Goaltide Daily Current Affairs

Jan 05, 2020

Current Affair 1:
Forests Fire Report 2019


Forest fires are one of the major drivers of damage caused to forests in the country. Uncontrolled forest fires can lead to significant losses of forests and ecosystem services. Studies suggest that climate change influences forest fire frequency and intensity which results in forests becoming increasingly inflammable1 . The increasing duration of forest fire season, numbers of large fires, frequency of severe fire years may be related to climate change. Besides direct losses, foresters have to also deal with many side effects of fires such as increasing spread of weeds, soil erosion, loss of regeneration, landslides, habitat degradation, loss of forest produce etc.

So, Indian Government is still sleeping or has done something?

Recognizing the need to revamp forest fire management in the country, the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Government of India has come up with the National Action Plan on Forest Fires, 2018.

So, what is in this plan made by Government on Forest Fires?

  1. One of the main objectives of the action plan is to reduce the incidences of fires by informing, enabling and empowering forest fringe communities and incentivizing them to work in tandem with the State Forest Departments (SFDs).
  2. The plan also aims to reduce the vulnerability of forests against fire hazards across the diverse forest ecosystems in the country, enhancing the capabilities of institutions in fighting fires, and accelerating the recovery after a fire incidence.
  3. The plan proposes nine strategies to address the issue, including establishment of a “Centre of Excellence on Forest Fire Management “at FSI.
  4. The National Action Plan also acknowledges the role of FSI in providing timely forest fire alerts to the

Also know that a joint study report of MoEF&CC and World Bank titled “Strengthening Forest Fire Management in India” was released in June 2018. It synthesized information from various studies, questionnaire, field visits to analyze the forest fire situation in the country and suggested measures to improve them. The study revealed that in the year 2000, 20 districts, representing 3% of India’s land area and 16% of forest cover accounted for 44% of all fire detections.

Now, report about Forest Fire in FSI Report 2019

The forest fires were analyzed using a moderate resolution imaging spectroradiometer (MODIS). Regional to global-scale observations of the Earth's vegetation is obtained from the MODIS onboard NASA's EOS-Terra and EOS-Aqua satellites.

The 2019 report by the Forest Survey of India (FSI) states that about 21.40% of forest cover in India is prone to fires. Forests in the north-eastern region and central India are the most vulnerable.

Findings of the study indicate that nearly 4% of the country’s forest cover is extremely prone to fire, whereas 6% of forest cover is found to be very highly fire prone. More than 36% of the country’s forest cover has been estimated prone to frequent forest fires.

It is seen that most of the fire prone forest area are found in the northeastern region and the central part of the country. Very important map given below. See carefully.

Mizoram recorded the highest number of fire alerts. The seven states of the north-eastern region accounted for about one-third of fire alerts in the country. The north-east has tropical evergreen forests and, unlike the dry deciduous forests of central India, these are not likely to catch fire easily. One of the major reasons for forest fires in the north-east is slash-and-burn cultivation, commonly called jhoom or jhum cultivation. See below chart:

Current Affair 2:
Tuber Crops based Integrated Farming System

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The prime source of livelihood of the Nicobarese, a dominant tribe among the tribes living in Andaman & Nicobar Islands is based on the plantation crops, such as, coconut and fishing. Their cultivation practices are unique and entirely different from the other farming community. The people live in joint family system and adopt the “Tuhet” Garden System (a joint family farming system where the land owned by community and the resources and outputs are shared) for cultivating the Tuber and other crops.

The ICAR-Central Island Agricultural Research Institute (CIARI) has initiated an effort for imparting the scientific knowledge on the Tuber Crops based farming system at the tribal village Harminder Bay in Little Andaman through the participatory mode under the All India Coordinated Research Project on Tuber Crops.

The system was led to triple the tribal farmers’ income along with increasing the employment generation to the tune of over 70% in the tribal areas of Little Andaman. The potential of the system is providing the additional income, employment and enhancement of food availability in the island ecosystems.

