TABLE OF CONTENTS
A. GS1 Related B. GS2 Related POLITY AND GOVERNANCE 1. Water flow in Ganga ‘woefully inadequate’ SOCIAL JUSTICE 1. Odisha now has a lexicon for rare tribal languages C. GS3 Related HEALTH 1. A dying disease, but leprosy colonies still face stigma, shortage of funds D. GS4 Related E. Editorials ENVIRONMENT AND ECOLOGY 1. The lowdown on tiger relocation F. Tidbits 1. NCCS: Mass bathing during Kumbh Mela alters bacterial load, diversity 2. Multiple reasons behind premature births in India G. Prelims Fact 1. ‘I was under pressure to perform’ H. UPSC Prelims Practice Questions I. UPSC Mains Practice Questions
A. GS1 Related
Nothing here for today!!!
B. GS2 Related
- Former Union Water Resources Secretary Shashi Shekhar has said that “minimum flow” in the Ganga notified by the government on October 9 is “woefully inadequate.”
- While the government has promised to reduce pollution in the Ganga by 70% by March 2019, environmentalists say that this relies on setting up sewage plants rather than ensuring that the natural flow of the river isn’t blocked. The blocks in the river hobble its propensity to clean itself.
- Among the sharpest critics of the government’s approach — led by the National Mission for Clean Ganga — was the late G.D. Agrawal, a seer and formerly a scientist, who’d undertaken a fast since June. His key demands were to stop all under-construction dams in the upper reaches of the Ganga, and modify the design of existing ones to ensure that flow in the lower reaches was at least 50% of the monthly average flow. He died on October 11.
- The Centre is in talks with experts from Germany, Laos, Austria and Egypt, among others, to evolve a Ganga River Basin Management Plan.
- Though it already has a preliminary draft from a consortium of seven IITs, it is in the process of soliciting wider consultation from countries that have such river basin management plans.
Namami Gange Programme
- Namami Gange programme was launched as a mission to achieve the target of cleaning river Ganga in an effective manner with the unceasing involvement of all stakeholders, especially five major Ganga basin States – Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Jharkhand, Bihar and West Bengal.
- The programme envisages: River Surface Cleaning, Sewerage Treatment Infrastructure, River Front Development, Bio-Diversity, Afforestation and Public Awareness.
- The program would be implemented by the National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG), and its state counterpart organizations i.e., State Program Management Groups (SPMGs).
- In order to improve implementation, a three-tier mechanism has been proposed for project monitoring comprising of a) High level task force chaired by Cabinet Secretary assisted by NMCG at national level, b) State level committee chaired by Chief Secretary assisted by SPMG at state level and c) District level committee chaired by the District Magistrate.
- The program emphasizes on improved coordination mechanisms between various Ministries/Agencies of Central and State governments.
- In what is seen as a significant step to keep vanishing tribal languages in circulation, the Odisha government has come out with lexicons of 21 such languages.
- The bilingual tribal dictionaries will be used in multilingual education (MLE) initiated by the State government at the elementary level in tribal-dominated districts.
Details of the dictionary
- “The bilingual tribal dictionaries for MLE and trilingual tribal language proficiency modules in all the 21 tribal languages have been formulated by the Special Development Council. Both will help in enhancing proficiency in tribal languages,” said Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, releasing the dictionaries here on Saturday.
- Odisha has a unique place on the tribal map of India for having the maximum number of Scheduled Tribe communities. The State is home to 62 different tribal communities, including 13 particularly vulnerable tribal groups. These tribes speak 21 languages and 74 dialects. Of the 21 tribal languages, seven have their own scripts. However, Odia is used as the medium of communication in the dictionaries.
- “Adoption of more widely spoken competitors, such as Odia, Hindi, English and dominant tribal languages, has hastened the disappearance of rare dialects. Preparation of the dictionaries is a small step towards ensuring that they are preserved and promoted,” said A.B. Ota, director of the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes Research and Training Institute.
Who are the Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups?
- Earlier called as Primitive Tribal Groups, was created as a sub-category within the Scheduled Tribes (STs) based on the Debhar Commission report.
- It was found that even within the STs, there was vast inequality. There were communities which were very low in development indices. So, a further classification under STs was needed to promote development among these communities.
- A community will be called PVTGs if it fulfils one of the below criteria – Dependent on hunting & gathering (pre-agricultural system of existence), extremely low literacy, population growth rate is zero or negative
- The State govt./UTs send proposal to the Ministry of Tribal Affairs & then the Ministry looks into it & once approved, the community is included in PVTGs.
- Features of PVTGs – physically isolated, homogenous, absence of written language, low population, absence of technology, etc are some of the features of PVTGs
- At present there are 75 tribes listed in PVTGs. Among the 75 listed PVTG’s the highest number are found in Odisha (13), followed by Andhra Pradesh (12).
