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Monthly DNA

09 Mar, 2020

30 Min Read

India-USA Defense Cooperation

GS-II : International Relations U.S.A

India and USA Military Cooperation

Part of: GS Mains and GS-II- IR

Preface: India-U.S. bilateral relations have developed into a "global strategic partnership", based on shared democratic values and increasing convergence of interests on bilateral, regional and global issues. The emphasis placed by the Government in India on development and good governance has created an opportunity to reinvigorate bilateral ties and enhance cooperation under the motto --- “ChaleinSaathSaath: Forward Together We Go”, and "SanjhaPrayas, Sab ka Vikas" (Shared Effort, Progress for All) adopted during the first two summits of Prime Minister Modi and President Obama in September 2014 and January 2015 respectively. The summit level joint statement issued in June 2016 called the India-U.S. relationship an “Enduring Global Partners in the 21st Century”. Regular exchange of high-level political visits has provided sustained momentum to bilateral cooperation, while the wide-ranging and ever-expanding dialogue architecture has established a long-term framework for India-U.S. engagement. Today, the India-U.S. bilateral cooperation is broad-based and multi-sectoral, covering trade and investment, defence and security, education, science and technology, cyber security, high-technology, civil nuclear energy, space technology and applications, clean energy, environment, agriculture and health. Vibrant people-to-people interaction and support across the political spectrum in both countries nurture our bilateral relationship.

India-U.S. Dialogue Architecture: There are more than 50 bilateral dialogue mechanisms between the two governments. The first two meetings of the Strategic and Commercial Dialogue at the level of EAM and MoS (Commerce & Industry) were held in Washington DC in September 2015 and New Delhi in August 2016. This apex-level dialogue has added a commercial component to the five traditional pillars of bilateral relations on which the erstwhile Strategic Dialogue of Foreign Ministers had focussed, namely: Strategic Cooperation; Energy and Climate Change, Education and Development; Economy, Trade and Agriculture; Science and Technology; and Health and Innovation. The second meeting of the Strategic and Commercial Dialogue took place on 30 August 2016 in New Delhi. In addition, there are Ministerial-level dialogues involving home (Homeland Security Dialogue), finance (Financial and Economic Partnership), commerce (Trade Policy Forum), HRD (Higher Education Dialogue), Science & Technology (Joint Commission Meeting on S&T) and energy (Energy Dialogue).

Defence Cooperation: The defence relationship has emerged as a major pillar of India-U.S. strategic partnership with the signing of the ‘New Framework for India-U.S. Defense Relations’ in 2005 and the resulting intensification in defence trade, joint exercises, personnel exchanges, collaboration and cooperation in maritime security and counter-piracy, and exchanges between each of the three services. The Defence Framework Agreement was updated and renewed for another 10 years in June 2015. The two countries now conduct more bilateral exercises with each other than they do with any other country. India participated in the Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) exercise in July-August 2016 for the second time with an Indian Naval Frigate. Bilateral dialogue mechanisms in the field of defence include Defence Policy Group (DPG), Defence Joint Working Group (DJWG), Defence Procurement and Production Group (DPPG), Senior Technology Security Group (STSG), Joint Technical Group (JTG), Military Cooperation Group (MCG), and Service-to-Service Executive Steering Groups (ESGs). The agreements signed during the past year include the Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Association (LEMOA) signed in August 2016, the Fuel Exchange Agreement signed in November 2015, Technical Agreement (TA) on information sharing on White (merchant) Shipping signed in May 2016 and the Information Exchange Annexe (IEA) on Aircraft Carrier Technologies signed in June 2016. The aggregate worth of defence acquisition from U.S. Defence has crossed over US$ 13 billion. India and the United States have launched a Defence Technology and Trade Initiative (DTTI) aimed at simplifying technology transfer policies and exploring possibilities of co-development and co-production to invest in the defence relationship with strategic value. The DTTI Working Group and its Task Force will expeditiously evaluate and decide on unique projects and technologies which would have a transformative impact on bilateral defence relations and enhance India's defence industry and military capabilities. During President Obama's visit in January 2015, the two sides agreed to start cooperation on 4 DTTI pathfinder projects and 2 pathfinder initiatives, which are currently at various stages of execution. During RM's visit in December 2015, the two sides also identified opportunities for bilateral cooperation in the production and design of jet engine components. During Secretary Carter's visit in April 2014, two more G-2-G DTTI projects were added to the list. The DTTI meeting in Delhi in July 2016 decided to broaden its agenda by setting up five new Joint Working Groups on Naval Systems; Air Systems, Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance; Chemical and Biological Protection; and Other Systems. During the visit of the Prime Minister to the U.S. in June 2016, the U.S. recognised India as a "Major Defence Partner", which commits the U.S. to facilitate technology sharing with India to a level commensurate with that of its closest allies and partners, and industry collaboration for defence co-production and co-development.

