Daily Current Affairs – 30-08-2023

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    Food Inflation & Challenges of Malnutrition

    Syllabus: GS3/ Indian Economy & Related Issues

    In News

    • According to recent data, the cost of meals rose by 65% in five years, wages by just 37% in the last five years.

    About

    • Data source: The data  is sourced from the department of consumer affairs, the National Horticulture Board & the periodic labour force survey
      • To avail commodity prices Mumbai was chosen as an exemplar due to the availability of consistent data.
    • Data highlights: According to the data, the cost of a home-cooked vegetarian thali in Mumbai has increased by 65% in the last five years
      • At the same time, the average wage earned by a casual labourer working in urban Maharashtra has increased by only 37% and that of a salaried worker has increased by 28%.
    • Outcomes: This disparity between wages/salaries and expenditure has led to essential food items becoming increasingly unaffordable. 
      • Given the fixed food budget in most Indian homes, the imbalance results in smaller thalis or fewer items in the thali leading to increasingly unbalanced or unfulfilling meals.

    Causes of rise in Food inflation

    • Global reasons: High levels of global food inflation are being driven by multiple reasons such as the COVID-19 pandemic-induced supply chain concerns and the ongoing Russia-Ukraine war.
    • Pandemic & post-pandemic recovery: Multiple lockdowns and subsequent disruptions in the logistics of the supply accounted for a swift rise in food inflation prices. 
      • This was further exacerbated during the economic recovery, when demand for food and essentials rose even more.
    • Localised factors: An interplay of localised factors – in recent times – has coalesced with a high degree of uncertainty in the lives and livelihoods of various economic agents across India, and this is likely to keep inflation on an incline.
    • Changing weather patterns: The brewing El Nino is a looming danger and it’s feared that it could cause below normal rainfall, even a drought. 
      • So, it may be worth thinking about how best to keep food inflation below 4 percent in case the monsoon rainfall turns out to be below normal.

    How is Inflation measured?

    • In India, inflation is primarily measured by two main indices — WPI (Wholesale Price Index) and CPI (Consumer Price Index), which measure wholesale and retail-level price changes, respectively. 

    WPI and CPI inflation rates

    • Consumer Price Index (CPI):
      • It is an index measuring retail inflation in the economy by collecting the change in prices of most common goods and services used by consumers.
      • CPI is also called a market basket, it is calculated for a fixed list of items including food, housing, apparel, transportation, electronics, medical care, education, etc.
      • The base Year for CPI is 2012.
    • The Wholesale Price Index(WPI):
      • The new series of Wholesale Price Index(WPI) with base 2011-12 is effective from April 2017. 
      • WPI captures the average movement of wholesale prices of goods and is primarily used as a GDP deflator. 
      • WPI(2011-12) reckons only basic prices and does not include taxes, rebate/trade discounts, transport and other charges.
      • WPI-based inflation data is put together by the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (or DPIIT).

    Challenge of Malnutrition

    • Malnutrition: Malnutrition is still a challenge, especially amongst children below the age of five. 
      • As per NFHS-5 (2019-21), 32 percent of children were underweight, 35 per cent stunted, and 19 per cent wasted. 
      • Although India made reasonably good progress in reducing infant mortality from 57 per 1,000 in 2005-06 to 35 per 1,000 in 2019-21, the progress on other indicators of malnutrition is not very satisfactory. 
    • Climate change & food insecurity: Climate change and the increasing frequency of extreme weather events, from heat waves to flash floods, pose a big challenge not only to India’s food system but also to poverty alleviation – gains could reverse with these shocks.
    • Non-communicable diseases: The rising burden of cardiovascular and other non-communicable diseases in India, particularly among the rapidly growing “middle class”, is strongly linked to diet and nutrition.

