Presidency of G20 and USC
Paper 2 – International Relations
Why You Should Know?
December of 2022 began with India assuming the presidency of two global bodies — G20 on the first day of the month andUnited Nations Security Council(UNSC) on the second.
In detail –
Roles and powers of the UNSC
- Some of the significant roles of the UNSC broadly include maintaining “international peace in accordance with the principles and purposes of the United Nations,”and “to determine the existence of a threat to the peace or act of aggression and to recommend what action should be taken.”
- The Council President, according to the UNSC handbook, exercises a vast range of powers such as holding meetings of the Security Council, approving provisional agendas, signing records of the meetings, besides other crucial decisions.
- On the first working day of the presidency, the Council president holds an informal breakfast to discuss the draft programme, which is “attended by the permanent representatives of all Council members.”
- The programme of work (PoW) — which in simpler terms, is a calendar of priorities which the President nation would work towards during its tenure — is adopted soon after the breakfast.
How is the UNSC President nation elected?
- Each of its 15 member states assume its presidency for a duration of one month, following the English alphabetical order.
- India had also been in the presidential position in August 2021.
India’s priorities as the Council President
- This month, India’s PoW includes briefings, consultations and reports on global developments in Syria, Libya, Middle East, Colombia, South Sudan, and Congo among others.
- An open debate on the “maintenance of international peace and security” through “new orientation for reformed multilateralism” and a briefing on “threats to international peace and security caused by terrorist acts” which would involve discussions on principles and way forward through a “global counter-terrorism approach” remain key to the Council.
- External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar will be traveling to New York on December 14 and December 15 to attend these signature events.
- The country’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations Ruchira Kamboj will preside over the Council for this month.
What is G20?
- The G20 or Group of 20 functions as an intergovernmental meeting, where states participate in discussions on different aspects of the global economy.
- It was formed during the 1990s when Southeast Asian economies were witnessing a financial crisis.
- It had a tremendous impact in the year 2008, when it helped reduce global panic caused by a restrained economy and restore economic growth.
- The meeting includes the European Union, and some of the world’s largest economies among other nations.
- Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, EU, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, South Korea, Turkey, UK and USA comprise the G20.
- These countries, at present, “account for more than 80% of world GDP, 75% of global trade, and 60% of the global population,” according to a document by MEA India.
- The main objectives of G20, according to the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR), includes policy discussion and coordination on economic and financial issues around the globe.
- Over the years, the meeting has extended its aims to cover global terrorism, health and sustainable development.
- The leadership of G20 rotates annually among nations, where the President nation determines the agenda of the summit held every year.
- Non-members, namely, the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the World Bank, the United Nations (UN), World Trade Organization (WTO), among others participate regularly in the G20 proceedings.
- The planning is done by the Troika, which comprises the past, present, and future presidents — this year, Indonesia, India, and Brazil.
India’s agenda as the G20 President
- Indonesian President Joko Widodo officially handed over the G20 presidency to India on November 16 this year at the summit in Bali.
- The year-long presidency assumed by India comes at a time when the world is struck with uncertainties about recovery from a pandemic-hit economy.
- GOI, highlighted the country’s commitment towards resolving challenges of “climate change, terrorism and pandemic” through international cooperation.
- GOI will work to “depoliticise” the global supply of food, fertilisers and medical products,
- Hailing its position as the “voice of the Global South,” the country will “take the lead in pushing for collective action” on climate change, climate justice and sustainable development, which are often “side-tracked due to more dominant issues.
- India has also invited guest nations, namely, UAE, Bangladesh, Mauritius, Egypt, Nigeria, Oman, Singapore, the Netherlands and Spain.
- Over 2023, India will organise more than 200 meetings across 50 cities which would involve officials, the civil society, culminating in a marquee meeting in New Delhi in September next year.
- Thirty heads of states and government from the G20 nations, and those invited, are expected to participate in the summit.
Sources – IE
Paper 2 –International Issues
Why You Should Know?
Recently Iran’s public prosecutor told that the country’s dreaded morality police has been disbanded.
In detail –
What is morality police?
