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CURRENT AFFAIRS & KEYWORDS OF 27 & 28 NOVEMBER

INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS

1. Chabahar: Why US shielded India’s interests

Context

  • The US government recently announced a waiver to its sanctions on Indianinvestments in Chabahar port.
  • The unusual waiver that US administration gave to the Iranian port was due to theaggressive lobbying by India to save its investments and persevere with its newlycrafted policy to connect with Afghanistan and Central Asia.
  • According to this view, the government and businesses in Kabul too lobbied forIndian access, as they view in Chabahar an opportunity to liberate themselves fromthe control that Pakistan and its Karachi port exercises on their movement and theirbusinesses.
  • But this is not all. Apparently, the US, has its own reasons to grant this waiver.

 

​        How does it favour Afghanistan?

  •  India signed a trilateral connectivity deal in May 2016 with Iran and Afghanistan that allows it to bypass Pakistan and reach Europe and Central Asia.
  •  The hub of this connectivity agreement is the Chabahar Port, whose management was given to India for 18 months.
  •  Chabahar port represents the shortest route for Afghanistan to the sea.
  •  For Afghan traders, it is shorter than both Iran’s Bandar Abbas port and Pakistan’sGwadar port.
  •  Afghan businessmen will save 50% of their shipping costswhen they use Chabahar.
  •  India’s first shipment of wheat in October 2017 through Chabahar port is an initial outcome in this regard.
  •  Thus, Afghanistan view Chabahar as an opportunity to liberate themselves from the control that Pakistan exerciseson their movement and their businesses.
  •  Nearly 165 out of 500 Afghan companies are registered by the Chabahar Free Zone authority.
  •  Afghanistan is also planning to launch their own shipping line that will fly their national flag between Indian ports and Chabahar.

What are the concerns?

i. Sanctions list

  •  Some of the Iranian companies in Chabahar are managed by Islamic Revolutionary Guards that are being accused of spreading terror in West Asia.
  •  Hence, it is not clear how India will work with Iranian companies that arealready in the sanction list of US.

ii. Finance

  •  The Indian government was also facing major banking hurdles in funding itsinfrastructural works.
  •  It was trying to explore a rupee-riyal arrangement to hasten the port’s progress as well pay for its oil purchases.
  •  Under this system, India and Iran did not trade in international currencies like USD and preferred to trade in their local currencies.

iii. Communication

  •  Also, the US sanctions would prevent the use of SWIFT communication systems, which allows inter-bank transfer of funds.
  •  Hence India was exploring to become part of the special purpose vehicle that the EU was creating to deal with Iran that allowed trading in euros, yuan and rouble.

Takeaways

  •  The port gives India a unique opportunity to capitalise on growing exports from current levels and embarking upon a new era of trade diplomacy with Afghanistan.
  •  The waiver also gives Iran more options to deal with the stringent sanctions that have been imposed by the US government after it withdrew from the P5+1 nuclear deal.

Source: https://www.thehindubusinessline.com/opinion/chabahar-why-usshielded-ind...

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2. Is Non-alignment still working for India? It worked in a bipolar world, butIndia has changed and so has the world order

Context

  •  United States agreed to grant India a special waiver from the trade sanctions onIran.
  •  This instance is seen has a victory for India’s skillful policy of non-alignment in the times of multipolar world.

About India’s deft diplomacy

  •  Indian foreign policy has been primarily non-aligned in character.
  •  During the Cold War, when the international system was largely bipolar in nature, India’s skillful diplomacy made sure that it doesn’t get trapped into then bipolar geopolitics.
  •  As a solution, the Non-Alignment Movement was conceptualized in which India was one of the leaders.
  •  India has always refrained from choosing or aligning completely with one sideor the other.
  •  This gave India a much-needed maneuvering capability to build strong ties with almost all major powers in the international system.
  •  For instance, recently both the US and Iran were looking for India’s support during their tussle after the scrapping of the Iran Nuclear deal by the Trump administration. India for its part refused to choose sides.