Relationship Dynamics

  • It can be elaborated into three main categories-
    • Good Phase- It is linked to historic terms like the U.S. civil nuclear deal, the ongoing defence cooperation and the signing of “Foundational Defence Agreements” which are the Communications Compatibility and Security Agreement (COMCASA), the Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Agreement (LEMOA) and the Basic Exchange and Cooperation Agreement for Geo-spatial Cooperation (BECA) etc.
    • Bad Phase- It is linked with the current trade challenges, the U.S.’s hyphenation of India with China in its trade war and its call for the removal of the ‘developing country’ tag assigned by the WTO.
    • Ugly Phase- It was when the U.S. sent its fleet toward India to assist Pakistan during the 1971 war.
  • The good outweighs the other two but a sense of scepticism remains because of India’s multilateral outreach, especially with respect to the procurement of defence material from Russia and the Indian military’s presence in Afghanistan.
  • India also needs to remain mindful of the unpredictability and inherent contradictions in U.S. foreign policy and, at the same time, capitalise on U.S. ‘isolationism and retrenchment’ by maintaining its time-tested policy of non-alignment and strategic autonomy.

Recent news

  • The India-U.S. Military Cooperation Group (MCG) dialogue is a forum to review the progress of defence cooperation between India’s Integrated Defence Staff and the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command (USINDOPACOM) at the strategic and operational levels.
    • The Integrated Defence Staff was responsible for coordination among the armed forces before the appointment of the Chief of Defence Staff.
  • As part of the agreement reached at the 2+2 Dialogue of December 2019, with the intent to further military liaison relationships, India has already posted a liaison officer at the U.S. Navy Central Command in Bahrain and a U.S. liaison officer has joined the Indian Navy’s Information Fusion Centre for Indian Ocean Region at Gurugram.


  • The India-U.S. Military Cooperation Group (MCG) dialogue scheduled to be held in the U.S., has been cancelled given the COVID-19 outbreak.
    • As part of improving defence cooperation and interoperability between India and the U.S., India is considering a U.S. request for posting liaison officers at the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command (USINDOPACOM) and the U.S. Special Operations Command (USSOCOM). This was to be discussed at the dialogue.
    • The MCG dialogue was to follow up on the U.S. President’s India visit and fast-track the decisions, including that on 24 MH-60R multi-role helicopters.

2+2 dialogue

India and the US have recently concluded the second 2+2 ministerial dialogue in Washington. Several landmark agreements in both the defence and Civilian sectors were signed.

Key Points

  • Industrial Security Annex (ISA)
    • ISA will provide a framework for the exchange and protection General Security Of Military Information Agreement (GSOMIA) of classified military information between the U.S. and Indian defence industries.
    • Currently, under GSOMIA, such information is exchanged between the Government authorities of the two countries but not between private parties.
    • This will further promote “Make in India” in the defence sector.
      • In accordance with the budget announcement (2018-19), the government has already decided to set up two Defence Industrial Corridors in the country, one in Uttar Pradesh and another in Tamil Nadu.

Peacekeeping for Indo-Pacific

  • Cooperation in capacity-building of UN peacekeepers from Indo-Pacific countries, based on demands from the countries concerned.
  • Counter-terrorism efforts were also discussed including the dangers of cross-border terrorism.

Tiger Triumph Exercise

    • To hold the India-U.S. joint tri-services ‘Tiger Triumph’ on an annual basis.
    • The first edition was held in November 2019 as a Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR) exercise.

Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure (CDRI)

    • The CDRI was launched at the UN Climate Action Summit in New York, the USA in September 2019. It is headquartered in New Delhi, India.
    • The US is now part of it.