- Islamic religious police (also sometimes known as morality police or sharia police) are official Islamic vice squad police agencies, often in Islamic countries, which enforce religious observance and public morality on behalf of national or regional authorities based on its interpretation of sharia.
- Modern Islamic religious police forces were first established in the late-1970s amidst the Iranian Revolution and the Islamic revival the revolution brought.
- Prior, the administration of public morality in most Islamic countries was considered a socioreligious matter, and was enforced through application of civil laws or through more informal means.
Powers and Responsibilities
- The powers and responsibilities of Islamic religious police vary by country.
- But in contrast to the enforcement of laws against crimes like robbery and murder by conventional police forces, Islamic religious police have focused more on such issues as preventing the consumption of alcohol, mixing of men and women, playing of music and public display of affection, western practices such as Valentine’s Day or Christmas gifts,making sure women (but also sometimes men) observe Islamic dress code, and that Muslims are not skipping salat prayer attendance.
- They are sometimes portrayed as parapolice forces that mostly give citations and warnings, but in most countries they have powers similar to sworn police officers, including the power to detain people.
Morality police in Iran
- The Gasht-e Ershad are part of the police force and supervised by Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, but the elected government has a say in their activities through the Interior Ministry. Both men and women officials are part of the morality police.
- 22-year-old Mahsa Amini died in September who was in custody of this Morality Police.
- Mahsa Amini was allegedly beaten by the morality police who had detained her for “incorrectly” wearing the mandatory hijab.
- The Iranian government has denied that Amini was assaulted, and has accused the United States and Israel of orchestrating the popular protests across the country.
- Over the past weeks, the protests have expanded from anger over the hijab regulation to a wider dissatisfaction with state representatives seen to be reinforcing these laws.
Controversy over Hijab
- Iran has a long history of policing the hijab. During the reign of Reza Shah Pahlavi in 1936, the hijab was actually banned in an effort to “modernise” the country.
- The police would then remove the hijab from the heads of women seen wearing it in public.
- This situation was turned on its head after the Revolution, when conservative forces aligned with Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini deposed Mohammed Reza Pahlavi, son of Reza Shah, and proclaimed the Islamic Republic.
- While wearing the hijab was made mandatory, a force was constituted to enforce the rules on morality and the public appearance of women only in the 1990s, after the war broke out with Saddam Hussein’s Iraq, and the regime felt the need to centralise its power and underline an Iranian national identity.
- Over the years, the strictness with which the morality rules have been enforced has varied in accordance with the nature of the regime in the country’s dual theocratic-democratic political system.
- Liberal leaders such as former President Hasan Rouhani have made references to personal freedoms and dignity following reported excesses by the force.
- Not only the enforcement of hijab, but the implementation of other rules on public appearance and conduct, according to the Iranian authorities’ interpretation of the Sharia, are also the responsibility of the police.
- In 2010, for instance, Iran’s Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance issued a template for suitable haircuts for men in order to halt Western influence on culture, and the morality police were tasked with enforcement at salons.
- Iran’s authorities have refused to concede any of the demands in the ongoing protests, and have instead cracked down heavily on the protesters.
- In November, a Revolutionary Court in Tehran sentenced an individual to death for setting fire to a government building and for “waging war against God”.
- Iran Human Rights reported at least 20 other protesters too were facing charges that are punishable by death.
Source – IE
China-Indian Ocean Region Forum
Paper 2 –International Relations
Why You Should Know?
On November 21, China’s top development aid agency convened the first “China-Indian Ocean Region Forum” in the southwestern Chinese city of Kunming.
In detail –
What is the China Indian Ocean Region forum?
- The CIDCA, which is China’s new development aid agency, currently headed by former Vice Foreign Minister Luo Zhaohui, said in a statement the forum was “the first high-level official development cooperation forum jointly held by China and countries in the Indian Ocean Region” and “over 100 participants, including senior officials from 19 countries bordering the Indian Ocean” attended.
- The forum issued a “Joint Press Statement” that noted China “proposed to establish a marine disaster prevention and mitigation cooperation mechanism between China and countries in the Indian Ocean region” and “all parties agreed” to “strengthen policy coordination, deepen development cooperation, increase resilience to shocks and disasters, and enhance relevant countries’ capacity to obtain economic benefits through use of marine resources such as fisheries, renewable energy, tourism, and shipping in a sustainable way.”
