August 2019

Daily Current Affairs (28-08-19)

PEACOCK PARACHUTE SPIDER (GOOTY TARANTULA)

Related Topics: Environment & Biodiversity, IUCN Red List

News

  • Researchers have sighted a critically endangered species of tarantula for the first time beyond its known habitat in the Eastern Ghats.
  • It was spotted by a team of researchers of the Puducherry-based Indigenous Biodiversity Foundation (IBF) in the Pakkamalai Reserve Forests near Gingee in Villupuram district.

About the Species

  • The spider belongs to the genus Poecilotheria, commonly known as the Peacock Parachute Spider or Gooty Tarantula.
  • Species of this genus can be identified based on the banding patterns on the underside of the legs.
  • Tarantulas are biological pest controllers

Threats

  • The habitat where the species occurs is completely degraded due to lopping for firewood and cutting for timber.
  • The habitat is under intense pressure from the surrounding villages as well as from insurgents who use forest resources for their existence and operations.
  • There is a decline in the “quality of habitat” of the spiders who seek cavities and deep crevices in old forests.
  • An additional threat to the species is the collection by international pet traders, which could have an impact on the population.
  • The two threats in tandem could result in the species’ extinction from the known location in the near future.

Status

IUCN categorised it as Critically Endangered, mainly because their range is restricted to a less than 100 sq km, single location and continuing decline in habitat quality.

Significance

  • The species had so far not been sighted in any other part of India or Sri Lanka except its known habitat in Andhra Pradesh.
  • Thus, the sighting of species by researchers in the Pakkamalai Reserve Forests (Tamil Nadu) is significant.

Background

  • The species, known to be endemic to India, was found at different locations in the reserve forests.
  • The spider was sighted way back in 1899 by Reginald Innes Pocock on the basis of a single female specimen in Gooty.
  • About 102 years later (in 2001), this species has been recorded at degraded forest between Nandyal and Giddalur in the Eastern Ghats of Andhra Pradesh.

[Sources: The Hindu, IUCN]

 

THE INDIA CHILD WELL-BEING INDEX

Related Topics: Reports & Indices,

Why in News

NGO World Vision India and research institute IFMR LEAD has released ‘The India child well-being index’.

About the Index

  • The primary objective of the index is to garner attention to the under-researched theme of child well-being in India, and inspire further academic and policy conversations on related issues.
  • The index captures the performance of each state and union territory on a composite child well-being score.
  • The report highlights the multi-dimensional approach towards measuring child well-being — going beyond mere income poverty.
  • This report provides insights on health, nutrition, education, sanitation and child protection.

Dimensions

  • The dimensions of the index include healthy individual development, positive relationships and protective contexts.
  • Focusing on the three key dimensions, 24 indicators were selected to develop the computation of the child well-being index.

Rankings

  • Among states, Kerala (0.76), Tamil Nadu (0.67) and Himachal Pradesh (0.67) bagged the top three spots in the index.
  • Meghalaya (0.53), Jharkhand (0.50) and Madhya Pradesh (0.44) featured at the bottom.
  • Among the Union territories, Puducherry led the way with a score of 0.77 and Dadra and Nagar Haveli featured at the other end with a score of 0.52.

  • Kerala bagged the top spot due to its exceptional performance in health, nutrition and education
  • Poor nutrition and low child survival rate has pushed Jharkhand and Madhya Pradesh to the bottom of the index.

Way Forward

  • The index is a crucial report that can be mined both by the Government and civil organisations to achieve the goal of child well-being.
  • The report calls for States to look at their respective scores on the dimensions of child well-being, and to prepare for priority areas of intervention with specific plans of action.
  • It also hopes to trigger policy level changes, seek better budgetary allocations and initiate discussions with all stakeholders, which can help in enhancing the quality of life of all children in the country.
[Source: The Hindu]

 

NEW E-COMMERCE NORMS

Related Topics: Government Policies & Interventions, Consumer Protection

Why in News

  • E-commerce guidelines, which are currently advisory in nature, will become mandatory for the firms dabbling in online business once the rules are framed for the recently passed Consumer Protection Act, 2019.
  • The Ministry of Consumer Affairs would invite suggestions on the rules by September 15 and the rules would be notified by December, 2019.

