Facts in News

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    Bharat series (BH-series)

    Syllabus: GS 2/Government Policies & Interventions

    • Recently, the Ministry of Road Transport & Highways introduced a new registration mark for new vehicles i.e. “Bharat series (BH-series)” to facilitate seamless transfer of vehicles.

    About 

    • A vehicle bearing this registration mark shall not require the assignment of a new registration mark when the owner of the vehicle shifts from one State to another.
      • Under section 47 of the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988, a person is allowed to keep a vehicle for not more than 12 months in any state other than the state where the vehicle is registered, but a new registration has to be made within that time.
    • This vehicle registration facility under “Bharat series (BH-series)” will be available on a voluntary basis to Defense personnel, employees of Central Government/ State Government/ Central/ State Public Sector Undertakings and private sector companies/organizations, which have their offices in four or more States/Union territories.
    • The motor vehicle tax will be levied for two years or in multiple of two. 

    Significance

    • It will centralise the system of re-registration of vehicles when relocating between states is an easier process.
    • This scheme will facilitate the free movement of personal vehicles across States/UTs of India upon relocation to a new State/UT. 
    • In addition, the Centre will levy motor vehicle tax for two years or in multiples of two, which will facilitate the free movement. 
      • After the fourteenth year, the tax will be levied annually and will be half of the amount.

    Biodiversity and Environment

    Deepor Beel Wildlife Sanctuary

    Syllabus :GS 3/Environmental Pollution & Degradation

    • Recently, The Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change notified the eco-sensitive zone of the Deepor Beel Wildlife Sanctuary on the south-western edge of Guwahati.
    • Among activities prohibited in the eco-sensitive zone are hydroelectric projects, brick kilns, commercial use of firewood and discharge of untreated effluents in natural water bodies or land areas.

    Eco-Sensitive Zone

    • It is the area that has been notified by the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MoEFCC), as areas around the Wildlife Sanctuaries, National Parks and Protected Areas as requiring more protection due to their fragility. 

    Objectives-

    • To manage and regulate the activities around these areas with the intention of creating some kinds of ‘shock absorbers’
    • To provide a transition zone between the highly protected and relatively less protected areas.
    • To give effect to Section 3(2)(v) of the Environment Protection Act, 1986 which restricts the operation of industries or processes to be carried out in certain areas or to maintain certain safeguards to operate industries.

     

    About 

    • Deepor Beel (Beel means wetland or large aquatic body in Assamese) is located about 10 km Southwest of Guwahati.
    • It is a perennial freshwater lake known for its biological and environmental importance
      • It has both biological and environmental importance besides being the only major storm-water storage basin for Guwahati.
    • Features 
      • The wetland is also a bird sanctuary covering an area of 414 hectares, sheltering more than 200 species of birds, about 70 of them migratory birds.
      • It is considered one of the largest and important riverine wetlands in the Brahmaputra Valley of lower Assam, India.
      • It is an ‘Important Bird Area’ designated under the Ramsar Convention of Wetlands.
    • It is an open lake basin connected with a set of inflow and outflow channels.
    • It is categorised as a representative of the wetland type under the Burma Monsoon Forest biogeographic region.
    • Biodiversity
    • It is considered one of the staging sites for migratory birds in India and some of the large congregations of aquatic birds in Assam during winter.
    • The wetland of Deepor Beel constitutes a unique habitat for aquatic flora and avian fauna. 
      • About 150 species of birds have been recorded in the sanctuary, out of which two are critically endangered, one endangered, five vulnerable and four near-threatened.
    • Conservation Status:
      • 4.14 sq km of the total area was declared as a Bird Sanctuary by the Assam Government in 1989.
    • It was designated a Ramsar site in 2002 for sustaining a range of aquatic life forms besides 219 species of birds.
      • A Ramsar Site is a wetland designated to be of international importance under the Convention on Wetlands, held at the Iranian city of Ramsar in February 1971.
    • Due to the richness of avian fauna it enjoys, it has been selected as one of the Important Bird Area (IBA) sites .

    Biodiversity and Environment

    Animal Discoveries 2020: ZSI

    Syllabus :GS 3/Environmental Pollution & Degradation

    • Recently , The Zoological Survey of India (ZSI) published a document titled “Animal Discoveries 2020 “.

    Major Findings 

    • India has added 557 new species to its fauna, which includes 407 new species and 150 new records,
      • The number of faunal species in India has climbed to 1,02,718 species.
    • New species: Among the new species, some interesting species discovered in 2020 are
      • Trimeresurus Salazar, a new species of green pit viper discovered from Arunachal Pradesh
      • Lycodon deccanensis, the Deccan wolf snake discovered from Karnataka
      • Sphaerotheca Bengaluru, a new species of burrowing frog named after the city of Bengaluru. 
      • Xyrias anjaalai, a new deepwater species of snake eel from Kerala
      • Glyptothorax giudikyensis, a new species of catfish from Manipur
      • Clyster galateansis, a new species of scarab beetles from the Great Nicobar Biosphere.
      • Myotis cf. frater, a bat species earlier known from China, Taiwan and Russia, has been reported for the first time from Uttarakhand in India
      • Zoothera citrina gibsonhilli, an Orange-headed thrush earlier known from southern Myanmar to south Thailand (central Malay peninsula), which was reported for the first time from India based on a collection made from the Narcondam island in the Andaman & Nicobar Islands.
    • Among the States, the highest number of new species were discovered from Karnataka (66 species), followed by Kerala (51 species).
      •  Also in 2020, 46 new species were discovered from Rajasthan and 30 from West Bengal.
    • The ZSI publication shows that India is a mega biodiverse country, rich in biodiversity, with 23.39% of its geographical area under forest and tree cover. 
    • India is positioned 8th in mega biodiversity countries in the world with 0.46 BioD index which is calculated by its percentage of species in each group relative to the total global number of species in each group.

    Zoological Survey of India

    • It was established on 1st July 1916 to promote survey, exploration and research leading to the advancement in our knowledge of various aspects of the exceptionally rich life of the erstwhile British Indian Empire.
    • It is India’s apex organization on animal taxonomy.
    • It works under the ambit of the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change.
    • Headquarters: Kolkata
    • Scientists of the ZSI contributed to 34% (948 species) of the newly described and 68% (898) of the newly recorded species in the last 10 years.
    •  The ZSI has been publishing Animal Discoveries since 2007.

     

    Biodiversity and Environment

    Son Gharial

    Syllabus: GS3/ Species in News

    • The uneven flow of water from a dam, illegal constructions have exacerbated soil erosion, led to a decline in the population of gharials in Son Gharial Wildlife  Sanctuary, MP.

    About Gharial

    • It is also known as the gavial or the fish-eating crocodile.
      • It is the longest among all living crocodilians
    • Conservation: 
      • Critically Endangered (IUCN Red List)
      • Schedule I: Indian Wildlife Protection Act, 1972
      • Appendix I: CITES
    • Threats: Loss of habitat because of sand mining and conversion to agriculture, depletion of fish resources and detrimental fishing.
    • Odisha is the only state in India having all three species of crocodiles (gharial, mugger and saltwater crocodiles).
    • Gharial reserves of India: Uttar Pradesh (Ghaghara river), Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan.
    • Today, their major population occurs in three tributaries of the Ganga River: the Chambal and the Girwa Rivers in India and the Rapti-Narayani River in Nepal.