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01 February 2024 Daily Current Affairs

Newly Added Ramsar sites - Daily current Affairs


India has increased its tally of Ramsar sites (Wetlands of International Importance) to 80 from existing 75 by designating five more wetlands as Ramsar sites.


About Ramsar site

Aspect

Details

About

1) Ramsar Sites, also known as Wetlands of International Importance, are designated areas under the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands.


2) The Ramsar Convention is an international treaty established in 1971 in Ramsar, Iran.


3) There are over 2,400 Ramsar Sites covering 2.5 million sq km on the territories of 171 Ramsar Contracting Parties across the world.


4) The world’s first site was the Cobourg Peninsula in Australia, designated in 1974.


5) The countries with the most Ramsar Sites are the United Kingdom with 175 and Mexico with 142.

Objective

to promote the conservation and sustainable use of wetlands, recognizing their ecological importance.

Latest addition to Ramsar sites in India

1) Karaivetti Bird Sanctuary, Tamil Nadu


2) Magadi Kere Conservation Reserve, Karnataka


3) Longwood Shola Reserve Forest, Tamil Nadu


4) Ankasamudra Bird Conservation Reserve, Karnataka


5) Aghanashini Estuary, Karnataka

Features of recently added Ramsar site

1) Karaivetti Bird Sanctuary-It is centred around a large freshwater lake. This lake is the focal point of the sanctuary and serves as a crucial habitat for a variety of bird species, both resident and migratory. It supports 1% population of Black-headed iblis and oriental Darter.


2) Magadi Kere Conservation Reserve-The bar-headed goose is one of the birds which migrate to Magadi wetlands.


3) Longwood Shola Reserve Forest-it derives its name from the Tamil word, “Solai”, which means a ‘tropical rain forest’.


It maintains the hydrological regime of the region, by capturing rainwater through marshes and then releasing it via streams.


It is home to the threatened Nilgiri marten and other rare fauna and flora.


4) Ankasamudra Bird Conservation Reserve-It is the only place in Karnatka where Great Indian Bustard can be seen.


5) Aghanashini Estuary– It is formed at the confluence of Aghanashini River with the Arabian sea.


The brackish water of the Estuary provides diverse ecosystem services including flood and erosion risk mitigation, biodiversity conservation and livelihood support.

States having largest number of Ramsar sites

1) Tamilnadu-16


2) Uttar Pradesh-10


3) Odisha-6


4) Punjab-6

2. Maratha Military Landscapes: -

Why in News: - India nominates 12 forts of Marathas as ‘Maratha Military Landscapes’ for inclusion in the UNESCO World Heritage list for 2024-25.

  • Maratha Military Landscapes – It represent a fortification and military system envisioned by the Maratha rulers.

  • Only 12 forts are nominated as Maratha landscapes.

  • Out of 12, 11 are in Maharashtra and 1 is from Tamil Nadu.

  • Earlier, it was included in the Tentative List of World Heritage sites in 2021.


In Maharashtra there are 6 World Heritage Sites, 5 cultural (Ajanta Caves, Ellora Caves, Elephanta Caves, Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus, Victorian Gothic and Art Deco Ensembles of Mumbai) and 1 natural (western Ghats of Maharashtra, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Kerala as serial property).

  • 11 in Maharashtra

  • Hill forts – Salher, Shivneri, Lohgad, Raigad and Rajgad.

  • Hill-forest fort – Pratapgad.

  • Hill-plateau fort – Panhala.

  • Coastal fort – Vijaydurg.

  • Island forts – Khanderi fort, Suvarnadurg and Sindhudurg.

  • 1 in Tamil Nadu

  • Hill fort – Gingee Fort.


Criteria for UNESCO Heritage list

3. Snow Leopard Population Assessment in India (SPAI) Program

Recently, Indian government released the report, ‘Status of Snow Leopards in India’ under Snow Leopard Population Assessment in India.

  • It is the 1st ever population estimation of Snow Leopard.

Techniques – Use methods as outlined under the Global Snow Leopard and Ecosystem Protection Program’s (GSLEP) Population Assessment of the World’s Snow leopards (PAWS) initiatiative.


  • Ladakh has the highest estimated population (477) followed by Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh, Sikkim, and Jammu and Kashmir.

  • Recommendations – To establish a dedicated Snow Leopard Cell at Wildlife Institute of India.

Snow Leopard Census

About Snow Leopards: - Range12 countries,  Afghanistan, Bhutan, China, India, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia, Nepal, Pakistan, Russia, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan.

  • Global population – Estimated at 3020 to 5390.

  • IUCN StatusVulnerable


3. Interim Budget

The interim Budget, a ‘stop-gap’ arrangement, will be presented by Union Finance Minister of India on February 1 as a full Budget will be presented in June-July.

  • Definition – It is a shorter-term financial statement that allows for the smooth functioning of the government until a new administration can present a full budget for the entire fiscal year.

Budget or Annual financial statement is a statement of the estimated receipts and expenditure of the Government of India for a specific financial year according to Article 112 of the Indian Constitution.
  • NeedIn an election year, the incumbent Government cannot present a full Budget as there may be a change in the executive.

  • Legality – There is no constitutional provision, so the Centre can seek the Lower House’s approval for the funds for the transition period via the vote on account provision.

Vote on Account

  • Article 116 – It allows the Lower House to make any grant in advance for the estimated expenditure for part of any financial year by voting and passing such a legislation.