Current Affair 3:
ICAR-CIFRI successfully harvests high value fish species from cage culture in reservoirs of Odisha and Jharkhand

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Owing to immediate need for diversification for increased adoptability and profitability of cage culture, ICAR-CIFRI (Central Inland Fish Research Institute) has studied feasibility of several commercially important indigenous fish species and developed their production technology in ICAR-CIFRI model cages installed in reservoirs.

Successful demonstration and harvest of high value butter catfish, commonly known as pabda and minor carp Labeo bata locally known as bata was successfully cultured to market size in cages at Maithon reservoir, Jharkhand.

Similarly, high value, medium carp, Puntius sarana, an herbivore fish commonly known as puti was undertaken in cages at Salia Dam, Ganjam district, Odisha.

Diversification of cage culture with high value species will not only increase adoptability and profitability of cage culture it will also pave way for doubling farmers income through enclosure technology in reservoirs and wetlands of India.

Also, learn, Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR)


It is an autonomous organisation under the Department of Agricultural Research and Education (DARE), Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare.

It was established on 16 July 1929 and was formerly known as Imperial Council of Agricultural Research. It is headquartered at New Delhi.

It is the apex body for coordinating, guiding and managing research and education in agriculture including horticulture, fisheries and animal sciences in the entire country.

Current Affair 4:
Scientists find oldest-known fossilized digestive tract at 550 million years old

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A 550 million-year-old fossilized digestive tract found in the Nevada desert could be a key find in understanding the early history of animals on Earth.

Over a half-billion years ago, life on Earth was comprised of simple ocean organisms unlike anything living in today's oceans. Then, beginning about 540 million years ago, animal structures changed dramatically.

During this time, ancestors of many animal groups we know today appeared, such as primitive crustaceans and worms, yet for years scientists did not know how these two seemingly unrelated communities of animals were connected, until now.

An analysis of tubular fossils by scientists led by at the University of Missouri provides evidence of a 550 million-year-old digestive tract, one of the oldest known examples of fossilized internal anatomical structures and reveals what scientists believe is a possible answer to the question of how these animals are connected.

Where is Nevada? Behind your house? No, it’s in western US.


Current Affair 5:
NASA's Lucy mission confirms discovery of Eurybates satellite

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Launching in October 2021, Lucy will be the first space mission to study the Trojan asteroids, a population of small bodies orbiting the Sun “leading” and “trailing” Jupiter, at the same distance from the Sun as the gas giant. With flyby encounters past seven different asteroids – one in the Main Asteroid Belt and six in the Trojans, Lucy will be the first space mission in history to explore so many different destinations in independent orbits around our Sun.

“This newly discovered satellite is more than 6,000 times fainter than Eurybates, implying a diameter less than 1 km,” said Southwest Research Institute’s Hal Levison, principal investigator of the mission. “If this estimate proves to be correct, it will be among the smallest asteroids visited.

Eurybates was first observed with Hubble in a search for small satellites in 2018, but it wasn’t until this past November when a Lucy team member noticed something in the data indicating a possible satellite.

Current Affair 6:
Tiger Report by Ministry of Forest Environment and Climate Change

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Before proceeding, let us understand why saving Tigers is important?

The tiger is a unique animal which plays a pivotal role in the health and diversity of an ecosystem. It is a top predator which is at the apex of the food chain and keeps the population of wild ungulates in check, thereby maintaining the balance between prey herbivores and the vegetation upon which they feed. Therefore, the presence of tigers in the forest is an indicator of the wellbeing of the ecosystem.

The extinction of this top predator is an indication that its ecosystem is not sufficiently protected, and neither would it exist for long thereafter.

What in news?

For the first time in the past three years, the number of tiger deaths in a year in the country has been less than 100. According to data from the Ministry of Forest Environment and Climate Change, there were 84 cases of tiger deaths in the country and 11 cases of seizures (in which a tiger is presumed dead on the basis of body parts seized by authorities). Both put together, the number of tiger deaths is in 2019 is 95.

In 2018, the number of tiger deaths recorded was 100 (93 mortalities and seven seizures). The number of tiger deaths in 2017 was 115 (98 mortalities and 17 seizures), and the number of tiger deaths in 2016 was 122 (101 mortalities and 21 seizures).

