Ojaank IAS Academy




23 November 2022 – Current Affairs

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Ivory Trade

Paper 3 – Biodiversity

Why You Should Know?

A pioneer in banning even the domestic trade in ivory in 1986, India has always been at the forefront of global elephant conservation initiatives.

In detail –
  • India’s decision not to vote against a proposal to re-open the international trade in ivory at the ongoing conference of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) surprised many.
  • That proposal, to allow a regular form of controlled trade in ivory from Namibia, Botswana, South Africa, and Zimbabwe, was defeated 83-15 in Panama City.
CITES agreement
  • CITES is an international agreement between governments — 184 at present — to ensure that international trade in wild animals and plants does not threaten the survival of the species.
  • The convention entered into force in 1975 and India became the 25th party — a state that voluntarily agrees to be bound by the Convention — in 1976.
  • All import, export and re-export of species covered under CITES must be authorised through a permit system.
  • CITES Appendix I lists species threatened with extinction — import or export permits for these are issued rarely and only if the purpose is not primarily commercial.
  • CITES Appendix II includes species not necessarily threatened with extinction but in which trade must be strictly regulated.
  • Every two years, the Conference of the Parties (CoP), the supreme decision-making body of CITES, applies a set of biological and trade criteria to evaluate proposals from parties to decide if a species should be in Appendix I or II.
Ivory Trade
  • The international ivory trade was globally banned in 1989 when all African elephant populations were put in CITES Appendix I.
  • However, the populations of Namibia, Botswana, and Zimbabwe were transferred to Appendix II in 1997, and South Africa’s in 2000 to allow two “one-off sales” in 1999 and 2008 of ivory stockpiled from natural elephant deaths and seizures from poachers.
  • Subsequently, Namibia’s proposal for allowing a regular form of controlled trade in ivory by delisting the elephant populations of the four countries from Appendix II was rejected at CoP17 (2016) and CoP18 (2019).
  • At the ongoing CoP19, the proposal was moved by Zimbabwe but met the same fate.
  • The four southern African countries argue that their elephant populations have bounced back and that their stockpiled ivory, if sold internationally, can generate much-needed revenue for elephant conservation and incentivising communities.
  • Opponents of the ivory trade counter that any form of supply stokes demand and that sharp spikes in elephant poaching were recorded across the globe after the one-off sales allowed by the CITES in 1999 and 2008.
India and ivory trade
  • The endangered Asian elephant was included in CITES Appendix I in 1975, which banned the export of ivory from the Asian range countries.
  • In 1986, India amended The Wild Life (Protection) Act, 1972 to ban even domestic sales of ivory.
  • After the ivory trade was globally banned, India again amended the law to ban the import of African ivory in 1991.
  • In 1981 when New Delhi hosted CoP3, India designed the iconic CITES logo in the form of an elephant. Over the years, India’s stand has been unequivocal on the ivory issue.
  • 1992 CoP8: In Kyoto, Japan, Indian delegate Arin Ghosh, then director of Project Tiger, noted a polarisation of parties — one for sustainable use and trade in wildlife, the other favouring total ban and stricter control — with the latter, fortunately, outnumbering the former.
  • 1994 CoP9: At Lauderdale, US, India opposed the down-listing of the elephant population of South Africa from Appendix I to II.
  • 1997 CoP10: At Harare, Zimbabwe, India opposed the proposal to down-list the southern African elephant populations, expressing “concern over…repercussions for the Asian elephant, particularly with regard to poaching”.
  • 2000 CoP11: At Gigiri, Kenya, India moved a proposal along with the host country to up-list all elephant populations in Appendix II to I.
  • At CoP17 and CoP18, India voted against proposals to re-open trade in ivory from the southern African states. In Johannesburg, South Africa, five years ago, “India expressed its willingness to share their experiences of protecting elephants and supporting rural development without recourse to trade in ivory”.

Sources – IE


National Conference on e-Governance (NCeG)

Paper 2 –Governance

Why Should You Know?

Union Minister Dr Jitendra Singh is going to inaugurate the 25th National Conference on e-Governance (NCeG) to be held in Katra, Jammu & Kashmir on 26th November, 2022

In details –
  • The Department of Administrative Reforms & Public Grievances (DARPG) and Ministry of Electronics & Information Technology (MeitY), Government of India, in association with the State Government of Jammu & Kashmir will organize the 25th National Conference on e-Governance (NCeG) on 26th – 27th November, 2022.
  • The theme of this Conference is “Bringing Citizens, Industry and Government closer”.
  • The National Awards for e-Governance (NAeG) will be presented under 5 categories of the NAeG Scheme – 2022 to 18 e-Governance initiatives at Central, State and District levels, Academic & Research Institutions and Public Sector Undertaking. This includes 9 Gold and 9 Silver Awards.
  • Delegates from Central Ministries/Departments and 28 States and 8 Union Territories have confirmed their participation in the Conference.
  • Over 1000 delegates are expected to attend this Conference in Jammu. An Exhibition will also be organized during the event to showcase India’s achievements in the field of e-Governance, along with a Wall of Fame/ photo exhibition on the award winners.
Points of Discusion

