20 January, 2020

23 Min Read

Sexual Harassment at Workplace

Syllabus subtopic:

  • Social empowerment.
  • Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.

Prelims and Mains focus: about the GoM for strengthening legal framework to prevent sexual harassment at workplace; about the 2013 Act and its shortcomings; about NCRB

News: The Group of Ministers (GoM) headed by the Home Minister, which was constituted to strengthen the legal framework to prevent sexual harassment at the workplace, has finalised its recommendations.

Members of the GoM

The members of the GoM (including Home Minister) are Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, Human Resource and Development Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal and Women and Child Development Minister Smriti Irani.


The GoM was constituted first in October 2018 in the aftermath of the #MeToo movement after many women shared their ordeal on social media. It was reconstituted in July 2019 under the Home Minister.

Mandate of GoM

  • The recommendations of GoM, which include addition of new provisions to the Indian Penal Code, will be put up for comments from the public.

  • The GoM also examined the report of the Justice J.S. Verma Committee that was constituted in the wake of the Nirbhaya gang-rape and murder in 2012. The Verma committee had recommended an employment tribunal, instead of an ICC, as dealing with such complaints in-house could discourage women from coming out.

Changes likely to be made in Indian Penal Code (IPC)

  • Changes to the existing laws on sexual harassment at the workplace would be incorporated when the overhaul of the IPC was complete. The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) is working on another project to reboot the IPC, introduced by the British in 1860.

  • Several retired judges, legal luminaries and State governments are being consulted by the Bureau of Police Research and Development (BPR&D) to amend various sections of the IPC and the Code of Criminal Procedure (Cr. PC).

  • When changes are made to the IPC, the sections on crime against women will also be amended. The laws need to change with time, and sexual harassment of women at the workplace will be addressed through the IPC amendments also.

The Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013

  • The Women and Child Development Ministry had steered the Sexual Harassment of Women and Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act in 2013, which was applicable to government offices, the private sector, NGOs and the unorganised sector.

  • The proposed amendments (by GoM) would be largely based on the Vishaka Guidelines (Vishaka and others v State of Rajasthan case in 1997) laid down by the Supreme Court in 1997, on which the 2013 Act was based. It made the employer responsible to prevent or deter acts of sexual harassment at the workplace.

Shortcomings in the 2013 Act

  • The 2013 Act had shortcomings like giving the powers of a civil court to the internal complaints committee (ICC) without specifying if the members need to have a legal background.
  • It only imposed a fine of Rs.50,000 on employers for non-compliance. The Act said the employer shall provide assistance to the woman if she chooses to file a complaint under the IPC “against the perpetrator after the conclusion of the enquiry”.

The MHA in December 2018 had written to all States to ensure that the ICC under the 2013 Act was constituted and notified to the police departments.

NCRB report on sexual harassment incidents at work place

As per National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) the number of sexual harassment incidents at “work or office premises” registered under Section 509 IPC (words, gesture or act to insult the modesty of a woman) were 479 and 401 in the years 2017 and 2018 respectively. Among the cities, the highest number of such cases were registered in Delhi (28), Bengaluru (20), Pune (12) and Mumbai (12) in 2018.

The total number of sexual harassment incidents in 2018 including that in public places, shelter homes and others was 20,962.

Source: The Hindu

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Libya summit

Syllabus subtopic: Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India's interests, Indian diaspora.

Prelims and Mains focus: about the Libya summit and its goal; about the Libya crisis and its consequences on regional stability

News: World leaders made a fresh push for peace in Libya at a summit in Berlin on Sunday, in a desperate bid to stop the conflict-wracked nation from turning into a “second Syria”.

About the summit and its goal

  • The Presidents of Russia, Turkey and France joined other global chiefs at the talks hosted by Chancellor Angela Merkel and held under the auspices of the United Nations.

  • The summit’s main goal is to get foreign powers wielding influence in the region to stop interfering in the war — be it through weapons, troops or financing.

About the warring factions in Libya

  • Haftar in Leaders of both warring factions — strongman Khalifa Haftar and the head of Tripoli’s UN-recognised government Fayez al-Sarraj — were also in Berlin for the first such gathering since 2018.

  • But pro-Haftar forces upped the ante ahead of the talks by blocking oil exports at Libya’s key ports, crippling the country’s main income source in protest at Turkey’s decision to send troops to shore up Mr. Sarraj’s Tripoli-based Government of National Accord (GNA).

