Down To Earth (January 01-15 2024)

Man-Animal Conflict in Elephant Corridors


  • Experts said that the elephant corridors are plagued with inconsistencies and could escalate conflict with humans.


Elephant Corridor:

  • A corridor is supposed to be a small and narrow patch of land that provides connectivity for elephant movement across habitats, largely within a landscape of the elephant reserve.
  • A study titled ‘Right of Passage’, published by the Wildlife Trust of India, identified more than hundred elephant corridors across India which are vital for elephant movement and maintaining a healthy population.
    • However, only 12.9% of these corridors are currently under forest cover, compared to 24% in 2005.
  • Elephant-bearing regions in India:
    • the East-Central region reported the highest number of elephant corridors at 52;
    • the Northeast Region at 48;
    • the Southern Region at 32;
    • the Northern region at 18.
  • There are states where elephants have recently increased. These include the Vidarbha region in Maharashtra, Southern Maharashtra – where elephants are present in Bandhavgarh and Sanjay tiger reserves – and Northern Andhra Pradesh, where elephants move in from Odisha.


Factors affecting the corridor:

  • Elephant corridors are increasingly threatened due to factors such as encroachment by human settlements, linear infrastructure like roads and railway lines, and fragmentation of habitats.
  • Other factors include urbanisation & development along with deforestation and agricultural expansion, lack of protected areas, invasive species, climate change, increase in eco-tourism and substantial increase in the population of prolific breeders like wild boars and peacocks.
  • The fragmentation of habitats has led to an increase in man-animal conflicts.
    • For instance, in northern West Bengal, there is one corridor for every 150 sq. km. of available elephant habitat, resulting in heightened human-animal conflict and an average of 48-50 human deaths every year.
  • Similarly, every day, on average, one person, mostly a farmer, is killed in a human-elephant conflict. The encroachment into elephant corridors is cited as the main reason for this heavy toll.
    • The states of Odisha, West Bengal, and Jharkhand account for 48% of the total deaths due to this conflict in the last six years.
    • Along with Assam, Chhattisgarh, and Tamil Nadu, these states account for 85% of the total deaths.



  • Two types: Asian Elephants and African Elephants.
  • Asian Elephants:
    • Scientific Name: Elephas maximus indicus.
    • Size: The Asian elephant is the largest land mammal on the Asian continent.
    • Habitat and Distribution: They inhabit dry to wet forest and grassland habitats in 13 range countries spanning South and Southeast Asia.
    • IUCN Status: They are listed as ‘Endangered’ on the IUCN Red List of threatened species.
    • Asian elephants have also been listed in the Appendix I of the Convention of the Migratory species (CMS).
  • African Elephants:
    • Scientific Name: Loxodonta cyclotis
    • Two subspecies: The Savanna (or bush) elephant and the Forest elephant.
    • IUCN Status:
      • African forest elephant: Critically Endangered
  • African savanna elephant: Endangered


Initiatives for safeguarding the conflict:

  • Project Elephant: It was launched, as a centrally sponsored scheme, in 1992 to provide financial and technical support to major elephant bearing states and to address the issues of human-elephant conflict and the welfare of domesticated elephants.
  • Features:
    • Welfare of the domestic elephants.
    • Mitigation of human-elephant conflict.
    • Measures for protection of elephants against poachers and unnatural death.
  • Surakshya, the National Portal on human-elephant conflict, for the collection of real-time information & also for managing the conflicts on a real-time basis.
  • The government is using LiDAR technology in order to provide fodder and water augmentation in forest areas so that animals will get food and water in forest areas and will not come outside.
  • Under the Project RE-HAB, bee boxes will be used as a fence to prevent the attack of elephants.
    • The bee boxes are set up in the passageways of human-elephant conflict zones to block the entrance of elephants to human habitations.


Livestock and Emissions


  • Recent study finds that there is a need to explore alternative solutions to curb livestock emissions.