Madhya Pradesh has the highest number of tigers in the country and also has recorded the most number of cases of tiger deaths in 2019. This was followed by Maharashtra, Karnataka, Uttarakhand and Tamil Nadu. Deaths were also recorded from non-tiger bearing States like Gujarat, where a tiger had strayed into the State and died.

The first inter State translocation of tigers to the Satkosia Tiger Reserve in Odisha failed. For better results, inter-State translocation has to be taken up on the basis of a well-planned protocol and needs to be followed. There are plans to translocate tigers to the western part of Rajaji National Park and also to the Buxa Tiger Reserve from similar tiger landscapes in Assam.

Cases of poaching

 Almost over 70% of cases of poaching have been reported outside Tiger Reserves. The National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) counts deaths due to electrocution among the incidents of poaching. Tigers are most vulnerable when they are outside Reserves as they are not under surveillance.

 NTCA is a statutory body of the Ministry, with an overarching supervisory / coordination role, performing functions as provided in the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972.

Current Affair 7:
Online auction platform, eBkray

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eBkray, a common e-auction platform launched by the Finance Minister, is equipped with property search features and navigational links to all PSB e-auction sites, provides single-window access to information on properties up for e-auction as well as facility for comparison of similar properties, and also contains photographs and videos of uploaded properties.

Current Affair 8:
Supervisory Action Framework (SAF) for Urban Co-operative Banks (UCBs)

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The Reserve Bank of India has revised the Supervisory Action Framework (SAF) for Urban Co-operative Banks (UCBs). It seeks to ensure expeditious resolution of financial stress faced by some of the UCBs. The SAF is similar to the Prompt Corrective Action (PCA) framework which is imposed on commercial banks.

Now, what is this Supervisory Action Framework (SAF)?

Under the provisions of the Banking Regulation Act, 1949, RBI is entitled to assess the financial position of a bank and issue directions/instructions thereunder. The supervisory action framework was first introduced in 2014.

The Reserve Bank of India had introduced the supervisory action framework to better manage stressed urban cooperative banks. It is similar to the Prompt corrective active framework, imposed on scheduled commercial banks

What is mentioned in revised SAF?

The revised SAF envisages initiation of corrective action by the UCB and/or supervisory action by the Reserve Bank on breach of the specified thresholds (triggers) in respect of the specified financial parameters/indicators. The actions mentioned in the following POINTS may be taken on breach of the specified thresholds.

  1. A UCB may be placed under SAF when its Net NPAs exceed 6% of its net advances.
  2. A UCB may be placed under SAF when it incurs losses for two consecutive financial years or has accumulated losses on its balance sheet.
  3. A UCB may be placed under SAF when its CRAR falls below 9%.
  4. issue of show cause notice for cancellation of banking license may be considered by the Reserve bank when continued normal functioning of the UCB is no longer considered to be in the interest of its depositors / public.

Although supervisory action taken will primarily be based on the criteria specified under the revised SAF, Reserve Bank will not be precluded from taking appropriate supervisory action in case stress is noticed in other important indicators/parameters or in case of serious governance issues. The revised SAF will be implemented with immediate effect. Supervisory action already taken under the earlier SAF will be reviewed and revised instructions, if any, will be issued to the UCBs concerned.

Current Affair 9:
Tulu Language

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Why in News?

There has been growing demand to include Tulu in the Eighth Schedule of the Constitution. At present, Tulu is not an official language in India or any other country.

Advantages of Recognition in Eighth Schedule

If included in the Eighth Schedule, Tulu would get the following benefits:

  1. Recognition from the Sahitya Akademi.
  2. Translation of Tulu literary works into other languages.
  3. Members of Parliament (MP) and Member of the Legislative Assembly (MLA) could speak Tulu in Parliament and State Assemblies, respectively.
  4. Option to take competitive exams in Tulu including all-India competitive examinations like the Civil Services exam.
  5. Special funds from the Central government.
  6. Teaching of Tulu in primary and high school.

