The Reserve Bank of India (RBI), in consultation with the government on December 26, 2018 has set up a six-member committee to review the economic capital framework of the central bank.
Composition: Former RBI Governor Bimal Jalan will be the committee’s chairman and former Deputy Governor Rakesh Mohan deputy chairman. The .... Read More
The NITI Aayog on December 21 released the Baseline Report of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) India Index, which comprehensively documents the progress made by India’s States and Union Territories towards implementing the 2030 SDG targets.
The SDG India Index has been developed in collaboration with the Ministry of Statistics & .... Read More
The Himalayas support about 20 per cent of the world’s population. But the ecologically fragile region, the storehouse of the third highest amount of frozen water on earth, is highly vulnerable to climate change. Among the 12 states in the Indian Himalayan Region (IHR), Assam is found to be the .... Read More
Gender parity is fundamental to whether and how economies and societies thrive. Ensuring the full development and appropriate deployment of half of the world’s total talent pool has a vast bearing on the growth, competitiveness and future-readiness of economies and businesses worldwide. The Global Gender Gap Report, 2018 benchmarks 149 .... Read More
1. Two Years of DroughtTwo successive years of drought (2014, 2015) have taken a toll on the farm sector. The government has allocated significant funds for the sector but slow implementation of projects has not eased the pain. Drought in Maharashtra, Gujarat and Karnataka have also added to farmers’ woes.2. .... Read More
Prime Minister Narendra Modi recently said that the country will be shifting to a gas-based economy in a few years. His remarks came while laying the foundation for the ninth bidding for city gas distribution (CGD) projects, under the Petroleum and Natural Gas Regulatory Board (PNGRB), covering 129 districts and .... Read More
Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated the Bogibeel Bridge, India’s longest rail-road bridge, connecting the north and south banks of the Brahmaputra, falling in the eastern part of Assam and Arunachal Pradesh, on December 25, 2018.
The Prime Minister flagged off an Intercity Express between Tinsukia in Assam and Naharlagun in .... Read More
Logistics Development Committee constituted under the Chairmanship of Dr. Bibek Debroy (Chairman EAC-PM) to assess key challenges, and suggest reforms in logistics development and associated commerce.
Composition: Other than Chairmanship of Dr. Bibek Debroy, the committee included Secretaries and heads of the concerned departments/ministries such as Revenue, Commerce, Logistics, DIPP, Civil .... Read More
Union Minister of Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare on December 11, 2018 launched a portal ENSURE - National Livestock Mission-EDEG developed by NABARD and operated under the Department of Animal Husbandry, Dairying & Fisheries.Earlier, even after the loan approval, subsidy took a long time to reach the beneficiary’s account. Under the .... Read More
The Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister on December 06, 2018, approved an Agriculture Export Policy 2018 to push towards the government’s commitment to double farmers’ income by 2022.
The Cabinet has also approved the proposal for establishment of Monitoring Framework at Centre with Commerce as the nodal Department with representation .... Read More
The Government had constituted a Group of eminent persons under the Chairmanship of Baba Kalyani (Chairman M/s. Bharat Forge) to study the Special Economic Zone (SEZ) Policy of India in June 2018.Objectives of the committeeTo evaluate the SEZ policy and make it compatible with WTO rules.To suggest measures for maximizing .... Read More
The Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP) announced results of the first ever States’ Start-up Ranking 2018 in New Delhi on December 20, 2018. DIPP began this exercise from January, 2016.
Objective of the Ranking
The key objective of the exercise was to encourage States and Union Territories to take proactive .... Read More
The dismantling of the Planning Commission and creation of NITI Aayog and the merger of planned and non-planned budget has proved non-effective, according to the fourth edition of the report brought out by the New Delhi-based not-for-profit engaged in research and advocacy on issues of social justice.In fact, the functioning .... Read More
According to Ministry of Labour and Employment data, 4-7 lakh jobs were generated every year through three schemes. An analysis of available numbers shows that three flagship employment generation programmes - the Prime Minister’s Employment Generation Programme (PMEGP), Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Grameen Kaushalya Yojana (DDU-GKY), and Deen Dayal Antodaya Yojana-National .... Read More
The NITI Aayog on December 27, 2018 released (by NITI Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant) the Second Delta ranking for the Aspirational Districts which measures the incremental progress made by them between June 1, 2018 and October 31, 2018.
Parameters: The ranking of districts were based on basically across six developmental areas .... Read More
The Union Cabinet on December 28, 2018 has approved the Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) Notification, 2018 which was last reviewed and issued in 2011.
The move comes in the backdrop of a series of representations received by the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC) from various coastal states and .... Read More
The State Administrative Council (SAC) headed by Jammu & Kashmir Governor Satya Pal Malik on November 28, 2018 repealed the Jammu and Kashmir State Lands (Vesting of Ownership to the Occupants) Act, 2001, popularly known as the Roshni Act, and reasoned that it had failed to realize the desired objectives .... Read More
The Ministry of Women and Child Development drafts Child Protection Policy to curb the instances of abuse of minors in shelter homes and child care institutions. The Ministry has placed the draft policy on its website and invited comments from stakeholders until January 04, 2019.This draft is going to be .... Read More
As per the new rules notified on December 03, 2018, the Central government has made the changes under Section 18 of the Citizenship Act, 1955.
Under the amendments, a separate entry in the form will ask the applicant: Do you belong to one of the minority communities from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and .... Read More
State Administration Council (SAC) headed by Jammu & Kashmir Governor Satya Pal on December 12, 2018 approved an amendment to the J&K Ranbir Penal Code (RPC), to insert a section to provide for the offence of “sextortion.”AmendmentUnder Section 354E of the RPC, the new law explicitly bans sexual exploitation of .... Read More
Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) on December 21, 2018 has discussed a draft of The Information Technology [Intermediaries Guidelines (Amendment) Rules] 2018, according to which social media platforms will soon have to end the complete encryption system and remove any “unlawful content” for the sake of the country’s .... Read More
The Development of Tribal Circuit was inaugurated on December 05, 2018 by Neiphiu Rio, Chief Minister of Nagaland in the presence of KJ Alphons, Union minister of state (I/C) for Tourism and H Khehovi Yepthomi (Advisor Tourism Art and Culture). It is the first ever Swadesh Darshan Project in the .... Read More
The Cabinet approved the draft National Commission for Indian Systems of Medicine (NCIM) Bill, 2018, on December 28, 2018, which seeks to replace the existing regulator Central Council for Indian Medicine (CCIM) with a new body to ensure transparency.
Salient Features of the Bill
The draft bill provides for the constitution of .... Read More
Lok Sabha on December 19, 2018 passed the Surrogacy (Regulation) Bill, 2016. Cleared by the Cabinet in 2016, the Bill was subsequently referred to a Parliamentary Standing Committee (Health & Family Welfare) before its passage.
The Surrogacy Bill states some rules to control surrogacy in the country and has completely banned .... Read More
A rise in literacy levels among women has failed to translate into an increase in the number of working women due to a combination of socio-economic factors such as the importance of education for improving marital prospects as well as higher prestige attached to households which keep women out of .... Read More
The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA), gave its in-principle approval for setting up of Eklavya Model Residential Schools (EMRSs) in every block with more than 50% ST population and at least 20,000 tribal persons.
Approval by the Government Includes
To begin with, the CCEA has approved a financial cost of Rs. .... Read More
To give a fillip to the medical device sector, which is a sunrise sector, Union Minister of Commerce and Industry and Civil Aviation announced setting up of a National Medical Devices Promotion Council under the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP) in the Ministry of Commerce & Industry on .... Read More
The Centre has admitted before the Delhi High Court on December 19, 2018 that although it stated before the court that a Rs 100-crore corpus was created for treatment of rare diseases, no such fund was ever allocated as initial corpus for treatment of life-threatening disease under the National Policy .... Read More
At the invitation of Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, His Excellency Lyonchhen Dr. Lotay Tshering was on a State visit to India from 27-29 December 2018. He was accompanied by Lyonpo Dr. Tandi Dorji, Minister for Foreign Affairs, Lyonpo Loknath Sharma, Minister for Economic Affairs and senior officials from the .... Read More
Following the US waiver to India to import a restricted quantity of crude oil from Iran for the next six months, the Persian Gulf nation has signed a memorandum of understanding with India to accept payments in rupee.Domestic refiners will pay Iran through a UCO Bank account of the National .... Read More
Sheikh Hasina on 31ST December, was invited by Bangladesh President Abdul Hamid to form the next government, hours after she was elected as the Awami League’s parliamentary party chairperson.Ms. Hasina, 71, is set to form the government for the third consecutive term. She won the historic fourth term as Prime .... Read More
Morocco has been named the second best performing country after Sweden in the Climate Change Performance Index (CCPI). The North African country significantly increased the share of renewables over the past five years and increased new renewable energy capacity.Sweden is in top position, followed by Morocco and Lithuania in the .... Read More
Ending a 51-day political crisis in Sri Lanka, Ranil Wickremesinghe sworn in as the new Prime Minister of the island nation, following the resignation of Mahinda Rajapaksa after he fails to garner majority in the Parliament; India welcomes the resolution of the political situation in Sri Lanka.Key FactsRanil Wickremsinghe was .... Read More
Qatar — among the world’s smallest countries by area and the richest in terms of per capita gross national income ($128,000 or Rs 90 lakh, according to World Bank figures) — announced ON Dec 3, it was walking away from OPEC, a cartel of 15 countries that produce about 45% .... Read More
In the first-ever trilateral summit between India, Japan and the US, the three countries focused on building a regional architecture in the Indo-Pacific region, stressing on the new framework being “inclusive”.
This being the first trilateral on the margins of the G-20, the meeting seals the importance of the Indo-Pacific framework .... Read More
A new algorithm developed by Delhi-based researchers makes it easy to identify rare cells from a dataset comprising millions of cells can be hugely daunting. Now, it can find rare cells from a very large pool of cells in a matter of seconds.
The algorithm — Finder of Rare Entities (FiRE) .... Read More
The development of the indigenously-designed heavy artillery gun, the Advanced Towed Artillery Gun System (ATAGS), has advanced to a stage where user-assisted trials of the gun are likely to start by June and the Army has begun finalising the Preliminary Specifications Qualitative Requirements (PSQR).
The ATAGS is a 155mm, 52 calibre .... Read More
Union Minister for Science & Technology, Earth Sciences,inaugurated the newly constructed International Training Centre for Operational Oceanography (ITCOocean) Complex in the INCOIS campus at Hyderabad on 22nd December.
Indian National Center for Ocean Information Services (INCOIS) is an autonomous organization of the Government of India, under the Ministry of Earth Sciences, .... Read More
According to a paper published in Nature Communications, a team of researchers from IISER Kolkata have developed a way of predicting the intensity of activity in the next solar cycle (approximately from 2020 to 2031) using data spread over the last 100 years.
Astronomers have observed sunspots on the surface of .... Read More
A high-performance magnetic tunnel junction that makes use of wavelike properties that are known and exploited in optics has been proposed by researchers from Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Bombay. They developed a quantum transport computational platform to predict the performance of such a device. If realised, the device can .... Read More
With the vision to further expand the idea of ‘Artificial Intelligence, AI for All’ articulated in the National AI Strategy, NITI Aayog organises hackathons to source sustainable, innovative and technologically-enabled solutions to address various challenges in the development space.
