- Russia’s Luna 25
- Wildfires in Hawaii
- Bill to Alter Chief Election Commissioner Appointment Process
- Coastal Aquaculture Authority (Amendment) Bill, 2023
- Select Committee for the Delhi Services Bill
- Legionnaire’s disease
- United Nations Population Fund
- Indian Flying Fox bat
Recently, Russia launched its first moon-landing spacecraft in 47 years in a bid to be the first nation to make a soft landing on the lunar south pole. This mission, called Luna-25, is Russia’s first lunar attempt since 1976 and is in competition with India’s Chandrayaan-3 lunar lander that was launched last month.
GS III: Science and Technology
Dimensions of the Article:
- Luna-25 Moon Mission
- Russia’s Preceding Arrival
- Differences Between Luna-25 and Chandrayaan-3 Missions
- India and Russia’s Collaboration in Space Activities
Luna-25 Moon Mission
- A Luna-25 spacecraft was propelled into space by a Soyuz 2.1v rocket from the Vostochny cosmodrome, situated 5,550 kilometers east of Moscow, initiating the mission on August 11.
- The Space chief of Russia has projected that the lander will achieve touchdown on the moon’s surface by August 21.
- In contrast, India’s lunar mission is unable to land prior to August 23 due to the timing of lunar dawn at its intended landing site.
Operating Objectives of Luna-25:
- Luna-25, resembling the dimensions of a small car, is designed to function effectively on the moon’s south pole for a span of one year.
Russia’s Preceding Arrival:
- Russia’s Luna-25 launch came subsequent to Chandrayaan-3’s launch by almost a month (on July 14). Despite this, Luna-25 is projected to cover the extensive 3.84-lakh-km journey in mere days.
Explaining the Speed Difference:
- This can be attributed to Luna-25’s ability to adopt a more direct trajectory towards the moon. This advantage stems from its lighter payload and augmented fuel storage capacity.
- Luna-25’s launch mass stands at a mere 1,750 kg, a stark contrast to Chandrayaan-3’s 3,900 kg.
Path Adaptation for Chandrayaan-3:
- Due to Chandrayaan-3’s reliance on the LVM3 vehicle, which possessed a lower fuel reserve, a longer, more circuitous route was chosen.
- This involved a sequence of orbital adjustments after the Earth launch to boost velocity, ultimately propelling the spacecraft towards the moon.
- Chandrayaan-3’s arrival in lunar orbit took nearly 22 days following its launch.
Early Arrival Factors for Luna-25:
- Luna-25’s earlier landing can also be attributed to the fact that lunar dawn at its designated landing site will transpire earlier.
- Given that one lunar day equates to 14 Earth days and the payloads rely on solar panels, landing at the commencement of a lunar day guarantees a full 14 days for experiments.
Differences Between Luna-25 and Chandrayaan-3 Missions
- Luna-25: Unlike Chandrayaan-3, Luna-25 doesn’t carry a rover for mobility.
- Chandrayaan-3: Equipped with a rover capable of covering approximately 500 meters.
- Luna-25: Carries eight payloads to primarily study soil composition, dust particles in the polar exosphere, and crucially, to detect surface water.
- Chandrayaan-3: Features scientific instruments for studying lunar soil and water-ice.
- Luna-25: Chosen for its proximity to the southern pole, which harbors craters in permanent shadow, increasing the likelihood of water-ice discovery.
- Chandrayaan-3: Also focuses on exploring the lunar south pole region for water-ice presence.
- Luna-25: Engineered for a mission duration of one year, facilitated by a heating mechanism and an alternate power source beyond solar panels.
- Chandrayaan-3: Designed to function for a single lunar day (14 Earth days) due to the absence of a heating mechanism to protect electronics during the lunar night’s extreme cold temperatures.
India and Russia’s Collaboration in Space Activities
- India and Russia have a longstanding history of collaboration in space exploration and activities.
Lander-Rover Collaboration for Chandrayaan-2:
- Initially, Russia was engaged to design the lander-rover for India’s Chandrayaan-2 mission.