    Causes of Malnutrition

    • Calorific deficiency: Though the government has surplus of foodgrains, there is calorific deficiency because of improper allocation and distribution. Even the yearly allocated budget is not fully utilized.
    • Protein deficiency: Pulses are a major panacea to address protein deficiency. However, there is a lack of budgetary allocation for inclusion of pulses in PDS. With Eggs missing from menus of Mid-day Meals in various States, an easy way to improve protein intake is lost.
    • Micronutrient deficiency (hidden hunger): India faces a severe crisis in micronutrient deficiency. Its causes include poor diet, prevalence of disease or non-fulfillment of increased micronutrient needs during pregnancy and lactation.

    Suggestions & way ahead

    • Nutritionists and doctors have long called for healthy diets: combining an adequate amount of carbohydrates, fats, proteins to keep our bodies fit and healthy, to ward away diseases and to prevent non-communicable diseases such as diabetes and hypertension.
    • Domestically, the challenge for India – right now and in the near future – would be to manage its own inflation rate against all macroeconomic factors/concerns stemming from: a collapsing rupee; a high current account and trade deficit; an eroding foreign currency reserve scenario; a capital flight in portfolio investment markets etc., all of which present a clear vulnerability on the side of its balance of payment accounts.
    • One simple answer to these challenges would be to keep focus on accelerating economic growth and making it more inclusive

    Source: TH

    Rozgar Mela

    Syllabus: GS3/Economy, Employment

    News

    • Recently, the Prime Minister distributed more than 51,000 appointment letters to newly inducted recruits under the Rojgar Mela (Employment Fair).

    Rojgar Mela 

    • Rozgar Mela is an employment strategy to fast-track the meeting of job seekers and employers.It is an event where a number of employers and job seekers come together for the purpose of applying and interviewing for jobs.
    • The Rozgar Mela is expected to act as a catalyst in further employment generation and provide meaningful opportunities to the youth for their empowerment and participation in national development.

    Unemployment in India

    • Unemployment rate is defined as the percentage of unemployed persons among the labor force.
    • Labor force refers to the part of the population which supplies or offers to supply labor for pursuing economic activities for the production of goods and services and, therefore, includes both employed and unemployed persons.
    • According to the Periodic Labour Force Survey  2017-18, 6.1% of India’s labor force and 17.8% young people aged between 15-29 years are unemployed.

    Reasons of unemployment

    • Growth of job creation is not in sync with the GDP growth: It is entirely possible for a country’s GDP to rise either with very little new job creation or even with actual job losses.In other words, while GDP growth is a necessary condition for job creation, it is not the sufficient one.
    • Slower growth in manufacturing sector: India’s growth model is dependent on the service sector, which typically isn’t as labor-intensive as manufacturing. The phase of manufacturing growth has generated relatively limited opportunities for well-paid employment or good jobs for those at the bottom of the education and skill ladder.

    Way Ahead

    • New jobs are required at such a large scale that it is not possible for any government to provide direct employment. Moreover, it is not the job of the government to give jobs; its job is to create the enabling environment so that the economy itself creates more jobs.
    • Growth of manufacturing sector:The focus should be on sectoral composition of GDP growth. India needs to boost its manufacturing sector growth. The government needs to focus on labor-intensive manufacturing as well as small and medium enterprises.
    • Change in India’s industrial policy framework, which has typically laid greater emphasis on capital-intensive industries.Hence efforts must be towards a  comprehensive cluster development policy which allows small and medium sized firms to enjoy collective efficiency 
    • Investment in human capital: It needs to recognise that labor is not a mere factor of production whose factor cost has to be pushed down, but human capital in which there is a need to be invested.

    Source: IE

    Sequencing of Y chromosome

    Syllabus: GS3/ Science and Technology

    News

    • A new finding has provided a base to explore the sequencing of  Y chromosomes.

    What is a Chromosome?