Taking the initiative forward, NITI Aayog is now partnering with Perlin – .... Read More
The Union Cabinet approved the launching of National Mission on Interdisciplinary Cyber-Physical Systems (NM-ICPS) to be implemented by Department of Science &Technology at a total outlay of Rs. 3660 crore for a period of five years.
The Mission addresses the ever increasing technological requirements of the society, and takes into .... Read More
The UN-backed project, called Seabed 2030, is urging countries and companies to pool data to create a map of the entire ocean floor by 2030. The map will be freely available to all. The project, launched in 2017, is expected to cost about $3 billion. It is a collaboration between .... Read More
The Union Cabinet approved the Gaganyaan Programme with demonstration of Indian Human Spaceflight capability to low earth orbit for a mission duration ranging from one orbital period to a maximum of seven days.
A human rated GSLV Mk-lll will be used to carry the orbital module which will have necessary .... Read More
Indian Space Research Organisation’s (ISRO) heaviest and most-advanced high throughput communication satellite GSAT-11 was successfully launched from the Spaceport in French Guiana during the early hours on Dec 5.
All about the GSAT-11 launch
The GSAT-11 was launched onboard Ariane-5 launch vehicle
The satellite will be initially placed in the Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit
It .... Read More
GSLV-F11 on December 11 launched a communication satellite, GSAT-7A. In a first, Isro will make dead rocket stage ‘alive’ in space for experiments.
Dubbed as ‘Angry Bird,’ the satellite is expected to enable the force to interlink different ground radar stations, ground airbase and Airborne early warning and control (AWACS) aircraft.
Features .... Read More
After over six months of travelling through space and covering a journey of more than 300 million miles, NASA’s Mars science lander InSight touched down safely on the surface of the red planet on 29th November.
The 880-pound (360 kg) InSight – its name is short for Interior Exploration Using Seismic .... Read More
Indian Space Research Organisation (Isro) launced hyperspectral imaging satellite (HySIS), an earth observation satellite, from the Sriharikota launch centre on 29th November. Over 30 foreign commercial satellites will be launched along with primary payload HySIS by the PSLV C43 rocket
Preparations are underway for the launch of earth observation satellite Hyper .... Read More
The Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has approved Submission of India’s second Biennial Update Report (BUR) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change towards fulfilment of the reporting obligation under the Convention.Salient FeaturesThe scope of BUR is to provide an update to India’s first .... Read More
A recent study covering 100 km of rivers and channels around the Sunderbans have revealed that the national aquatic animal is no longer sighted in the central and eastern parts of the archipelago. Only in the western part of Sunderbans, where the salinity is lower, could researchers find some evidence .... Read More
Following a plea challenging the environmental clearance granted to mines within 10 km of the Sariska Tiger Reserve, the National Green Tribunal has banned all mining activity around the area. Any further activity is subject to the clearance of leases by the National Board of Wildlife.
A Bench, headed by NGT .... Read More
The Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Government of India has launched the “Asiatic Lion Conservation Project” with an aim to protect and conserve the world’s last ranging free population of Asiatic Lion and its associated ecosystem.
The Asiatic lion is a Panthera leo leo population in India. Its range .... Read More
The Supreme Court on Tuesday directed the Union Environment Ministry to declare 10 km area around 21 national parks and wildlife sanctuaries across the country as ‘eco-sensitive zones’.Areas to be DeclaredThe parks and sanctuaries are the Pobitora sanctuary in Assam; Hemis High Altitude and Kishtewar national parks, Changthang, Hokersar, Trikuta .... Read More
The collapse of a coal mine in Meghalaya’s East Jaintia Hills, trapping at least 15 workers who were still missing and are feared dead, has thrown the spotlight on a procedure known as “rat-hole mining”. Although banned, it remains the prevalent procedure for coal mining in Meghalaya. A look at .... Read More
In order to comply with various directions of the Hon’ble NGT and to address various shortcomings in the existing guidelines of ground water extraction, the Central Ground Water Authority, Ministry of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation on 12th December 2018 notified revised guidelines for ground water extraction vide .... Read More
Bioplastics — often promoted as a climate-friendly alternative to petroleum-based plastics — may lead to an increase in greenhouse gas emissions, according to a study.The study from the University of Bonn in Germany, published in the journal Environmental Research Letters, suggests that shifting to plant-based plastics could have less positive .... Read More
The Centre has fixed a target of reducing air pollution by 20-30% from the current level in 102 cities across the country by 2024. The target is part of the environment ministry’s National Clean Air Programme (NCAP) which is to be released in the next few days.
Besides Delhi, the cities .... Read More
Mrs. India 2018Mrs. Divya Patidar Joshi has been crowned the prestigious ‘Mrs. India My Identity’ Beauty Pageant 2018 which was held on 25th December, 2018 in New Delhi.‘Tansen Samman’Renowned sitar player Manju Mehta has been conferred with the ‘Tansen Samman’ for 2018 by the Madhya Pradesh government for her contribution .... Read More
42nd Indian Social Science Congress (ISSC)The 42nd Indian Social Science Congress was held at KIIT University campus in Bhubaneswar, Odisha. It was inaugurated by Manipur governor Dr. Najma Heptulla on 27th December, 2018.The theme of the Congress was “Human Future in Digital Era”. 9th India-ROK Joint Commission MeetingThe 9th meeting .... Read More
Ramakant Vithal AchrekarThe legendary cricket coach, Dronacharya Awardee Ramakant Vithal Achrekar passed away on 2nd January, 2018 at his Shivaji Park residence in Mumbai.Kader KhanVeteran Bollywood actor-screen writer Kader Khan passed away on 1st December, 2019 in Canada.Mrinal SenLegendary filmmaker and Dadasaheb Phalke award winner Mrinal Sen passed away on .... Read More
Sudhir BhargavaThe government has appointed Sudhir Bhargava as the Chief Information Commissioner. He will take charge on 1st January, 2019.PV BharathiThe Appointments Committee of the Cabinet (ACC) has approved the appointment of PV Bharati as MD & CEO of Corporation Bank. She will replace Jai Kumar Garg. She will take .... Read More
Sheikh HasinaBangladesh’s ruling alliance won almost all the seats in the parliament in the country’s general election, giving Prime Minister Sheikh Hasinaa third term.The coalition led by Hasina’s Awami League won 288 out of 300 seats—96%—in polls. The National Unity Front the opposition alliance led by lawyer Kamal Hossain won .... Read More
India’s Aviation Safety Rating at Category-1The US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has retained India’s aviation safety rating at Category-1. The Federal Aviation Administration carried out an audit of the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) in July 2018—the third since 2013.National Report on States’ Startup Ranking 2018The National Report on .... Read More
12th Annual ISDSI Conference held in MumbaiSPJIMR hosted the 12th Annual Indian Subcontinent Decision Sciences Institute (ISDSI) Conference from 27th to 30th December, 2018 at SPJIMR, Mumbai. The theme of this international conference was “Data-Driven Decision Making in the Digital Age”.This conference is a platform for academicians, researchers and practitioners .... Read More
Smriti Mandhana named ICC Women’s Cricketer of the YearSmriti Mandhana was named as the Women’s Cricketer of the Year on 31st December, 2018 by International Cricket Council. She also won the Rachael Heyhoe-Flint Award. The Mumbai cricketer was the third highest scorer in the World T20 with 178 runs. CA .... Read More
Deal Reached in Katowice is Welcome but not Enough
The 24th Session of the of the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP 24) was held in Katowice, Poland on 02nd– 15th December 2018. The conference was a significant one which focused on three .... Read More
ObjectivesSteadily accelerate the gross domestic product (GDP) growth rate to achieve a target of about 8 per cent during 2018-23 (note that this target has been set to catalyse policy action and does not represent a forecast). This will raise the economy’s size in real terms from USD 2.7 trillion .... Read More
ObjectivesComplete codification of central labour laws into four codes by 2019. Increase female labour force participation to at least 30 per cent by 2022-23.Disseminate publicly available data, collected through rigorous household and enterprise surveys and innovative use of administrative data on a quarterly basis by 2022-23.Encourage increased formalization of the .... Read More
ObjectivesIndia should be among the top 50 countries in the Global Innovation Index by 2022-23.Five of our scientific research institutions should be amongst the top 100 in the world.India should aim to spend at least 2 per cent of gross domestic product (GDP) on R&D with equal contributions from the .... Read More
ObjectivesDouble the current growth rate of the manufacturing sector by 2022.Promote in a planned manner the adoption of the latest technology advancements, referred to as ‘Industry 4.0’, that will have a defining role in shaping the manufacturing sector in 2022.Current SituationIndia is the fifth largest manufacturer in the world. The .... Read More
ObjectivesModernize agricultural technology, increase productivity, efficiency and crop diversification.Generate income and employment through a paradigm shift that ensures food security while maximizing value addition in agriculture.Current SituationThe existing yield levels of a majority of crops remains much lower than the world average.Close to 53 per cent of cropped area is .... Read More
ObjectivesCreate a policy environment that enables income security for farmers, whilst maintaining India’s food security.Encourage the participation of the private sector in agricultural development to transition from agriculture to robust agri-business systems.Promote through government policies the emergence of ‘agripreneurs’ so that even small and marginal farmers can capture a higher .... Read More
ObjectivesTransform the rural economy through the creation of modern rural infrastructure and an integrated value chain system.Leverage the value chain to boost India’s exports of food products.Create occupational diversification and qualityWay ForwardWarehousing, pack-houses, ripening chambers, and cold storages, including those set up at the village level, should be accorded full-fledged .... Read More
Objectives(i) Banking for the unbankedBank accounts: Ensuring universal access to bank accounts, which are a gateway to all financial services.Digital payment services: Providing access to digital payment services and increasing its penetration.(ii) Securing the unsecuredInsurance and social security: Ensuring universal coverage of insurance for life, accidents, etc., and of pensions .... Read More
ObjectivesProvide every family with a pucca house, with a water connection, toilet facilities, and 24x7 electricity supply and access.Build 2.95 core housing units in rural areas and 1.2 crore housing units in urban areas.Current SituationThe government has made it clear that one of its key priorities is to ensure safe .... Read More
ObjectivesIncrease India’s share in global international tourist arrivals from 1.18 per cent to 3 per cent.Increase the number of foreign tourist arrivals from 8.8 million to 12 million.Double the number of domestic tourist visits, from 1,614 million in 2016 to 3,200 million visits.Current SituationIndia moved up 12 places from 52nd .... Read More
ObjectivesDouble the area explored from 10 per cent of obvious geological potential (OGP) area to 20 per cent.Accelerate the growth of the mining sector from 3 per cent in 2017-18 to 14 per cent, with an average growth of 8.5 per cent during 2018-23. Increase the job contribution (direct, associated .... Read More
CSO has recently published EnviStats-India 2018: Supplement on Environmental Accounts. The data given in this report is based on the information sourced from different Ministries/Departments/Organisations of Central Governments.
Environment-Economic AccountingThe notion of man’s dependence on nature is deeply ingrained in the Indian philosophy. But with the global focus on economic development, .... Read More
Concept of Forest Accounts in SEEA-CFForests are at the centre of many environmental and economic issues including climate change, biodiversity protection, tourism, soil erosion, stability of water cycles etc. Forest accounts provide a framework in this context to capture the economic contribution of forests and their connection with the economy.
