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Current Affairs 24 May 2023

CONTENTS

  1. Krishna Water dispute
  2. Pangenome Reference Map
  3. International Day for Biological Diversity
  4. RBI to Withdraw Rs 2,000 Notes from Circulation
  5. Thirukkural
  6. Kambalakonda Wildlife Sanctuary
  7. Operation Dhvast

Krishna Water Dispute


Context:

The nagging dispute over the water share of the Krishna river between Andhra Pradesh (A.P.) and Telangana remains unresolved, even nine years after the bifurcation of the combined State.

Relevance:

GS-II: Polity and Constitution (Inter-State relations, Functions & responsibilities of the Union and the States, Issues and challenges of federal structure), GS-I: Geography (Water sources)

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. About Krishna River
  2. Krishna Water dispute
  3. Water sharing arrangements after bifurcation
  4. Claims of Each State
  5. Major Inter-State River Disputes in India
  6. Active River Water Dispute Tribunals in India
  7. Constitutional and legal provisions related to water disputes
  8. Issues with Interstate Water Dispute Tribunals

Krishna River

  • The Krishna is an east-flowing river.
  • Originates at Mahabaleshwar in Maharashtra and merges with the Bay of Bengal 
  • Flows through Maharashtra, Karnataka, Telangana and Andhra Pradesh. 
  • Together with its tributaries, it forms a vast basin that covers 33% of the total area of the four states.
  • The principal tributaries joining Krishna are the Ghataprabha, the Malaprabha, the Bhima, the Tungabhadra and the Musi. 
  • Most of this basin comprises a rolling and undulating country, except for the western border, which is formed by an unbroken line of the Western Ghats. 
  • The important soil types found in the basin are black soils, red soils, laterite and lateritic soils, alluvium, mixed soils, red and black soils and saline and alkaline soils

Krishna Water dispute

  • The States of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana have been locked in a battle of sorts over the utilisation of Krishna water, with Andhra Pradesh proposing a few projects and in turn, Telangana coming up with half-a-dozen projects of its own.
  • Both States have their own justification to pursue new water and power projects as several areas await economic development.
  • Rayalaseema is a dry region and it was grievances over poor utilisation of the two rivers in then undivided Andhra Pradesh that was a factor that led to the bifurcation.
  • At the same time, the two States should instead focus on water and energy conservation and improving the efficiency of irrigation schemes and hydel reservoirs.
  • Telangana had held the view that the notification should flow from finalisation by a tribunal on Krishna water sharing by the two States that would enlarge the scope of reference of the existing Krishna Water Dispute Tribunal (KWDT)-II. Telangana had even moved the Supreme Court but the Centre said it would consider Telangana’s request only if it withdrew its petition which it did.

Water sharing arrangements after bifurcation:

Background:

  • The Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation Act, 2014, did not mention specific water shares since the previous Krishna Water Disputes Tribunal-I (KWDT-I) Award, which was still in force, had not allocated water shares based on regions.
  • In 2015, a meeting facilitated by the Ministry of Water Resources resulted in an ad hoc arrangement for water sharing between Telangana and Andhra Pradesh.

Ad Hoc Water Sharing Arrangement:

  • The ad hoc arrangement agreed upon by Telangana and Andhra Pradesh was based on a 34:66 ratio (Telangana:A.P.).
  • The minutes of the meeting explicitly stated that this ratio was to be reviewed annually.

Water Resource Management Boards:

  • The Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation Act focused on the establishment of two river management boards to manage water resources: the Krishna River Management Board (KRMB) and the Godavari River Management Board (GRMB).

Continuation of Ratio and Opposition:

  • The KRMB continued with the 34:66 water sharing ratio each year, despite opposition from Telangana.
  • In October 2020, Telangana expressed its demand for an equal share until water shares were officially determined.