- Russia’s involvement was disrupted due to the failure of its Fobos Grunt mission to Mars’ moon.
- This prompted India to independently develop the lander-rover, leading to a gap of 11 years between Chandrayaan-1 and Chandrayaan-2 missions.
Cryogenic Engine Technology:
- The predecessors of the LVM3 rocket, which launched Chandrayaan-3, used cryogenic engines obtained from Russia.
- India later progressed to develop this technology indigenously.
- Despite the challenges and transitions, India and Russia’s collaboration has played a role in shaping India’s space capabilities and advancements.
- Their history of joint efforts signifies the spirit of international cooperation in space exploration.
Source: Indian Express
In one of the worst natural disasters to hit the US, multiple wildfires are raging through Hawaii, especially the island of Maui.
- So far,80 people have died and thousands have been displaced. More than 48 hours after it started, the fires are yet to be brought under complete control by crews.
GS I- Geography
Dimensions of the Article:
- What is wildfire?
- What causes Wildfire?
- Impact of Wildfires in Hawaii
- How dangerous is inhaling wildfire smoke?
What is wildfire?
- A wildfire is an uncontrolled fire that burns in the wildland vegetation, often in rural areas.
- Wildfires can burn in forests, grasslands, savannas, and other ecosystems, and have been doing so for hundreds of millions of years.
- They are not limited to a particular continent or environment.
What causes Wildfire?
- Wildfires require right climatic conditions, burnable fuel and a spark.
- Rising temperatures suck moisture out of plants, creating an abundance of dry fuel.
- Drought and high heat can kill plants and dry out dead grass, and other material on the forest floor that fuel the fire once it starts sweeping through a patch.
- While dry vegetation is the burnable fuel that serves as kindling for fires, the spark is sometimes caused by lightning, at other times by accident or recklessness of the local population.
Impact of Wildfires in Hawaii
- The recent wildfires in Hawaii have primarily impacted the island of Maui, which is part of the Hawaiian archipelago.
- The coastal town of Lahaina, known for its art galleries and historical significance, has reportedly been devastated by the fire.
- Other affected areas include the coastal cities of Kihei and the picturesque mountain slopes of Kula, both located on Maui.
- Parts of the Big Island (Hawai’i) have also been affected by the wildfires.
Causes of the Wildfires:
- Human and Natural Causes: The exact cause of the fire remains uncertain, but it is likely a combination of both human and natural factors.
- Human-Caused: Data from sources like the US Forest Service indicates that a significant proportion (85 percent) of wildfires in the US are caused by human activities, including campfires, garbage burning, equipment malfunctions, and cigarette disposal.
- Natural Causes: Natural causes such as volcanic activity and lightning strikes also contribute to wildfires.
- Drought Conditions: Maui was experiencing severe drought, leading to dry conditions and dry non-native grasses and vegetation that served as fuel for the fires.
Role of Hurricane Dora:
- Wind Origin: The wildfires were exacerbated by strong winds that blew at almost 100 kmph. These winds originated from Hurricane Dora, a powerful Pacific storm.
- Atmospheric Pressure Zones: While Hurricane Dora did not directly hit Hawaii, the islands were situated between high and low-pressure zones created by the hurricane. This led to the strong winds spreading the fire and making containment efforts challenging.
Climate Change’s Influence:
- Amplifying Wildfires: Climate change itself doesn’t directly cause wildfires, but it intensifies their impact and likelihood.
- Increased Severity: Climate change results in more severe and larger wildfires by creating conditions conducive to their spread.
- Greenhouse Gas Emissions: Burning fossil fuels releases greenhouse gases, contributing to global warming, which in turn contributes to more favorable conditions for wildfires.
- Future Projection: According to the United Nations, climate change is expected to lead to a significant increase in extreme wildfires globally over the coming decades.
How dangerous is inhaling wildfire smoke?
- While fire poses a direct risk to people’s life and property, wildfire smoke, and particularly the concentration of PM 2.5, or particles smaller than 2.5 microns, can also affect the respiratory and cardiovascular systems.