    • Chromosomes are thread-like structures located inside the nucleus of cells. Each chromosome is made of protein and a single molecule of deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA). 
    • Passed from parents to offspring, DNA contains the specific instructions that make each type of living creature unique.
    • Human cells have 23 pairs of chromosomes (22 pairs of autosomes and one pair of sex chromosomes), giving a total of 46 per cell.
    • sex chromosomes determine birth sex in humans and other mammals. Females have a pair of X chromosomes, whereas males have a single X and a Y chromosome.

    SRY Gene

    • The Y chromosome is male-determining because it bears a gene called SRY, which directs the development of a ridge of cells into a testis in the embryo. 
    • The embryonic testes make male hormones, and these hormones direct the development of male features in a baby boy.
    • Without a Y chromosome and a SRY gene, the same ridge of cells develops into an ovary in XX embryos. Female hormones then direct the development of female features in the baby girl.

    A DNA junkyard

    • The Y chromosome is very different from X and the 22 other chromosomes of the human genome. It is smaller and bears few genes (only 27 compared to about 1,000 on the X).
    • These include SRY, a few genes required to make sperm, and several genes that are critical for life – many of which have partners on the X. 
    • Many Y genes are present in multiple copies. Some occur in weird loops in which the sequence is inverted and genetic accidents that duplicate or delete genes are common.
    • The Y also has a lot of DNA sequences that don’t seem to contribute to traits. This “junk DNA” is composed of highly repetitive sequences that derive from bits and pieces of old viruses, dead genes and very simple runs of a few bases repeated over and over.This class of DNA occupies big chunks of the Y chromosome that glow in the dark.

    Why is the Y chromosome weird?

    • Proto-Y: Around 150 million years ago the X and Y were just a pair of ordinary chromosomes.Then SRY evolved (from an ancient gene with another function) on one of these two chromosomes, defining a new proto-Y.
    • Degeneration of proto-Y: This proto-Y was forever confined to a testis, and subject to a barrage of mutations due to a lot of cell division and little repair.The proto-Y degenerated fast, losing about 10 active genes per million years, reducing the number from its original 1,000 to just 27. 
    • A small “pseudoautosomal” region at one end retains its original form and is identical to its erstwhile partner, the X. However the border of this region has been pushed a bit further toward the tip of the Y chromosome.
    • There has been great debate about whether this degradation continues because at this rate the whole human Y would disappear in a few million years.

    Source: TH

    Kampala Declaration

    Syllabus: GS3/ Environmental Pollution & Degradation

    In News

    • A total of 48 African countries have recently agreed to adopt the Kampala Ministerial Declaration on Migration, Environment and Climate Change (KDMECC).

    About

    • Kampala Ministerial Declaration on Migration, Environment and Climate Change (KDMECC) was co-hosted by the Governments of Kenya and Uganda with support from the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). 
    • The declaration aims to address the nexus of human mobility and climate change in the continent. 
    • The Declaration is the first comprehensive, action-oriented framework led by Member States to address climate-induced mobility in a practical and effective manner.  
    • The continental expansion of the KDMECC was discussed at a Conference. 

    Significance

    • Africa is one of the world’s most vulnerable continents to the impacts of climate change.
    • Climate change, which leads to an increased frequency and intensity of extreme weather events, has a direct impact on migration
    • According to a 2023 report by the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre, there were over 7.5 million new internal disaster displacements last year alone. If nothing is done, as many as 105 million people could become internal migrants within the African continent.
    • So, the need to address human mobility in the context of climate and environmental change has increased in global importance and urgency.

