome editing using CRISPR-Cas9 has potential to achieve these goals in a sustainable manner.

National Agri-Food Biotechnology Institute (NABI):

  • Aim
  • Food and nutritional security for all through agri-food biotechnology research and innovation.
  • To be a centre of excellence and provide leadership in agri-food biotechnology research
  • Improving nutritional quality and availability of affordable agri-food and food products through innovations.
  • It is the first Agri-Food Biotechnology Institute, established in India in 2010.
  • The institute is part of agri-food cluster in the “Knowledge City” of Mohali (Punjab) along with its neighbouring institutes.
  • Activities undertaken at NABI:
  • Agricultural Biotechnology,
  • Food and Nutritional Biotechnology,
  • Human Resource Development,
  • Meeting and Courses and
  • Technology Transfer and Outreach.

Source: PIB

Previous Year Question

Q.1) Consider the following pairs: (2018)

Terms sometimes                         Context/Topic

seen in news

  1. Belle II experiment       —         Artificial Intelligence
  2. Blockchain technology —       Digital/Cryptocurrency
  3. CRISPR – Cas9             —        Particle Physics

Which of the pairs given above is/are correctly matched?

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

NTPC Ltd. And Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Ltd (HPCL)

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Syllabus

  • Prelims – Economy

In News: NTPC Green Energy Ltd (NGEL) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Ltd (HPCL) for Development of Renewable Energy based Power Projects to tap Business opportunities in RE and supply of 400 MW round the clock renewable power for requirements of HPCL.

  • This MoU marks the first step for NGEL and HPCL to collaborate and cooperate in the field of development of Renewable Energy projects which shall help HPCL in meeting its Clean Energy Commitments.

NTPC:

  • NTPC is India’s largest energy conglomerate with roots planted way back in 1975 to accelerate power development in India.
  • NTPC became a Maharatna company in May 2010.
  • NTPC is ranked No. 2 Independent Power Producer(IPP) in Platts Top 250 Global Energy Company rankings.

Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Ltd (HPCL)

  • It is an Indian oil and gas refining company headquartered in Mumbai
  • It was incorporated in 1974 after the takeover and merger of erstwhile Esso Standard and Lube India Limited
  • In 2019, the company became a Maharatna PSU
  • Since 2018, ONGC has owned a majority stake in the company
  • The company is ranked 367th on the Fortune Global 500 list of the world’s biggest corporations as of 2016.

Maharatna Companies

  • Maharatna Scheme was introduced for Central Public Sector Enterprises (CPSEs), in 2010, in order to empower mega CPSEs to expand their operations and emerge as global giants.
  • The objective of the scheme is to delegate enhanced powers to the Boards of identified large-sized Navratna CPSEs so as to facilitate expansion of their operations, both in domestic as well as global markets.
  • Following 10 CPSEs have been identified as Maharatnas:
  • BHARAT HEAVY ELECTRICALS LTD.
  • BHARAT PETROLEUM CORP.LTD.
  • COAL INDIA LTD.
  • GAIL (INDIA) LTD.
  • HINDUSTAN PETROLEUM CORP.LTD.
  • INDIAN OIL CORP.LTD.
  • NTPC LTD.
  • OIL & NATURAL GAS CORP.LTD.
  • POWER GRID CORP.OF INDIA LTD.
  • STEEL AUTHORITY OF INDIA LTD.
  • Eligibility Criteria for grant of Maharatna status
  • Having Navratna status
  • Listed on the Indian stock exchange, with a minimum prescribed public shareholding under SEBI regulations
  • An average annual turnover of more than 20,000 crore during the last three years
  • An average annual net worth of more than 10,000 crore during the last three years
  • An average annual net profit of more than 2,500 crore during the last 3 years
  • Significant global presence or international operations

Source: PIB


National Conference of Chief Secretaries

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Syllabus

  • Prelims – Polity

In News: Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi will chair the second National Conference of Chief Secretaries in Delhi on 6th and 7th January, 2023. It will be another key step towards further boosting the partnership between the Centre and the State Governments.

  • The first such Conference of Chief Secretaries was held in June 2022
  • The second Conference of Chief Secretaries will be held in 2023 in Delhi.
  • The three day Conference will focus on achieving rapid and sustained economic growth in partnership with the States.
  • Focused deliberations would be held on four topics, viz. (i) Vocal for Local; (ii) International Year of Millets; (iii) G20: Role of States; and (iv) Emerging Technologies.