- The Chinese forum is aimed at countering India’s strong influence in the Indian Ocean region where India-backed organisations like the Indian Ocean Rim Association, (IORA), which has a membership of 23 countries have taken strong roots.
Forum supporting countries
- The organisers have said the forum was attended by “high-level representatives” and “senior officials” from 19 countries: Indonesia, Pakistan, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Maldives, Nepal, Afghanistan, Iran, Oman, South Africa, Kenya, Mozambique, Tanzania, Seychelles, Madagascar, Mauritius, Djibouti, and Australia.
- But at least two of those countries, Australia and Maldives, subsequently released statements rebutting the claim, emphasising that they did not participate officially.
- The Maldives Foreign Ministry said that “there was no official representation”, stressing that “participation by individuals” did not constitute official representation.
- Australia’s High Commissioner in Delhi, Barry O’Farrell said that “no Australian Government official attended the Kunming China-Indian Ocean Forum on Development Cooperation.”
- He noted that Assistant Foreign Minister Tim Watts had attended another forum — the Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA) council meet — adding pointedly that this was “the only ministerial-level forum for Indian Ocean.”
Where does India stand?
- Xu Wei, spokesperson for CIDCA, said India as “a major country in the Indian Ocean region, was invited to this forum” and added that China “looks forward to meeting India at the next forum”. That prospect appears unlikely.
- New Delhi has viewed China’s recent moves in the region warily, including the recent visit of a Chinese military tracking vessel, the Yuan Wang 5, to Sri Lanka.
- Moreover, India sees the IORA as an already established platform for the region, which has 23 members, including Australia and Maldives with 10 dialogue partners which include China, Japan, Russia, the U.K. and the U.S.
What are China’s plans for the IOR?
- The forum has underlined China’s stepped-up interest in the IOR, where it is already a major trading partner for most countries and where lie sea routes vital to China’s economic interests.
- The CIDCA forum is the latest initiative to reflect Beijing’s view that it has a clear stake in the region, and that more such initiatives are likely.
- Earlier this year, China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi, during a visit to Sri Lanka, proposed creating a forum “on the development of Indian Ocean island countries” to “build consensus and synergy, and promote common development”.
- He called on Sri Lanka to “play an important role” in this initiative.
- The stepped-up regional diplomacy comes while China is establishing a more frequent military presence in the waters of the IOR.
- Beijing’s first ever overseas military facility was set up in Djibouti near the Horn of Africa. Chinese military ships, tracking vessels, and submarines have been visiting ports in the region with greater frequency.
- Chinese military planners have previously said the PLA Navy, which earlier this year launched its third aircraft carrier, has a long-term plan to deploy six aircraft carriers to secure China’s maritime interests, and that two of them will be based in the Indian Ocean Region.
What is Indian Ocean Rim Association?
- The Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA), formerly known as the Indian Ocean Rim Initiative and the Indian Ocean Rim Association for Regional Cooperation (IOR-ARC), is an international organisation consisting of 23 states bordering the Indian Ocean.
- The IORA is a regional forum, tripartite in nature, bringing together representatives of Government, Business and Academia, for promoting co-operation and closer interaction among them.
- It is based on the principles of Open Regionalism for strengthening Economic Cooperation particularly on Trade Facilitation and Investment, Promotion as well as Social Development of the region.
- The Coordinating Secretariat of IORA is located at Ebene, Mauritius.
- The organisation was first established as Indian Ocean Rim Initiative in Mauritius in March 1995 and formally launched on 6–7 March 1997 by the conclusion of a multilateral treaty known as the Charter of the Indian Ocean Rim Association for Regional Co-operation.
- The idea is said to have taken root during a visit of former South African Foreign Minister, Pik Botha, to India in November 1993.
- It was cemented during the subsequent presidential visit of Nelson Mandela to India in January 1995.
- Consequently, an Indian Ocean Rim Initiative was formed by South Africa and India.
