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11 June, 2020

23 Min Read

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Paper Topics Subject
GS-III Tiger Census
A convergence of crises
PT Pointer National Adaptation fund for climate change
Digital Gender Atlas Economic Issues
Rashtriya Vayoshri Yojana Social issues
Pradhan Mantri VayaVandhanaYojana Social issues
Vadnagar Art and Culture
Udhyagiri Caves Art and Culture
Centre for Science and Environment (CSE)
GS-III :
Tiger Census

Tiger Census

India’s tiger census has been commissioned by the union environment ministry’s National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA). The census will see coordination with Bhutan, Nepal and Bangladesh in estimating the territorial spread of the animal in the subcontinent.

The Wildlife Institute of India, a Union Environment Ministry-funded body, has been tasked with coordinating the tiger estimation exercise. Along with tigers, the survey also collects information on the prey population of deer and other animals. The techniques used to estimate tiger population are Pugmark Technique, camera trapping and DNA finger-printing and eStripes.

2018 report

The Prime Minister of India has released the results of the fourth cycle of All India Tiger Estimation - 2018 on the occasion of Global Tiger Day-2019.

  • According to results of the Tiger census, the total count of tigers has risen to 2,967 from 2,226 in 2014 — an increase of 741 individuals (aged more than one year), or 33%, in four years.
  • India has achieved the target of doubling the tiger count four years ahead of the deadline of 2022.
  • This is by far the biggest increase in Tiger count in terms of both numbers and percentage (since the four-yearly census using camera traps and the capture-mark-recapture method began in 2006).

Need for Tiger Conservation    

  • Tigers are at the top of the food chain and are sometimes referred to as “umbrella species" that is their conservation also conserve many other species in the same area.
  • The Tiger estimation exercise that includes habitat assessment and prey estimation reflects the success or failure of Tiger conservation efforts.
  • More than 80% of the world’s wild tigers are in India, and it’s crucial to keep track of their numbers.

Tigers in India

  • India accounts for majority of the 3,500-odd tigers that are scattered among Bangladesh, Bhutan, Cambodia, China, Indonesia, Laos PDR, Malaysia, Myanmar, Nepal, Russian Federation, Thailand and Vietnam.
  • India’s five tiger landscapes are: Shivalik Hills and Gangetic Plains, Central Indian Landscape and Eastern Ghats, Western Ghats, North-East Hills and Brahmaputra Plains, and the Sundarbans.

Key Findings 

  • Top Performers: Madhya Pradesh saw the highest number of tigers (526) followed by Karnataka (524) and Uttarakhand (442).
    • Increase in Tiger population: Madhya Pradesh (71%) > Maharashtra (64%) > Karnataka (29%).
  • Worst Performers: Chhattisgarh and Mizoram saw a decline in tiger population.
    • Chhattisgarh is the only state out of the 20 tiger-bearing states where the 2018- census counted 19 tigers, significantly fewer than the 46 of 2014.
    • Decline in Tiger numbers in Chhattisgarh can be attributed to the law and order problem as large parts of the state are hit by the Maoist insurgency.
    • Greater conservation efforts are needed in the “critically vulnerable” Northeast hills and Odisha.
  • Tiger Sanctuaries: An evaluation of India’s 50 tiger sanctuaries was also released along with the 4th National Tiger Estimation (Tiger census).
    • Madhya Pradesh's Pench Sanctuary and Kerala’s Periyar sanctuary emerged as the best-managed tiger reserves in the country.
    • Sathyamangalam Tiger Reserve in Tamil Nadu registered the “maximum improvement” since 2014.
    • The Dampa and Rajaji reserves, in Mizoram and Uttarakhand respectively are at the bottom of the list in terms of Tiger count.
    • No tiger has been found in the Buxa (West Bengal), Palamau (Jharkhand) and Dampa (Mizoram) reserves.

Global Tiger Day

  • Global Tiger Day was observed for the first time in 2010 at the St. Petersburg Tiger Summit in Russia when all 13 tiger range countries came together for the first time with the commitment of doubling the number of wild tigers by 2022.
  • It is celebrated annually on July 29th.
  • Global Tiger Recovery Plan which outlines how each country can contribute to the ambitious goal, known as TX2

Additional News

During the 4th cycle, in sync with Government of India’s “Digital India” initiative, data was collected using an Android based application- M-STrIPES ( Monitoring system for Tigers’ Intensive Protection and Ecological Status) and analyzed on the applications’ desktop module.

