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Daily Current affairs 29 August 2019

UPSC - Daily Current Affair

Table of contents:

 

GS Paper 2:

  1. Democracy and its discontents.
  2. National Register of Citizens (NRC).
  3. Code of Conduct for MPs and MLAs.
  4. China’s One country Two Systems Policy.

 

GS Paper 3:

  1. Study to check antibiotic resistance in Ganga.
  2. H1N1
  3. Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+) programme.

 

Facts for prelims:

  1. Star tortoise, otters get higher protection at CITES.
  2. Coprolite
  3. BSID

 

Comprehensive coverage of PIB, the Hindu and relevant articles from various other sources:

 

GS Paper 2:

Topic covered:

  1. Functions and responsibilities of the Union and the States, issues and challenges pertaining to the federal structure, devolution of powers and finances up to local levels and challenges therein.

 

Democracy and its discontents

 

What to study?

For Prelims: Overview and functioning of democracy in India.

For Mains: Challenges present and the need for reforms.

 

Context: The system of democracy invented in the West and exported to the rest is failing in the West

 

What’s the concern now?

Elected governments are in office, but not in power. Many countries in Europe cannot form stable governments because the largest party does not command a majority. Coalitions are unstable. Parliaments are unable to pass laws. US is the best example for this.

 

Democracy in India:

With a strong government at the Centre, Parliament has passed a slew of big laws recently.

Yet failures of governance (and democracy) in India can be seen on the ground, in so-called ‘backward areas’ in the heartlands.

 

What’s ailing our system today?

Democracies need an architecture of institutions. Some institutions provide the vertical pillars. Other institutions provide the lateral binders that give strength and stability to the democratic structure.

In the popular discourse about democracy, too much attention has been given to the vertical institutions required for people to elect their leaders, and too little to the lateral institutions required to create harmony amongst people.

 

Issues with majoritarian democracy:

  1. The problem with a majoritarian democracy is that it is not designed to find solutions for complex problems with many points of view.
  2. A government with a majority, especially a large one, can become as authoritarian as a dictatorial one. It can deny minorities their rights for their views to be considered while framing laws and resolving contentious issues.
  3. Thus, a government elected by a majority can justify the exclusion of the minority. By doing so, a government reduces its own effectiveness. 
  4. Even, the courts are not set up to find policy solutions to complex problems and must interpret the laws as written.

 

What is needed to make our democracy a more effective one?

When problems are complex, good governance requires effective methods for people’s participation.

Referendums may increase people’s participation. However, voters should be educated about what they are voting for.

Healthy democracies need the following layers of institutions:

  1. The layer of constitutional institutions — parliaments, courts, etc. Social media has enlarged the public space enormously.
  2. The public space and the media in which people must be free to speak up if they want to.

 

Need of the hour:

The solution for strengthening governance and democracy at the same time is to strengthen the middle layer of institutions within democracies that lie between the open public sphere and formal government institutions.

These are spaces where citizens with diverse views can listen to each other, and understand the whole system of which they are only parts.

 

Conclusion:

It is imperative for India to build intermediate level, unofficial or semi-official institutions for non-partisan deliberation amongst concerned citizens. The government must give more space for such institutions to form and operate. When there is global despair about the ability of democratic institutions to deliver the benefits of good governance to citizens, this innovation must become India’s invaluable contribution to the history of democracy’s evolution.

 

Sources: the Hindu.


GS Paper 2:

Topics covered:

Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.

 

National Register of Citizens (NRC)

 

What to study?

For Prelims: Particulars of NRC.

For Mains: Update of NRC- issues associated including ethical concerns.

 

Context: Assam-based NGO says, National Register of Citizens (NRC) cannot protect the indigenous people of the State if 1971 remains the base year for identifying foreigners.

 

What’s the issue?

Cut-off date for detecting and deporting foreigners- March 24, 1971– was agreed upon while signing the Assam Accord in August 1985 to end a six-year violent agitation against foreigners in the State.

However, it is now being demanded to declare 1951 as the cut-off year for determining citizenship as in other parts of India.

 

Need for changing the cut- off year:

It is because the base year of 1971 will not protect the rights of indigenous people because many migrants from erstwhile East Pakistan and later Bangladesh entered Assam from 1951 onward.

 

What is NRC?

The NRC is the list of Indian citizens and was prepared in 1951, following the census of 1951.