Water Resource Management

    • Memorandum of understanding (MoU) was signed between Ministry of Jal Shakti and the U.S. Geological Survey to promote technical cooperation in water resources management and water technology.

Space Situational Awareness (SSA)

    • Cooperation for exchange of information including space debris and space traffic management.
    • It ensures the navigational safety of our space assets.

Young Innovators Internship Programme (YIIP)

    • Create internship opportunities in key areas of science and economy.
    • New opportunities for young entrepreneurs.

Parliamentary Exchange and Judicial cooperation

    • Reciprocal visits by Parliamentarians from both countries.
    • The U.S. Federal Judicial Center and India’s National Judicial Academy in Bhopal to cooperate in the area of counter-terrorism jurisprudence to new areas of criminal jurisprudence including money laundering, drug trafficking etc.

‘2+2’ Dialogue

  • It is a format of dialogue where the defence and foreign ministers or secretaries meet with their counterparts from another country. 2+2 Ministerial is the highest-level institutional mechanism between the two countries.
  • India holds such talks with Australia, at the foreign secretary and defence secretary level but with Japan and the US at the ministerial level.
  • With the US this was the second 2+2 meeting (Washington), the first being held in New Delhi in September 2018.
  • US holds such ministerial dialogues with Australia and Japan also.

Source: TH-MoEA

Unutilised Budgetary Funds in Education-Right to Education


Unutilised Budgetary Funds in Education

  • The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Human Resource Development’s (HRD) report on the 2020-2021 demand for grants for school education submitted to the Rajya Sabha.


Budget allocations and expenditure:

  • The Standing Committee has expressed concerns over the fact that the budgetary allocations have observed a 27% cut over the budgetary proposals made by the School Education Department.
  • For the core Samagra Shiksha Scheme, the department had only spent 71% of revised estimates by December 31, 2019.

Samagra Shiksha Scheme (PT-HIT)

Ministry of Human Resource Development is implementing the Scheme of Vocationalisation of School Education.

  • Under the scheme, a vocational subject is offered for Classes IX to XII along with the general education to provide necessary employability and vocational skills for a variety of occupations.
  • The above scheme is being implemented under the umbrella of ‘Samagra Shiksha – an integrated scheme for school education’.

Samagra Shiksha

  • KeyProvisions:
    • Samagra Shiksha is an integrated scheme for school education extending from pre-school to class XII to ensure inclusive and equitable quality education at all levels of school education.
    • It subsumes the three Schemes of Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA), Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan (RMSA) and Teacher Education (TE).
      • The scheme treats school education holistically as a continuum from Pre-school to Class 12.
    • The main emphasis of the Scheme is on improving the quality of school education by focussing on the two T’s – Teacher and Technology.
  • Vision:
    • The vision of the Scheme is to ensure inclusive and equitable quality education from pre-school to senior secondary stage in accordance with the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) for Education.
      • SDG-4.1: Aims to ensure that all boys and girls complete free, equitable and quality primary and secondary education leading to relevant and effective learning outcomes.
      • SDG 4.5: Aims to eliminate gender disparities in education and ensure equal access to all levels of education.
    • The scheme mainly aims to support States in the implementation of the Right to Education Act (RTE) is a fundamental right under Article 21-A of the Constitution of India.
  • Funding
    • The Scheme is being implemented as a Centrally Sponsored Scheme.
      • The fund sharing pattern for the scheme between Centre and States is at present in the ratio of 90:10 for the North-Eastern States and the Himalayan States and 60:40 for all other States and Union Territories with Legislature.
      • It is 100% centrally sponsored for Union Territories without Legislature.
    • The scheme also proposes to give flexibility to the States and UTs to plan and prioritize their interventions within the scheme norms and the overall resource envelope available to them.

Critical infrastructure gaps:

The Parliamentary panel has identified and expressed concerns over critical infrastructure gaps in the government schools.

  • The Unified District Information System for Education (UDISE) 2017-18 survey reports that only 56% of government schools have electricity. Manipur and Madhya Pradesh have reported less than 20% having access to power.
  • The latest survey has reported that less than 57% of schools have playgrounds, including less than 30% of schools in Odisha and Jammu and Kashmir.
  • The parliamentary panel has come down heavily on the very slow rate of progress in building classrooms, labs and libraries to strengthen government higher secondary schools.
    • The panel noted that out of 2,613 sanctioned projects for 2019-20, only three had been completed in the first nine months of the financial year.

