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, 18th April 2019

Bhutan govt to place bill for ratification of BBIN initiative at its upper senate

Focus: GS2.

Topic: Bhutan govt to place bill for ratification of BBIN initiative at its upper senate.

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Why in News?

The Bhutan government will place the bill for ratification of Bangladesh-Bhutan-India- Nepal (BBIN) initiative for road and rail connectivity at its upper senate.

Background

  • The Motor Vehicle Agreement of BBIN countries was signed in 2015 by the four member countries.
  • Bangladesh, India and Nepal have implemented the agreement but Bhutan is yet to accord its ratification of the agreement. 

About BBIN Initiative

  • Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, and Nepal (BBIN) signed a Motor Vehicles Agreement for the Regulation of Passenger, Personal and Cargo Vehicular Traffic.
  • Aside from facilitating the cross-border movement of passengers and goods, the agreement is expected to “promote safe, economical efficient and environmentally sound road transport in the sub-region
  • It will help to create “an institutional mechanism for regional integration.”
  • It may increase trade within the South Asia region by nearly 60% and trade by the region with outside partners by more than 30% over current levels.
  • But nearly two years after ministers from Bhutan, Bangladesh, India and Nepal signed the BBIN MVA in Thimphu; the Bhutanese government withdrew from the agreement followed Bhutan’s domestic resistance to ratify the agreement.

Source: The Hindu.

Scientific management of Mangroves is need of the hour

Focus: GS3.

Topic: Conservation, Environmental Pollution & Degradation.

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Context

  • Mangroves are salt-tolerant vegetation that grows in intertidal regions of rivers and estuaries.
  • They are referred to as ‘tidal forests’ and belong to the category of ‘tropical wetland rainforest ecosystem’.

Distribution of Mangroves in India

  • Mangrove forests occupy around 2,00,000 square kilometres across the globe in tropical regions of 30 countries. India has a total mangrove cover of 4,482 sq km.
  • A mangrove ecosystem is the interface between terrestrial forests and aquatic marine ecosystems.
  • The ecosystem includes diversified habitats like mangrove-dominant forests, litter- laden forest floors, mudflats, coral reefs and contiguous water courses such as river estuaries, bays, inter-tidal waters, channels and backwaters.
  • Sundarbans in the Gangetic delta with an area of 2.12 lakh hectares (ha) supports 26 plant species of mangrove with a maximum height of more than 10 metres.
  • Pichavaram in Tamil Nadu with an area of 1,100 ha supports 12 plant species growing to a height of 5 metres.

Significance of Mangroves

  • Mangroves serve as breeding, feeding and nursery grounds for most of the commercial fishes and crustaceans on which thousands of people depend for their livelihood.
  • Mangroves give protection to the coastline and minimize disasters due to cyclones and tsunami.
  • Recent studies have shown that mangroves store more carbon dioxide than most other forests.
  • Mangroves are intermediate vegetation between land and sea that grow in oxygen deficient waterlogged soils which have Hydrogen Sulfide (H2S).
  • They perform important ecological functions like nutrient cycling, hydrological regime, coastal protection, fish-fauna production, etc.
  • Mangroves act as shock absorbers. 
  • They reduce high tides and waves and help prevent soil erosion.

The Mortality burden

  • Researchers at CDDEP in the U.S. conducted stakeholder interviews in Uganda, India, and Germany, and literature reviews to identify key access barriers to antibiotics in low-, middle-, and high-income countries.
  • The majority of the world’s annual 5.7 million antibiotic-treatable deaths occur in low- and middle-income countries.
  • Here, the mortality burden from treatable bacterial infections far exceeds the estimated annual 700,000 deaths from antibiotic-resistant infections.
  • Health facilities in many of these countries are substandard.

Threats

  • Mangroves are being destroyed and facing severe threats due to urbanisation, industrialisation, and discharge of domestic sewage, industrial effluents and pesticides.
  • Saltpans and aquaculture also pose major threat to the mangroves.
  • 40 per cent of mangrove forests in West Coast of India have been converted into farmlands and housing colonies over the last three decades.
  • Some of the mangrove species like Bruguiera cylindrica and Sonneratia acida are at the verge of extinction.
  • Due to shrimp farming, about 35,000 ha of mangroves have been lost in India.