Multipolar worlds expectations from India

 The international system today is vastly different from what it used to be back in theCold War period.
 Post-Cold War, when the international system has become multipolar, the relevance of India’s non-aligned credentials have come under question.
 The global community expects India to take strong stands on global issues (often third-party issues), and even choose sides if needed.
 The great powers like the US and Russia don’t want India to have the luxury of maneuvering itself in global politics. Significance of India’s diplomacy
 Indo-US diplomatic relations are in a tense situation due to India’s refusal to bring down its Iranian oil imports to zero.
 Amidst of these tensions India managed to win its stand over the Iran’s Chabahar port, by protecting its own sovereignty.
 India has always carved out a middle path for itself and has avoided getting into the ‘Us vs Them’ debate.
 This can be seen through many examples, be it choosing between the US and Russia, Israel and Palestine, or Saudi Arabia and Iran. India’s track record has been
to keep itself out of a position where it has to choose sides. Doubts prevailing on India’s diplomacy
 When a country’s power and reputation rises in the international order, the international community starts expecting differently from that state and wants it to
assume greater responsibility.

 Till now, Indian diplomacy has been fairly successful in doing that but the question is for how long can India continue to move on this tried and tested path of deft
diplomacy.
 The question about India’s foreign policy framework is whether the path of nonalignment was taken out of a conscious ‘choice’ or out of ‘necessity’ to balance
the bipolarity of the Cold War politics with the US on one side and Soviet Union on the other.
 Many experts on international relations consider the non-theorization of nonalignment policy as a missed opportunity on India’s part as it would have solidified
the Indian foreign policy even more concretely as well as making it well-defined and nuanced.
 Apart from this the question before India’s foreign policy makers is whether nonalignment is serving India’s self-interests as the non-alignment policy was product
of a particular context and time. Discussion points For Mains
Is Non-alignment still working for India? It worked in a bipolar world, but India has changed and so has the world order.Discuss

Source: https://www.financialexpress.com/opinion/is-non-alignment-still-workingfor- india-it-worked-in-a-bipolar-world/1394589/

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SOCIETY/SOCIAL/WELFARE

1. “Paisa – Portal for Affordable Credit & Interest Subvention Access”,Launched Under Day-NULM

Context

 Union Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs launched ‘PAiSA’ – Portal for Affordable Credit and Interest Subvention Access during National Workshop on Municipal Finance and
Urban Planning held in New Delhi.

About PAISA Portal

 PAiSA stands for Portal for Affordable Credit and Interest Subvention Access
 Nodal Ministry: Ministry of Housing & Urban Affairs
 It is a centralized electronic platform for processing interest subvention on bank loans to beneficiaries under Deendayal Antyodaya Yojana – National
Urban Livelihoods Mission (DAY-NULM).
 The web platform has been designed and developed by Allahabad Bank which is the Nodal bank.

 PAiSA is an effort by the government to connect directly with the beneficiaries, ensuring that there is greater transparency and efficiency in delivery of
services.
 DBT of subvention on monthly basis under DAY-NULM will give the necessary financial support to small entrepreneurs in a timely manner.
 All 35 states / UTs & all scheduled commercial banks, RRBs and Cooperative Banks are expected to be on board the PAiSA portal the year end.

About Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Antyodaya Yojana

 It is a scheme for upliftment of urban and rural poor through enhancement of livelihood opportunities through skill development and other means
Need of the Scheme
 To provide Skill training to the poor in cities and villages. This would make them eligible for employment and will help in poverty alleviation
 By 2020, developed nations will have shortage of ~57 million workers & foreign companies will have to outsource work elsewhere
 Companies require cheap but skilled labour force (India will have ~47 million new workers by 2020)
 Every year, 12 million Indians join workforce but out of them only 10% are skilled compared to 70% in and 50% in China
 Therefore, success of Make in India, will depend on success of this scheme
 Also, under the current urban poverty alleviation programmes, only 790 cities and towns are covered
 The government has decided to extend these measures to all the 4,041 statutory cities and towns, there by covering almost the entire urban population Rural component