The, application greatly eased out analysis of a large quantum of data that was collected over nearly 15 months involving survey of 381,400 sq.km. of forested habitats, 522,996 km of walk by State Forest officials, laying of 317,958 habitat plots, totaling a human investment of 5, 93,882 man days.

Besides cameras were placed in 26760 locations which gave a total of 35 million images of wildlife including 76523 images of tigers. Segregation of these images was possible in a short time because of use of artificial intelligence software.

The intensity with which the exercise was conducted resulted in 83 % of the tiger population being captured wherein 2461 individual tiger photographs were obtained and only 17 % of the tiger population was estimated using robust spatially explicit capture recapture statistical models.

The Prime Minister also released report of the 4th cycle of the Management Effectiveness Evaluation of Tiger Reserves (MEETR) with Pench Tiger Reserve, Madhya Pradesh scoring the highest and Sathyamangalam Tiger Reserve, Tamil Nadu showing the highest increment in management since the last cycle for which the latter was awarded. 42% of the tiger reserves fell in the Very Good management category, 34% in the Good category, 24% in the Fair category while no tiger reserve was rated Poor.

Projecting tiger reserve as engines of growth was highlighted in the report released on Economic Valuation of Tiger Reserves which was jointly published by the NTCA and the Indian Institute of Forest Management Bhopal. The Prime Minister also released trailer of the documentary titled “Counting Tigers” to be aired worldwide on August 7.

In conclusion, the Prime Minister called for even greater efforts, towards Tiger Conservation.

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GS-III :
A convergence of crises

A convergence of crises

Part of: GS-III- Climate change (PT-MAINS-PERSONALITY TEST)

Policy ideas should marry employment and industrial priorities with green outcomes

There is a growing debate about what the scarcity and privation wrought by the COVID-19 crisis will mean for our response to climate change. The very language used to describe the effects of climate change is now being deployed, correctly, to shape our understanding of a disease-ravaged near future: poverty, the failure of markets, uncertainty, and an overwhelmed government. In less than a month, we have been given a glimpse of how the climate crisis can yank at the seams of a state already undone.

  • We saw Cyclone Amphan transform from a tropical storm to one of the largest cyclones South Asia has ever seen in a matter of hours, aided by warmer than usual waters in the Bay of Bengal.
  • We also saw Cyclone Nisarga barrel down on Maharashtra, the second pre-monsoon cyclone to hit the west coast in 127 years.
  • Governments would have been hard-pressed to deal with such extremes even in the best of times.

Debate

  • There is a mounting debate about what the scarcity and privation wrought by the COVID-19 crisis will mean for our long-term response to climate change. There are two strands of opinion.
  • The optimistic one sees this as a moment to remake our states and societies in a measured response. This includes directing economic packages to areas that increase our resilience to natural disasters and technologies that reduce our emissions.
  • On the personal front, this could be an opportunity to reinforce sustainable behaviour — fewer morning commutes and less air travel, for example.
  • The other strand is more dire, arguing that this will amount to a lost decade or two as our attention is focused on keeping the teetering ship of economy afloat.
  • In this reading, present concerns will trump preparations for an uncertain future. Between these two strands there is consensus that we are at a critical juncture.
  • What we do now will determine the flow of events decades into the future.

 

Limited funds

  • It has been two months since India’s lockdown, and we know enough to have a rational conversation about our climate future.
  • Perhaps the most important news relates to public and private debt. The government has raised its borrowing limit, states will need to borrow more to tide over shortfalls and the private sector has seen returns from investments dry out.
  • All three are already heavily indebted, meaning the cost of capital for future borrowing will only grow. That leaves limited fiscal room to finance the building blocks of resilience: everything from grain to health, employment schemes, irrigation, efficient water systems and river management infrastructure.
  • It could mean that efforts to reduce our energy emissions are left without patient pools of long-term capital.
  • The knowledge infrastructure needed to react to climate change might be left similarly underdeveloped. Climate change distinguishes itself from other policy fields in the wide range of analytical tasks it demands, from predicting weather trends to understanding how specific seed varieties react to droughts.
  • Thinking about climate change requires a lot of people exploring varied questions simultaneously. That involves funding an ecosystem of thinkers from diverse disciplines.
  • Only the state can provide for multi-year studies, institutional support and the like. These are inherently long-term investments and only really start paying off over decades, which means hamstrung investment in coming years will leave a knowledge vacuum in the future.
  • The final point relates to something more ephemeral: the psychology of government. The Indian government, reacting to a million crises erupting across the economy, will be hard-pressed to plan for a hazy but sinister future.
  • Promises of a greener, less turbulent future will falter against the turbulence of today; this instinct will be shared by governments across the world. This might well numb the effects of the global climate negotiation architecture.