  • The primary sectors of agriculture, fisheries, livestock and forestry are as old as human civilisation, while the secondary and tertiary sectors have come into existence after the Industrial Revolution to meet the needs of humankind.
  • In view of rising methane emissions from agriculture, particularly from enteric fermentation in livestock, countries are undertaking measures like taxing beef products and modifying pig farms.
    • However, the idea of culling livestock brought up in Ireland to minimise methane emissions is distressing; it is an act of taking away the animals’ right to life.

Livestocks and Greenhouse Gas (GHG):

  • In 2018, some 11% of the global greenhouse gas emissions were from food the world produced; of this, the bulk of emissions (about 40%) were from enteric fermentation in the digestive systems of ruminant livestock.
  • Another 26% of the agriculture-related emissions were nitrous oxide from livestock manure applied in fields or dumped.
  • Synthetic fertilisers used on crops then added 13% nitrous oxide and methane emissions from rice cultivation contributed 10% of the total agriculture-related emissions.
    • It’s recently been estimated that the global food system is responsible for about a third of greenhouse gas emissions—second only to the energy sector; it is the number one source of methane and biodiversity loss.
  • The number of people suffering acute food insecurity increased from 135 million in 2019 to 345 million in 82 countries by June 2022, as the war in Ukraine, supply chain disruptions, and the continued economic fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic pushed food prices to all-time highs.

Who is most affected by climate impacts on food security?

  • About 80% of the global population most at risk from crop failures and hunger from climate change are in Sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia, and Southeast Asia, where farming families are disproportionately poor and vulnerable.
  • A severe drought caused by an El Nino weather pattern or climate change can push millions more people into poverty.

Impact on Farmers:

  • Up to a certain point, rising temperatures and CO2 can be beneficial for crops. But rising temperatures also accelerate evapotranspiration from plants and soils, and there must also be enough water for crops to thrive.
  • Farmers are the first victims of climate change impacts. In our world, it is a multifold crisis that threatens their very survival.
    • The increasing cost of agricultural inputs and the lack of public infrastructure, including for irrigation, hits their livelihood.
    • Increasing food costs are unaffordable to most consumers and governments step in to import food from intensive farming systems that are also invariably subsidised.
    • Farmers are being hit repeatedly by extreme weather events; their crops are lost to floods, droughts, pest attacks and unseasonal cold and heat.

What could be possible solutions?

  • It’s possible to reduce emissions and become more resilient, but doing so often requires major social, economic, and technological change.
  • Use water more efficiently and effectively, combined with policies to manage demand.
    • It includes better management of water demand as well as the use of advanced water accounting systems and technologies to assess the amount of water available, including soil moisture sensors and satellite evapotranspiration measurements.
  • Switch to less water-intensive crops, like rice farmers could switch to crops that require less water such as maize or legumes.
  • Improving soil health by increasing organic carbon in soil that helps and allows water plants to access water more readily, increasing resilience to drought.
  • Nature-based solutions to environmental challenges that could deliver 37% of climate change mitigation.

Way Forward:

  • More than 40% of the Earth’s land is now used for agriculture, making agricultural systems the largest terrestrial ecosystems on the planet. The food industry contributes up to 30% to the world’s greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) and 70% to freshwater use.
  • The urgency of addressing these pressing issues through the transformation of food production and distribution systems that harmonise environmental, social, and economic dimensions is imperative.
  • Treating landfills and establishing effluent and wastewater treatment plants, which high-income countries would be able to do efficiently, could control a huge amount of methane emissions.

Red Sea Crisis


  • Houthis, an armed group backed by Iran in Yemen, attacking ships passing through the Red Sea and disrupting energy supply.