Official name: Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Grameen Kaushalya YojanaUnder: Ministry of Rural Development

Earlier schemes:
 Swarnajayanti Gram Swarojgar Yojana (SGSY) was renamed as National Rural
Livelihood Mission (NRLM) which was in turn converted to Aajivika
 Aajivika has a sub-component of skill development which is now named as Deen
Dayal Upadhyaya Grameen Kaushalya Yojana
 Eligibility: 15 years and above (in Aajivika, it was 18)
 Target: Train 10 Lakh rural youth by 2017
Others:
 Government will setup training centres in rural areas
 Training syllabus will be designed on international standards, so that rural youth
can work in the foreign companies coming to India under Make in India

 Special attention to physically disabled persons

Urban component
Official name: Deen Dayal Upadhyay Antyodaya Yojana (DAY)
Under: Ministry of Housing & Urban Poverty Alleviation (HUPA)
Eligibility: Urban poor
Target: Train 5 Lakh people every year

6. Components:

 Setup City Livelihood Centres with Rs. 10 lakh grant
 Give training to each urban poor via these centres. Government will spentRs.15k-18k on training each of them
 Form Urban Self Help Groups (SHG) and give Bank linkage and Rs.10,000 toeach group
 Setup Vendor markets and give skill training to vendors as well
 Construction of permanent shelters for urban homeless & other essentialservices
 Help the poor to setup enterprises & give them loan at 7% interest rate

Discussion points
For Prelims
PAISA Portal, Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Grameen Kaushalya Yojana , DAY
Source: http://pib.nic.in/newsite/PrintRelease.aspx?relid=185954

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ECONOMY

1. Inflexion point : Entry of BSE and NSE into Commodity derivatives Trading

Context

 BSE and NSE have received permission from the Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) for commodity derivatives trading recently.
 

What is a derivative?

 Derivatives are the contract whose value is derived from the underlying asset or the contract where delivery of security or commodity held on specific future date.
 The main purpose of commodity derivative is to reduce the risk of future price uncertainty and provide the industry knowledge as well investment opportunity to a general investor.
 Derivatives could be stocks, indices, commodities, currencies, exchange rates or the rate of interest.
 Till date, commodity derivatives contracts are available only on MCX and NCDEX, the two specialised commodity derivatives exchanges in the country.

 The Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) became the first stock exchange in the country to launch commodity derivatives contract in gold and silver.
 Both BSE and NSE have plans to launch derivatives trading in non-agriculture commodities in the initial phase, followed by agriculture commodities.
 Regulatory changes by RBI & SEBI in supporting the Commodity Exchcanges
 SEBI has recently redrafted the rules for trading, membership, products and risk management.
 Market surveillance has also improved with tighter supervision and scrutiny.
 Domestic companies with direct exposure to commodity price risk in gold, gems and precious stones have been barred by RBI from hedging in international markets.
 This is likely to result in these companies using the domestic exchanges to take cover, thus helping domestic commodity derivative volumes.
 Also, all listed companies are required to disclose their commodity risk, hedged exposure as well as their risk-management policy.
 This is to make companies take greater cover for their commodity exposures due to the fear of investor displeasure, which could also help improve volumes on exchanges.

Way Forward
i. Agri-contracts

 Both exchanges are beginning their foray in this segment with bullion andenergy-based contracts.
 SEBI needs to ensure that both BSE and NSE soon launch agri-contracts that serve farmers and companies in hedging price risks.

ii. Pricing

 Exchanges often tend to use predatory pricing or other underhand methods to garner market share and it should be dissuaded.
 Also, SEBI needs to examine ways to bring down the high cost of trading in domestic exchanges.

iii. Participation & Monitoring

 Increasing market participation by allowing other investor segments such as mutual funds into commodity markets should be looked out.
 A tight vigil needs to be maintained to ensure that there is no unhealthy

competition among exchanges.
Discussion points
For Prelims
Derivatives, BSE, NSE, RBI, SEBI
For Mains

Source: https://www.thehindubusinessline.com/opinion/editorial/inflexionpoint/ar...