Overall Infrastructure:

  • A dismal rate of progress has been observed in building classrooms, labs and libraries to strengthen government higher secondary schools.
  • Almost 40% of schools did not have a boundary wall, endangering the safety of students and school property.
  • The higher secondary schools experienced greater infrastructural gaps compared to secondary schools and primary schools.
  • Also, less than 5% of proposed infrastructure facilities such as ramps and special toilets for differently-abled students have been completed in the government schools.


  • The findings of the parliamentary panel point to the lack of political will in developing this critical sector.
  • The lack of appropriate infrastructure at government schools may impact the learning outcome of its students and may also alienate students from government schools.

Right to Education Act

The Act is completely titled “the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act”. It was passed by the Parliament in August 2009. When the Act came into force in 2010, India became one among 135 countries where education is a fundamental right of every child.

  • The 86th Constitutional Amendment (2002) inserted Article 21A in the Indian Constitution which states:
    • “The State shall provide free and compulsory education to all children of 6 to 14 years in such manner as the State, may by law determine.”
  • As per this, the right to education was made a fundamental right and removed from the list of Directive Principles of State Policy.
  • The RTE is the consequential legislation envisaged under the 86th Amendment.
  • The article incorporates the word “free” in its title. What it means is that no child (other than those admitted by his/her parents in a school not supported by the government) is liable to pay any kind of fee or charges or expenses which may prevent him or her from pursuing and completing elementary education.
  • This Act makes it obligatory on the part of the government to ensure admission, attendance and completion of elementary education by all children falling in the age bracket six to fourteen years.
  • Essentially, this Act ensures free elementary education to all children in the economically weaker sections of society.

RTE Provisions

The provisions of the RTE Act are briefly described below. The Act provides for:

  • The right of free and compulsory education to children until they complete their elementary education in a school in the neighbourhood.
  • The Act makes it clear that ‘compulsory education’ implies that it is an obligation on the part of the government to ensure the admission, attendance and completion of elementary education of children between the ages of six and fourteen. The word ‘free’ indicates that no charge is payable by the child which may prevent him/her from completing such education.
  • The Act provides for the admission of a non-admitted child to a class of his/her appropriate age.
  • It mentions the duties of the respective governments, the local authorities and parents in ensuring the education of a child. It also specifies the sharing of the financial burden between the central and the state governments.
  • It specifies standards and norms for Pupil Teacher Ratios (PTR), infrastructure and buildings, working days of the school and for the teachers.
  • It also says there should be no urban-rural imbalance in teacher postings. The Act also provides for the prohibition of the employment of teachers for non-educational work, other than census, elections and disaster relief work.
  • The Act provides that the teachers appointed should be appropriately trained and qualified.
  • The Act prohibits:
    • Mental harassment and physical punishment.
    • Screening procedures for the admission of children.
    • Capitation fees.
    • Private tuition by the teachers.
    • Running schools with no recognition.
  • The Act envisages that the curriculum should be developed in coherence with the values enshrined in the Indian Constitution, and that which would take care of the all-round development of the child. The curriculum should build on the knowledge of the child, on his/her potentiality and talents, help make the child free of trauma, fear and anxiety via a system that is both child-centric and child-friendly.

Significance of RTE

With the passing of the Right to Education Act, India has moved to a rights-based approach towards implementing education for all. This Act casts a legal obligation on the state and central governments to execute the fundamental rights of a child (as per Article 21 A of the Constitution).

