Daily Analysis

An in-depth analysis of the best and most relevant editorials of the day from the best dailies known for civil services preparation.

DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS,14th March 2019

India’s biodiversity-rich zones also ‘hotspots’ of human impacts

Focus: GS3.

Topic: Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment.

 Image result for bio diversity rich zones also hotspots of human impacts

Why in News?

  • Human impacts on species occur across 84% of the earth’s surface, finds a study published in PLOS Biology, an international journal dedicated to biological science. 
  • Southeast Asian tropical forests — including India’s biodiversity-rich Western Ghats, Himalaya and the north-east — also fall in this category; India ranks 16th in such human impacts, with 35 species impacted on average.

Background

A team of scientists led by James Allan (University of Queensland) found this when they mapped the distribution of eight human activities — including hunting and conversion of natural habitats for agriculture — in areas occupied by 5,457 threatened birds, mammals and amphibians worldwide.

Roads are threats

  • Using sources, including the recently-updated Human Footprint data, they found that a staggering 1,237 species are impacted by threats in more than 90% of their habitat; 395 species are affected by threats across their entire range. 
  • While the impact of roads is highest (affecting 72% of terrestrial areas), crop lands affect the highest number of threatened species: 3,834.
  • Malaysia ranks first among the countries with the highest number of impacted species (125). 
  • India ranks 16th (35 threatened species affected on average). 
  • Southeast Asian tropical forests — including those in India’s Western Ghats, Himalaya and north-east — are among the ‘hotspots’ of threatened species. 
  • For instance, the average number of species impacted in the South Western Ghats montane rainforests is 60 and in the Himalayan subtropical broadleaf forests, 53. 
  • The maps show that roads and croplands are extensive in India and conversion of habitat for such activities could be a main threat, wrote Dr. Allan in an email to The Hindu.

Being cool spots

  • However, these very areas are also ‘cool-spots’ (the world’s last refuges where high numbers of threatened species still persist). 
  • Cool-spots could be the result of protection or because of intact habitat that has not been cleared yet, adding that India still has crucial refuges that need protecting. 
  • Identifying such areas could aid conservation and development planning for countries. 
  • However, these refugia do not necessarily have to be off-limits to human development, just free of the actions that directly threaten species there, add the scientists.
  • With India having the world’s second largest road network, we really need to plan for development that keeps wildlife conservation as a primary goal in biodiversity-rich areas.
  • Similarly, if wildlife-friendly cropping patterns lead to conservation of wildlife, that would be a victory too. 
  • For instance, agricultural crops such as pulses have supported the conservation of the critically endangered great Indian bustard.

Source: The Hindu. 

We cannot kill jobs in firecracker industry, says Supreme Court

Focus: GS2.

Topic: Basic Structure of the Constitution.

Image result for we cannot kill jobs in cracker industry

Why in News?

In an u-turn from its 2018 October 23 order banning manufacture, sale and use of loud and toxic firecrackers while allowing only green and improved crackers, the Supreme Court said they cannot killed the jobs of poor people working in the firecracker industry, driving them to starvation.

Background

  • The October ban was based on petitions filed by a six-month-old and a 14-month-old, through their fathers in 2015. 
  • They had said the air pollution caused by various factors, especially firecrackers, has made Delhi a gas chamber. 
  • They pleaded for their right to life.

Highlights of the verdict

  • The Supreme Court cannot kill the jobs of thousands of poor people working in the firecracker industry, driving them to starvation.
  • If the court cannot generate jobs, its orders should not extinguish their livelihood.
  • The court asked how it can possibly feel empowered to put the shutters down on an occupation which is both legal and licensed.
  • This is a veritable u-turn from the apex court's October 23 ban on the manufacture, sale and use of loud and toxic firecrackers while allowing only green and improved crackers.
  • However, there has been no consensus so far on what composes green crackers despite all these months after the October order of the apex court.
  • The factories have remained shut, especially in Sivakasi district in Tamil Nadu, which is the hub for cracker manufacturing.

Source: The Hindu.

 

India’s newest frog evolved 60 million years ago

Focus: GS3.

Topic: Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment.

 Image result for India’s newest frog evolved 60 million years ago

Why in News?

  • It is just 2 cm long and sports pale blue spots and brilliant orange thighs. 
  • The discovery of the starry dwarf frog, a nocturnal amphibian that lives under leaf litter on a mountaintop in Kerala’s Wayanad, has been published in PeerJ, an international multidisciplinary journal. 