Discussions will be held on ten sub-themes in Plenary sessions during the Conference:

  • Digital Governance Across Whole-of-the-Government;
  • Digital Economy Strengthening Start-up Ecosystem & Employment Generation;
  • Modern laws to promote national growth and to secure citizen’s rights;
  • Transparent and Real-time Grievance Management System;
  • 21st Century Digital Infrastructure for next-generation services and security in cyberspace;
  • Shifting the gear on emerging technologies from exploration to population scale solutions;
  • The role of e-Governance in bridging the digital divide;
  • Digital Governance for Enhancing Ease of Doing Business and Ease of Living;
  • J&K State: Digital Transformation in Jammu & Kashmir; and
  • e-Governance Initiatives in J&K
  • The Conference would provide considerable momentum to the e-Governance initiatives across the country,
  • providing opportunities for civil servants and industry captains to showcase their successful interventions in e-Governance in improving end-to-end service delivery.
What is E-governance?
  • E-governance, meaning ‘electronic governance’ is using information and communication technologies (ICTs) (such as Wide Area Networks, the Internet, and mobile computing) at various levels of the government and the public sector and beyond, for the purpose of enhancing governance.
  • The application of ICT to transform the efficiency, effectiveness, transparency and accountability of exchange of information and transaction:
  • between Governments,
  • between Government agencies,
  • between Government and Citizens, and
  • between Government and businesses
  • Government Process Re-engineering using IT to simplify and make the government processes more efficient is critical for transformation to make the delivery of government services more effective across various government domains and therefore needs to be implemented by all Ministries/ Departments.
National e-Governance Plan (NeGP)
  • The National e-Governance Plan (NeGP), takes a holistic view of e-Governance initiatives across the country, integrating them into a collective vision, a shared cause. Around this idea, a massive countrywide infrastructure reaching down to the remotest of villages is evolving, and large-scale digitization of records is taking place to enable easy, reliable access over the internet.
  • The ultimate objective is to bring public services closer home to citizens, as articulated in the Vision Statement of NeGP.
  • “Make all Government services accessible to the common man in his locality, through common service delivery outlets,and ensure efficiency, transparency, and reliability of such services at affordable costs to realise the basic needs of the common man”
  • The Government approved the National e-Governance Plan (NeGP), comprising of 31 Mission Mode Projects (MMPs) and 8 components, on May 18, 2006.
  • The Government has proposed to implement “e-Kranti: National e-Governance Plan (NeGP) 2.0” under the Digital India programme.

Sources – PIB

Polygraph test

Paper 3 – Science & Tech

Why You Should Know?

Recently Saket Court accepted the Delhi Police’s application regarding the polygraph test on Aftab Amin Poonawala.

In detail –
what was the matter?
  • Aaftab Poonawalla, the 28-year-old man accused of killing his 27-year-old live-in partner Shraddha Walkar in May this year.
  • Poonawalla allegedly chopped up Walkar’s body in many pieces, and disposed of them in a wooded area in South Delhi over several weeks.
  • After police moved court seeking permission for the test, Poonawalla consented, telling the judge he was aware of the consequences.
How Polygraph tests work
  • A polygraph test is based on the assumption that physiological responses (heartbeat, changes in breathing, sweating, etc.) triggered when a person is lying are different from what they would be otherwise.
  • Instruments like cardio-cuffs or sensitive electrodes are attached to the person, and variables such as blood pressure, pulse, blood flow, etc., are measured as questions are put to them.
  • A numerical value is assigned to each response to conclude whether the person is telling the truth, is deceiving, or is uncertain.
  • A test such as this is said to have been first done in the 19th century by the Italian criminologist Cesare Lombroso, who used a machine to measure changes in the blood pressure of criminal suspects during interrogation.
  • Similar devices were subsequently created by the American psychologist William Marstron in 1914, and by the California police officer John Larson in 1921.
  • Neither polygraph tests nor narco tests have been proven scientifically to have a 100% success rate, and remain contentious in the medical field as well.
  • However, recently, investigating agencies have sought to employ these tests in investigation, and they are sometimes seen as being a “softer alternative” to torture or ‘third degree’ to extract the truth from suspects.
The results of these tests admissible as evidence?
  • The results of the tests cannot be considered to be “confessions”.
  • However, any information or material subsequently discovered with the help of such a voluntarily-taken test can be admitted as evidence, the Supreme Court said, in ‘Selvi&Ors vs State of Karnataka &Anr’ (2010).
  • Thus, if an accused reveals the location of a murder weapon in the course of the test, and police later find the weapon at that location, the statement of the accused will not be evidence, but the weapon will be.
  • The Bench took into consideration international norms on human rights, the right to a fair trial, and the right against self-incrimination under Article 20(3) of the Constitution, as it is feared that a false confession could be obtained at times when a case needs to be solved quickly.
  • “We must recognise that a forcible intrusion into a person’s mental processes is also an affront to human dignity and liberty, often with grave and long-lasting consequences,” the court said,
  • observing that the state’s plea that the use of such scientific techniques would reduce ‘third degree’ methods “is a circular line of reasoning since one form of improper behaviour is sought to be replaced by another”.
Can these tests be administered to anyone?
  • Some conditions need to be satisfied. The Supreme Court Bench comprising then Chief Justice of India K G Balakrishnan and Justices R V Raveendran and J M Panchal in the 2010 case ruled that no lie detector tests should be administered “except on the basis of consent of the accused”.
  • Those who volunteer must have access to a lawyer, and have the physical, emotional, and legal implications of the test explained to them by police and the lawyer.
  •  Guidelines for the Administration of Polygraph Test on an Accused’ published by the National Human Rights Commission in 2000, must be strictly followed. The subject’s consent should be recorded before a judicial magistrate.

