First-Ever Snow Leopard Survey
India will commission its first-ever snow leopard survey to estimate the population and geographical range of the snow leopard.
It is a member of the genus ‘Panthera’ to which tiger, leopard and lion also belong. Its Scientific name is “Panthera uncia”.
They inhabit alpine and subalpine zones at elevations from 3,000 to 4,500 m (9,800 to 14,800 ft). It is native to the mountain ranges of Central and South Asia.
The 12 range countries are Afghanistan, Bhutan, China, India, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz Republic, Mongolia, Nepal, Pakistan, Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.
India is home to 10% of the global population in less than 5% of its global range.
In 2017, status of Snow leopard in the Red List of the IUCN was changed from ‘endangered’ to ‘vulnerable’.
Listed in Schedule I of Wildlife (Protection) Act 1972.
Listed in Appendix I of the CITES, which makes trading of animal body parts (i.e., fur, bones and meat) illegal in signatory countries.
Project snow leopard: It was launched in 2009 in the 5 Himalayan states of Jammu & Kashmir, HP, Uttarakhand, Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh to conserve India’s high altitude wildlife populations such as Snow Leopard, Asiatic Ibex, Tibetan Argali, Ladakh Urial, Chiru, Takin etc.
Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI)
Former captain of the Indian cricket team, Sourav Ganguly, was formally appointed as the president of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI).
His tenure may end after 10 months as he will run into the Lodha Committee’s recommended compulsory cooling off period after being an office-bearer for two consecutive terms, totalling six years. He has been a Cricket Association of Bengal (CAB) office-bearer for more than five years.
With this, the Committee of Administrators (CoA) – comprising Vinod Rai, Diana Edulji and Lt. Gen (Retd) Ravi Thodge – which was created by the Supreme Court In 2017, at the behest of Justice Lodha, to implement the reforms in Cricket ended its 33-month tenure.
Sourav Ganguly is only the second international cricketer to be elected president of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI).
The Maharaja of Vizianagaram, Lt. Col. Pusapati Vijay Ananda Gajapathi Raju, was the first international cricketer to be elected to the post in 1954.
Sunil Gavaskar and off-spinner Shivlal Yadav too were BCCI presidents for the conduct of IPL and non-IPL activities in 2014, but they took charge following Supreme Court orders.
Guidelines for Evaluation of Nanopharmaceuticals in India
The Union Minister for Health released “Guidelines for Evaluation of Nanopharmaceuticals in India”.
The Guidelines are developed by Department of Biotechnology (DBT), Ministry of Science and Technology, Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) and Central Drugs Standard Control Organization (CDSCO), Ministry of Health.
The guidelines apply to the nanopharmaceuticals in the form of finished formulation as well as Active Pharmaceutical Ingredient (API) of a new molecule or an already approved molecule with altered nanoscale dimensions intended to be used for treatment or prevention of diseases.
These guidelines are intended to provide transparent regulatory pathways for nanopharmaceuticals in India. It would facilitate translational research in line with the regulatory requirements.
Data on Police Organizations (DoPO 2018)
Union Minister for Home Affairs released Bureau of Police Research and Development’s (BPRD) flagship publication Data on Police Organizations (DoPO 2018).
The Data on Police Organisation (DoPO) in India is a compilation of information on police infrastructure, manpower and other resources from all States, UTs, CAPFs and CPOs. Major highlights of the DoPO 2018 are as under:
For the one year, since the 2017 edition of the DoPO, there has been an increase of 19,686 Police personnel in the sanctioned strength of the State Police and 16,051 in the strength of CAPFs.
There has been 20.95% increase in the strength of Woman Police. It brings the total percentage of women in the Indian Police to 8.73%.
The overall Police Population Ratio (PPR) at the state level stood at 95 policemen per lakh population, which shows marginal increase.
Police Stations have increased from 15579 to 16422. This includes Cyber Police Stations whose number has risen from 84 to 120.
Electronic surveillance has improved, as there has been an addition of 2,10,278 CCTV Cameras. Now this number, as per the latest count, is 2,75,468.
Integrated Irrigation Project for Climate Resilient Agriculture
The Government of India, Government of Odisha and the World Bank signed a US$165 million loan agreement for the Odisha Integrated Irrigation Project for Climate Resilient Agriculture.
The Project will be implemented in rural areas vulnerable to droughts and largely dependent on rainfed agriculture. It will benefit about 125,000 smallholder farmer households from 15 districts of Odisha.
The project will support smallholder farmers strengthen the resilience of their production systems as well as diversify and improve the marketing of their produce, for increased income.
The $165 million loan from the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD), has a 6-year grace period, and a maturity of 24 years.
It is a project under the National Action Plan on Climate Change of the Government of India.
Need of project:
Since 2009, the frequency of droughts in the state has increased from 1 in 5 years to 1 in 2 years.
About 70 percent of total cultivated area is prone to droughts compared to 40 percent in the 1970s.
Agriculture is also a major source of Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions in Odisha, responsible for about 25 percent of the GHG emissions in the state.