    Challenges of Climate Change

    • Increase in Greenhouse Gases (GHGs) emissions: Global GHGs emissions continued to increase in 2022. Carbon dioxide is at 149% of pre-industrial levels, Methane is at 262% of pre-industrial levels, Nitrous oxide is at 124% of pre-industrial levels.
      • The annual increase of methane was 18 ppb from 2020 to 2021. This is the largest increase on record.
    • High Global Mean Temperature: In 2022, the planet was 1.15 ± 0.13 °C warmer than the pre-industrial (1850-1900) average, making the last 8 years the warmest on record.
      • Despite cooling  La Niña conditions , 2022 was the 5th or 6th warmest year. 
    • Above Normal Precipitation: In 2022, large areas with above normal precipitation included large parts of Asia and the south-west Pacific, areas of northern South America and the Caribbean, the eastern Sahel region, parts of southern Africa, Sudan, and eastern Europe.
      • Meanwhile, regions with rainfall deficits included western and central Europe, northwest Africa, parts of the Middle East, Central Asia and the Himalayas, Eastern Africa and Madagascar, central and southern South America, and central and western North America.
    • Ocean Heat Content: As GHGs accumulate in the atmosphere, temperatures warm on land and in the ocean.  It is expected that the ocean will continue to warm well into the future – a change which is irreversible on centennial to millennial time scales.
      • In 2022, 58 percent of the ocean surface suffered at least one marine heatwave event and 25 per cent of the surface experienced at least one marine cold spell.
    • Rise in Sea Level: In 2022, global mean sea level continued to rise. The sea has risen approximately 3.4 ± 0.3 mm per year over the past 30 years .
    • Extreme Events: Rising global temperatures have contributed to more frequent and severe extreme weather events around the world, including cold and heat waves, floods, droughts, wildfires and storms.

    Worldwide impacts

    • The Indian monsoon arrived earlier last year and withdrew before its normal date. 
      • Northeast India experienced floods in June and a dry spell in July and August. 
    • Floods in Pakistan claimed more than 1,500 lives and affected more than 30 million people. 
    • Heatwaves led to record temperatures in several parts of Europe last year, leading to droughts and reduced river flows. 
    • North America had its warmest August and forest fires raged in several parts of the US and Australia. 

    Suggestions & way ahead

    • Need of greater investments: These weather vagaries have underlined the need for greater investments in building people’s resilience —interventions to risk-proof agriculture, build food security, develop flood and cyclone warning systems and strengthen the defences of coasts and other vulnerable areas. 
    • Need of reviewing Paris targets: Many experts now argue that the cumulative ambition expressed through the Paris Pact’s voluntary targetsthe Nationally Determined Contributions —was insufficient to keep the temperature rise below the tolerance threshold.
    • CoP 28: The 2023 United Nations Climate Change Conference or Conference of the Parties of the UNFCCC, more commonly referred to as COP28, will be the 28th United Nations Climate Change conference, held from November 30th until December 12th, 2023 at the Expo City, Dubai.
      • COP28 UAE will be a milestone moment when the world will take stock of its progress on the Paris Agreement.
      • This will help align efforts on climate action, including measures that need to be put in place to bridge the gaps in progress.

    Source: DTE

    OBCs reservation in Local Bodies

    Syllabus: GS1/Social Issues, GS2/ Governance

    Context

    • The Gujarat government announced 27% reservation for Other Backward Class (OBC) communities in the elections of local bodies.

    About

    • The Gujarat government hiked reservations for Other Backward Classes (OBCs) from the existing 10% to 27% in the Panchayats and Urban Local Bodies (ULBs).
    • The reservation has been fixed in such a manner that the total reservation (of SC/ST/OBC communities) does not pass the 50% limit.
    • The decision on reservations is based on the report of the Jhaveri Commission Panel, headed by K S Jhaveri, a retired Chief Justice of the Orisha High Court.
      • The panel was formed to decide on the OBC reservation in local bodies of the state like gram panchayats, taluka panchayats, district panchayats, municipalities, and municipal corporations.

    About Jhaveri Commission

    • As per the directions of the Supreme Court, the Gujarat government appointed former Chief Justice of Orissa High Court K.S. Jhaveri, as a one-man committee to fix reservation for OBC communities in the elections to local bodies.
    • To study the report, submitted by the Commission, a cabinet sub-committee was formed by the state government which has accepted the recommendations of the cabinet sub-committee in public interest.

    Why is this move significant?