Recognizing .... Read More
Inland Water Resources Inland water resources include both fresh and brackish water bodies. While freshwater is naturally occurring water with low concentration of salt, brackish water has a salt concentration varying between that of freshwater and marine water. Inland Water Resources of the country are categorized as: rivers and canals; .... Read More
The term ‘Mineral’ means a class of substances occurring in nature, of definite chemical composition and usually, a characteristic crystal structure, but sometimes also includes rocks formed by these substances. A mineral is an element or chemical compound that has been formed as a result of geological processes. Mineral resources .... Read More
ObjectivesThe government’s on-going energy sector policies aim “to provide access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy”. At the convergence of its domestic goals and the global development agenda, it also intends to hit the following milestones on the way –Make available 24x7 power to all by 2019.Achieve 175 GW .... Read More
ObjectivesIncreasing the coverage and quality of roads and highways is critical to enhancing connectivity and internal and external trade. By 2022-23, we should achieve the following objectives:Increase connectivity by expanding the road network:Achieve the Bharatmala Phase-I target by completing 24,800 km by 2021-22, including 2,000 km of coastal and port .... Read More
ObjectivesBy 2022-23, India should have a rail network that is not only efficient, reliable and safe, but is also cost-effective and accessible, both with respect to the movement of people and goods. This requires achieving the following objectives:Augment the capacity of existing railway infrastructure.Increase the speed of infrastructure creation from .... Read More
ObjectivesEnhance the affordability of flying to enable an increase in domestic ticket sales from 103.75 million in 2016-171 to 300 million by 2022.Double air cargo handled from about 3.3 million tonnes in 2017-18 to about 6.5 million tonnes.Expand the maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) industry from USD 1.8 billion in .... Read More
Double the share of freight transported by coastal shipping and inland waterways from 6 per cent in 2016-171 to 12 per cent by 2025.
Increase the port handling capacity to 2,500 million metric tonnes (MMT) by 2022-23.
Reduce the turnaround time at major ports from about 3.44 days (2016-17) to 1-2 days .... Read More
ObjectivesAchieve multi-modal movement of cargo on par with global logistics standards.Reduce the logistics cost to less than 10 per cent of GDP from the current level of 14 per cent.Expand the logistics market to USD215 billion by 2020 from the current level of USD160 billion.Improve logistics skilling and increase jobs .... Read More
ObjectivesGiven the relevance of digital connectivity to economic growth and the need to eliminate the digital divide by 2022-23, India should aim to achieve:Physical digital connectivity across all states, districts and gram panchayats (GPs).Delivery of government services digitally by 2022-23.Hundred per cent basic digital literacy across the country to be .... Read More
ObjectivesLeverage the ‘Smart Cities’ concept in select urban clusters to:Drive job creation and economic growth.Significantly improve efficiencies in service delivery.Leverage technology for inclusive, sustainable and participatory development by 2022-23.Current SituationThe Government of India has so far selected 99 cities with an outlay of INR 2.04 lakh crore. These cities have .... Read More
ObjectivesThe key objectives of the Swachh Bharat Mission include:Making India Open Defecation Free (ODF) by October 2, 2019.Carrying out extensive information, education and communication (IEC) and behaviour change campaigns to change the attitude of people regarding healthy sanitation practices.Ensuring scientific solid and liquid waste management.Augmenting the capacity of local bodies.Creating .... Read More
ObjectivesBy 2022-23, India’s water resources management strategy should facilitate water security to ensure adequate availability of water for life, agriculture, economic development, ecology and environment. This broader vision can be achieved by attaining the following sectoral goals:Provide adequate (rural: 40 litres per capita per day (lpcd); urban 135 lpcd) and .... Read More
ObjectiveThe objective is to maintain a clean, green and healthy environment with peoples’ participation to support higher and inclusive economic growth through sustainable utilization of available natural resources. The 2022-23 goals include the following.Air pollution:Bringing down PM2.5 levels in Indian cities to less than 50.Creating 175 GW of renewable energy .... Read More
ObjectivesUniversal access and retention:Hundred per cent enrolment and retention at elementary education and secondary education levels; achieve zero dropouts until Class X.Equitable participation by all society segments, in terms of attendance, retention and years of schooling to ensure maximum social inclusion.Creating a robust framework for tracking individual students across their .... Read More
ObjectivesIncrease the gross enrolment ratio (GER) in higher education from 25 per cent in 2016-17 to 35 per cent by 2022-23.Make higher education more inclusive for the most vulnerable groups.Adopt accreditation as a mandatory quality assurance framework and have multiple highly reputed accreditation agencies for facilitating the process.Create an enabling .... Read More
ObjectivesThere cannot be a quality education system without quality teachers. Therefore, a thorough revamp of the entire ecosystem of teacher education both at the school and college level is necessary. In this context, the objectives for 2022-23 include:Enforcing minimum teacher standards through rigorous teacher eligibility tests and criteria for the .... Read More
ObjectivesFor harnessing the demographic advantage that it enjoys, India needs to build the capacity and infrastructure for skilling/reskilling/up-skilling existing and new entrants to the labour force. The goals to be met until 2022-23 are as follows:Increase the proportion of formally skilled labour from the current 5.4 per cent of India’s .... Read More
ObjectivesTo revamp radically the public and preventive health system in the nation through the following strategic interventions:Mobilize public health action through an integrated, inter-sectoral and pan-stakeholder approach, targeted at communities and individuals as well as grassroots organizations, aimed at creating an unprecedented people-led movement for health and wellness.Operationalize vital enablers .... Read More
ObjectivesUnder Ayushman Bharat, scale-up a new vision for comprehensive primary health care across the country, built on the platform of health and wellness centres (HWCs), to:Provide quality ambulatory services for an inclusive package of diagnostic, curative, rehabilitative and palliative care, close to the people.Deliver preventive and promotion services, and action .... Read More
ObjectivesAchieve a doctor-population ratio of at least 1:1400 (WHO norm 1:1000) and nurse-population ratio of at least 1:500 (WHO norm 1:400) by 2022-23.Ensure availability of paramedics and doctors as per Indian Public Health Standard (IPHS) norms in high priority districts by 2020 (National Health Policy, 2017).Deploy mid-level providers (MLPs) to .... Read More
ObjectivesOn the strong platform of Pradhan Mantri – Jan Arogya Yojana (PM-JAY):Attain a coverage of at least 75 per cent of the population with publicly financed health insurance (covering most secondary and tertiary care procedures) by 2022-23.Reduce by 50 per cent the proportion of households facing catastrophic health expenditure from .... Read More
ObjectivesUnder POSHAN Abhiyaan, achieve the following outcomes by 2022-23, compared to the baseline of 2015-16 (National Family Health Survey-4):Reduce the prevalence of stunting among children to 25 per cent or less. Reduce the prevalence of underweight in children (0-6 years) to 25 per cent or less.Reduce the prevalence of anaemia .... Read More
ObjectiveTo create an enabling environment, sans institutional and structural barriers.To enhance the female labour force participation rate to at least 30 per cent by 2022-23.
Current SituationHowever, a declining female labour force participation rate (LFPR) despite increasing levels of education and declining fertility rates has emerged as a worrying trend.The current .... Read More
Senior CitizensObjectiveTo ensure a life of dignity, social security and safety for senior citizens, enabling them to actively participate in economic development and the nation building process.Way ForwardRevise the National Policy for Older Persons. The policy should cover housing, income security, pension, and access to healthcare. It should also emphasize .... Read More
SCs, STs, OBCs, De-Notified Tribes (DNTs), Nomadic Tribes (NTs) and Semi-Nomadic Tribes (SNTs)ObjectiveTo accelerate the socio-economic development of SCs, STs, OBCs, safai karamcharis as well as DNTs, NTs and SNTs through focused affirmative action so as to bring them on par with the rest of the population as far as .... Read More
ObjectiveAchieve balanced development in India by uplifting 115 districts, currently below the national average in the areas of health and nutrition, education, agriculture and water resources, financial inclusion and skill development, and basic infrastructure.Current SituationThe Aspirational Districts Programme (ADP) was launched on January 5, 2018.A list of 49 target indicators .... Read More
ObjectivesThe North-East Region (NER) should:Have adequate road, rail and air connectivity, waterways, internet connectivity and financial inclusion. This will form the platform upon which suitable interventions for all sectors where the NER has a comparative advantage (for e.g., tourism, hydropower generation, handicrafts, organic agriculture, etc.) can be effectively implemented.By 2022-23, .... Read More
ObjectiveTo ensure the safety and security of citizens and ensure access to effective legal systems and speedy delivery of justice.Current SituationLegal and judicial reforms are urgently needed to address the massive pendency and capacity issues in Indian courts, which impede access to justice.Several archaic and defunct laws have already been .... Read More
ObjectiveTo put in place a reformed system of recruitment, training and performance evaluation of the civil service to ensure more effective and efficient delivery of public services to achieve the development goals envisaged in New India 2022.Current SituationThe Second Administrative Reforms Commission (ARC) was constituted in 2005 and in 2009, .... Read More
ObjectiveTo transform our cities into economically vibrant and environmentally sustainable habitats that provide equitable access to basic infrastructure, public services and opportunities to all citizens and platforms for democratic participation.Current SituationIndia is urbanizing at a fast pace and it is expected that by 2050, close to 50 per cent of .... Read More
ObjectivesEnsuring that land markets function smoothly, through efficient allocation of land across uses, provision of secure property rights and titles, and clear and consistent regulations around the operations, leasing and sale of land are critical for India to achieve and sustain high economic growth.To this end, the following goals have .... Read More
ObjectivesEvidence based policy making should be made integral to the overall governance structure in New India, 2022-23. To achieve this, timely generation and dissemination of robust data at all levels of governance would be a pre-requisite. This would require:Collecting data for new measurable parameters using latest technologies.Improving efficiencies in processes .... Read More
The Central Government on October 10, 2018 notified the minimum environmental flows for River Ganga that has to be maintained at various locations on the river.
Aviral Flow of the River
Environmental flows are the acceptable flow regimes that are required to maintain a river in the desired environmental state or predetermined state.
The notification issued by the Government will ensure that the river has at least the minimum required environmental flow of water even after the river flow gets diverted by projects and structures for purposes like irrigation, hydropower, domestic and industrial use, etc. This is an important step taken towards .... Read More
The Eastern Ghats spread across Odisha, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu, has lost almost 16% of its forest area over a span of 100 years, a recently published study shows.
Researchers from the University of Hyderabad studied historical maps and satellite images from 1920 to 2015 to understand the changes in land use and land cover.
About the Eastern Ghats
The Eastern Ghats or Purva Ghat also known as Mahendra Parvatam in the south, are a discontinuous range of mountains along India’s eastern coast.
The Eastern Ghats run from the northern Odisha through Andhra Pradesh to Tamil Nadu in .... Read More
In a first, an ancient circular lake created by a meteorite strike in Maharashtra and a hexagonal mosaic of basaltic rocks in an island off Udupi are poised to become global geoparks, under a Geological Survey of India (GSI) plan.
Lonar Lake in Maharashtra and St. Mary’s Island and Malpe beach in coastal Karnataka are the GSI’s candidates for UNESCO Global Geopark Network status.
An aspiring Global Geopark must have a dedicated website, a corporate identity, comprehensive management plan, protection plans, finance, and partnerships for it to be accepted.