  • The commercial ships have been attacked or seized by the Houthis, forcing countries in the EU, US and India to increase military presence on the route.
    • Much of the world's oil is transported through this shipping route.
    • Some 12% of world trade goes through the Suez Canal and 5% through the Panama Canal.
  • Oil and gas companies are either pausing shipments through the Red Sea and the Suez Canal or rerouting fleets through the Cape of Good Hope.
  • As rerouting delays shipments and adds to the expenditure of companies, this could drive up oil prices and inflation.

Importance of Red Sea Trade Route

  • The Red Sea, stretching from Egypt’s Suez Canal to the narrow Bab el-Mandeb Strait separating the Arabian Peninsula from Africa, remains a key trade route for global shipping and energy supplies.
    • Opened in 1869, the Suez Canal is one of the busiest canals in the world, carrying around 12% of global trade.
    • In 2022, 23,583 ships used this route.
  • Linking East and West: The Red Sea serves as a bridge between the East and West, providing a shorter and more direct route for maritime trade between Europe, Africa, the Middle East, and Asia.
  • Strategic Importance: The Suez Canal, which connects the Red Sea to the Mediterranean, is one of the world’s most important artificial waterways, facilitating global trade and reducing shipping times and costs.
  • Trade in Goods and Resources: The region is a significant source of oil and natural gas, and the Red Sea remains an important route for the transportation of energy resources.
  • Economic Impact: The trade routes through the Red Sea support the economies of countries along its shores by providing employment, stimulating economic activity, and fostering international relations.
  • Political Significance: The control of key chokepoints, such as the Bab el Mandeb and the Suez Canal, has implications for global trade and security.
    • Political stability and cooperation among the countries bordering the Red Sea are crucial for ensuring the smooth flow of goods.

International Conventions:

  • United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS): It was adopted in 1982. It defines the rights and responsibilities of nations concerning the use of the seas.
    • It specifically addresses the issue of piracy, providing a definition of piracy and outlining the rights and obligations of states in suppressing piracy.
  • United Nations Security Council Resolutions: A number of United Nations Security Council resolutions have been adopted over the years to facilitate international cooperation in dealing with acts of piracy in that area.
  • Convention for the Suppression of Unlawful Acts Against the Safety of Maritime Navigation (SUA Convention): Adopted in 1988, it criminalises specific offences related to the safety of maritime navigation and establishes a framework for cooperation among states in investigating and prosecuting these offences.
  • International Maritime Organization (IMO) Conventions and Guidelines: It includes measures to prevent and respond to acts of piracy and armed robbery against ships.
  • The International Convention Against the Taking of Hostages, 1979: It aims to develop international cooperation between States in devising and adopting effective measures for the prevention, prosecution and punishment of all acts of taking hostages as manifestations of international terrorism.
  • The United Nations Convention on Transnational Organized Crime, 2000: The main purpose is to promote cooperation to prevent and combat transnational organised crime more effectively.

Carbon Border Tariff of UK


  • The United Kingdom planned to roll out the Carbon Border Tariff from 2027.


  • The UK announced a plan to impose a carbon border tax from 2027, on the imports of emission-intensive goods such as aluminium, cement, ceramics, fertiliser, glass, hydrogen, iron and steel from countries deemed to have weaker climate rules.
  • The tax will be calculated based on the estimated carbon emissions involved in the production of these goods and the gap between the carbon price in the UK and the country of origin.
  • The UK's plan follows a similar move by the EU, whose Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism (CBAM), to be fully operational from 2026.
    • The EU's CBAM does not include ceramics and glass.


