11 January, 2020

31 Min Read

SC judgement on internet shutdown

Syllabus subtopic: Indian Constitution- historical underpinnings, evolution, features, amendments, significant provisions and basic structure.

Prelims and Mains focus: About the SC judgement on internet curbs in the valley and its significance; about Article 370

News: The right to internet is protected by the constitution and the Centre should review the sweeping restrictions it has placed on internet access in Kashmir, the Supreme Court ruled on Friday in a landmark judgement.

About the SC judgement

  • While recognizing the right of the government to impose internet bans in exceptional circumstances, it questioned the extent of the clampdowns. It drew these conclusions by recognizing that the right to internet is constitutionally protected.

  • The court gave the central government and “competent authorities” a week to complete the review into the clampdown that was imposed on the eve of the 5 August revocation of Article 370 that gave the erstwhile state its special status.

  • The court also directed the Centre to publish all prohibitory orders in force, future orders under Section 144 of the CrPC and orders suspending telecom services, including the internet, so that affected citizens can challenge them in the high court or another appropriate forum.

  • The SC declared that the freedom of speech and expression and the freedom to practice any profession or carry on any trade, business or occupation over the medium of internet enjoys constitutional protection under Article 19(1)(a) and Article 19(1)(g). The restriction upon such fundamental rights should be in consonance with the mandate under Article 19 (2) and (6) of the Constitution, inclusive of the test of proportionality.

  • The SC said that the power under Section 144 Criminal Procedure Code, being remedial as well as preventive, is exercisable not only where there exists present danger, but also when there is an apprehension of danger. However, the danger contemplated should be in the nature of an “emergency” and for the purpose of preventing obstruction and annoyance or injury to any person lawfully employed. The power under Section 144 cannot be used to suppress legitimate expression of opinion or grievance or exercise of any democratic rights.

  • An order passed under Section 144, CrPC should state the material facts to enable judicial review of the same. The power should be exercised in a bona fide and reasonable manner, and the same should be passed by relying on the material facts, indicative of application of mind. This will enable judicial scrutiny of the aforesaid order. Repetitive orders under Section 144, CrPC would be an abuse of power.

What does the research on internet shutdown say?

  • Around 4,196 hours of internet blackouts in India cost the economy close to $1.3 billion in 2019, said a 7 January report by UK-based research firm Top10VPN.

  • The report analysed every major internet shutdown around the world in 2019 which cost the global economy over $8 billion. India, where over 100 shutdowns were documented, was the third worst-hit after Iraq and Sudan.

  • The findings for India are based on internet blackouts in Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Jammu and Kashmir, Meghalaya, Rajasthan, Tripura and Uttar Pradesh.

Why SC order on Internet goes beyond J&K?

  • Directing the government to mandatorily publish all orders permitting Internet shutdowns, the Supreme Court has for the first time set the stage for challenging suspension orders before courts.

  • Although the Temporary Suspension of Telecom Services (Public Emergency or Public Service) Rules, 2017 issued under the Telegraph Act — the law that deals with restricting Internet access — does not provide for publication or notification of the order suspending Internet, the apex court mandated that such orders must be made available to the public.

  • The court declared that it is a “settled principle of law, and of natural justice” that requires publication of such orders, “particularly one that affects lives, liberty and property of people”. “Any law which demands compliance of the people requires to be notified directly and reliably,” it said.

  • This allows individuals to now challenge the orders before courts in J&K and rest of India. In the wake of protests against the new citizenship law, Internet services were suspended temporarily in parts of Uttar Pradesh, Delhi and Karnataka. While suspension orders were always subject to judicial review, lack of availability of such orders in public domain prevented such challenges before courts.

  • In December last year, the Gauhati High Court directed the Assam government to restore Internet in the state after reviewing suspension orders.

  • India tops the list of Internet shutdowns globally. According to Software Freedom Law Center’s tracker, there have been 381 shutdowns since 2012, 106 of which were in 2019. The ongoing shutdown in Kashmir is the longest ever in any democratic country.

  • The Supreme Court also highlighted ‘gaps’ in the current Suspension Rules. In favour of the petitioners, the court tightened the window for broad telecom suspensions, stating they had to be “necessary” and “unavoidable”.

  • While the Solicitor General had argued during the proceedings that blocking only some social media services was not feasible, the Court responded that “the State should have attempted to determine the feasibility of such a measure” and “if such a contention is accepted, then the Government would have a free pass to put a complete internet blockage every time. Such complete blocking/prohibition perpetually cannot be accepted by this Court”.