Key points

  • The scientists studied its physical, skeletal and genetic characteristics.
  • They also compared the frog with specimens of similar species in museum collections across the world. 
  • While scans of its skeletons showed it to be completely different from any other similar-sized frog seen in Wayanad, some of its physical characteristics (such as its triangular finger- and toe tips) closely resembled frogs in South America and Africa.
  • Genetic studies, however, revealed a different story: its closest relatives are the Nycibatrachinae group of frogs that dwell in the streams of Western Ghats, and the Lankanectinae frogs of Sri Lanka.
  • The team named the new species the starry dwarf frog Astrobatrachus kurichiyana (genus Astrobatrachus after its starry spots and kurichiyana in honour of the Kurichiya tribal community who live in the area). 
  • It is not only a new species but different enough to be assigned to a new ‘subfamily’. 
  • Genetic analysis reveal that the species is at least 60 million years old.

Source: The Hindu.

Environment damage behind a quarter of premature deaths, diseases: UN report

Focus: GS3.

Topic: Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment.

Image result for Environment damage behind a quarter of premature deaths, diseases: UN report

Why in News?

A quarter of all premature deaths and diseases worldwide are due to manmade pollution and environmental damage, the United Nations said in a landmark report on the planet’s parlous state. 

Background

  • Deadly emissions, chemicals polluting drinking water, and the accelerating destruction of ecosystems crucial to the livelihoods of billions of people are driving a worldwide epidemic that hampers the global economy, it warned.
  • The Global Environment Outlook (GEO) — a report six years in the making compiled by 250 scientists from 70 nations — depicts a growing chasm between rich and poor countries as rampant overconsumption, pollution and food waste in the developed world leads to hunger, poverty and disease elsewhere. 

Highlights

  • As greenhouse gas emissions continue to rise amid a preponderance of droughts, floods and superstorms made worse by climbing sea levels, there is a growing political consensus that climate change poses a future risk to billions.
  • But the health impacts of pollution, deforestation and the mechanised food-chain are less well understood.
  • Nor is there any international agreement for the environment close to covering what the 2015 Paris accord does for climate.
  • The GEO compiles a litany of pollution-related health emergencies.
  • It said that poor environmental conditions “cause approximately 25% of global disease and mortality” -- around 9 million deaths in 2015 alone.
  • Lacking access to clean drinking supplies, 1.4 million people die each year from preventable diseases such as diarrhoea and parasites linked to pathogen-riddled water and poor sanitation.
  • Chemicals pumped into the seas cause “potentially multi-generational” adverse health effects, and land degradation through mega-farming and deforestation occurs in areas of Earth home to 3.2 billion people.
  • The report says air pollution causes 6-7 million early deaths annually.
  • The report called for a root-and-branch detoxifying of human behaviour while insisting that the situation is not unassailable.
  • Food waste for instance, which accounts for 9% of global greenhouse gas emissions, could be slashed. 
  • The world currently throws away a third of all food produced. In richer nations, 56% goes to waste.
  • It also called for a rapid drawdown in greenhouse gas emissions and pesticide use to improve air and water quality.

Source: The Hindu.

RBI to inject liquidity via forex swaps

Focus: GS3.

Topic: Indian Economy.

Image result for rbi to inject liquidity via forex swaps

Why in News?

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has decided to inject rupee liquidity into the system through long-term foreign exchange buy/sell swap — a first-of-its-kind instrument used for liquidity management. 

Background

  • The RBI would conduct dollar-rupee buy/sell swap auction of $5 billion for a three-year tenor on March 26. 
  • “In order to meet the durable liquidity needs of the system, the Reserve Bank has decided to augment its liquidity management toolkit and inject rupee liquidity for longer duration through long-term foreign exchange buy/sell swap,” the central bank said in a statement. 
  • “The U.S. dollar amount mobilised through this auction would also reflect in RBI’s foreign exchange reserves for the tenor of the swap while also reflecting in RBI’s forward liabilities,” it added. 

Highlights

  • According to bankers, the move is seen to lower the dependence on open market operations which have been a significant amount of the overall borrowing.
  • Higher OMOs can distort the rates curve. 
  • The move would boost RBI’s foreign exchange reserves which were at $401.7 billion for the week ended March 1.
  • Market participants would be required to place their bids in terms of the premium that they were willing to pay to the RBI for the tenor of the swap. 
  • RBI said the auction cut-off would be based on the premium and the auction would be a multiple-price based auction.
  • RBI also has raised the trade credit limit under the automatic route to $150 million for oil/gas refining and marketing, airline and shipping firms. 
  • For others, the limit is set at $50 million or equivalent per import transaction.
  • At the same time, the revised framework has reduced the all-inclusive cost (all-in-cost) for overseas loans to benchmark rate plus 250 basis points from the earlier 350 bps.

