News: The 13th meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS COP13) concluded in Gandhinagar, Gujarat.
- Seven species added to Appendix I: Asian Elephant, Jaguar, Great Indian Bustard, Bengal Florican, Little Bustard, Antipodean Albatross, and the Oceanic White-tip Shark.
- 3 species added to Appendix II: Urial, Smooth Hammerhead Shark, and the Tope Shark
- Adoption of Gandhinagar Declaration: It calls for migratory species and the concept of ‘ecological connectivity’ to be integrated and prioritized in the Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework which is expected to be adopted at the UN Biodiversity Conference in October 2020
- The first-ever report on the Status of Migratory Species: It shows that despite some success stories, the populations of most migratory species covered by CMS are declining
- Integrate biodiversity and migratory species considerations into national energy and climate policy;
- Strengthen initiatives to combat the illegal killing, taking and trade of migratory birds;
- Mitigate the impacts of linear infrastructure such as roads and railways on migratory species;
- Address the unsustainable use of aquatic wild meat;
- Undertake a review of bycatch levels of sharks and rays, implement bycatch mitigation measures for marine mammals in national fishing operations;
- Deepen understanding of the importance of animal culture and social complexity for the conservation of endangered species;
Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS) or the Bonn Convention
- It is an intergovernmental treaty, concluded under the aegis of the United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP). It acts as a framework convention and encourages its States Parties to conclude global or regional agreements.
- It was signed in 1979 in Bonn, Germany, and entered into force in 1983
- Aim: conservation and sustainable use of migratory animals and their habitats
- It is the only global convention specializing in the conservation of migratory species, their habitats and migration routes.
Appendices of CMS:
- Appendix I – Threatened Migratory Species
- Appendix II – Migratory Species requiring international cooperation
Parties to the Convention: 129 parties including India
CMS COP13 Theme: ‘Migratory species connect the planet and together we welcome them home’.
Explained:What is Happiness curriculum
News:The US President along with the US First Lady will be visiting a Delhi government school where they will attend a happiness curriculum class.
About Happiness Curriculum:
- The Happiness curriculum was launched by the Delhi government in 2018.
- The curriculum aims at increasing mental health awareness among school children from classes nursery to eighth in all government schools
Objectives of the curriculum:The objectives of this curriculum includes:
- developing self-awareness and mindfulness
- inculcating skills of critical thinking and inquiry
- enabling learners to communicate effectively and
- helping learners to apply life skills to deal with stressful and conflicting situations around them.
- Under the curriculum,students will attend Happiness Classes where they will participate in exercises such as storytelling, meditation and question and answer sessions.
Research and Development(R&D) Fund
News:The Department of Science and Technology is planning a Research and Development(R&D) fund to stimulate investment in R&D.
About the fund:
- The fund will be coordinated through the department’s Science and Engineering Research Board(SERB) which funds a variety of basic science projects in several universities.
- It will receive contributions from a group of companies willing to invest in fundamental research and whatever is invested government will match the contributions.
About India’s investment in R&D:
- According to a 2019 report by the Economic Advisory Council (EAC), India’s investment in R&D has shown a consistent increasing trend over the years.
- However, it is still fraction of India’s GDP as it has remained constant at around 0.6% to 0.7% of India’s GDP.
- This is below the expenditure of countries like the US (2.8), China (2.1), Israel (4.3) and Korea (4.2).
- The report has also said that the public expenditure is the driving force of R&D in India which is in contrast to the advanced countries where the private sector is the dominant and driving force of R&D spend.
News:The Maharashtra Government has officially stopped the Jalyukt Shivar Abhiyan due to substandard work being carried out under the mission.
About Jalyukt Shivar Abhiyan:
- Launched in 2014 by the Maharashtra Government.
- Aim:To make 5,000 villages drought free by the year 2019.
- The scheme targets drought-prone areas by improving water conservation measures in order to make them more water sustainable.
- Under the scheme, decentralised water bodies are being installed at various locations within villages to enhance the groundwater recharge.
- It also proposes to strengthen and rejuvenate water storage capacity and percolation of tanks and other sources of storage.
News:Recently, the Arunachal Pradesh Government has cleared the 692.7 km highway through the Pakke Tiger Reserve(PTR) to build the East-West Industrial Corridor.
About Pakke Tiger Reserve:
- Pakke Tiger Reserve also known as Pakhui Tiger Reserve is a Project Tiger reserve located in the East Kameng district of Arunachal Pradesh.
- The tiger reserve is surrounded by the Nameri National Park of Assam in the south and south-east, Pakke River to the east and Bhareli or Kameng River to the west.
- Vegetation:It includes semi-evergreen, evergreen forest and Eastern Himalayan broadleaf forests.
- This Reserve has won India Biodiversity Award 2016 in the category of ‘Conservation of threatened species’ for its Hornbill Nest Adoption Programme.
About Project Tiger:
- Project Tiger is a tiger conservation programme launched in April 1973 by the Government of India.
- The project aims at ensuring a viable population of Bengal tigers in their natural habitats, protecting them from extinction and preserving areas of biological importance.
- The project is administered by the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA).
About East West Industrial Corridor:
- The East-West Industrial Corridor Highway is a 692 kms long road proposed to be built in the foothills of Arunachal Pradesh.
- It aims to connect Bhairabkunda in West Kameng district and Manmao in Changlang district along Arunachal Pradesh’s border with Assam.
US becomes India’s top trading partner
News:According to the 2018-19 data from the Commerce Ministry, the United States has become India’s top trading partner surpassing China.
- In 2018-19,the bilateral trade between the US and India stands at USD 87.95 billion as compared to USD 87.07 billion with China.
- India has a trade surplus of USD 16.85 billion with the USA while it has a deficit of USD 53.56 billion with China.
- Currently,the top five trading partners of India are US, China, UAE, Saudi Arabia and Hong Kong.
Economic Survey on India’s External Trade:
- Largest export items of India:Petroleum products, precious stones, drug formulations & biologicals, gold and other precious metals.
- Largest export destinations in 2019-20: United States of America (USA), followed by United Arab Emirates (UAE), China and Hong Kong.
- Largest import items: Crude petroleum, gold, petroleum products, coal, coke & briquettes.
- India’s imports continue to be largest from China, followed by USA, UAE and Saudi Arabia.