Ways to conserve

  • Suitable sites are to be identified for planting mangrove species.
  • Mangrove nursery banks should be developed for propagation purposes.
  • Environmental monitoring in the existing mangrove areas should be taken up systematically and periodically.
  • Various threats to the mangrove resources and their root causes should be identified, Various threats to the mangrove resources and their root causes should be identified, 
  • The participation of the local community should be made compulsory for conservation and management.
  • Floristic survey of mangroves along the coast is to be taken up to prepare biodiversity atlas for mangroves
  • Potential areas are to be identified for implementing the management action plan for mangroves, especially in cyclone prone areas.
  • Coastal industries and private owners need to be persuaded to actively participate in protecting and developing mangrove biodiversity.
  • The forest department officials should be trained on taxonomy, biology and ecology of mangrove species.

Way forward

  • So far, none of the mangrove species has been included in the Red List of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).
  • A scientific study reported that 100 per cent of mangrove species, 92 per cent of mangrove associates, 60.8 per cent of algae, 23.8 per cent of invertebrates and 21.1 per cent of fish are under threat.
  • Periodical monitoring of the mangrove forest is very much necessary to assess the status. 

Source: The Hindu.

Saturn’s moon Titan has 100-m deep Methane lakes

Focus: GS3.

Topic: Awareness In The Fields Of It, Space, Computers, Robotics, Nano-Technology, Bio-Technology.

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Why in News?

Saturn’s largest moon Titan has small liquid lakes that run more than 100 metres deep, perched atop hills and filled with methane, scientists have found using data from NASA’s Cassini spacecraft. 

About the Methane traces

  • Scientists have known that Titan’s hydrologic cycle works similarly to Earth’s — with one major difference.
  • Instead of water evaporating from seas, forming clouds and rain, Titan does it all with methane and ethane.
  • We tend to think of these hydrocarbons as a gas on Earth, unless they’re pressurized in a tank.
  • However, Titan is so cold that they behave as liquids, like gasoline at room temperature on our planet. 

About Cassini Mission

  • Launched in 1997, the Cassini mission is a cooperation between NASA, the European Space Agency and the Italian Space Agency.
  • It has sent back thousands of stunning images and made numerous discoveries about the ringed planet and its moons.
  • Cassini–Huygens is an unmanned spacecraft sent to the planet Saturn.
  • Cassini is the fourth space probe to visit Saturn and the first to enter orbit.
  • Its design includes a Saturn orbiter and a lander for the moon Titan.
  • The lander, called Huygens, landed on Titan in 2005.

Source: The Hindu.

Aadhaar and Jamaica

Focus: GS2.

Topic: Indian Constitution - historical underpinnings, evolution, features, amendments, significant provisions and basic structure.

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Context

In a recent ruling in Jamaica, its top court stroked down National Identification and Registration Act, which would have allowed collection of biometric information from all citizens to be centrally stored.

Background

  • Aadhar data thefts are very well versed in news these days, invoking the dissents for Aadhar.
  • Justice Chandrachud had expressed the sole dissenting opinion in a 4:1 verdict that had upheld the Aadhaar Act.
  • The apex court of Jamaica relied heavily on Indian SC Justice D Y Chandrachud’s dissenting judgment on the Aadhaar Act last year.

About the dissenting opinion which mattered

  • The court referred to Justice Chandrachud’s (JC) observation that when biometric systems are adopted in the absence of strong legal frameworks can pose “grave threats to privacy and personal security.
  • Their application can be broadened to facilitate discrimination, profiling and mass surveillance.
  • He also referred to JC’s observations about recent trends indicating reluctance of developed countries to deploy biometric technology including scrapping of the National Id Register and ID cards in the UK.
  • Justice Chandrachud demonstrated a greater sensitivity to the issues of privacy and freedom that is not as evident in the judgments of the majority.
  • He had a clear-eyed view of the dangers of a state or anyone having control over one’s personal information and generally.

India’s role in it

  • Justice Chandrachud’s observation that absence of an independent regulatory framework renders the Act largely ineffective while dealing with data violations.
  • A fair data protection regime requires establishment of an independent authority to deal with the contraventions of the data protection framework as well as to proactively supervise its compliance.
  • There is a dire need for a strong independent and autonomous body which has the power to examine the operations of the Authority and report to an institution that is independent of the Authority.