The Chief secretary of state:

  • The Chief Secretary is the top-most executive official and senior-most officer of the Indian Administrative Service of the state government.
  • It ranks 23rd on the Indian order of precedence.
  • The Chief Secretary is the ex-officio head of the state Civil Services Board, the state cadre Indian Administrative Service and all civil services under the rules of business of the state government.

Appointment:

  • Appointed by the Chief Minister of state.
  • The Chief Minister after short-listing the names can have an opinion of the Union government related to the appointment but this consultation is not mandatory.
  • Usually, these three factors are considered: Seniority, service record, and Evaluation of the Chief Minister.

Role:

  • The Chief Secretary acts as the principal advisor to the chief minister on all matters of state administration.
  • The Chief Secretary acts as an ex-officio secretary to the state cabinet, therefore called “Secretary to the Cabinet“.
  • The status of this post is equal to that of a Secretary to the Government of India.
  • A Chief Secretary functions as the central point of interdepartmental coordination at the departmental level.

Source: PIB


Siachen Glacier

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Syllabus

  • Prelims – Geography

In News: The Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi has applauded as Capt Shiva Chauhan of Fire and Fury Sappers became the first woman officer to be operationally deployed in Kumar Post, post completion of arduous training, at the highest battlefield of the world Siachen.

The Siachen glacier:

  • It is the highest battleground on Earth. Troops are deployed at elevations of up to 6,700 metres (22,000 feet) at minus 60 degrees C.
  • India occupied Siachen glacier under Operation Meghdoot in 1984.
  • Siachen Glacier, piedmont glacier located in the Karakoram Range.
  • It lies in the heavily glaciated Himalayan region known as the “Third Pole,” because mountain glaciers in this region contain more fresh water than is found anywhere else on Earth except for the polar ice caps.
  • The Siachen Glacier lies between the Saltoro Ridge, a subrange of the Karakorams, to the west and the main Karakoram Range to the east.
  • It is 75 km (47 miles) long, which makes it the second longest nonpolar glacier in the world, after Fedchenko Glacier in Tajikistan.
  • The Siachen Glacier is positioned from northwest to southeast.
  • It originates at the base of the Indira Col West, a col (low point) on the Indira Ridge, at an altitude of 6,115 metres (20,062 feet), and it descends to an altitude of 3,570 metres (11,713 feet).
  • On its left flank are three tributary glaciers: Teram Shehr, North Terong, and South Terong.
  • On its right flank are tributary glaciers: Zingrulma, Gyongla, Lolofond
  • Nubra River originates from Siachen glacier.
  • The name Siachen refers to a land with an abundance of roses.

Significance:

  • The Siachen region is strategically important for India because it separates Pakistan from China.
  • It also enables India to monitor the Gilgit and Baltistan regions of Pakistan.
  • Effects of climate change are being felt as well, as faster-melting snows made living near the ice more hazardous.
  • In addition, the presence of both countries’ military forces led to the dumping of large quantities of nonbiodegradable waste on and near the glacier, and that waste in turn passed as pollution into the Nubra, Shyok, and Indus rivers.
  • Moreover, the troops’ presence posed a threat to indigenous wildlife, including the Himalayan brown bear (Ursus arctos isabellinus), the Siberian, or Asiatic, ibex (Capra sibirica), and the snow leopard (Panthera uncia or Uncia uncia).

Source PIB 

Previous Year Question

Q.1) Siachen Glacier is situated to the (2020)

  1. East of Aksai Chin
  2. East of Leh
  3. North of Gilgit
  4. North of Nubra Valley

Role of Digital Banks in Financial Inclusion

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Syllabus

  • Mains – GS 2 (Governance) and GS 3 (Economy)

Context: Recently NITI Aayog published a discussion paper titled “Digital Banks: A Proposal for Licensing & Regulatory Regime for India”, which explained the value proposition of full-stack digital banks and laid down an implementation plan.

  • The reason behind the advocacy of full-stack digital banks is the lack of credit penetration among MSMEs and the full-stack digital banks are a potential solution for the persistent policy challenge of credit deepening and are seen as “the next stage of financial inclusion”.

About Digital Bank: 

  • A digital bank would be a bank defined in the Banking Regulation Act, 1949, and shall have its own balance sheet and legal existence.
  • It is banking done through the digital platform, doing away with all the paperwork like cheques, pay-in slips, Demand Drafts, and so on.
  • It means availability of all banking activities online.
  • The shift from traditional to digital banking has been gradual and remains ongoing, and is constituted by differing degrees of banking service digitization.

