October 2019

Daily Current Affairs (04-10-19)


Related Topics: Environment & Biodiversity, Wildlife Protection


  • A large number of amateur photographers are descending on the Nilgiris and the rest of the Western Ghats to capture footage of stunning vistas and exotic wildlife.
  • Conservationists are concerned that enthusiasts using drone cameras may be posing a significant threat to the endangered species of birds, especially raptors, many of which are known to attack the equipment and sustain injuries in the process.

How drone cameras pose threat to wildlife?

  • According to wildlife experts, raptors, when threatened, are known to even abandon nesting sites.
  • Unfortunately, many species of raptors threatened with extinction nest in rocky outcrops, where amateur photographers most wish to use drones to photograph or shoot footage.
  • Falcons are known to attack drones on sight.
  • When birds attack these cameras, the rotor blades of the equipment can cause massive life-threatening injuries to them, and even stop them from effectively hunting for food, resulting in a slow, agonizing death.
  • Not just raptors, there have been even videos of elephants being absolutely frightened by drone cameras.
  • In April 2019, a river tern was killed after being hit by a drone in Bhadra Tiger Reserve in Chikmagalur, Karnataka.
  • In the Nilgiris, a group of tourists were arrested in Mudumalai for flying a drone close to the nesting sites of the endangered White rumped vulture.

Prohibition on use of drones

  • The use of drone cameras or Unmanned Aerial Vehicles mounted with filming equipment in forest areas, without the permission of the Chief Wildlife Warden is a criminal offence.
  • The forest departments need to work with the district administration, the police and also private resorts, to stipulate that the use of such cameras especially in ecologically sensitive areas like the Nilgiris is prohibited.

Way Forward

  • While a blanket ban on drones is impossible to enforce, the forest department should identify areas where vultures and other raptor species are known to nest, and set up effective policing to prevent unauthorized use of the cameras.
  • While 90 percent of photographers will act ethically, there will always be a few who will value their photographs over the well-being of wildlife, and these are the people who need to be stopped.
  • Stricter fines and warning boards cautioning them against the use of drones could be one way of preventing their use.

[Source: The Hindu, Vikaspedia]



Related Topics: Appointment of Judges, Polity & Constitution


Central Government has cleared the appointment of new Chief Justices for seven High Courts.

Constitutional Provision

As per Article 217 of Indian Constitution, the Chief Justice of the HC is appointed by the President in consultation with the Chief justice of India as well as the Governor of the respective state.

Procedure of Appointment of High Court (HC) Chief Justice

  • For purposes of elevation as Chief Justices, the inter-se seniority of puisne Judges will be reckoned on the basis of their seniority in their own High Courts.

  • They will be considered for appointment as Chief Justices in other High Courts when their turn would normally have come for being considered for such appointment in their own High Courts.
  • Initiation of the proposal for the appointment of Chief Justice of a High Court would be by the Chief Justice of India.
  • The Chief Justice of India would ensure that when a Chief Justice is transferred from one High Court to another simultaneous appointment of his successor in office should be made.
  • The Chief Justice of India would send his recommendation for the appointment of a puisne Judge of the High Court as Chief Justice of that High Court or of another High Court, in consultation with the two seniormost Judges of the Supreme Court.
  • The views of the Judges of the Supreme Court thus consulted would then be sent by the Chief Justice of India alongwith his proposal, to the Union Minister of Law, Justice and Company Affairs.
  • After receipt of the recommendation of the Chief Justice of India, the Union Minister of Law, Justice and Company Affairs would obtain the views of the concerned State Government.
  • After receipt of the views of the State Government, the Union Minister of Law, Justice and Company Affairs, will submit proposals to the Prime Minister, who will then advise the President as to the selection.
  • As soon as the appointment is approved by the President, the Department of Justice will announce the appointment and issue necessary notification in the Gazette of India.

Acting Chief Justice

  • Appointment of Acting Chief Justices is to be made by the President under Article 223 of the Constitution.
  • Intimation from the Chief Justice about his proceeding on leave or being unable to perform the duties of the Office of Chief Justice must be sent to all concerned well in advance to make arrangement for appointment of Acting Chief Justice.
  • Ordinarily, the arrangement of appointment of an acting Chief Justice should not be made for more than one month.

[The Hindu, doj.gov.in]



Related Topics: Government Schemes & Initiatives, E-Governance


Union Minister of State for Power and New & Renewable Energy (IC) and Skill Development & Entrepreneurship and the Union Minister for Coal, Mines and Parliamentary Affairs have jointly launched PRAKASH (Power Rail Koyla Availability through Supply Harmony) portal.