  • There should not be excessive burden on free speech even if complete prohibition is imposed, and the government has to justify imposition of such prohibition and explain why lesser alternatives will be inadequate, the bench stated.

  • Lastly, the court mandated that all orders regarding the Kashmir case be made public, and to provide essential services such as e-banking and hospitals immediately..

  • Once these orders have been reviewed, they are open to be challenged by everybody and can be subject to judicial review. What the state was arguing in this case was that this is a matter of national security given that it pertains to Kashmir with a history of militancy. They said, therefore leave it to the state, armed forces, and security forces to determine what restrictions need to be imposed, and the court should not be reviewing these orders. On that aspect, the court has come down very clearly to say that it will judicially review executive orders.

  • This was an unprecedented court recognition of the new important mediums of expression and trade.

  • The bench also noted that the law needs to keep pace with technological development: “We need to note that the law should imbibe the technological development and accordingly mould its rules so as to cater to the needs of society. Non-recognition of technology within the sphere of law is only a disservice to the inevitable.”

Source: Livemint

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International Energy Agency (IEA)

Syllabus subtopic: Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India's interests

Prelims and Mains focus: About IEA findings on India’s oil demand; about India’s strategic oil reserves; IEA: members and mandate

News: India’s oil demand growth will overtake China by mid-2020s, the International Energy Agency (IEA) said on Friday asking the world’s third-largest energy consumer to raise the capacity of strategic oil storages as insurance against disruptions.

India 2020 ‘Energy Policy Review’

  • India’s current strategic oil storage of 10 days of its imports is not enough to protect it in the rainy days in the oil market

  • India imports more than 80 per cent of its oil needs, of which 65 per cent is from the Middle East through the Strait of Hormuz, the IEA said, adding that the country’s oil refining capacity will rise to about 8 million bpd by 2025 from about 5 million bpd at present.

  • IEA projected India’s oil demand to reach 6 million barrels per day (bpd) by 2024 from 4.4 million bpd in 2017. China’s demand growth is likely to be slightly lower than that of India by the mid-2020s.

  • India is the world’s third-largest consumer of oil (behind the US and China), the fourth-largest oil refiner and a net exporter of refined (petroleum) products. The rate of growth of India’s oil consumption is expected to surpass that of China in the mid-2020s, making India a very attractive market for refinery investment.

  • Its “demand will go up significantly in the next years to come” on the back rise in oil consumption for mobility, as cooking fuel and in the petrochemical industry.

India’s strategic oil reserves

  • India has built underground storages at Padur and Vishakapatnam in Andhra Pradesh and Mangalore and Padur in Karnataka to stock 5.33 million tonnes of crude oil. The storage capacity is equivalent to less than 10 days of India’s oil imports.
  • In the second phase, similar storages are planned at Chandikhol in Odisha and Padur in Karnataka for another 6.5 million tonnes of oil.

About IEA

  • Established in 1974 as per framework of the OECD.
  • MISSION – The IEA works to ensure reliable, affordable and clean energy for its 30 member countries and beyond. Our mission is guided by four main areas of focus: energy security, economic development, environmental awareness and engagement worldwide.
  • Headquarters (Secretariat): Paris, France.
  • A candidate country must be a member country of the OECD. But all OECD members are not IEA members (Ex:Chile, Iceland, Israel, Latvia and Slovenia).
  • India currently is an associate member.
  • It coordinates the release of strategic petroleum reserves (SPR) among developed countries in times of emergency.

To become member a candidate country must demonstrate that it has:

  • crude oil and/or product reserves equivalent to 90 days of the previous year’s net imports, to which the government has immediate access (even if it does not own them directly) and could be used to address disruptions to global oil supply
  • a demand restraint programme to reduce national oil consumption by up to 10%
  • legislation and organisation to operate the Co-ordinated Emergency Response Measures (CERM) on a national basis
  • legislation and measures to ensure that all oil companies under its jurisdiction report information upon request;
  • measures in place to ensure the capability of contributing its share of an IEA collective action.

Mandate of IEA

To focus on the “3Es” of effectual energy policy:

  1. Energy security.
  2. Economic development.
  3. Environmental protection.

Reports by IEA:

  • Global Energy & CO2 Status Report 2017.
  • World Energy Outlook.
  • World Energy Statistics 2017.
  • World Energy Balances 2017.
  • Energy Technology Perspectives.

