Polity & Governance
- Draft Notification for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Dog Breeding and Marketing) Rules, 2016
- SC orders audit of 30 lakh NGOs
- Cash for land is just not done: SC
Environment & Ecology
- Study throws light on groundwater, rainfall link
- Effects of Endosulfan devastating: SC
- New species of gibbon discovered in China
Key Facts for Prelims
- National Youth Festival
- India’s first Student Startup and Innovation Policy
- IRCTC Rail Connect app
Polity & Governance
Draft Notification for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Dog Breeding and Marketing) Rules, 2016
The Union Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC) has released draft notification of Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Dog Breeding and Marketing Rules), 2016.
- The objective of the Rules is to make dog breeders and their marketers accountable and to prevent infliction of any cruelty on dogs in this process.
What is the issue?
In recent times dog breeding and their marketing trade also mushroomed all around but with little or no accountability.
This is for the first time Government has framed rules on the breeding, sale and purchase of dogs in the country.
Earlier there were also no specific rules for mandatory registration of breeders and establishments and requirements to be met by such breeders.
These rules have been framed in pursuance of Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (PCA) Act, 1960 to prevent infliction of unnecessary pain, or suffering on animals.
- It will be mandatory for all dog breeders and the dog breeding establishments to register themselves with the State Animal Welfare Board of the respective State Governments.
- It defines the breeding requirements/conditions for sale.
- It defines the requirements to be met by the breeders and the establishments used for breeding, or housing dogs, such as health-related requirements, housing facilities, manner of housing dogs, conditions for sale, breeding, micro-chipping, vaccination etc.
- An inspector authorised by the State Board can inspect the establishment.
- It is mandatory for dog breeders to maintain proper records of both male and female dogs, their breed, micro-chip number, number of litters, sale, purchase, death, rehabilitation etc.
- Every dog breeder is required to submit yearly report to the State Board regarding animals sold, traded, bartered, brokered, given away, boarded or exhibited during previous year or any other information asked for by the State Board.
SC orders audit of 30 lakh NGOs
The Supreme Court has directed the government to audit nearly 30 lakh NGOs which received public funds but consistently failed to explain how they spent the money.
What else the court asked?
- The court has asked the government to initiate civil recovery proceedings against such rogue organisations.
- It has also ordered that any NGO found to have cooked its books or indulged in misappropriation should be subject to immediate criminal prosecution.
- The court has also asked the government to frame guidelines for accreditation of NGOs, the manner in which these organisations should maintain their accounts and the procedure for recovery in case they fail to submit their balance sheets.
- The Supreme Court demanded that the government file a compliance report by March 31, 2017.
Significance of this ruling:
- The order is unprecedented because defaulting NGOs so far have been only blacklisted by the government.
- Though public funds to the tune of thousands of crores are spent on NGOs and voluntary organisations annually, the CBI had submitted that only about three lakh of about 32 lakh NGOs file their balance sheets with the government.
Cash for land is just not done: SC
Agreeing to hear the plight of the landless victims of the Sardar Sarovar Project in detail, the Supreme Court recently observed that giving cash instead of land to farmers who lost their fertile lands to the mega dam project is “tentatively” not acceptable.
- The court also observed that farmers in the region should not be left to suffer due to land acquisition.
What’s the issue?
Earlier, the apex court had dismissed an application by the Madhya Pradesh government and the Narmada Valley Development Authority for a modification of the apex court judgments of 2000 and 2005 upholding land rights for adult sons of the Sardar Sarovar Project-affected farmers.
About Sardar Sarovar Project:
The Sardar Sarovar Project is one of the largest water resources project of India covering four major states – Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat and Rajasthan.
- The Sardar Sarovar Dam is a gravity dam on the Narmada river near Navagam, Gujarat in India.
- It is the largest dam and part of the Narmada Valley Project, a large hydraulic engineering project involving the construction of a series of large irrigation and hydroelectric multi-purpose dams on the Narmada river.
- The project took form in 1979 as part of a development scheme to increase irrigation and produce hydroelectricity.
- Dam’s spillway discharging capacity (30.7 lakhs cusecs) would be third highest in the world.
- The dam will be the third highest concrete dam (163 meters) in India, the first two being Bhakra (226 metres) in Himachal Pradesh and Lakhwar (192 meters) in Uttar Pradesh.
Environment & Ecology
Study throws light on groundwater, rainfall link
According to a study carried out by a team of researchers from the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Gandhinagar, the groundwater level in north India has been declining at a rate of 2 cm per year during the period 2002-2013, while in north-central and south India, it has increased by 1-2 cm per year during the same period.