  • The portal has been launched at a time when coal inventory at power plants are reduced to 20 MT at September 2019, sufficient to last for 11 days on an average.
  • According to analysts, total inventory at power plants and coal companies now stand at 40 MT only.
  • Coal production in the country declined 4% annually to 304 MT in the first six months of FY20, mainly due to excessive rains hampering mining operations.
  • However, state-owned miners Coal India and Singareni Collieries have increased their supplies to the power sector by 66% annually to 426 MT in the same period.

Need for the Portal

  • Present mechanism to review coal supply situation consists of an Inter-Ministerial Group which has officials from Ministries of Power, Coal, Railways, CEA, power utilities and coal companies.
  • This group holds weekly meetings to review coal supply situation as well as railway logistics.
  • It was observed that this mechanism faced several issues such as scattered information, correctness of data from different organizations, timely availability of data etc.
  • This often led to difficulties in decision making.

About Prakash Portal

  • It is developed by National Thermal Power Corporation Limited (NTPC) and sources data from different stakeholders such as Central Electricity Authority (CEA), Centre for Railway Information System (CRIS) and coal companies.
  • To present information in a user friendly method, the Portal gives graphical representation of reports with details shown on the map of India.


Currently, the Portal will make available four reports as detailed below –

Daily Power Plant Status

  • This report gives Station data related to power generation, coal receipt, consumption and stock.
  • Report can be generated utility wise, state wise and sector wise (default utility-wise).

Periodic Power Plant Status

  • The Report gives Station data related to power generation, coal receipt, consumption and stock for selected period.
  • Coal materialisation based on dispatch by coal company is available.

Plant Exception Report

  • This report gives materialisation and rakes in pipeline through Rail.

Coal Dispatch Report

  • Report gives coal subsidiary wise dispatch for particular period.
  • It also gives source wise details of coal dispatch.
  • Dispatch trend is also shown.
  • Plant wise and siding wise details are available.

Benefits of Portal to the Stakeholders

  • Coal company will be able to track stocks and the coal requirement at power stations for effective production planning.
  • Indian Railways will plan to place the rakes as per actual coal available at siding and stock available at power stations.
  • Power stations can plan future schedule by knowing rakes in pipe line and expected time to reach.
  • Ministry of Power /Ministry of Coal/ CEA/ POSOCO can review overall availability of coal at thermal power plants in different regions.
[Source: PIB]




Tenth edition of the Joint Military Exercise Ekuverin between the Indian Army and the Maldives National Defence Force will be organised from 07 to 20 October 2019 at Aundh Military Station in Pune, Maharashtra. The Indian Army and the Maldives National Defence Forces have been conducting Exercise Ekuverin meaning ‘Friends’ in the Dhivehi language since 2009. The 14 days Joint Exercise held alternatively in India and Maldives focuses on enhancing interoperability between the two forces for carrying out counter insurgency and counter-terrorism operations in a semi-urban environment under the United Nations mandate. The last exercise was held in 2018 at Northern Area Headquarters, Lh. Maafilaafushi of Maldives.


The Union Water Ministry has excavated an old, dried-up river in Prayagraj (formerly Allahabad) that linked the Ganga and Yamuna rivers. The aim is to develop it as a potential groundwater recharge source, according to officials at the National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG), a body under the Union Jal Shakti Ministry that coordinates the cleaning of the Ganga. The “ancient buried river” is around 4 km wide, 45 km long and consisted of a 15-metre-thick layer buried under soil. The discovery was made last December by a team of scientists from the CSIR-NGRI (National Geophysical Research Institute) and the Central Groundwater Board during a helicopter-borne geophysical survey covering the Prayagraj and Kaushambi region in Uttar Pradesh. According to Executive Director, NMCG, the newly discovered river was a buried paleochannel that joins the Yamuna river at Durgapur village, about 26 km south of the current Ganga-Yamuna confluence at Prayagraj. The report concluded that evidence from palaeochannels suggested that the mythological Saraswati river did indeed exist.


Government of Kerala and the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MoRTH) have inked an agreement on the willingness of the State to contribute 25% of the cost of the remaining land to be acquired for widening of National Highway 66. With the agreement, the NHAI can expedite the long-pending development of the 526-km NH corridor from Thalapady in Kasaragod in the north to Kazhakuttam in the capital district. The road corridor to be developed by the NHAI will have six lanes with a right of way of 45 m. The 36th board meeting of the Kerala Infrastructure Investment Fund Board (KIIFB) had decided to make available ₹5,200 crore, 25% cost of the remaining land to be acquired for NH development. The funds will be made available from the ₹14,000 crore earmarked by the KIIFB for land acquisition for projects funded by it.


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