About OECD

  • Founded in 1961 to stimulate economic progress and world trade
  • Headquarter — Paris, France


  • Organisation for European Economic Co-operation (OEEC) was founded in 1948 to help administer the Marshall Plan.
  • In 1961, the OEEC was reformed into the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development by the Convention on the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development and membership was extended to non-European states
  • Intergovernmental economic organisation
  • Official United Nations observer
  • It works through consensus to develop policy recommendations and other “soft law” instruments to encourage policy reform in member countries.


  • Currently 36members
  • India is not a member but key partner (the countries which are invited for annual ministerial conference. Other key partners are – Brazil, China, Indonesia and South Africa )
  • It is forum of countries describing themselves as committed to democracy and the market economy.
  • Most OECD members are high-income economies with a very high Human Development Index (HDI) and are regarded as developed countries
  • It provides a platform to compare policy experiences, seeking answers to common problems, identify good practices and coordinate domestic and international policies of its members.
  • Its programs are funded by contributions from member states at varying rates

How it works?

  • OECD Council — provide direction and guidance to the work of Organisation. Each member country is represented.
  • OECD Substantive Committees — oversee all the work on each theme (publications, task forces, conferences, and so on)
  • OECD Secretariat — led by the Secretary-General provides support to Standing and Substantive Committees

Special bodies and entities

  • International Transport Forum (ITF) (formally known as the European Conference of Ministers of Transport)
  • International Energy Agency
  • Nuclear Energy Agency
  • Partnership for Democratic Governance (PDG)
  • Trade Union Advisory Committee (TUAC)

Reports and Publications

  • OECD Economic survey of India
  • Government at a Glance
  • Education at a Glance
  • Agricultural Outlook 2017-2026 (in association with FAO)
  • Multilateral Automatic Exchange of Financial Account Information (MCAA) — multilateral convention on administrative assistance in taxation matters
  • Employment Protection Index
  • Your Better Life Index

Source: Indian Express

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WTO: India-US trade dispute

Syllabus subtopic: Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India's interests

Prelims and Mains focus: About the Inda-US trade dispute; GSP and its benefits; WTO: structure and functions

News: The World Trade Organisation's (WTO) dispute settlement body has set up a panel to examine the US complaint against India which had increased customs duties on 28 American goods last year.


  • The US in July had dragged India to the WTO by filing a complaint against New Delhi's move to increase customs duties, alleging the decision as inconsistent with the global trade norms.

  • The US had alleged that the additional duties imposed by India "appears to nullify or impair the benefits accruing to the US directly or indirectly" under the GATT 1994.

  • It had stated that India does not impose these duties on products originating in the territory of any other WTO member nation.

About GATT

The General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) is a WTO pact, signed by all member countries of the multi-lateral body, aims to promote trade by reducing or eliminating trade barriers like customs duties.

How is a dispute settled in WTO?

  • As per the WTO's dispute settlement process, the request for consultations is the first step in a dispute.
  • Consultations give the parties an opportunity to discuss the matter and find a satisfactory solution without proceeding further with litigation.
  • After 60 days, if consultations fail to resolve the dispute, the complainant may request adjudicated by a panel.

India-US trade dispute

  • India's exports to the US in 2017-18 stood at USD 47.9 billion, while imports were at USD 26.7 billion. The trade balance is in favour of India.

  • The US has rolled back export incentives from India under its GSP programme and New Delhi has imposed higher customs duties on 28 American products including almond, pulses, walnut, chickpeas, boric acid and binders for foundry moulds.

  • The other products on which duties were hiked include certain kind of nuts, iron and steel products, apples, pears, flat rolled products of stainless steel, other alloy steel, tube and pipe fittings, and screws, bolts and rivets.

  • The duties were hiked as retaliation to the US move to impose the highest customs duties on certain steel and aluminium goods.

Generalised System of Preferences (GSP):

The Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) is a U.S. trade program designed to promote economic growth in the developing world by providing preferential duty-free entry for up to 4,800 products from 129 designated beneficiary countries and territories.

What is the objective of GSP?

The objective of GSP was to give development support to poor countries by promoting exports from them into the developed countries. GSP promotes sustainable development in beneficiary countries by helping these countries to increase and diversify their trade with the United States.

Benefits of GSP:

  1. Indian exporters benefit indirectly – through the benefit that accrues to the importer by way of reduced tariff or duty free entry of eligible Indian products
  2. Reduction or removal of import duty on an Indian product makes it more competitive to the importer – other things (e.g. quality) being equal.
  3. This tariff preference helps new exporters to penetrate a market and established exporters to increase their market share and to improve upon the profit margins, in the donor country.