The Geopark tag is akin to that of a ‘World Heritage Site’ for historical .... Read More
On August 8, 2018 the Centre banned 18 pesticides citing the harmful effects they could cause to humans and animals. While 12 of them are banned with immediate effect, six will be phased out by December 2020, and one pesticide Trifluralin, which is widely used as herbicide, is allowed only for wheat.Anupam Verma Committee: The Centre has taken the decision following Anupam Verma committee, set up to review the continued use of 66 pesticides that have been banned/restricted for use in farming in other countries, found that these 18 pesticides pose risk to humans and animals. Banned Pesticides (with Immediate .... Read More
Traditional ecological surveys of freshwater communities require many hours of painstaking work, usually by species experts and trained assistants, to identify the species of many specimens collected in the field. With pondweeds, they normally examine the physical features, such as fruiting structures, under a microscope to determine the species.A research team in Canada has tested the use of environmental DNA (eDNA) to speed up the process of identifying and surveying these and other aquatic plants. The researchers in the current study developed and tested new genetic markers and methods to detect pondweeds using eDNA, which is made up of the .... Read More
The Kerala tragedy has revived the discussion around the need to protect the fragile ecosystem of the Western Ghats, the 1600-km-long mountain range, regarded as one of the eight ‘hottest’ biodiversity hotspots in the world. Kerala accounts for nearly 18 per cent of the biodiversity-rich Western Ghats.
What was Finally Decided?
The Environment Ministry issued a draft notification, demarcating an area of 56,285 sq km in the Western Ghats as ESA. This was slightly less than the 59,940 sq km recommended by the Kasturirangan committee. In Kerala, specifically, the Kasturirangan committee had proposed an area of 13,108 square km as part of .... Read More
In 2017-18, the Ministry of Mines (MoM) conducted a survey of 14 major sand producing states. Its estimates show that the demand of sand far outstrips supply in all the states, except Haryana, Uttarakhand and Madhya Pradesh. Tamil Nadu, which experiences the maximum deficit of 65 per cent, has the highest demand for sand.
Impact of Sand Mining
Revenue loss to the exchequer is seemingly the only tangible cost of illegally mined sand, but the impact that it has on environment and ecology is far greater and far graver, caution environmentalists and water conservation experts.
From forcing the river to change its course, .... Read More
Gearing up to reduce pollution-related woes in the capital city, the Delhi government has mandated the use of only cleaner fuels and barred all toxic and polluting fuels. This new notification is an amendment of the original List of Approved Fuels notified by the Delhi government on August 27, 1996.The NotificationAll existing industrial units, commercial establishments and other users, who are currently using fuels that are not approved under the notification, given 90 days to switch over to approved fuels.Only Bharat Stage VI compliant petrol and diesel with 10 ppm sulphur, CNG, LPG, biogas, aviation fuel, energy from waste, charcoal .... Read More
The East Delhi Municipal Corporation expressed its desire to develop two landfills on the Yamuna floodplain. The move has been critiqued by river experts. What took many by surprise is the fact that the Central Pollution Control Board, the apex pollution control agency of the country, does not consider the location of the landfill sites as being on the riverbed.Such a project could destroy existing wetlands, pollute underlying aquifers and groundwater, and contribute to the already critical air pollution situation in the Capital.Extent of River Bed and its EdgeBut, the case also raises one more question: What is the lateral .... Read More
Giving impetus to the e-mobility ecosystem, including vehicle manufacturers, charging infrastructure companies, fleet operators and service providers, the Union Ministry of Power and New & Renewable Energy has launched the National E-Mobility Programme.Key InfoThe e-mobility programme will be implemented by Energy Efficiency Services Limited (EESL) which will procure electric vehicles in bulk to ensure economies of scale.In 2017, EESL had issued a tender to procure 10,000 e-vehicles to replace petrol and diesel vehicles.Though India is highly unlikely to meet the National Electric Mobility Mission Plan target of having 6-7 million electric vehicles by 2020, the government is making optimistic plans.National .... Read More
The Supreme Court, on March 14, 2018 asked the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC) to submit the details of how a huge amount of around Rs 75,000 crore, lying in various funds created for protection of the environment, was being utilised.
Remember This: There are around 10 to 12 such funds created so far, which are being fed by Education Cess, Road Cess, Infrastructure Cess, Clean Energy Cess, Krishi Kalyan Cess, Swachh Bharat Cess and others.
Swachh Bharat Cess
The Swachh Bharat Cess has become effective from 15 November 2015 at the rate of 0.5% on all .... Read More
India and the UK have launched joint research projects on water quality and energy demand reduction. The projects aim to address shared global sustainable development goals in the areas of clean water and clean energy.About the ProjectEight projects to be supported under the Water Quality Research programme relate to:(a) Optical sensor platform for water quality monitoring(b) Fate and management of emerging contaminants(c) Rainwater harvesting and its impacts(d) Vembanad lake rehabilitation(e) Remediation of ground-water arsenic in Ganga river basin among othersThey also include sensors and treatment technologies for freshwater systems, pathways and evolution of pollutants, and antimicrobial resistance and pollutants. Besides, .... Read More
Changes in future land use, increased fragmentation of tiger habitat and the inevitable loss in genetic diversity puts tiger populations at small and isolated reserves at high risk of extinction. Unplanned development can increase the probability of extinction by over 50%, a study has found. The study, Maintaining Tiger Connectivity and Minimising Extinction into the Next Century: Insights from Landscape Genetics and Spatially-Explicit Simulations, was published in the February 2018 issue of the Biological Conservation journal.
When people refer to the built environment, what are they talking about?
In technical terms, most people refer to the built .... Read More
On December 29, 2017, the Environment Ministry was asked if Cyclone Ockhi had dumped plastic debris along the coast, whether the government had data on the amount, and whether it had an emergency plan to tackle the issue. In his reply, MoS Mahesh Sharma said, “Ockhi Cyclone resulted in agglomeration of plastic debris along the coasts of Maharashtra, Kerala, Karnataka, Goa and Gujarat etc., particularly along the major beaches of Mumbai.
Plastic in India
According to a September 2017 report by the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), which extrapolated data from 60 major cities, the country generates around 25,940 tonnes of plastic .... Read More
Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) under its “Development of Solar Cities” scheme has sanctioned
development of 60 Solar Cities including 13 Pilot and 5 Model Cities up to 12th Five-year Plan period (2012–2017). So far, master plans of 49 Solar Cities have been prepared. Moreover, Stake-holders Committees have been constituted in 21 Cities and Solar City Cells have been created in 37 Solar Cities.
What is a Solar City?
The Solar City aims at minimum 10% reduction in projected demand of conventional energy at the end of five years, through a combination of enhancing supply from renewable energy sources in .... Read More
After two years of relatively good rains, large parts of Maharashtra (especially the Marathwada region and the adjoining districts of Jalgaon, Nashik, Ahmednagar, Sholapur, Amravati and Yavatmal), North Gujarat, Saurashtra, Kutch and North Karnataka are reeling under drought. What is different this time is that it has been induced by the southwest monsoon’s failure in the second half of the season. The rains were, in fact, quite good in most of these areas during June-July.Three-Step Approach to Declare DroughtA manual published by the Ministry of Agriculture in 2016 suggests a three-step approach to declare drought.The first step is to look .... Read More
A study published in the Journal of Hydrology found that all the four districts of Sikkim are resilient to drought, making the state absolutely prepared to tackle the calamity. However, no district in Rajasthan or Chhattisgarh is tough enough to face a drought.
Resilience is defined by the study as the ability of a system to undergo minimal changes in structure and behaviour under changing conditions.
In the current case, drought resilience can be described as the ability of a land area to withstand dry conditions, resulting from decreased precipitation (rainfall, snowfall and hail) and loss of moisture from the .... Read More
Floods are the most common and recurrent natural disaster in India, but their frequency and intensity have increased in recent years. In the last five years, the country has faced catastrophic floods in Uttarakhand, Jammu and Kashmir, Tamil Nadu, Gujarat, and now in Kerala, whereas such floods used to happen once-in-a-decade or even in a longer timeframe.
Earlier floods were mostly riverine in nature, confined to the Brahmaputra-Barak Valley, the Indo-Gangetic plains and the deltaic regions of Odisha, Andhra Pradesh and Kerala. Now incidences of flooding are being reported from smaller river valleys, hills, plateaus, even deserts. Urban areas are getting .... Read More
According to the National Disaster Management Policy, the State governments have to provide disaster relief from their respective State Disaster Response Funds (SDRFs), and only for a “calamity of severe nature”, will additional assistance be provided from the National Disaster Response Fund (NDRF).
There is, however, no provision in the law or rules for the government to designate a disaster as a “national calamity”.
Disaster Relief Funds
Calamity Relief Funds are dedicated funds used by the state governments to meet the expenditure for providing immediate relief to victims of cyclone, drought, earthquake, fire, flood, tsunami, hailstorm, landslide, avalanche, cloud burst and pest attack.
It .... Read More
The government has launched two Mobile apps - ‘India Quake’ for dissemination of earthquake parameters and the other one ‘Sagar Vani’ to disseminate ocean related information and alerts (like high waves and Tsunami early warnings) to the user community in timely manner for their safety.Developed by the National Centre for Seismology (NCS), the ‘India Quake’ will automatically disseminate relevant parameter (location, time and magnitude) after the occurrence of earthquakes.Both the apps -- India Quake and Sagar Vani -- were launched by the MoES and science & technology minister Harsh Vardhan on the occasion of the ministry of earth sciences’ foundation .... Read More
National Disaster Risk Index mapping hazards and vulnerabilities across 640 districts puts Maharashtra at the top of the chart followed by West Bengal, Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh, while Delhi is most at risk among Union territories (UTs).
This national disaster risk index is also in line with India’s commitment to the Sendai Framework, successor to the Hyogo Framework, where it has to substantially bring down disaster losses in terms of lives and properties. The government is simultaneously working on a disaster database which will capture nationwide losses due to disasters on a digital platform.
The Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction
.... Read More
Government of India in September 2018, approved the revised cost of DRIP amounting to INR 3466 Crores along with two years extension with revised scheduled closure June 2020.DRIP is a state sector scheme with central component to improve safety and operational performance of selected dams, along with institutional strengthening with system wide management approach. The project was launched in 2012 by Central Water Commission (CWC) under Ministry of Water Resources, River Development & Ganga Rejuvenation with assistance from World Bank. Originally the scheme was scheduled for six years with closure in June 2018 with total original cost of Rs. 2100 .... Read More
Delicate mosses found on rocks and trees in cities around the world can be used to measure the impact of atmospheric change and could prove a low-cost way to monitor urban pollution.
They are living organisms such as plants, planktons, animals, and microbes, which are utilized to screen the health of the natural ecosystem in the environment.
They are used for assessing environmental health and biogeographic changes taking place in the environment.
Each organic entity inside a biological system provides an indication regarding the health of its surroundings such as plankton responding rapidly to changes taking place in .... Read More
Reports of traces of the chemical formaldehyde in fish in several States highlight both the uncertainties of science, and the importance of clear risk-communication. The Kerala government found formaldehyde-laced fish being transported into the State.Key InfoThe use of this chemical is banned in fresh foods, like fish, by the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India. But, unscrupulous vendors sometimes use it to preserve fish for longer.However, formaldehyde also occurs naturally in fish. It occurs naturally not only in fish, but other foods like mushrooms as well. However, levels vary widely.In general, marine fish are more likely to have the .... Read More
On the closing of the three-day global conference on air pollution and health by the World Health Organization, WHO on November 2, 2018 said that the every human is entitled to breathe clean air.