Sources –IE

Shadani Darbar

Paper 1 –History

Why You Should Know?

RecentlyPakistan issued 100 visas to Indian pilgrims to allow them to participate in the 314th birth anniversary celebrations of Shiv AvtariSatguru Sant Shadaram Sahib, in Sindh province.

In detail –
  • The pilgrims will visit Shadani Darbar in Hayat Pitafi from November 22 to December 3.
  • Under the Pakistan-India Protocol on Visits to Religious Shrines of 1974, pilgrims from both countries are allowed to travel to some shrines across the border every year.
About Shadani Darbar
  • Located in Hayat Pitafi, Ghotki district, Shadani Darbar is believed to be the biggest Hindu temple in Pakistan’s Sindh province.
  • It was founded in 1786 by Sant Shadaram Sahib, whose anniversary the pilgrims have travelled to celebrate.
  • This temple has always attracted a large number of devotees, including Muslims.
  • Sindh has a 1,000-year-old history of religions flourishing and being respected here.
  • The Indian pilgrims, apart from visiting Shadani Darbar, will travel to shrines in Jarwar, Adilpur, Khanpur Mehar, among others, and also visit the Nankana Sahib.
  • While their travel, accommodation, etc. will be taken care of by the Shadani Darbar, the Pakistan government will provide them adequate security.
Sant Shadaram Sahib and other ‘gaddisars’
  • Sant Shadaram was born in a Lohana khatri family in Lahore in October 1708.
  • He is believed to be the descendent of Lord Ram’s son, Lav, and also an avatar of Lord Shiva.
  • Since the age of 20, he travelled to various holy places, such as Haridwar, Yamunotri, Gangotri, Amarnath, Ayodhya, and the Pashupathinath Temple in Nepal.
  • In 1768, he reached Mathelo, the capital of Sindh during the reign of Raja Nand, where he built a Shiv temple and “enlightened the sacred holy fire (Dhuni Sahib).
  • After sometime he left his temple of village Mathelo along with his devotees and settled nearest another holy village in Hayat Pitafi and laid the foundation of Shadani Darbar.
  • Thou got dug one sacred well and enlightened one “Holi Fire” known as “Dhuni Sahib”.
  • It is believed that anyone who takes the blessings of the Dhuni Sahib and drinks the water of the well is delivered from his sufferings and misfortunes.
  • Even today, the annual celebrations at Shadai Darbar include ‘agni pooja’, or fire worship. Also, mass weddings are organised, where well-off devotees provide dowry and gifts for financially weak couples.
  • The celebrations will also see the recitation of the Gita, the Ramayana and the Guru Granth Sahib.
Other “gaddisars”
  • After Sant Shadaram, the darbar has seen eight other ‘gaddisars’, or heads.
  • The current, ninth gaddisar is Dr Yudhister Lal, who lives primarily in Chhattisgarh’s Raipur. His wife, Mata Deepika, is from Jalna in Maharashtra.
  • The fifth gaddisar was a woman, Mata Sahib Hassi Devi, who took over the post in 1852.
  • While all the gaddisars are believed to possess great spiritual powers, there is an interesting story about the sixth, Satguru Sant Manglaram Sahib.
  • According to the temple’s website, “In 1930 due to the divide and rule policy of the British government, local Muslims were instigated by the rulers to harass, loot and kill Hindus Muslims.”
  • But “Sant Manglaram sahib mixed holy dust (Dhuni Sahib) and water” and threw it around the boundaries of Hayat Pitafi.
  • As a result of this, when the aggressors crossed into the village, they became blind. They gained back their eyesight as soon as they exited the village. “In this way people of Hayat Pitafi [were] saved by the Miracle of Sant Manglaram Sahib,” the website says.
The 1974 India-Pakistan Protocol
  • Under the protocol, pilgrims from both countries get visas to visit certain religious shrines without having to go through the usual immigration process.
  • The pilgrims can travel only in groups and the number of such groups is fixed each year.
  • Fifteen shrines in Pakistan and five in India are covered under this protocol. The shrines in Pakistan are:
  • Gurudwara Shri Nankana Sahib (Rawalpindi);
  • Gurudwara Shri Panja Sahib (Rawalpindi);
  • Samadhi of Maharaj Ranjit Singh (Lahore);
  • Gurudwara Shri Dera Sahib (Lahore);
  • Gurudwara JanamAsthan (Lahore);
  • Gurudwara Deewan Khana (Lahore);
  • Gurudwara Shaheed Ganj, Singhanian (Lahore);
  • Gurudwara Bhai Tara Singh (Lahore);
  • Gurudwara of Sixth Guru, Mozang, (Lahore);
  • Birthplace of Shri Guru Ram Das (Lahore);
  • Gurudwara CheveenPadshahi, Mozang (Lahore);
  • Shrine at SreeKatasraj(Sindh);
  • Shadani Darbar, HyatPitafi (Sindh);
  • Sadhu Bela, Khanpur and Mirpur Mathelo (Sindh);
  • Shrine of Hazrat Data Ganj Bakhsh (Lahore).
  • In India, the protocol covers
  • Hazrat Moinuddin Chishti (Ajmer),
  • Hazrat Nizamuddin Auliya (Delhi),
  • Hazrat Amir Khusro (Delhi),
  • HazratMujaddid Alf Sani (Sirhind Sharif, Punjab) and
  • Hazrat Khwaja Alauddin Ali Ahmed Sabir (Kalyar Sharif).