  • The announcements by the EU and UK are likely to have an impact on countries like India that are key exporters of iron and steel to Europe.
    • It is a protectionism measure by rich countries and violates the principle of Common But Differentiated Responsibilities (CBDR).
  • Acting as a Trade Barrier: India’s exports of carbon-laden products to Europe — mainly aluminium and iron-and-steel — have been burdened with green reporting rules which is a trade barrier in itself.
    • India's 26.6% of exports of iron ore pellets, iron, steel, and aluminium products go, and exported these goods worth $7.4 billion in 2023 to the EU.
    • India exported steel and aluminium, contributing nearly 14% of its export mix for all products.
  • Uncompetitive Exports: India’s products have a higher carbon intensity than its European counterparts, the carbon tariffs imposed will be proportionally higher making Indian exports substantially uncompetitive.
  • Impacting Balance of Payment (BoP): International climate policies compel other countries to impose similar regulation eventually translating to ‘a significant impact’ on India’s trading relationships and balance of payments.
    • India is reportedly among the top eight countries that will be adversely affected by the tariffs introduced by the EU and UK.

India’s response:

  • To soften the blow, India plans its own carbon tax for exports to European nations. The proceeds collected locally will then be used to support green energy transition.
  • Carbon Trading Mechanism in India: The Carbon Credit and Trading Scheme (CCTS): It was notified by the Union Government under the Energy Conservation Act, 2001, to develop the country’s first-ever domestic carbon market.
    • It will have to be generated and bought by domestic and overseas markets and will not be applicable to the voluntary carbon market.
  • Under the Paris Agreement of 2015, India has pledged to reduce the emissions intensity of its GDP by 45% by 2030, from the 2005 level.

Food Inflation


  • India sees food inflation risks despite export bans of several food items.


  • The Reserve Bank of India (RBI), at its last monetary policy meeting for 2023, decided to keep its repo rate unchanged at 6.5%, amid risks of high food prices driving up inflation.
  • It comes soon after a series of announcements from the Union government to ban export of commodities like rice, wheat, sugar and onions to ensure domestic supplies amid weather-related poor production.
  • However, the moves do not seem to alleviate risks.
    • In sugar, for example, the government has not just halted bans but restricted the use of sugar in ethanol production to ensure domestic supply.

India’s food-price inflation:

  • India may be the fastest growing large economy of the world, but it is also facing accelerating food-price inflation.
  • The rise in the price of food first accelerated sharply in 2019, and has climbed in most years thereafter.
  • In July 2023, annual inflation exceeded 11%, the highest in a decade.
  • An implication of continuing high food-price inflation is that a section of the population could be facing hardship in consuming food of adequate nutritional value.

Causes of 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.
  • 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.

Issues & challenges:

  • Increased cost of preparing food: While the cost of preparing a thaali at home has risen by 65% in the last five years, in this period, the average wage of a manual worker rose by 38% and that of a salaried worker by 28%.
  • Prevalence of anaemia: This would be in line with the reported rise in the prevalence of anaemia, mostly induced by nutrient deficiency, in the latest National Family Health Survey undertaken over 2019-21.
    • Over 50% of adult women were estimated to be anaemic. This suggests that the FAO’s finding, that over half of India cannot afford a healthy diet, is plausible.
  • Unsound inflation targeting: Macroeconomic policy, relied upon to control inflation, hasn’t proved to be favourable in the context.
    • Inflation rate is mostly higher than the target for four years by now.
    • RBI’s approach of contracting output when the inflation rate rises — misleadingly termed ‘inflation targeting’ — does nothing to manage food inflation stemming from the supply side.

Almora Earthquakes


  • The Union Minister of Earth Sciences informed that there has been an increase in the number of earthquakes in 2023, in comparison to the last three years, due to activation of the Almora fault.

What is Almora and how is it related to earthquakes?

  • Almora is a geological fault in the Himalayan region that runs from western Nepal to Uttarakhand.
  • The activation of the Almora fault led to many earthquakes of varying degree of magnitudes like 5.8 in January 2023, 6.2 in October 2023 and 6.4 in November 2023.

  • All the earthquakes that occur in the Himalayas are due to the Main Himalayan Thrust, which is a break in the Earth's crust, 15-20 km below the mountain range.