  • Lok Sabha is empowered to authorise withdrawal of required funds from the Consolidated Fund of India for such expenditure.

  • Coverage – Centre’s fund requirements for salaries, ongoing projects and other expenditure for the transitional period.

  • Limitation – It cannot make any changes to tax rates.

  • Validity – Only for 2 months, can be extended up to 4 months.

  • Convention – It has been the trend for outgoing governments to present an interim budget instead of a vote on account.

  • Features - It will present the current state of the Indian economy, its fiscal status including India’s revised estimated growth in the next year and also detail the government’s planned and non-planned expenditure and receipts.

  • The government is allowed to revise tax rates.

Similarities of Interim Budget with Full Budget

  • It is presented by Union Finance Minister to both house of the Parliament and will be put to vote and then sent for Presidential approval.

  • It is also debated in the Lok Sabha before passage and is valid for the entire year though it is merely a transition arrangement.

Differences between Interim Budget and Full Budget

  • It would just be to meet with the expenditure till a new government enact a full Budget.

  • No spectacular announcements are made unlike full Budget.

  • In 2024 – India is likely go to polls in April-May, thus Interim Budget will be presented for the 1st 4 months of this fiscal year.

If the Budget is not passed by the Lok Sabha, the Prime Minister and his Cabinet will have to resign.

4. PHANGS: -

PHANGS (Physics at High Angular resolution in Nearby GalaxieS) program

  • The Physics at High Angular resolution in Nearby GalaxieS (PHANGS) program is a long-term project that uses telescopes to observe nearby galaxies.

  • The program is supported by over 150 astronomers worldwide.

  • The program uses telescopes like

  • Atacama Large Millimeter Array – (ALMA),

  • Hubble Space Telescope, James Webb Space Telescope, and

  • Very Large Telescope (VLT) to make high-resolution observations.

  • PHANGS-ALMA survey examines the molecular gas disks of 90 nearby galaxies.

5. Subika paintings(Manipur): -

The Subika painting style is intricately linked to the Meitei community’s cultural history through its six surviving manuscripts — Subika, Subika Achouba, Subika Laishaba, Subika Choudit, Subika Cheithil and Thengrakhel Subika. Unfortunately, awareness about this unique art form has dwindled over the years, leading to its near extinction.


This ancient painting style used in the Puyas (archaic Manipuri manuscripts)


6. Internet Suspensions in India – The great Indian Internet shutdown

News: The article discusses how the Indian government frequently shuts down the internet, which violates a Supreme Court ruling and negatively impacts the economy and public trust.


What was Anuradha Bhasin judgment?

Recognition of Internet as a Fundamental Right: The Anuradha Bhasin judgment, in January 2020 by the Supreme Court of India, declared that access to the Internet is a fundamental right under the Indian Constitution.

Context of the Judgment: This decision came from the case Anuradha Bhasin vs Union of India, which was in response to internet restrictions in Jammu and Kashmir.

Conditions for Internet Restrictions: The Court ruled that any government restriction on internet access must be temporary, lawful, necessary, and proportionate.

Review of Restrictions: The ruling emphasized that government orders to restrict internet access are subject to judicial review.

Expectation of Limited Suspensions: The judgment was expected to limit internet suspensions to extreme cases involving public emergencies or safety threats.

What actions have been taken by the Parliament in relation to internet suspensions in India?

Amendment to Telecom Suspension Rules in 2020: The Indian Parliament amended the Telecom Suspension Rules, 2017, following the Supreme Court’s judgment. This amendment limited Internet suspension orders to a maximum of 15 days. The amendment did not mandate the publication of suspension orders, nor did it include the Supreme Court’s direction for periodic review of these orders.

Non-Statutory Recognition of Court Rulings: The government has not given statutory recognition to the Supreme Court’s directives in the Anuradha Bhasin judgment, leading to a lack of awareness and compliance among officials.

What is the issue with internet suspensions in India?

Violation of Supreme Court Ruling: Despite the Anuradha Bhasin judgment declaring internet access a fundamental right, India frequently imposes internet shutdowns.

Lack of Transparency in Suspension Orders: The government often fails to publish the reasons for internet shutdowns, undermining legal processes and public trust.

Challenges in Legal Redressal: Without publicly available suspension orders, it’s difficult for citizens to challenge shutdowns in court.

Non-Compliance Across India: Compliance with the Anuradha Bhasin judgment is low nationwide, not just in Jammu and Kashmir.



Source-This post on South China Sea has been created based on the article “Philippines and Vietnam agree to expand cooperation in South China Sea, which Beijing also claims” published in “The Hindu” on 30 January 2024.

Why in the news?

The Philippines and Vietnam have recently signed agreements to avoid incidents in the South China Sea and enhance cooperation between their coast guards.

About South China Sea

It is one of the world’s most important, strategic, and contentious bodies of water.

It is an arm of western Pacific Ocean in Southeast Asia.

Bordering states and territories

South China Sea Map

Source-Reserchgate

(clockwise from north): the People’s Republic of China, the Republic of China (Taiwan), the Philippines, Malaysia, Brunei, Indonesia, Singapore and Vietnam.

Features

1) It is connected by Taiwan Strait with the East China Sea and by Luzon Strait with the Philippine Sea.2) It contains numerous shoals, reefs, atolls and islands. For example-The Paracel Islands, the Spratly Islands and the Scarborough Shoal.








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