The process of NRC update was taken up in Assam as per a Supreme Court order in 2013.

In order to wean out cases of illegal migration from Bangladesh and other adjoining areas, NRC updation was carried out under The Citizenship Act, 1955, and according to rules framed in the Assam Accord.

The Assam government released the final draft of NRC on July 30, 2018. The list incorporates names of 2.89 crore people out of 3.29 crore applicants. The names of 40.07 lakh people have been left out.

 

Why is it being carried out?

Crisis of identity: Influx of immigrants has created a crisis of identity among the indigenous. Locals fear that their cultural survival will be affected, political control weakened and employment opportunities undermined because of immigrants.

Environmental degradation: Large areas of forest land were encroached upon by the immigrants for settlement and cultivation. The state experienced declining percent of land area under forest from 39% in 1951-52 to about 30% now.

Increase financial burden: Immigration has increased pressure on the part of state government, as the government has to increase the expenditure on education and health facilities to the immigrants.

Assam agitation:   

The  failure  of  government  to  respond  the  issue  of  illegal  migration  led  to  the  agitation  by  the  Assamese  under  the  leadership  of  All  Assam  Gana  Sangram  Parishad  (AAGSP)  and  All  Assam   Student’s   Union   (AASU). Assam   witnessed   governmental   instability, sustained civil disobedience campaigns and worst cases of ethnic violence. Assam accord was the result of this agitation.

Illegal voters: Most of the Bangladeshi immigrants have got their names enlisted in the voting list illegally, thereby claiming themselves as citizens of the state. The immigrant’s population act as a vote bank for the political parties in Assam.

 

Why is this worrisome?

  1. The official presumption that people residing in Assam areas are foreigners has reduced several million of these highly impoverished, mostly rural, powerless and poorly lettered residents to a situation of helplessness and extreme poverty, destitution, hardship.
  2. It has also caused them abiding anxiety and uncertainty about their futures. They are required to convince a variety of usually hostile officials that they are citizens, based on vintage documents which even urban, educated, middle-class citizens would find hard to muster.
  3. Women are especially in danger of exclusion from the citizenship register. Typically, they have no birth certificates, are not sent to school, and are married before they become adults.

 

UN experts recently warned that the National Register of Citizens (NRC) in Assam could render millions of citizens stateless and create instability in India.

 

Way ahead:

person’s citizenship is a basic human right. Declaring people foreigners in haste without judicially verifying their credentials can leave many human beings stateless.

The need of the hour is that Union Government should clearly chart out the course of action regarding the fate of excluded people from final NRC data and political parties should refrain from colouring the entire NRC process through electoral prospects that may snowball in to communal violence.

There is a need for a robust mechanism of legal support for the four million who have to prove their citizenship to India with their limited means.

 

Measures to boost border security:

  1. The Central Government should appoint a National Immigration Commissionto  frame  a  National  Migration  Policy  and  a  National  Refugee  Policy.  The  Commission  should  examine  ways  of  strengthening  the  Foreigners  Act  1946,  as  well  as  feasibility of Identity Cards for both citizens and non-citizens and Work Permits for migrants.
  2. Border fencing in Assam must be completed forthwith on a war footing. The existing Border Security Force posts and the BSF water wing should be strengthened.
  3. Our nationals  in  the  border  districts  and  for  that  matter  in  the  whole State should be provided multipurpose photo identity card.
  4. The ongoing NRC updating should be completed without delay and proper arrangement for the deportation of illegal migrants should be done.
  5. The Illegal Migrants Determination by Tribunal (IMDT) Act of 1983should be repealed.

Sources: the Hindu.


GS Paper 2:

Topics covered:

  1. Functions and responsibilities of the Union and the States, issues and challenges pertaining to the federal structure, devolution of powers and finances up to local levels and challenges therein.

 

Code of Conduct for MPs and MLAs

 

What to study?

For prelims and mains: COC for Politicians- Need, previous efforts in this regard, challenges and significance.

 

Context: Lok Sabha Speaker has said that a common code of conduct will be framed for legislative bodies to check interruptions and for this a committee of presiding officers will be formed, which, after due consultations with Speakers of Legislative Assemblies and the Chairmen of Legislative Councils, will present its report later this year.