Referral to Ministry of Jal Shakti:

  • At a recent board meeting, Telangana reiterated its stance for an equal share and declined to continue with the existing arrangement.
  • As the member states could not reach an agreement, the matter has been referred to the Ministry of Jal Shakti (MoJS) for resolution.

Claims of Each State:

Telangana:

  • Telangana claims that it is entitled to at least a 70% share in the allocation of the 811 tmcft (thousand million cubic feet) of water based on basin parameters.
  • It argues that international treaties and agreements on sharing river waters support its claim.
  • Telangana points out that Andhra Pradesh (A.P.) has been diverting around 300 tmcft of water from fluoride-affected and drought-prone areas within the basin in Telangana to areas outside the basin.

Andhra Pradesh:

  • A.P. also asserts its claim for a higher share of water to protect the interests of command areas that have already been developed.
  • The state emphasizes the need to secure water resources for its existing agricultural and irrigation projects.

Stand of the Centre:

  • The Centre has convened two meetings of the Apex Council, which includes the Union Minister and Chief Ministers of Telangana and A.P., in 2016 and 2020.
  • However, the Centre has not made any substantial effort to address the water sharing issue.
  • In 2020, the Ministry of Jal Shakti (MoJS) suggested referring the matter to a Tribunal, and Telangana withdrew its petition from the Supreme Court based on this assurance.
  • Despite the passage of over two years, the Centre has not taken any decisive action, leaving the two states in continued dispute over the matter.

Major Inter-State River Disputes in India

River (s)States
Ravi and BeasPunjab, Haryana, Rajasthan
NarmadaMadhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Rajasthan
KrishnaMaharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Telangana
VamsadharaAndhra Pradesh & Odisha
CauveryKerala, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Puducherry
GodavariMaharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha
MahanadiChhattisgarh, Odisha
MahadayiGoa, Maharashtra, Karnataka
PeriyarTamil Nadu, Kerala

Active River Water Dispute Tribunals in India

  • Krishna Water Disputes Tribunal II (2004) – Karnataka, Telangana, Andra Pradesh, Maharashtra
  • Mahanadi Water Disputes Tribunal (2018) – Odisha & Chattisgarh
  • Mahadayi Water Disputes Tribunal (2010) – Goa,Karnataka, Maharashtra
  • Ravi & Beas Water Tribunal (1986) – Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan
  • Vansadhara Water Disputes Tribunal (2010) – Andra Pradesh & Odisha.

Constitutional and legal provisions related to water disputes

  • Article 262(1) provides that Parliament may by law provide for the adjudication of any dispute or complaint with respect to the use, distribution or control of the waters of, or in, any inter State river or river valley.
  • Article 262(2) empowers Parliament with the power to provide by law that neither the Supreme Court nor any other court shall exercise jurisdiction in respect of any such dispute or complaint.
  • Under Article 262, two acts were enacted:
    • River Boards Act 1956: It was enacted with a declaration that centre should take control of regulation and development of Inter-state rivers and river valleys in public interest. However, not a single river board has been constituted so far.
    • The Interstate River Water Disputes Act, 1956 (IRWD Act) confers a power upon union government to constitute tribunals to resolve such disputes. It also excludes jurisdiction of Supreme Court over such disputes.
  • Despite Article 262, the Supreme Court does have jurisdiction to adjudicate water disputes, provided that the parties first go to water tribunal and then if they feel that the order is not satisfactory only then they can approach supreme Court under article 136.
  • The article 136 gives discretion to allow leave to appeal against order, decree, judgment passed by any Court or tribunal in India.