- Concerns -PVTGs are dependent directly on forest & the area under forest is decreasing, environmental changes, changes in Forest Acts & laws are some of the concerns of PVTGs
C. GS3 Related
- The World Health Organisation’s declaration of the elimination of leprosy as a public-health concern in India in 2005 have reduced attention and funds, making life more difficult for about 2,00, 000 people living in the colonies, the vast majority of whom do not have the disease.
- While the disease itself may be dying out in the colonies, a lingering, centuries-long stigma still leads to discrimination.
- “When the WHO made its declaration in 2005, government attention shifted away from the disease and international funding also dried up. It diluted a very good mission, which had created a lot of expertise… The rationale may not be wrong, but I do think it is premature,” says Vineeta Shanker, executive director of the Sasakawa-India Leprosy Foundation, which is working among the colonies.
What is Leprosy?
- Leprosy, also known as Hansen’s disease, is a bacterial disease which affects the skin and nerves which can lead to physical deformity and disability if left untreated.
- Despite a centuries-long stigma, it is not hereditary, it is completely curable, and is only mildly infectious – more than 85% of cases are non-infectious and over 95% of the population has a natural immunity to the disease.
- Initially, infections are without symptoms and typically remain this way for 5 to 20 years.
- Symptoms that develop include granulomas of the nerves, respiratory tract, skin, and eyes.
- This may result in a lack of ability to feel pain, which can lead to the loss of parts of extremities due to repeated injuries or infection due to unnoticed wounds. Weakness and poor eyesight may also be present.
- Leprosy is one of the World’s oldest diseases with India accounting to 60% of the annual new cases.
- In 2005, it was officially declared eliminated as a public health concern in India. This was when the new cases fell to less than 1 per 10,000. Yet India accounts for the largest number of leprosy affected people in the world.
Related Personality – Baba Amte (1914-2008)
- Baba Amte, (Murlidhar Devidas Amte), Indian lawyer and social activist, devoted his life to India’s lower-caste Dalits and especially to the care of those individuals who suffered from leprosy (Hansen’s disease).
- His work earned him numerous international awards, notably the 1971 Padma Shree, the 1988 UN Human Rights Prize, a share of the 1990 Templeton Prize, and the 1999 Gandhi Peace Prize.
- Amte was born into an affluent Brahmin family and acquired the nickname Baba as a child. He trained as a barrister but, influenced by Mahatma Gandhi’s nonviolent fight for justice, abandoned his legal career in the 1940s.
- He settled with his wife in a labour ashram, then studied leprosy at the Calcutta (now Kolkata) School of Tropical Medicine, and in 1951 founded Anandvan, an ashram dedicated to the treatment and rehabilitation of leprosy patients. Amte, who suffered from cancer, died at the Anandvan ashram and was given a Maharashtra state funeral.
D. GS4 Related
Nothing here for today!!!
Specific Issue Concerning Avni- the Tigress:
- In the month of November, 2018, the Maharashtra government had permitted a hunter to kill the tigress- Avni. The tigress, which is believed to have attacked and killed 13 people, was shot dead in Yavatmal, its habitat on the 2nd of November by a civilian hunter with a team of Forest Department officials.
- It is important to note that the power to declare a tiger as man-eater is vested with chief wildlife conservator of the state.
- Further, only when the attack is confirmed as ‘deliberate’ one and there are instances of more than one deliberate attacks the tiger can be declared as ‘Man eater’.
A Closer Look:
- It is important to note that since 2016, the deaths of 13 people in the Pandharkawda divisional forest of Maharashtra have been attributed to tigers and at least five of them to Avni, a 6-year-old with two cubs.
- India’s wildlife laws permit a tiger which is believed to have preyed on humans to be killed.
- The State’s chief wildlife warden claimed he had evidence.
Brief Historicity of Events:
- The decision to shoot T1 (known as Avni) was taken in January, 2018 but stayed by the Bombay High Court after appeals by activists.
- Three more deaths later, the Supreme Court, in September, 2018, cleared the way for the forest department to have the tiger killed.
- On November 2, 2018, it emerged that forest officials along with Asghar Ali, the son of hunter Nawab Shafat Ali, claimed to have chanced upon the tiger which, they said, charged at them.
- It is important to note that the hunting party failed to tranquilise Avni, as the rules required, and shot at it fatally.
- Union Minister for Women and Child Development Maneka Gandhi described the killing as “murder”, and several activists and some veterinarians have alleged that no attempt was made to tranquilise the animal.
- The National Tiger Conservation Authority has commissioned an independent team of wildlife experts to investigate the killing.
