- Black Necked Crane
- Nidhi Companies
- Decline in coffee output as untimely rains and hailstorms lashes plantation
- 2003 ceasefire agreements along the Line of Control (LoC)
- Pagri Sambhal Movement
- Hotline between India and China
Black necked crane
Why?The proposed projects would not only affect the nesting grounds of the endangered Black-Necked Crane but also threaten several holy Buddhist pilgrimage sites in the region.
- It is a medium-sized crane of Asia that breeds on the Tibetan Plateau and remote parts of India and Bhutan.
- It is revered in Buddhist traditions and culturally protected across much of its range.
- A festival in Bhutan celebrates the bird while the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir considers it as the state bird.
- A conspicuous red crown adorns the head.
- Damage to the eggs and chicks, caused by feral dogs.
- Loss of habitat due to human pressure (Development Projects) on the wetlands.
- Increased grazing pressure on the limited pastures near the wetlands.
- Habitat modification, drying of lakes and agriculture are threats to the populations.
- Power lines has been another cause of mortality in some areas.
IUCN Red List:Vulnerable
Indian Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972:Schedule I
Context:Recently Ministry of Corporate Affairs advised investors status of Nidhi companies before investing in them.
Why?Many Nidhi companies were not complying with the rules set for them
- Nidhi Company is a type of Non-Banking Financial Company (NBFC).
- It is formed to borrow and lend money to its members. It inculcates the habit of saving among its members and works on the principle of mutual benefit.
- Nidhi Company isn’t required to receive the license from Reserve Bank of India (RBI), hence it is easy to form.
- It is registered as a public company and should have “Nidhi Limited” as the last words of its name.
- It is a company registered under the Companies Act, 2013.
- It works on the principle of mutual benefits that are regulated by the Ministry of Corporate Affairs.
- Since these Nidhis deal with their shareholder-members only, RBI has exempted them from the core provisions of the RBI Act and other directions applicable to NBFCs.
- Nidhi Company can’t deal with chit funds, hire-purchase finance, leasing finance, insurance or securities business. It is strictly prohibited from accepting deposits from or lending funds to, any other person except members.
- Also, it can’t advertise itself to ask for any deposits.
Decline in coffee output as untimely rains and hailstorms lashes plantation
Context:According to Coffee Board’s post-monsoon estimates, during the crop year 2020-21, India was expecting an arabica production of 1.02 lakh metric tonnes (MT) and robusta production of 2.4 lakh MT
- India’s total coffee output for the year was estimated at 3.42 lakh MT against last year’s 2.98 lakh MT.
- As of now, we lost over 30% of our arabica coffee due to rains in January.
- Also, heavy rains in February along with hailstones [compressed] robusta volumes by another 30%.
- The berry fall is causing irreparable damage for growers.
- In the last six days, most plantations got 3-10 inches of rain, lashing the plant-bearing, matured berries and pushing them to the ground.
Status of coffee cultivation in India
- India ranks 6th among the world’s 80 coffee producing countries, with some of the finest robusta and some top-notch arabica cultivated.
- Nearly 70% of India’s coffee is exported, largely to European and Asian markets.
- Coffee in India is traditionally grown in the rainforests of the Western Ghats in South India, covering
- Chikmagalur, Kodagu (Coorg), Wayanad, the Shevaroy Hills and the Nilgiris.
Conditions for coffee cultivation
- Coffee plant requires hot and humid climate with temperatures ranging between 15°C and 28 °C and rainfall from 150 to 250 cm.
- Frost, snowfall, high temperature above 30°C and strong sun shine is not good for coffee crop and is generally grown under shady trees.
- Dry weather is necessary at the time of ripening of the berries.
- Stagnant water is harmful and the crop is grown on hill slopes at elevations from 600 to 1,600 metres above sea level.
- Well drained, loams containing good deal of humus and minerals like iron and calcium are ideal for coffee cultivation.
2003 ceasefire agreements along the Line of Control (LoC)
Context:Agreement between India and Pakistan to observe the 2003 ceasefire agreements along the Line of Control (LoC) and all other sectors.
Why?The agreement comes in the wake of over 5000 instances of Cross Fire Violations (CFVs) along the Line of Control (LoC) and other areas in Jammu and Kashmir, resulting in 46 fatal casualties in 2020.
2003 Ceasefire Agreements:
- The original ceasefire agreement was reached in November 2003, four years after the Kargil War (1999).