About World Trade Organisation (WTO)

  • Officially commenced on 1 January 1995 under the Marrakesh Agreement, replacing the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), which commenced in 1948
  • An organization that intends to supervise and liberalize international trade
  • HQ – Geneva, Switzerland
  • Official language – English, French, Spanish

Evolution of WTO


Bretton Woods conference wanted to make ITO (International Trade Org.) but USA did not ratify. Thus, GATT was born as a stopgap arrangement


GATT (General Agreement on Trade & Tariffs) established aimed to reduce barriers to international trade


  • Uruguay Round of Talks
  • Service & Intellectual Property rights related topics included in the debate, 1993, everyone agreed on it


  • Marrakesh treaty under Uruguay round of talks at Morocco
  • All nations signed on agreement & WTO was established on Jan 1, 1995
  • India → Founding member of WTO

WTO Structure

Ministerial Conference

  • Supreme Decision Making body
  • 164 members, Latest member → Afghanistan
  • Meets once every two years,
  • Deliberates on trade agreements
  • Appoints Director General

General Council

  • Day to day Decision Making body
  • Meets regularly at Geneva.
  • Implements decision of ministerial conferences
  • Has Representative from each member state.
  • Has two bodies, with separate chairmen
  • Dispute settlement body
  • Trade policy review body

Director General

  • Appointed by ministerial conference
  • Has four years term.
  • Heads Secretariat at Geneva

Source: Indian Express

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GS-III : Economic Issues Terminology
Index of Industrial Production (IIP)

Syllabus subtopic: Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization of resources, growth, development and employment.

Prelims and Mains focus: About the economic slowdown in the Indian economy and its recovery; about IIP, CSO

News: India’s industrial production recovered from three months of contraction to expand by 1.8% in November, signalling an early but weak improvement in the economy.


Manufacturing output had been shrinking for the past three months with a 2.1% contraction in October. It had seen a 0.7% contraction last November.

What contributed to this recovery in IIP?

  • The recovery, which comes against the backdrop of near-flat output growth seen in the same month a year ago, was driven by a 2.7% expansion in manufacturing output, official data from the Central Statistics Office (CSO) showed.

  • The factory output recovery was also aided by expansion in mining, which grew by 1.7% in November, after two months of contraction and no growth in the month before.

  • Electricity generation, however, continued to contract for the fourth month with supply shrinking 5% in November.

  • Production of capital goods—machinery used in factories—contracted by 8.6% in November, though not as sharply as was seen in the previous month, indicating the continued scarcity of new investments in manufacturing. Official data had shown earlier in the week that gross fixed capital formation, a proxy for investments, which rose nearly 10% in FY19, will barely improve by 1% in FY20.

  • Production of consumer durables, such as household appliances, too, contracted 1.5% in November, its sixth straight month of de-growth.

  • Available data suggests the growth of mining output would strengthen in December 2019, while the pace of contraction in electricity generation would narrow, thereby supporting the overall performance of the IIP.

What does this recovery signify for this year’s budget?

  • The improvement in industrial production is likely to reassure the Narendra Modi administration, as it gives shape to its Union budget to be presented on 1 February, that the deceleration in economic growth may finally be ending.

  • The budget is widely expected to include measures to stimulate the economy and create jobs, with finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman holding extensive consultations with economists and industry experts. PM Modi told business leaders this week that the economy has the strength to bounce back.

About Central Statistics Office (CSO)

  • Amid controversies regarding the functioning of India’s official statistical system, the government, last year, decided to merge the Central Statistical Office (CSO) and National Sample Survey Office (NSSO) under the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation (MOSPI) into a single entity.

  • The new merged entity has been named the National Statistical Office (NSO) and will continue to be headed by the secretary of MOSPI.

  • In an order dated 23 May, 2019 MOSPI said the move will streamline and strengthen the current nodal functions of MOSPI and bring in more synergy by integrating its administrative functions within the ministry.

  • The allocations of work of the three director-generals of MOSPI have been revamped post merger. At present, the three DGs are allocated Economic Statistics, Social Statistics and Surveys. Under the new work allocation, the DGs will handle Statistics, National Sample Survey and Coordination, Administration and Policy.

  • The back-series data released in November 2018, which showed that the Indian economy grew at an average 6.67% in the nine years ended 31 March 2014 when the UPA was in power, slower than the 7.35% achieved in the four years ended 31 March 2018, with Narendra Modi as the Prime Minister, created a stir as the data was released by the NITI Aayog instead of the CSO.