    • The Act lays down specific standards for the student-teacher ratio, which is a very important concept in providing quality education.
    • It also talks about providing separate toilet facilities for girls and boys, having adequate standards for classroom conditions, drinking water facilities, etc.
    • The stress on avoiding the urban-rural imbalance in teachers’ posting is important as there is a big gap in the quality and numbers regarding education in the villages compared to the urban areas in the country.
    • The Act provides for zero tolerance against the harassment and discrimination of children. The prohibition of screening procedures for admission ensures that there would be no discrimination of children on the basis of caste, religion, gender, etc.
    • The Act also mandates that no kid is detained until class 8. It introduced the Continuous Comprehensive Evaluation (CCE) system in 2009 to have grade-appropriate learning outcomes in schools.
    • The Act also provides for the formation of a School Management Committee (SMC) in every school in order to promote participatory democracy and governance in all elementary schools. These committees have the authority to monitor the school’s functioning and prepare developmental plans for it.
    • The Act is justiciable and has a Grievance Redressal mechanism which permits people to take action when the provisions of the Act are not complied with.

The RTE Act mandates for all private schools to reserve 25 per cent of their seats for children from socially disadvantaged and economically backward sections. This move is intended to boost social inclusion and pave the way for a more just and equal country.

    • This provision is included in Section 12(1)(c) of the RTE Act. All schools (private, unaided, aided or special category) must reserve 25% of their seats at the entry-level for students from the Economically Weaker Sections (EWS) and disadvantaged groups.
    • When the rough version of the Act was drafted in 2005, there was a lot of outcry in the country against this large percentage of seats being reserved for the underprivileged. However, the framers of the draft stood their ground and were able to justify the 25% reservation in private schools.
    • This provision is a far-reaching move and perhaps the most important step in so far as inclusive education is concerned.
    • This provision seeks to achieve social integration.
    • The loss incurred by the schools as a result of this would be reimbursed by the central government.
  • The Act has increased enrolment in the upper primary level (Class 6-8) between 2009 and 2016 by 19.4%.
  • In rural areas, in 2016, only 3.3% of children in the 6 – 14 years bracket were out of school.

Criticism of RTE Act

Even though the RTE Act is a step in the right direction towards the achievement of making education truly free and compulsory in India, it has met with several criticisms. Some of the criticisms are given below:

  • The Act was drafted hastily without much thought or consultation being given to the quality of education imparted.
  • Children below 6 years are not covered under the Act.
  • Many of the schemes under the Act have been compared to the previous schemes on education such as the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan, and have been plagued with corruption charges and inefficiency.
  • At the time of admissions, many documents such as birth certificate, BPL certificate, etc. are required. This move seems to have left out orphans from being beneficiaries of the Act.
  • There have been implementational hurdles in the 25% reservation of seats for EWS and others in private schools. Some of the challenges in this regard are discriminatory behaviour towards parents and difficulties experienced by students to fit in with a different socio-cultural milieu.
  • Regarding the ‘no detention’ policy till class 8, an amendment to the Act in 2019, introduced regular annual exams in classes 5 and 8.
    • In case a student fails in the annual exam, he/she is given extra training and made to appear for a re-exam. If this re-exam is not passed, the student can be detained in the class.
    • This amendment was made after many states complained that without regular exams, the learning levels of children could not be evaluated effectively.
    • The states which were against this amendment were six states with higher learning outcomes due to their effective implementation of the CCE system as mandated in the Act. (The six states were Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala, Goa, Telangana and Maharashtra.)
  • It has been found that many states find it difficult to move to the CCE system of assessment. This is chiefly due to a lack of teachers’ training and orientation.
  • Another criticism levelled against the Act is that instead of increasing the standards and outcomes of the public education system in India, it passes the buck to private schools to some respect.

Making the right to education a fundamental right took more than 6 decades after independence. Now, the government and all stakeholders should focus on the quality of education, and gradually move towards having a single educational system and platform across the country for all sections of society in order to foster equality, inclusion, and unity.


  • The parliamentary panel has recommended that core schemes like the Samagra Shiksha Scheme get additional funds at the revised estimates stage.
  • The panel has recommended that the HRD Ministry collaborate with the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy to provide solar and other energy sources so that schools have access to power.