  • Ahead of the talks, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan lashed out at Mr. Haftar, saying he needed to drop his “hostile attitude” if Libya is to have any chance at winning peace.

  • The flaring oil crisis underlined the devastating impact of foreign influence in the conflict, in which Mr. Sarraj’s GNA is backed by Turkey and Qatar while Mr. Haftar has the support of Russia, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates.

Has Libya become the second Syria?

  • Libya has been torn by fighting between rival armed factions since a 2011 NATO-backed uprising killed dictator Moamer Kadhafi.

  • Most recently, Mr. Sarraj’s troops in Tripoli have been under attack since April from Haftar’s forces.

  • Clashes killed more than 280 civilians and 2,000 fighters and displaced tens of thousands, until a fragile ceasefire backed by both Ankara and Moscow was put in place on January 12.

  • At follow-up talks in Moscow, Sarraj agreed to a permanent truce but Haftar walked away without signing the deal.

  • Although Mr. Sarraj’s government is recognised by the UN, powerful players have broken away to stand behind Haftar -- turning a domestic conflict into what some have described as a proxy war in which international powers jostle to secure their own interests.

  • Alarm grew after Erdogan ordered troops to Libya early January to bolster Mr. Sarraj, while Russia has been accused of sending in mercenaries to help Haftar as Moscow seeks to extend its influence in the region.

Why is Turkey so concerned?

  • Mr. Erdogan has repeatedly urged Europe to stand united behind Sarraj’s government, warning that Tripoli’s fall could allow jihadist groups like the Islamic State or Al-Qaeda to regroup.

  • He has also cautioned that further unrest could prompt a new wave of migrants to head for Europe.

  • For Turkey, a fall of Sarraj’s GNA could jeopardise a maritime boundary agreement the parties signed. It gives Ankara extensive rights over the eastern Mediterranean where the recent discovery of undersea gas reserves has triggered a scramble by littoral states.

Source: The Hindu

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Drone census

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 Drone census and its significance; India’s drone policy; Digital Sky Platform

News: India’s first drone census has seen over 2,500 Ownership Acknowledgment Numbers (OANs) being issued by the Ministry of Civil Aviation (MoCA) in the last five days.

Aim of the census

The exercise will give the government a picture of who owns what kind of drone in which part of the country and will help in making policy decisions that should ideally become the base for understanding the scale of operations.

Rules for disclosure

  • The Ministry issued a notice providing a one-time opportunity for voluntary disclosure of all drones and operators starting from January 14.

  • While the DGCA issued the Civil Aviation Requirements (CAR), Section 3 - Air Transport Series X, Part I, Issue I, dated August 27, 2018 which regulates use of drones and provides the process for obtaining Unique Identification Number, Unmanned Aircraft Operator Permit (UAOP) and other operational requirements, there are drones that do not comply with the CAR.

  • Along with registrations, officials said a larger number of queries and suggestions had landed at the drone cell. “While no proof of purchase is being sought, all registrations after February 1 will have to be accompanied by an invoice.”

Deadline issued

  • As the census led to confusion and myths making the rounds, the Drone Federation of India — a non-government, not-for-profit, industry-led body working in the unmanned aviation space — issued a fresh set of FAQs on Sunday.

  • There was a myth that enlisting of a drone would lead to its confiscation. In reality, if a drone is not enlisted by 5 p.m. on January 31, then it will most definitely be confiscated. Plus there would be other consequences as per law.

  • After January 31, only authorised retailers will be allowed to sell them after uploading buyers’ Know your Customer (KYC) and sale invoice, similar to sale of mobile phones and cars.

Source: The Hindu

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Supreme Court on PF benefits

Syllabus subtopic:

  • Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources, issues relating to poverty and hunger.
  • Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.

Prelims and Mains focus: about the SC judgement and its significance; about EPF Act, EPFO

News: The benefits of the provident fund should be extended to contractual employees, the Supreme Court has held in a recent judgment.

What was the case about?

  • The judgment came on the basis of a petition filed by M/s Pawan Hans Limited, a government company which provides helicopter support services to the oil sector for its offshore exploration operations, services in remote and hilly areas, and charter services for the promotion of tourism.

  • The company had filed the petition against its employees’ union, the Aviation Karmachari Sanghatana, which sought uniformity in service conditions among employees.

  • Of a total workforce of 840 employees, the company had engaged 570 employees on regular basis, while 270 employees were engaged on “contractual” basis.

