Sarat Chandra IAS Academy brings to you the daily current affairs keeping in mind the changing pattern of the UPSC civil services exam. UPSC Prelims and Mains exams mix the current affairs with static core concepts. So, we give the background explanation for every current topic.
TOPICS OF THE DAY:
- NEW SPECIES OF GECKO FOUND IN EASTERN GHATS
- One Health Global Leaders Group on Antimicrobial Resistance
- Complexities of cyclone forecasting
- TARGET OLYMPIC PODIUM SCHEME (TOPS)
- Organization of Islamic Cooperation
- Trilateral meet between India, Sri Lanka and Maldives
1) NEW SPECIES OF GECKO FOUND IN EASTERN GHATS:
Relevant to: Prelims GS
Context: A new species of lizard, the smallest known Indian gekkonid, has been discovered in the Eastern Ghats. Studies show that the species belonged to the genus Cnemaspis. In India, 45 diverse species of Cnemaspishave been found, of which 34 are from the Western Ghats
- The newly discovered dwarf gecko – Cnemaspis avasabinae is the twelfth species to be discovered outside the Western Ghats and also the first species reported from the Velikonda Range in Andhra Pradesh.
- This discovery suggests that the genus may be even more widely distributed than previously thought. Many species likely in the past, it was thought that there were only a few species, many of them relatively widespread, but now, each hill range or isolated forest patch may have its own species.
- While the diversity in the Western Ghats was high, only more recently scientists have recognise that the Eastern Ghats are also tremendously biodiverse.
- The team gave it a common name – Sabin’s Nellore dwarf gecko.
The new species – Sabin’s Nellore dwarf gecko
- The new species was sighted in a dry evergreen forest among the rocks beneath a small stream at a height of less than 200 metres above sea level and measured less than 2.9 cm (snout to vent length).
- The dorsal colour of the head, body and tail of the reptile is grey-pink with six pairs of dark brown patches.
The most interesting find was that the males of the species lacked femoral pores. Generally, most variants of lizards have femoral pores in both the sexes, and the secretions from these pores play a role in communication.
2) One Health Global Leaders Group on Antimicrobial Resistance:
Relevant to: Prelims GS
Context: Launched recently by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) and the World Health Organization (WHO).
- This 20-member group comprises heads of states, current and former ministers of different countries, leaders from the private sector and civil society.
- It is co-chaired by the prime ministers of Barbados and Bangladesh, Mia Mottley and Sheikh Hasina Wazed, respectively.
- The heads of FAO, OIE and WHO are ex-officio members of the group.
Why was it created?
It seeks to catalyze global attention and action to preserve antimicrobial medicines and avert the disastrous consequences of antimicrobial resistance.
Functions of the group:
The group has to:
- Monitor the global response to antimicrobial resistance.
- Maintain public momentum.
- Provide regular reports on the science and evidence related to AMR to the UN member states.
- Advocate for the inclusion of AMR ‘lens’ in investments on agriculture, health, development, food and feed production.
- Push for multi-stakeholder engagement on the issue.
3) Complexities of cyclone forecasting:
Relevant to : Prelims GS # Mains :GS 2
Context: Cyclone: Early warning and disaster management
- Cyclone Nivar, that barrelled through Tamil Nadu and brought copious rain in its wake, was the third major cyclone to land on India’s coast this year, besides Amphan and Nisarga.
- The Nivar storm originated in the Bay of Bengal and whipped up windspeeds close to 125-145 kmph, blowing away roofs and felling standing crop. However, relatively fewer lives were lost compared to the havoc wreaked by Amphan in West Bengal in May.
How are cyclones forecast?
- Over the years, India’s ability to track the formation of cyclones has improved significantly.
- There is a network of 12 doppler weather radars (DWR) along India’s coast if one were to begin counting from Kolkata and trawl up to Mumbai – there are 27 in all in the country.
- Depending on where a storm is forming, these radars send pulses of radio waves to gauge the size as well as the speed at which water droplets are moving. With DWRs, now the base standard of weather radars, it is usually possible to detect a potential storm at least four-five days in advance.
- The IMD also collaborates with similar international networks, such as the Japan Meteorological Agency, the U.S. National Hurricane Center, and the U.S. Central Pacific Hurricane Center, and these bodies constantly send warnings and forecasts about changes in the ocean weather.
- The near ubiquity of ocean-buoys that track changes in ocean sea surface temperatures as well as dedicated meteorological satellites improve the odds of early detection.
How difficult was it to track Nivar’s progress?
- April-June and October-December are India’s cyclone seasons. The arriving monsoon, as well as its retreat, stir up the surrounding seas and generate cyclones.
- Though the Bay of Bengal is three times more likely to generate cyclones, the ones that originate in the Arabian Sea are trickier, as the cyclone, while ostensibly moving away from India’s western coast, can suddenly ‘recurve’ and move back in.
- There are also fewer radars along India’s west coast than the eastern coast, and all these reasons make the Bay of Bengal cyclones more tractable.
- In this context, Nivar, because it conformed to a fairly predictable trajectory and was not super cyclonic in intensity, gave State administrations in Puducherry, Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh time to prepare, and was far less damaging than Amphan. However, the cyclone season is not yet over and more systems are likely to form in the coming weeks, according to the IMD.
How has disaster warning changed?
- Forecasts, on their own, are important, but they cannot override the importance of preparedness by State agencies.
- The formation of cyclones is preceded by ‘depressions’, and they are often the first warnings. Not all depressions become cyclones, but many coastal States – especially those with a history of being battered – begin organising shelters and evacuation of coastal residents.
