Goaltide Daily Current Affairs 2021

Jan 12, 2021

Current Affair 1:
Management report of National Park and Wildlife Sanctuaries

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Minister for Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Shri Prakash Javadekar released Management Effectiveness Evaluation (MEE) of 146 National Park and Wildlife Sanctuaries in the Country.

At present, India has a network of 903 Protected Areas in the country covering about 5% of the total geographic area of the country. In order to assess the efficacy of Protected Areas, evaluation of management effectiveness is required.

Speaking at the event Shri Javadekar said that what other countries could not achieve, India has achieved and today has a thriving biodiversity. “70% of the global tiger population, 70% of Asiatic lions and more than 60% of leopards’ population in India is a certificate of India's thriving biodiversity, as these big cats sit at the top of food chain and their growing numbers shows the well-being of the whole ecosystem.”

What is Management Effectiveness Evaluation (MEE)?

Protected area (PA) management effectiveness evaluation (MEE) is defined as the assessment of how well NP&WLS are being managed—primarily, whether they are protecting their values and achieving the goals and objectives agreed upon. The term ‘management effectiveness’ reflects three main themes of PA management:

  1. Design issues relating to both individual sites and PA systems
  2. The adequacy and appropriateness of management systems and processes v
  3. Delivery of the objectives of NP&WLS, including conservation of values.

The results of present assessment are encouraging with overall mean MEE score of 62.01% which is higher than the global mean of 56%. Tirthan Wildlife Sanctuary and Great Himalayan National Park, Himachal Pradesh rated with the highest MEE score of 84.17% and Turtle Wildlife Sanctuary, Uttar Pradesh rated with least MEE score of 26.66%.

MEE is a very important document that provides valuable guidance on various aspects of wildlife and protected area expand MEE of Marine Protected Areas. A new framework for MEE of Marine Protected Areas has been also jointly prepared by WII and MoEF&CC and it will be very useful document to implement.

The Environment Minister also launched the Management Effectiveness Evaluation of Indian Zoos (MEE-ZOO) framework which proposes guidelines, criteria and indicators for evaluation of zoos of the country through Management Effectiveness Evaluation Process (MEE-ZOO) in a manner which is discrete, holistic and independent.

The assessment criteria and indicators look beyond the traditional concepts, include issues of animal welfare, husbandry and sustainability of resources and finance. The MEE-ZOO exercise is moving towards developing highest standards in Zoos across India and adhering to core values of accountability, transparency, innovation, use of technology, collaboration and integrity to achieve the mandate of conservation of endangered species.

Current Affair 2:
Insect Apocalypse

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The entomologists from all over the world attended the proceedings of National Academies of Sciences recently. According to the entomologists, the insect population is declining at rapid rate. The scientists have named this as Insect Apocalypse.

The main reasons of Insect Apocalypse are as follows:

  1. Insecticides
  2. Climate Change
  3. Light Pollution
  4. Herbicides
  5. Invasive Species
  6. Changes in land use
  7. Intensive agriculture






Why insects are crucial for ecological balance?

Their extinction can have a cascading effect on the upper levels of the food pyramid. Insects are increasingly susceptible to extinction due to increasing climate crisis. Rampant and indiscriminate use of chemicals in commercial agricultural practices, mainly monocropping systems, has been taking a toll on insects in the vicinity of farmlands and plantations.

A few common insects whose existence is taken for granted and their ecological relevance are:

Butterflies are important pollinators like bees. The lime butterfly is mostly dependent on citrus plant species and other nectar plants throughout its life cycle and is a good indicator of environmental health.

Species diversity and density of butterfly indicate a good diversity of plants in an area. Several types of butterflies have specific host plants. Climate change, forest degradation, habitat loss, unavailability of hosts and nectar plant species are among major reasons for a decline in butterfly population. This leads to loss of plants species that depend on the butterflies for pollination.

Dragonflies, one of the most widely recognised insects, need clean aquatic systems and are hence a good indicator of health of local aquatic systems.  These, along with damsel flies, are well-known biological predators with both larvae and adults acting as natural bio-control agents. They are highly sensitive to changes in their habitats and are declining due to increasing habitat loss, anthropogenic activities, pollutants, climate change and rapid urbanization.

Grasshoppers feed on different plants and can cause serious damage to economic crops. However, in a biodiversity-rich region, they are an important component of the food chain, being an important food source for many birds.

Ants are in the most abundance. Ants act as scavengers / decomposers by feeding on organic wastes and other dead animals. Ants also aerate soil. Heavy use of chemicals in agriculture causes harm to ants.

Fireflies are a good indicator of a healthy environment, especially good aquatic system. They avoid regions with chemical toxicity. They are good pollinators and natural pest control agents in several ecosystems.