Most Tolerant and Least Tolerant Plants
Deciduous trees such as Indian redwood (Caesalpinia sappan), shisham (Dalbergia sissoo) and shirish (Albizia lebbeck) were found to be most tolerant during the present study; followed by semi-deciduous trees such as neem (Azadirachta indica), gulmohar (Delonix regia) and guava (Psidium guajava); whereas, evergreen trees such as cassia (Cassia siamea), banyan (Ficus benghalensis), and eucalyptus (Eucalyptus citriodora) were found to be least tolerant.
First .... Read More
India’s largest power producer, National Thermal Power Corporation, recently said that biomass pellets will be used for co-firing coal power plants across India. The step was taken on the basis of a successful pilot at NTPC, Dadri in 2017.Biomass PelletsPellet fuel is a renewable, clean-burning and cost-stable home heating alternative currently used throughout North America. It is a biomass product made of renewable substances – generally recycled wood waste.What is Biomass Fuel?Cordwood, wood pellets, wood chips, waste paper, along with dozens of other agricultural products and by-products capable of being used for energy, are all examples of biomass fuel. The .... Read More
Scientist, environmentalist and Ganga crusader GD Agarwal passed away recently. His death brought the focus back on the status of the river Ganga. It is feared that the Ganga will remain polluted despite river-friendly budgets and politically correct rhetoric.
Formalin is a colourless solution (about 40 percent) of formaldehyde, a pungent gas highly toxic to human health. It is used to preserve bodies and prevent its decay in mortuaries and medical laboratories. The chemical formaldehyde is also used to make many household products.
According to the National Cancer Institute (NIH), formaldehyde also occurs naturally in the environment. Exposure .... Read More
Union Ministry of Petroleum has kicked off an innovative initiative in N ew Delhi on 1st October, 2018, with PSU Oil Marketing Companies (OMCs, i.e. IOC, BPCL and HPCL) inviting Expression of Interest (EoI) from potential entrepreneurs to set up Compressed Bio-Gas (CBG) production plants and make available CBG in the market for use in automotive fuels.
Objectives: Titled SATAT, the initiative is aimed at providing a Sustainable Alternative Towards Affordable Transportation (SATAT) as a developmental effort that would benefit both vehicle-users as well as farmers and entrepreneurs.
Compressed Bio-Gas is exactly similar to the commercially available natural .... Read More
The Environment Minister on 25th September, 2018 inducted air pollution control device Wind Augmentation Purifying Unit, WAYU, at ITO in New Delhi. The National Environmental Engineering Research Institute (NEERI), Nagpur-based laboratory of the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), has developed a device to address air pollution at high traffic zones like traffic intersections and parking areas.“Street Canyon” EffectMost high traffic density zones have lot of buildings in the neighbourhood leading to restricted flow of air or what is technically called “Street Canyon” effect. Consequently, emissions coming from vehicle tail pipes do not get diluted and road dust remains .... Read More
The mystery of the excessive amounts of banned CFC-11 (tricholorofluromethane) in the atmosphere seems to have been solved. A recent report by the Environmental Investigative Agency (EIA), a not for profit organisation in Washington DC, finds that the source of this chemical, banned under the Montreal Protocol since 2010, lies in the rigid polyurethane (PU) foam industry in China.
It was first discovered in the 1950s and was found to be a low-cost, highly efficient and less toxic blowing agent.
But it was later found that it is also a highly potent ozone depleting gas with the potential to warm up .... Read More
Shale oil or gas extraction by hydraulic fracturing (fracking) could intensify pressure on water resources in some of the shale reservoirs in India that are located in water-stressed and groundwater-depleted areas, according to a global study that analysed the impact of shale oil and gas extraction on water resources.About Shale GasShale gas is a natural gas (predominantly methane) and is known as an unconventional natural gas because it is tapped from “unconventional” reservoirs or deposits that are low in permeability.Unlike conventional natural gas that is in interconnected pore spaces (much like a kitchen sponge) in permeable rocks, such as sandstone, .... Read More
The government has advised states growing cotton but not tea, to disallow the sale of the herbicide glyphosate with a view to curbing the proliferation of unapproved, genetically-modified (GM), herbicide-tolerant (HT) cotton. The Agriculture Ministry recently called a meeting of state representatives to implement the recommendations of the Field Inspection and Scientific Evaluation Committee (FISEC).FISEC: It had been set up at the instance of the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) to make an assessment of the scale on which unapproved HT cotton was cultivated and suggest measures to curb it. FISEC had members from the Indian Council of Agricultural Research, department .... Read More
Kerala’s literally paving the road for the rest of India to tackle plastic waste in the oceans. The southern state is now using its fishermen to harvest plastic waste from the ocean that is used subsequently in laying roads.
Plasticulture : Use of Plastics in Agriculture
Plasticulture, or the use of plastics in agriculture, is evident in the form of lining of farm ponds, greenhouse cultivation, micro-irrigation (drips and sprinklers) and plastic mulching. Plastic mulch, in particular, should be of concern to us as it is a potential source of entry into our food system.
Why are Farmers Turning to .... Read More
The Global Environment Facility (GEF) has approved a grant of USD 15 million for the Bay of Bengal Large Marine Ecosy tem (BOBLME) project, led by the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO). The project aims to promote sustainable fishing, reduce marine pollution and improve the lives of approximately 400 million people who live along its .... Read More
A study, published in Environmental Science and Technology Letters, has found over 30 micrograms per litre (mcg/l) of the heavy metal in parts of northwestern, southern and southeastern India.
Findings of the Study
The Environmental Science paper identified two types of terrains with heavy contamination. In Rajasthan and other northwestern regions, uranium occurs mostly in alluvial aquifers; while in southern regions such as Telangana, crystalline rocks such as granite seem to be the source.
Water in more than one-third of the 324 wells they sampled has uranium in much higher quantities than the World Health Organization’s provisional standard of 30 µg/l for .... Read More
The Supreme Court, on February 7, 2018 cancelled all iron ore mining leases in the State of Goa. The leases, which were renewed for the second time, lapse on 15 March. The court opined that the second renewal of the mining leases granted by the State were unduly hasty, without taking all relevant material into consideration and ignoring available relevant material and therefore not in the interests of mineral development.
Back in October 2012, the top court had suspended iron ore mining and transportation in Goa, following the report of the Justice M B Shah Commission on illegal mining.
Environmental .... Read More
Under the National Aquifer Mapping Programme (NAQUIM) of Ganga Basin organized by Central Ground Water Board (CGWB) special attention has been given to this aspect and water wells have been constructed tapping arsenic free aquifersusing state of the art technology in parts of Ballia and Ghazipur districts of Uttar Pradesh”.
Aquifer mapping of about nine lakh sq kms area across the country has been completed and mapping of another nine lakh sq kms will be completed in another three years.
Government has started an ambitious National Project on Aquifer Management (NAQUIM) under national water policy 2012. In the first phase out .... Read More
The Environment Ministry has made it mandatory for companies seeking environment clearance to ensure that they put in place a dust mitigation plan.The PlanThe requirements say that roads leading to or at construction sites must be paved and black-topped.There can be no soil excavation without adequate dust mitigation measures in place. No loose soil, sand and construction waste can be left uncovered.A water sprinkling system is mandatory, and the measures taken should be prominently displayed at the construction site.Moreover, the grinding and cutting of building materials in open area is prohibited and no uncovered vehicles carrying construction material and waste .... Read More
The Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1981 was enacted by the Central Government with the objective of arresting the deterioration of air quality. The Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1981 describes the main functions of the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) as follows:
To advise the Central Government on any matter concerning the improvement of the quality the air and the prevention, control and abatement of air pollution.
To plan and cause to be executed a nation-wide programme for the prevention, control and abatement of air pollution.
To provide technical assistance and guidance to the State Pollution Control Board.
To .... Read More
Japanese Researchers have identified a moss (Funariahygrometrica) capable of absorbing ‘Lead’ from wastewater. According to the study, after 22 hours of exposure of moss to different concentrations of metals separately, mass spectrometer analysis showed that the moss cells had absorbed ‘lead’ up to 74 per cent of their dry weight, which is quite high and much higher than any of the other metals.Significance of the DiscoveryLead-contaminated water is a serious environmental concern that has disastrous impact when left untreated.Presently, removal of lead or other heavy metals from water requires fossil fuels and a tremendous amount of energy.This newly discovered phytoremediation-based .... Read More
The Global E-Waste Monitor 2017, released by ITU (International Telecommunication Union), the UN University (UNU) and the International Solid Waste Association (ISWA), highlights increasing levels of e-waste and its improper and unsafe treatment and disposal through burning or at dumpsites.E-waste Rules in IndiaIndia has had the e-waste rules in effect since 2011, they mandated producers to be responsible for the collection and financing of systems, in accordance to the Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) concept.Further amendment to this rule came in 2015, which resulted in the implementation of E-waste Rule in 2016.The main feature of this rule is EPR. The amended .... Read More
On the World Soil Day, a consortium of agriculture institutes released a report on the health of soil in India.
World Soil Day is celebrated annually on the 5th of December at the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) headquarters in Rome and across the world.
The Theme for 2018 World Soil Day was “Be the Solution of Soil Pollution”. India is on the verge of a looming soil crisis which can potentially impact its agriculture in the near future. A third of the total 350 million hectares has already turned problematic.
Soil is turning either acidic, saline, sodic or .... Read More
A group of U.S. researchers is working on a system to map undulating pollution trends in the Godavari. The exercise is part of a Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation project to support the programme of the Administrative Staff College of India (ASCI) to provide city-wide sanitation improvements in urban Andhra Pradesh. The objective is to inform State officials and citizens of a probable spike in levels of dangerous microbes or effluents, similar to weather and air pollution .... Read More
Aeroplanes may be ejecting significant amounts of black carbon (BC) — a pollutant known to aggravate breathing disorders, upset the monsoon and quicken glacier melt — and may be depleting the ozone layer, according to a study by climate researchers from multiple institutions in the country.Chemically, black carbon (BC) is a component of fine particulate matter (PM ≤ 2.5 µm in aerodynamic diameter). Black carbon consists of pure carbon in several linked forms. It is formed through the incomplete combustion of fossil fuels, biofuel, and biomass, and is emitted in both anthropogenic and naturally occurring soot. Black carbon causes human .... Read More
The Supreme Court imposed a ban on the use of antimony, lithium, mercury, arsenic and lead in the manufacture of firecrackers to prevent air pollution. Petroleum and Explosives Safety Organisation (PESO), the government body authorised to monitor explosives, will ensure that fireworks with permitted chemical content are produced, sold, purchased and used. It will have to check for banned elements such as lithium, arsenic, antimony, lead, mercury and barium.