    • Delay in Local Body Elections: Due to the non-appointment of a dedicated commission to fix the OBC reservations in the local bodies, and later the non-implementation of the Jhaveri Commission report, elections to thousands of local bodies in the state were postponed by the Gujarat State Election Commission.
      • The polls will now be possible, after the announcement of the OBC reservation quota.
    • After the announcement by the state government, seats in panchayats, municipalities and municipal corporations will be kept reserved for OBC candidates at 27% in general and 10% for the PESA notified areas.
      • Prior to the 27% quota move, the OBC communities were getting 10% reservation in the local bodies.
      • Reservation for Scheduled Castes (14%) and Scheduled Tribes (7%) in local bodies will remain the same.

    Reservation provisions in India for OBC

    • The Kalelkar Commission, set up in 1953, was the first to identify backward classes other than the Scheduled Castes (SCs) and Scheduled Tribes (STs) at the national level.
    • The Mandal Commission Report, 1980 estimated the OBC population at 52% and classified 1,257 communities as backward.
      • It recommended increasing the existing quotas, which were only for SC/ST, from 22.5% to 49.5% to include the OBCs.
    • The central government reserved 27% of seats in union civil posts and services for OBCs [Article 16(4)].
      • The Constitution refers to the term ‘backward classes’ in Articles 15(4), 16(4) and 340(1). Articles 15(4) and 16(4) empower the State to make special provisions for any socially and educationally backward class of citizens
    • In 2008, the Supreme Court directed the central government to exclude the creamy layer (advanced sections) among the OBCs.
    • The 102nd Constitution Amendment Act, 2018 provided constitutional status to the National Commission for Backward Classes (NCBC), which was previously a statutory body under the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment.

    TH

    Cauvery Water Issues

    Syllabus: GS2/Inter-State Water Dispute

    Context

    • Cauvery Water Authority fixes quantum to be released by Karnataka.

    About

    • The Cauvery Water Management Authority directed Karnataka to ensure that 5,000 cubic feet per second (cusecs) of water be released into Biligundlu on the inter-State border for the next 15 days.
      • Tamil Nadu wanted 24,000 cusecs to be supplied whereas Karnataka’s stand was 3,000 cusecs.

    How is the water being shared?

    • It is a monthly schedule for Karnataka, the upper riparian State of the Cauvery basin, to release water to Tamil Nadu.
    • As per the schedule, Karnataka is to make available to Tamil Nadu at Biligundlu a total quantity of 177.25 TMC in a ‘normal’ water year (June to May), with 123.14 TMC from June to September (southwest monsoon).
      • Invariably, it is during the period of southwest monsoon, when the monsoon yields lower rainfall than anticipated, the Cauvery issue gets flared up.
    • The Cauvery Water Management Authority (CWMA) and Cauvery Water Regulation Committee (CWRC) were established after to ensure the implementation of the Supreme Court’s judgement on the Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal (CWDT). 

    About the Cauvery River

    • The River Cauvery originates at Talakaveri in Coorg District of Karnataka in Brahmagiri Range of hills in the Western ghats.
      • It is an inter-state basin that covers Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and the Union Territory of Pondicherry before draining into the Bay of Bengal.
    • The river basin is bounded by Tungabhadra sub-basin of Krishna basin on the Northern side and Palar basin on the Southern side, and the Western ghats form the Western boundary.
    • At Shivanasamudram, the river branches off into two parts and falls through a series of falls and rapids, which is utilised for power generation.
      • The two branches of the river join after the fall and flow through a wide gorge which is known as ‘Mekedatu (Goats leap)’.
    • At Hogennekkal Falls, the river enters the Mettur Reservoir, constructed in 1934.
    • The ‘Grand Anicut’, constructed by a Chola King in 1st Century AD, lies on the Cauvery river.
      • Below the Grand Anicut, the Cauvery branch splits into two, Cauvery and Vennar.
    • Tributaries: Bhavani, Noyil, Amaravathi, Harangi, Hemavati, Kabini,, Lakshmana Tirtha, and Arkavati. 