  • The company implemented the PF Trust Regulations only with respect to the regular employees, even though the term “employee” had been defined to include “any person” employed “directly or indirectly” under the PF Trust Regulations or the EPF Act.

  • The contractual employees have been seeking parity with the regular employees, who are covered under the Pawan Hans Employees Provident Fund Trust Regulations.

What did the SC judges say?

A Bench of Justices U.U. Lalit and Indu Malhotra held that employees who draw wages or salaries directly or indirectly from a company are entitled to provident fund benefits under the Employees Provident Fund (EPF) Act.

What is EPF scheme?

  • EPF is the main scheme under the Employees’ Provident Funds and Miscellaneous Provisions Act, 1952 . The scheme is managed under the aegis of Employees' Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO).

  • It covers every establishment in which 20 or more persons are employed and certain organisations are covered, subject to certain conditions and exemptions even if they employ less than 20 persons each.

  • Under EPF scheme, an employee has to pay a certain contribution towards the scheme and and an equal contribution is paid by the employer. The employee gets a lump sum amount including self and employer’s contribution with interest on both, on retirement.

  • As per the rules, in EPF, employee whose ‘pay’ is more than Rs. 15,000 per month at the time of joining, is not eligible and is called non-eligible employee. Employees drawing less than Rs 15000 per month have to mandatorily become members of the EPF. However, an employee who is drawing ‘pay’ above prescribed limit (at present Rs 15,000) can become a member with permission of Assistant PF Commissioner, if he and his employer agree.

Employees Provident Funds Organisation (EPFO):

  • EPFO is one of the World’s largest Social Security Organisations in terms of clientele and the volume of financial transactions undertaken. At present it maintains 17.14 crore accounts (Annual Report 2015-16) pertaining to its members.

  • The Employees’ Provident Fund came into existence with the promulgation of the Employees’ Provident Funds Ordinance on the 15th November, 1951. It was replaced by the Employees’ Provident Funds Act, 1952. The Employees’ Provident Funds Bill was introduced in the Parliament 1952 as a Bill to provide for the institution of provident funds for employees in factories and other establishments. The Act is now referred as the Employees’ Provident Funds & Miscellaneous Provisions Act, 1952 which extends to the whole of India except Jammu and Kashmir. The Act and Schemes framed there under are administered by a tri-partite Board known as the Central Board of Trustees, Employees’ Provident Fund, consisting of representatives of Government (Both Central and State), Employers, and Employees.

  • The Central Board of Trustees administers a contributory provident fund, pension scheme and an insurance scheme for the workforce engaged in the organized sector in India. The Board is assisted by the Employees’ PF Organization (EPFO), consisting of offices at 135 locations across the country. The Organization has a well equipped training set up where officers and employees of the Organization as well as Representatives of the Employers and Employees attend sessions for trainings and seminars. The EPFO is under the administrative control of Ministry of Labour and Employment, Government of India.

  • The Board operates three schemes – EPF Scheme 1952, Pension Scheme 1995 (EPS) and Insurance Scheme 1976 (EDLI).

Source: The Hindu

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50th Meeting of World Economic Forum

Syllabus subtopic: Important International institutions, agencies and fora, their structure, mandate.

Prelims and Mains focus: about the WEF annual summit: its aim and initiatives likely to be taken

News: As the rich and powerful from across the globe assemble this week in the Swiss ski resort town of Davos to discuss a 'cohesive and sustainable world', over 100 CEOs as also some union ministers and chief ministers from India would also be present.

Aim of the meeting

The WEF has said the 2020 meeting aims to give a concrete meaning to "stakeholder capitalism", assist governments and international institutions in tracking progress towards the Paris Agreement and the Sustainable Development Goals, and facilitate discussions on technology and trade governance.

About the meeting

  • The World Economic Forum Annual Meeting 2020, taking place on January 20-24, will focus on establishing stakeholder capitalism as a way of addressing the world’s greatest challenges, from societal divisions created by income inequality and political polarization to the climate crisis we face today.

  • Underpinning the meeting will be the Davos Manifesto 2020, a document that builds on the original Davos Manifesto of 1973, which set out for the first time the stakeholder concept that businesses should serve the interests of all society rather than simply their shareholders'.

  • The Davos Manifesto 2020 provides a vision for stakeholder capitalism that touches on a range of important issues of our time, including fair taxation, zero tolerance for corruption, executive pay and respect for human rights.