Tulu, a Dravidian language spoken by around 1.85 million people primarily along the southern coast of Karnataka. Tulu is primarily an unwritten language, known for its oral traditions.

According to the linguist D N S Bhat, Tulu Nadu is “geographically and socio linguistically compact,” and is defined by a set of natural borders — from the Suvarna river in the north to the Chandragiri river in the south (roughly from Udupi Kasaragod), and west of the Western Ghats.


Global Efforts:

The Yuelu Proclamation made by United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) at Changsha, China, in 2018 plays a central role in guiding the efforts of countries and regions around the world to protect linguistic resources and diversity.

The United Nations General Assembly has proclaimed 2019 as the International Year of Indigenous Languages (IYIL). The IYIL 2019 strives to preserve, support and promote indigenous languages at the national, regional and international levels.

Constitutional Safeguard: Article 29 of the Indian Constitution deals with the "Protection of interests of minorities". It states that any section of the citizens residing in any part of India having a distinct language, script or culture of its own, shall have the right to conserve the same.

Number of Speakers: According to Census-2011, there are more than 18 lakh native speakers of Tulu in India. The Tulu-speaking people are larger in number than speakers of Manipuri and Sanskrit, which have the Eighth Schedule status.

Current Affair 10:
Digi Locker

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Why in news?

The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology has been asked by the Delhi High Court to give its stand on a petition against the rules pertaining to the operation of Digi Locker.

Learn about DigiLocker

DigiLocker is a key initiative under Digital India, the Indian Government’s flagship program aimed at transforming India into a digitally empowered society and knowledge economy. DigiLocker ties into Digital India’s visions areas of providing citizens a shareable private space on a public cloud and making all documents / certificates available on this cloud.

Targeted at the idea of paperless governance, DigiLocker is a platform for issuance and verification of documents & certificates in a digital way, thus eliminating the use of physical documents. Indian citizens who sign up for a DigiLocker account get a dedicated cloud storage space that is linked to their Aadhaar (UIDAI) number.

Organizations that are registered with Digital Locker can push electronic copies of documents and certificates (e.g. driving license, Voter ID, School certificates) directly into citizen’s lockers. Citizens can also upload scanned copies of their legacy documents in their accounts. These legacy documents can be electronically signed using the e-Sign facility.

The platform has the following benefits:

  1. Citizens can access their digital documents anytime, anywhere and share it online. This is convenient and time saving.
  2. It reduces the administrative overhead of Government departments by minimizing the use of paper.
  3. Digital Locker makes it easier to validate the authenticity of documents as they are issued directly by the registered issuers.
  4. Self-uploaded documents can be digitally signed using the e-Sign facility (which is similar to the process of self-attestation).

Current Affair 11:
Great Indian Bustard

Why in news?

Known for following the overseas research and having not fared brilliantly so far in its wildlife conservation centric research, India enters the year 2020 with a successful word recordhaving succeeded in breeding of Great Indian Bustard (Ardeotis nigriceps), whose global population had plummeted to 150.

Nine eggs were collected from the wilderness in the Desert National Park in Jaisalmer district of Rajasthan in India during summer of 2019. They were artificially incubated, and chicks were hand reared.

Learn about Great Indian Bustard

Great Indian Bustard:

The great Indian bustard inhabits dry grasslands and scrublands on the Indian subcontinent; its largest populations are found in the Indian state of Rajasthan.

It is listed in Schedule I of the Indian Wildlife (Protection)Act, 1972 and in the Convention on Migratory Species (CMS) Convention and in Appendix I of CITES.

Initiatives taken by the Government:

Indian Governement has initiated a project, titled ‘Habitat Improvement and Conservation Breeding of Great Indian Bustard-An Integrated Approach’, with a financial support of Rs 33.85 crore for five years from the ad hoc Compensatory Afforestation Fund Management and Planning Authority (CAMPA) for conservation, breeding of the Indian bustard with technical support from the Wildlife Institute of India (WII).

It is also identified as one of the species for the recovery programme under the Integrated Development of Wildlife Habitats of the Ministry of Environment and Forests.