- Mauritius and Australia were subsequently brought in.
- In March 1997, the IOR-ARC was formally launched, with seven additional countries as members: Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Yemen, Tanzania, Madagascar and Mozambique.
The objectives of IORA are as follows:
- To promote sustainable growth and balanced development of the region and member states
- To focus on those areas of economic cooperation which provide maximum opportunities for development, shared interest and mutual benefits
- To promote liberalisation, remove impediments and lower barriers towards a freer and enhanced flow of goods, services, investment, and technology within the Indian Ocean rim.
- From its inception with 14 member states, the membership has expanded to 23 countries: Australia, Bangladesh, the Comoros, France, India, Indonesia, Iran, Kenya, Madagascar, Malaysia, Maldives, Mauritius, Mozambique, Oman, Seychelles, Singapore, Somalia, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Tanzania, Thailand, the United Arab Emirates and Yemen.
- IORA has 10 dialogue partners: China, Egypt, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia, Turkey, the Republic of Korea, the United Kingdom and the United States of America.
Source – TH
Tiger Population in India
Paper 3 –Biodiversity
Why You Should Know?
Every four years, India carries out a census of the tiger population across India.
In detail –
- The latest estimate put the tiger population at 2,967. Tigers were reportedly increasing at a rate of about 6% per annum and the area that they occupied was roughly stable, at about 89,000 square km since 2014.
- These numbers are estimated using a sophisticated system that involves photographing animals via camera traps as well as mathematical analysis.
- In 2006, India had 1,411 tigers. This rose to 1,706 in 2010 and 2,226 in 2014 on the back of improved conservation measures and new estimation methods.
How did the numbers increase?
- The consistent implementation of Project Tiger since 1973, whereby dedicated tiger reserves were established in India, as well as anti-poaching measures have played a significant role in tiger conservation.
- India has 53 tiger reserves with the latest being added early this year.
- However, rising tiger numbers have meant that nearly half the tigers are now outside designated protected zones that lead to increasing instances of human-animal conflict.
Tiger Conservation in India
- Tiger is one of the major species among wildlife. In 1973, officials found that the tiger population had dropped from an estimated 5,000 to 1,827 at the beginning of the century.
- There are many major crises for the tiger population such as poaching for trade, compressed habitat, lack of prey base species, increasing human population, etc.
- The trade of tiger skins and the use of their bones in Chinese traditional medicine, especially in Asian countries, have been left on the verge of extinction of tiger populations.
- Since India and Nepal provide habitat to about two-thirds of the tiger population in the world, these two nations became major targets of poaching and illegal trade.
- Project Tiger is a tiger conservation programme that was launched by the Government of India in April 1973.
- The project aims to ensure a viable population of Bengal tigers in their natural habitats, protect it from extinction and preserve areas of biological importance as natural heritage that represent the diversity of ecosystems in the tiger range in the country.
- The project’s task force saw these tiger reserves as breeding centres, allowing surplus animals to move to adjacent forests.
- Funds and commitment were raised to support an intensive programme of housing conservation and rehabilitation under the project.
- Tiger conservation has been viewed with equal importance not just as an effort to save an endangered species, but as a means of preserving biospecies of large magnitude.
- Jim Corbett National Park in Uttarakhand, Sundarbans National Park in West Bengal, Bandhavgarh National Park in Madhya Pradesh, Sariska National Park in Rajasthan, Manas National Park in Assam and Periyar National Park in Kerala are some of the tiger reserves in India.
Tiger Reserves in India
|15||Nagarjunsagar Sagar||Andhra Pradesh|
|17||Kalakad Mundanthurai||Tamil Nadu|
|35||Sanjay Dhubri||Madhya Pradesh|
|40||Biligiri Ranganatha Temple||Karnataka|
|51||Srivilliputhur Megamalai||Tamil Nadu|
|52||Ramgarh Vishdhari Tiger Reserve||Rajasthan|
|53||Ranipur Tiger Reserve||Uttar Pradesh|
Note – World Tiger Day is celebrated across the world on 29 July to protect tigers and save their species from extinction.
Sources – TH
Why Should You Know?