About the perilness of the consent

  • Justice Chandrachud had observed that the “proportionality test failed because the Aadhar Act allowed private entities to use Aadhaar numbers.
  • It would lead to commercial exploitation of the personal data and profiling without consent.
  • Profiling can be used to predict market behaviour and preferences and even influence the choice for political office.
  • These are contrary to privacy protection norms.
  • Susceptibility to communal exploitation renders the relevant provisions arbitrary.
  • The failure to define ‘services and benefits’ also were unreasonable and disproportionate.

Way forward

  • The state failed to demonstrate that the targeted delivery of subsidies entails a necessary sacrifice of the right to individual autonomy, data protection and dignity.
  • The technology deployed in the Aadhaar scheme reduces different constitutional identities into a single identity of a 12-digit number.
  • This infringes the right of an individual to identify her or himself through a chosen means.
  • Aadhaar is about identification and is an instrument which facilitates a proof of identity. 
  • It must not be allowed to obliterate constitutional identity.

Source: The Hindu.

World Heritage Day 2019

Focus: GS1.

Topic: Art & Culture.

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Why in News?

The International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS) in 1982 had decided to celebrate April 18 as as the International Day for Monuments and Sites or World Heritage Day. 

Background

  • Approved by UNESCO in 1983 during its 22nd General Conference, the day is dedicated to recognising sites of historical importance, raising awareness regarding them, and stressing on the need to restore and preserve them.
  • The day promotes cultural importance, while also highlighting the many impediments in doing so.
  • Every year, a theme is proposed for the day which guides the celebrations and the many activities that ICOMOS National and International Scientific Committees and by other bodies organise.
  • The theme for this year’s celebrations is ‘Rural Landscapes’, which is related to the theme of the 2019 ICOMOS Scientific Symposium on Rural heritage that will take place in Marrakesh, Morocco in October. 

About Rural Landscapes

  • ICOMOS defines rural landscape as, “Principles concerning rural landscapes as heritage”, adopted by the ICOMOS General Assembly in 2017.
  • Rural landscapes are defined as “terrestrial and aquatic areas co-produced by human- nature interaction used for the production of food and other renewable natural resources, via agriculture, animal husbandry and pastoralism, fishing and aquaculture, forestry, wild food gathering, hunting, and extraction of other resources, such as salt. 
  • Rural landscapes are multifunctional resources.
  • At the same time, all rural areas have cultural meanings attributed to them by people and communities: all rural areas are landscapes.
  • Rural landscape has been a site of both tangible and intangible heritage and has also helped in maintaining a balance between the environment and human activities.

Source: The Hindu.

Map of the Day - Jamaica

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Data check

Voter’s turnout – Urban India

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Quote for the Day

“Every man who repeats the dogma of Mill that one country is no fit to rule another country must admit that one class is not fit to rule another class.” – Dr B R Ambedkar.

Mains Answer Writing

1.Critically analyse the role of Aadhaar in Jamaica’s judgement on National Identification and Registration Act.
2.Discuss the impacts and significance of BBIN to India.
3.Explain why scientific management of Mangroves is need of the hour.

 

Test your Knowledge

1. Consider the following statements 

1) Pulitzer Prizes award for achievements in newspaper, magazine and online journalism, literature and musical composition in the World. 

2) Pulitzer was established in 1917 by provisions in the will of American Joseph Pulitzer who had made his fortune as a newspaper publisher. 

3) The winner in the public service category of the journalism competition is awarded a gold medal 

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

a) 1 and 2 only

b) 2 and 3 only

c) 1 and 3 only

d) All of the above 

2. Consider the following statements 

1) The Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corp was formed after the Great Depression.

2) United States had designated Iran’s elite Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) as a foreign terrorist organization.

3) It is the first time that the U.S. has designated an entity of another government as a terrorist organization.  

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

a) 1 and 2 only

b) 2 and 3 only

c) 1 and 3 only

d) All of the above 

3. Consider the following statements: 

1) Peacekeeping forces are contributed by UN member states on a voluntary basis.

2)  India, Pakistan and Bangladesh are among the largest individual contributors.

3) African nations also contributes nearly half the peacekeeping forces. 

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

a) 1 and 2 only

b) 2 and 3 only

c) 1 and 3 only

d) All of the above 

4.Cassini-Huygens mission  is not a project of?

a) NASA 

b) European Space Agency

c) Italian Space Agency

d) JAXA 

5.Which of the following is the largest moon to Saturn?

a.Rhea
b.Mimas
c.Titan
d.Bennu

 

Answers

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