Rajasthan, home to one of the last remaining populations of the Great Indian Bustard, has charted out a plan to recover the population of the critically endangered bird- Project Great Indian Bustard.

Recently Governement has invested 33 crore to save critically endangered Great Indian Bustard.

Current Affair 12:
SC Judgement on Prohibition of Child Marriage Act, 2006

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The Supreme Court in a recent judgement has held that the Prohibition of Child Marriage Act, 2006 does not intend to punish a male aged between 18 and 21 years for marrying a “female adult”.

A Bench led by Justice Mohan M. Shantanagoudar was interpreting Section 9 of the Prohibition of Child Marriage Act, 2006, which says: “whoever, being a male adult above 18 years of age, contracts a child marriage shall be punishable with rigorous imprisonment which may extend to two years or with fine which may extend to one lakh rupees or with both.”

The court said neither does the provision punish a child for marrying a woman nor a woman for marrying a male child. The latter because “in a society like ours, decisions regarding marriage are usually taken by the family members of the bride and groom, and women generally have little say in the matter.”

The Supreme Court set aside the HC order, saying the intent behind Section 9 was not to punish a child for contracting a child marriage.

Learn about, The Prohibition of Child Marriage Act, 2006

The law seeks to prevent child marriages by making certain actions punishable and by appointing certain authorities responsible for the prevention and prohibition of child marriages.

Definitions under the Act

As per the Majority Act, 1875, every person domiciled in India attain the age of majority on his completing the age of eighteen years.

Child marriage is an offence punishable with rigorous imprisonment, which may extend to 2 years, or with fine up to Rs.1 Lakh, or both. The offences under the Act are cognizable and non-bailable.

Persons who can be punished under the Law include

  1. Whoever performs, conducts or directs or abets any child marriage.
  2. A male adult above 18 years marrying a child (Section 9).
  3. Any person having charge of the child, including – parent or guardian, any member of an organisation or association, promoting, permitting, participating in a child marriage.

Current Affair 13:
Unnat Jyoti by Affordable LEDs for All (UJALA) and Street Lighting National Programme (SLNP)

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Launched by Hon'ble Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi on January 5th, 2015, the Government of India’s zero subsidy Unnat Jyoti by Affordable LEDs for All (UJALA) and LED Street Lighting National Programme (SLNP), marks its fifth anniversary RECENTLY.

SLNP is the world’s largest streetlight replacement programme and UJALA is the world’s largest domestic lighting project. Both have been spearheaded and implemented by Energy Efficiency Services Limited (EESL), a joint venture of PSUs under the Ministry of Power, Government of India.

Learn both the schemes in bit details necessary for exam.

Key Features of UJALA

  1.  Unnat Jyoti by Affordable LEDs for All (UJALA) scheme was launched on May 1, 2015 to promote efficient use of energy at residential level and enhance consumer awareness on using efficient equipment to reduce electricity bills and help preserve the environment.
  2. The scheme promotes the use of LED bulbs as a substitute to incandescent bulbs, tube lights and CFL bulbs.
  3.  LED bulbs under UJALA are distributed at subsidized rates through special counters only set up at designated places in different cities across the country.

Under the scheme, the Government’s target is to replace all 77 crore inefficient bulbs in the country with LED bulbs by 2019, which would result in an annual reduction of 20,000 MW load and Green House Gas reduction of 80 million tonnes every year.

The Energy Efficiency Services Limited (EESL), a joint venture of four state-run power companies viz. NTPC, PFC, REC, and Power Grid Corporation under the Ministry of Power, implements the scheme.

Any household having a metered electricity connection from the respective Electricity DISCOM is a beneficiary.

Street Light National Programme (SNLP)

It was launched in 2015 and has been instrumental in replacing over 50 lakh streetlights in over 500 cities in India.

Under the programme, EESL replaces the conventional streetlights with LEDs at its own costs, with no upfront investment by the municipalities, thereby making their adoption even more attractive. It is the world’s largest streetlight replacement programme.