Source: TH

Red Panda and IUCN


Red Panda

Part of: GS Prelims and GS-III- Environment

  1. Hunting of Red Panda has decreased as per study by wildlife trade monitoring network TRAFFIC, indicative of the success of awareness campaigns.
  2. Red panda is endemic to the temperate forests of the Himalayas.
  3. Native to the eastern Himalayas and southwestern China.
  4. It is arboreal, feeds mainly on bamboo, but also eats eggs, birds, and insects
  • Habitat: Sikkim, Assam, Meghalaya, West Bengal and northern Arunachal Pradesh.
  • Threat: Hunted for meat and fur, besides illegal capture for the pet trade.
  • IUCN Status: Endangered
  • Significance: Red panda’s survival is crucial for the eastern and north-eastern Himalayan subalpine conifer forests and the eastern Himalayan broadleaf forests
  • Estimated Population: 14,500 animals in the wild across Nepal, Bhutan, India, China and Myanmar.
  • It is the state animal of Sikkim

Protected areas

  • Kanchendzonga National Park (NP) — Sikkim
  • Neora Valley NP – West Bengal
  • Namdapha National Park – Arunachal Pradesh
  • Singalila National Park – West Bengal

About IUCN

The International Union for Conservation of Nature

  • IUCN is a membership union uniquely composed of both government and civil society organisations.
  • Created in 1948, it is the global authority on the status of the natural world and the measures needed to safeguard it.
  • It is headquartered in Switzerland.
  • The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, is the world's most comprehensive inventory of the global conservation status of plant and animal species.


The International Union for Conservation of Nature works to achieve the following goals:

  1. To provide scientific data on the status of species and subspecies at a global level.
  2. To address the factors of concern and spread awareness regarding the species and biodiversity extinction.
  3. To plan a layout for the conservation of biodiversity

    • It uses a set of quantitative criteria to evaluate the extinction risk of species. These criteria are relevant to most species and all regions of the world.
    • The IUCN Red List Categories define the extinction risk of species assessed. Nine categories extend from NE (Not Evaluated) to EX (Extinct). Critically Endangered (CR), Endangered (EN) and Vulnerable (VU) species are considered to be threatened with extinction.
    • It is recognized as the most authoritative guide to the status of biological diversity.
    • It is also a key indicator for the SDGs and Aichi Targets.
  • Extinct (EX) – No known individuals remaining.
  • Extinct in the wild (EW) – Known only to survive in captivity, or as a naturalized population outside its historic range.
  • Critically endangered (CR) – Extremely high risk of extinction in the wild.
  • Endangered (EN) – High risk of extinction in the wild.
  • Vulnerable (VU) – High risk of endangerment in the wild.
  • Near threatened (NT) – Likely to become endangered in the near future.
  • Least concern (LC) – Lowest risk. Does not qualify for a more at-risk category. Widespread and abundant taxa are included in this category.
  • Data deficient (DD) – Not enough data to make an assessment of its risk of extinction.
  • Not evaluated (NE) – Has not yet been evaluated against the criteria

List of critically endangered species in India as per IUCN Red List 2019

The list of critically endangered species in India from various categories are given below:

Critically Endangered Mammals

  1. Pygmy Hog
  2. Andaman White-toothed Shrew
  3. Jenkin’s Andaman Spiny Shrew
  4. Nicobar White-tailed Shrew
  5. Kondana Rat
  6. Large Rock Rat or Elvira Rat
  7. Namdapha Flying Squirrel
  8. Malabar Civet
  9. Sumatran Rhinoceros
  10. Javan Rhinoceros

Critically Endangered Birds

  1. Aythya baeri
  2. Forest Owlet
  3. Great Indian Bustard
  4. Bengal Florican
  5. Siberian Crane
  6. Spoon-billed Sandpiper
  7. Sociable Lapwing
  8. Jerdon’s Courser
  9. White-backed Vulture
  10. Red-headed Vulture
  11. White-bellied Heron
  12. Slender-billed Vulture
  13. Indian Vulture
  14. Pink-headed Duck
  15. Himalayan Quail

Critically Endangered Reptiles

  1. Gharial
  2. Hawksbill Turtle
  3. Leatherback Turtle
  4. River Terrapin
  5. Bengal Roof Turtle
  6. Sispara day gecko

Critically Endangered Fishes

  1. Pondicherry Shark
  2. Ganges Shark
  3. Knife-tooth Sawfish
  4. Large-tooth Sawfish
  5. Narrow-snout Sawfish

IUCN Conservation Plan for 2020

The strategy for the conservation of nature by IUCN is as follows:

  1. Assess – Focus on monitoring species and informing the world about the status and trends of biodiversity, thus providing measures for the protection of our biosphere.
  2. Plan – Aims to enhance collaborative and science-based strategies to ensure the most effective species conservation actions.
  3. Act – Improve the status of biodiversity, by mobilizing actions involving governments, educational institutions, civil society, and the private sector.
  4. Communicate – The effectiveness of IUCN’s species conservation work is enhanced through strategic and targeted communications.