Issues with Interstate Water Dispute Tribunals

  • Interstate Water Dispute Tribunals are riddled with Protracted proceedings and extreme delays in dispute resolution.
    • For example, the Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal, constituted in 1990, gave its final award in 2007.
  • Interstate Water dispute tribunals also have opacity in the institutional framework and guidelines that define these proceedings and ensure compliance.
  • There is no time limit for adjudication. In fact, delay happens at the stage of constitution of tribunals as well.
  • Though award is final and beyond the jurisdiction of Courts, either States can approach Supreme Court under Article 136 (Special Leave Petition) under Article 32 linking issue with the violation of Article 21 (Right to Life). In the event the Tribunal holding against any Party, that Party is quick to seek redressal in the Supreme Court. Only three out of eight Tribunals have given awards accepted by the States.
  • The composition of the tribunal is not multidisciplinary and it consists of persons only from the judiciary.
  • No provision for an adequate machinery to enforce the award of the Tribunal.
  • Lack of uniform standards- which could be applied in resolving such disputes.
  • Lack of adequate resources- both physical and human, to objectively assess the facts of the case.
  • Lack of retirement or term- mentioned for the chairman of the tribunals.
  • The absence of authoritative water data that is acceptable to all parties currently makes it difficult to even set up a baseline for adjudication.
  • The shift in tribunals’ approach, from deliberative to adversarial, aids extended litigation and politicisation of water-sharing disputes.
  • The growing nexus between water and politics have transformed the disputes into turfs of vote bank politics.

-Source: The Hindu


Pangenome Reference Map


Context:

A recent publication in the Nature journal has introduced a Pangenome Reference Map, which was constructed using genomes obtained from 47 anonymous individuals. These individuals, comprising 19 men and 28 women, were primarily from Africa, but also included participants from the Caribbean, Americas, East Asia, and Europe.

Relevance:

GS III: Science and Technology

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. About Genome
  2. About Reference Genome
  3. About Pangenome Map
  4. Genome India Project

About Genome:

  • It refers to the complete set of genetic instructions or information that an organism possesses.
  • It is made up of DNA, which carries the instructions for the development, functioning, growth, and reproduction of all living organisms.
  • The study of genomics involves the analysis of genomes and has led to many breakthroughs in various fields, including medicine and biotechnology.

Genome Sequencing

  • Genome sequencing is figuring out the order of DNA nucleotides, or bases, in a genome—the order of adenine (A), thymine (T), cytosine (C), and guanine (G), that make up an organism’s DNA.

About Reference Genome

  • Reference genome serves as a standard map for scientists to compare and analyze newly sequenced genomes.
  • It helps scientists understand genetic differences and variations in newly sequenced genomes by comparing them to the reference genome.
  • The first reference genome, created in 2001, was a significant scientific achievement.
  • It facilitated the discovery of disease-related genes and advancements in understanding genetic aspects of diseases like cancer.
  • It aided in the development of new diagnostic tests.
Limitations of the First Reference Genome:
  • The first reference genome had some limitations and imperfections.
  • It was primarily based on the genome of one individual with mixed African and European ancestry.
  • There were gaps and errors in the initial reference genome.
Improvements with the Pangenome:
  • The new reference genome, known as the Pangenome, is more comprehensive and error-free compared to the first reference genome.
  • However, even with the Pangenome, there is still a lack of representation of the full diversity of human genetics.
  • The Pangenome includes a wider range of genetic variations but may not capture the entire spectrum of human genetic diversity.

About Pangenome Map

  • The pangenome map represents the genome as a graph, unlike the linear reference genome used previously.
  • Each chromosome in the pangenome is depicted as a bamboo stem with nodes.
  • Nodes represent sequences that are similar among all 47 individuals, while the internodes between the nodes indicate genetic variations among individuals from different ancestries.
  • Long-read DNA sequencing technology was employed to create complete and continuous chromosome maps in the pangenome project.
Understanding Genetic Differences and Diversity:
  • Despite humans sharing over 99% of their DNA, there is still approximately a 0.4% difference between any two individuals.
  • This seemingly small difference amounts to around 12.8 million nucleotides considering the vast size of the human genome (3.2 billion nucleotides).
  • A comprehensive and accurate pangenome map aids in understanding these genetic differences and explaining the diversity among individuals.
  • It facilitates the study of genetic variations that contribute to underlying health conditions.
Benefits and Future Applications:
  • The current pangenome map, although lacking Indian genomes, still holds value in comparing and mapping Indian genomes against existing accurate reference genomes.
  • Future pangenome maps incorporating high-quality Indian genomes, including those from diverse and isolated populations within the country, will provide valuable insights.
  • These insights include disease prevalence, discovery of new genes related to rare diseases, improved diagnostic methods, and development of novel drugs for these diseases.
Limitations and Representation Gaps:
  • The current pangenome map does not adequately represent diverse populations such as Africa, the Indian subcontinent, indigenous groups in Asia and Oceania, and West Asian regions.
  • Efforts should be made to include genomes from these populations to ensure a more comprehensive understanding of human genetic diversity and its implications.