    Dams and Reservoirs:

    • The Harangi and Hemavati dams in Karnataka.
    • The Krishna Raja Sagar Dam on the main Kaveri River in Karnataka.
    • The Kabini Reservoir in Karnataka which joins the Krishna Sagar Reservoir. 
    • The Mettur Dam on the Kaveri in Tamil Nadu.

    Do you know?

    • The Cauvery basin receives rainfall mainly from the S-W Monsoon and partially from N-E Monsoon in Karnataka. The basin in Tamil Nadu receives good flows from the North-East Monsoon.

    About the Dispute

    • The rift among states over the Cauvery water is continuing from pre-independent India.
      • In 1892, the dispute arose between the erstwhile Presidency of Madras under British rule and the princely state of Mysore, when the construction of irrigation systems on the Cauvery was proposed by the latter. But as opposed to the same reasons that the upstream state might control water.
      • In 1924, an agreement enabled the construction of the Krishnaraja Sagar dam and decided the allocation of Cauvery waters among the states. The timeline of the agreement was 50-year and after it lapsed, the dispute caught fire again. 
    • Thus, Tamil Nadu approached the centre for setting up a tribunal to decide the allocation of water between the states.
    • The Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal (CWDT) was set up in 1990 by the Union Government to adjudicate the water dispute between the states of Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Kerala and Puducherry with respect to the inter-state Cauvery water and river basin.
      • CWDT passed an interim order directing the State of Karnataka to release water from its reservoir to Tamil Nadu.

    Constitutional Provisions related to Inter-state water dispute

    • Article 262 of the Constitution deals with the adjudication of water disputes. The provisions in this regard are:
      • Article 262 (1) 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) Notwithstanding anything in this Constitution, Parliament may, by law, provide that neither the Supreme Court nor any other court shall exercise jurisdiction in respect of any such dispute or complaint as is referred to in clause (1).

    TH

    Facts In News

    Let’s Move Forward

    Syllabus: GS2/ Education

    News

    • The Union Education and Skill Development & Entrepreneurship Minister launched a novel comic book titled “Let’s Move Forward.” 

    About

    • Bodies involved: This comic book is a collaborative effort between the National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) and UNESCO New Delhi. 
    • Objective: The comic book imparts life skills essential pertaining to the 11 thematic components of the School Health and Wellness Programme (SHWP) for fostering responsible and health-conscious behaviour among adolescents. 
    • Areas covered: These life skills encompass a comprehensive range of subjects, including emotional well-being, interpersonal relationships, gender equality, nutrition and health, substance abuse prevention, healthy lifestyles, reproductive health, internet safety, and more.
    • Strategy: The comic book is accessible in multiple languages and will be distributed across various educational and health institutions nationwide. 

    School Health and Wellness Programme (SHWP)

    • Background: The SHWP was initiated under the Ayushman Bharat campaign in 2018 by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
    • Objective: Its primary objective is to impart health education, prevent diseases, and enhance access to health services through wellness centres within educational institutions.
    • Agencies involved: It is an initiative undertaken by the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare. 

    Source: PIB

    Spamouflage

    Syllabus: GS3/ Security

    News

    • Facebook parent company Meta purged thousands of Facebook accounts that were part of a widespread online Chinese spam operation known as “Spamouflage” Campaign.

    About

    • The “Spamouflage” network has engaged in spurts of activity over the last several years pushing positive narratives about China and negative commentary about the United States, Western foreign policies and critics of the Chinese government.
    • Meta executives believe that “Spamouflage” had become the largest known cross-platform influence operation to date, with a presence on at least 50 services.
    • Clusters of the campaign’s fake accounts were run from different parts of China, but shared digital infrastructure and appeared to operate with clear shift patterns.