Dealing with twin challenges

Crafting a response that carefully balances present and future will take a great deal of collective effort. Foremost, it will require policy ideas that deliberately marry employment and industrial priorities with green outcomes. Ideas such as pushing to manufacture solar equipment or electric vehicles in India should, at some point, coalesce into something that looks like a climate plan for the country. This task will fall to universities, NGOs, think tanks and individuals working together in disciplined debate. This process is our only hope for being creative about the twin challenges battering the country. We should be careful not to drag ourselves through one crisis only to emerge into another longer, less predictable, and unstoppable one.

Read this also: https://www.aspireias.com/current-affairs-news-analysis-editorials/Flattening-the-climate-curve

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GS-III :
National Adaptation fund for climate change

National Adaptation fund for climate change

The National Adaptation Fund for Climate Change (NAFCC) is a Central Sector Scheme setup in 2015-16. The overall aim of NAFCC is to support concrete adaptation activities which mitigate the adverse effects of climate change.

National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) is the National Implementing Entity (NIE). The Scheme has been designed to fulfill objectives of National Action Plan on Climate Change (NAPCC) and operationalize State Action Plans on Climate Change (SAPCC).

The activities under this scheme are implemented in a project mode. The projects related to adaptation in sectors such as agriculture, animal husbandry, water, forestry, tourism etc. are eligible for funding under NAFCC.

Objectives

  • Funding concrete adaptation projects/programmes aligned with the relevant Missions under National Action Plan on Climate Change (NAPCC) and the State Action on Climate Change (SAPCCs) in agriculture, horticulture, agro-forestry, environment, allied activities, water, forestry, urban, coastal and low-lying system, disaster management, human health, marine system, tourism, habitat sector and other rural livelihood sectors to address climate change related issues.
  • Preparing and updating climate scenario, assessing vulnerability and climate impact assessment
  • Capacity building of various stakeholders on climate change adaptation and project cycle management and developing knowledge network
  • Mainstreaming the approaches/ learnings from project/programme implementation through knowledge Management

NAFCC Outcome Framework

Fund level outcome parameters will consist of the following :

  • Reduced key risks and adverse impacts of climate change in water and agriculture sectors
  • Maximised multi-sectoral, cross-sectoral benefits/co-benefits to meet the challenges of water and food security
  • Human development, poverty alleviation, livelihood security an enhanced awareness of community
  • Strengthened institutional & individual capacity to reduce risks associated with climate-induced socioeconomic and environmental losses
  • Strengthened awareness and owners hip of adaptation and climate risk reduction processes at local level vi. Increased adaptive capacity within relevant development and natural resource sectors
  • Increased ecosystem resilience in response to climate change and variability-induced s tress
  • Diversified and strengthened livelihoods and sources of income for vulnerable people in targeted areas
  • Improved policies and regulations that promote and enforce resilience measure

 

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GS-III : Economic Issues
Digital Gender Atlas

Digital Gender Atlas

Digital Gender Atlas has been developed to identify the low performing geographic pockets for girls, on specific gender related education indicators. The Pockets are particularly from marginalized groups such as scheduled castes, scheduled tribes and Muslim minorities.

The Atlas is placed on the MHRD website and available and ready to use by States/Districts/Blocks education administrators.

The Atlas is designed around the two broad areas of performance of girls' education and vulnerabilities visualized in the following five sections,

  • Composite gender ranking
  • Special Focus Districts
  • Trend Analysis of Gender Indicators
  • Children with Disabilities
  • Vulnerabilities based on educational indicators
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GS-I : Social issues
Rashtriya Vayoshri Yojana

Rashtriya Vayoshri Yojana

The Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment has launched the ‘RashtriyaVayoshri Yojana (RVY)'. Its objective is to provide senior citizens belonging to BPL category, who suffer from age related disabilities, with such physical aids and assisted living devices which can restore near normalcy in their bodily functions. The Scheme is entirely funded from the Senior Citizens’ Welfare Fund (SCWF). Under the Scheme, assisted living devices such as walking sticks, elbow crutches, walkers/ crutches, tripods/ quadpods, hearing aids, wheelchairs, artificial dentures, spectacles are distributed to the beneficiary senior citizen.