Genome India Project

  • India’s population consists of over 4,600 diverse population groups, many of which are endogamous.
  • These groups have unique genetic variations and disease-causing mutations that cannot be compared to other populations.
  • The Genome India Project aims to create a database of Indian genomes to learn about these unique genetic variants and use the information to create personalized drugs and therapies.
  • The project was started in 2020 and is inspired by the successful decoding of the entire human genome in the Human Genome Project (HGP).
  • The project seeks to better understand the genetic variations and disease-causing mutations specific to the Indian population, which is one of the most genetically diverse in the world.
  • By sequencing and analyzing these genomes, researchers hope to gain insights into the underlying genetic causes of diseases and develop more effective personalized therapies.
  • The project involves the collaboration of 20 institutions across India and is being led by the Centre for Brain Research at the Indian Institute of Science in Bangalore.
  • Other countries, such as the United Kingdom, China, and the United States, also have similar programs to sequence their genomes.
Significance of the Genome India Project:

The Genome India Project (GIP) has significant implications in various fields, including healthcare, agriculture, and global science. Here are the key points of its significance:

  • Personalized Medicine: The GIP aims to develop personalized medicine based on patients’ genomes to anticipate and modulate diseases. By mapping disease propensities to genetic variations, interventions can be targeted more effectively, and diseases can be anticipated before they develop.
  • Understanding Disease Propensities: GIP can help understand the genetic basis of disease propensities in different populations. For example, variations across genomes may explain why cardiovascular disease leads to heart attacks in South Asians but to strokes in most parts of Africa.
  • Agriculture: The GIP can benefit agriculture by understanding the genetic basis of the susceptibility of plants to pests, insects, and other issues hampering productivity. This can reduce dependence on chemicals.
  • Global Science: The project is said to be among the most significant of its kind in the world because of its scale and the diversity it would bring to genetic studies. Global science will also benefit from a mapping project in one of the world’s most diverse gene pools.

-Source: The Hindu


International Day for Biological Diversity


Context:

The International Day for Biological Diversity (IDB), celebrated on 22nd May 2023, raises awareness about the importance of biodiversity for sustaining life on Earth.

Relevance:

GS III: Environment and Ecology

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Details
  2. About International Day for Biological Diversity (IDB)
  3. Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework

Details:

Extent of Species Extinction Risk:

  • The Global Assessment Report on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services emphasizes that approximately one million species face the risk of extinction.

Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework:

  • At the 15th Conference of Parties (COP 15) to the Convention on Biological Diversity, the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework was adopted as a response to the biodiversity crisis.

Ambitious Targets for 2030:

  • The framework establishes ambitious targets to be achieved by 2030 in order to address the biodiversity crisis.
  • These targets serve as a guide and aim to facilitate conservation efforts, restoration initiatives, and the sustainable use of biodiversity.

Roadmap for Conservation, Restoration, and Sustainable Use:

  • The Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework provides a roadmap for actions to be taken regarding the conservation, restoration, and sustainable utilization of biodiversity.
  • It outlines strategies and measures that can be implemented on local, national, and global levels to protect and restore ecosystems and halt species decline.