Source – IE

Development of Great Nicobar

Paper 3 –Infrastructure

Why You Should Know?

the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change gave environmental clearance for the development project on Great Nicobar Island.

In detail –
  • Last month, the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change gave environmental clearance for the ambitious Rs 72,000 crore development project on the strategically important Great Nicobar Island.
  • The project is to be implemented in three phases over the next 30 years.
  • A “greenfield city” has been proposed, including an International Container Transhipment Terminal (ICTT), a greenfield international airport, a power plant, and a township for the personnel who will implement the project.
  • The proposed port will allow Great Nicobar to participate in the regional and global maritime economy by becoming a major player in cargo transshipment.
  • The port will be controlled by the Indian Navy, while the airport will have dual military-civilian functions and will cater to tourism as well. Roads, public transport, water supply and waste management facilities, and several hotels have been planned to cater to tourists.
  • A total 166.1 sq km along the southeastern and southern coasts of the island have been identified for project along a coastal strip of width between 2 km and 4 km.
  • Some 130 sq km of forests have been sanctioned for diversion, and 9.64 lakh trees are likely to be felled.
  • Development activities are proposed to commence in the current financial year, and the port is expected to be commissioned by 2027–28.
  • More than 1 lakh new direct jobs and 1.5 lakh indirect jobs are likely to be created on the island over the period of development.
About Great Nicobar Island
  • Great Nicobar, the southernmost of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, has an area of 910 sq km. The Andaman and Nicobar Islands are a cluster of about 836 islands in the eastern Bay of Bengal,
  • The two groups of which are separated by the 150-km wide Ten Degree Channel. The Andaman Islands lie to the north of the channel, and the Nicobar Islands to the south.
  • Indira Point on the southern tip of Great Nicobar Island is India’s southernmost point, less than 150 km from the northernmost island of the Indonesian archipelago.
  • The Great Nicobar Island has tropical wet evergreen forests, mountain ranges reaching almost 650 m above sea level, and coastal plains. Fourteen species of mammals, 71 species of birds, 26 species of reptiles, 10 species of amphibians, and 113 species of fish are found on the island, some of which are endangered. The leatherback sea turtle is the island’s flagship species.
Tribals of Great Nicobar
  • Great Nicobar is home to two national parks, a biosphere reserve, and the Shompen and Nicobarese tribal peoples, along with ex-servicemen from Punjab, Maharashtra, and Andhra Pradesh who were settled on the island in the 1970s.
  • The Shompen are hunter-gatherers who depend on forest and marine resources for sustenance. The Nicobarese, who lived along the west coast of the island were mostly relocated after the 2004 tsunami.
  • An estimated 237 Shompen and 1,094 Nicobarese individuals now live in a 751 sq km tribal reserve, some 84 sq km of which is proposed to be denotified.
  • The approximately 8,000 settlers who live on the island are engaged in agriculture, horticulture, and fishing.
  • The island has a lot of tourism potential, but the government’s greater goal is to leverage the locational advantage of the island for economic and strategic reasons.
  • Great Nicobar is equidistant from Colombo to the southwest and Port Klang and Singapore to the southeast, and positioned close to the East-West international shipping corridor, through which a very large part of the world’s shipping trade passes.
  • The proposed ICTT can potentially become a hub for cargo ships travelling on this route.
  • The proposal to develop Great Nicobar was first floated in the 1970s, and its importance for national security and consolidation of the Indian Ocean Region has been repeatedly underlined.
  • Increasing Chinese assertion in the Bay of Bengal and the Indo-Pacific has added great urgency to this imperative in recent years.
ecological concerns
  • The proposed massive infrastructure development in an ecologically important and fragile region, including the felling of almost a million trees, has alarmed many environmentalists.