North Almora Fault/Thrust:

  • Almora comes under Seismic Zones of IV.
  • It is two closely parallel tectonic discontinuities:
    • The North Almora Fault, a steep south dipping high angle brittle fault with a dominant east slip and subordinate dip slip component; and
    • The North Almora Thrust, a low angle south dipping thrust marking the northern boundary of the large Almora - Jajarkot Nappe.
  • The >500 km long dextral strike slip North Almora Fault mimicking the 800km long Karakoram Fault is responsible for significant strain partitioning in the west-central Lesser Himalaya.


What is an earthquake?

  • The earth’s crust consists of different tectonic plates, and the line where they interact, collide, pull apart or slide past each other is known as ‘fault lines’.
  • When these plates abruptly grind and slip past each other, they release massive amounts of energy in the form of seismic waves, leading to earthquakes. It spreads through the earth and causes the shaking of the ground.
    • Focus (Hypocenter): The location below the earth’s surface where the earthquake starts.
    • Epicentre: The location directly above it on the surface of the earth.

Types of Faults:

  • Dip-slip faults: Faults that move along the direction of the dip plane.
  • Strike-slip faults: Faults that move horizontally.
  • Oblique-slip faults: These show characteristics of both dip-slip and strike-slip faults.

Effects of Earthquakes:

  • The specific impacts can vary depending on factors such as the magnitude of the earthquake, the depth of the focus, the geology of the area, and the design and construction of buildings and infrastructure.
  • The major impacts include structural damage to buildings, fires, damage to infrastructure, initiation of slope failures, liquefaction, and tsunami.

Can earthquakes be predicted?

  • An accurate prediction of an earthquake requires some sort of a precursory signal from within the earth that indicates a big quake is on the way.
  • Moreover, the signal must occur only before large earthquakes so that it doesn’t indicate every small movement within the earth’s surface.
Currently, there is no equipment to find such precursors, even if they exist.



Climate Mobility


  • The International Organization for Migration (IOM) said in its report that climate change is reshaping human mobility across the planet.

Key Findings:

  • Up to 2.79 billion people globally could be exposed to heat waves by 2090 if temperatures rise by 3-4ºC by the end of the century.

    • Of these, almost 2.6 billion people or roughly 93% are projected to live in Asia and Africa.
  • Climate-related hazards like floods, storms, and wildfires are already a major driver of global human mobility. In many parts of the world, climate change is increasing these impacts.
  • The Climate Mobility Impacts dashboard by IOM’s Global Data Institute (GDI) visualises where hazard exposure, high population density, and economic vulnerability are projected to coincide in future.
    • These data help identify climate-sensitive hotspots and develop effective anticipatory action to support at-risk communities worldwide.
  • Emerging evidence indicates that children become uprooted and displaced due to climate change, or they are left behind when parents are compelled to move in search of livelihoods.


Who is the Migrant?

  • It is an umbrella term, not defined under international law.
    • At the international level, no universally accepted definition for ‘migrant’ exists.
  • A person who moves away from his or her place of usual residence, whether within a country or across an international border, temporarily or permanently, and for a variety of reasons.
  • The current global estimate is that there were around 281 million international migrants in the world in 2020, which equates to 3.6% of the global population.
  • Internal Displacement: More than 59 million people are currently displaced within their own countries – uprooted by conflict, violence and disasters.
    • Internally displaced persons (IDPs) often live in overcrowded, unsanitary locations where jobs and services are few.

IOM’s objectives concerning migration, environment and climate change are:

  • To prevent forced migration that results from environmental factors to the extent possible;
  • To provide assistance and protection to affected populations when forced migration does occur in situations of environmental and climate change, and to seek durable solutions to their situation; 
  • To facilitate migration in the context of climate change adaptation and enhance the resilience of affected communities.

Outcomes at CoP 28


  • The world, for the first time, agreed to transition away from fossil fuels, and in a just, orderly, equitable manner at COP28, a UN Climate Conference held in Dubai.