About International Day for Biological Diversity (IDB):

  • In 1993, the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) designated May 22nd as the International Day for Biological Diversity (IDB).
  • The purpose of IDB is to raise awareness and promote understanding of biodiversity issues.

United Nations Decades:

  • The UNGA declared the period from 2011 to 2020 as the United Nations (UN) Decade on Biodiversity.
  • This Decade aimed to encourage the implementation of a strategic plan on biodiversity and promote the vision of living in harmony with nature.
  • Additionally, the UNGA declared 2021 to 2030 as the UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development and the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration.

Theme for 2023:

  • The theme for the International Day for Biological Diversity in 2023 is “From Agreement to Action: Build Back Biodiversity.”
  • This theme underscores the urgent need to move beyond commitments and translate them into concrete actions.
  • The focus is on revitalizing and safeguarding biodiversity through practical measures and initiatives.

Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework:

  • The Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework calls for urgent and integrated action to incorporate biodiversity considerations into all sectors of the global economy.
  • However, crucial issues such as funding conservation in poorer countries and committing to biodiversity-friendly supply chains are left to be discussed later.
  • It is important to note that the framework is not a binding international agreement.
  • The framework urges parties to mainstream biodiversity protection in decision-making and recognize the significance of conservation in safeguarding human health.
  • The theme of the declaration is “Ecological Civilization: Building a Shared Future for All Life on Earth.”
Post-2020 Implementation Plan and Capacity Building:
  • Adoption of the framework commits nations to support the development, adoption, and implementation of an effective post-2020 implementation plan.
  • It also involves the formulation of a capacity-building action plan for the Cartagena Protocol on biosafety, which aims to protect biodiversity from potential risks associated with living modified organisms from modern biotechnology.
  • The signatory nations pledge to ensure that post-pandemic recovery policies, programs, and plans contribute to the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity, promoting sustainable and inclusive development.
30 by 30 Target:
  • The declaration references the “30 by 30” target, which is a key proposal under discussion at COP15.
  • This target aims to designate 30% of the Earth’s land and oceans with protected status by 2030.
Goals and Targets:

The framework comprises four goals and 23 targets to be achieved by 2030.

Goals:

  1. Conserve and restore biodiversity.
  2. Ensure sustainable use of biodiversity.
  3. Share benefits fairly and equitably.
  4. Enable transformative change.

Targets:

-Source: Down to Earth


RBI to Withdraw Rs 2,000 Notes from Circulation


Context:

Recently, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) announced that it will withdraw the Rs 2000 denomination banknotes from circulation.

Relevance:

GS III: Indian Economy

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Details
  2. RBI’s Clean Note Policy
  3. Reasons for RBI’s Withdrawal of 2000 Rupees Notes
  4. Legal Tender in India

Details:

  • While the existing notes will remain legal tender. The RBI has provided a generous timeframe, allowing individuals to deposit or exchange the notes until September 30, 2023.
  • This move is part of the RBI’s Clean Note Policy, which aims to provide the public with high-quality currency notes and coins with improved security features.

RBI’s Clean Note Policy:

Objective:

  • The Clean Note Policy implemented by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) aims to provide the public with currency notes and coins that have enhanced security features.
  • The policy focuses on ensuring the availability of high-quality currency while withdrawing soiled or old notes from circulation.

Definition of ‘Soiled Note’:

  • Under the Clean Note Policy, a ‘soiled note’ refers to a currency note that has become dirty due to normal wear and tear.
  • It also includes a two-piece note that has been pasted together, where both pieces belong to the same note and no essential features are missing.

Withdrawal of Pre-2005 Banknotes:

  • The RBI had withdrawn all banknotes issued before 2005 due to their fewer security features compared to banknotes printed after 2005.
  • However, it is important to note that these older notes are still considered legal tender.
  • The withdrawal of these notes aligns with international practices and aims to improve the security and integrity of the currency.