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SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY

1. ESA s Mars Express sends new images of Martian landscape

Context

 The European Space Agency’s (ESA) Mars Express has imaged a part of the Martian landscape, a region at the boundary of the northern and southern hemisphere which is rocky and fragmented, that once formed the Red Planet’s flood plains Image credit: European Space Agency/Twitter
 The European Space Agency’s (ESA) Mars Express has imaged a part of the Martian landscape, a region at the boundary of the northern and southern hemisphere which is rocky and fragmented, that once formed the Red Planet’s flood plains.

Key Points

 The region, a furrowed, rock-filled escarpment known as Nili Fossae sits at the boundary of the northern and southern hemisphere.
 It is an impressive example of past activity on the planet and shows signs of where flowing wind, water and ice once moved material from place to place, carving out distinctive patterns and land forms as it did so.
 Despite Mars’ reputation as a dry, arid world today, water is believed to have played a key role in sculpting Nili Fossae via ongoing erosion.
 Nili Fossae is filled with rocky valleys, small hills, and clusters of flat-topped land forms (known as mesas in geological terms), with some chunks of crustal rock appearing to be depressed down into the surface creating a number of ditch like features known as graben.
 Further, the image also showed the higher-altitude terrain of Nili Fossae.

Discussion points
For Prelims
Mars Express

Source: https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/home/science/esas-mars-expresssends-...

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2. Ethical dilemma : Why Chinese researcher’s claim of geneediting of babies is problematic

Context

 A Chinese researcher recently made a claim that he had altered the genes of a human embryo that eventually resulted in the birth of twin girls.
 

About CRISPR

 Genes contain the bio-information that defines any individual.
 The information encoded in the genetic material can be attributed to –

 Height, skin or hair colour
 Intelligence or eyesight
 Susceptibility to certain diseases
 Behavioural traits

 CRISPR (short for Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats) technology is a relatively new, and the most efficient tool for gene “editing” developed in the last one decade.
 The technology replicates a natural defence mechanism in bacteria to fight virus attacks, using a special protein called Cas9.
 The specific location of the genetic codes that need to be changed is identified on the DNA strand.
 Using the Cas9 protein, which acts like a pair of scissors, the specified location is cut off from the strand.
 A DNA strand, when broken, has a natural tendency to repair itself.
 Scientists intervene during this auto-repair process, supplying the desired sequence of genetic codes that binds itself with the broken DNA strand.

How far it has been useful?

 CRISPR-Cas9 is a simple, effective, and incredibly precise technology.
 The most promising use of the CRISPR technology is in treatment of diseases.
 For example, in sickle cell anaemia, a single gene mutation makes the blood sickleshaped, which can be reversed using gene editing technology.
 In the case of the new-born Chinese babies, the genes were “edited” to ensure that they do not get infected with HIV.
 However, leading scientists in the field have for long been calling for a “global pause” on clinical applications of the technology in human beings, until internationally accepted protocols are developed.

Ethical dilemma

i. Verification

 Tampering with the genetic material can have unintended and unknown consequences.
 The scientific community has no way to verify the claims on whether the gene editing was carried out in the proper manner.

ii. Precision

 There is a possibility that some other genes also get targeted, resulting in unintended impacts.

iii. Approval

 In most countries of the world, such experiments are banned and are punishable by law.
 Without regulatory approvals, there will be data and information gaps about the experiments on gene editing.

iv. Consequence

 The recent research has edited the genes of an embryo, which would be passed on to the offspring and make changes in the genome of the next generation.
 Thus there is a possibility to produce designer babies with very specific traits in the future. Discussion points

For Prelims
CRISPR
For Mains
Can CRISPR edit our future?

