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Q.1) According to the recent India State of Forest Report (ISFR) 2017, Forest and Tree Cover of the country has increased by 1% as compared to assessment of 2015. Does this growth in forest cover calls for a sigh of relief or we should be more cautioned than before? (GS – 2)

Introduction:

  • 12th February, 2018: The Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change has released the India State of Forest Report (ISFR), 2017 and it is 15th such report in the series.

Key findings of the report:

(Positive changes)

Forest and Tree Cover:

  • Forest and Tree Cover of the country has increased by 8,021 sq km (1 %) as compared to assessment of 2015.

Very dense forest:

  • The very dense forest has increased by 1.36 % as compared to last assessment.
  • Forest cover has increased in:
    • Andhra Pradesh (2,141 sqkms),
    • Karnataka (1,101 sqkms),
    • Kerala (1,043 sqkms),
    • Odisha (885 sqkms) and
    • Telangana (565 sqkms).

Water bodies:

  • Water bodies inside forest cover have increased by 2,647 sqkms during the last decade.
  • States showing increase in water bodies within forest areas:
    • Maharashtra (432 sqkms),
    • Gujarat (428 sqkms),
    • Madhya Pradesh (389 sqkms).

Water conservation:

  • State Forest Departments have also undertaken steps to improve water conservation through different interventions such as building Check dams, vegetation barriers, percolation ponds, contour trenches etc. under various Central & State Government schemes.

Mangrove cover:

  • Mangrove forests have increased by 181 sqkms.
  • States showing increase in terms of mangrove cover:
    • Maharashtra (82 sqkms),
    • Andhra Pradesh (37 sqkms) and
    • Gujarat (33 sqkms).
  • Please note: Mangroves play a major role in protecting coastal areas from erosion, tidal storms and tsunamis.

Nationally Determined Contributions:

  • India is striving towards achieving its Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC) goal of creating additional carbon sink of 2.5 to 3.0 billion tonnes of CO2 equivalent through additional forest and tree cover by 2030.

Carbon stock:

  • The total carbon stock in the country’s forest is estimated to be 7,082 million tonnes.

(Negative changes)

  • Forests in most of the biodiversity-rich north-eastern part of the country have been contracting continuously over the last few years.
  • Forest cover has decreased in:
    • Mizoram (531 sq km),
    • Nagaland (450 sq km),
    • Arunachal Pradesh (190 sq km),
    • Tripura (164 sq km) and
    • Meghalaya (116 sq km).
  • It is important to mention here that these states are in the North Eastern region of the country where the total forest cover is very high i.e. more than 70% in each state.

Conclusion:

  • Thus, the report serves as rightful guide to acknowledge the overall scenario of the country’s forest covers and its related dimensions.

Q.2) In the light of first bi-monthly monetary policy review of 2018-19, do you think that RBI has done well to adopt a balanced approach in the current economic context? (GS – 3)

Introduction:

  • The Reserve Bank of India’s (RBI’s) Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) has recently introduced the first bi-monthly monetary policy review of 2018-19.

Salient features of RBI’s bi-monthly monetary policy review of 2018-19 are:

  • Benchmark repo rate has been kept unchanged at 6%.
  • Reverse repo rate has also been left unchanged at 5.75% and the bank rate at 25%.
  • The inflation projection to 7-5.1% in the first half of the financial year 2018-2019 and 4.4% in H2 has been revised.
  • A GDP growth of 4% in FY19 from 6.6% in FY18 has been forecasted.
  • Further, the GDP growth has been projected at 3-7.4% in H1 and 7.3-7.6% in H2 of FY19.
  • A minimum level of ‘loan component’ in fund based working capital finance for larger borrowers is being specified.
  • Concerns are raised on the global trade war and stock market volatility triggered by uncertainty regarding the pace of normalisation of US monetary policy.
  • Warnings have been circulated to all the banks and financial entities to restrain themselves dealing with virtual currencies and cut all the ties within three months.
  • Inflation in respect of liquefied petroleum gas has declined in line with international price movements.
  • Furthermore, the rate of increase in prices of firewood and chips, and dung cake has been moderated.
  • Signs of revival in investment activities with exports to getting a boost from the improvement in global demand have been cleared.
  • Establishment of a Data Sciences Lab within the RBI has been proposed.

Conclusion:

  • Thus, the RBI has done well to adopt a lot balanced approach in the current economic context.

Q.3) Write short notes on:

a) Post-earning drift in economics (GS – 3)

  • Post-earning drift refers to the tendency among stocks and other financial securities to offer abnormal returns to investors even weeks or months after an earnings surprise.
  • A stock, for instance, might continue to rise strongly for a number of weeks after the underlying company posts excellent results.
  • This happens because it takes time for investors to fully incorporate all the relevant fresh information about a stock into its price.
  • The prevalence of the drift is considered to be a refutation of the famous academic hypothesis that markets efficiently price all securities at all times.

b) Replication crisis in science and technology (GS – 3)

  • Replication crisis refers to the failure of many scientific studies to replicate the results of previous studies.
  • It is usually attributed to various errors and biases in the methodology used by scientists to conduct their experiments on a subject.
  • Others, however, have attributed the replication crisis to the inherent impossibility of arriving at the real truth in certain fields of study using scientific methods.
  • This may be due to randomness.
  • Since some major scientific theories have been based on data that have failed to be replicated by follow-up studies, many scientists have been forced to rethink their previous conclusions.
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