- For those already suffering from cardiovascular or respiratory illnesses, there is a risk of flare-ups.
Source: Indian Express
The Government has introduced a bill in the Rajya Sabha to modify the appointment process of the Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) and Election Commissioners (ECs). The proposed bill aims to exclude the Chief Justice of India (CJI) from the panel responsible for selecting the CEC and ECs. This change has triggered discussions about the composition of the selection committee and its potential impact on the process’s independence.
GS II: Polity and Governance
Dimensions of the Article:
- Background of the Chief Election Commissioner Appointment Issue
- Current Process of Appointment for CEC and ECs
- Key Features of the Bill Aiming to Alter the Appointment Process of CEC and ECs
- Concerns Regarding the Proposed Changes to the Appointment Process of CEC and ECs
Background of the Chief Election Commissioner Appointment Issue
The context for the recent bill can be traced back to a series of legal developments:
Supreme Court Ruling (March 2023):
- In March 2023, the Supreme Court ruled that the Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) and Election Commissioners (ECs) would be appointed by the President of India, following the advice of a committee comprising the Prime Minister, Leader of Opposition in the Lok Sabha, and the Chief Justice of India.
- This arrangement was to be followed until a proper law was enacted by Parliament to address the appointment process.
Originating from a PIL:
- The legal process began with a 2015 Public Interest Litigation (PIL) challenging the constitutionality of the Centre-appointed members of the Election Commission.
- This PIL raised concerns about the independence of the election body.
Constitutional Article and Legal Complexity:
- Article 324(2) of the Indian Constitution outlines the composition and appointment of the Election Commission.
- It stipulates that the President shall appoint the Chief Election Commissioner and other Election Commissioners, with the provision for a law to be enacted by Parliament regarding these appointments. Since no such law had been enacted, legal ambiguity persisted.
Supreme Court Intervention:
- The case progressed over the years, and in 2018, a two-judge bench of the Supreme Court referred the matter to a larger bench due to the complexity of interpreting Article 324.
- This step was taken as the issue required a thorough examination and analysis of the constitutional article’s nuances.
Addressing the Constitutional Vacuum:
- In the absence of a parliamentary law as mandated by Article 324, the Supreme Court took the initiative to fill the “constitutional vacuum” and provide a temporary framework for CEC and EC appointments through its March 2023 judgment.
Introduction of the Bill:
- The bill introduced in the Rajya Sabha seeks to formalize the appointment process for the CEC and ECs through legislative means, thereby addressing the constitutional gap highlighted by the Supreme Court’s previous interventions.
- This legislative approach aims to establish a structured and statutory procedure for these appointments.
Current Process of Appointment for CEC and ECs
The appointment process for the Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) and Election Commissioners (ECs) in India currently lacks a well-defined legislative framework. The existing process can be summarized as follows:
- Part XV (Elections) of the Indian Constitution encompasses five articles (Article 324 to Article 329) that pertain to the conduct of elections in the country.
- Article 324 specifically grants the Election Commission the authority of “superintendence, direction, and control of elections.”
Composition of the Election Commission:
- Article 324 establishes the Election Commission as a body responsible for overseeing elections.
- It consists of the Chief Election Commissioner and other Election Commissioners, whose number can be determined by the President as required.
- Prior to the Supreme Court’s intervention in March 2023, the process of appointing the CEC and ECs was vested in the President of India.
- The President made these appointments based on the recommendations presented by the government.
Key Features of the Bill Aiming to Alter the Appointment Process of CEC and ECs
The proposed bill to amend the appointment process of the Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) and Election Commissioners (ECs) contains several significant features:
Composition of the Selection Committee:
- The Selection Committee for appointing the CEC and ECs will comprise:
- The Prime Minister as the Chairperson
- The Leader of the Opposition in Lok Sabha (or the leader of the largest opposition party in Lok Sabha if the Leader of the Opposition position is vacant)
- A Union Cabinet Minister nominated by the Prime Minister
- The bill introduces the establishment of a Search Committee responsible for preparing a panel of five individuals to be considered for the roles of CEC and ECs.