 

Background:

  1. Code of conduct for high constitutional functionaries and representatives of the people have been discussed for long. A code for Union ministers was adopted in 1964, and state governments were advised to adopt it as well.
  2. conference of Chief Justices in 1999 resolved to adopt a code of conduct for judges of the Supreme Court and High Courts — this 15-point ‘Re-instatement of Values in Judicial Life’ recommended that serving judges should maintain an air of “aloofness” in their official and personal lives.
  3. In the case of MPs, the first step was the constitution of Parliamentary Standing Committees on Ethics in both Houses. The Committee in Rajya Sabha was inaugurated by Chairman K R Narayanan on May 30, 1997 “to oversee the moral and ethical conduct of the Members and to examine the cases referred to it with reference to ethical and other misconduct of Members”.

 

Why do We Need a Code of Conduct For Politicians?

  1. Elections in India are often remembered for personal attacks, snide remarks and hate speeches made at the expense of taking political discourse to its nadir.
  2. In a bid to assert their superiority over the rest, some political leaders go overboard and blur the line between public and private lives. Some even threaten voters with dire consequences if they are not voted to power.
  3. Parliament and State Legislatures, the representative institutions, are accountable to the peopleand matters concerning different regions need to be constructively discussed and debated in the House. 

Therefore, to ensure civility in political speeches and expressions, establishing code of conduct for politicians is mandatory.

 

Key recommendations:

  1. Prohibit MPs from misusing the power and immunities they get.
  2. An MP should avoid conflict between a private and a public interest.
  3. No parliamentarian should be allowed to vote on those questions in the House, in which he/she has a vested interest.
  4. Amend the Constitution to ensure a minimum of 110 days of sitting in a legislature having more than 100 members, and 90-50 days of sitting in Houses with less than 100 members depending on the size of the State involved.
  5. The filing by legislators of a statement of income, assets and liabilities, and an indication of changes in these figures over time.
  6. Punishment of members by admonition, reprimand, censure or withdrawal from the House in case of violations or breach of the code of conduct.
  7. Automatic suspension from the House of any member involved in offences of grave misconduct.

 

Need of the hour:

There’s a lot more that the Election Commission ought to do to make it difficult for the errant politicians. Its responsibility doesn’t ends with the filing of an FIR against a candidate who is violating code of conduct. It should direct political parties to withdraw such candidates.

Stronger actions such as derecognizing political parties and other powers need to be exercised for the larger interest of the democracy.

 

Conclusion:

A code of conduct for legislators is absolutely essential at this point of time, when coalition Governments mean increasing and more intense activity within the walls of the legislatures.

 

Elsewhere:

  1. In the UK, a code of conduct for MPs was “prepared pursuant to the Resolution of the House of 19 July 1995”.
  2. The Canadian House of Commons has a Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner with powers to examine violations of the Conflict of Interest Code at the request of another Member or by Resolution of the House or on his own initiative.
  3. Germany has had a Code of Conduct for members of the Bundestag since 1972.
  4. The US has had a Code since 1968.
  5. Pakistan has a Code of Conduct for members of the Senate.

 

Sources: the Hindu.


GS Paper 2:

Topics covered:

Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests, Indian diaspora.

 

China’s One Country Two Systems policy

 

What to study?

For prelims: Geographical and political position of Hong Kong.

For mains: The recent controversy over the extradition bill, concerns expressed, key features of the bill and what needs to be done?

 

Context: Protests in Hong Kong, now in its 13th consecutive week, have brought a decades-old policy of the People’s Republic of China back into focus — One Country Two Systems.

The protesters say Beijing is trying to violate this policy by infringing on Hong Kong’s autonomy.

 

What’s this One Country Two Systems approach?

As per the policy, the Hong Kong and Macau Special Administrative Regions, both former colonies, can have different economic and political systems from that of mainland China, while being part of the People’s Republic of China.

It was proposed by Deng Xiaoping with an aim to unify China and Taiwan.

On December 19, 1984, China and the U.K. signed the Sino-British Joint Declaration in Beijing, which set the terms for the autonomy and the legal, economic and governmental systems for Hong Kong post 1997.

Similarly, on March 26, 1987, China and Portugal signed the Joint Declaration on the Question of Macau in which China made similar promises for the region of Macau after it was handed over to Beijing.

 

The present status:

Hong Kong returned to Chinese control on July 1, 1997, and Macau’s sovereignty was transferred on December 20, 1999.

Both regions became Special Administrative Regions of China. The regions would have their own currencies, economic and legal systems, but defence and diplomacy would be decided by Beijing.