Part of: GS Prelims and GS-III- S&T

Recently there has been growing concern regarding the aggressively promoted concept of cord blood banking.

Key Points

  • Over the past decade, stem cell banking has been aggressively marketed even as its use is still in experimental stages.
  • The stem cell banking companies get access to data of to-be parents and start approaching their prospective customers much before the delivery and offer competitive packages.
  • Companies convince parents to bank the cells for several years promising future therapeutic use.
  • Enormous fees are charged from parents to preserve cells merely by emotional marketing.
  • However, according to Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), there is no scientific basis for preservation of cord blood for future self use and this practice therefore raises ethical and social concerns.
  • The ICMR does not recommend commercial stem cell banking.
  • Private storage of the cord blood is advisable when there is an elder child in the family with a condition treatable with these cells and the mother is expecting the next baby.
  • In other situations, parents should be educated about the limitations of banking at this point of time.

Cord Blood Banking

  • Cord blood is the blood from the baby that is left in the umbilical cord and placenta after birth. Cord blood banking involves taking the umbilical cord blood, which is a rich source of stem cells, and preserving it for future use.
  • It contains special cells called hematopoietic stem cells that can be used to treat some types of diseases.
  • Hematopoietic stem cells can mature into different types of blood cells in the body.
  • Globally, cord blood banking is recommended as a source of hematopoietic stem cell (derived from bone marrow, peripheral blood, or umbilical cord blood) transplantation for haematological cancers and disorders where its use is recommended.
  • For all other conditions, the use of cord blood as a source of stem cells is not yet established.

Stem Cells

  • Stem cells are special human cells that have the ability to develop into many different cell types, from muscle cells to brain cells.
  • Stem cells are divided into two main forms- Embryonic stem cells and Adult Stem Cells.
  • Embryonic stem cells come from unused embryos resulting from an in vitro fertilization procedure and that are donated to science.
  1. These embryonic stem cells are pluripotent, meaning that they can turn into more than one type of cell.
  2. Adult Stem Cells: There are two types of adult stem cells.

One type comes from fully developed tissues, like the brain, skin, and bone marrow.
There are only small numbers of stem cells in these tissues, and they are more likely to generate only certain types of cells. For example, a stem cell derived from the liver will only generate more liver cells.

The second type is induced pluripotent stem cells.
These are adult stem cells that have been manipulated in a laboratory to take on the pluripotent characteristics of embryonic stem cells.

Indian Council of Medical Research

  • ICMR is the apex body in India for formulation, coordination and promotion of biomedical research.
  • Its mandate is to conduct, coordinate and implement medical research for the benefit of the Society; translating medical innovations into products/processes and introducing them into the public health system.
  • it is funded by the Government of India through the Department of Health Research, Ministry of Health & Family Welfare.

Source: TH

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06 March,2020
Freedom in the World 2020 report

Syllabus subtopic: Important International Institutions, agencies and fora - their Structure, Mandate.   Prelims and Mains focus: about the key highlights of the report and India’s performance   News: Freedom in the World 2020 report, a yearly survey and report by the U.S

Employees' Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO)

Syllabus subtopic: Statutory, Regulatory and various Quasi-judicial Bodies.   Prelims and Mains focus: about the move and its significance; about EPFO   News: Salaried employees are set to get 0.15% less in interest on provident fund deposits for 2019-2020, with the Central Boa

Suspension of MPs

Suspension of MPs Syllabus subtopic: Parliament and State Legislatures—Structure, Functioning, Conduct of Business, Powers & Privileges and Issues Arising out of these.   Prelims and Mains focus: on the issue of suspension of MPs and the rules and procedure regarding it &n

Common Electricity Market for India’s neighbourhood

Common Electricity Market for India’s neighbourhood Syllabus subtopic: India and its Neighborhood- Relations. Prelims and Mains focus: about the move and its significance News: The Union government plans to set up a regional grid that will be leveraged to create a common electricity m


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