  • The loss of tree cover will not only affect the flora and fauna on the island, it will also lead to increased runoff and sediment deposits in the ocean, impacting the coral reefs in the area, they have cautioned.
  • Coral reefs, already under threat from warming oceans, are of enormous ecological importance. Environmentalists have also flagged the loss of mangroves on the island as a result of the development project.
  • India has successfully translocated a coral reef from the Gulf of Mannar to the Gulf of Kutch earlier.
  • The Zoological Survey of India is currently in the process of assessing how much of the reef will have to be relocated for the project.
  • The government has said that a conservation plan for the leatherback turtle is also being put in place.
  • According to the government, expediting the project is of paramount national security and strategic importance.
  • Officials said that after the grant of stage I clearance on October 27, all aspects will be carefully weighed before final approval is granted.
  • The project site is outside the eco-sensitive zones of Campbell Bay and Galathea National Park.
  • The Centre has said that the development area is only a small percentage of the area of the island and its forest cover, and that 15 per cent of the development area itself will be green cover and open spaces.

Source – IE

India-Australia Economic Cooperation and Trade Agreement

Paper 3 –International Relations

Why You Should Know?

The Australian Parliament has approved the Economic Cooperation and Trade Agreement (ECTA) with India.

In detail –
  • Under  The Free Trade Agreement (FTA)  Australia will allow Indian exporters to export all types of products without any quota restrictions.
  • India is the first country for which Australia has given this facility.
  • Australia is the third country after Mauritius and the United Arab Emirates with whom India has entered into a free trade agreement under the Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement (DTAA).
  • Negotiations with Britain and Canada are in the final stages. Talks with Britain will start from next month. Talks are going on for a long time with the European Union as well.
  • Indian companies providing technical support in Australia will not have to pay tax on income from there. This will save 200 million dollars every year for 100 big IT companies of India working in Australia.
  • Under this, chefs and yoga instructors of India will also get working visas. Every student going to study in Australia from India will get employment there according to their education.
  • The agreement will benefit 6,000 farmers who grow grapes for making wine. With this, more farmers will be able to enter the field of producing grapes.
  • exporters will not have to pay any duty on 98% items.
  • Raw materials like coal, alumina, manganese, copper and wool will also be able to be imported without duty, which will give impetus to industries.
6000 products
  • Indian exporters will no longer have to pay duty on exports of over 6,000 products to Australia.
  • The two countries had signed the Economic Cooperation and Trade Agreement (AI-ECTA) in April after long deliberations.
  • Under this, Australia has offered to keep 96.4 per cent of its exports free from customs duties.
  • There are many products in this, which currently attract four to five per cent customs duty in Australia. Agency
Bilateral Trade
  • In 2021-22, India exported $ 8.3 billion to Australia, while imported $ 16.75 billion.
  • Earlier the trade was $27.5 billion: due to the agreement, India-Australia trade will reach $50 billion from the current $27.5 billion in five years.
India first country
  • India is the first country for which Australia has given this facility. At the same time, Australia is the third country with which India will do business under the Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement.
  • The FTA will be implemented within 30 days from the completion of domestic requirements of both the countries or at a mutually agreed time.
  • Australia is set to implement the agreement this year itself.
  • After the FTA comes into force, products such as textiles, leather, furniture, jewelery and machinery can be sold in the Australian market without any customs duty.
What Is a Free Trade Agreement (FTA)?
  • A free trade agreement is a pact between two or more nations to reduce barriers to imports and exports among them.
  • Under a free trade policy, goods and services can be bought and sold across international borders with little or no government tariffs, quotas, subsidies, or prohibitions to inhibit their exchange.

