December 2019

Daily Current Affairs (02-12-19)

ECONOMY

LOKTAK INLAND WATER WAYS IMPROVEMENT PROJECT

Related Topic in KAS Prelims Syllabus:

Economy [Paper-II]: Infrastructure in Indian Economy, Inland Waterways

News

  • Ministry of Shipping gave approval for the development of Loktak Inland Waterways Improvement Project in Manipur under the central sector scheme.
  • The estimated cost of the project is Rs 25.58 crores.
  • The project will give a boost to the development of inland water transport connectivity in the North-eastern states and will also boost the tourism sector.

What is Inland Waterways?

  • It is defined as a stretch of water, not part of the sea, over which craft of a carrying capacity not less than 50 tonnes can navigate when normally loaded.
  • This term covers both navigable rivers and lakes (natural water-courses, whether or not they have been improved for navigation purposes) and canals (waterways constructed primarily for the purpose of navigation).

About Loktak Lake

  • It is the largest freshwater lake in Northeast India and is located at Moirang in Manipur.
  • It is the only floating lake in the world due to the floating phumdis (heterogeneous mass of vegetation, soil, and organic matters at various stages of decomposition) on it.
  • Keibul Lamjao National Park located on the Loktak Lake is the last natural habitat of the “Sangai” (Rucervus eldii eldii), the dancing deer of Manipur.
  • Keibul Lamjao NP is the only floating National Park in the world.
  • This ancient lake plays an important role in the economy of Manipur. It serves as a source of water for hydropower generation, irrigation and drinking water supply.
  • The lake is also a source of livelihood for the rural fisherman who lives in the surrounding areas and on phumdis, also known as “phumshongs”.
  • Considering the ecological status and its biodiversity values, the lake was initially designated as a wetland of international importance under the Ramsar Convention on March 23, 1990.
  • It was also listed under the Montreux Record on June 16, 1993.

Criticisms

  • According to All Loktak Lake Areas Fishermen’s Union, Manipur (ALLAFUM), implementation of the Loktak Inland Waterways project will destroy the lake’s environment and biodiversity.
  • According to them, using motor boats at the lake will cause immense harm to the aquatic animals/lives in the lake.

[Source: All India Radio, northeasttourism.gov]

 

ENVIRONMENT

OPERATION CLEAN ART

Related Topic in KAS Prelims Syllabus:

Environment [Paper-II]: Policies and treaties for the protection of environment at the National and the International level, Biodiversity – its importance and concerns

News

  • First pan India operation to crackdown on the smuggling of mongoose hair was carried out recently in U.P, Rajasthan, Maharashtra and Kerala.
  • It was a planned raid, not to apprehend criminals, but to check on organised factories that were making paint brushes with mongoose hair.
  • Brushes made of mongoose hair are preferred in the industry because they are superior and hold colour better.

Operation Clean Art

  • It was the first pan India operation to crackdown on the smuggling of mongoose hair in the country.
  • It was conceived by Wildlife Crime Control Bureau (WCCB) with the singular aim of ensuring that the mongoose hair brush trade should be closed down across the country.
  • The entire operation across the country yielded 54,352 brushes and 113 kg of raw hair.
  • About 49 arrests were made and 27 cases were registered under the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972.

[Source: The Hindu]

 

NATIONAL POLLUTION PREVENTION DAY

Related Topic in KAS Prelims Syllabus:

Environment [Paper-II]: Issues and concerns related to environment, its legal aspects, policies and treaties for the protection of environment at the National and the International level

Context

December 2 is observed annually as National Pollution Prevention Day every year in India.

Why it is observed on December 2?