- The Search Committee will be led by the Cabinet Secretary and include two members of the rank of Secretary, knowledgeable and experienced in electoral matters.
Non-Invalidation due to Vacancy:
- The appointments of the CEC and other ECs will not be nullified due to any vacancies or shortcomings in the composition of the Selection Committee.
Repealing of Previous Act:
- The bill proposes the repeal of the Election Commission (Conditions of Service of Election Commissioners and Transaction of Business) Act, 1991.
- Upon passing of the new Act, the functioning of the Election Commission will be governed by the new legislation.
- The 1991 Act currently stipulates that the salary of ECs should be equivalent to that of a Supreme Court judge.
- The bill aligns the salary, allowances, and service conditions of the CEC and other ECs with those of the Cabinet Secretary.
Unanimity and Majority Decision:
- The proposed bill retains the provision that the affairs of the Election Commission should be conducted unanimously whenever feasible.
- In the event of a difference of opinion, the view supported by the majority will prevail.
Concerns Regarding the Proposed Changes to the Appointment Process of CEC and ECs
The proposed changes to the appointment process of the Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) and Election Commissioners (ECs) have sparked concerns on several fronts:
Imbalance in Selection Committee:
- The inclusion of the Prime Minister and a Cabinet Minister nominated by the Prime Minister in the three-member committee raises concerns about the committee’s balance of power.
- With the Leader of the Opposition potentially holding a minority vote, the composition of the committee might not ensure equitable decision-making from the outset.
Impact on Independence:
- The proposed changes could potentially impact the autonomy and independence of the Election Commission of India (ECI).
- A committee with a significant representation from the Executive branch might raise questions about the ECI’s ability to function independently and free from undue influence.
Integrity of the Election Process:
- The independence of the Election Commission is paramount to ensure a fair and impartial electoral process.
- Any perception of the Executive’s involvement or influence in the selection process might undermine the ECI’s credibility in conducting elections without bias.
- The Supreme Court’s previous ruling highlighted that the framers of the Constitution intended for an independent body to oversee elections.
- Critics argue that the proposed changes might deviate from this intent by potentially giving the Executive more influence in the appointment process.
Questions About Impartiality:
- The composition of the new Selection Committee might raise questions about whether the process will lead to the appointment of individuals who can maintain impartiality and act in the best interests of conducting free and fair elections.
-Source: Indian Express
The Coastal Aquaculture Authority (Amendment) Bill, 2023, recently passed by Parliament. These amendments seek to address ambiguities, streamline administrative processes, and integrate emerging aquaculture practices.
GS II: Polity and Governance
Dimensions of the Article:
- Coastal Aquaculture Authority Act, 2005
- Major Provisions of Coastal Aquaculture Authority (Amendment) Bill, 2023
- Status of Coastal Aquaculture in India
Coastal Aquaculture Authority Act, 2005
Coastal Aquaculture Authority Act, 2005: The Coastal Aquaculture Authority Act, 2005 is legislation aimed at regulating coastal aquaculture activities along coastlines and estuaries. Its key provisions include:
- Special Organization: Creation of the Coastal Aquaculture Authority to manage and control seafood cultivation activities near the coast.
- Environmental Protection: Ensuring that coastal aquaculture practices do not harm the environment.
- Scope: Regulating the cultivation and rearing of aquatic organisms such as fish, shellfish, and aquatic plants in marine or brackish water environments.
Major Provisions of Coastal Aquaculture Authority (Amendment) Bill, 2023:
The Coastal Aquaculture Authority (Amendment) Bill, 2023 introduces significant changes to the existing Act. Key provisions include:
- Definition Broadening: Bringing all coastal aquaculture activities under the Act, including methods beyond shrimp farming like cage culture, seaweed culture, and ornamental fish culture.
- Emerging Practices: Recognition of environmentally friendly aquaculture practices to boost revenue and employment opportunities for coastal communities.
