March 6

1) Ganga River Survey:

    • Survey is to know the status of aquatic life in Ganges including endangered freshwater Dolphins, Gharials and Turtles, it creates the scientific data of level of pollutants in river, used to improve water quality as part of National Mission for clean Ganga.
    • Earlier there was a bits/pieces of data collection, but now it is comprehensive one
    • Survey is done through Wildlife Institute of India under Namami Gange Programme
    • Gangetic Dolphin:
      • One of the four freshwater dolphin in the world
      • National Aquatic Animal
      • IUCN declared it as endangered species under red list of threatened species

  • Gharials:

      • Fish eating crocodile
      • Critically endangered on IUCN red list

  • National Mission for Clean Ganga:

      • It is a society registered under Society Act.
      • It is an implementation arm of National Ganga River Basin Authority

  • Note:

        • National Ganga River Basin Authority comes under Ministry of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation but not under Ministry of Environment and Forests.

  • Namami Gange Programme:

    • It is to clean and Protect Ganga in comprehensive manner, main focus on Pollution abatement like sewage treatment etc.
    • It involves people living on the banks of the river and local bodies for sustainable results
  • Wildlife Institute of India:
    • Located in Dehradun
    • Comes under the Ministry of Environment and Forest

2) Shortage of Life saving medicines due to non payment of dues by the government:

    • Cipla sole manufacturer of Lopinavir Syrup has stopped its production due to non payments
    • Affects
      • It affects the HIV community due to shortage
      • It is tragic to India’s HIV programme
      • The Govt abdicating its constitutional responsibility in providing life saving medicines to disease affected community

  • Lopinavir Syrup

    • Life saving drug to Children living with HIV

3) Indians are frequently being attacked in USA

  • Difference between NRI, PIO and OCI:
  • NRI:
    • Who pay Income tax less than 180 days for consecutive 4 years are Non Residence
    • They have all privileges that citizen of India carries
  • PIO:
    • If a person traced and proved to be from Indian origin upto his fourth generation
    • Spouse of the PIO person will also be given PIO card with him
  • OCI (Overseas Citizen of India):
    • If a person is eligible to be citizen on 26/1/1950 or if he/she is citizen after 26/1/1950
    • If belongs to territory before 15/8/1947

4) DNA has been using for storage purpose:

  • Data has been incurred into the DNA
  • It is long lasting for storage when kept in cool temperature, compared to cassettes and harddisks
  • Highest density data storage device ever created

5) Development versus Conservation debate (Western Ghats)

  • Debate is not justified till the scientific data is provided which is not existing for Western ghats
  • It is one of the Global Biodiversity Hotspot
  • The proposal to declare Western Ghats as ESA is long pending since the recommendations of Gadgil & Kasturirangan Committee because of the govt opposition to it in the name of the Development
  • Development without sustainability like controllable mining and tourism will destruct the ecological system as happened in the case of Goa
  • The govt should realise the importance of the ecology and should not exploit the ecosystem in the name of development as happened in the case of China, which has transferred later for green GDP etc
  • Should promote Community led ecological tourism or responsible tourism and Agro ecological farming
  • Note:
    • Gadgil committee has recommended to declare complete Western ghat as ESA (Ecologically Sensitive Area) where as Kasturirangan stated to declare third of the total area as ESA.

6) Foreign Trade Policy 2015-20 emphasises on promoting e-commerce exports and is considered to have a potential of $20trillion. Countries such as Britain has launched E-exporting programme to promote this.

  • In India, there are many challenges on policy and logistics side for the same. They are
    • Merchandise export scheme of India provides for incentives as freely transferable duty credit scrips. But the value of exports to avail the benefit is limited only to 25000/-
    • Post offices do not have a proper categorisation of commercial shipment to ship the goods abroad. So, VAT and Service tax authorities do not recognise the payments for input credits.
    • Higher cost of application fee.

7) Law enforcement in the digital era

  • Challenge: Training of police officers to combat cyber crime has become a huge task.
  • In this, public private partnership is the way forward.
    • Eg: USA’s National cyber forensic training alliance is a good example for the same.
  • In India, NASSCOM affiliated Data Security Council of India is establishing cyber labs. It need to be encouraged.
  • Jurisdictional limits also need to be removed and a pan India cyber enforcement force must be considered

8) No time for complacency:

  • Central Statistical Organisation has declared positive growth GDP (7%) after demonetisation and also good performance with respect to inflation, Current Account Deficit, Fiscal Deficit targets
  • But what are the worrisome factors?
    • Slowdown of China, rising price of external commodities like oil prices and shrink in exports due to low demand
    • Debt: India’s largest interest payments due to high labels of debt is a concern. So, the target is to reduce debt to GDP ratio to 60% by 2023
    • Health of banking and finance sector: Twin balance syndrome still exists. It will not go away with creation of a bad bank (Public sector Asset rehabilitation agency) as stated in Eco Survey. Autonomy of the institutions is critical.
  • Way Forward:
    • Rule based management: Monetary policy committee, GST council, Bank Boards Bureau are the robust examples. India shall strive to bring in strong financial institutions with these.
    • Decentralisation: local Governments in India need financial independence. 15th finance commission shall look in to incentivising states on empowerment and delegation of powers to local bodies.
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