Prime Minister Narendra Modi will inaugurate the first phase of the 701-km ‘Hindu Hrudayasamrat Balasaheb Thackeray Maharashtra Samruddhi Mahamarg’ on December 11.
In details –
- The Express- way will reduce the time taken to 839-km distance between Nagpur and Mumbai, to seven hours. This currently takes at least 17 hours.
- The Expressway, also called Samruddhi corridor, built at a project outlay of ₹55,335 crore, runs past 392 villages across 10 districts.
- This six-lane access- controlled road, designed for a top speed of 150 kmph, is the second expressway in the State after the Mumbai-Pune Expressway.
Key Points –
- The six-lane access-controlled road, designed for a top speed of 150 kmph, is the second in Maharashtra after the Mumbai-Pune Expressway.
- An estimated 30-35k vehicles will use the Expressway daily.
- It will boost tourism to Shirdi, Verul, Lonar Lake, Ajanta, Ellora, Aurangabad, Panchavati, The Jyotirilingas of Trimbakeshwar and Ghrushneshwar, and the hill station of lgatpuri.
- It will passes through three wildlife sanctuaries –
- Katepurna wildlife sanctuary in Akola
- Karanja-Sohol Black Buck sanctuary in Washim
- Tansa wildlife sanctuary in Thane.
- There are 209 underpasses for animals and pedestrains, and eight underpasses and eight overpasses for wildlife movements.
- It crosses 391 villages, 26 talukas and 10 districts.
- 138.47 MW electricity will be generated by solar energy initative linked to the project.
- The Expressway will have direct links to the Delhi-Mumbai Expressway and Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust in Navi Mumbai, which will facilitate rapid transportation of goods, agricultural products and other resources from Maharashtra to various markets across the country and abroad as well.
- Inter-connecting highways and feeder roads would be constructed to connect all important cities and tourist places along this route.
- It will connect several industrial areas, the Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor (DMIC), the Western Dedicated Freight Corridor (WDFC), and the dry ports of Wardha and Jalna.
- The Samruddhi corridor is expected to directly impact about 36% of the State’s population, and will be the country’s most extensive ‘greenfield’ route alignment with 23.65 lakh saplings and over 11 lakh trees on both sides.
Sources – TH
Mount Semeru volcano
Paper 1 – Geography
Why You Should Know?
Indonesia’s highest volcanoMount Semeru Erupts, Creating Spectacle Of Lava And Ash.
In detail –
- Java’s Semeru island erupted on December 4.
- The mountain is just 500 miles southeast of the capital city of Indonesia, Jakarta.
- The authorities of Indonesia have raised a high alert and raised the warning to the highest level.
- People were evacuated; hence no casualties have been reported.
- The nearby residents are warned not to go anywhere within 8 miles of the eruption land.
About Mount Semeru
- The Semeru or Mount Semeru is an active volcano located in East Java, Indonesia.
- It is located in a subduction zone, where the Indo-Australian plate subducts under the Eurasia plate.
- It is the highest mountain on the island of Java.
- The name “Semeru” is derived from Meru, the central world mountain in Hinduism, or Sumeru, the abode of gods.
- This stratovolcano is also known as Mahameru, meaning “The Great Mountain” in Sanskrit.
- It is one of the more popular hiking destinations in Indonesia.
Why do volcanoes erupt?
- The deeper one goes under the surface of the Earth towards its core, the hotter it gets.
- The geothermal gradient, the amount that the Earth’s temperature increases with depth, indicates heat ﬂowing from the Earth’s warm interior to its surface.
- At a certain depth, the heat is such that it melts rocks and creates what geologists call ‘magma’.
- Magma is lighter than solid rock and hence it rises, collecting in magma chambers.
- Chambers which have the potential to cause volcanic eruptions are found at a relatively shallow depth, between six to ten km under the surface.
- As magma builds up in these chambers, it forces its way up through cracks and fissures in Earth’s crust. This is what we call a volcanic eruption. The magma that surfaces on the Earth’s crust is referred to as lava.
- While the typical image of a volcano is that of a fountain of lava spouting high in the air from the mouth of the volcano, eruptions vary in intensity and explosiveness, depending on the composition of the magma.