Sources – TH

Shisham (Dalbergia sissoo)

Paper 3 – Environment

Why You Should Know?

Recently in COP-19 CITES,Shisham (Dalbergia sissoo) has been included in Appendix II of the convention.

In detail –
  • The 19th meeting of the Conference of Parties to Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of wild fauna and flora (CITES) is being held in the scenic city of Panama from 14th to 25th of November 2022.
  • Shisham (Dalbergia sissoo) is included in Appendix II of the convention, thereby requiring to follow CITES regulations for the trade of the species.
  • As of now every consignment of weight above 10 kg requires CITES permit.
  • Due to this restriction exports of furniture and handicrafts made of Dalbergia sissoo from India has been continuously falling from an estimated 1000 crore Indian Rupees (~129 million USD) per annum before the listing, to 500-600 crore Indian Rupees (~64 to 77 million USD) per annum after the listing.
  • The decrease in exports of Dalbergia sissoo products has affected the livelihoods of around 50,000 artisans who work with the species.
India’s initiative
  • On India’s initiative a proposal to clarify the quantity of Shisham (Dalbergia sissoo) items such as furniture and artefacts was considered in the current meeting.
  • After sustained deliberations by Indian representatives, it was agreed upon that any number of Dalbergia sissoo timber-based items can be exported as a single consignment in a shipment without CITES permits if the weight of each individual item of this consignment is less than 10 kg.
  • Further, it was agreed that for net weight of each item only timber will be considered and any other item used in the product like metal etc. will be ignored.
  • This is a great relief for the Indian artisans and furniture industry.
  • It may be recalled that in its 17th meeting of Conference of Parties (CoP) at Johannesburg, South Africa in 2016, included all species of Genus Dalbergia in Appendix II of the convention, thereby requiring to follow CITES regulations for the trade of the species.
  • In India, the species Dalbergia sissoo (North Indian Rosewood or Shisham) is found in abundance and is not treated as an endangered species.
  • During the discussion it was duly acknowledged by the parties that Dalbergia sissoo was not at all a threatened species.
  • However, concerns were expressed regarding the challenges in distinguishing different species of Dalbergia in their finished forms. 
  • The countries expressed that there was an urgent need for developing advanced technological tools for distinguishing the finished wood of Dalbergia, especially at the Customs point.
  • Considering this aspect and in the absence of a clear technology for distinguishing the finished wood, the CoP did not agree to de-list the Species from CITES Appendix:II.
  • However, the relief given in terms of weight of each item will solve the problem of Indian artisan communities to a great extent and will give a tremendous boost to exports of articles produced by them.
About Dalbergia sissoo
  • Dalbergia sissoo, known commonly as North Indian rosewood or shisham.
  • It is a fast-growing, hardy, deciduous rosewood tree native to the Indian subcontinent and southern Iran.
  • D. sissoo is a large, crooked tree with long, leathery leaves and whitish or pink flowers.
  • Dalbergia sissoo is native to the foothills of the Himalayas ranging from Afghanistan in the west to Bihar, India, in the east. It also occurs naturally in Iran.
  • D. sisso is the state tree of the Indian state of Punjab.
  • Sheesham is a multipurpose tree. Its wood, leaves, roots are all useful. Furniture is made from wood.
  • Leaves are protein rich fodder for animals.
  • Roots make the land more fertile. The leaves and branches increase the ground water reserves by letting the rain-water drops slowly fall on the ground.
  • The tree’s seed oil and powdered wood are used in the treatment of skin ailments.[4] Dalbergia sissoo may also have efficacy in the treatment of stomach and blood conditions.[
Local Names
  • Common names for D. sissoo are sisu, tahli or tali, and irugudujava. Indian common names are biradi, and sisau.
  • Pakistani common names are sheesham/shisham and tahli in Punjabi.
  • In Pushto its name is shewa, and in Persian, it is called jag. In Hindi and Urdu, it is called sheesham.
  • In Bengali, it is called sheeshoo. Local name for Indian rosewood in eastern Uttar Pradesh and western Bihar is seeso.
  • The wood of D. sissoo is known as sheesham or shisham, and is an important commercial timber.

Sources – AIR

Khadi & Village Industries Commission (KVlC)

Paper 3 – Economy

Why You Should Know?

