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Goaltide Daily Current Affairs 2020

Sep 18, 2020

Current Affair 1:
World Rhino Day

World Rhino Day is celebrated on September 22 every year. We chose this topic to understand few important things, no, not few, almost everything important for our UPSC exam.

There are majorly five species of Rhino- Black, White, One-horned (Indian), Javan and Sumatran.

The Indian Rhinoceros is an herbivorous grazer and is one of the three species of Rhinos native to Asia- other two Javan and Sumatran. The Indian rhinoceros lives primarily in northern India and Nepal.

Assam has the largest number of Indian one horn Rhino in the world where the Rhino census is conducted in every three years. As per the 2018 Census, Kaziranga has total of 2413 Rhinos.

What is India Rhino Vision 2020?

Launched in 2005, Indian Rhino Vision 2020 is an ambitious effort to attain a wild population of at least 3,000 greater one-horned rhinos spread over seven protected areas in the Indian state of Assam by the year 2020.

It was launched by the Assam Forest Department, in partnership with the International Rhino Foundation (IRF) and WWF-India.

One more thing, we will learn here about Rhino is Rhinoceros DNA Index System (RhODIS). Not in news recently. But just for information you read. May be later, it might appear.

RhODIS (Rhino DNA Index System) is a project that was initiated by the Veterinary Genetics Laboratory of the University of Pretoria in order to help with the plight of the rhinos. The Veterinary Genetics Laboratory is collecting DNA samples of rhinos across the country to create a database using the unique DNA profile of individual rhinos. The goal is for all rhinos to be on the system. This will deter poachers and assist in forensic prosecutions.

In 2016, RhODIS India was launched by the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change in partnership with Wildlife Institute of India. The progress of RhODIS implementation is reviewed by the Ministry on an annual basis.

Nothing more will be important for RhODIS. If you remember 2017 Prelims Paper, they asked about M-STrIPES. Similarly, RhODIS may appear. So, remember this. Not difficult.

Steps taken by Indian Government to protect Rhinos:

  1. Indian government through its National Wildlife Action plan and National Rhino Conservation Strategy of India brought a more focused approach in conservation.
  2. India has been leading from the front in the preservation and conservation of Rhinos. Currently, it has a population of approximately 2980 rhinos spread in seven Protected Areas.
  3. Since 1999, the species is growing at an annual rate of around 3.5% in the country. The country has re-established two new rhino population during the last decade.
  4. Manas where the population was wiped out on account of poaching, through the Indian Rhino Vision 2020 program the rhino population has been re-established and currently it has around 40 rhinos.
  5. A small second rhino population was also re-established in Dudhwa National Park, Uttar Pradesh through the conduct of wild to wild translocations in 2018.
  6. Rhino breeding program under the Patna zoo is doing well too and is a very successful model of ex-situ rhino conservation. During the last 15 years more than 10 calves have been born in the zoo which is a record in itself.
  7. The National Rhino Conservation Strategy was adopted for India in 2019 which outlines the roadmap for the conservation of the species in the country.
  8. Recently Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change initiated DNA based forensics investigation of rhino crime cases in India in Rhino bearing areas like in Assam, West Bengal, and Uttar Pradesh.

All these measures have definitely helped in sustaining and preserving the species and World Rhino day through its campaign generated more awareness regarding the challenge.

Current Affair 2:
Illegal Mining in the Aravalli Hills- A threat to Delhi and neighbours

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First, we will see Aravalli Hills.

  1. Aravalli is almost 700 kilometres-long mountain range that starts from India’s western state of Gujarat, travels through Rajasthan and Haryana before terminating at Raisina hill, at the heart of national capital Delhi.
  2. Most of the Aravalli hills – around 550 kilometres of its length – is in Rajasthan.
  3. The range has several peaks, hillocks and ridges, with different elevations, having a highest of 1,732 metres above mean sea level at Guru Shikhar peak, Mount Abu.
  4. It is one of the oldest mountain ranges in the world and full of minerals, flora and fauna.
  5. Many water streams originate from Aravalli and it stands as a barrier against the Thar desert to protect parts of Rajasthan, Haryana and Delhi from dust, pollution and sandstorms.
  6. The reason why Rajasthan has so many Marble companies is that the Aravalli Range is rich in minerals such as Marble, Granite, and Sandstone. Apart from that, it also produces commercially viable quantities of minerals such as rock phosphate, lead-zinc-silver mineral deposits at Zawar, etc.
  7. Aravalli range gives rise to a number of Rivers in which Luni, Sakhi, Banas, Sabarmati, and Sahibi are the prominent ones.

Now what is the threat?

A lot of mining is happening in this Area. Recent one is, in August 2020, the Supreme Court of India ordered the Haryana authorities to stop road construction in the ecologically sensitive zone of Aravalli hills.