E-Commerce Guidelines

  • They are principles for e-commerce business for preventing fraud, unfair trade practices and protecting the legitimate rights and interests of consumers.
  • E-commerce entity cannot directly or indirectly influence the price of the goods or services.
  • The companies should not adopt any unfair methods, falsely represent themselves as consumers, post reviews about goods and services in their name or exaggerate the quality of goods and services.
  • To ensure transparency in dealing, the companies are required to display terms of contract between them and the seller to enable consumers to make informed decisions.
  • The companies are required to effect all payments towards accepted refund requests of the customers within a period of maximum of 14 days.
  • They should also comply with mandatory display requirements as per Legal Metrology (amendment) rules 2017 for pre-packaged commodities.
  • They should also provide mandatory safety and health care warnings and shelf life that a consumer would get at any physical point of sale.
  • These companies are also proposed to be held responsible for any warranty/guarantee obligation of goods and services sold.
  • E-Commerce entity should publish on its website, the name of the Grievance Officer and his contact details as well as mechanism by which users can notify their complaints about products and services.
  • The Grievance Officer shall redress the complaints within one month from the date of receipt of complaint.
  • Central Consumer Protection Authority (CCPA) — which would be established to promote, protect and enforce consumer rights — would have the power to take action against violating firms.

Significance

  • The e-commerce rules have become important because of the explosive growth being witnessed by the sector due to the increase in the number of online users, growing penetration of smartphones and the rising popularity of social media platforms.
  • According to a recent Morgan Stanley report, the e-commerce sector in India is estimated to reach $230 billion by 2028, accounting for 10 per cent of India’s retail trade.

[Source: The Hindu]

 

ASTRA RAFAEL COMMUNICATION SYSTEM

Related Topics: Defence Sector, Joint Venture

Why in News

Astra Rafael Communication System (ARC), a joint venture (JV) between Astra Microwave and Israel-based Rafael Advanced Defence Systems Ltd has inaugurated a new state-of-the-art facility at Hardware Technology Park close to Hyderabad international airport.

News in Detail

  • The Joint Venture of 51:49 per cent is in line with the Government’s “Make in India” initiative.
  • The facility will make BNET software defined radios, the world’s most advanced battle communication system in use by Israeli’s defence forces and other advanced militaries around the world.
  • The JV’s focus is on leveraging the technological ability and indigenous manufacturing capability, combined with Rafael’s technology expertise to support the requirements of the Indian Armed Forces.
  • This green field venture envisages creation of significant direct and indirect employment opportunities, import substitution and foreign direct investments into the country.
  • ARC would be India’s first private sector company to manufacture cutting-edge Software Defined Radios in multiple variants, at its facility spread across an area of over 20,000 sq ft.
  • It will also be involved in the development and manufacture of a wide range of other advanced capabilities, with the aim of opening new export markets.
  • The JV partners have invested nearly ₹ 35 crore.

[Source: The Hindu]

 

FACTS OF THE DAY

ARUN JAITLEY STADIUM

Delhi and District Cricket Association (DDCA) has decided to rename Feroz Shah Kotla Stadium as Arun Jaitley Stadium in the memory of its former president of DDCA. The stadium was established in 1883 and is the second oldest international cricket stadium after the Eden Gardens in Kolkata which is functional in India. The name of the stadium is derived from the Emperor of Delhi, Feroz Shah Tuqhlaq, who ruled from 1351 to 1388.

FIRST WOMAN DGP OF INDIA

India’s first woman Director General of Police (DGP), Kanchan Chaudhary Bhattacharya passed away. In 1997, she was awarded the President’s police medal for distinguished service. She was chosen to represent India during the Interpol meeting held in Mexico in 2004.

HIMMAT PLUS APP

Lieutenant Governor of Delhi launched a ‘QR Code Scheme’ on the Himmat Plus app in Delhi. The aim of the scheme is to enhance the safety and security of women and other commuters travelling in the yellow or black taxis or auto-rickshaws from railway stations, airport and metro stations. This added feature is to ensure that only genuine and verified drivers ferry passenger to their destinations from airports and railway and metro stations.

Shaheen VIII

Pakistan and China are conducting joint bilateral aerial exercise named Shaheen (Eagle) VIII in Chinese city of Holton, close to the Indian border near Ladakh. It was eight edition of this aerial exercise, which is conducted annually by India’s two neighbours since 2011.

KALVI THOLAIKKATCHI

Tamil Nadu government has launched its exclusive education TV channel named Kalvi Tholaikkatchi. It is an initiative of the School Education Department aimed at benefiting students of classes I to XII. The content will include shows aimed at school children, besides those on jobs and related issues.

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