  • Business has now to fully embrace stakeholder capitalism, which means not only maximizing profits, but use their capabilities and resources in cooperation with governments and civil society to address the key issues of this decade. They have to actively contribute to a more cohesive and sustainable world.

  • Adding a new dimension this year is the Arts and Culture Festival. Running alongside the Annual Meeting, the Festival will feature a number of sessions and immersive art installations, including those featuring the participation of the winners of the 26th Annual Crystal Awards and Cultural Leaders.

Initiatives to be taken up

  • This year’s programme focuses on achieving maximum impact on the Forum’s platform for public-private cooperation across six core areas of activity: Ecology, Economy, Society, Industry, Technology and Geopolitics.

  • Among the initiatives to be launched at the Annual Meeting is one that aims to plant 1 trillion trees over the next decade and to equip 1 billion people with the necessary skills in the age of the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

Other attendees

  • US President Donald Trump, Britain's Prince Charles, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Afghanistan's Ashraf Ghani and Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan would be among the world leaders attending the five-day 50th annual meeting of WEF beginning Monday.

  • This year over 120 of civic-minded young leaders will also join as members of the WEF Global Shapers, Young Global Leaders, and Social Entrepreneur communities.

  • The WEF said it will also welcome 10 leaders under the age of 20 representing the viewpoints of younger generations.

Source: Indian Express

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BharatNEt phase-2

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 delays in implementation of phase-2 and its reasons; about BharatNet project

News: After the inordinate delay in the implementation of phase one of BharatNet, the second phase of the flagship project is also lagging way behind schedule.


The government had aimed to connect all GPs and villages in the country via BharatNet by March 2019. Though the government had initially planned to connect only one lakh GPs under phase one, it later increased its target to nearly 1.3 lakh GPs, which also delayed the completion of phase one, the documents showed.

Targets missed

  • Under BharatNet phase two, against the target of providing last mile connectivity to 1.5 lakh gram panchayats (GPs), only about 7.45 per cent of these have been made service ready so far.

  • As against a target of laying down 3.11 lakh km of optical fibre cable, only about 92,283 km of cable has been laid down as of December end.

  • Compounding the problem further, an estimated 19,952 km of optical fibre out of the 27,534 km laid by Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) under phase one is now being pulled out and replaced by new optical fibre, the documents showed.

State-wise progress

  • The progress in states such as Andhra Pradesh, Jharkhand, Maharashtra, and Odisha under BharatNet phase two is among the worst. The number of service ready GPs in these states has not even touched 1 per cent of the total 28,623 villages planned to be connected by March 2019. The four states have so far spent about Rs 950 crore, nearly 17 per cent of approved project cost, according to the documents.

  • While Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra have already missed their revised work completion deadline of October and November 2019, respectively, Jharkhand and Odisha have 45 to 60 days to achieve their targets. In total, these states managed to lay about 25 per cent of the 1.32 lakh km of optical fibre needed to connect the villages and GPs under the second phase.

  • The project in these states is being implemented by private agencies in these states, instead of debt-laden Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL). That, however, has made little difference. In states where the project is being implemented by state-run BSNL, the project timelines are further off. The state-run telecom company is in-charge of the project in Madhya Pradesh, Sikkim, and Uttar Pradesh.

  • In Madhya Pradesh, barely 10 per cent of the total 5,832 GPs have been made service ready, while not even a single village or GP has been made service ready in Sikkim and Uttar Pradesh West region. In the Uttar Pradesh East region, only 702 GPs of the total 17,032 that are to be connected are service ready so far.

  • All these regions have long overshot their target completion dates of March 31, 2019.

  • In all these regions, there had been little or no work between April and December last year due to the lack of funds with BSNL. On December 27, Bharat Broadband Network Limited cleared BSNL’s dues worth Rs 770 crore, after which the work has resumed, albeit slowly, the documents showed. The revised date of completion of the project in these areas has now been set to March 31, 2020, “subject to availability of fund” to the project implementation agencies.

  • In Assam, West Bengal, Rajasthan, Himachal Pradesh, and Uttarakhand, the Centre has proposed to finish pending work from BharatNet phase one and start work on phase two under a public-private-partnership (PPP) model. The work, however, has still not started in nearly 1.25 lakh GPs in these areas due to lack of final approval to the proposed work structure and the viability gap funding.

  • The work for BharatNet phase two has not even started in Tamil Nadu and Telangana, owing to lack of agreements with project implementation agencies, the internal documents showed.

