Goaltide Daily Current Affairs 2020

Dec 03, 2020

Current Affair 1:
IUCN World Heritage Outlook 3 Report.

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We will small basics and all Indian sites which are included in its list.

The IUCN World Heritage Outlook 3 builds on previous reports from 2014 and 2017 to track whether the conservation of the world’s 252 natural World Heritage sites is sufficient to protect them in the long term. It finds that climate change has overtaken invasive species as the top threat to natural World Heritage.

The IUCN Outlook assesses the prospects for World Heritage site values – the unique features which have earned them their World Heritage status – based on threats, and how good protection and management is.

  1. It assesses 63% of sites as either “good” or “good with some concerns”, while 30% are of “significant concern” and 7% are “critical”.
  2. Half of the sites are found to have “effective” or “highly effective” protection and management, with the sustainability of the sites’ funding being the most common issue rated as a “serious concern”.


Which Heritage sites in India fall under which category? For this first of all, you should know, which sites in India are listed as World Heritage sites. So, there are currently 38 such sites:



Now among these sites, 8 Indian sites are listed in Report.

Good: Khangchendzonga National Park

Good with some concerns: Great Himalayan National Park Conservation Area, Kaziranga National Park, Keoladeo National Park, Nanda Devi and Valley of Flowers National Parks, Sundarbans National Park

Significant Concern: Manas Wildlife Sanctuary, Western Ghats,

None of the site haves been placed in critical stage.

Current Affair 2:
India and Pakistan: Basmati Battle in European Union

Recently, the European Commission published India’s Protected Geographical Indication application in the European Union for ‘Basmati’, the rice which is popularly used for making Biriyanis and Pulao.

Where is the Problem?

Pakistan, the only other country that exports Basmati has announced that it will challenge India’s application. Pakistan, which is the only other country in the world to produce Basmati rice besides India, has opposed India’s claim and has planned to challenge the application. Getting the GI tag can help India boost its export of Basmati rice, which may hit Pakistan’s exports of the same.

It has to be noted that the Pakistan Government enacted the GI (Registration and Protection) Act only in March 2020. In India, GI Act has been in force since 1999.

According to the EU’s regulations, countries can file opposition to GI claims within a period of 3 months from the publication in the Official Journal of the European Union.

Now, we will also see the status of Basmati Rice in India.

India already accounts for a lion’s share of Basmati rice exports. More than 85% of the global Basmati exports (by quantity and by value) are from India.

In India, the quantity of Basmati exported is about 37% of the total rice exports by quantity and 60% by value in 2018-19. In the five years between 2014-15 and 2018-19, according to parliament responses, India’s Basmati exports have increased.


Claim to Basmati in dispute even among states

Basmati is a registered GI in India. However, as per the registry, the states of Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Delhi, Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, and Jammu & Kashmir are the producers of Basmati.

  1. Madhya Pradesh also claimed to market rice under Basmati tag and hence APEDA was asked by the GI registry to include Madhya Pradesh among those states that grow Basmati, in December 2013.
  2. Later, APEDA challenged this before the Intellectual Property Appellate Board (IPAB) in 2014.
  3. The Madhya Pradesh government later challenged the same before the Madras High Court and the HC dismissed the claim.
  4. The matter reportedly has been taken up at the apex court.

Current Affair 3:
Technical Education in Mother Tongue

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Recently, the Union Education Minister has set up a task force for preparing a roadmap on imparting technical education in the mother tongue of students. It will be set-up under the chairmanship of the secretary, higher education, Amit Khare.

Objective: To achieve the vision that students may pursue the professional courses such as medicine, engineering, law, etc. in their mother tongue. This is part of the National Education Policy (NEP) 2020 which suggests teaching in regional language till class 8 and enabling teaching the curriculum in a language which a student is comfortable in.

Constitutional and Legal Provisions Safeguarding Regional Languages

Article 29 (Protection of interests of minorities) gives all citizens right to conserve their language and prohibits discrimination on the basis of language.

