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11th October Current Affairs

River Ranching Programme

(GS-III: Economics of animal rearing)

In News:

Nationwide River Ranching Programme was recently launched in Uttar Pradesh.


Along with Uttar Pradesh, other 4 states namely, Orissa, Uttarakhand, Tripura and Chhattisgarh also participated in the launch of ‘nationwide River Ranching program’.

3 lakhs fingerlings were ranched at 3 sites in UP, namely, Brijghat, Tigri, Meerut, Garhmukteshwar and Bijnor.

What is River Ranching?

River Ranching is a form of aquaculture in which a population of a fish species (such as salmon) is held in captivity for the first stage of their lives.

They are then released, and later harvested as adults when they return from the sea to their freshwater birthplace to spawn.

About the Programme:

River ranching programme was introduced as special activity under the ‘Pradhan Mantri Matsya Sampada Yojana (PMMSY) scheme to augment and enhance fish production and productivity by expanding, intensifying, diversifying and utilizing land & water productively.

Who is the implementing agency?

National Fisheries Development Board, Hyderabad is the nodal agency under central component of the PMMSY.

What is the need of programme?

As the human population is growing, requirement of high-quality protein & demand of fish is increasing gradually. Thus, to promote sustainable use and conservation of fishery resources in an economical and environmentally responsible manner, River Ranching Programme was launched.

This programme will help in achieving sustainable fisheries, conserving biodiversity, assessing ecosystem services, reducing habitat degradation and maximizing social-economic benefits.

It will also ensure the upgradation of traditional fishery, trade & social protection of Inland communities and ecosystem sustainability.

About the ‘Pradhan Mantri Matsya Sampada Yojana (PMMSY) scheme:

It is a scheme for focused and sustainable development of fisheries sector in the country.

20,050 crores has been sanctioned for its implementation during a period of 5 years from FY 2020-21 to FY 2024-25 in all States/Union Territories, as a part of AatmaNirbhar Bharat Package.

The scheme focuses on beneficiary-oriented activities in Marine, Inland fisheries and Aquaculture.

It seeks to adopt ‘Cluster or Area based approaches’.

Aims and targets of the scheme:

Enhance fish production by an additional 70 lakh tonne by 2024-25.

Increase fisheries export earnings to Rs.1,00,000 crore by 2024-25.

Double incomes of fishers and fish farmers.

Reduce post-harvest losses from 20-25% to about 10%.

Generate additional 55 lakhs direct and indirect gainful employment opportunities in fisheries sector and allied activities.

WMO report on terrestrial water storage (TWS) loss

(GS-III: Conservation related issues)

In News:

A report on terrestrial water storage (TWS) loss- 2021 State of Climate Services- was recently released by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO).

What is terrestrial water storage (TWS)?

TWS is the sum of all water on the land surface and in the subsurface, ie surface water, soil moisture, snow and ice and ground water.

Highlights of the report:

Overall, terrestrial water storage (TWS) dropped at a rate of 1 cm per year in 20 years (2002-2021).

The biggest losses have occurred in Antarctica and Greenland.

Many highly populated, lower latitude locations have also experienced TWS losses.

India is the ‘topmost hotspot of TWS loss’: India has recorded the highest loss in terrestrial water storage if the loss of water storage in Antarctica and Greenland is excluded.

In India, the TWS has been lost at a rate of at least 3 cm per year. In some regions, the loss has been over 4 cm per year too.

The northern part of India has experienced the maximum loss within the country.

Challenges ahead:

Water resources across the world are under tremendous pressure due to human and naturally-induced stressors.

These include population growth, urbanisation and decreasing availability of freshwater.

Extreme weather events too have been responsible for the pressure on water resources realised across sectors and regions.

Indian scenario:

In India, per capita water availability is reducing due to an increase in population.

The average annual per capita water availability has been consistently decreasing. It reduced to 1,545 cubic metres in 2011, from 1,816 cubic metres in 2001.

It is projected to further decrease to 1,367 cubic metres in 2031, according to the Union Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs.

Five of the 21 river basins in India are ‘absolute water scarce’ (per capita water availability below 500 cubic metres).

By 2050, six will become absolute water scarce, six will become water scarce and four will become water stressed.