Source: https://indianexpress.com/article/explained/why-chinese-researchersclaim- of-gene-editing-of-babies-is-problematic-he-jiankui-5467986/

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3. ISRO to launch new imaging satellite HysIS

Context

 HysIS, the country’s first hyperspectral imaging satellite for advanced Earth observation, is slated for launch from Sriharikota.
 About 30 small satellites of foreign customers will be its co-passengers on the PSLV launcher, numbered C-43.

About PSLV-C43

 PSLV-C43 mission will launch 31 satellites on November 29 in two orbits
 Slated to last just under 2 hours (or about 113 minutes), it will be ISRO’s third longest mission
 Main payload HysIS, all of 380 kg, is built to work for five years
 It will aid detailed, high-definition study of Earth surface
 It will be placed in a polar orbit 636 km away at an inclination of 97.957 degrees.
 30 co-passengers include a micro satellite (100-kg class) and 29 nano satellites (under 10 kg)
 They are from eight countries & together weigh 261 kg
 Their launches were booked with ISRO’s arm Antrix Corporation.

Key points

 A hyperspectral imaging camera in space can provide well-defined images that can help to identify objects on Earth far more clearly than regular optical or remote
sensing cameras.
 The technology will be an added advantage of watching over India from space for a variety of purposes such as defence, agriculture, land use, minerals and so on.
 While the ISRO coyly puts it down as another variety in remote sensing, knowledgeable sources have earlier conceded that it can be highly useful in
marking out a suspect object or person and separate it from the background. This could aid in detecting transborder or other stealthy movements.
 HysIS will be ISRO’s first full-scale working satellite with this capability. While the technology has been around, not many space agencies have working satellites
with hyperspectral imaging cameras as yet. Will be the Third Longest mission of PSLV
 The flight would last almost two hours. The satellites would be ejected in two orbits by restarting the rocket’s fourth-stage engine twice.
 The PSLV, flying in its core-alone format, will first release HysIS to an orbit distant 636 km after 17 minutes from launch.
 Later, two engines will restart after an hour from launch and again 47 minutes later all customer satellites would be put into a lower orbit at 504 km.

Discussion points
For Prelims
Imaging satellite HysIS, Antrix Corporation

Source: https://www.thehindu.com/sci-tech/technology/isro-to-launch-newimaging-s...

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4. Ministry of Defence Launches ‘Mission Raksha Gyan Shakti’

Context:

 Ministry of Defence has launched ‘Mission Raksha Gyan Shakti’ which showcases salient inventions and innovations achieved by DRDO, Defence PSUs and
Ordnance Factories (OFs).

Mission Raksha Gyan Shakti: Key Highlights

• Mission Raksha Gyan Shakti has been instituted by the Department of Defence Production as a part of the ongoing initiatives to enhance self-reliance in defence.
• The mission aims to provide a boost to the IPR culture in indigenous defence industry.
• The Directorate General of Quality Assurance (DGQA) has been entrusted with the responsibility of coordinating and implementing the programme.
• The end objective of the programme is to inculcate IP culture in Indian defence manufacturing ecosystem.

Background

.
 The Intellectual Property Right has emerged as a key ingredient of an ecosystem which stimulates innovation and ingenuity.
 An IP Facilitation Cell was established in April 2018, which has worked tirelessly to achieve ambitious targets of training 10,000 personnel of OFB and DPSUs on IPR and
facilitate filing of at least 1,000 new IPR applications.

Discussion points
For Prelims
Mission Raksha Gyan Shakti
For Mains
IPR Policy

Source: http://pib.nic.in/newsite/PrintRelease.aspx?relid=185978

5. Mars touchdown: NASA’s Insight spacecraft successfully lands on red planet after six-month journey

Context

 NASA’s Mars InSight probe has reached its destination and touched down near thered planet’s equator.

Objectives of Mars InSight probe

 InSight marks the 21st US-launched Mars mission.
 InSight (Interior Exploration using Seismic Investigations, Geodesy and Heat Transport) is on a 24-month mission.
 It will not be looking for life on Mars.

