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PIB Summaries 17 August 2023

CONTENTS

  1. World Elephant Day
  2. BOCW Scheme

 World Elephant Day 2023


Context:

Recently, on the occasion of World Elephant Day, the Union Minister of Environment, Forest and Climate Change and Labour and Employment highlighted various initiatives and accomplishments in India’s elephant conservation journey.

Relevance:

GS III: Environment and Ecology

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. World Elephant Day
  2. Key Highlights of Elephants

World Elephant Day

  • World Elephant Day, commemorated worldwide on August 12, serves as a dedicated occasion to raise awareness regarding the critical challenges elephants face and advocate for their protection and conservation.
  • This day sheds light on various issues impacting elephants, including habitat loss, ivory poaching, human-elephant conflicts, and the pressing need for intensified conservation efforts.
Campaign Inception:
  • The World Elephant Day campaign was launched in 2012 with the purpose of drawing attention to the dire situations faced by African and Asian elephants.
  • Its primary goal is to foster a sustainable environment where animals are not exploited but are cared for.
Founders and Initiators:
  • The initiative was initiated by Canadian filmmakers Michael Clark and Patricia Sims, in collaboration with the Thailand-based Elephant Reintroduction Foundation.
  • Patricia Sims went on to establish the World Elephant Society in 2012, which has played a significant role in generating awareness about the threats elephants encounter and the urgent global need to safeguard them.
Objectives:
  • The campaign aims to create a platform for highlighting the plight of elephants and advocating for their well-being.
  • It strives to encourage global efforts for elephant conservation, ensuring their survival in the face of challenges.
  • World Elephant Day stands as a testament to the collective efforts of individuals, organizations, and communities worldwide, united in their commitment to safeguarding these majestic creatures from threats and ensuring a brighter future for them.

Key Highlights of Elephants: Biodiversity and Conservation

  • The elephant holds the distinction of being India’s Natural Heritage Animal.
  • Elephants are recognized as “Keystone Species” due to their pivotal role in maintaining forest ecosystem balance and health.

Intelligence and Brain Size:

  • Elephants are known for their remarkable intelligence, possessing the largest brain size among all land animals.

Ecological Impact:

  • Elephants are significant grazers and browsers, consuming substantial amounts of vegetation daily and dispersing seeds as they move.
  • They influence the vegetation structure of landscapes, particularly in Asian environments.
  • In forests, elephants create open areas by clearing trees, allowing sunlight to reach new seedlings and aiding natural forest regeneration.
  • Elephants also dig for water, contributing to water access for various species.

Elephants in India:

  • India hosts the largest number of wild Asian Elephants, estimated at around 29,964 according to the 2017 Project Elephant census.
  • This accounts for roughly 60% of the global Asian Elephant population.
  • Karnataka leads with the highest elephant population, followed by Assam and Kerala.
Conservation Status:

International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of threatened species

  • African Forest Elephant (Loxodonta cyclotis): Critically Endangered
  • African Savanna Elephant (Loxodonta africana): Endangered
  • Asian Elephant (Elephas maximus): Endangered
International Conservation Frameworks:

Convention on the Migratory Species (CMS):

  • African Forest Elephant: Appendix II
  • Asian Elephant: Appendix I

Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972: Schedule I

Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES):

  • African Savanna Elephant: Appendix II
  • Asian Elephant: Appendix I

BOCW Scheme


Context:

Recently, the Minister of Labour and Employment provided valuable insights into the Building and Other Construction Workers (Regulation of Employment and Conditions of Service) Act, 1996 during a written reply in the Rajya Sabha.

Relevance:

GS II: Government schemes

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Building and Other Construction Workers (Regulation of Employment and Conditions of Service) Act, 1996: Overview and Recent Developments
  2. Recent Enhancements in Registration Process
Building and Other Construction Workers (Regulation of Employment and Conditions of Service) Act, 1996: Overview and Recent Developments

Act’s Purpose and Significance:

  • The Building and Other Construction Workers (Regulation of Employment and Conditions of Service) Act, 1996 (BOCW Act), is a crucial legislation aimed at protecting the rights and interests of workers within the construction sector.
Key Provisions of the BOCW Act:
  • Establishment of State Welfare Boards: These boards administer welfare funds and offer benefits like accident insurance, medical assistance, education, housing, pension, etc., to registered construction workers.
  • Regulation of Work Conditions: The Act governs work hours, overtime wages, prohibition of employment for specific individuals, and provisions for amenities such as drinking water, latrines, accommodation, etc.
  • Safety Measures: Safety committees, safety officers, and health rules are mandated for ensuring the safety and well-being of building workers.
  • Cess Collection: The Act permits the collection of a 1-2% construction cost cess by the Central government.
  • Eligibility for Registration: Workers aged 18 to 60, engaged in construction work for at least 90 days in the previous year, can register as beneficiaries with State Welfare Boards.
Implementation of Welfare Schemes:
  • State Welfare Boards manage welfare schemes, including life and disability coverage, health support, maternity assistance, transit housing, and skill development for workers.
  • These initiatives uplift the livelihoods and welfare of workers contributing to the construction sector.

Recent Enhancements in Registration Process:

  • Unique Identification Number: A unique identification number streamlines worker identification.
  • Local Competent Officers: Appointment of officers at local levels simplifies the registration process.
  • Self-Certification: Self-certification allows accurate information submission without physical presence.
  • Facilitation Centers and Camps: Dedicated centers and camps ease the registration process for workers.

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