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GS-I : Social issues
Pradhan Mantri VayaVandhanaYojana

Pradhan Mantri VayaVandhanaYojana

This scheme deals with senior citizen insurance scheme which promises assured annual return of 8% for 10 years. The insurance is sold by Life Insurance of India for the citizens. The Minimum age of entry is 60 years of age with no maximum limit.

Recent news

The Union Cabinet has extended Pradhan Mantri Vaya Vandana Yojana (PMVVY) for a period of three years. This social security scheme for senior citizens will now be valid till March 2023.

  • Earlier, the scheme was open till 31st March, 2020.
  • Initially an assured rate of return of 7.40% per annum for the year 2020-21 per annum will be provided and thereafter to be reset every year in line with the Senior Citizen Savings Scheme (SCSS).
  • The Finance Minister will approve an annual reset rate of return at the beginning of every financial year.

Imp points

  • The Pradhan Mantri Vaya Vandana Yojana was launched in 2017 by the Ministry of Finance to offer a guaranteed payout of pension to senior citizens every month.
  • The Scheme can be purchased offline as well as online through the Life Insurance Corporation (LIC) which has been given the sole privilege to operate this Scheme.
  • Eligibility:
    • Minimum Entry Age: 60 years (completed)
    • Maximum Entry Age: No limit
  • Components:
    • One can invest a maximum amount of Rs. 15 lakh under PMVVY scheme. The tenure of policy is set at 10 years.
    • Senior citizens can draw a minimum pension of Rs. 1,000 per month depending on the amount invested in the scheme. The maximum pension amount is limited at Rs. 10,000 per month.
    • Pension will be payable as per the frequency of monthly, quarterly, half-yearly, yearly as chosen by the pensioner at the time of purchase.
    • Aadhar has been made mandatory to avail the benefit of the scheme.
  • Role of the Government:
    • The Government’s financial liability is limited to the extent of the difference between the market return generated by LIC and the assured rate of return (7.4% for 2020-21).
    • The pension is based on the assured rate of return.
    • This protects elderly persons aged 60 years and above against a future fall in their interest income due to uncertain market conditions.
  • Other Benefits:
    • Loan upto 75% of Purchase Price shall be allowed after 3 policy years.
    • The scheme is exempted from Goods & Services Tax (GST).
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GS-I : Art and Culture
Vadnagar

Vadnagar

Gujarat and the Centre are jointly developing the historical and ancient town of Vadnagar as a major tourist hub. The projects cover Vadnagar’s famous Kirti Toran, Sharmishtha lake, Hatkeshwar Temple and archaeological sites.

The town full is of sites that are related to Hinduism and Buddhism. The famous Chinese traveler Hiuen Tsang has visited the place around AD 640 and referred to it as Anandpur. It is also the birth place of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

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GS-I : Art and Culture
Udhyagiri Caves

Udhyagiri Caves

The Udayagiri caves, in Vidisha, Madhya Pradesh, contain some of the oldest Hindu temples and iconography, related to Vaishnavism, Shaivism and Shaktism. They were built during the Gupta period (350-550 CE). Though it is present north of Tropic of Cancer, it is believed that historically, on the day of summer solstice, the sun was directly overhead in this place, making Udhyagiri (Mount of sunrise) a place of worship.

It also houses some important Gupta age inscriptions. Iconic Varaha Scultpure rescuing the earth symbolically represented by Bhudevi clinging to the boar's tusk as described in Hindu mythology is a salient feature of the place.

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GS-III :
Centre for Science and Environment (CSE)

Centre for Science and Environment (CSE)

The Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) is a public interest research and advocacy organization based in New Delhi. The Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) has been ranked the top environment policy think tanks in India and 16th at the global level. The rank was given by The Think Tanks and Civil Societies Program (TTCSP) of the Lauder Institute at the University of Pennsylvania. CSE publishes the fortnightly Magazine ‘Down to Earth’.

The CSE’s efforts are built around five broad programs

  • Communication for Awareness
  • Research and Advocacy
  • Education and Training
  • Knowledge portal
  • Pollution monitoring
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