- In simple terms, runny magma makes for less explosive volcanic eruptions that typically are less dangerous.
- Since the magma is runny, gasses are able to escape, leading to a steady but relatively gentle flow of lava out of the mouth of the volcano. The eruption at Mauna Loa is of this kind.
- Since the lava flows out at a slow pace, people typically have enough time to move out of the way.
- Geologists are also able to predict the flow of the lava depending on the incline and exact consistency it has.
- If magma is thick and sticky, it makes it harder for gasses to escape on a consistent basis. This leads to a build-up of pressure until a breaking point is reached.
- At this time, the gasses escape violently, all at once, causing an explosion. Lava blasts into the air, breaking apart into pieces called tephra. These can be extremely dangerous, ranging from the size of tiny particles to massive boulders.
- This sort of eruption can be deadly: as thick clouds of tephra race down the side of the volcano, they destroy everything in their path.
- Ash erupted into the sky falls back to Earth like powdery snow. If thick enough, blankets of ash can suffocate plants, animals, and humans.
- Further, when the hot volcanic materials mix with nearby sources of water, they can create mudflows that have been known to bury entire communities alive.
- Mount Vesuvius, which obliterated the city of Pompeii, is an example of an explosive volcano.
Volcanic Explosivity Index
- The Volcanic Explosivity Index (VEI) is a scale used to measure the explosivity of a volcano.
- It has a range of 1 to 8 with a higher VEI indicating more explosivity.
Sources – TH
Steam Powered Spacecraft
Paper 3 – Science & Tech
Why You Should Know?
Recenlty Japanese space agency used steam to propel the spacecraft.
In detail –
- Japan’s space agency Jaxa has announced it successfully used steam to propel its spacecraft that was launched as one of the payloads aboard Nasa’s Orion spacecraft.
- This is the world’s first successful orbit control beyond low-Earth orbit using a water propellant propulsion system.
- The Japanese space agency confirmed that its water-powered CubeSat EQUilibriUm Lunar-Earth point 6U Spacecraft (EQUULEUS) spacecraft performed the required manoeuvers to be in its planned orbit towards the second Earth-Moon Lagrange point (EML2) – a position situated beyond the Moon.
- As a result of the orbit maneuver control and orbit corrections before and after the lunar fly-by, the lunar fly-by was completed as planned on November 22 JST.
- Lagrangian points are positions in space where gravity and centrifugal force balance each other.
- The EQUilibriUm Lunar-Earth point 6U Spacecraft (EQUULEUS) is a nanosatellite of 6U CubeSat format that will measure the distribution of plasma around Earth to help scientists understand the radiation environment of the region.
- It also carries an instrument called DELPHINUS (DEtection camera for Lunar impact PHenomena IN 6U Spacecraft) to observe lunar impact flare and near-Earth asteroids from EML2 (second Earth-Moon Lagrange point).
- The CubeSat is expected to reach EML2 in about a year and a half.
- To reach ELM2, it used an engine called AQUARIUS (AQUA ResIstojet proPulsion System) which uses water as fuel.
- It uses the waste heat from the circulation kit to convert water into steam.
Sources – TI
The Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI)
Paper 3 – Economy
Why You Should Know?
The Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) is celebrating its 65th Founding Day on 5th-6th December, 2022 this year.
In detail –
- For more than six decades, DRI with its presence across India and abroad has been carrying out its mandate of preventing and detecting cases of smuggling of narcotic drugs & psychotropic substances, gold, diamonds, precious metals, wildlife items, cigarettes, arms, ammunitions & explosives, counterfeit currency notes, foreign currency, SCOMET items, hazardous & environmentally sensitive materials, antiques etc. and taking punitive action against the organised crime groups engaged therein.
- DRI is also engaged in unearthing commercial frauds and customs duty evasion.
- DRI has also been at the forefront in international Customs collaboration under Customs Mutual Assistance Agreements signed with various countries, where thrust is on information exchange and learning from the best practices of other Customs administrations.
- Accordingly, DRI takes the opportunity of its founding day to organise Regional Customs Enforcement Meeting (RCEM) for effectively engaging with partner Customs organisations and International agencies like World Customs Organisation, INTERPOL for enforcement related issues.