Steps Taken by The Government:

  • MGNREGA for water conservation.
  • Jal Kranti Abhiyan.
  • National Water Mission.
  • National Rural Drinking Water Programme.
  • NITI Aayog Composite Water Management Index.
  • Formation of Jal Shakti Ministry and Jal Jeevan Mission.

Indian Ocean border dispute between Kenya and Somalia

(GS-II: Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests, Indian diaspora)

In News:

Kenya has said it rejected the jurisdiction of the United Nations International Court of Justice (ICJ) ahead of a ruling next week on its long-running maritime border dispute with Somalia.


It said, as a sovereign nation, Kenya shall no longer be subjected to an international court or tribunal without its express consent.

What’s the issue?

The main point of disagreement between the two neighbours is the direction in which their maritime boundary in the Indian Ocean should extend.

Where is the disputed area?

According to Somalia, the sea border should be an extension of the same direction in which their land border runs as it approaches the Indian Ocean, i.e. towards the southeast.

Kenya, on the other hand, argues that the territorial southeast border should take a 45 degree turn as it reaches the sea, and then run in a latitudinal direction, i.e. parallel to the equator. Such an arrangement would be advantageous for Kenya, whose coastline of 536 km is more than 6 times smaller than Somalia’s (3,333 km).

Why is this area important?

The triangular area thus created by the dispute is around 1.6 lakh sq km large, and boasts of rich marine reserves. It is also believed to have oil and gas deposits.

About ICJ:

ICJ was established in 1945 by the United Nations charter and started working in April 1946.

It is the principal judicial organ of the United Nations, situated at the Peace Palace in The Hague (Netherlands).

Unlike the six principal organs of the United Nations, it is the only one not located in New York (USA).

It settles legal disputes between States and gives advisory opinions in accordance with international law, on legal questions referred to it by authorized United Nations organs and specialized agencies.


The Court is composed of 15 judges, who are elected for terms of office of nine years by the United Nations General Assembly and the Security Council. These organs vote simultaneously but separately.

In order to be elected, a candidate must receive an absolute majority of the votes in both bodies.

In order to ensure a measure of continuity, one third of the Court is elected every three years and Judges are eligible for re-election.

ICJ is assisted by a Registry, its administrative organ. Its official languages are English and French.

The 15 judges of the Court are distributed in following regions:

  • Three from Africa.
  • Two from Latin America and Caribbean.
  • Three from Asia.
  • Five from Western Europe and other states.
  • Two from Eastern Europe.

Jurisdiction and Functioning:

ICJ acts as a world court with two fold jurisdiction i.e. legal disputes between States submitted to it by them (contentious cases) and requests for advisory opinions on legal questions referred to it by United Nations organs and specialized agencies (advisory proceedings).

Only States which are members of the United Nations and which have become parties to the Statute of the Court or which have accepted its jurisdiction under certain conditions, are parties to contentious cases.

The judgment is final, binding on the parties to a case and without appeal (at the most it may be subject to interpretation or, upon the discovery of a new fact, revision).

NASA’s Lucy mission

(GS-III: Awareness in space)

In News:

NASA has announced the launch of ‘Lucy’ mission. It will be launched next week.


The spacecraft will fly by the Earth twice in order to use the planet’s gravitational field to assist it on its journey to the asteroids.

About ‘Lucy’ Mission:

This is NASA’s first mission to explore the Jupiter Trojan asteroids.

It is a solar-powered mission.

It is estimated to be over 12 years long, during the course of which the spacecraft will visit eight asteroids covering a distance of about 6.3 billion km to deepen the understanding of the “young solar system”.

Aim of the mission:

The mission is designed to understand the composition of the diverse asteroids that are a part of the Trojan asteroid swarms, to determine the mass and densities of the materials and to look for and study the satellites and rings that may orbit the Trojan asteroids.

What are Trojan Asteroids? Why are they called so?

These asteroids are believed to be the remnants of the early solar system, and studying them will help scientists understand its origins and evolution, and why it looks the way it does.

The Trojan asteroids are believed to be formed from the same material that led to the formation of planets nearly 4 billion years ago when the solar system was formed.