Facilitating Aquaculture Units:
- Within No Development Zone (NDZ): Allowing hatcheries, Broodstock multiplication centers, and Nucleus Breeding Centres to operate within 200 meters from the High Tide Line (HTL).
Simplifying Regulatory Processes:
- Registration Modification: Replacing imprisonment with civil penalties for unregistered coastal aquaculture activities.
- Operational Flexibility: Allowing modifications of certificates of registration for changes in ownership or activity size.
- Delay Condoning: Empowering the Coastal Aquaculture Authority to condone renewal application delays with a compounded fee.
Environmental Protection and Compliance:
- Emission and Effluents Standards: Authority empowered to establish emission or effluent discharge standards for aquaculture units.
- Polluter Pays Principle: Holding aquaculture unit owners responsible for environment-related damage costs.
- Ecologically Sensitive Areas: Prohibiting aquaculture activities in vulnerable ecosystems.
Advancing Disease Prevention and Sustainability:
- Antibiotic-Free Aquaculture: Prohibiting the use of antibiotics and pharmacologically active substances to prioritize aquatic ecosystem health.
Status of Coastal Aquaculture in India
India boasts a vast coastline of approximately 7,517 km, providing a promising platform for the development of coastal aquaculture. Here’s an overview of the current status of coastal aquaculture in the country:
- Diverse Species Cultivation: Coastal aquaculture in India encompasses a range of aquatic organisms, including shrimp, fish, crab, oyster, mussel, seaweed, and pearl.
- Shrimp Dominance: Shrimp production has been a dominant force in Indian coastal aquaculture. Over the past nine years, shrimp production has witnessed an astounding surge of 267%.
- Seafood Exports Soar: The growth in shrimp production has had a significant impact on seafood exports from India. The country’s seafood exports have experienced a remarkable doubling effect, skyrocketing from Rs 30,213 crore in 2013-14 to Rs 63,969 crore in 2022-23.
- Shrimp’s Contribution: It’s important to note that a substantial portion of the increased seafood exports can be attributed to shrimp cultivation.
- Key States Driving Growth: Several coastal states have played pivotal roles in driving the expansion of coastal aquaculture, particularly shrimp production and subsequent exports:
- Andhra Pradesh
- Tamil Nadu
- Export Contribution: These states have contributed significantly to the surge in shrimp production and exports, bolstering India’s position in the global seafood market.
-Source: Indian Express
Recently, the formation of a Select Committee for the Delhi Services Bill, has sparked controversy after several Members of Parliament (MPs) claimed that their names were included without their consent.
GS II: Polity and Governance
Dimensions of the Article:
- Select Committee
- Formation of Select Committees
- Function and Role of Select Committees
A Select Committee is a specialized and temporary committee formed within a parliamentary system to scrutinize and analyze specific bills. Here’s a concise overview of its key characteristics:
- Nature and Purpose: Select Committees are ad hoc or temporary committees established with a distinct purpose: to thoroughly examine and scrutinize specific bills introduced in the parliament.
- Membership Restriction: Membership in Select Committees is limited exclusively to Members of Parliament (MPs) from a single house, either the Lok Sabha or the Rajya Sabha. This distinguishes them from Joint Parliamentary Committees (JPC), which involve MPs from both houses.
- Focused Disbandment: Select Committees are formed for a particular task, which, upon completion, leads to their dissolution. Once the committee has fulfilled its designated objective, it ceases to exist.
- Procedural Clarity: Despite being temporary, Select Committees operate within well-defined procedures and rules outlined in the Parliament’s Rules of Procedure. This ensures a structured and systematic approach to their functioning.
- Exclusivity of Purpose: Select Committees are convened with a singular focus on examining specific bills in detail. They are not permanent standing committees that oversee broader aspects of governance.
In contrast to Select Committees, Joint Parliamentary Committees (JPC) are established to address specific issues by involving MPs from both the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha. This collaborative approach ensures comprehensive analysis and decision-making.