Highlights of the study:
- While changes in monsoon rainfall pattern during the period of study can largely explain the total variability of groundwater storage in north-central and south India, the usage of groundwater for irrigation purposes accounts for groundwater variability in northwest India.
- The increased usage of groundwater for irrigation in northwest India is, in turn, linked to changes in monsoon rainfall pattern.
- In Punjab and Haryana, groundwater extraction was mainly responsible for declining groundwater storage.
- For instance, over the Gangetic Plain and other parts of north India monsoon rainfall has been declining since 1950, leading to reduced recharge of groundwater.
- Also, as a result of declining monsoon rainfall and intensive agriculture, groundwater withdrawals in the country have increased over tenfold since the 1950s — from 10-20 cubic km per year in 1950, to 240-260 cubic km per year in 2009.
Effects of Endosulfan devastating: SC
The Supreme Court has described side effects of Endosulfan, a highly toxic agrochemical (pesticide) as devastating.
- It has directed Kerala government to release entire Rs. 500 crore compensation to over 5,000 victims in three months who have suffered from various deformities and health complications due to use of Endosulfan in the state.
- It also asked the state to consider setting up a centre to provide lifelong medical treatment to all the victims.
- The major numbers of victims were reported to be affected in Kasargode (Kerala) after Endosulfan was aerially sprayed by state owned company on cashew plantations adjoining habitats where the victims are located.
- The apex court in 2011 had passed order to ban the production, distribution and use of endosulfan.
Endosulfan is the most toxic pesticides having hazardous effects on human genetic and endocrine systems.
Its harmful effects:
- In case of humans it causes delayed reproductive development, autism, bioaccumulation, endocrine disruption (stunting of hormones), long-range contamination, neurotoxicity, long-range contamination and sensory Loss.
- It blocks the inhibitory receptors of the Central Nervous System, disrupts the ionic channels and destroys the integrity of the nerve cells.
- The spraying of endsosulfan also destroys biodiversity of the area.
Ban on Endosulfan:
- Because of its threats to human health and the environment, a global ban on the manufacture and use of endosulfan was negotiated under the Stockholm Convention in April 2011.
- The ban has taken effect in mid-2012, with certain uses exempted for five additional years.
- More than 80 countries, including the European Union, Australia, New Zealand, several West African nations, the United States, Brazil, and Canada had already banned it or announced phase-outs by the time the Stockholm Convention ban was agreed upon.
- It is still used extensively in India, China, and few other countries.
New species of gibbon discovered in China
Scientists have discovered a new species of gibbon living in south-west China’s rainforests.
- It has been named the Skywalker hoolock gibbon by its discoverers, who are Star Wars fans.
- The name is also a nod to the fact that the Chinese characters of its scientific name, Hoolock tianxing, mean “Heaven’s movement”.
- Gibbons are renowned for their loud song, which they use to mark territory, and this also sounded unusual.
- The scientists estimate that about 200 Skywalker gibbons are living in China and also potentially in neighbouring Myanmar.
- Habitat loss and fragmentation is putting the gibbons at risk of extinction.
- The scientists say that the species should already be classified as endangered.
Key Facts for Prelims
National Youth Festival
- It is organized every year by the Department of Youth Affairs of Union Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports on the birth anniversary of Swami Vivekananda on January 12.
- This year’s theme is- “Youth for Digital India”.
- This time the festival is being organized in Rohtak, Haryana.
- The Mascot of the festival has also been decided in view of the long standing skewed sex ratio especially in a state like Haryana.
- Selection of ‘Lado’ reflect the sensitivity of the state government towards the gender inequality in the state and to bring women at par with men which both the government is committed to combat.
India’s first Student Startup and Innovation Policy
- Gujarat government launched India’s first student startup and innovation policy with an aim to provide Rs 200 crore in the form of grants to ideas developed by students.
- The policy aims to support over 1,000 innovation per year in the state and create pre-incubation support in all universities of the state.
- The policy has been developed under the aegis of Education Department and state government will provide Rs 200 crore as State Innovation Fund (SIF) during the next five years.
IRCTC Rail Connect app
- The Union Ministry of Railway has launched new passenger mobile application named ‘IRCTC Rail Connect app’ to promote ease of ticketing through digital transactions.
- The new mobile-based application will replace the old existing IRCTC connect app.
- It has been developed for reserved booking and to increase the ease to users.
- It will be integrated with IRCTC e-wallet for faster and hassle free transactions.