- This year, 22 Customs administrations covering the Asia-Pacific region along with international organisations such as World Customs Organisation (WCO), Interpol, UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and Regional Intelligence Liaison Office – Asia Pacific (RILO AP) have been invited to the event.
- The current edition of “Smuggling in India Report 2021-22” will be released by Union Finance & Corporate Affairs Minister on this occasion.
- The report brings together the trends in the field of anti- smuggling and commercial fraud and DRI’s performance and experience over the last financial year.
- The DRI day serves as a day for honouring and recognizing the achievements of the past, a day of motivation for the young officers of the CBIC and the DRI and also offers an opportunity to interact and deliberate with the Custom Administrations of regional countries and important regional trading partners, thus reinforcing India’s role in Custom related matters in the region.
- The Directorate of Revenue Intelligence is the apex anti-smuggling agency of India, working under the Central Board of Indirect Taxes & Customs, Ministry of Finance, Government of India.
- It came into existence on 4th December 1957.
- The DRI with its Headquarters at New Delhi has 12 Zonal Units, 35 regional Units and 15 Sub-regional units, with a working strength of about 800 officials.
- It is tasked with detecting and curbing smuggling of contraband, including drug trafficking and illicit international trade in wildlife and environmentally sensitive items, as well as combating commercial frauds related to international trade and evasion of Customs duty.
- Although in its early days it was committed to combating gold smuggling, it now also works to curb narcotics and economic crimes.
Sources – PIB
Kanger Valley National Park
Paper 3 – Environment
Why You Should Know?
Bird watchers and forest department officials counted 200 types of birds in Chhattisgarh’s first-ever inter-state bird survey conducted in the Kanger Valley National Park from November 25-27, 2022.
In detail –
- Nine species of owls (including the spot-bellied eagle-owl), 10 birds of prey, 11 species of woodpeckers (including white-bellied woodpecker, the largest woodpecker in peninsular India), and many other species were documented during the survey.
- The survey was organised by the forest department of and birders from Chhattisgarh, in collaboration with non-profits Birds & Wildlife of Chhattisgarh and Bird Count India.
- More than 70 birdwatchers participated in the survey. These included volunteer birders from the Gidhwa in Durg district, resident birdwatchers from the rest of the state, birders from other states as well as forest guards from Gidhwa.
- More than 50 trails were covered by the participants, who split up into different groups to cover varied habitats such as woodland, wetland, riparian forest and scrubland.
- For rare and uncommon birds, participants took photographs and also recorded sounds.
About the Survey
- The survey revealed that the landscape of Kanger Valley can potentially host species found in the Himalayas, the Northeast, the Eastern and Western Ghats.
- For instance, the Malabar trogon and white-bellied woodpecker are thought to be birds of the Western Ghats. Many species of flycatchers and warblers from temperate Eurasia visit the region during the winter.
- In fact, after the survey was completed, visiting birders moved to Raipur and even found a pied wheatear. And around the same time, two resident birders from Raipur spotted a northern lapwing.
- Both of these birds — pied wheatear and northern lapwing — are new birds for Chhattisgarh, with the pied wheatear having never before been observed in Central India.
- The Kanger Valley National Park is also home to a population of Chhattisgarh’s state bird, the hill myna.
- During the bird survey, participants also saw mammals like Malabar giant squirrel, chital, rhesus macaques, grey langurs, scat of sloth bears and pugmarks of leopards. The Indian wolf, an endangered species, was also seen.
- Periodic bird surveys can help monitor the health of the national park’s bird populations for conservation and showcase to the world the unique diversity of the region.
About Kanger Ghati National Park
- Kanger Ghati National Park (also called Kanger Valley National Park) was declared a national park in 1982 by the Government of India.
- It is Situated Near Jagdalpur in the Bastar region of Chhattisgarh.
- Located amidst the 34-km-long scenic Kanger Ghati , a biosphere reserve, it is one of the most picturesque national parks of India.
- It covers an approximately 200 square kilometres (77 sq mi) consisting mainly of hilly terrain.