  • Each year there are great expectations from the UN’s Climate Conference, and each year the quotient of the crisis increases; global temperatures rise; and extreme weather impacts become more evident and devastating.


Initiatives at CoP28

Key Outcomes

Global Stocktake
  • Adopted with a call to transition away from fossil fuels.
  • The responsibility of developed countries to provide grant-based climate finance is recognised.
  • No mention of oil or gas phase-down.
  • Acceptance of transitional fuels in facilitating a shift to cleaner energy allows nations, like the US, to continue producing natural gas, a fossil fuel.
  • Details on financing fossil fuel transition through differentiated pathways absent.
Loss and Damage Fund (LDF)
  • The World Bank to host the interim secretariat of the Loss and Damage Fund (LDF) for four years.
  • All developing countries are eligible to access LDF.
  • Direct access to communities.
  • Replenishment cycle for the fund missing.
  • Absence of the inclusion of the principles of equity and Common But Differentiated Responsibilities Respective Capabilities (CBDR RC) in light of different national circumstances.
  • Room for the private sector to come into the fund though insurance mechanisms, such as the Global Shield initiative.
Adaptation Targets
  • A global consensus on adaptation targets and the need for finance, technology and capacity building support to achieve them.
  • Seek to close adaptation-finance gaps.
  • Language around finance and other means of implementation of targets remains weak.
  • Principles of equity and CBDR-RC missing.
Mitigation Work Programme
  • A procedural decision text that invites submissions from Parties and other groups for topics to be discussed at Global Dialogues in 2024.
  • No discussion on barriers to and opportunities for the energy transition, and the financial and technological needs of developing countries that developed countries must assist with.
Climate Finance
  • Parties agreed to at least three technical expert dialogues and three consecutive meetings conducive to negotiations in 2024.
  • Need to shift from technical to negotiations mode recognised by all Parties.
  • Substantive elements of New Collective Quantified Goal (NCQG) pushed to 2024 deliberations.
Carbon Market
  • A decision text on Article 6.8 of the Paris Agreement, which covers climate actions without trading carbon credits, was agreed to.
  • No deal on market mechanisms under Articles 6.2 and 6.4.
  • Countries called on to accelerate and substantially reduce non-carbon dioxide emissions globally, including methane emissions, by 2030.
  • No quantifiable target on reducing methane emissions.
  • Many voluntary initiatives on decarbonisation.
  • Call to adopt zero and low-carbon fuels.
  • Phasing out inefficient fossil fuel subsidies.
  • No deadline to phase out inefficient fossil fuel subsidies.


Impact Projections:

  • An estimate of the impact of initiatives announced at COP28 to see overlaps, achievable goals based on current signatories and areas that need work.

Debates around New Collective Quantified Goal (NCQG) on Climate Finance:

  • The EU called for global efforts to fund climate action instead of putting the onus only on developed nations.
  • Article 2.1 (c) of the Paris Agreement, which aims to make financial flows consistent with a pathway aligned to low greenhouse gas emissions and climate-resilient development.
    • Developing countries have expressed fears that wealthy nations could add conditionalities to orient funds away from fossil fuels.
  • A report by the UN Conference on Trade and Development at CoP28 calculates that $500 billion should be channelled to developing countries in 2025, which should then be scaled up to $1.55 trillion by 2030.
    • However, the developed countries do not want to discuss numbers at present.


Voluntary Initiatives at CoP 28:

  • Parties and stakeholders announced voluntary ‘declarations’ during COP28 that reflect their priorities. The declarations are not bound by the UN Climate Convention rules.

Global Electric Cooking Coalition (GECCO):

  • Sector: Energy
  • Purpose: Promote transition to electric cooking by providing action plans and mobilising finance
  • Signatories: At least 10 countries in sub-Saharan Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean
  • India’s position: Signatory

Oil and Gas Decarbonisation Charter:

  • Sector: Energy
  • Purpose: To call on industry to pursue net zero by or before 2050, zero out methane emissions, eliminate routine flaring by 2030
  • Signatories: 30 national oil companies and 20 independent oil companies
  • India’s position: India’s Oil and Natural Gas Corporation Limited has signed up.