 It will study its insides as to what it is made of, how that material is layered and how much heat seeps out of it.

Why Mars?

 Earth and Mars used to be similar - warm, wet and shrouded in thick atmospheres.
 But this was before they took different paths 3.4 billion years ago.
 After the event, Mars stopped changing, while Earth continued to evolve.
 They turned out so different - Mars cold and dry, Venus and Mercury burning hot, and Earth hospitable to life.
 With InSight, Earth would thus be compared to Mars, to better understand how a planet’s starting materials make it more or less likely to support life.
 It is thus expected to study how Mars and other rocky worlds formed at the dawn of the solar system 4.6bn years ago.
 But notably, sending a probe to Mars, whether to land, orbit or fly past, is risky; only 40% of missions have succeeded so far.

How does it work?

i. Landing site

 The landing site is Elysium Planitia, where InSight can stay still and quiet all through.
 It is a vast, smooth lava plain that NASA calls “the biggest parking lot on Mars”.
 This featureless, and hopefully quiet, landscape is wellsuited for the mission, to map the interior of the planet.

ii. Lander

 The lander (6m × 1.56m, deck height 83-108 cm) carries a robotic arm 1.8 m long.
 The lander will use a set of instruments to study the makeup and dimensions of the planet’s core, mantle and crust.

 It is powered by two solar panels, and carries a seismometer, heat probe and a radio science experiment.
 Two complementary engineering cameras help with navigation and hazard avoidance.

iii. Satellites

 Along with the spacecraft, a pair of mini satellites known as Mars Cube One, or MarCO also reached Mars.
 The satellites provided real-time updates of the spacecraft’s supersonic descent.

iv. Observation

 From Earth, NASA team will be monitoring radio signals using a variety of spacecraft and even radio telescopes on Earth.
Signals will come from various sources -
 the lander during descent
 two experimental briefcase-sized spacecraft called MarCOs that is flying behind InSight
 InSight itself after landing
 the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) spacecraft during descent
 the 2001 Mars Odyssey (Mars orbiter) after InSight’s touchdown

Sources: https://www.thehindu.com/sci-tech/science/nasa-spacecraft-lands-onred- planet-after-six-month-journey/article25601733.ece
               https://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-11-27/nasa-insight-lands-on-mars-after-...

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ENVIRONMENT

1. Andaman and Nicobar Islands: home to a tenth of India’s faunaspecies.

Context

 Andaman & Nicobar Islands, which comprises only 0.25% of country’s geographical area, has 11,009 species, according to a publication by the Zoological Survey of
India (ZSI) publication titled Faunal Diversity of Biogeographic Zones: Islands of India.
 They are to home to more than 10% of country’s fauna species and hosts 1,067 endemic faunal species found nowhere else.
 Thus, presence of such large number of species in such small area makes A&I Islands one of the richest ecosystems and biodiversity hot spots in India.

Key Highlights of the publications

i. Marine fauna

 
 Of the ten species of marine fauna found on islands, dugong/sea cow and Indo- Pacific humpback dolphin are both classified as Vulnerableunder IUCN Red List of Threatened

Species. 

ii. Terrestrial mammalian species

 46 terrestrial mammalian species are found. 3 species have been categorised as CriticallyEndangered —Jenkin’s shrew (C.jenkinsi), Andaman shrew (Crocidura andamanensis) and Nicobar shrew (C. nicobarica).
 Five species are listed as Endangered, 9 species as Vulnerable, and 1 species as Near Threatened by IUCN.

iii. Birds

 Endemism is quite high in A&N islands, with 36 among 344 species of birds found only on the islands.
 Many of these bird species are placed in IUCN Red List of threatened species and also under the Wildlife Protection Act (WPA).

iv. Marine diversity.