The Seriousness of Tiger-Human conflict:
It is important to note that the killing of man-eating tigers in India is rare, but not unprecedented.
As tigers are India’s apex predators and symbols of its success at conservation, the unusual death of even one tiger causes disquiet in forest departments and among conservation biologists, tourism officials and activists.
A look at some important statistics: Out of 553 tiger deaths from 2012 to 2017, 22.1% were due to poaching, 15.4% were seizures, and 62.4% were attributed to natural causes and causes not attributable to poaching, according to information from the Rajya Sabha.
India has 50 tiger reserves, but with forest area increasingly spilling into hamlets, there have been several instances of tigers preying on cattle, livestock and, sometimes, people.
Days after the killing of Avni, villagers in Lakhimpur Kheri, U.P., crushed a tiger to death with a tractor after it fatally attacked a farmer.
- In conclusion, it is important to note that while there is a larger concern about the shrinking space for tiger habitat in India, conservationists have also said that a few tiger reserves are being pampered at the expense of others.
- As a matter of fact, a recent study by the World Wildlife Fund said that eight tiger sanctuaries in India could, over time, support more than four times the current population of tigers in these sanctuaries.
- Ullas Karanth, the noted conservationist, has said that it is futile to preserve individual members of a species and that efforts must be made to conserve the species as a whole.
- Finally, it is important to note what conservationists have said. Conservationists have said that “man-eaters” is a legacy term from colonial hunters and incorrect in today’s times. Tigers don’t actively seek out humans; it is only because of increased contact between humans and animals that there are more conflicts which leads to deaths.
- The killing of tigress Avni in Maharashtra had triggered a massive outrage. Coupled with this development, the death of a tiger in Odisha had sparked fears among forest officials and experts over the fate of the first inter-State translocation of tigers in the country.
- On November 15, 2018, the death of a male tiger was reported from the Satkosia Tiger Reserve. In this particular case, Forest Department officials ruled out poaching and the post-mortem report said that a wound infested with maggots on the left side of its neck led to septicaemia, causing death.
- Having said this, the fact that a young tiger died within five months of being translocated from Madhya Pradesh has raised more questions than answers.
- It is important to note that with decades of efforts at conservation bearing fruit, India has 70% of the tiger population in the world.
- The count increased from 1,411 during 2006 to 1,706 during 2010 and 2,226 during 2014, according to census figures.
- Experts and tiger biologists point out that many tiger reserves in the country are dealing with the problem of plenty.
Characteristics of Tigers:
- Tigers are territorial animals, and there are reports of the wild cat straying from the reserves, a few travelling hundreds of kilometres in search of food.
The issue with Translocation:
- In the past, tigers have been relocated within the reserves of a State.
- The translocation of tigers from the reserve of Madhya Pradesh to Satsokia was, however, far more ambitious.
- The project involved the Forest Departments of both States and needed the approval of the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) and scientists of the Wildlife Institute of India (WII).
- The translocation ran into trouble within weeks of the animals being brought to Odisha. As part of the exercise, first the male tiger was brought to Satkosia from the Kanha Tiger Reserve, and within 10 days, a female tiger was brought from the Bandhavgarh Tiger Reserve. Within days of the tigers being brought to Satkosia, villagers living on the fringes of the reserve started protesting.
- Unfortunately, they burnt property of the Forest Department and attacked officials. More trouble broke out in September 2018 with the death of a woman, allegedly mauled by the tigress, though the post mortem did not establish it.
- In October 2018, another person was killed, and the tigress was held responsible. In the first week of November, 2018, the tigress was tranquillised and shifted to an enclosure at Raigoda, where it was first kept after being brought from Madhya Pradesh.
- The tranquillisation of the tigress, and the death of the male tiger, will set back the translocation exercise. Experts blame the Forest Department for not sensitising the people in advance before the tigers were brought to the reserve. Questions have also been raised about the monitoring of these translocated tigers after they were released in the wild.
- In conclusion, it is important to note that though the developments have raised questions over the fate of the ambitious project, the translocation of tigers from Madhya Pradesh to Odisha has not been shelved. NTCA officials who are taking stock of the situation at the Satkosia Tiger Reserve have said they are not rushing through any decision.
- What is still an advantage for the project is the good prey base and forest cover at the Satkosia Tiger Reserve. The plan was to introduce three pairs of tigers at Satkosia from the tiger reserves of Madhya Pradesh gradually.
- Finally, the fate of the first inter-State relocation of tigers will have a bearing on future inter-State restocking and tiger augmentation projects in other parts of the country.
- Bacterial populations in the river undergo huge loss in diversity but a steep increase in bacterial load when millions of people bathe at designated bathing sites during Kumbh Mela, a team of researchers has found. The loss in microbial diversity was nearly 37.5% while the increase in bacterial load was about 130-fold during the event.