Global Renewables and Energy Efficiency Pledge:

  • Sector: Energy
  • Purpose: Triple worldwide installed renewable energy generation capacity and double energy efficiency by 2030
  • Signatories: 123 countries
  • India’s position: Not a signatory. Disinclined to sign a pledge that asks for a phase-down of coal power

Global Cooling Pledge:

  • Sector: Energy
  • Purpose: To reduce cooling-related emissions across sectors by at least 68 % globally relative to 2022 levels by 2050
  • Signatories: 63 countries
  • India’s position: Not a signatory. With low per capita emissions and energy consumption, and cooling needs set to rise, India might not want to commit to investments that will raise cooling costs

Declaration to Triple Nuclear Energy:

  • Sector: Energy
  • Purpose: Triple nuclear energy capacity globally by 2050
  • Signatories: 25 countries
  • India’s position: Not a signatory. Position is unclear.
    • The government is increasing nuclear power capacity threefold by 2031-32

CoP 28 Declaration on Food and Agriculture:

  • Sector: Food
  • Purpose: Scale up adaptation and resilience activities
  • Signatories: 159 countries
  • India’s position: Not a signatory.
    • A probable concern could be that the declaration calls for revisiting agriculture policies to reduce greenhouse gas, restricting small and marginal farmers, threatening food security

Coalition for High Ambition Multi-level Partnerships For Climate Action:

  • Sector: Climate action
  • Purpose: Planning, financing, and monitoring climate strategies to further enhance Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) ahead of COP30
  • Signatories: 71 countries
  • India’s position: Not a signatory.
    • The declaration calling for targets and actions for emissions mitigation to enhance NDCs could be a cause of concern.

CoP 28 UAE Declaration on Climate and Health:

  • Sector: Health
  • Purpose: Build more climate-resilient health systems, promote steps to curb emissions in health sector, and increase finance
  • Signatories: 123 countries
  • India’s position: Not a signatory.
    • Lack of practicality in curbing greenhouse gases in cooling in the health sector the likely cause for not signing

UAE Leaders’ Declaration on a Global Climate Finance Framework:

  • Sector: Finance
  • Purpose: Ensuring climate finance is available, affordable, and accessible
  • Signatories: 14 countries
  • India’s position: A signatory

Joint Declaration on Ocean and Climate Action:

  • Sector: Ocean
  • Purpose: Sustainably manage 100 % of their national ocean jurisdictions, adopt ocean-based action in national climate goals
  • Signatories: 18 countries and the General Secretariat of the Organization of American States
  • India’s position: Not a signatory; reason unclear

Climate Club:

  • Sector: Industry
  • Purpose: Decarbonisation of industries, access to finance to developing countries
  • Signatories: 35 countries + EU
  • India’s position: Not a signatory.
  • Developing countries still need to industrialise and decarbonisation could increase the cost


Invasive plants and indigenous vegetation


  • Invasive plants are rapidly replacing the indigenous vegetation in Indian forests, creating a food crisis for wildlife and limiting their natural habitat

About Invasive species:

  • It breed profusely far away from their original ecosystem, occupy more areas, and soon alter their new territories while displacing the native species.
  • It can cause great economic and environmental harm to the new area.

Assessment Report on Invasive Alien Species and their Control:

  • It was released by Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES).
  • Invasive species will continue to conquer new geographies, with deep and irreversible impacts on the natural ecosystem.
  • Every year, 200 new alien species are recorded.
  • Human activities have caused translocation of some 37,000 alien species across the planet.
  • A July 2023 report by the international non-profit World Wildlife Fund says the 2018 floods in Kerala aided in the spread of invasive plants such as those in the genus Senna, Mikania, Lantana and Eupatorium in the state’s elephant habitats.