 Eight species of amphibians and 23 species of reptiles are endemic to the islands . They are at high risk of being threatened.

v. Marine faunal diversity

 It I ncludes coral reefs and its associated fauna.
 In all, 555 species of scleractinian corals (hard or stony corals) are found in the island ecosystem, all which are placed under Schedule I of the WPA.

 

vi. Tourism Sector

 The number of tourists visiting the islands has crossed the number of people residing in them, with latest data showing 4.87 lakh tourists visiting the islands annually.

vii. Restricted Area Permit

 
 Under the Foreigners (Restricted Areas) Order, 1963, the Andaman & Nicobar Islands are a “Restricted Area” in which foreigners with a restricted area permit (RAP) can stay on 13 islands, and make day visits to another 11.

 But in recent years, the Andaman Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Andaman Association of Tour Operators have pressed to have the RAP restrictions relaxed.
 In August 2018, the Home Ministry dropped the RAP requirement for visiting 29 inhabited islands until 2022, even though separate approvals continue to be required for visiting Reserve Forests, Wildlife Sanctuaries and Tribal Reserves.
 Following criticism that the move compromised the safety of the tribes and ecology of the islands, the UT Administration clarified that Indian nationals would continue to require a pass issued by the Deputy Commissioner for
entering a tribal reserve, and foreigners would need prior approval from the Principal Secretary (Tribal Welfare). Note of Caution in the ZSI Report
 Tourism, illegal construction and mining are posing threat to the islands’ biodiversity, which is already vulnerable to volatile climatic factors. Some of the species in A&N Islands are restricted to very small area and thus more vulnerable to any anthropogenic threat.
 Development paradigm that we are pushing for this place at the macro level, such as tourism, construction and development of military, are not taking in account three factors:
 Ecological fragility of the area (the endemism),
 Geological volatility (earthquakes and tsunamis), and
 Impact they will have on local communities

About A&N Islands

 The total area of the A&N Islands, which comprises of 572 islands, islets and rocky outcrops, is about 8,249 sq. km.
 The population of the islands, which includes six particularly vulnerable tribal groups (PVTGs) — Great Andamanese, Onge, Jarawa, Sentinelese, Nicobarese
and Shompens — is not more than 4 lakh.

About Zoological Survey of India

 The Zoological survey of India is a subordinate organization of the Ministry of Environment and Forests, Govt. of India.
 It was established in 1916 as a national centre for faunistic survey and exploration of the resources.
 The headquarters is at Kolkata.

The main activities of the ZSI are:

 Study of the fauna of states
 Fauna of conservation areas
 Fauna of important ecosystems

 Status survey of endangered species
 Fauna of India and
 Ecological Studies & Environmental impact assessments.

Discussion points
For Prelims
Particularly vulnerable tribal groups (PVTGs), Restricted Area Permit, Endemic
Species of A&N, Endangered, Vulnerable, and Near Threatened species of A & N
by IUCN, Wildlife Protection Act (WPA)
For Mains
Bio-geographic zones of India
Sources: https://www.thehindu.com/sci-tech/energy-andenvironment/ andaman-nicoba... article25592134.ece
                          http://zsi.gov.in/App/content.aspx?link=152

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2. SSB to patrol Dudhwa tiger reserve

Context

 Dudhwa Tiger Reserve (DTR) and Sashastra Seema Bal have joined hands to provide security to Dudhwa forests and its rich wildlife.

Key points

 The joint long route patrolling comprising SSB, STPF and DTR field staff will help to strengthen patrolling in and around Dudhwa to check forest and wildlife crimes.
 Intelligence and information will be also shared among various security agencies about activities of wildlife and forest criminals.
 Besides, mechanism to establish SSB border outpost level communication and information was approved for strengthening safety of Dudhwa.