Source: The Hindu. 

Combat Casualty Drugs

Focus: GS3.

Topic: Developments and their applications and effects in everyday life.

Image result for Combat Casualty Drugs

Why in News?

  • DRDO’s medical laboratory has come up with a range of ‘combat casualty drugs’ that can extend the golden hour till the trooper is shifted to hospital.
  • These indigenously made medicines will be a boon for paramilitary and defence personnel during warfare.

Background

  • There is only one medical person and limited equipment to take care of soldiers during combat in most cases.
  • This is compounded by battlefield conditions such as forests, hilly terrain, and inaccessibility of vehicles, experts said.
  • Chances of survival and minimum disability are highest when effective first aid care is given within the golden hour.

Highlights

  • These drugs are developed at the Institute of Nuclear Medicine and Allied Sciences (INMAS), a laboratory of the DRDO.
  • The main battlefield emergencies are excess bleeding, sepsis, shock, hypovolemia (decreased blood volume) and pain.
  • The spectrum includes bleeding wound sealants, super absorptive dressings, and glycerated salines, all of which can save lives in the event of warfare in a jungle and high altitude areas as well as in terror attacks.

Source: PIB.

Cabinet approves proposal to align with global trademark system

Focus: GS2.

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

Related image

Why in News?

The Union Cabinet has approved the proposal for accession of India to:
  • The Nice Agreement concerned with the International classification of Goods and Services for the purposes of registration of marks.
  • The Vienna Agreement establishing an International Classification of the figurative elements of marks.
  • The Locarno Agreement establishing an International classification for industrial designs.

Background

  • These are open to States party to the Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property (1883).
  • Instruments of ratification or accession must be deposited with the Director General of WIPO.

Highlights

  • Accession to these will help the Intellectual Property Office in India to harmonize the classification systems for examinational of trademark and design applications, in line with the classification systems followed globally.
  • It would give an opportunity to include Indian designs, figurative elements and goods in the international classification systems.
  • The accession is expected to instil confidence in foreign investors in relation to protection of IPs in India.
  • The accession would also facilitate in exercising rights in decision making processes regarding review and revision of the classifications under the agreement.

Source: PIB.

Prelims Corner

Ex Al Nagah

  • It is a joint military exercise between Indian and Royal Army of Oman (RAO) held in Oman.
  • The Indian side was represented by troops of Tenth Battalion The Garhwal Rifles Regiment.
  • The exercise will see them hone their tactical and technical skills in joint counter insurgency and counter terrorist operations in semi-urban scenario in mountainous terrain under UN mandate.
  • It will contribute immensely in developing mutual understanding and respect for each other’s military as also facilitate in tackling the worldwide phenomenon of terrorism.
  • Due emphasis will be laid on increasing interoperability between forces from both countries which is crucial for success of any joint operation.

Map of the Day

Oman map

Image result for oman map

Quote of the Day

“Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man's character, give him power.”  - Abraham Lincoln. 

Mains Answer Writing

1.Critically analyse how India’s biodiversity rich zones are also ‘hotspots’ of human impacts.
2.Discuss how firecrackers industry plays conflict with Fundamental Rights.
3.Explain how environment damage reflects on social health.

Test your Knowledge

1. Consider the following statements:

1.India has world’s third largest road network.
2.Great Indian Bustard are categorised as endangered.
3.Cool spots are world’s last refuges where high numbers of threatened species still persist.

Select the correct answer using the codes given below:

[A] 1 only

[B] 3 only

[C] Both 1 and 2

[D] Neither of the above

2. Kurichiya tribal community live in?

[A] Andhra Pradesh 

[B] Telangana 

[C] Kerala

[D] Tamil Nadu

3. Consider the following statements ;

1.Article 13 defines state in the Constitution.
2.“laws in force” includes laws passed or made by a Legislature or other competent authority in the territory of India before the commencement of this Constitution and not previously repealed.

Which of the statement(s) given above is/are correct?

[A] 1 only

[B] 2 only

[C] Both 1 and 2

[D] Neither 1 and 2

4. Global Environment Outlook (GEO) is released by?

[A] IMF  

[B] World Bank

[C] UN 

[D] ASEAN

5. Hypovolemia is a condition of 

[A] Decreased blood volume 

[B] Glycerated salines 

[C] Super absorptive dressings 

[D] Increased blood volume

Answers

1.B 2.C 3.B 4.C 5.A