It’s obvious that when insect numbers decrease everything higher up in the food web will suffer. This is already happening – falling insect abundance in Central American tropical forest has been accompanied by parallel declines in the numbers of insect-eating frogs, lizards and birds. We humans ought to be more careful about our relationship with the little creatures that run the world. As Wilson commented:

“The truth is that we need invertebrates, but they don’t need us”.

“Bugs are not going to inherit the earth. They own it now”.

Current Affair 3:
Legal Entity Identifier System

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The Reserve Bank of India introduced the Legal Entity Identifier (LEI) for Large Value Transactions in Centralised Payment Systems.

The Legal Entity Identifier (LEI) code has been conceived of as a key measure to improve the quality and accuracy of financial data systems for better risk management post the Global Financial Crisis.

The LEI is a 20-character unique identity code assigned to entities who are parties to a financial transaction. Globally, use of LEI has expanded beyond derivative reporting and it is being used in areas relating to banking, securities market, credit rating, market supervision, etc.

Current Affair 4:
Toy making cluster to be set up in Koppal- AatmaNirbhar Bharat in Toy Manufacturing

The tradition of Toy making in India is as old as Indus valley Civilization. However, today India is not self-reliant in manufacturing of toys. In this regard, in his monthly "Mann ki Baat" address, PM Modi has called upon startups and entrepreneurs to "team up for toys". Further, the prime minister had also recently chaired a meeting aimed at boosting India’s share in the global toy trade in which China is one of the largest manufacturers and exporters.

Present Status of Toy Industry in India

The global toy market is worth Rs 7 lakh crores; however, India's share is quite miniscule. Over 85% of toys in India are imported, mainly from China, followed by Sri Lanka and Malaysia. The country’s imports of toys and related items grew almost 8% to $650million in 2018-19. Further, the QCI’s quality test found that 80% of the plastic toy samples failed on mechanical and physical safety properties.

Need to push for Manufacturing of Toys in India

  • Employment Opportunities: India is home to several toy clusters and thousands of artisans who produce indigenous toys which not only have cultural connect but also helps in building life-skills.
  • Improved Learning Outcomes: Playing with toys can improve the psychomotor / cognitive skills of children. Hence, they can be used as pedagogical tools across all Anganwadi Centres and Schools for all-round development of children.
  • Promote Cultural Values: Toys reflect India's heritage and culture and hence can be an excellent medium to further the spirit of "Ek Bharat, Shrestha Bharat".
  • Opportunity to be Self-Reliant: According to a recent report by the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT), increasing wages in China is making Toy Manufacturing unprofitable and hence India needs to leverage this opportunity.

Recent Initiatives to promote Self-Reliance in Toy Manufacturing

  1. Increase in Customs Duty: The Budget 2020-21 had proposed 200% increase in the customs duty on Toys from 20% to 60% to prevent dumping of Toys and to boost domestic Manufacturing.
  2. Quality Control Order: Toys manufactured in India or imported for use by Children below the age of 14 should comply with the BIS Standards from September 1, 2020.
  3. Toy Manufacturing Cluster: The Karnataka Government has recently announced setting up of India's first toy manufacturing cluster at Koppal.

Problems and Challenges

Size of Industry and Scale of Operation: For micro & small toys manufacturing enterprises in India, their scale of operation is very low that leads to higher cost of production and wafer-thin margins. The number of toys manufacturing enterprises in China is almost 10 times that of India. The export of toys from China are almost 180 times that of India at present.

Procurement of critical Raw Materials: Prominent plastic raw materials including HDPE, LDPE, PP etc. are easily available in India in the open market in small quantities from traders as per desired quality but the prices are higher than China by approximately 25%.

Skilled manpower: There are a very few Institutes, that are offering specialized manpower training courses related to toys manufacturing in the areas of toy design ; mould making etc. and NID is the only known design institute offering PG Diploma in toys designing.

Product Range & Variety: Electronic toys & games and battery-operated toys are missing from the product range of Indian toys manufacturers that are being imported primarily from China & constitute almost 50% of the total market of toys in India.

Product Conceptualization & Design: About 15% of the balance MSMEs Toys Manufacturers just copy the designs of other domestic manufacturers & Chinese toys available in the Indian market; lack of investment in R&D; Need to foster collaboration between the MSMEs and design services provides by IITs, NID, NIFT etc.

Toys and Indus valley Civilization.

Terracotta toys found at most Indus settlements provide a glimpse of the pastimes that might have involved trained animals. Terracotta oxcarts with movable parts are perhaps the most common. Throughout the Indus Valley people still race oxcarts, especially in the regions around Mohenjo-Daro where on-track betting ends with large sums of money or land changing hands.

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