Renaming Of Chenani Nashri Tunnel
Union Minister for Road Transport & Highways announced renaming of Chenani Nashri Tunnel on NH 44 in Jammu & Kashmir as Dr Syama Prasad Mookerjee Tunnel.
This 9 km tunnel is the longest such state of art tunnel in the country, connecting Udhampur to Ramban in Jammu.
It cuts down 31 km of travel distance and reduces the travel time between the two points by about two hours, in addition to substantial saving in fuel cost.
Syama Prasad Mukherjee?
Syama Prasad Mukherjee (1901 – 1953) was an Indian politician who served as the Minister for Industry and Supply in Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru’s cabinet.
He quit Congress because of differences of opinion with Nehru led government on the issue of Jammu & Kashmir. He founded the Bharatiya Jana Sangh, the predecessor to the Bharatiya Janata Party, in 1951.
About 66 years ago, Dr Mookerjee was arrested illegally from Lakhanpur, and was taken to Srinagar through Chenani Nashari. Dr Mookerjee was a sitting member of Lok Sabha at that time.
India has signed the Agreement with Pakistan
India has signed the Agreement with Pakistan on the modalities for operationalisation of the Kartarpur Sahib Corridor to facilitate pilgrims to visit Gurudwara Darbar Sahib Kartarpur through Kartarpur Sahib Corridor.
Location: Gurdwara Darbar Sahib is located at Kartarpur in Pakistan’s Narowal district. It stands on the bank of the River Ravi, about 120 km northeast of Lahore.
Significance: It was here that the First Sikh Guru (Nanak Dev) assembled a Sikh community and lived for 18 years until his death in 1539. It is the final resting place of Guru Nanak.
The Union Cabinet passed a resolution in November 2018 to celebrate the historic occasion of 550th Birth Anniversary of Sri Guru Nanak Devji. It also approved the development of the Kartarpur Sahib Corridor from Dera Baba Nanak to the International Boundary, to facilitate pilgrims from India to visit Gurdwara Darbar Sahib Kartarpur.
The highlights of the Agreement are: –
Indian pilgrims of all faiths and persons of Indian origin can use the corridor;
The travel will be Visa Free; Pilgrims need to carry only a valid passport;
Persons of Indian Origin need to carry OCI card along with the passport of their country;
The Corridor is open from dawn to dusk. Pilgrims travelling in the morning will have to return on the same day;
The Corridor will be operational throughout the year, except on notified days, to be informed in advance;
The Pakistan side has assured India to make sufficient provision for ‘Langar’ and distribution of ‘Prasad’. However, there has been no progress on resolving the disagreement over a $20 fee that Pakistan intends to levy on each traveller.
Poliovirus Type 3 (WPV3) Has Been Eradicated Worldwide
In an announcement by the World Health Organisation (WHO) on World Polio Day (October 24), an independent commission of experts declared that wild poliovirus type 3 (WPV3) has been eradicated worldwide.
This follows the eradication of smallpox and wild poliovirus type 2. With this, 2 out of 3 wild poliovirus strains have been eradicated.
Efforts are being taken to eliminate the wild poliovirus type 1. This virus remains in circulation in just two countries, Afghanistan and Pakistan.
There are three individual and immunologically distinct wild poliovirus strains: wild poliovirus type 1 (WPV1), wild poliovirus type 2 (WPV2) and wild poliovirus type 3 (WPV3).
Symptomatically, all three strains are identical, in that they cause irreversible paralysis or even death. But there are genetic and virological differences, which make these three strains three separate viruses that must each be eradicated individually.
Doing Business Report (DBR, 2020)
The World Bank released its latest Doing Business Report (DBR, 2020).
Doing Business 2020 measures regulations across 190 economies in 12 business regulatory areas to assess the business environment in each economy. Ten of these indicators were used to estimate an ease of doing business score this year.
The DBR ranks countries on the basis of Distance to Frontier (DTF), a score that shows the gap of an economy to the global best practice.
The top 10 best places in the world to do business are New Zealand (with a score of 86.8 out of 100), Singapore (86.2), Hong Kong SAR, China (85.3), Denmark (85.3), the Republic of Korea (84), the United States (84), Georgia (83.7), the United Kingdom (83.5), Norway (82.6), and Sweden (82).
India has recorded a jump of 14 positions against its rank of 77 in 2019 to be placed now at 63rd rank among 190 countries.
India’s Distance to Frontier (DTF) score improved to 71 from 67.23 in the previous year.
For the third consecutive year India is amongst the top 10 improvers. As a result of continued efforts by the Government, India has improved its rank by 79 positions in last five years [2014-19].
India continues to maintain its first position among South Asian countries. It was 6th in 2014.
India has improved its rank in 7 out of 10 indicators. India saw the biggest jump in ranking in “resolving insolvency” category, to 52nd rank from 108th, while its ranking improved substantially in Dealing with Construction Permits (to 27th from 52nd) and “Trading across Borders” (to 68th from 80th).