  • Later in January, 2019, two members of the National Statistical Commission, including acting chairman P.C. Mohanan and member JV Meenakshi, resigned from their post alleging interference by the government, including refusal to release the employment survey data. A leaked copy of the employment survey later showed unemployment at a 45-year high, which was contested by the government. Experts have also alleged that the GDP series with the current base year of 2011-12 have overestimated national income.

Source: Livemint

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GS-III : Economic Issues Banking
National Strategy for Financial Inclusion (NSFI) , 2019-2024

Syllabus subtopic: Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization of resources, growth, development and employment.

Prelims and Mains focus: About the financial inclusion strategy and its significance; about PMJDY; PCR

News: The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has chalked out an ambitious strategy for financial inclusion till 2024.


Financial inclusion is increasingly being recognised as a key driver of economic growth and poverty alleviation the world over.

Aim and objectives of the strategy

  • It aims to strengthen the ecosystem for various modes of digital financial services in all Tier­II to Tier VI centres to create the necessary infrastructure to move towards a less­cash society by March 2022.

  • One of the objectives of the strategy includes increasing outreach of banking outlets of to provide banking access to every village within a 5­km radius or a hamlet of 500 households in hilly areas by March 2020.

  • The aim was also to see that every adult had access to a financial service provider through a mobile device by March 2024.

  • With the aim of providing basic of financial services, a target has been set that every willing and eligible adult, who has been enrolled under the Prime Minister Jan Dhan Yojana, be enrolled under an insurance scheme and a pension scheme by March 2020.

  • The plan is also to make the Public Credit Registry (PCR) fully operational by March 2022 so that authorised financial entities could leverage the same for assessing credit proposals from all citizens.

About Prime Minister Jan Dhan Yojana

  • The primary aim of this scheme is to provide poor people access to bank accounts.
  • The scheme covers both urban and rural areas of India.
  • All bank accounts will be linked to a debit card which would be issued under the RuPay scheme. Rupay is India’s own unique domestic card network owned by National Payments Corporation of India and has been created as an alternative to Visa and Mastercard.
  • Under the first phase of this scheme, every individual who opens a bank account becomes eligible to receive an accident insurance cover of up-to Rs 1 Lakh for his entire family.
  • Life Insurance coverageis also available under PMJDY. Only one person in the family will be covered and in case of the person having multiple cards/accounts, the benefit will be allowed only under one card e. one person per family will get a single cover of Rs 30,000.
  • The scheme also provides incentives to business and banking correspondents who serve as link for the last mile between savings account holders and the bank by fixing a minimum monthly remuneration of Rs 5000.

About Public Credit Registry

  • Public Credit Registry (PCR), created by the Reserve Bank of India, is a public digital registry to capture and store financial information of borrowers in India, both existing and new borrowers.
  • The credit registry will collate the borrowing history of both individuals and corporate borrowers. Borrowers will have access to their credit information and seek corrections.
  • The PCR is the culmination of recommendations given by the committee headed by Y.M. Deosthalee. The idea behind creating the public registry is to collate the financial information of individual and corporate borrowers under one platform, inclusive of financial delinquencies, pending legal suits, and willful defaulters. The objective was to strengthen the credit culture of the Indian economy.
  • The move is a departure from the existing mechanism where there are multiple credit information repositories with varied data objectives and coverage. The lack of credit information gap will be filled by the unified PCR. The data contained in the system will be made available to stakeholders such as banks and private financial institutions on a need-to-know basis.
  • It was suggested that the PCR would improve India’s ease of doing business parameters at the World Bank.

Source: The Hindu

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GS-III : Miscellaneous
Department of Military Affairs (DMA)

Syllabus subtopic: Various Security forces and agencies and their mandate

Prelims and Mains focus: about the DMA: composition and ambit; about territorial army

News: The Ministry of Defence (MoD) has approved the rules of business for the newly created Department of Military Affairs (DMA), headed by the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), defence sources said on Friday.


  • Two studies on the cadre review of officers and JCOs and ORs were carried out by the Army when Gen. Rawat was its chief.
  • However, they were awaiting necessary approvals from the government for implementation.
  • On December 30, the government notified the DMA creation, with the CDS also as a Secretary in the MoD.

About DMA and its composition

  • The DMA is the fifth department in the MoD — the others being the Department of Defence, the Department of Defence Production, the Department of Defence Research and Development and the Department of Ex-Servicemen Welfare.