Their mini-Constitutions would remain valid for 50 years — till 2047 for Hong Kong and 2049 for Macau. It is unclear what will happen after this term.

 

What triggered the current crisis?

In recent years, there has been a growing outcry from Hong Kong’s pro-democracy civil society against China’s alleged attempts to erode the city’s autonomy. This has created tensions between the city’s youth and the local government, which is effectively chosen by Beijing.

Sources: the Hindu.


GS Paper 2:

Topics covered:

Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests, Indian diaspora.

 

Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA)

 

What to study?

For prelims and Mains: Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA)- objectives, why US has withdrawn from this, implications and what needs to be done?

 

Context: Russian President Vladimir Putin has met with his French counterpart to discuss a way out of the stalemate over the Iran nuclear deal and endorsed his initiatives.

 

Background:

On May 8, 2019, Iran announced that it had ceased fulfilling its commitments regarding the sale of over 300 kilograms of uranium, as stated in the deal, basing its decision on the other signatories having not fulfilled their obligations.

On July 7, Iran announced that it will not be fulfilling its commitments regarding the enrichment of uranium at 3.67 percent and the reconstruction of the Arak Heavy Water Reactor Facility as stated in the deal.

The 60-day deadline given by Iran to European countries involved ends on September 7 this year.

 

What is the iran nuclear deal?

Iran agreed to rein in its nuclear programme in a 2015 deal struck with the US, UK, Russia, China, France and Germany.

Under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPoA) Tehran agreed to significantly cut its stores of centrifuges, enriched uranium and heavy-water, all key components for nuclear weapons.

The JCPOA established the Joint Commission, with the negotiating parties all represented, to monitor implementation of the agreement.

 

Why did Iran agree to the deal?

It had been hit with devastating economic sanctions by the United Nations, United States and the European Union that are estimated to have cost it tens of billions of pounds a year in lost oil export revenues. Billions in overseas assets had also been frozen.

 

Why has US pulled out of the deal now?

Trump and opponents to the deal say it is flawed because it gives Iran access to billions of dollars but does not address Iran’s support for groups the U.S. considers terrorists, like Hamas and Hezbollah. They note it also doesn’t curb Iran’s development of ballistic missiles and that the deal phases out by 2030. They say Iran has lied about its nuclear program in the past.

 

Impact of escalated tension between Iran and the US:

  1. Iran can make things difficult for the U.S. in Afghanistan as also in Iraq and Syria.
  2. The U.S.’s ability to work with Russia in Syria or with China regarding North Korea will also be impacted.
  3. And sooner or later, questions may be asked in Iran about why it should continue with other restrictions and inspections that it accepted under the JCPOA, which would have far-reaching implications for the global nuclear architecture.
  4. Coming after the rejection of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), the Paris climate change accord and the North American Free Trade Agreement, President’s decision further diminishes U.S. credibility.

 

Implications for India:

Oil and Gas: The impact on world oil prices will be the immediately visible impact of the U.S. decision. Iran is presently India’s third biggest supplier (after Iraq and Saudi Arabia), and any increase in prices will hit both inflation levels as well as the Indian rupee.

It would impact the development of Chahbahar port.

INSTC: New U.S. sanctions will affect these plans, especially if any of the countries along the route or banking and insurance companies dealing with the INSTC plan also decide to adhere to U.S. restrictions on trade with Iran.

Shanghai Cooperation Organisation: China may consider inducting Iran into the SCO.

If the proposal is accepted by the SCO, which is led by China and Russia, India will become a member of a bloc that will be seen as anti-American, and will run counter to some of the government’s other initiatives like the Indo-Pacific quadrilateral with the U.S., Australia and Japan.

Rules-based order: By walking out of the JCPOA, the U.S. government has overturned the precept that such international agreements are made by “States” not just with prevailing governments or regimes.

 

What role does the U.N. Security Council play in this crisis?

The Security Council adopted a resolution in 2015 that endorsed the nuclear agreement and ended U.N. sanctions against Iran. The resolution, 2231, includes what is known as a “snapback” provision that could reinstate those sanctions if other parties to the agreement complained that Iran was cheating. Such a step would likely doom the agreement.

 

Sources: Indian Express.


GS Paper 3:

Topics covered:

Science and Technology- developments and their applications and effects in everyday life. Achievements of Indians in science & technology; indigenization of technology and developing new technology.