“Green crackers” are so named because they “do not contain harmful chemicals” that would cause air pollution. Components in firecrackers are replaced with others that are “less dangerous” .... Read More
Taking into account the serious pollution levels in Delhi and adjoining areas, Petroleum Ministry in consultation with Public Oil Marketing Companies has decided for preponement of BS-VI grade auto fuels in NCT of Delhi w.e.f 01.04.2018 instead of 01.04.2020.What are Bharat Stage Norms?The Bharat Stage are standards instituted by the government to regulate emission of air pollutants from motor vehicles. The norms were introduced in 2000. With appropriate fuel and technology, they limit the release of air pollutants such as nitrogen oxides, carbon monoxide, hydrocarbons, particulate matter (PM) and sulphur oxides from vehicles using internal combustion engines. As the stage .... Read More
Recently, NCR experienced “severe” levels of pollution on Air Quality Index. PM2.5 concentrations in New Delhi reached more than 1,200 micrograms per cubic meter, 48 times the guideline value established by the World Health Organization.About AQIAir Quality Index is a tool for effective communication of air quality status to people in terms, which are easy to understand.It transforms complex air quality data of various pollutants into a single number (index value), nomenclature and colour.There are six AQI categories, namely Good, Satisfactory, Moderately polluted, Poor, Very Poor, and Severe. Each of these categories is decided based on ambient concentration values of .... Read More
To promote clean energy, Niti Aayog is pushing for the use of methanol as cooking fuel in households as well as transport fuel. The Aayog is in talks with the states of Uttar Pradesh and Assam over distribution of 20,000 and 50,000 gas stoves, respectively, powered by methanol.MethanolMethanol is a clear and colourless liquid produced from natural gas, coal and a wide range of renewable feedstock. Also known as wood alcohol, methanol is naturally occurring and biodegradable.Methanol is an alternative fuel for internal combustion and other engines, either in combination with gasoline or directly (“neat”). It is used in racing .... Read More
Recently, Supreme Court banned the use of furnace oil and pet-coke in Haryana, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh to reduce air pollution in Delhi and National Capital Region (NCR). The Environment Pollution Control Authority (EPCA) had in its 72nd report identified these two fuels as a major source of pollution in the NCR. Pet coke emissions are estimated at 72,000 ppm and that from furnace oil 23,000 ppm, according to .... Read More
To promote the use of clean fuel, the oil ministry plans to set up bio-CNG (compressed natural gas) plants and allied infrastructure at a cost of Rs7,000 crore.
EPCA is Supreme Court mandated body tasked with taking various measures to tackle air pollution in the National Capital Region.
It was notified in 1998 by Environment Ministry under Environment Protection Act, 1986. Its mandate is to protect and improve quality of environment and prevent and control environmental pollution in National Capital Region.
It is also mandated to enforce Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP) in NCR as per the pollution .... Read More
As part of its climate change commitments in the aftermath of signing the Paris agreement India is now exploring the possibility of carbon capture utilization storage or CCUS.Carbon Capture, Utilization, and Storage (CCUS) encompasses methods and technologies to remove CO2 from the flue gas and from the atmosphere, followed by recycling the CO2 for utilization and determining safe and permanent storage options.Despite the adoption of alternative energy sources and energy efficient systems to reduce the rate of CO2 emissions, the cumulative amount of CO2 in the atmosphere needs to be reduced to limit the detrimental impacts of climate change [IPCC, .... Read More
A UK-wide ban on the manufacture of products containing microbeads has come into force.Whar are Microbeads?Microbeads are tiny pieces of plastic found in many beauty products. They are mainly made up of polyethylene (PE). It may also contain polypropylene (PP), polyethylene terephthalate (PET), polymethyl methacrylate (PMMA) and nylon.Because of the very small size (less than 1mm in size), they cannot be trapped by the water filtration systems.These microbeads escape filtration and treatment and finally end up in drains, rivers and water bodies. What about biodegradable microbeads - are they banned too?Some countries and states have loopholes that allow microbeads made .... Read More
The Chandrabhaga beach on the Konark coast of Odisha has become the first in Asia to get the Blue Flag certification — the tag given to environment-friendly and clean beaches, equipped with amenities of international standards for tourists.Few more beaches such as the Chiwla and Bhogave beaches in Maharashtra and one beach each from Puducherry, Goa, Daman and Diu, Lakshadweep and the Andaman and Nicobar Islands are amongst the one nominated for Blue .... Read More
Six different sub-species of tigers exist today, scientists confirmed recently, amid hopes the findings will boost efforts to save the fewer than 4,000 free-range big cats that remain in the world, said the report in the journal Current Biology.
Highlights of the Report
The six include the Bengal tiger, Amur tiger, South China tiger, Sumatran tiger, Indochinese tiger and Malayan tiger. Three other tiger subspecies have already gone extinct: the Caspian, Javan and Bali tigers.
Sub-species of Tiger
The Sumatran tiger is the smallest alive today. At around 100kg, it’s “only” about the weight of a large adult male human. It .... Read More
Eight captive-reared critically endangered white-backed vultures are set to take wings this year for the first time in India since the vulture conservation centre near Pinjore was set up in September 2001.
Convention on Biological Diversity
The Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), known informally as the Biodiversity Convention, is a multilateral treaty. The Convention has three main goals including: the conservation of biological diversity (or biodiversity); the sustainable use of its components; and the fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising from genetic resources.
The Convention was opened for signature at the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro on 5 June 1992 .... Read More
A team of geneticists, conservation biologists and wildlife officials are in the process of preparing a genetic map — that is, tracing out the sequence of genes — from Machhli’s DNA, which was extracted at the time of her death.DescriptionMachhli is an iconic individual, has lived long, has sired a large number of cubs and, because the tigers at Ranthambore are highly inbred, she would serve as an excellent example of the species. Credited with reviving the tiger population at the Ranthambore National Park, Machhli, also known as T16, earned that name due to fish-like marks on her face. .... Read More
The primary source of agarwood and one of the world’s most expensive trees, the evergreen agar tree is a step away from extinction in the wild.
Ranthambore National Park
Ranthambhore wildlife sanctuary is known for its Bengal tigers, and is a popular place in India to see these animals in their natural jungle habitat.
The park’s deciduous forests are characteristic examples of the type of jungle found in Central India.
Other fauna include the Indian leopard, nilgai, wild boar, sambar, striped hyena, sloth bear, southern plains gray langur, rhesus macaque, mugger crocodile and chital. It is situated in the .... Read More
The number of winged visitors at the Raiganj Wildlife Sanctuary in West Bengal’s Uttar Dinjapur district has crossed all previous records. As per a census carried out by the State Forest Department, the wildlife sanctuary, spread over 130 hectares, recorded 98,532 birds this year.The sanctuary has one of the highest numbers of Openbill stork population not only in India but in Asia and this makes the sanctuary unique.DescriptionThe sanctuary, which is also known as the Kulik Bird Sanctuary, drawing its name from the river Kulik, attracts a large number of tourists every year, including birdwatchers and wildlife enthusiasts.Situated near Raiganj .... Read More
Russia is planning to bring animals from the last Ice Age—Woolly Mammoths, Cave Lions, Ancient Horses and Woolly Rhinos—back from the dead and let them roam in a brand new Jurassic Park in a remote Siberian region within a decade.About the ProjectRussian scientists, collaborating with their South Korean and Japanese counterparts are working to make this almost Sci-Fi dream into reality in Yakutia, also called the Sakha Republic, a huge region that stretches from the coast of the Arctic Ocean to the Chinese border in the Russian Far East.A genetic engineering technique called CRISPR-Cas9 gene-editing will be used to cut .... Read More
Armed with innovative genetic tools and techniques, conservation biologists and veterinarians in India are banking away genetic resources of wild animal species, especially those that are at risk of being extinct in the near future.
The National Wildlife Genetic Resource Bank, a state-of-the-art facility housed at the Laboratory for the Conservation of Endangered Species or LaCONES, Hyderabad, has embarked on the long-term storage of tissues, primary cells, sperm, eggs, embryos and genetic material (DNA/RNA) of as many wild animal species as possible for both research and conservation breeding. LaCONES is a unit under the Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology, located .... Read More
It’s no secret that the world’s oceans are struggling with plastic pollution and rising temperatures, but hidden below the surface is a very serious problem - the ocean is running out of oxygen, and fast, according to the most comprehensive study of the ocean’s ‘dead zones’ to date.What are Dead Zones?Dead zones are vast patches of water that contain low or zero oxygen, and they are a serious problem because, as their name suggests, most marine life suffocates and dies if they are unlucky enough to find themselves in one.What is Causing Dead Zones?Climate change is a huge part of .... Read More
Manipur’s iconic Loktak Lake and its floating islands (phumdis), the last natural refuge of the critically endangered Sangai deer or the Indian Eld’s deer (Rucervus eldii eldii), are losing ground to mushrooming agricultural practices and human settlements, reports a study.About the LakeThe 246.72 square km lake, slightly smaller than the Caribbean islands of St Kitts and Nevis, is a Ramsar Wetland of International Importance cradled in the floodplain of the Manipur River.It is also northeast India’s largest freshwater lake and like a jewel in a crown, it is positioned almost centrally in the state of Manipur that shares borders with .... Read More
The Khangchendzonga Biosphere Reserve (KBR) in Sikkim has become the eleventh such reserves in the country to be added to the UNESCO’s World Network of Biosphere Reserves.Kanchenjunga Biosphere Reserve is a National Park and a Biosphere reserve located in Sikkim, India. It was inscribed to the UNESCO World Heritage Sites list in July 2016, becoming the first “Mixed Heritage” site of India.Flora: The vegetation of the park include temperate broadleaf and mixed forests consisting of oaks, fir, birch, maple, willow etc. The vegetation of the park also includes alpine grasses and shrubs at higher altitudes along with many medicinal plants .... Read More
Kanha National Park (KNP) in Madhya Pradesh started relocating Tigers as a part of India’s first ever Inter-state translocation project. The Tigers are being shifted from KNP to Satkosia Tiger Reserve in Odisha.
Why the Relocation?
Space Crunch: A major reason behind this whole operation is the space crunch. With the steady increase in tiger population in many reserves, there is a need to expand the tiger habitat or to relocate them in a better and safe place.
Territorial Dispute:Territorial disputes are rising rapidly with an increase in population and as the space had to be shared in most of the reserves. Because .... Read More
The Nilgiri Mountains form a part of the Western Ghats in Tamil Nadu of Southern India. At least 24 of the Nilgiri Mountains’ peaks are above 6,600 ft, the highest peak being Doddabetta, at 8,652 ft.Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve The Nilgiri Hills form a part of the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve (declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2012) and form a part of the protected bio reserves in India.Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve is the first of the eighteen biosphere reserves of India and embraces the sanctuary complex of Wyanad, Nagarhole, Bandipur and Mudumalai.Over 2,700 species of flowering plants, 160 species of fern .... Read More
World’s smallest land fern has been discovered by Indian researchers in the Ahwa forests of the Western Ghats in Gujarat’s Dang district.More about the FernThe land fern is of the size of a fingernail and belongs to group known as the adder’s-tongue ferns, named after their resemblance to a snake’s tongue.The size of the new Malvi’s adder’s-tongue fern Ophioglossum malviae is just one centimeter and therefore is expected to be the reason for being hidden till now.It differs from similar ferns in not just size but other complex fern features too. A look at the plant’s spores under an electron .... Read More
India has been awarded with the Certificate of Commendation for its exemplary enforcement action in its regional and global effort to combat illegal wildlife trade.