Recently Shri Vinit Kumar (IRSEE) appointed as CEO of Khadi & Village Industries Commission (KVIC) at Mumbai

In detail –
  • Shri Vinit Kumar is an IRSEE officer of 1993 batch.
  • He was the Chairman of Syama Prasad Mukherjee Port, Kolkata before being appointed as the CEO of Khadi and Village Industries Commission.
  • He has also served as Chief Electrical Engineer in Mumbai Rail Vikas Nigam, Ltd.
  • He was looking after the World Bank funded MUTP project before taking over as the CEO of KIVIC.
About KVIC
  • The Khadii and Village Industries Commission (KVIC) is a statutory body formed in April 1957 by the Government of India, under the Act of Parliament, ‘Khadi and Village Industries Commission Act of 1956’.
  • It is an apex organisation under the Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises, with regard to khadi and village industries within India.
  • It seeks to – “plan, promote, facilitate, organise and assist in the establishment and development of khadi and village industries in the rural areas in coordination with other agencies engaged in rural development wherever necessary.”
  • In April 1957, it took over the work of former All India Khadi and Village Industries Board.
  • Its head office is in Mumbai, whereas its six zonal offices in Delhi, Bhopal, Bengaluru, Kolkata, Mumbai and Guwahati.
  • Other than its zonal offices, it has offices in 28 states for the implementation of its various programmes.
  • Khadi and Village Industries Commission holds the exclusive rights to use the trademark ”Khadi” and “Khadi India”.
  • The National Internet Exchange of India Domain Dispute Policy (INDRP) Arbitration Tribunal in New Delhi rejected the contention of a private entity that “Khadi” is a generic word.

The commission has three main objectives which guide its functioning. These are –

  1. The social objective of providing employment.
  2. The economic objective of producing saleable articles.
  3. The wider objective of creating self-reliance amongst the poor and building up of a strong rural community spirit.
  4. The commission seeks to achieve these objectives by implementing and monitoring various schemes and programs.

Some of the major functions of KVIC are –

  • The KVIC is charged with the planning, promotion, organisation and implementation of programs for the development of Khadi and other village industries in the rural areas in coordination with other agencies engaged in rural development wherever necessary.
  • Its functions also comprise building up of a reserve of raw materials and implements for supply to producers,
  • creation of common service facilities for processing of raw materials as semi-finished goods and provisions of facilities for marketing of KVI products apart from organisation of training of artisans engaged in these industries and encouragement of co-operative efforts amongst them.
  • To promote the sale and marketing of khadi and/or products of village industries or handicrafts, the KVIC may forge linkages with established marketing agencies wherever feasible and necessary.
  • The KVIC is also charged with the responsibility of encouraging and promoting research in the production techniques and equipment employed in the Khadi and Village Industries sector and providing facilities for the study of the problems relating to it,
  • including the use of non-conventional energy and electric power with a view to increasing productivity, eliminating drudgery and otherwise enhancing their competitive capacity and arranging for dissemination of salient results obtained from such research.
  • Further, the KVIC is entrusted with the task of providing financial assistance to institutions and individuals for development and operation of Khadi and village industries and guiding them through supply of designs, prototypes and other technical information.
  • In implementing KVI activities, the KVIC may take such steps as to ensure genuineness of the products and to set standards of quality and ensure that the products of Khadi and village industries do conform to the standards.
  • The KVIC may also undertake directly or through other agencies studies concerning the problems of Khadi and/or village industries besides research or establishing pilot projects for the development of Khadi and village industries.
  • The KVIC is authorized to establish and maintain separate organisations for the purpose of carrying out any or all of the above matters besides carrying out any other matters incidental to its activities.

Sources – PIB


Indo-Pacific Regional Dialogue

Paper 3 – International Relations

Why You Should Know?

The fourth edition of the Indo-Pacific Regional Dialogue (IPRD) will start in Delhi on November 23, 2022.