 

Study to check antibiotic resistance in Ganga

What to study?

For Prelims: what is antibiotic resistance and how it occurs?

For Mains: Issues and concerns associated and ways to address them.

 

Context: The government has commissioned a ₹9.3 crore study to assess the microbial diversity along the entire length of the Ganga and test if stretches of the 2,500 km long river contain microbes that may promote “antibiotic resistance”.

 

The aims of the research project is to:

  1. Indicate the type of “contamination” (sewage and industrial) in the river and “threat to human health (antibiotic resistance surge)”.
  2. Identify sources of Eschericia coli, a type of bacteria that lives in the gut of animals and humans.

 

Need for such studies:

A 2017 report commissioned by the Union Department of Biotechnology and the U.K. Research Council underlined that India had some of the highest antibiotic resistance rates among bacteria that commonly cause infections.

Another study reported that levels of resistance genes that lead to “superbugs” were about 60 times greater during the pilgrimage months of May and June than at other times of the year.

 

What is it?

  • Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is the ability of a microorganism (like bacteria, viruses, and some parasites) to stop an antimicrobial (such as antibiotics, antivirals and antimalarials) from working against it. As a result, standard treatments become ineffective, infections persist and may spread to others.
  • The term is used in the context of resistance that pathogens or cancers have “acquired”, that is, resistance has evolved.
  • When an organism is resistant to more than one drug, it is said to be multidrug-resistant.

 

Why is Antibiotic Resistance a Big Deal?

The discovery of antibiotics less than a century ago was a turning point in public health that has saved countless lives. Although antibiotic resistance develops naturally with normal bacterial mutation, humans are speeding it up by using antibiotics improperly. According to a research, now, 2 million people a year in the US develop antibiotic-resistant infections, and 23,000 of them die of those infections.

 

Why is the medical community worried?

Basically, superbugs are becoming more powerful and widespread than ever. Medical experts are afraid that we’re one step away from deadly, untreatable infections, since the mcr-1 E.coli is resistant to that last-resort antibiotic Colistin. Antibiotic-resistance is passed relatively easily from one bacteria to the next, since it is transmitted by way of loose genetic material that most bacteria have in common.

The World Health Organization (WHO) is afraid of a post-antibiotic world, where loads of bacteria are superbugs. Already, infections like tuberculosis, gonorrhea, and pneumonia are becoming harder to treat with typical antibiotics.

 

Need of the hour:

  1. A multi-stakeholder approach, involving private industry, philanthropic groups and citizen activists is needed.
  2. Private pharmaceutical industries must take it upon themselves to distribute drugs in a responsible manner.
  3. Philanthropic charities must fund the development of new antibiotics, while citizen activists must drive awareness.
  4. These stakeholders must appreciate that the only way to postpone resistance is through improved hygiene and vaccinations.

 

Sources: the Hindu.


GS Paper 3:

Topics covered:

Science and Technology- developments and their applications and effects in everyday life. Achievements of Indians in science & technology; indigenization of technology and developing new technology.

 

H1N1

 

What to study?

For Prelims: Overview of H1N1.

For Mains: Spread, causes, symptoms and prevention.

 

Context: In India, the past decade saw as many as 1.58 lakh persons being infected by H1N1 virus and over 10,000 succumbing to it.

 

Key facts:

  1. Maharashtra toll highest and Rajasthan worst hit in 2019.
  2. Unlike the temperate countries, where peak influenza activity is recorded in winters, in the tropical and sub-tropical countries, the primary peak of influenza activity is during the monsoon. However, in some places, influenza also peaks during winters and in some tropical countries, influenza sustains throughout the year.
  3. Overcrowding leads to increased transmission of airborne infection. Some areas in the country may have a sparse population but with diagnostic testing facilities being set up, more cases are being detected.

 

About H1N1 Virus:

Swine flu is a highly contagious respiratory disease in pigs caused by one of several swine influenza A viruses.

Transmission of swine influenza viruses to humans is uncommon. However, the swine influenza virus can be transmitted to humans via contact with infected pigs or environments contaminated with swine influenza viruses.

Symptoms are cough, fever, soar throat , stuffy or runny nose, headache, body ache etc. 

The sub-types are based on: The host of the origin, Geographical origin, Strain in number, Year of isolation etc.