  • Overall, as of January 10, 2020, only about 1,33,300 GPs had been made service ready on both fibre and satellite against the target of connecting 2.5 lakh GPs under BharatNet, according to another set of documents.

Reason for delays

The lack of approved detailed project report, non-existent project implementing agencies, and non-availability of funds has been attributed as the reason for the delay for most of these projects, according to internal documents of the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology

Source: Indian Express

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Submarine-launched Ballistic Missile K-4

Syllabus subtopic: indigenization of technology and developing new technology.

Prelims and Mains focus: about the K-4 missiles and their significance, about INS Arihant

News: India on Sunday successfully test-fired the 3,500-km range submarine-launched ballistic missile, K-4. The test was carried out by the Defence Research and Development Organsiation (DRDO) from a submerged pontoon off the Visakhapatnam coast around noon.

About the test

  • The test was conducted from a submerged pontoon and has met the desired parameters. A pontoon simulates the situation of a launch from a submarine.

  • The missile has been tested several times earlier as part of developmental trials to validate different parameters. The missile ejecting from a submerged platform to the surface (sea) is the toughest part.

Why is it an achievement for India?

  • There are very few countries which have managed to achieve this technological breakthrough.

  • India’s Circular Error Probability (CEP) is much more sophisticated than Chinese missiles. The CEP determines the accuracy of a missile. The lower the CEP, the more accurate the missile is.


  • The Advanced Technology Project (ATV) began in the 1980s and the first of them, Arihant, was launched in 2009 by then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. Since then it underwent extensive sea trials and the reactor on board went critical in 2013.

  • In 1998, India conducted nuclear tests under Phokran-II and in 2003, declared its nuclear doctrine based on credible minimum deterrence and an No First Use policy while reserving the right of massive retaliation if struck with nuclear weapons first.

Significance of K-4 missiles

  • Once inducted, these missiles will be the mainstay of the Arihant class of indigenous ballistic missile nuclear submarines (SSBN) and will give India the stand-off capability to launch nuclear weapons submerged in Indian waters. INS Arihant, the first and only operational SSBN, is armed with K-15 Sagarika missiles with a range of 750 km.

  • This means the submarine has to venture far way from the Indian waters and move closer to the adversary’s coast to launch the missile. The K-4 will do away with that need.

  • Given India’s position of ‘No-First-Use’ (NFU) in launching nuclear weapons, the SSBN is the most dependable platform for a second-strike. Because they are powered by nuclear reactors, these submarines can stay underwater indefinitely without the adversary detecting it. The other two platforms — land based and air launched are far easier to detect.

About INS Arihant

  • In November 2019, India formally declared its nuclear triad stated in its nuclear doctrine operational after INS Arihant completed its first deterrence patrol which means Arihant has begun prowling the deep seas carrying ballistic missiles equipped with nuclear warheads. It was quietly commissioned into service in August 2016 and its induction was not officially acknowledged.
  • It has a displacement of 6,000 tonnes and is powered by an 83 MW pressurised light-water reactor with enriched uranium.

Source: The Hindu

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Irrawaddy dolphin

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

Prelims and Mains focus: about the census and its findings; about Irrawaddy dolphins and why they are important; about Chilika lake

News: Odisha Forest Department officials, wildlife experts and researchers on Sunday sighted 146 endangered Irrawaddy dolphins in Chilika Lake, which boasts of the highest single lagoon population of the aquatic mammal in the world.

About the dolphin census and its findings

  • The dolphin census was simultaneously taken up in Chilika and off Odisha coast. The Chilika Development Authority (CDA) is elated that the direct sighting of 146 dolphins meant that its population in the lake would stabilise well above 150. According to last year’s census, the Irrawaddy dolphin population in Chilika was 151.

  • The CDA does counting of dolphins round the year using hydrophones. According to hydrophone monitoring carried out round the year in Chilika, the highest number of Irrawaddy dolphins (20-25) was moving around Rajhans, followed by the Magarmukh and Malatikuda areas, where dolphins numbering between 17-20 were expected.

  • The dolphins were colonising new areas, which had been freed from encroachments by prawn farming gherries.

  • The officials expressed hopes that that the population is likely to increase in the next couple of years as there are enough signs of dolphins migrating from the Satpada (town in Puri district, Odisha) side to other areas.

