13 Jul, 2020
50 Min Read
|GS-II||Disabled are entitled to same benefits of SC/ST quota: Supreme Court|
|Reform of Criminal Laws||Governance|
|GS-III||Fugitive Economic Offenders Act, 2018|
|PT Pointer||Training Mobilisation Order (TMO)||International Relations|
|Y Nalla||Human Geography|
|Bon Bibi||Art and Culture|
|The Sundarbans Mangrove Forest|
|All India Tiger Estimation|
Disabled are entitled to same benefits of SC/ST quota: Supreme Court
The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has constituted a national level ‘Committee for the Reform of Criminal Laws’.
What is the committee for?
The criminal law in India comprises -
The idea that the current laws governing crime, investigation and trial require meaningful reform has long been in place. There have been several attempts in recent decades to overhaul the body of criminal law. Given this, the committee's mandate now is to recommend reforms in the criminal laws in a principled, effective, and efficient manner.
The reforms should ensure the safety and security of the individual, the community and the nation. It should prioritise the constitutional values of justice, dignity and the inherent worth of the individual.
How does it work?
The committee has several leading legal academicians on board. It would be gathering opinions online, consulting with experts and collating material for their report to the government. Questionnaires have been posted online on the possible reforms.
The committee has invited experts in the field of criminal law to participate in the exercise through an online consultation mechanism. The consultation exercise would go on for 3 months (starting on 4 July 2020).
What are the concerns?
Reform is best achieved through a cautious and inclusive approach. If at all criminal law is to be reformed, there should be a genuine attempt to reach a wide consensus.
The priorities should be on ways to speed up trials, protect witnesses, address the travails of victims, improve investigative mechanisms and, most importantly, eliminate torture.
Fugitive Economic Offenders Act, 2018
Paper-3- Economics (Mains)
Recently, assets worth Rs. 329.66 crore of the Punjab National Bank (PNB) fraud mastermind Nirav Modi have been confiscated under Section 12(2) and (8) of the Fugitive Economic Offenders Act, 2018.
Fugitive Economic Offenders Act, 2018: It seeks to confiscate properties of economic offenders who have left the country to avoid facing criminal prosecution or refuse to return to the country to face prosecution.
Fugitive economic offender: A person against whom an arrest warrant has been issued for committing an offence listed in the Act and the value of the offence is at least Rs. 100 crore.
Some of the offences listed in the act are:
Declaration of a Fugitive Economic Offender:
Bar on Filing or Defending Civil Claims:
The authorities under the PMLA, 2002 will exercise powers given to them under the Fugitive Economic Offenders Act. These powers will be similar to those of a civil court, including the search of persons in possession of records or proceeds of crime, the search of premises on the belief that a person is an FEO and seizure of documents.
Paper-3 Environment and Biodiversity (PT-MAINS)
January 30th2019 the Indian Sundarban was accorded the status of ‘Wetland of International Importance’ under the Ramsar Convention. It comprises hundreds of islands and a network of rivers, tributaries and creeks in the delta of the Ganga and the Brahmaputra at the mouth of the Bay of Bengal in India and Bangladesh.
Located on the southwestern part of the delta, the Indian Sundarban constitutes over 60% of the country’s total mangrove forest area. It is the 27th Ramsar Site in India, and with an area of 4,23,000 hectares is now the largest protected wetland in the country.
Richness of Sundarbans (PT SHOTS)
Importance of Ramsar recognition
While the Indian Sundarban is a biodiverse preserve, over four million people live on its northern and northwestern periphery, putting pressure on the ecosystem. Concerns have been raised about natural ecosystems being changed for cultivation of shrimp, crab, molluscs and fish.
The Ramsar Information Sheet lists fishing and harvesting of aquatic resources as a “high impact” actual threat to the wetland. The other threats are from dredging, oil and gas drilling, logging and wood harvesting, hunting and collecting terrestrial animals. Salinity has been categorised as a medium and tourism as a low impact actual threat in the region. Along with anthropogenic pressures, it is also vulnerable to climate change and requires better management and conservation practices.
In News recently
Discovery India and World Wide Fund (WWF) India have partnered with the Government of West Bengal and local communities in the Sundarban to help save the world’s only mangrove tiger habitat.
They are working with a vision to create climate-smart villages in the Sundarbans.
|Climate Smart Villages are sites where farmers, researchers, local government and the private sector come together to understand which climate smart agriculture practices are best suited for a particular location.|
The project will use technology to solve several of the issues faced in the region. This includes building datasets on impacts of climate change on estuarine ecosystem.