In detail –
  • IPRD is an apex level international annual conference of the Indian Navy.
  • The National Maritime Foundation is Navy’s knowledge partner and chief organizer of each edition of the event.
  • The theme of IPRD-2022 is the ‘Operationalising the Indo-Pacific Oceans Initiative’.
  • It will have six professional sessions spread over the three-day period.
  • As part of the event, globally renowned speakers and eminent panelists will explore how the areas of maritime cooperation could be optimally and inclusively operationalized.
  • In addition, there will be Margdarshan session which would include addresses from Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, and Environment Minister Bhupendra Yadav.
Six sessions
  • Overall, IPRD has worked to provide a forum for exploring the development of diverse strategies along a number of contemporary themes and how they could be expected to mould the Indo-Pacific over the pandemic-ridden foreseeable term and beyond.
  • It has also worked to identify opportunities along the following contemporary themes:
  • Theme 1:  Weaving the Fabric of Holistic Maritime Security in the Indo-Pacific: Multilateral Options
  • Theme 2: Constructing Holistic-Security Bridges across the Western and Eastern Maritime Expanse of the Indo-Pacific
  • Theme 3: Building Maritime Connectivity: Ports, Trade, and Transport
  • Theme 4: Practical approaches to a Regional Blue Economy [with particular focus on the ecologically-sensitive harvesting of marine resources]
  • Theme 5: Capacity-building and Capability Enhancement: Leveraging the Physical and Social Sciences
  • Theme 6: Disaster Risk-Reduction and Management: Solutions for SIDS and Vulnerable Littoral States
  • In 2018, the initial conception of an IPRD was made.
  • With the exception of 2020, when it had to be postponed owing to the COVID epidemic, the event has been hosted annually since its initial year in 2018.
  • The IPRD reviews the current geopolitics in the Indo-Pacific region and identifies opportunities, dangers, and problems that might be present.
  • It is difficult to exaggerate how important the IPRD is since it is not only essential to India’s own policy-formulation but also to all other nations in the region.
  • As the term “Indo-Pacific,” recognises the geopolitical unity of littoral nation-states of the Indian Ocean and the Pacific Ocean across a primarily oceanic regional-expanse, it has become intrinsic to global political, economic, and strategic discourse over the past ten years, and as such the Indo-Pacific region continues to be synonymous with the IPRD.
  • IPRD remains crucial to its interests because one of the main goals of the NMF is to conduct analyses of international relations and geopolitical factors that are important to India strategically, with the aim of proposing maritime Confidence-Building Measures (CBMs) and amplifying maritime cooperation among seafaring nations as well as to achieve a sustainable security environment in the Indo-Pacific Region.

Source – AIR

Tamil Nadu’s first biodiversity heritage site

Paper 3 – Environment

Why Should You Know?

Arittapatti and Meenakshipuram villages in Madurai district were notified as the first Biodiversity Heritage Site (BHS) of Tamil Nadu by the state government.

In detail –
  • An area encompassing 193.215 hectares in Arittapatti and Meenakshipuram villages in Madurai district were notified as the first Biodiversity Heritage Site (BHS).
  • The government notified the two villages as BHS under the Biological Diversity Act, 2002.
  • The village Arittapatti consists of a chain of seven barren granite hillocks and the distinctive landscape of rocky hills acts as a watershed and supports 72 lakes, 200 natural spring pools, and 3 check dams.
  • hillocks in Arittapatti village have rich biological and historical significance with the presence of around 250 bird species, including 3 flagship Raptor species – Laggar Falcon (Falco jugger), Shaheen Falcon (Falco peregrines), and Bonelli’s Eagle (Aquila fasciata).
  • Wildlife such as Indian Pangolin (Manis crassicaudata), Python (Python molurus), and Slender Loris (Loris spp) are also found, while the village also hosts several other bird and animal species.
  • The site also features various megalithic structures, Tamil Brahmi inscriptions, Jain Beds, and 2200-year-old rock-cut temples, lending it historical value, she said.
  • One of the water bodies, the lake Anaikondan was built under the reign of Pandiya Kingdom in 16thcentury.
  • The decision to declare Arittapatti as a Biodiversity Heritage Site was made after consulting local communities, the Department of Archaeology, Tamil Nadu Minerals Ltd., (TAMIN) and other stakeholders.
  • This notification will strengthen the biodiversity conservation efforts with the participation of local communities. 
  • This will also help to preserve the rich biological and historical repository of the area.
About Biological Diversity Act, 2002
  • The Biological Diversity Act, 2002 is an Act enacted by the Parliament of India for the preservation of biological diversity in India, and provides mechanism for equitable sharing of benefits arising out of the use of traditional biological resources and knowledge.
  • The Act was enacted to meet the obligations under the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), because India is a party of the convention.
  • Biodiversity has been defined under Section 2(b) of the Act as “the variability among living organisms from all sources and the ecological complexes of which they are part, and includes diversity within species or between species and of eco-systems”.
  • The Act also defines, Biological resources as “plants, animals and micro-organisms or parts thereof, their genetic material and by-products (excluding value added products) with actual or potential use or value, but does not include human genetic material.
National Biodiversity Authority and State Biodiversity Boards
  • The National Biodiversity Authority (NBA) is a statutory autonomous body, headquartered in Chennai, under the Ministry of Environment and Forests, Government of India established in 2003 to implement the provisions under the Act.
  • State Biodiversity Boards (SBB) has been created in 29 States along with 31,574 Biological management committees (for each local body) across India.
  • Regulation of acts prohibited under the Act
  • Advise the Government on the conservation of biodiversity
  • Advise the Government on selection of biological heritage sites
  • Take appropriate steps to oppose the grant of intellectual property rights in foreign countries, arising from the use of biological resources or associated traditional knowledge.

Sources – TH


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