Article 120 (Language to be used in Parliament) provides for use of Hindi or English for transactions of Parliament but gives the right to members of Parliament to express themselves in their mother tongue.

Part XVII of the Indian Constitution deals with the official languages in Articles 343 to 351.

Article 350A (Facilities for instruction in mother-tongue at primary stage) provides that it shall be the endeavour of every State and of every local authority within the State to provide adequate facilities for instruction in the mother-tongue at the primary stage of education to children belonging to linguistic minority groups.

Article 350B (Special Officer for linguistic minorities): The President should appoint a special officer for linguistic minorities to investigate all matters relating to the constitutional safeguards for linguistic minorities and to report to him. The President should place all such reports before the Parliament and send to the state government concerned.

Article 351 (Directive for development of the Hindi language) provides that it shall be the duty of the Union to promote the spread of the Hindi language.

The Eighth Schedule recognizes following 22 languages: Assamese, Bengali, Gujarati, Hindi, Kannada, Kashmiri, Konkani, Malayalam, Manipuri, Marathi, Nepali, Oriya, Punjabi, Sanskrit, Sindhi, Tamil, Telugu, Urdu, Bodo, Santhali, Maithili and Dogri.

Right to Education (RTE) Act, 2009 says that the medium of instruction shall, as far as practicable, be in a child’s mother tongue.



Current Affair 4:
Ken-Betwa Interlinking Project Dam

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An expert panel of India’s environment ministry has deferred environment clearance for the Lower Orr Dam, which is part of the Ken-Betwa river interlinking project. Identified as a national project, it is part of the Ken-Betwa river interlinking project and envisages construction of a 45-metre-high and 2,218-metre long dam across Orr river in Madhya Pradesh to provide irrigation facility to 90,000 hectares of area.

About the Project.

Ken-Betwa river interlinking project is the first among the 30 identified river interlinking projects identified by the central government – an effort that started in the early 1980s. It envisages a transfer of surplus water from river Ken’s basin in Madhya Pradesh to river Betwa’s basin in Uttar Pradesh to provide water in areas in the upper Betwa basin that are facing water shortage.

Problem with the Project:

It involves submergence of over 9,000 hectares of area and out of that 5,803 hectares are prime forests of the Panna Tiger Reserve (PTR).

In 2019, a Supreme Court committee had questioned the basis on which wildlife clearance was granted to it and questioned its economic viability as well. As the project would lead to submergence of prime forest area, which is also the habitat of endangered species like tiger and vultures, it had faced stiff opposition from the wildlife experts and conservationists. Expert panel has been all set to discuss clearance issue. Not important to discuss more on expert committees.

A question to government:

Current Affair 5:
Oman-India Friendship Association

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Oman recently announced to establish Friendship association with India. This will the first of such initiative in West Asia.

EAM and Oman FM reviewed cooperation in key areas of India-Oman strategic partnership viz. defence and security, economic cooperation, capacity building and training, consular issues and people-to-people ties. They noted the huge potential for expanding economic partnership given the strong complementarities between the two economies. They emphasized the importance of health and food security in the coming times and the ability of the partnership of both countries to address them. The Ministers exchanged views on regional and multilateral issues and agreed to maintain close cooperation in multilateral fora.

India-Oman Recent Developments

  1. In 2018, Indian PM Modi visited Oman and enhanced the cooperation between the countries in defence, energy, food security, trade and investment and regional issues.
  2. In December 2019, India and Oman signed the Maritime Transport Agreement. The pact was first of its kind that India signed with a Gulf country.
  3. The pact enabled India to expand its footprints in Southern Indian Ocean, Western Indian Ocean, East Africa and Persian Gulf.
  4. This was a part of India’s Indo-Pacific Vision. The Indian Navy has been provided access to the Duqm Port. The Duqm port if the largest seaport located in the Indian Ocean. India is planning several projects in Oman.
  5. This includes a 1.2 billion project to set up the largest Sebacic Acid plant (which is the largest in Middle East). Also, an integrated tourism complex called “Little India” is to be constructed under 78 million USD.

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