9 PM Current Affairs Brief – March 2nd, 2020

India is host to 457 migratory fauna, shows latest CMS list

News: Zoological Survey of India (ZSI) for the first time compiled the list of migratory species of India under the Conservation of Migratory Species (CMS).

Facts:

  • Globally, more than 650 species are listed under the CMS appendices
  • The total number of migratory fauna from India is 457 species with birds comprising 83% (380 species) of this figure. Further, there are 46 migratory mammal species and 24 migratory fish species.

Additional Information: 

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

Zoological Survey of India

  • It is an organization for zoological research and studies to promote the survey, exploration, and research of the fauna in India.
  • It was established in 1916. It is headquartered in Kolkata, West Bengal.
  • It functions under the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate.

Did you Know? India has three flyways (flight paths used by birds): the Central Asian flyway, East Asian flyway and East Asian–Australasian flyway.

Water crisis looms large in Himalayan regions, finds study

News: According to a survey, published in the journal Water Policy, eight towns in the Hindu Kush Himalayan region of Bangladesh, Nepal, India and Pakistan were nearly 20%-70% deficient in their water supply.

Facts:

Key takeaways:

  • Major Challenges faced: changing water budgets, increasing demand for water and water scarcity.
  • Reasons for water crisis: poor water governance, lack of urban planning, poor tourism management during peak season, and climate-related risks and challenges
  • Solutions: Holistic water management approach that includes springshed management and planned adaptation

Additional Information:

The Hindu Kush and Himalayan Range (HKH):

  • It  is famously known as the earth’s “third pole” as it forms the largest area of permanent ice cover outside of the North and South Poles.
  • It spans Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, China, India, Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan

Eurasian otter found in Chilika Lake

News:Researchers conducting a study in Odisha’s Chilika Lake have found the presence of fishing cats and Smooth-coated otters. Eurasian otters have also been spotted for the first time.

Facts:

Fishing cat:

  • Geographic Range: South and Southeast Asia 
  • IUCN Status: Vulnerable

Smooth-coated Otter: 

  • Geographic range: Indian subcontinent and Southeast Asia
  • IUCN Status: Vulnerable

Eurasian Otter:

  • Geographic Range: Eurasia
  • IUCN Status: Near Threatened

Additional Information:

Chilka Lake:

  • It is spread over the Puri, Khurda and Ganjam districts of Odisha, at the mouth of the Daya River, flowing into the Bay of Bengal. 
  • It is Asia’s largest brackish water lake.
  • In 1981, Chilika Lake was designated the first Indian wetland of international importance under the Ramsar Convention.

U.S, Taliban sign peace deal

News:The US and Taliban have signed a peace deal in Doha, the capital of Qatar.

Facts:

Key provisions of the deal:

  • Withdrawal of the United States troops from Afghanistan.
  • A commitment by the Taliban to end support for U.S.-deemed terrorist organizations.
  • Maintaining a communications channel between US and Taliban to support implementation of the agreement.
  • Exchange of prisoners between the Afghan government and the Taliban is intended as a way of building trust between the two sides.
  • Intra-party talks among Afghan government officials, opposition figures, civil society representatives and the Taliban to discuss a political road map for bringing an end to the war.

Additional information:

About Taliban:

  • The Taliban or students in the Pashto language emerged in the early 1990s in northern Pakistan following the withdrawal of Soviet troops from Afghanistan.
  • They ruled large parts of Afghanistan from 1996 to 2001,before being ousted in a US-led invasion.After years of insurgency, it now controls half of the country once more,mostly rural areas.

India and Taliban:

  • India never gave diplomatic and official recognition to the Taliban when it was in power during 1996-2001.
  • However,after the US-Taliban negotiations started, India has been in touch with all stakeholders.But its foreign policy has shied away from engaging with the Taliban directly.

Raider-X

News:Recently,Raider-X, a new explosive detection device was unveiled at the National Workshop on Explosive Detection(NWED-2020) in Pune.

