News: The World Wildlife Day is celebrated every year on 3rd March.
- Background: In 2013, the UNGA decided to proclaim 3 March, the day of the adoption of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) in 1973.
- 2020 Theme: “Sustaining all life on Earth”.
- Also known as Washington Convention, CITES is an international agreement which aims to ensure that international trade in specimens of wild animals and plants does not threaten their survival. It entered into force in 1975. At present it has 183 parties.
- CITES Appendices:
- Appendix I includes species threatened with extinction. Trade in specimens of these species is permitted only in exceptional circumstances.
- Appendix II includes species not necessarily threatened with extinction, but in which trade must be controlled in order to avoid utilization incompatible with their survival.
- Appendix III contains species that are protected in at least one country, which has asked other CITES Parties for assistance in controlling the trade.
News: The Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change has declared the National Chambal Sanctuary as an eco-sensitive zone (ESZ). It has also directed the Madhya Pradesh government to prepare a Zonal Master Plan to provide for conservation and management of the ecology and environment.
National Chambal Sanctuary
- It is located on the Chambal River near the tripoint of Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh. It spreads across Sheopur, Morena and Bhind districts of Madhya Pradesh.
- It is home to Gharial (critically endangered), Gangetic river dolphin (Endangered) and red crowned roofed turtle (critically endangered)
- It is an area notified by the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MoEFCC), around Protected Areas, National Parks and Wildlife Sanctuaries.
- Notifications declaring areas as ESZ are issued under the Environment (Protection) Act 1986.
- The main aim behind ESZs is to regulate certain activities so as to minimise the negative impacts of such activities on the fragile ecosystem surrounding the protected areas.
News:The Government of India has submitted the nomination dossier of ‘Dholavira: A Harappan City’ for inclusion in the World Heritage List for the year 2020.
- Dholavira, also known as Kotada (which means large fort), is located in Khadir island of the Rann of Kutchch, Gujarat. It has two seasonal streams: Mansar in the north, and Manhar in the south.
- It is one of the two largest Harappan sites in India, and 5th largest in the subcontinent.
- It passed through all the stages of the Harappan culture from circa 2900 BC to 1500 BC.
- Town Planning: It consisted of a bipartite ‘citadel’, a ‘middle town’ and a ‘lower town’, two ‘stadia’, an ‘annexe’, a series of reservoirs all set within a fortification running on all four sides.
News: The Union Government has permitted airlines operating in India to provide in-flight WiFi services to passengers
Background: The Telecom Commission had given its permission to in-flight connectivity of Internet and mobile communications on aircraft in Indian airspace in 2018.
In-flight connectivity of internet Technology
Two types of technology used:
- An onboard antenna picks up signals from the nearest tower on the ground.
- Satellites can be used to connect to ground stations. Data is transmitted to a personal electronic device through an onboard router, which connects to the plane’s antenna.
- It was setup in 1989 and functions under the Department of Telecommunications, Ministry of Communication. It has been designated as the Digital Communications Commission in 2018.
- Formulating the policy of Department of Telecommunications for approval of the Government;
- Preparing the budget for the Department of Telecommunications for each financial year and getting it approved by the Government; &
- Implementation of Government’s policy in all matters concerning telecommunication.
Zero Discrimination Day
News: Every year Zero Discrimination Day is observed on 1st March
- It is observed by the United Nations AIDS Programme.
- Was first observed in 2014 after UNAIDS launched its Zero Discrimination Campaign on World AIDS Day in December 2013.
- 2020 Theme: Zero Discrimination against Women and Girls
Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS)
- It is an initiative of the United Nations which was started in 1996. It is is headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland.
- The main objective of the programme is to coordinate global action on the AIDS disease and alleviate its impact.
- The UN Political declaration on ending AIDS was adopted in 2016 which seeks to end AIDS as a public health threat by 2030.
News:India has bagged a $40 million deal to supply 4 indigenously built Swati radars to Armenia.
About Swathi Radar:
- Swathi is a weapon locating radar developed by DRDO’s Electronics & Radar Development Establishment(LRDE) and manufactured by Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL).
- It is designed to detect and track incoming artillery and rocket fire to determine the point of origin for counter-battery fire.
- It can simultaneously detect multiple projectiles like shells, mortars fired from various locations within a 50-km radius.
- Currently,it is with the Army in LoC in Jammu & Kashmir to track the source of shelling from Pakistani positions.
News:The Minister of Human Resource Development has introduced the Central Sanskrit Universities Bill, 2019 in Rajya Sabha.
About the Bill:
Aim:To convert India’s three deemed-to-be Sanskrit universities — (i) Rashtriya Sanskrit Sansthan, New Delhi, (ii) Shri Lal Bahadur Shastri Rashtriya Sanskrit Vidyapeeth, New Delhi and (iii) Rashtriya Sanskrit Vidyapeeth, Tirupati into Central Sanskrit Universities.
Purpose of Universities:The central universities will:
- disseminate and advance knowledge for the promotion of Sanskrit
- make special provisions for integrated courses in humanities, social sciences, and science and
- train manpower for the overall development and preservation of Sanskrit and allied subjects.