The award has been presented to WCCB under the Ministry for its efforts in conducting and coordinating a species specific wildlife enforcement Operation, codenamed “Operation Save Kurma”. India is the only recipient of the Certificate of Commendation at the 69th Standing Committee meeting of CITES at Geneva.
“Operation Save Kurma” was conducted in the country by the WCCB to combat the proliferating illegal trade in live turtles and its parts from the country to destinations abroad.
The .... Read More
In India, conservation of large animals, which include tigers, lions, elephants, rhinos, leopards and snow leopards get preference over smaller ones.Smaller Species on the Verge of ExtinctionSeveral smaller species die, or are near extinction, or are threatened in India. These include the Great Indian Bustard, the house sparrow, the shy Indian pangolin, the caracal, the slender loris and the star tortoise.The National Board for Wildlife in 2012 identified more than 15 species, including the magnificent Hangul of Kashmir and the Barasingha of Madhya Pradesh, as critically .... Read More
According to a survey, Orang tiger reserve in Assam is host to 28 big cats, thus having the highest density nationally. It was revealed during phase IV of the all-India tiger estimation programme of the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA).About the ReserveThe Orang National Park also known as Rajiv Gandhi Orang National Park which is located on the north bank of the Brahmaputra River in the Darrang and Sonitpur districts of Assam.Pachnoi River, Belsiri River and Dhansiri River border the park and join the Brahmaputra River. During the monsoon season, the park becomes a veritable flood plain with the many .... Read More
BirdLife International, a conservation organisation, has recognized three new sites in Goa as hotspots for protection. The sites have been added to their list of “Important Bird and Biodiversity Areas (IBAs)”.
Goa earlier had four recognised biodiversity areas: Bhagwan Mahavir Wildlife Sanctuary and Mollem National Park, Carambolim Wetlands, Cotigao Wildlife Sanctuary and Mhadei Wildlife Sanctuary. The list has now added Bondla Wildlife Sanctuary, Navelim Wetlands and Netravali Wildlife Sanctuary.
BirdLife International (formerly the International Council for Bird Preservation) is a global partnership of conservation organisations that strives to conserve birds, their habitats, and global biodiversity, working with people towards sustainability .... Read More
Nine more locations in Kerala have been identified as Important Bird and Biodiversity Areas (IBAs).DescriptionThe newly identified IBAs of Kerala are Achencoil Forest Division; Anamudi Shola National Park; Camel’s Hump Mountain, Wayanad; Kurinjimala Wildlife Sanctuary; Malayattoor Reserve Forest; Mankulam Forest Division; Mathikettan Shola National Park; Muthikulam-Siruvani; and Pampadum Shola National Park. With the latest addition, the State now has a total of 33 IBAs. The new list was released by the Bombay Natural History Society, a partner of BirdLife International, in its recent publication, Important Bird and Biodiversity Areas in India Priority sites for conservation. The IBAs are “places of .... Read More
The Union Government had launched SECURE Himalaya, a six-year project to ensure conservation of locally and globally significant biodiversity, land and forest resources in high Himalayan ecosystem spread over four states viz. Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, Uttarakhand and Sikkim.
It was launched by Union Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MoEFCC) in association with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) on the inaugural day of the Global Wildlife Programme (GWP).
What does the Global Wildlife Program aim to do?
The GWP is a World-Bank led global partnership that promotes wildlife conservation and sustainable development by combatting illicit trafficking in wildlife. .... Read More
India unveiled the third National Wildlife Action Plan for 2017-2031 spelling out the future road map for wildlife conservation.Key FactsThe third action plan comes after the first plan in 1983 and second from 2002 till 2016. The third National Wildlife Action Plan is unique as this is the first time India has recognised the concerns relating to climate change impact on wildlife and stressed on integrating actions that need to be taken for its mitigation and adaptation into wildlife management planning processes.The Plan focuses on preservation of genetic diversity and sustainable development. The NWAP has five components, 17 themes, 103 .... Read More
The Floating Treatment Wetland (FTW) was inaugurated on World Wetlands Day in Neknampur Lake in Hyderabad to clean and purify the polluted waterbody.
Working of the Floating Treatment Wetland
The FTW, based on the soil-less hydroponics technique, comprises four layers. Floatable bamboo forms its base over which styrofoam cubicles are placed. The third layer is composed of gunnybags. Gravel forms the final layer.
Plants planted on FTW can clean the lake by absorbing nitrates and other pollutants in the water.
Hydroponics permits plants to grow only on sunlight and water. There is no need of soil. There are small holes at the bottom to .... Read More
The Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEF&CC) in collaboration with Department of Forests, Assam government organised the national-level celebration of World Wetlands Day (WWD), 2018 at Deepor Beel, a Ramsar Site in Guwahati, on February 2.The 2018 theme ‘Wetlands for a sustainable urban future’ marked the role of healthy wetlands play in making cities and towns liveable, through their role in groundwater recharge, buffering floods, filtering wastewater, enhancing landscape aesthetics, providing income generation opportunities and ultimately supporting .... Read More
A new study has predicted that most of the existing habitats of the Nilgiri Tahr in the Western Ghats will become unsuitable as global warming intensifies.DescriptionThe Nilgiri tahr (Nilgiritragus hylocrius) known locally as the Nilgiri ibex or simply ibex, is an ungulate that is endemic to the Nilgiri Hills and the southern portion of the Western Ghats in the states of Tamil Nadu and Kerala in Southern India. It is the state animal of Tamil Nadu. The Nilgiri tahr is a stocky goat with short, coarse fur and a bristly mane. Males are larger than females and of darker colour .... Read More
Experts in the fisheries department of Pakistan’s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) province, zoologists and those in the fish business have observed a decrease in the population of Sher Mahi in its main habitat, the Kabul River.DescriptionThe Sher Mahi, an indigenous fish of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, is facing serious threats to survival due to climatic changes, water pollution and overfishing. The scientific name of the fish is “Clupisoma Naziri” and it is found in river basins adjacent to Afghanistan.Habitat and DistributionThe Sher Mahi is an indigenous fish of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP). The scientific name of the fish is “Clupisoma Naziri” and it is .... Read More
The Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) in its report criticized the lack of creation of newly protected habitat for Asiatic lions in Gujarat. The population of Asiatic lions in Gujarat increased from 205 in 1979 to 523 in 2015.
With habitat loss and increase in the number of lions, the Gujarat government has planned to start Project Lion, which aims at protecting the lions, especially those that stray out of protected areas.
The Project aims at preserving corridors, eco-sensitive zones and lions moving out of the protected areas.
The project has been introduced to ensure a comprehensive, .... Read More
The conservation status of snow leopard has been improved from “endangered” to “vulnerable”. The decision was announced by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).DescriptionThe snow leopard or ounce (Panthera uncia) is a large cat native to the mountain ranges of Central and South Asia. It is listed as 'Vulnerable' on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species because the global population is estimated to number less than 10,000 mature individuals and decline about 10% in the next 23 years. As of 2016, the global population was estimated at 4,678 to 8,745 mature individuals.Distribution and HabitatThe snow leopard is .... Read More
The olive ridley sea turtle (Lepidochelys olivacea), also known as the Pacific ridley sea turtle, are the smallest and most abundant of all sea turtles found in the world; this species of sea turtle is found in warm and tropical waters, primarily in the Pacific and Indian Oceans. They can also be found in the warm waters of the Atlantic Ocean. The olive ridley is predominantly carnivorous, especially in immature stages of the lifecycle.International trade in these turtles and their products is banned under CITES Appendix I.The Convention on Migratory Species and the Inter-American Convention for the Protection and Conservation .... Read More
World Sawfish Day is observed on October 17th.The sawfish have been sighted off the Indian coast less than 10 times in over a decade and they appear to be more threatened than tigers and elephants, as per the scientists.
Sea Grass Grown in India
Sea grass grows in abundance in Palk Bay, which is a strait between Tamil Nadu and the Mannar, Northern Province, Sri Lanka and also a highly productive coastline in the southeast coast of India. The Tamil Nadu Forest Department has taken up a sea grass rehabilitation project which also targets the conservation of dugongs near .... Read More
Flamingo Festival is held every year to promote tourism in Pulicat Bird Sanctuary Lake and Nellapattu.DescriptionFlamingos usually stand on one leg while the other is tucked beneath their bodies. The reason for this behaviour is not fully understood. One theory is that standing on one leg allows the birds to conserve more body heat, given that they spend a significant amount of time wading in cold .... Read More
India’s Environment Ministry has ruled out the possibility of conservation breeding of the Chiru goat.DescriptionThe Tibetan antelope is a medium-sized antelope, with a shoulder height of about 83 cm (33 in) in males, and 74 cm (29 in) in females. Males are significantly larger than females, weighing about 39 kg (86 lb), compared with 26 kg (57 lb), and can also be readily distinguished by the presence of horns and by black stripes on the legs, both of which the females lack.Distribution and HabitatEndemic to the Tibetan Plateau, the Tibetan antelope inhabits open alpine and cold steppe environments between 3,250 .... Read More
A recent study has found that Pampadum Shola National Park located on the southern portion of Western Ghats is a safe haven for rare and most elusive Nilgiri Marten.Description and EcologyThe Nilgiri Marten is the only species of marten found in southern India. It occurs in the hills of the Nilgiris and parts of the Western Ghats. Very little is known about the Nilgiri Marten. It is diurnal, and though arboreal, descends to the ground occasionally. It is reported to prey on birds, small mammals and insects such as cicadas. The species is listed as 'Vulnerable' in the IUCN Red .... Read More
It is a newly discovered species of moth. Thisdiscovery represents the first record of Elcysmafrom Arunachal Pradesh. The new species is named Apatani Glory, named after a local tribe called Apatani.
The Zygaenidae moths are a family of Lepidoptera. The majority of zygaenids are tropical, but they are nevertheless quite well represented in temperate regions. Some of the 1000 or so species are commonly known as burnet or forester moths, often qualified by the number of spots, although other families also have ‘foresters’. They are also sometimes called smoky moths. This species has only been seen during autumn, notably in the .... Read More
A new species of the endemic frog genus Nasikabatrachus has been discovered from the eastern slopes of the Western Ghats. The newly discovered frog is named Nasikabatrachus bhupathi.EcologyThey are found on the leeward side of the Western Ghats, which receives less rainfall than the western slopes of these mountains during southwest monsoon. Both Nasikabatrachus bhupathi and N. sahyadrensis are highly adapted for fossoriality (burrowing). Nasikabatrachus frogs live and feed underground, therefore hard, dry soil and rock (from mountain uplift) is expected to present an insurmountable barrier to burrowing and feeding, preventing them from dispersing .... Read More
Scientists have described a new species of non-venomous endemic snake, Aquatic Rhabdops, from the northern Western Ghats.EcologyAll Rhabdops snakes are endemic to India. The Olive Forest Snake Rhabdops olivaceus is found only in the Western Ghats while the bi-coloured Forest Snake Rhabdops bicolor lives in a few localities in the northeast. The Aquatic Rhabdops too is found only in the laterite plateaus of the northern Western Ghats in Goa, southern Maharashtra and northern Karnataka, in areas facing severe human .... Read More
Scientists have discovered new species of large gecko from Eastern Ghats. The gecko was discovered from Chhattisgarh’s Kanger Ghati National Park. Though named after this park, the species is also found in Jagdalpur and Sukma in Chhattisgarh and in Khammam in the adjoining State of Telangana, which are part of the Eastern Ghats.