- The team led by Dr. Avinash Sharma from the National Centre for Cell Science, Pune, found that bacteria belonging to certain phyla reduced significantly while the prevalence of bacteria belonging to phylum Firmicutes (known to be also associated with human skin, stools and many infectious pathogens) was nearly 95%.
- The study was carried out in 2015 at five bathing sites in the Godavari River in Nashik and the results were published in the journal Microbial Ecology. Samples were collected prior to and during the Mela allowing the scientists to compare the spatiotemporal changes to water quality and bacterial communities.
- We need to create awareness among pilgrims to avoid open defecation and maintain personal hygiene to reduce the amount of microbes that get introduced into the river.
- A closed system for bathing prior to taking a dip in the river should be put in place to reduce contamination of human-associated skin bacteria
- Besides taking a dip in the river, pilgrims also drink the holy water. “Drinking this water containing infectious disease genes and antimicrobial-resistant genes could pose serious health issues. It might be preferable to drink the holy water much upstream where fewer people bathe,” he suggests.
- A recent study that analysed nearly 8,000 women in India who gave birth between 2004 and 2005 and 2011 and 2012 (India Human Development Survey) has pointed out that there is a strong association between adverse birth outcomes and sanitation access, gender-based harassment and physical labour.
Details of the study
- About 14.9% and 15.5% of the study group experienced preterm birth and low infant birth weight respectively.
- The researchers found that spending more than two hours per day fetching water was associated with low birth weight while open defecation or sharing latrine within the building was associated with greater chances of low birth weight or preterm birth.
- Another shocking find of the study was that harassment of women and girls in the community was also associated with both preterm birth and low infant birth weight.
- Though there were limitations due to self-reported behaviours and small sample size, the study was able contribute to the limited evidence related to sanitation infrastructure and other social factors that play a role in preterm birth and low infant birth weight.
G. Prelims Fact
- Mary Kom, who spent sleepless nights in the run-up to her final, said her sixth and latest World championships crown was the most difficult one because of the pressure of performing in front of home crowd.
- Mary, who cried for several minutes while thanking thousands of supporters in the stands, said this edition of the Worlds posed the toughest challenge for her.
- “It was the most difficult one due to the pressure. From the beginning, I faced all strong opponents,” said Mary at the press conference. “Today I could not control my emotions as I realised that I am the only one from India to win six gold medals.”
- While admitting that switching from 48kg to 51kg to seek a berth in the Olympics would be difficult for her, Mary said she would try her best to make it to the 2020 Tokyo Games.
- Mary Kom is an Indian Olympic boxer hailing from Manipur. She is the only woman to become World Amateur Boxing champion for a record six times, and the only woman boxer to have won a medal in each one of the seven world championships.
- Nicknamed Magnificent Mary, she is the only Indian woman boxer to have qualified for the 2012 Summer Olympics, competing in the flyweight (51 kg) category and winning the bronze medal.
- She has also been ranked as No. 4 AIBA World Women’s Ranking Flyweight category.
- She became the first Indian woman boxer to get a Gold Medal in the Asian Games in 2014 in Incheon, South Korea and is the first Indian Woman Boxer to win Gold at the 2018 Commonwealth Games. She is currently world champion in 48kg.
- On 26 April 2016, Kom was nominated by the President of India as a member of the Rajya Sabha, the upper house of the Indian Parliament.
- In March 2017, the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports, Government of India, appointed Mary Kom along with Akhil Kumar as national observers for boxing.
- Mary Kom won the Gold Medal In Asian Boxing Championship. She defeated Kim Hyang-mi of North Korea in the title match.
H. Practice Questions for UPSC Prelims Exam
Question 1. Consider the following statements about Chandrayaan-2 mission:
- It is a totally indigenous mission.
- It is comprised of an orbiter and lander only.
Choose the right option:
- 1 only
- 2 only
- Both 1 and 2
- Neither 1 nor 2
Question 2. Umang app has been launched for which of the following purposes?
- Bidding for coal allocation
- E-governance for citizens
- Missing Children portal
- Controlling Drug addiction
I. Practice Questions for UPSC Mains Exam
- Electoral reforms are much needed in India, given the importance of the elections in democracy and also given that our electoral processes are abound with many problems and ills. In this context write a note on the Electoral reforms in India. (250 words)
Maharashtra government has cleared reservation for the Maratha community in education and government jobs. The constant tussle between the judiciary and executive regarding reservation policy, and the demand for reservation by several groups has risen in the recent times. In this context critically analyse the reservation policy of India. (250 words)
Also, check previous Daily News Analysis
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