Formation of Select Committees
Select Committees play a significant role in the parliamentary process. Here’s how they are formed and how they operate:
Formation of Select Committees:
- Initiation: A Select Committee is established through a motion presented by either the Minister in-charge of the concerned bill or any member of the Parliament. This motion proposes the formation of a committee to scrutinize the bill in question.
- Adoption: The motion is then put to a vote in the House. If the motion is adopted, the Select Committee is officially created with the purpose of thoroughly examining and reporting on the referred bill.
Selecting Members for a Select Committee:
- Naming Members: The motion to establish the Select Committee includes a list of specific members who are proposed to serve on the committee. These members are chosen based on their expertise, interest, or relevance to the bill under consideration.
- Appointment: The House appoints the members listed in the motion to the Select Committee. Consent from the proposed members is essential for their appointment to the committee.
- Consent: In the Rajya Sabha, it is mandated that a member cannot be appointed to a Select Committee if they are unwilling to serve on it. However, the rules do not explicitly require the collection of signatures from the proposed members.
Quorum and Decision-Making:
- Quorum: The composition of a Select Committee depends on its specific purpose. Generally, a Select Committee operates with a quorum of one-third of its total members. This ensures that a sufficient number of members are present to conduct proceedings.
- Voting Tie: In the event of a tie in votes during committee decisions, the chairman or presiding person holds a casting vote. This ensures that decisions are reached even when votes are evenly divided.
Function and Role of Select Committees
Examination and Review of Bills:
- Meticulous Review: The primary duty of a Select Committee is to conduct a comprehensive review of the bill referred to it. This involves a detailed examination of the bill’s clauses, provisions, and content.
- Alignment with Objectives: The committee ensures that the bill accurately reflects the intended purpose and objectives of the proposed legislation. This helps in preventing any ambiguities or unintended consequences.
- Expert Inputs: The committee has the authority to gather information from various sources. This can include receiving memoranda from experts, stakeholders, and the public, which provide insights and perspectives on the bill’s potential impact.
- Oral Evidence: The committee can also hold sessions where experts, government officials, and other stakeholders provide oral evidence and share their insights on the bill.
Formulation of Conclusions:
- Evidence Evaluation: Based on the information gathered, the committee evaluates the evidence presented and analyses its implications on the bill.
- Clause Amendments: If necessary, the committee suggests amendments to specific clauses of the bill to align them more closely with the bill’s objectives and address any concerns raised during the review.
- Addressing Specific Aspects: In complex bills, the committee may form sub-committees to focus on specific aspects or provisions of the bill. These sub-committees conduct detailed assessments and provide specialized insights.
Reporting to the House:
- Presenting Findings: Once the review process is complete, the committee compiles its findings, conclusions, and recommendations into a comprehensive report.
- Dissenting Opinions: The committee’s report may also include dissenting opinions from members who have differing viewpoints on certain aspects of the bill.
- Government’s Decision: The reports produced by Select Committees are recommendatory in nature. While they hold significant weight and provide valuable insights, the final decision on whether to accept or reject the committee’s recommendations lies with the government.
-Source: Indian Express
British government’s initiative to put asylum-seekers on a housing barge suffered as Legionella bacteria were found on the barge.
GS II: Health
Dimensions of the Article:
- Legionnaire’s Disease
- Diagnosis and Treatment
- Caused by Bacteria: Legionnaire’s disease is a severe form of pneumonia caused by the bacterium Legionella pneumophila.
- First Identified Outbreak: The disease was first identified in 1976 when an outbreak occurred among attendees of an American Legion convention in Philadelphia.
- Inhalation of Bacteria: The bacteria are commonly found in freshwater environments like lakes, streams, and hot tubs. People can contract the disease by inhaling aerosolized water droplets containing the bacteria, often from sources like cooling towers, air conditioning systems, and showers.
- Respiratory Symptoms: Initial symptoms resemble those of pneumonia, including fever, chills, cough, and shortness of breath.
- Additional Symptoms: Headaches, muscle aches, fatigue, and confusion might also occur.
- Severity: In severe cases, the disease can lead to acute respiratory failure, kidney failure, septic shock, and even death.