Kanger National Park
Among the various protected areas in the country, the Kanger Valley National Park near Jagdalpur, in the Bastar region of Chhattisgarh is one of the densest national parks, well known for its biodiversity, landscape, waterfalls, subterranean geomorphologic limestone caves, and home for the Bastar hill myna, .... Read More
Researchers have discovered a new species of ant in the Western Ghats, recognised as one of the world’s ‘hottest hotspots’ of biological diversity.The new species was found in the Periyar Tiger Reserve. It belongs toTyrannomyrmex, a rare tropical genus of ants.
Periyar National Park
Periyar National Park and Wildlife Sanctuary (PNP) is a protected area near Thekkady in the districts of Idukki, Kottayam and Pathanamthitta in Kerala, India. It is notable as an elephant reserve and a tiger reserve. The park is a repository of rare, endemic and endangered flora and fauna and forms the major watershed of two important rivers .... Read More
Scientists have discovered the Mewa Singh’s Night frog, belonging to a genus endemic to the Western Ghats, from Kozhikode’s Malabar Wildlife Sanctuary. The new frog is currently known only from Peruvannamuzhi in the Malabar Wildlife Sanctuary, where the scientists found it in a small stream running along the Peruvannamuzhi dam.Kozhikode’s Malabar Wildlife SanctuaryMalabar Wildlife Sanctuary is a protected area located along the Western Ghats. The sanctuary is part of the western ghats, a biodiversity hotspot. It also comes under the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve and forms a part of the Wayanad Elephant .... Read More
Researchers at Wildlife Institute of India (WII), Dehradun have discovered in India an endangered sub-species of hog deer (Axis porcinus annamiticus), earlier believed to be confined to the eastern part of central Thailand.About Sub-SpeciesThe research reported the presence of a small population of hog deer in Keibul Lamjao National Park (KLNP), Manipur. Hog DearDescriptionThe population genetically resembles A. p. annamiticus. The study indicates that the western limit of hog deer is Manipur; not central Thailand as believed. The hog deer or Pada is an endangered species in the IUCN Red List and is protected under Schedule I of the Indian .... Read More
According to the Indian Institute of Science Education and Research Thiruvanathapuram (IISER-TVM), the spot-necked day gecko and the Anaimudi day gecko, both very distinctly-patterned lizards found only in the higher reaches of the Agasthyamalai and Anamalai hill ranges in the Western Ghats, are the latest additions to India’s reptile fauna.
Agasthyamalai Hill Range
Agasthyarkoodam is a 1,868-metre (6,129 ft)-tall peak within Neyyar Wildlife Sanctuary, Kerala in the Western Ghats of South India. However peak lies in the border of Kerala and Tamil Nadu. This peak is a part of the Agasthyamala Biosphere Reserve which lies on the border between .... Read More
For the residents of Ladakh, the cold desert region in India’s northern state of Jammu and Kashmir, the black-necked crane is held in high regard. Its mating dance is an important part of every cultural program and festival, and many monasteries feature paintings of the crane alongside other spiritual art.Why has it been in News?It is under severe threat from man’s best friend: dogs.The main threat to the successful breeding of the species in Ladakh is the damage that feral dogs cause to the eggs and chicks of the bird, according to WWF-India. It says the dogs are owned by .... Read More
A citizen science initiative of documenting Indian hornbills is providing valuable inputs for the conservation of the unique bird. The Hornbill Watch initiative (www.hornbills.in) is an interactive web interface that allows a person to report on hornbills anywhere in India. People can record the observation of a live hornbill, note its call or report a dead, hunted or captive bird.Hornbill Species in India India has nine hornbill species, of which four are found in the Western Ghats: Indian Grey Hornbill (endemic to India), the Malabar Grey Hornbill (endemic to the Western Ghats), Malabar Pied Hornbill (endemic to India and Sri .... Read More
The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species (also known as the IUCN Red List or Red Data List), founded in 1965, has evolved to become the world’s most comprehensive inventory of the global conservation status of biological species. It uses a set of criteria to evaluate the extinction risk of thousands of species and subspecies. These criteria are relevant to all species and all regions of the world. With its strong scientific base, the IUCN Red List is recognized as the most authoritative guide to the status of biological diversity. A series of Regional Red List are produced by countries .... Read More
Nine new plants have been discovered in the Western Ghats in just four months.
Six species including two balsams, two shrubs belonging to the mint family (Lamiaceae), a herb of the coffee family (Rubiaceae) and 10-cm-tall Sonerila, a flowering plant commonly found in the tropics, have been discovered.
Impatiens Saulierea is one of the new balsam species, which the researchers discovered from wet, rocky surfaces in Kakkayam’s evergreen forests.
Another balsam, Impatiens Josephia, is found in Kerala’s Idukki district where it grows on wet slopes of evergreen forests.
In Idukki district’s Kulamavu evergreen forests, a herb that belongs to the coffee family, .... Read More
A discovery of new plant species have been reported in Ponmudi, Western Ghats by researchers.FindingsIt has been classified as a sedge and the grass-like plant has been named Fimbristylis Agasthyamalaensis. The new species belongs to the Cyperaceae family. In India, the genus is represented by 122 species, of which 87 are reported from the Western Ghats. Many of the known Cyperaceae species are medicinal plants or used as fodder.A preliminary conservation assessment of the plant as ‘critically endangered has been recommended by the authors, according to IUCN criteria. According to the report, the species is highly prone to wild .... Read More
Gandheli (Nothapodytes nimmoniana), a plant was recently rediscovered in the Borjan area in eastern Assam’s Tinsukia district after over a century. The plant was first documented by botanist U.N. Kanjilal in 1914. Its occurrence was last mentioned by Kanjilal in his book “Flora of Assam”, published in 1934.UsesIt contains anti-carcinogenic properties and is the richest source of Camptothecin and it is the world’s third-most important plant-based bio-molecule for treating ovarian and colon cancers, besides its use against HIV .... Read More
Scientists have discovered a new species of parasitic flowering plant. The species is named Gleadovia konyakianorum, in honour of the Konyak tribe of Nagas.
The plant is a holoparasite complete parasite that derives its entire nutritional requirement from the host plant, which is a Strobilanthes species. Though it has no chlorophyll, the plant has a vascular system and extracts its nutrition from the host plant with the help of a haustorium.
A haustorium is a specialised structure with which plant parasites attach themselves to the tissue of host plants and derive nutrition.
Botanical Survey of India (BSI)
Botanical Survey of India .... Read More
They are the recently identified special genes which could help Symbiodinium adapt more rapidly to heat stress.
Symbiodinium is a genus that encompasses the largest and most prevalent group of endosymbiotic dinoflagellates known. These unicellular algae commonly reside in the endoderm of tropical cnidarians such as corals, sea anemones, and jellyfish, where the products of their photosynthetic processing are exchanged in the host for inorganic molecules. Symbiodinium are colloquially called “zooxanthellae”, and animals symbiotic with algae in this genus are said to be “zooxanthellate”. The study of Symbiodinium biology is driven largely by a desire to understand global coral reef decline.
Coral .... Read More
It is a species of wild banana discovered in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands.DescriptionThe latest discovery, published in the Nordic Journal of Botany, is of a species of wild banana named Musa paramjitiana, in honour of Paramjit Singh, who happens to be the director of the Botanical Survey of India (BSI). The plant grows to a height of nine metres and bears an edible, sweet-and-sour tasting fruit that is boat-shaped and has numerous bulb-shaped seeds. Its conservation status has been declared as ‘Critically Endangered’ as it has so far been spotted in only two locations on the islands, each with .... Read More
The mangrove forest cover in the Indian Sunderbans has been depleting alarmingly over the past few decades. The fragile ecosystem of the Indian Sunderbans that, other than being home to the Royal Bengal Tiger, also harbours a population of 4.5 million people.
The Sunderbans is the largest mangrove forest in the world and is a UNESCO World Heritage site.
Cause of Concern
This process in response to climate change and sea level rise poses a serious threat to the mangrove forest in future. The paper also notes that the mean sea level rise shows a rise by 2.6-4 mm a year.
It can be .... Read More
Naturalists in India have rediscovered a rare flowering plant — Arisaema translucens — after nearly 80 years. Botanist Edward Barnes first collected this plant in 1932 from the Nilgiri mountains in southern India. The plant, commonly called a cobra lily and noted for its translucent spathe (a large leaf like plant part that encloses a cluster of flowers), was then scientifically described in 1933. Since then, there have been no confirmed records of this species.
The Toda tribals of the Nilgiris, who know the planet well, have an embroidery motif known as the ‘podwarshk’, which resembles it.
Sholas are .... Read More
Shahi Litchi from Bihar has been registered as GI. Muzaffarpur, Vaishali, Samastipur, Champaran, Bengusarai districts and adjoining areas of Bihar have been favorable climate for this fruit with its unique appearance and delicious pearly white aril.TimingIn North India the panicle in litchi appear from February to end March. The flowers start opening from end February onward and continue for more than 20 days in a cultivar. Initially the seed develop and in the later stage of fruit development aril start developing at a faster rate than seed. At this stage when the aril develops fast the cracking of fruit may .... Read More
The Alphonso mango from Ratnagiri, Sindhudurg and other adjoining areas in Maharashtra have been accorded the Geographical Indication (GI) tag, as per Ministry of Commerce. The Konkan region has almost 110,000 hectareage under Alphonso orchards and produces mangoes worth Rs 30 billion annually, over 50 per cent of which are exported.
The mango will tolerate a wide range of climates, from warm temperate to tropical. It fruits best in areas of low rainfall and low relative humidity at flowering, fruit setting and harvest, and with a warm to hot climate during fruit development.The mango is susceptible to cold. Young trees may .... Read More
Nilambur teak, internationally known for its superior quality and elegant appearance, has been added to the list of Kerala produces with the Geographical Indication (GI) tag.DescriptionNilambur teak is famous for its quality. One of the world’s most sought after woods, it has unique features like a large size, durability and its distinctive colour. Nilambur teak is said to possess high resistance to fungal decay and also exhibit antioxidant properties.During the colonial era, the Britishers were drawn to the peculiar features of Nilambur teak.Due to this, they decided to transport the wood to London and other parts of the world to .... Read More
Kirinji or Neelakurinji Flowers bloomed in 2018 in the Nilgiris.About the PlantNeelakurinji (Strobilanthes kunthiana) is a shrub that used to grow abundantly in the Shola grasslands of the Western Ghats.The flower is special to the Western Ghats, especially the Nilgiris, and has a 12-year flowering cycle. The last major bloom was in 2006. The Nilgiri Hills, which literally means the blue mountains is said to derive its name from the purplish blue flowers. HabitatKurinji once used to cover the Anamalai Hills, Cardamom Hills,Nilgiri Hills, Palani Hills and Bababudangiri like a carpet during its flowering season. Now plantations and dwellings occupy .... Read More
1. Consider the following statements about “Food Sustainability Index (FSI)”:
This is annually released by the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO).
India is ranked above China as it has improved exceptionally on nutritional front of food stuffs.
It uses three pillars to assess the countries on Food Sustainability Index.
Which of the above statements is/are correct?(a) 3 only (b) 2 only
(c) 1, 2, 3 (d) None of the above
FSI is released by Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) and it ranks the countries on three pillars namely: Food Loss and Waste, Sustainable Agriculture .... Read More