WWF report on snow leopard
The World Wildlife Fund for Nature (WWF) has released a report titled “Over 100 Years of Snow Leopard Research — A spatially explicit review of the state of knowledge in the snow leopard range”.
More than 70 per cent habitat of the snow leopard, over 12 Asian countries, remains unresearched.
Nepal, India and China had conducted the most snow leopard research, followed by Mongolia and Pakistan.
Despite a major research focus on snow leopard population assessments, less than three per cent of the big cat’s range had robust data on abundance.
Globally, there could be as few as 4,000 snow leopards left in Asia’s high mountains and this remaining population faces continued and emerging threats.
Increased habitat loss and degradation, poaching and conflict with communities.
Snow Leopard conservation in India:
Snow leopards are categorized as ‘Vulnerable’ by IUCN and in the Schedule I of the Indian Wildlife (Protection) Act 1972.
They are listed in Appendix I of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) and the Convention on Migratory Species (CMS), revealing the need for the highest conservation status to the species, both globally and in India.
Conservation efforts launched by India are:
Project Snow Leopard (PSL): It promotes an inclusive and participatory approach to conservation that fully involves local communities.
SECURE Himalaya: Global Environment Facility (GEF)-United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) funded the project on conservation of high altitude biodiversity and reducing the dependency of local communities on the natural ecosystem. This project is now operational in four snow leopard range states, namely, Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, and Sikkim.
The fault line of poor health infrastructure
The second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic has exposed the abysmally poor state of the country’s health infrastructure.
Current state of India’s health infrastructure- World Bank data:
India had 85.7 physicians per 1,00,000 people in 2017 (in contrast to 98 in Pakistan, 100 in Sri Lanka and 241 in Japan).
53 beds per 1,00,000 people (in contrast to 63 in Pakistan, 79.5 in Bangladesh, 415 in Sri Lanka and 1,298 in Japan).
172.7 nurses and midwives per 1,00,000 people (in contrast to 220 in Sri Lanka, 40 in Bangladesh, 70 in Pakistan, and 1,220 in Japan).
India has among the highest out-of-pocket (OOP) expenditures of all countries in the world- 62% of the total health expenditure in India is OOP.
Reasons and causes for this:
Low public health expenditure- 1% of GDP 2013-14 and 1.28% in 2017-18 (including expenditure by the Centre, all States and Union Territories).
Centre is the key player in public health management because the main bodies with technical expertise are under central control. The States lack corresponding expert bodies such as the National Centre for Disease Control or the Indian Council of Medical Research.
States also differ a great deal in terms of the fiscal space to deal with the novel coronavirus pandemic because of the wide variation in per capita health expenditure.
Inter-State variation in per capita health-care expenditure (between 2010-11 to 2019-20):
Kerala and Delhi have been close to the top in all the years.
Bihar, Jharkhand and Uttar Pradesh have been consistently towards the bottom of the ranking in all years.
Odisha is noteworthy as it had the same per capita health expenditure as Uttar Pradesh in 2010, but now has more than double that of Uttar Pradesh.
What needs to be done? How to manage the pandemic?
A coordinated national plan at the central level to fight the pandemic.
The central government should handle the responsibilities including that of procuring vaccines from the international market.
Once the vaccines arrive in India, these could be distributed across States equitably in a needs-based and transparent manner.
World Bee Day
May 20 is observed as World Bee Day annually.
It was on this day in 1734 that Anton Janša, the pioneer of beekeeping, was born.
The United Nations proclaimed May 20 as World Bee Day in 2017. The proposal was put forth by
2021 theme: “Bee Engaged – Build Back Better for Bees”.
Efforts by the government:
Government is promoting Beekeeping as part of its aim to double farmers’ income.
The Government has allocated 500 crores towards Beekeeping under the Atma Nirbhar Abhiyan.
The National Bee Board has created four modules to impart training as part of the National Beekeeping and Honey Mission (NBHM) and 30 lakh farmers have been trained in beekeeping. They are also being financially supported by the Government.
The Government has launched ‘Honey Mission’ as part of ‘Sweet Revolution’.
India is among the world’s top five honey producers.
Compared to 2005-06 honey production has risen by 242% and exports shot by 265%.
Significance of Beekeeping:
As per Food and Agricultural Organization database, in 2017-18, India ranked eighth in the world in terms of honey production (64.9 thousand tonnes) while China stood first with a production level of 551 thousand tonnes.
Further, beekeeping can be an important contributor in achieving the 2022 target of doubling farmer incomes.