Difference between Digital Banks and Digital Banking Units:

  • Digital banks are financial institutions that have no physical branches and offer banking services entirely online through their website and mobile banking app.
  • Digital banks will be completely independent banks to be licensed under the Banking Regulation Act, 1949, and they will follow the Reserve Bank norms on par with commercial banks.
  • While Digital Banking Units do not have legal personality and are not separately licensed under the Act.

Issues with Traditional Banks:

  • Traditional banks find it difficult to assess creditworthiness of SMEs while manually curating information from physical documents such as financial statements, tax returns and payroll statements.
  • The current delivery systems are largely paper-based, with high turnaround time and requiring multiple visits to bank branches.
  • It entails high operational costs for lenders and opportunity costs for borrowers.
  • MSME borrowers want a fast approval process and certainty regarding funds availability.
    • They value speed and convenience and want a seamless, consistent lending experience that delivers instant decisions and immediate delivery of funds.

Significance of Digital Banking:

  • The flow of credit will improve in the rural areas.
  • Poor will get easier access to money and loans.
  • The establishment of these units will be cheaper than the conventional brick and mortar units.
  • They will provide better technical support to customers.
  • Digital Units will decrease the manpower requirement.
  • For the scheduled banks, they will ensure steady profits.
  • DBUs will help the government enhance digital literacy.

Challenges of Digital Banking:

  • The limitations of DBU include low public awareness and internet penetration in lower-tier cities.
  • Digital banking forums are prone to vulnerabilities and hacks such as phishing, pharming, identity theft, and keylogging.
  • Huge investment needed: Banking institutions are investing a lot in their security systems.

Way Forward:

Digital banks are best suited to usage of new age techniques like predictive analyses and artificial intelligence (AI) to arrive at real time decisions for time-busy MSMEs and Individuals at large. These technologies allow banks to move from traditional funding methods based on collaterals to advanced cash flow lending.

Digital banks can rethink and retool lending mechanism, credit underwriting process and gradually shun security-oriented lending. All that which has been done to payments ecosystem in India needs to be replicated in the field of credit assessment and delivery which will further enhance financial inclusion in the country.

Source: The Hindu


Eco-sensitive Zones

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Syllabus

  • Mains – GS 3 Environment

In News: On June 3, a three-judge bench of the Supreme Court heard a PIL which sought to protect forest lands in the Nilgiris in Tamil Nadu, but was later expanded to cover the entire country.

Context:

  • The apex court directed all states to have a mandatory 1-km ESZ from the demarcated boundaries of every protected forest land, national park and wildlife sanctuary.
  • It also stated that no new permanent structure or mining will be permitted within the ESZ.
  • Protests erupted across the high ranges of Kerala in response to the apex court’s direction, similar to protests triggered by the recommendations of the Western Ghats Ecology Expert Panel (WGEEP) led by Madhav Gadgil

What are Eco-sensitive zones (ESZs):

  • As per the National Wildlife Action Plan (2002-2016), issued by the Union Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, land within 10 km of the boundaries of national parks and wildlife sanctuaries is to be notified as eco-fragile zones or Eco-Sensitive Zones (ESZ).
  • Areas beyond 10-km can also be notified by the Union government as ESZs, if they hold larger ecologically important “sensitive corridors.”
  • They are created as “shock absorbers” for the protected areas, to minimize the negative impact on the “fragile ecosystems” by certain human activities taking place nearby.
  • Furthermore, these areas are meant to act as a transition zone from areas requiring higher protection to those requiring lesser protection.
  • ESZs are not meant to hamper the daily activities of people living in the vicinity, but are meant to guard the protected areas and “refine the environment around them”.
  • Activities prohibited are commercial mining, saw mills, commercial use of wood, etc., apart from regulated activities like felling of trees.
  • Permitted activities include ongoing agricultural or horticultural practices, rainwater harvesting, organic farming, among others.

  • Various sections of society in the hill district have participated in public meetings, rallies, and door-to-door campaigns against the buffer zone regime.

Kerala State Remote Sensing and Environment Centre report:

  • In its order, the apex court had directed the Principal Chief Conservator of Forests of each State and Union Territory (UTs) to draw up a list of subsisting structures and other relevant details within the respective ESZs and furnish a report.
  • The court also warned that in the event of any State/UT failing to submit a proposal, an area of 10 kilometre would be considered as buffer zone in respect of such sanctuaries or national parks and restrictions would be imposed in those areas.
  • Findings:
  • The KSRSEC had also reported that 115 villages in Kerala would come under the buffer zone of the protected areas of the State.
  • a total area of 1,588.709 sq. km would come under ESZs.
  • The sanctuaries and national parks in the State are spread over an area of 3,441.207 sq. km.
  • The assessment found that 83 tribal settlements were located within the ESZs of the State.