- It derives its name from the Kanger River, which flows throughout it.
- it is one of India’s densest national parks, and is known for its biodiversity, landscape, waterfalls, and subterranean geomorphologic limestone caves, and as the home of the Bastar hill myna, the state bird of Chhattisgarh.
- Kanger River is among very few perennial rivers of Bastar, and herein lies the importance of the river and the park. Kanger River is a lifeline and hills are its recharging reservoir; the whole national park is the catchment of Godavari River.
- The national park is known for the long subterranean geomorphological limestone caves and is a major tourist attraction in the region.
- All limestone caves are present north of Kanger River between Madarkonta and Kodri Bahar.
- These are Kotamsar cave, Kailash Cave, Dandak Cave, Devgiri Cave. Many other caves were also discovered in the national park.
Sources – DE
Forced Displacement of People
Paper 3 – Environment
Why You Should Know?
For the first time ever, more than 100 million people were forcibly displaced in 2022, most of them within their own countries, according to the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).
In detail –
- These internally displaced persons struggle to cover their basic needs, find decent work or have a stable source of income, among other challenges, the global body highlighted, describing their plight as an ‘invisible crisis’ due to gaps in development support.
- At the end of 2021, there were over 59 million people forcibly displaced within their own countries due to conflict, violence, disasters and climate change, according to the report Turning the tide on internal displacement: A development approach to solutions published November 29, 2022.
- This was the highest global figure and more than double the number recorded 10 years ago, the analysis by UNDP and the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre showed.
- But that was before the war in Ukraine, where 6.5 million people are estimated to have been internally displaced, the report noted.
- Longer-term development action is needed to reverse record levels of internal displacement, with millions more people predicted to be uprooted by climate change, UNDP said.
- By 2050, climate change could force more than an estimated 216 million people to move within their own countries, according to World Bank.
- The direct impact of internal displacement globally was estimated at over $21.5 billion in 2021.
- The figure represents the financial cost of providing every internally displaced person with housing, education, health and security, and accounts for their loss of income for one year of displacement.
- For years, sub-Saharan Africa, the Middle East and North Africa and parts of the Americas have been the regions most affected by internal displacement linked with conflicts and violence.
- The report cited sample data from a survey of some 2,653 internally displaced persons and people from host communities in Colombia, Ethiopia, Indonesia, Nepal, Nigeria, Papua New Guinea, Somalia and Vanuatu.
- The data was collected by the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre from January 2021 to January 2022.
- Displacement disrupted the professional lives of internally displaced persons across the eight countries surveyed.
- Around 30 per cent of them became unemployed and 24 per cent were not able to earn money the same way as before.
- As a result, 48 per cent of the internally displaced households surveyed earned less money than before displacement. Female and youth-headed households were more impacted, the analysis showed.
- Children of internally displaced persons were on average 28 per cent more likely to have experienced breaks in schooling than their host counterparts, according to the findings.
- Around 31 per cent of the respondents said their health worsened following displacement, according to the report.
- Disaster-related internal displacement is even more widespread, with new displacements recorded in over 130 countries and territories in 2021, the report said.
- Many affected countries will not be able to reach their United Nations-mandated Sustainable Development Goals including the critical ones on poverty, education, peaceful societies and gender equality, flagged UNDP.
- The report revealed that humanitarian aid alone cannot overcome record levels of internal displacement globally.
- The authors proposed new ways to address the consequences of internal displacement through a development approach.
- Five key pathways to development solutions were suggested. These include:
- Strengthening governance institutions
- Boosting socio-economic integration through access to jobs and services
- Restoring security
- Enhancing participation
- Building social cohesion
- UNDP called for countries to take political, social and economic measures to ensure that IDPs can exercise their full rights as citizens, including in political processes.
- This renewed social contract should ensure the safety of IDPs as well as their access to healthcare, education, decent jobs and social protection.
- The report underscored that overcoming internal displacement depends on governments implementing key development solutions, including ensuring equal access to rights and basic services, promoting socio-economic integration, restoring security and building social cohesion.
- UNDP also highlighted the need for better data and research.
Sources – DE