    Source: TH

     Coking Coal (Metallurgical coal)

    Syllabus: GS3/ Economy, Energy

    News

    • Collaborative efforts between the Ministry of Steel and Ministry of Coal have yielded positive outcomes to enhance domestic Coking Coal availability and minimize import reliance.

    About

    • Names: Metallurgical coal is also known as met coal and coking coal
    • What is it? It is a naturally occurring sedimentary rock found within the earth’s crust. 
    • Types: Met coal encompasses a wide range of quality grades including hard coking coal, semi-hard coking-coal, semi-soft coking coal and pulverised coal for injection (PCI). 
    • Benefits: Met coal typically contains more carbon, less ash and less moisture than thermal coal, which is used for electricity generation.
    • Applications: Metallurgical coal is an essential ingredient in the production of steel, making it one of the most widely used building materials on earth. 
    • Global Resources: Metallurgical coal comes mainly from the United States, Canada and Australia.
    • Indian Resources: Domestic raw Coking Coal production is projected to reach 140 MT by 2030, yielding about 48 MT of usable Coking Coal after washing. There is growing domestic demand for Coking Coal as projected in the National Steel Policy 2017.

    List of measures to boost the availability of Coking Coal are as follow:

    • The Ministry of Coal launched “Mission Coking Coal” in FY’22 to reduce Coking Coal imports through measures such as exploration, enhanced production, private sector involvement in coking coal blocks and establishment of new washeries.
    • Bharat Coking Coal Limited (BCCL) is inviting companies to undertake Coking Coal extraction from abandoned or discontinued BCCL-owned mines. 
    • Steel Authority of India Limited (SAIL) and BCCL have signed an MoU for supply of 1.8 MT of washed Coking Coal to increase the availability of Coking Coal.
    • The Ministry of Coal encourages the establishment of greenfield washeries or refurbishment of existing BCCL washeries to increase Coking Coal availability.

    Source: PIB

    Western Hoolock Gibbon

    Syllabus:GS3/ Environment, Species in News

    News

    • Primatologists have suggested rerouting a 1.65-km-long railway track that has divided an eastern Assam sanctuary dedicated to the western hoolock gibbon. 

     Western Hoolock Gibbon

    • Gibbons are the smallest and fastest of all apes. The hoolock gibbon (India’s only ape), unique to India’s northeast, is one of 20 species of gibbons found in tropical and subtropical forests in Southeast Asia.
    • Habitation: The western hoolock gibbon are particularly sensitive to canopy gaps. They inhabit the jungles with tall trees on the southern bank of the Brahmaputra (Assam)-Dibang (Arunachal Pradesh) river system.
    • Characteristics: Gibbons are highly intelligent creatures with distinct personalities and strong family bonds, similar to other apes. They are diurnal, arboreal,omnivorous and  known for their energetic vocal displays.
    • Threats: The primary threat is deforestation caused by infrastructure projects.
    • Conservation Status: 
      • IUCN Status: Western hoolock gibbon is classified as endangered.
      • Schedule I of Wildlife Protection Act 1972  

                                      

    Hollongapar Gibbon Sanctuary

    • Location: Jorhat district of Assam  
    • Flora: The Hollongapar Gibbon Sanctuary is classified as “Assam plains alluvial semi-evergreen forests” with some wet evergreen forest patches.The Bhogdoi River creates a waterlogged region dominated by semi-hydrophytic plants along the border of the sanctuary.
    • Fauna: It houses about 125 hoolock gibbons. It also shelters six other primate species — the Assamese macaque, the Bengal slow loris, the capped langur, the northern pig-tailed macaque, the rhesus macaque, and the stump-tailed macaque.

    Global Gibbon Network (GGN)

    • GGN was founded with a vision to safeguard and conserve a key element of Asia’s unique natural heritage – the singing gibbon and their habitats, by promoting participatory conservation policies, legislations, and actions.
    • It was first initiated in 2020  and was organized by two institutions in China through Ecofoundation Global and the Hainan Institute of National Park.

    Source:TH