Facts:

About Raider-X:

  • It has been developed by the High Energy Material Research Laboratory (HEMRL) ,an arm of the DRDO in Pune and the Indian Institute of Science in Bangalore.
  • It is a bomb detection device that can spot 20 homemade explosives from two meters away.
  • The data library can also be built in the system to expand its capability to detect a number of explosives in pure form as well as with the contaminants.

Period Poverty

News:Scotland may become the first country in the world to end ‘period poverty’ by passing the Period Products (Free Provision) (Scotland) Bill to make sanitary products free for all.

Facts:

About Period Poverty:

  • Period poverty is often described as a lack of access to sanitary products due to financial constraints.

About Period Products (Free Provision) (Scotland) Bill:

  • The Scottish Parliament has passed the Period Products (Free Provision) (Scotland) Bill.
  • It aims to develop a universal system in Scotland which will provide free sanitary products for anyone who needs them.

Additional information:

Period Poverty in India:

  • Increased risk of disease:In India,an estimated 70% of all reproductive diseases are caused by poor menstrual hygiene as women often use dirty rags as a replacement for sanitary pads.
  • Cultural stereotypes have a huge impact: Menstruation in India is often seen as a shameful conversation.Studies estimate that 71% of girls have no knowledge about menstrual health until after their first period.
  • High Cost of Sanitation facilities:Approximately 70 million people in India live in extreme poverty on less than $1.90 dollars per day.Hence for low-income households, the cost of sanitary pads is often unattainable.
  • Period poverty in India affects education:On average, girls miss six days of class each month due to shame surrounding their periods or a lack of sanitary products.This contributes to the number of girls in India who dropout of school each year around 23%.

Initiatives by Indian Government:

  • Janaushadhi Suvidha scheme:It aims to provide women with oxo-biodegradable sanitary napkins at a meagre cost of Rs 2.50/pad across 3,600 Janaushadhi Kendras in the country.

Initiatives for Gender Advancement and Equality in Academic and Research Institutions

News: The President has announced a few initiatives for gender advancement and equality in academic and research institutions on the National Science Day celebrations.

Facts:

About Vigyan Jyoti Scheme:

  • Nodal ministry:Ministry of Science & Technology(DST).
  • Coverage:The programme covers girl students from grade 9 to 12.
  • Aim:To create a level-playing field for the meritorious girls in high school to pursue Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics(STEM) in their higher education and become self reliant.
  • It also offers exposure for girl students coming from rural backgrounds to help understand how to plan their journey from school to college and thereafter from research to a job of their choice in the field of science.
  • It also has a financial dimension as girls will be given a modest financial incentive to cover their additional expenses like travel to camps.

About GATI:

  • GATI Stands for Gender Advancement for Transforming Institutions (GATI).
  • Aim:To develop a comprehensive Charter and a framework for assessing Gender Equality in STEM.
  • It will assess the progress made by participating institutions in gender advancement based on well-defined parameters.
  • Further,an online portal will also be created to provide information on government schemes, scholarships, fellowships among others.

International Women’s Day(IWD)

News:The Government of India has launched a special theme-based focused campaign from 1st-7th March in the run up to the International Women’s Day on 8th March,2020.

Facts:

  • The seven themes that are being observed by the Government of India include Education, Health and nutrition, Empowerment of women, Skills & entrepreneurship, Participation in sports, Rural women agriculture and Urban women.

About International Women’s Day:

  • International Women’s Day is celebrated every year on 8th March since 1911.
  • It aims to celebrate the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women.It also marks a call to action for accelerating gender parity.
  • The theme for 2020 is #EachforEqual- An equal world is an enabled world.

Additional information:

About Beijing Declaration:

  • The Beijing Declaration was a resolution adopted by the United Nations(UN) at the end of the Fourth World Conference on Women on 15 September 1995. 
  • The resolution is an agenda for women’s empowerment and considered the key global policy document on gender equality.
  • It sets strategic objectives for the advancement of women and gender equality in 12 critical areas of concern like women and health, women in power and decision-making, the girl-child, women and the environment.