- Sea pockets, where cyclones form, are also places that drive schools of fish and lure fisherfolk. While meteorological agencies give advisories on where fish- catches are likely, they suspend such advisories during storm formation to dissuade fishermen from venturing out.
- The ubiquity of mobile communication makes it much easier to quickly give warnings.
- The IMD also issues flood forecast maps, in collaboration with urban bodies that forecast which pockets in a city are likely to be flooded and where crop damage is likely to be maximum.
4) TARGET OLYMPIC PODIUM SCHEME (TOPS):
- 8 Track and Field Athletes were included in the core group of the Target Olympic Podium Scheme at the 50th MOC meeting held on November 26.
- The Target Olympic Podium Scheme is a flagship program of the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports which is an attempt to provide assistance to India’s top athletes.
- The Scheme looks to add a premium to the preparations of these athletes so that they can win Olympic medals in 2020 and 2024 Olympics.
- Under the Scheme, the Department of Sports shall identify athletes who are potential medal winners in 2020 / 2024 Olympics.
- The Mission Olympic Cell is a dedicated body created to assist the athletes who are selected under the TOP Scheme. The MOC is under the Chairmanship of the Director General, Sports Authority (DG, SAI).
5) Organization of Islamic Cooperation:
Relevant to: Prelims GS # Mains: GS 2
Context: India on Sunday ‘strongly’ rejected the criticism of its Kashmir policy by the Organization of Islamic Cooperation. India also accused the OIC, which describes itself as the collective voice of the Muslim world, of indulging in anti-India propaganda at the behest of Pakistan.
- The Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) is the second largest organization after the United Nations.
- Membership : 57 states spread over four continents.
- Calls Itself as:“The Organization is the collective voice of the Muslim world”.
- Established at a historical summit which took place in Rabat, September 1969.
- 1st Meet: In 1970 the first ever meeting of Islamic Conference of Foreign Minister (ICFM) was held in Jeddah.
- Important Observers
- UN and NAM are observers.
OIC’s 47th session Of Council Of Ministers
Statement On Kashmir
- OIC categorically rejected India’s “unilateral and illegal” actions in withdrawing the special status of J&K.
- It called upon India to rescind the same. Report Of The OIC Secretary General said,
- “The decision of Indian government on 5th Aug 2019 towards changing the demographic and geographic composition of the territory the continuous blockade and restrictions human rights abuses These have awakened renewed efforts of the international community towards a resolution of the conflict”.
Pakistan’s Work Acknowledged
- The statement also acknowledged the support that Pakistan has been providing to keep the Kashmir issue on the agenda of the organization.
- “It is regrettable that OIC continues to allow itself to be used by a certain country.
- (Hinting at Pakistan) Which has an abominable record on religious tolerance, radicalism and persecution of minorities, to indulge in anti-India propaganda.
OIC had no locus standi in matters strictly internal to India, including that of the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir, which, was an integral and inalienable part of India.
6) Trilateral meet between India, Sri Lanka and Maldives:
Relevant to: #Mains GS 2
Context: India-Sri Lanka-Maldives has revived NSA level dialogue after a gap of six years.
India-Sri Lanka-Maldives NSA Level Dialogue
1st India-Sri Lanka-Maldives NSA Level Dialogue(2011)
It laid down the foundations for trilateral cooperation in the critical Indian Ocean Region.
2nd India-Sri Lanka-Maldives NSA Level Dialogue(2013)
During this meeting the three countries had agreed on a roadmap for Maritime Security Cooperation as follows: –
- Initiatives to enhance Maritime Domain Awareness (MDA) through measures such as sharing of Automatic Identification System (AIS) and Long-Range Identification and Tracking (LRIT) data, etc.
- Training and capacity building initiatives in areas of MDA, Search and Rescue (SAR), Oil Pollution response, etc.
- Joint activities including trilateral exercises, maintaining lines of communication on illegal maritime activities, formulation of marine oil pollution response contingency plan, and cooperation in legal and policy issues related to piracy.
3rd India-Sri Lanka-Maldives NSA Level Dialogue(2014)
The concerned officials reviewed the progress of the earlier dialogues. Discussion over new areas of cooperation included
- Hydrographyo Training in visit board search and seizure (VBSS) operations.
- Training on-board Indian sail training ships. o Exchanges between think tanks.
- Joint participation in adventure activities.
Limitation of The Past Meeting so Past joint statements after the trilateral meeting were limited in their scope, as they did not
mention terrorism – they discussed maritime security, maritime domain awareness and illegal maritime activities.
4th India-Sri Lanka-Maldives NSA Level Dialogue
Aim: To promote “meaningful cooperation” in the Indian Ocean region on “maritime security” against the backdrop of Chinese maritime aggression.
Observers: Mauritius and Seychelles joined as observers through virtual mode.
Shift from the Past
- In order to broad-base the maritime security dialogue “terrorism” was included along with “radicalization”, “extremism”, “drugs”, “arms and human trafficking”, “money laundering” and “cybersecurity” in areas of common concern.
- The Sri Lankan establishment has put terrorism high on agenda, following the Easter bombings last year.
- So, there was a common understanding on the issue of expanding the scope of the dialogue
Significance of The Forum
- Promoting meaningful cooperation in the Indian Ocean region on common issues pertaining to maritime security.
- Current maritime security environment in the region calls for mutual cooperation in the areas of maritime domain awareness, humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, joint exercises, capacity building, maritime security and threats, marine pollution and maritime underwater heritage.
Importance for India:
- Indian Ocean Region is vital for India’s trade and connectivity interests.
- India has been concerned over the increased aggressive behavior by China in the Indo- Pacific region.
- India wants all the neighboring maritime neighbors to be on the same page on the issue of Beijing’s assertive and proactive actions in the Indian Ocean
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