Through this project, in partnership with the West Bengal Forest Directorate and Indian Institute of Science Education and Research(IISER) Kolkata, two Sundarbans ecological observatories will be set up, each featuring data loggers, monitoring buoys and an onsite laboratory.
Project CAT (Conserving Acres for Tigers)
Ramsar Convention (PT Shot)
Bon Bibi is a deity of the Sunder ban forest, west Bengal. The followers of Bon Bibi are fishermen, crab-collectors and honey-gatherers who live in the mangroves with wild animals such as tigers and crocodiles to earn a livelihood. They believe that only Bon Bibi protects them when they enter the forest and survive in tiger-dominated areas.
People express their belief in Bon Bibi through Bon Bibir Palagaan, it is a centuries-old folk theatre and dramatic storytelling form that is enacted throughout the island. Traditionally, the performances are held near Bon Bibi temples or villages bordering the forests.
All India Tiger Estimation 2018 has entered the Guinness World Record for being the world’s largest camera trap wildlife survey. The fourth iteration of the survey, conducted in 2018-19 was the most comprehensive to date, in terms of both resources and data amassed.
According to the report of 2018, India now has an estimated 2967 tigers out of which 2461 individual tigers have been photo captured, about 83 % of the tiger population. With this number, India is home to nearly 75% of the global tiger population.
India has already fulfilled its resolve of doubling tiger numbers, made at St. Petersburg in 2010, much before the target year of 2022.
The All India Tiger Estimation is done every four years once, It is
Centre for Global Health Research (CGHR), Canada has recently released a study titled ‘Snakebite Mortality in India: A Nationally Representative Mortality Survey’.
The study found that India recorded 1.2 million snakebite deaths in the 20-year period from 2000 to 2019 with an average of 58,000 deaths caused by snakebite annually. Around 70% of these deaths occurred in low-altitude, rural areas of eight States namely Uttar Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha, Telangana, Rajasthan and Gujarat.
Half of all the snakebite deaths occurred during the monsoon period from June to September. The World Health Organization (WHO) recognizes snakebite as a top-priority neglected tropical disease. Indian anti-venoms neutralize venom from only the following snakes such as
Whereas there are 12 other snake species causing fatal bites in the country.
Recently, a team of wildlife researchers has rediscovered ‘Ypthima watsoni’ butterfly. The species was last seen in the year 1958 in Manipur.
The rediscovery was after 61 years near a village called Phuldungsei in Jampui Hills under the North Tripura district. It is a species of Satyrinae butterfly and commonly known as ‘Looped three-ring’. It was distributed in Assam, Myanmar and Thailand.
Recently, researchers have identified a new species of marine invertebrate i.e. 'Tetrastemma Freyae', found along the coast of Tamil Nadu. It feeds on dead and decaying material and helps to recycle nutrients in coastal and deep water sediments. It is associated with sediments and is predatory as it has a role in maintaining the food chain.
It uses its proboscis, similar to a butterfly which does to collect nectar. It has neurotoxins in its proboscis which could lead to the development of drugs.
Recently, researchers have found Ophiocordyceps nutans (fungi) for the first time in central India, at the Kanger Valley National Park in Bastar, Chhattisgarh. Earlier, these have been reported in India only from the Western Ghats.
Ophiocordyceps nutans host on a specific insect, Halyomorpha halys. Halyomorpha halys is commonly known as the stink bug and is a pest to forest trees and agricultural crops. The stink bug is known to damage the flower and fruits of soybean, green beans, apple, pear, etc.
Studies have shown that these fungi can be used as a biological pest control agent against stink bugs. Exploring these fungi as a pesticide will help reduce the harmful effect of chemicals in fields.
In the Western Ghats, the local people use these fungi as an immune stimulator. Scientists claim that it contains a component called ‘cordycepin’ which has anti-cancer properties.
Kanger Valley National Park
Kanger Valley got the status of a national park in 1982. It derives its name from the Kanger River, one of the very few perennial rivers of Bastar. The park is a typical mixed humid deciduous type of forest, in which the Sal, Saugaun, teak and bamboo trees are available in abundance. The most popular species in this area is the state bird of Chattisgarh, Bastar Hill Myna which is capable of emulating human voices. The park is known for the presence of underground limestone caves.
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