Araku Utsav

News:The Araku Utsav 2020 has begun at Araku Valley in Visakhapatnam district,Andhra Pradesh.

Facts:

About Araku Utsav:

  • The festival is being organized by the Andhra Pradesh Government.
  • The aim of the festival is to spread the tribal tradition and culture to other regions.

Additional information:

About Araku Valley:

  • Araku Valley is a hill station in Visakhapatnam,Andhra Pradesh.The valley is located in the Eastern Ghats.The nearest cave to the Valley is Borra cave.
  • Dhimsa, a tribal dance form is performed primarily by Porja tribal women especially in places near Araku Valley.

EKAM Fest

News:Union Minister of Social Justice & Empowerment has inaugurated the week long Exhibition-cum-Fair “EKAM Fest” in New Delhi.

Facts:

About EKAM Fest:

  • The word Ekam stands for Entrepreneurship, Knowledge, Awareness, Marketing.It also represents inclusiveness, oneness and unity.
  • Aim:To a) promote entrepreneurship and knowledge among the Divyangjan/Persons with disabilities(PwDs) community b) generate awareness among society about potentialities of PwDs and c) provide a major marketing opportunity to PwDs entrepreneurs.
  • It is being organised by National Handicapped Finance Development Corporation (NHFDC) under the Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment.

Initiatives of NHFDC at the fest:

  • NHFDC Swavalamban Kendra (NSK):It will be a PwD owned micro skill training Centers for skill training of PwDs.These NSKs will have a capacity to provide quality skill training to around 120 PwDs per year.
  • Safe Cabs: It is a PwD owned commercial vehicle which will be driven by the Women drivers to provide safe taxi option for the women, children and senior citizen commuters.

Additional information:

About NHFDC:

  • National Handicapped Finance Development Corporation (NHFDC) is an Apex corporation under the aegis of Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities(Divyangjan), Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment.
  • It was established in 1997 as a not for profit company under Companies act,1956.
  • It provides financial assistance to the Persons with Disabilities for their economic rehabilitation and provides a number of skill development programmes to empower them to grow & sustain their enterprises.

ICGS Varad

News:The Indian Coast Guard’s Offshore Patrol Vessel(OPV), ICGS Varad has been commissioned into service.

Facts:

About ICGS Varad:

  • ICGS Varad is the the fifth in the series of seven Vikram-class offshore patrol vessel vessels being constructed by Larsen and Toubro(L&T).
  • The vessel is the first major defence ship to clear all the sea trials in one single sea sortie creating a record of sorts in the Indian shipbuilding industry.
  • It will be deployed at Eastern Coast under the operational control of the North-Eastern Region’s Coast Guard.

Additional information:

About Vikram class Offshore Patrol Vessel:

  • The Vikram-class offshore patrol vessel is a series of seven offshore patrol vessels(OPV) being built by L&T Shipbuilding for the Indian Coast Guard.
  • The Seven offshore Patrol vessels(OPV) are ICGS Vikram, ICGS Vijaya, ICGS Veera, ICGS Varaha, ICGS Varad and ICGS Vajra.

Sanskruti Kunj Fair

News:The Eight day cultural fair called Vasantotsav was inaugurated at Sanskruti Kunj in Gandhinagar,Gujarat.

Facts:

About the Sanskruti Kunj fair:

  • It is an annual festival organised by the Government of Gujarat to celebrate the rich diverse heritage of the country.
  • The festival is often referred to as the state’s spring festival or Basant Mahotsava as it is celebrated with the onset of spring.
  • The theme of this year’s festival is “Ek Bharat Shreshtha Bharat”.
  • The pair state of the festival was Chhattisgarh whose folk dance Panthi was performed.

Additional information:

About Panthi Dance:

  • Panthi is a folk dance performed by the Satnami tribal community of Chhattisgarh.
  • The dance has a religious significance as it is performed on Maghi Purnima–birth anniversary of Guru Baba Ghasidas.
  • The dance is performed mainly by the male dancers as it requires great flexibility and stamina and various challenging steps.
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