If we destroy this Aravalli line of defense that we have which prevents the desertification and in-road of the desert dust which is going to contribute hugely to the local pollution problem. Delhi, Gurugram, Faridabad, Noida and Ghaziabad are already counted amongst the 20 most polluted cities of the world.

For prelims we need to learn the basics about Aravalli, and for environment and for ourselves, we need to protect Aravalli.

Current Affair 3:
Customs (Administration of Rules of Origin under Trade Agreements) Rules, 2020

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The Customs (Administration of Rules of Origin under Trade Agreements) Rules, 2020 (CAROTAR, 2020) came into force on September 21.

What are these rules?

  1. They set guidelines for enforcement of the ‘rules of origin’ for allowing preferential rate on imports under free trade agreements.
  2. They supplement the existing operational certification procedures prescribed under different trade agreements (FTA/ PTA/ CECA/ CEPA).

Background:

They were notified on 21st August 2020 by the Department of Revenue. 30-day period was given to importers and other stakeholders to familiarize themselves with new provisions.

CAROTAR rules:

  1. An importer is now required to do due diligence before importing the goods to ensure that they meet the prescribed originating criteria.
  2. A list of minimum information which the importer is required to possess has also been provided in the rules along with general guidance.
  3. An importer would now have to enter certain origin related information in the Bill of Entry, as available in the Certificate of Origin.

Implications:

  1. The new norms have been framed with a view to check inbound shipments of low-quality products and dumping of goods by a third country routed through an FTA partner country.
  2. Under these rules, a country that has inked an FTA with India cannot dump goods from some third country in the Indian market by just putting a label on it.

Significance of these rules:

  1. The new Rules will support the importer to correctly ascertain the country of origin, properly claim the concessional duty and assist Customs authorities in smooth clearance of legitimate imports under FTAs.
  2. The new Rules would also strengthen the hands of the Customs in checking any attempted misuse of the duty concessions under FTAs.

Current Affair 4:
Cuddalore beach found to have high level of microplastics: NCPOR study

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Just in three small Paragraph what does study say. Nothing much to learn.

The famous Silver Beach in Cuddalore, Tamil Nadu was found to have a higher amount of coloured plastic particles, compared to fragmented and irregular-shaped plastic particles in a recent study by Periyar University in Salem, Tamil Nadu and the National Centre for Polar and Ocean Research (NCPOR) in Vasco Da Gama, Goa.

Untreated urban sewage, tourism and fishing activities were the sources of the plastic debris while storm-water runoff played a significant role in the transportation of plastic debris and wave-induced deposition through high tides, the study further noted.

Effective remediation could be possible through policy formulation to minimize plastic use, reducing the use of single-use plastics and their proper disposal, the study suggested. It emphasized the need for future assessment of microplastics on ecologically sensitive organisms around the study area.

Learn about National Centre for Polar and Ocean Research (NCPOR)

Current Affair 5:
O-SMART Scheme

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The Ocean Services, Modelling, Applications, Resources and Technology (O-SMART) Scheme was approved by the Union Cabinet in August 2018 and is implemented by the Ministry of Earth Sciences.

There were total 16 objectives mentioned in PIB, we are pasting all of them:

The objectives of O-SMART (Ocean Services, Modelling, Applications, Resources and Technology) scheme of Ministry of Earth Sciences (MoES), Govt. of India are

  1. To generate and regularly update information on Marine Living Resources and their relationship with the physical environment in the Indian Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ)
  2. To periodically monitor levels of sea water pollutants for health assessment of coastal waters of India, to develop shoreline change maps for assessment of coastal erosion due to natural and anthropogenic activities,
  3. To develop a wide range of state-of-the art ocean observation systems for acquisition of real-time data from the seas around India
  4. To generate and disseminate a suite of user-oriented ocean information, advisories, warnings, data and data products for the benefit of society,
  5. To develop high resolution models for ocean forecast and reanalysis system,
  6. To develop algorithms for validation of satellite data for coastal research and to monitor changes in the coastal research,
  7. To develop technologies to tap the marine bio resources,
  8. To develop technologies generating freshwater and energy from ocean,
  9. To develop underwater vehicles and technologies,
  10. Establishment of Ballast water treatment facility,
  11. To support operation and maintenance of 5 Research vessels for ocean survey/monitoring/technology demonstration programmes,
  12.  Establishment of state-of-the-art sea front facility to cater to the testing and sea trial activities of ocean technology,
  13. To carryout exploration of Polymetallic Nodules (MPN) from water depth of 5500 m in site of 75000 sq.km allotted to India by United Nations in Central Indian Ocean Basin, to carryout investigations of gas hydrates,
  14. Exploration of polymetallic sulphides near Rodrigues Triple junction (see below map) in 10000 sq. km of area allotted to India in International waters by International Seabed Authority/UN and,
  15. Submission of India's claim over continental shelf extending beyond the Exclusive Economic Zone supported by scientific data, and Topographic survey of EEZ of India.

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