[The SOFAR channel (short for Sound Fixing and Ranging channel), or deep sound channel (DSC), is a horizontal layer of water in the ocean at which depth the speed of sound is at its minimum.

The SOFAR channel acts as a waveguide for sound, and low frequency sound waves within the channel may travel thousands of miles before dissipating.

This phenomenon is an important factor in submarine warfare. The deep sound channel was discovered and described independently by Maurice Ewing, Stanley Wong and Leonid Brekhovskikh in the 1940s.]

About Irrawaddy dolphins

  • About Irrawaddy Dolphin is not a true river dolphin, but an oceanic dolphin that lives in brackish water near coasts, river mouths and in estuaries in South and Southeast Asia.

  • It is slaty blue to slaty gray throughout, with the underparts slightly paler. It is identified by a bulging forehead, a short beak.

  • It has established subpopulations in freshwater rivers, including the Ganges and the Mekong, as well as the Irrawaddy River from which it takes its name.

  • Its habitat range extends from the Bay of Bengal to New Guinea and the Philippines. They do not appear to venture off shore.

  • Protection Status: The status has been raised from “Vulnerable” to “Endangered” according to the latest Red List of threatened species produced by the International Union of Conservation of Nature (IUCN)

  • Threats: fishing nets, developmental projects like construction of dams, tourism and diseases.

  • The total population of these aquatic mammals in the world is estimated to be less than 7,500. Of these, more than 6,000 Irrawaddy dolphins have been reported from Bangladesh, while the dolphin distribution in Chilika is considered to be the highest single lagoon population.

Why are they important?

  • If you see a lot of dolphins in an area, then it generally means that the local ecosystem is healthy enough to support them. They are apex predators that make sure that the populations of their prey remain healthy and do not grow too big, which can disrupt the food chain. They help maintain their ecosystem by having a diet of fish, mollusks, and aquatic crustaceans such as crab and shrimp.

  • Irrawaddy dolphins provide income for coastal communities through ecotourism. They are well recognized for their “smiling” faces and are known for their ability to spit water which is thought to be used as a way to herd fish.

About Chilika Lake

  • Chilika Lake is a brackish water lagoon, spread over the Puri, Khurda and Ganjam districts of Odisha state on the east coast of India, at the mouth of the Daya River, flowing into the Bay of Bengal, covering an area of over 1,100 km.

  • It is the largest coastal lagoon in India and the second largest brackish water lagoon in the world after The New Caledonian barrier reef. It has been listed as a tentative UNESCO World Heritage site.

  • It is the largest wintering ground for migratory birds on the Indian sub-continent. The lake is home to a number of threatened species of plants and animals. The lagoon hosts over 160 species of birds in the peak migratory season. Birds from as far as the Caspian Sea, Lake Baikal, Aral Sea and other remote parts of Russia, Kirghiz steppes of Kazakhstan, Central and southeast Asia, Ladakh and Himalayas come here. These birds travel great distances; migratory birds probably follow much longer routes than the straight lines, possibly up to 12,000 km, to reach Chilika Lake.

  • The lake is an ecosystem with large fishery resources. It sustains more than 150,000 fisher–folk living in 132 villages on the shore and islands.

  • In 1981, Chilika Lake was designated the first Indian wetland of international importance under the Ramsar Convention.

  • According to a survey, 45 percent of the birds are terrestrial in nature, 32 percent are waterfowl, and 23 percent are waders. The lagoon is also home to 14 types of raptors. Around 152 rare and endangered Irrawaddy dolphins have also been reported. Plus, the lagoon supports about 37 species of reptiles and amphibians.

  • The highly productive Chilika Lagoon ecosystem with its rich fishery resources sustains the livelihood for many fishermen who live in and near the lagoon. The water spread area of the lagoon ranges between 1165 and 906 km2 during the monsoon and summer respectively. A 32 km long, narrow, outer channel connects the lagoon to the Bay of Bengal, near the village Motto. More recently a new mouth has been opened by CDA which has brought a new lease of life to the lagoon.

  • Microalgae, marine seaweeds, sea grasses, fish and crab also flourish in the brackish water of the Chilika Lagoon. Especially the recovery of seagrass beds in recent years is a welcoming trend which may eventually result in re-colonization of endangered dugongs.

Source: The Hindu

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Syllabus subtopic: Structure, organization and functioning of the Executive and the Judiciary, Ministries and Departments of the Government. Important aspects of governance, transparency and accountability, e-governance- applications, models, successes, limitations, and potential; citizens

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