Alignment with International Practices:

  • The Clean Note Policy implemented by the RBI reflects the efforts to align India’s currency practices with international standards.
  • The focus on enhanced security features helps in preventing counterfeiting and maintaining the authenticity of the currency.

Reasons for RBI’s Withdrawal of 2000 Rupees Notes:

Currency Management Operations:

  • The withdrawal of 2000 rupees notes by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) is part of its currency management operations.
  • The RBI regularly assesses and manages the circulation of different denominations of currency based on various factors.

Introduction and Purpose:

  • The Rs 2000 banknotes were introduced in 2016 to meet the immediate currency requirements following the demonetization exercise when Rs 500 and Rs 1000 notes were withdrawn.
  • The objective was to expedite the availability of currency at that time.

Printing Stopped:

  • With an adequate supply of other denominations available, the printing of Rs 2000 notes was stopped in 2018-19.
  • The initial objective of meeting the immediate currency requirement was achieved.

Value in Circulation:

  • As of March 31, 2023, the value of Rs 2000 banknotes in circulation has decreased to Rs 3.62 lakh crore, accounting for only 10.8% of the total notes in circulation.
  • This decrease indicates a reduced reliance on the 2000 rupees notes.

Impact on Economy:

  • The withdrawal of 2000 rupees notes is expected to have a very marginal impact on the economy.
  • With its relatively small share in currency circulation, the withdrawal is not anticipated to cause disruption in normal life or the economy.

Exchange and Deposits:

  • The exchange limit for Rs 2000 banknotes is set at Rs 20,000 at a time, and non-account holders can also exchange these banknotes at any bank branch.
  • Deposits into bank accounts can be made without limitations, subject to compliance with Know Your Customer (KYC) norms and regulations.

Economic Implications:

  • Economists view the withdrawal of higher-value notes as a sensible form of demonetization.
  • It could potentially boost bank deposits during a period of high credit growth.
  • The withdrawal may ease pressure on deposit rate hikes and result in moderation in short-term interest rates.
  • It is also expected to contribute to curbing black money and reducing corruption.

Legal Tender in India:

Definition and Responsibility:

  • Legal tender refers to a form of currency that is recognized by law as an acceptable means for settling debts or obligations.
  • The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) is responsible for determining which forms of currency are considered valid for transactions in India.

Coins and Banknotes:

  • Legal tender in India consists of coins issued by the Government of India under Section 6 of The Coinage Act, 2011, and banknotes issued by the RBI under Section 26 of the RBI Act, 1934.
  • The government issues all coins up to ₹1,000 and the 1 Rupee note, while the RBI issues currency notes other than the ₹1 note.

Types of Legal Tender:

  • Legal tender can be classified as limited or unlimited in character.
  • In India, coins function as limited legal tender. Coins with denominations equal to or higher than one rupee can be used as legal tender for amounts up to one thousand rupees.
  • Additionally, fifty paise (half a rupee) coins can be used as legal tender for amounts up to ten rupees.
  • Banknotes, on the other hand, function as unlimited legal tender and can be used for any amount stated on them.

Restrictions on Cash Transactions:

  • It is important to note that certain restrictions on cash transactions exist in India. For instance, Section 269ST was added to the Income Tax Act as a measure to curb black money.
  • This section restricts cash transactions and allows them only up to Rs. 2 lakh per day.

-Source: Indian Express


Thirukkural


Context:

Indian Prime Minister along with his Papua New Guinea counterpart recently released the Tamil classic ‘Thirukkural’ in the Tok Pisin language.

Relevance:

GS I: History

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. About Thirukkural
  2. Structure and Themes

About Thirukkural:

  • Thirukkural, also known as Tirukkural or Kural, is a renowned Tamil text authored by Thiruvalluvar, believed to have lived between the 2nd century BCE and the 5th century CE.
  • It holds great significance and influence in Tamil culture and society.
  • Comprising of 1,330 couplets called kurals, Thirukkural imparts timeless wisdom on various aspects of life, including ethics, governance, love, and spirituality.