 

Spreading of Seasonal Influenza (H1N1):

  1. Seasonal influenza viruses circulate and cause disease in humans every year.
  2. In tropical climates, disease tends to occur seasonally as well as regular virus spreading from person-to-person through sneezing, coughing, or touching contaminated surfaces. 
  3. Seasonal influenza viruses evolve continuously, which means that people can get infected multiple times throughout their lives.

 

Diagnosis and treatment:

The Centres for Disease Control and Prevention recommend real-time polymerase chain reaction as the method of choice for diagnosing H1N1.

Antiviral drugs are the mainstay of clinical treatment of swine influenza and can make the illness milder and enable the patient to feel better faster.

  

Prevention of swine influenza has 3 components: prevention in swine, prevention of transmission to humans, and prevention of its spread among humans.

Because of limited treatment options, high risk for secondary infection, and frequent need for intensive care of individuals with H1N1 pneumonia, environmental control, including vaccination of high-risk populations and public education are critical to control of swine influenza out breaks.

Sources: Indian Express.


GS Paper 3:

Topics covered:

Important International institutions, agencies and fora, their structure, mandate.

Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment.

 

REDD+

 

What to study?

For Prelims: REDD+ related facts.

For Mains: Significance and the need for National REDD+ strategy, performance of REDD+.

 

ContextThe Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+) programmebeing carried out in the himalayan states jointly by Indian Council of Forestry Research and Education (ICFRE) and International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD) has been extended till July 2020.

 

Background:

ICFRE-ICIMOD’s REDD+ Himalaya: Developing and using experience in implementing REDD+ in the Himalaya programme was launched in January 2016 in Mizoram to address the drivers of deforestation and forest degradation in India’s Himalayan states. 

India’s REDD+ strategy:

Complying with the UNFCCC decisions on REDD+, India has prepared its National REDD+ Strategy.

  • The Strategy builds upon existing national circumstances which have been updated in line with India’s National Action Plan on Climate Change, Green India Mission and India’s Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) to UNFCCC.
  • The strategy report has been prepared by Indian Council of Forestry Research & Education (ICFRE), Dehradun.

 

Background:

Since its formalisation in 2006, REDD+ had emerged as the most prominent global mechanism to integrate the role of forests in climate change.  It was touted as a win-win situation for biodiversity conservation, carbon sequestration and local livelihoods.

More than 300 REDD+ initiatives have taken off since 2006. The mechanism has been enshrined in the Paris Agreement of 2015, and its implementation is transitioning from smaller, isolated projects to larger, jurisdictional programmes with support from bilateral and multilateral agencies.

 

About REDD+:

REDD+ is a mechanism developed by Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

It creates a financial value for the carbon stored in forests by offering incentives for developing countries to reduce emissions from forested lands and invest in low-carbon paths to sustainable development.

Developing countries would receive results-based payments for results-based actions. REDD+ goes beyond simply deforestation and forest degradation and includes the role of conservation, sustainable management of forests and enhancement of forest carbon stocks.

 

 

Sources: Down to Earth.


 

Facts for prelims:

 

Star tortoise, otters get higher protection at CITES:

India’s proposal to upgrade the protection of star tortoises (Geochelone elegans)the smooth-coated otter (Lutrogale perspicillata) and small-clawed otters (Anoyx cinereus) in CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species on Wild Fauna and Flora) have been approved.

  • These species have been listed under Appendix I of CITES and will now enjoy the highest degree of protection as there will be a complete international ban enforced on their trade.
  • Appendix I of CITES lists species that are the most endangered among CITES-listed animals and plants. They are threatened with extinction and CITES prohibits international trade in specimens of these species except when the purpose of the import is not commercial, for instance for scientific research.

 

What is Coprolite?

Coprolites are fossilised faeces belonging to animals that lived millions of years ago.

Scientists can analyse and study their shape and size and depending on the location they were found in, they can figure out the animal from which they came as well as uncover what those animals ate.

 

Biometric Seafarer Identity Document (BSID):

India has become the first country in the world to issue Biometric Seafarer Identity Document (BSID), capturing the facial bio-metric data of seafarers.

Eligibility: Every Indian seafarer who possesses a valid Continuous Discharge Certificate issued by the Govt. of India will be eligible for issue of a BSID.

Key features of BSID:

  1. It will have a biometric chip embedded in it.
  2. The card has two optical security features- Micro prints/micro texts and Unique Guilloche pattern.

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