  • The DMA, headed by Gen. Bipin Rawat, will have two Joint Secretaries, 13 Deputy Secretaries, 25 Under Secretaries and 22 Section officers.

Ambit of DMA

  • The training policy, most of the training establishments and cadre management of the Services would be under the purview of the DMA.
  • The Services have been brought under the ambit of the DMA, in addition to the Territorial Army and works relating to the three Services and procurement exclusive to the Services, except capital acquisitions.
  • Defence imports and procurements would be under the the Department of Defence headed by the Defence Secretary.
  • Defence diplomacy of the neighbourhood countries would also be under the CDS.
  • Similarly, deputations to the training establishments, such as the National Defence Academy, the Indian Military Academy, the Officers Training Academy and the Defence Services Staff College would also be under the CDS.
  • Cadre review of Junior Commissioned Officers and Other Ranks will be looked after by the CDS.

Mandate of DMA

The DMA’s mandate includes promoting jointness in procurement, training and staffing for the Services; facilitating a restructuring of the military commands for optimal utilisation of resources by bringing about jointness in operations, including through establishment of joint/theatre commands, and promoting the use of indigenous equipment.

Source: The Hindu

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Coringa Wildlife Sanctuary (CWS), Andhra Pradesh

Syllabus subtopic: Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment

Prelims and Mains focus: About the waterbird census in CWS; About Indian skimmer; IUCN

News: The annual bird census will commence in the Coringa Wildlife Sanctuary (CWS) and surrounding wetlands in the Godavari mangrove cover on the east coast from Saturday.

About the census

  • The wildlife management authorities are all set to carry out the two­day census of the avian species, assessing the threats and challenges being faced by the water birds.
  • The census aims at documentation of migratory and resident birds to be able to prepare a better management plan of the complex ecosystem that supports the waterbird species. It will provide a picture of its present state and results of the conservation being done in the wildlife sanctuary and outside.
  • At least 50 personnel — research scholars, volunteers, and bird watchers — will conduct the census. The prime focus will be on the 235.7 sq km area under the CWL and Kumbabhisekham site in the Godavari mangroves that serves as the safe habitat for many bird species.

About the Indian Skimmer

  • Indian Skimmer, a water- bird species, has started visiting the Godavari mangroves for three years. The species can be sighted only in three places in the country, including the Chambal river in Central India.

  • The conservation status of the Indian Skimmer is ‘vulnerable’, according to the Red List of the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN).

About IUCN

  • It is an international organisation working in the field of nature conservation and sustainable use of natural resources
  • Founded in 1948 in Fontainebleau, France.
  • HQ : Gland, Switzerland
  • It is involved in data gathering and analysis, research, field projects, advocacy, lobbying and education.
  • Over the past decades, IUCN has widened its focus beyond conservation ecology and now incorporates issues related to gender equality, poverty alleviation and sustainable business in its projects.
  • It publishes IUCN Red List which assesses the conservation status of species worldwide
  • IUCN has observer and consultative status at the United Nations
  • Both Governments and NGOs are its members.

About IUCN red list of threatened species:

  • The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species is the world’s most comprehensive inventory of the global conservation status of plant and animal species.
  • It uses a set of quantitative criteria to evaluate the extinction risk of thousands of species. These criteria are relevant to most species and all regions of the world. With its strong scientific base, the IUCN Red List is recognized as the most authoritative guide to the status of biological diversity.

The IUCN Red List Categories:

  • 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.

Source: The Hindu

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Syllabus subtopic: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.   Prelims and Mains focus: about the guidelines issued by MHA, significance of data preservation; about the 24/7 network   News

Northeast Gas Grid

Syllabus subtopic: Infrastructure: Energy, Ports, Roads, Airports, Railways etc.   Prelims and Mains focus: about the Northeast gas grid project and its significance; Natural gas and its advantages   News: The Cabinet on Wednesday decided to provide Rs 5,559-crore viability gap

China, Pakistan navies deploy submarines in strategic Arabian Sea

Syllabus subtopic: India and its neighborhood - relations.   Prelims and Mains focus: about the exercise; Gwadar and Chabahar ports; China incursions in India’s neighborhood and its implications   News: Navies of China and Pakistan, holding nine-day exercises in the

What’s next in U.S.­Iran conflict?

Syllabus subtopic: Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India's interests, Indian diaspora.   Prelims and Mains focus: about the escalation in US-Iran tensions and its geopolitical implications   News: Five days after Major General Qassem

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