Executive Council:It will be a principal executive body with 15-members that will include the:
- Vice Chancellor appointed by the Centre who will be the chairperson
- a joint secretary of the HRD Ministry and
- two eminent academics from the field of Sanskrit or allied subjects mong others.
News:The Government has informed that around 8.16 lakh candidates have benefitted from the National Apprenticeship Promotion Scheme(NAPS).
- Launched in 2016 by the Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship(MSDE).
- Aim:To promote apprenticeship training and incentivize employers who wish to engage apprentices.
- Target:To increase the engagement of apprenticeship from 2.3 Lakhs to 50 Lakhs cumulatively by 2020.
Components of the scheme:
- Stipend support : reimbursement of 25% of prescribed stipend subject to a maximum of Rs 1500/- per month per apprentice with employers.
- Sharing of cost of Basic Training: Rs7500/- for a maximum of 3 months or 500 hours in respect of apprentices who come directly to apprenticeship training without any formal trade training.
News:Rajya Sabha Chairman has said that fewer sittings of Parliament are compensated by the working of department-related standing committees (DRSCs).
About Department related Standing Committees(DRSCs):
- On the recommendation of the Rules Committee of the Lok Sabha,17 Departmentally-Related Standing Committees(DRSCs) were set up in the Parliament in 1993.In 2004, the number was increased from 17 to 24.
- Out of the 24 standing committees,8 work under the Rajya Sabha and 16 under the Lok Sabha.
- The main objective of the standing committees is to secure more accountability of the Executive (i.e the Council of Ministers) to the Parliament particularly financial accountability.
- Each standing committee consists of 31 members (21 from Lok Sabha and 10 from Rajya Sabha).
- The members of the Lok Sabha are nominated by the Speaker from amongst its own members while the members of the Rajya Sabha are nominated by the Chairman from amongst its members.
- A minister is not eligible to be nominated as a member of any of the standing committees.
- In case a member, after his nomination to any of the standing committees, is appointed a minister, he then ceases to be a member of the committee.
- The term of office of each standing committee is one year from the date of its constitution.
Functions of DRSC:
- To consider the demands for grants of the concerned ministries before they are discussed and voted in the Lok Sabha.Its report should not suggest anything of the nature of cut motions.
- To examine bills pertaining to the concerned ministries/departments.
- To consider annual reports of ministries/departments.
- To consider national basic long-term policy documents presented to the Houses.
- They should not consider the matters of day-to-day administration of the concerned ministries/departments.
- They should not generally consider the matters which are considered by other parliamentary committees.
- The recommendations of these committees are advisory in nature and hence not binding on the Parliament.
News:Union Minister of Culture has informed Lok Sabha about the various schemes implemented by the Zonal Cultural Centres(ZCCs) to preserve and promote languages, folk dance, Art and culture of tribals.
About the Schemes:
Guru Shishya Parampara:
- Launched in 2003-04 with a view to transmit our valued traditions to the coming generations.
- Under this scheme,disciples are trained under expert Gurus in art forms which are rare and vanishing.
- To promote folk and tribal art and crafts of the zone by organizing seminars, workshops, exhibitions, craft fairs, design development and marketing support to the artisans living in the rural areas.
- To promote and propagate the rich cultural heritage of the North East region consisting of eight States namely Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Sikkim, Nagaland, Manipur and Tripura to the rest of India.
National Cultural Exchange Programme(NCEP):
- The main aim of this scheme is exchange of artists, musicians, performers and sculptors between different regions within the country for the promotion of the rich cultural heritage of India.
About Zonal Cultural Centres:
- The Zonal Cultural Centre was established in the year 1985.But the concept was enlarged with the setting up of seven Zonal Cultural Centers in the 7th Five Year Plan.
- The objective of these centres is to promote and preserve the cultural heritage of various regions of India and to build national unity through cultural integration.
News:The Government has informed that around 4.39 lakh candidates have been trained during 2018-19 and 2019-20 under Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Grameen Kaushalaya Yojana(DDU-GKY).
- Launched in 2014 by the Ministry of Rural Development(MoRD) as a part of the National Rural Livelihood Mission (NRLM).
- Aim:To transform rural poor youth into an economically independent and globally relevant workforce.
- Eligibility:Rural youth in the age group of 15–35 years and SC/ ST/ Women/ PVTG/PWD upto 45 Yrs.
Salient Features of the scheme:
- Provides funding support for placement linked skilling projects.
- Demand led skill training at no cost to the rural poor.
- Mandatory coverage of socially disadvantaged groups (SC/ST 50%; Minority 15%; Women 33%).
- Post-placement support, migration support and alumni network.
- Guaranteed Placement for at least 75% trained candidates.
- Mandates independent third party assessment and certification.
- Greater emphasis on projects for poor rural youth in Jammu and Kashmir (HIMAYAT) and North-East region and 27 Left-Wing Extremist (LWE) districts (ROSHINI).