- The 2003 ceasefire agreement remains a milestone as it brought peace along the LoC until 2006. Between 2003 and 2006, not a single bullet was fired by the jawans of India and Pakistan.
- But since 2006, ceasefire violations have become the norm with increasing frequency.
Line of Control
- The Line of Control (LoC) emerged from the 1948 ceasefire line negotiated by the United Nations (UN) after the Kashmir War.
- It was designated as the LoC in 1972, following the Shimla Agreement between the two countries.
- LoC is demarcated upto the Siachen Glacier (Point NJ9842)- the world’s highest battlefield.
- LoC is delineated on a map signed by the Director General of Military Operations (DGMO) of both armies and has the international sanctity of a legal agreement.
Context:The National Board for Wildlife includes the caracal in the list of critically endangered species.
- It is a medium-sized wild cat native to Africa, Middle East, Central Asia and South Asia including India. The population of this cat is increasing in Africa while its numbers are declining in Asia.
- It is found in parts of Rajasthan and Gujarat.
- Its name is on the basis of the Turkish word karakulak, meaning ‘black ears’. It is named due to its iconic ears.
- Earlier Caracals could be found in arid and semi-arid scrub forest regions of 13 Indian states. It was also found in nine out of the 26 biotic provinces.
- In India, Caracal is called Siya gosh, a Persian name that translates as ‘black Ear’.
- A Sanskrit fable (short story) exists about a small wild cat named deerghakarn or ‘long-eared’.
- The earliest evidence of the caracal in the subcontinent comes from a fossil dating back to the Indus Valley Civilization c. 3000-2000 BC.
- It was a favourite coursing or hunting animal in medieval India.
- IUCN Red List:Critically endangered
- Wildlife Protection Act, 1972:Schedule I
- CITES Listing:Appendix I for the Asian population and Appendix II for others.
Pagri Sambhal Movement
Context:23rd February is celebrated as Pagri SambhalDiwas by SamyuktaKisanMorcha (SKM) honouring the memory of Ajit Singh-founder of the Pagri Sambhaal Movement of 1907.
- ‘Pagri SambhalJatta Movement’ was the farmers’ agitation against the three British Laws– the Doab Bari Act, Punjab Land Colonisation Act and the Punjab Land Alienation Act.
- These acts would reduce farmers from owners to contractors of land, and gave the British government the right to take back the allotted land if the farmer even touched a tree in his field without permission.
- These laws resulted in widespread unrest against the colonial rulers, just like the ongoing farmers’ protest against the new Farm Laws 2020.
- Punjab and Haryana emerged as the nerve centre of these protests and Sardar Ajit Singh chose Lyallpur as the centre for the agitation because it was a nearly developed area and had people from almost all parts of Punjab including retired military people who could prove to be useful in bringing about a revolt in the army.
- In 1907, Pagri SambhalJatta was a call to not let the Pagri fall, literally and figuratively.
Sardar Ajit Singh
- Born on 23rd February, 1881 he was an Indian revolutionary, an Indian dissident and a nationalist during the colonial era.
- He was an inspiration to Indian revolutionaries and his nephew Bhagat Singh.
- He openly criticised the colonial government and was amongst the early protests in Punjab.
- With his brother Kishan Singh, worked among the people in famine-stricken regions like Barar (Madhya Pradesh) and Ahmedabad and in flood-and-earthquake-affected areas of Srinagar and Kangla in 1905.
- He launched the Bharat Mata Book Agency ( part of Bharat Mata Society), which, because of its strident anti-government, propagandist publications, attracted the attention of the British government.
Hotline between India and China
Context:Both the Indian and Chinese readouts of the talks referred to the setting up of the hotline
- The decision to install a Hotline between the two countries was taken over a telephonic meeting between India’s External Affairs Minister and China’s Foreign Affairs Minister.
- Hotline is a direct telephone line in constant operational readiness so as to facilitate immediate communication.
- The Hotline will be helpful in timely communication and exchange of views between the two countries.
- Reiterated the ‘three mutuals’ (mutual respect, mutual sensitivity and mutual interests) as the approach to the relationship.
- Disengagement, followed by de-escalation, will lead to peace along the Line of Actual Control (LAC), and eventually normalisation of ties.
- The boundary situation should not be placed at the front and centre of the relationship, but instead at a “proper place” in overall ties.
- The indication was the two sides should return to business as usual while the issue is dealt with.