Under the SLNP programme, over 1.03 crore smart LED streetlights have been installed till date, enabling an estimated energy savings of 6.97 billion kWh per year with an avoided peak demand of 1,161 MW and an estimated greenhouse gas (GHG) emission reduction of 4.80 million tons CO2 annually.

LED streetlights have been installed in various states across the country, helping generate approximately 13,000 jobs to support Make in India initiative.

It has enabled citizens to increase productivity at night and made roads safer for pedestrians and motorists due to enhanced brightness and reduced dark spots. The power utilities of states where the installation of LEDs has been implemented save up to 50% in electricity bills.

By March 2020, SLNP aims to replace 1.34 crore conventional streetlights in India with smart LEDs.

Current Affair 14:
Decline in the Influence of the USA

Some important highlights of the global politics in year 2019 are as follows:

  1. Chinas growing assertiveness in trade as well as in foreign policy
  2.  Iran’s calculated defiance of USA
  3. Emergence of Turkey as a key player in West Asia
  4. Relative decline of America’s power

But before that, let us see how USA showed its dominance in past few decades:

It controlled and manipulated global institutions like UN, IMF and World Bank. It maneuvered international support in its favor to attack Afghanistan and Iraq despite UN opposition

But global situation has changed since and three developments in 2019 have suggested that the US’s ability to shape global politics is clearly receding:

The Afghan War:

The war which started in 2001 is nowhere near conclusion. The US entered into the war with the intention of toppling the Taliban regime but lately it is actively negotiating with the later. The whole afghan fiasco indicates that USA has a superior conventional power and hence it can topple any regime, but it lacks the prowess to stabilize the governments that it props up. The early withdrawal of USA from Afghanistan will leave Afghanistan troubled for a very long time.

The Iran standoff:

The current standoff between USA and Iran began after unilateral withdrawal of the earlier from Nuclear deal. The idea was to put immense pressure on Iran to force it renegotiate the nuclear deal. But Iran countered this “Maximum Pressure” by “Maximum Resistance “and also took following aggressive actions:

  1. It shot down an American drone and captured British oil tankers
  2. Attacked Saudi oil facilities

Now we know the long association of Saudi and USA and hence attack on Saudi oil facilities were seen as a direct challenge to USA and hence it was expected that USA will take these offensives seriously, but the only measure which USA took was imposing more sanctions.

Cracks in NATO

The creation and sustenance of NATO has been led by USA to counter now dysfunctional USSR. But the military alliance has come under strain in recent past due to following reasons:

  1. Emergence of populist and nationalist leaders which view these alliances as too much of commitment: Trump in USA, Erdogan in Turkey and Putin in Russia
  2. Actions on behalf of Turkey: It created a buffer zone in bordering areas of Turkey to be guarded by combination of Russian and Turkish forces.
  3. Turkey has purchased S-400 missile system from Russia which led to its expulsion from F-35 (considered the most advanced fighter jet) program.

Now these incidents do not mean that the dominance of USA of global affairs is over. But they indicate the ability of the USA shape the post war outcomes is very low. And this is indicated by the outcomes from Afghanistan, Libya and Iraq.

Current Affair 15:
Tribal and ethnic communities in News

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Khilonjias of Assam

Just know which state Khilonjias belong.

The ethnic communities of Assam are opposing to include non-tribal communities in the group of Khilonjia (also known as indigenous) people of the state.

Assam's Muslim population is 1/3 of the 30 million people, which is the second-largest Muslim population in term of percentage, following Kashmir. The Muslims of Assam are a composite community constituted by at least four different groups — Muslim-Axamia (also called Goriya, Tholua or Khilonjia), Bengali speaking or Bhotia, up-country or Juluha (from UP and Bihar), and immigrant Muslims, referred to as Miya.

Second one:

The poor implementation of government welfare programmes in the tribal areas of Odisha is affecting the tribes like Juangas, Pudi Bhuyan.

Juangas are one of the 13 Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups (PVTG) out of the total 62 tribes found in Odisha.

Pudi Bhuyan is a major section of the historically famous Bhuinya tribe. This tribe is majorly found in Bihar, Odisha, West Bengal and Assam. It is one of the 13 Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups (PVTG) in Odisha.

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