Challenges:

  • Due to the high density of human population near the notified protected areas, farmer’s groups and political parties have been demanding that all human settlements be exempt from the ESZ ruling.
  • Fearful farmers – the settler-farmers living around protected areas have become fearful that ESZ delineation would make farming impossible and they could be gradually evicted from their holdings.
  • The ESZ demarcation move became an emotive issue for hundreds of farmers in the region who have successfully built their lives and settlements on forest fringes, battling inclement weather and wild beasts.
  • Faulty KSRSEC report including allegations that the motive behind the survey was to relocate people from the forest fringes and thus expand forest cover in the State.
  • The thick and dense canopy restricts the identification of all the subsisting structures and roads in the visual interpretation process.
  • The price of land has plummeted following the release of the aerial survey report.
  • Landowners worry that this will affect their plans based on the asset value of their holdings.
  • This may affect the educational aspirations of students from rural areas
  • Farmers are already burdened with fighting wild animal attacks and decreasing prices of agricultural produce

Suggestions:

  • Conducting a scientific study along the lines prescribed by the Supreme Court to identify the subsisting structures.
  • Using cadastral maps and the present land use/land cover pattern of the boundary sharing villages from satellite data on the GIS platform
  • Kerala proposed to exclude human habitations and settlements from the ambit of the buffer zone.
  • Using aerial survey report to highlight the density of the population and the presence of human habitations in the zone to take advantage of the apex court’s suggestion that an ESZ may be diluted in overwhelming public interest.
  • The apex court had suggested that the minimum width of the ESZ may be diluted in the public interest and State governments should be able to convince the Central Empowered Committee(CEC) and the Ministry of Environment on the same.
  • Setting up help desks in the panchayats of the State that come under the ESZ regime for physical verification of the holdings and settlements that come under the zone.
  • The Kerala government appointed an expert committee headed by a former Chief Justice of the Calcutta High Court, for field verification.

Way forward:

  • Kerela is a State sandwiched between the mountains and the sea, hence its ecological sustainability is a delicate subject
  • Social changes due to modern environmental discourse in the form of tourism are disturbing the local ecological and social realities, in which the locals play an active role.
  • There is a need for rethinking on the impacts of the environmental policies at the local level, the type and prospects of local participation and most importantly the prospects of alternate income generating opportunities for successful conservation initiatives.

Source The Hindu

Previous Year Question

Q.1) With reference to Eco-Sensitive Zones’, which of the following statements is/are correct? (2014)

  1. Eco-Sensitive Zones are the areas that are declared under the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972.
  2. The purpose of the declaration of Eco-Sensitive Zones is to prohibit all kinds of human activities in those zones except agriculture.

Select the correct answer using the code given below.

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

Baba’s Explainer – Remote Voting by ECI

Remote Voting by ECI

Syllabus

  • GS-1: Indian Society, Urbanisation and problems
  • GS-2: Important aspects of governance, transparency and accountability, e-governance- applications, models, successes, limitations, and potential
  • GS-2: Fundamental Rights.

Context: The Election Commission (EC) has recently announced that it is ready to pilot remote voting for domestic migrants, so they don’t have to travel back to their home states to vote. This comes on the back of EC’s acknowledgement of migration-based disenfranchisement.

Read Complete Details on Remote Voting by ECI


Practice MCQs

Daily Practice MCQs

Q.1) With reference to ‘Eco-Sensitive Zones’, which of the following statements is/are correct?

  1. Kerela has the highest number of Eco-Sensitive Zones.
  2. Felling of trees is completely prohibited in these areas.

Which of the following statements are correct?

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

Q.2) Which of the following is not a criteria for a “Maharatna Company” in India?

  1. Status of Navratna company
  2. Net worth of more than Rs. 10,000 crore
  3. Significant international presence
  4. Debt to equity ratio of 2:1

Q.3) Consider the following statements regarding The Chief Secretary of a state:

  1. The Chief Secretary will be appointed by the Chief Minister of state.
  2. The Chief Secretary acts as an ex-officio secretary to the state cabinet, therefore called “Secretary to the Cabinet.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

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

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

ANSWERS FOR ’ 5th January 2023 – Daily Practice MCQs’ will be updated along with tomorrow’s Daily Current Affairs.st


ANSWERS FOR 4th January – Daily Practice MCQs

Answers- Daily Practice MCQs

Q.1) – c

Q.2) – a

Q.3) – c

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