Structure and Themes:

  • Thirukkural is organized into three main sections or books: Aram (Virtue), Porul (Wealth), and Inbam (Love).
  • Each section covers a wide range of topics and offers moral, ethical, and practical guidance to its readers.
  • The kurals are composed in a concise and poetic form, making them easily memorable and quotable.

Aram:

  • This section explores virtues such as righteousness, truth, gratitude, and compassion.
  • It emphasizes the significance of leading a righteous life and upholding moral values in all situations.

Porul:

  • Porul provides insights into worldly affairs, including governance, economy, and friendship.
  • It offers wisdom on subjects like wealth management, administration, and the value of surrounding oneself with good company.

Inbam:

  • Inbam delves into the complexities of human emotions, love, and family life.

-Source: The Hindu


Kambalakonda Wildlife Sanctuary


Context:

Recently, the first-ever sighting of the elusive Barkudia limbless skink has been reported within the Kambalakonda Wildlife Sanctuary boundaries in Visakhapatnam.

Relevance:

GS III: Environment and Ecology

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. About New Species
  2. Kambalakonda Wildlife Sanctuary

About New Species:

  • The Visakhapatnam limbless skink (Barkudia melanosticta) is a small reptile known for its distinctive limbless body and remarkable adaptations. It has remained elusive to scientific observations for a long time.
  • This species is believed to be endemic to the Visakhapatnam region.

Kambalakonda Wildlife Sanctuary:

  • Kambalakonda Wildlife Sanctuary is a vast forest reserve situated near Vishakapatnam in Andhra Pradesh, India.
  • The sanctuary derives its name from the local hill, Kambalakonda.
  • It has been under the administration of the Andhra Pradesh Forest Department since 1970.
  • Topography: The sanctuary features considerable hilly terrain with steep slopes.

Flora:

  • The forest cover in the sanctuary primarily consists of dry evergreen forests, along with a mix of scrublands and meadows.
  • Notable flora in the region includes the striking Indian screw tree and various flowers and fruits like the Bush plum tree and Jungle berry bunches.

Fauna:

  • The sanctuary is home to several rare animal species, including the Indian leopard, Indian pangolin, Madras treeshrew, Barking Deer, and Jackal.
  • It also houses the Russel’s viper (Daboia russelii), a rare breed of snake.
  • The avian population in the sanctuary includes uncommon birds such as the Indian Golden oriole, Indian peafowl, and Banded bay cuckoo.

-Source: The Hindu


Operation Dhvast


Context:

Under Operation Dhvast, National Investigation Agency (NIA) recently arrested three in multi-state raids.

Relevance:

Facts for Prelims

About ‘Operation Dhvast’:

  • ‘Operation Dhvast’ refers to a massive crackdown conducted by the National Investigation Agency (NIA), Punjab Police, and Haryana Police.
  • The operation involved coordinated raids at 324 locations across various states, including Punjab, Delhi, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, and Rajasthan.
  • The raids were carried out simultaneously and lasted for an entire day.

Arrests and Cases:

  • As a result of ‘Operation Dhvast’, the NIA has made three arrests in connection with three separate cases.
  • These cases are related to the nexus among terrorists, gangsters, and drug dealers.
  • The investigation has uncovered links between this nexus and activities such as targeted killings, extortion, and terror funding of pro-Khalistan outfits.
  • The earnings from illegal activities like drug and weapon smuggling have been identified as sources of funding for these activities.

Jail Conspiracies and International Network:

  • The NIA’s investigations have revealed that conspiracies were being plotted in prisons located in different states.
  • These conspiracies were executed by a well-organized network of operatives based abroad.
  • The nexus between terrorists, gangsters, and drug dealers involved international connections and coordination.

-Source: Times of India


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