- Elderly: Individuals over 50, especially those with weakened immune systems, are at a higher risk.
- Smokers: Smoking and chronic lung diseases increase susceptibility.
- Underlying Conditions: People with certain underlying conditions, like diabetes or chronic lung diseases, are more vulnerable.
Diagnosis and Treatment:
- Laboratory Testing: Diagnosis involves identifying Legionella bacteria in respiratory samples or urine.
- Antibiotics: Early treatment with antibiotics like fluoroquinolones or macrolides is effective.
- Hospitalization: Severe cases often require hospitalization and supportive care.
- Water System Maintenance: Proper maintenance of water systems, cooling towers, and other sources to prevent bacterial growth is crucial.
- Regulations: Public health regulations and guidelines exist to control and prevent outbreaks in large buildings and facilities.
- Awareness: Educating healthcare professionals about the disease’s symptoms and risk factors aids timely diagnosis.
-Source: Hindustan Times
A project of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) for gender sensitivity in Rajasthan has received support from the experts working for the elimination of customs promoting patriarchy.
GS II: International Relations
United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA)
The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) is an international development agency established in 1968 to support projects and programs related to population, sexual and reproductive health, and gender equality. Here are key details about UNFPA:
- Mission: UNFPA’s mission is to create a world where every pregnancy is desired, every childbirth is safe, and the potential of every young person is fulfilled.
- Name Change: Originally known as the United Nations Fund for Population Activities (UNFPA) since its establishment in 1968, it was officially renamed the United Nations Population Fund in 1987. However, it retained its original abbreviation, UNFPA.
- Headquarters: The headquarters of UNFPA is located in New York.
- Role in Statistics: While not directly responsible for primary data collection, UNFPA plays a significant role in supporting and providing technical and financial assistance for statistical activities in various countries. This includes activities like population censuses and surveys.
- Assistance Programs: UNFPA provides assistance, research, and advocacy through programs that are initiated in response to requests from governments. This ensures that the organization’s efforts are aligned with national priorities and needs.
Areas of Focus: UNFPA supports projects and initiatives in three main areas:
- Reproductive Health: This includes activities related to family planning, safe motherhood, and the prevention and treatment of sexually transmitted diseases.
- Population Issues: UNFPA addresses population challenges in both developed and developing countries, exploring strategies to tackle these challenges.
- Gender Equality: The organization is involved in initiatives related to the status of women, working to bridge gender gaps, especially in education.
-Source: The Hindu
A new study found that India’s largest species of bats, Indian Flying Fox bat spends 7% of its day-roosting time being environmentally vigilant.
GS III: Environment and Ecology
About Indian Flying Fox Bat
The Indian Flying Fox Bat is a notable species of flying fox native to the Indian subcontinent. Here are key features about this fascinating bat:
- Size and Appearance: The Indian Flying Fox is one of the world’s largest bats. It is recognizable by its reddish-brown coat, large eyes, and a characteristically long snout that gives it a fox-like appearance with wings.
- Diet and Habitat: This bat species primarily feeds on nectar, fruits, and flowers, with occasional inclusion of insects. Its frugivorous diet contributes to seed dispersal of various plants in tropical ecosystems.
- Distribution: The Indian Flying Fox is endemic to South Central Asia, ranging from Pakistan and China to the Maldives Islands.
- Social Structure: These bats are highly social creatures that form large roosts consisting of several hundred individuals. They follow a vertical hierarchy system, where higher-ranked bats occupy higher spots in trees, while lower-ranked ones take lower spots.
- Threats and Challenges: Being external roosters, the flying foxes are exposed to potential predators and disturbances. Environmental factors such as heat and light can also impact their well-being.
- Conservation Status: As assessed by the IUCN, the Indian Flying Fox is classified as of “Least Concern,” indicating that it is not currently facing a high risk of extinction. Additionally, under the Wildlife (Protection) Act of 1972 in India, this species is listed in Schedule II, offering legal protection.
-Source: The Hindu