About Dudhwa Tiger Reserve

 It is protected area in Uttar Pradesh.
 It comprises Dudhwa National Park, Kishanpur Wildlife Sanctuary and Katarniaghat Wildlife Sanctuary.
 It covers area of 1,284.3 km2 and includes three large forest fragments.
 It shares north-eastern boundary with Nepal, which is defined to large extent by Mohana River.
 The area is vast Terai alluvial floodplain traversed by numerous rivers and streams flowing in south-easterly direction.
 In 1987, the Dudhwa National Park and the Kishanpur Wildlife Sanctuary were brought under the purview of the ‘Project Tiger’ as Dudhwa Tiger Reserve.

Apart from tigers (estimated 106–118), it is also home to swamp deer, sambar deer, barking deer, spotted deer, hog deer, Indian rhinoceros, sloth bear, ratel, jackal, civets,
jungle cat, fishing cat, etc.

About Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB)

 It is Central Armed Police Force (CAPF) entrusted with guarding country’s border with Nepal and Bhutan. It was established in 1963 and functions under
administrative control of Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA). Its headquarters are in New Delhi.
 It has specialist jurisdictions for national border patrol, security, and integrity.

Discussion points
For Prelims
Dudhwa Tiger Reserve, Dudhwa National Park, Kishanpur Wildlife Sanctuary and Katarniaghat Wildlife Sanctuary, Project tiger, Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB)
Source: https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/ssb-to-patroldudhwa- tiger-reserve/article25592956.ece

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KEYWORDS

1. Vetiver – also called as ‘the wonder grass’ of Tamil Nadu

 Vetiver has gained popularity in the State for its wide range of applications in the pharma and cosmetic industries, besides anti-soil erosion properties.
 It has huge global demand in the aromatic industry.
 The grass is popular for its quality to combat soil erosion and absorb carbon dioxide, thus erasing carbon footprints.
 Vetiver is ideal for the long coastline, as it is suited for sandy soil. Its moisture retention property makes vetiver a natural choice for soil conservation and replenishment of ground water.
 It is ideal for dry land cultivation using organic farming practices. Another quality of vetiver is that it is an anti-depressant.

2. Solid Waste Management Rules, 2016Segregation at source

 The new rules have mandated the source segregation of waste in order to channelize the waste to wealth by recovery, reuse and recycle. Waste generators
would now have to now segregate waste into three streams- Biodegradables, Dry (Plastic, Paper, metal, Wood, etc.) and Domestic Hazardous waste (diapers,
napkins, mosquito repellants, cleaning agents etc.) before handing it over to the collector.

 Institutional generators, market associations, event organizers and hotels and restaurants have been directly made responsible for segregation and sorting the
waste and manage in partnership with local bodies.
 All hotels and restaurants will also be required to segregate biodegradable waste and set up a system of collection to ensure that such food waste is utilized for
composting / biomethanation.
 The rules mandate that all resident welfare and market associations and gated communities with an area of above 5,000 sq m will have to segregate waste at
source into material like plastic, tin, glass, paper and others and hand over recyclable material either to authorized waste-pickers and recyclers or to the urban
local body.

Collection and disposal of sanitary waste:

 The manufacturers or brand owners of sanitary napkins are responsible for awareness for proper disposal of such waste by the generator and shall provide a
pouch or wrapper for disposal of each napkin or diapers along with the packet of their sanitary products. Collect Back scheme for packaging waste:
 As per the rules, brand owners who sale or market their products in packaging material which are non‐biodegradable, should put in place a system to collect
back the packaging waste generated due to their production.

User fees for collection:

 The new rules have given power to the local bodies across India to decide the user fees. Municipal authorities will levy user fees for collection, disposal and processing
from bulk generators. As per the rules, the generator will have to pay “User Fee” to the waste collector and a “Spot Fine” for littering and non-segregation, the
quantum of which will be decided by the local bodies.
 Also, the integration of rag pickers, waste pickers and kabadiwalas from the informal sector to the formal sector would be done by the state government.
 The rules also stipulate zero tolerance for throwing; burning, or burying the solid waste generated on streets, open public spaces outside the generator’s premises,
or in the drain, or water bodies.

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Date
Saturday, December 1, 2018