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Hindu Notes from General Studies-01

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Drought forcing animals out of interior forests

News

  • The Pampa river is facing acute water scarcity in the foothills of Sabarimala despite the Kerala State Electricity Board periodically releasing water from its Kullar dam in the upstream forest reaches.

Beyond News

  • The KSEB is not in a position to release huge quantities of water from its dams into the Pampa during the summer months.
  • Pilgrims find it difficult to have their customary holy dip in the river prior to trekking to Sabarimala owing to the low water level, which is ankle-deep on many stretches.
  • The drought in the forest interiors is forcing wild animals to stray into human habitations in the forest fringes of Sabarimala, Ranni, and Konni.
  • A tiger was spotted in the forests behind the Ayyappa Seva Sanghom camp on the banks of the Pampa. There were also reports of leopards and elephants straying out of the forests at Pampa, Plappally, and Sabarimala in search of food and water.
  • Forest officials attribute this to the acute water scarcity and shortage of food inside the forests during the summer months.
  • The changes in the forest ecosystem owing to climate change and excessive human intervention have been identified as the major factors forcing wild animals to stray into human habitations, where they can pick cattle and dogs as easy prey.
  • The pressure on the forest fringes due to cultivation and an increase in wildlife population is another factor.
  • The mushrooming of granite quarries along the forest borders has also contributed to the situation. Unscrupulous quarrying has reportedly led to depletion of the groundwater table in the region.

Hindu Notes from General Studies-02

U.N. meet dilutes Indian plan to phase out single-use plastic

plastic waste on deers

News

  • An ambitious resolution piloted by India to phase out single-use plastics by 2025, was watered down at the United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA) that concluded in Nairobi.

Beyond News

  • At the World Environment Day summit, Union Environment Minister, in the presence of Indian Prime Minister, had pledged to eliminate single-use plastics from India by 2022. This was lauded by then UN Environment Chief.
  • This pushed several States notably Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu and Himachal Pradesh to enforce previous commitments to ban plastic bags and similar disposables.
  • Ahead of the UNEA, the UN secretariat had invited inputs from member states to forge a common declaration regarding addressing a host of environmental challenges.
  • However, the final declaration removed the firm timelines and edited out the “decisively” and only committed to a “reduction by 2030.”
  • The UNEA, however, lauded India for playing a key role in advocating a time-bound ban on single use plastic.
  • Along with plastic, India also piloted a resolution on curbing nitrogen pollution.
  • A Central Pollution Control Board estimate in 2015 says that Indian cities generate 15,000 tonnes of plastic waste daily and about 70% of the plastic produced in the country ends up as waste.
  • Seventeen States have plastic bans, on paper. Experts have rued the inadequacy of collection and recycling systems to address the burgeoning plastic waste problem.

Election Commission sets pre-poll deadline for manifestos

News

  • The Election Commission fixed the outer limit for the release of party manifestos, under the Model Code of Conduct, putting a prohibition of 48 hours before polling.

Beyond News

  • The EC had, through letters dated January 22 and February 9, circulated a proposal among the recognised national and State parties for fixing a timeline on the release of manifestos.
  • During multi-phase polls, as will be the case in the Lok Sabha elections, the 48-hour restriction will apply before each polling date.
  • In a multi-phased poll, the silence period of last 48 hours may be on in certain constituencies while campaign is ongoing in other constituencies.
  • The Commission also said during the silence period, star campaigners and other political leaders should refrain from addressing the media by way of press conferences and giving interviews on election matters.

Promoting voting among tribes people

News

  • The Systematic Voters Education and Electoral Participation (SVEEP) programme has evoked good response among the tribespeople of Wayanad district in Kerala.
  • The programme is being organised by the SVEEP district-level committee to ensure maximum voter turnout among the vulnerable sections of society.

Beyond News

  • Close to 500 tribespeople took part in the programme at the Anappady tribal hamlet at Muthanga in the district.
  • Similar programmes were organised at Thiruvannur, Chuppadi, Nayketty, and Ponkuzhy tribal hamlets on the fringes of the Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary.
  • The tribespeople were sensitised to the importance of their participation in the election.
  • The functioning of EVM was described to them on the occasion.

Hindu Notes from General Studies-03

Myanmar, India raze 12 camps of insurgents

News

  • The Myanmar Army, in a two-week-long coordinated operation with the Indian Army, has destroyed 10 to 12 camps of insurgent group, Arakan Army, in the Rakhine area.

Beyond News

  • The operation was carried out as the camps posed a threat to the Kaladan multi-mode transport project being built by India.
  • The operation was carried out by Myanmar Army in which 10-12 insurgent camps were destroyed. The aim was to unsettle them, Indian troops did not cross the border.
  • Before the operation, meetings were held between both armies.

India-U.S. looking to develop unmanned aerial vehicles: Pentagon

News

  • India and the U.S. have identified small air launch unmanned aerial vehicles(UAV) and a lightweight small arms technology project along with aircraft maintenance for defence collaboration.

Beyond News

  • The U.S. statement came as defence officials from the two countries held their latest round of Defence Technology and Trade Initiative (DTTI) talks.
  • The India-U.S. DTTI meeting focused on encouraging the U.S. and Indian industry to work together and develop next-generation technologies.
  • On the drones, the discussions are mainly between the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory and India’s Defence Research and Development Organisation. In April, the two sides will write the technical planning document.
  • The two sides also talked about virtual, augmented mixed reality for aircraft maintenance, which she stressed can deliver very significant potential to the two countries.
  • The key is the combined weapons and ammunition offer a 40% weight reduction and improved accuracy. The ammunition uses full polymer casings that significantly reduced weight and give less heat transfer and recoil.
  • Under the DTTI, the two countries have a number of joint working groups to identify areas for co-development and co-production. These are a joint working group in aircraft carrier technology, land systems, naval systems, air systems, and other systems.
  • The DTTI’s aim is to transform the bilateral defence relationship into one that is limited only by independent strategic decisions, rather than bureaucratic obstacles or inefficient procedures; and strengthen India’s defence industrial base by moving away from the traditional “buyer-seller” dynamic toward a more collaborative approach.
  • It also aims at exploring new areas of technological collaboration from science and technology cooperation through co-development and co-production and expands U.S.-Indian business ties.
  • The DTTI meeting included updates on ongoing projects and collaborative opportunities in land, naval, air, and aircraft carrier technologies; a meeting with the U.S. and Indian industry representatives; a visit to Norfolk Naval Station to tour the aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln and destroyer USS Bainbridge; and a visit to a U.S. defence company.

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