  • The day is observed in the memory of people who lost their lives in Bhopal gas tragedy
  • Bhopal gas tragedy occurred in the year 1984 on the night of 2–3 December
  • Many people died due to poisonous gas Methyl Isocyanate (MIC)
  • Bhopal Gas Tragedy is considered as one of biggest industrial pollution disasters

Objectives of the day

  • To spread awareness on managing and controlling industrial disasters
  • To prevent the pollution produced by industrial processes or human negligence
  • To make people and industries aware about the importance of pollution control acts

[Source: India Today, gcpcenvis.nic.in]

 

FACTS OF THE DAY 

INDIA ANNOUNCES $450 MILLION TO SRI LANKA
  • India announced a special Line of Credit of $50 million for strengthening Sri Lanka’s abilities to counter terror threats.
  • This was in addition to the $400 million Line of Credit that India announced for infrastructure development in the island nation.
  • Line of Credit is not a grant but a ‘soft loan’ provided on concessional interest rates to developing countries, which has to be repaid by the borrowing government.
FIRST CONSERVATION CENTRE FOR VULTURES IN U.P.
  • Uttar Pradesh government has decided to set up its first conservation centre for endangered vultures.
  • The Jatayu Conservation and Breeding Centre would be set up in the Bhari Baisi village in Pharendra area of Maharajganj district under the Gorakhpur Forest Division.
  • The centre would cover an area of five hectares and would be developed on the lines of the Pinjore Conservation and Breeding Centre in Haryana. The vulture research facility at Pinjore, Haryana became Asia’s first Vulture Conservation Breeding Centre in 2005.
  • The vulture conservation centre in Maharajganj would be a joint project of the Bombay Natural History Society and the Wildlife Research Institute. The BNHS has prepared a Detailed Project Report for the centre.
  • As per the 2013-14 statistics, around 900 vultures were found in 13 districts of Uttar Pradesh.
MANDATORY FACE SCANS FOR PHONE USERS
  • Chinese government has made it mandatory for people in China to scan their face when signing up for a new mobile or mobile data connection contract.
  • The new rule took effect from December 1, 2019.
  • According to the new rule, telecom operators should use “artificial intelligence and other technical means” to verify people’s identities when they take a new phone number.
INSTRUMENT IN SUPPORT OF TRADE EXCHANGES (INSTEX)
  • France, Germany and the U.K., the founding shareholders of the Instrument in Support of Trade Exchanges (INSTEX) welcomed the decision taken by the governments of Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Netherlands, Norway and Sweden, to join INSTEX as shareholders.
  • INSTEX barter mechanism was designed to circumvent U.S. sanctions against trade with Iran by avoiding use of the dollar.
  • Paris-based INSTEX functions as a clearing house allowing Iran to continue to sell oil and import other products or services in exchange.
  • The accession of the six new members will further strengthen INSTEX and demonstrates European efforts to facilitate legitimate trade between Europe and Iran.
OXFORD WORD OF THE YEAR FOR 2019
  • Oxford Dictionaries has named “climate emergency” as its 2019 Word of the Year, choosing it from an all-environmental shortlist that also included “climate action,” “climate denial,” “eco-anxiety,” “extinction” and “flight shame.”
  • The Word of the Year citation is intended to highlight “a word or expression shown through usage evidence to reflect the ethos, mood, or preoccupations of the passing year, and have a lasting potential as a term of cultural significance.”
  • According to the dictionary, climate emergency is defined as ‘a situation in which urgent action is required to reduce or halt climate change and avoid potentially irreversible environmental damage resulting from it.’
  • According to the dictionary’s data, usage of “climate emergency” soared 10,796%.
  • In 2019, “climate” became the most common word associated with “emergency”, three times more than “health emergency” in second.
G20 PRESIDENCY
  • Saudi Arabia has taken over the G20 Presidency from Japan. It is the first Arab nation to assume the G20 presidency.
  • Saudi Arabia will host the annual G20 leaders’ summit on November 21-22, 2020 in Riyadh. Japan hosted 2019 G20 summit in Osaka.
  • Group of Twenty (G20) is the premier forum for its members’ international economic cooperation and decision-making.
  • Its membership comprises 19 countries plus the European Union.
60TH KERALA STATE SCHOOL YOUTH FESTIVAL 2019
  • Palakkad was crowned as the champions of 60th Kerala State School Youth Festival held in Kanhangad, Kasargod.
  • This is the third time in the history of the festival that Palakkad district has bagged the top prize.
  • Kerala State School Youth Festival is considered to be the biggest cultural event of Asia.
  • In 2020, the event will be held at Kollam district.

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