Triple burden of Biological Invasion:

  • Extinctions: Invasive alien species have contributed solely or alongside other drivers of change to 60% of recorded global extinctions of which 90% occurred on islands. 218 invasive alien species caused 1,215 local extinctions of native species.
  • Adverse quality of Life: Invasive alien species have a negative impact on good quality of life in 85% of cases.
  • Economic Cost: The economic cost of biological invasion of species increased fourfold every decade. In 2019, the estimated global annual economic cost of biological invasions was $423 billion.
    • It is estimated around US $423 billion to cost the world, in which nearly 92% accrue from the negative impact of invasive alien species on nature’s contributions to people or on good quality of life, while nearly 8% of that sum is related to management expenditures of biological invasions.
    • Invasive alien species can add to marginalisation and inequality, including, in some contexts, gender and age-differentiated impacts.


Do you know?

  • The 11 high-concern invasive species have already attacked 66% of India’s natural systems. They are most prolific in fragmented and deciduous ecosystems and are least prevalent in areas with extreme climate and less anthropic pressure.
  • Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve is one of the largest invasion impact hotspots by area, predominantly invaded by Lantana camara, Prosopis juliflora and Chromolaena odorata.
  • Southern Eastern Ghats among the most densely invaded landscapes predominately by Prosopis juliflora and Lantana camara.
  • Least suitable native systems for invasions were distributed in extreme climatic conditions like the desert Savannas in western India, evergreen rainforest of the northeastern India and Western Ghats, along with least human modified areas in Central India.

Invasives Plant Species in India:

  • Mikania Micrantha: It was introduced in India around World War-II Manas and Kaziranga (Assam) National parks, Valmiki Tiger Reserve (Bihar) and Kerala. It is native to the Pacific and Asian countries.
    • Early-stage invasion Central India and Himalayan foothills.
  • Mimosa Diplotricha: Native to Central and South America, it can form dense thickets quickly.
    • Manas and Kaziranga (Assam) National parks, Valmiki Tiger Reserve (Bihar), Karnataka.
    • Early-stage invasion in Central India.
  • Xanthium Strumarium: Native of North America and Argentina, the plant is drought-resistant.
    • Mukundara National Park (Rajasthan), Nagarjuna Sagar Srisailam (Andhra Pradesh) and Sathya-mangalam (Tamil Nadu) tiger reserves.
  • Mesosphaerum Suaveolens: A herbaceous plant native to the South America and West Indies, its introduction into India is unknown.
    • Pench, Melghat and Tadoba Andhari tiger reserves in Central India.
    • Early-stage invasion in Himalayan foothills
  • Chromolaena Odorata: Belonging to the sunflower family, this South American shrub was introduced in India in the 1840s Bandipur National Park and Nagarhole Tiger Reserve in Karnataka, Manas National Park (Assam), Mudumalai Tiger Reserve (Tamil Nadu).
    • Early-stage invasion in Himalayan foothills, Central Indian highlands.
  • Lantana Camara: Native of South America, it was introduced in India as a decorative shrub in 1809 Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve (Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Kerala), Central Indian Highlands, Himalayan foothills.
  • Senna Tora: An invasive weed native of South America, its introduction into India is unknown.
    • Sariska (Rajasthan) and Amarabad (Telangana) tiger reserves and Bandhavgarh National Park (Madhya Pradesh)
  • Prosopis Juliflora: Native to Mexico and South America, it was introduced in India in 1887.
    • Kutch, Thar, Aravalli, and Deccan Plateau.
    • Early-stage invasion in lower Himalayas, Northeastern hills
  • Argentina Adenophora: A weed indigenous to Central America, it was introduced in the subcontinent in the 1950s Himalayas, Western Ghats and Northeast.
    • Early-stage invasion in dry forests of Central India
  • Ageratum Conyzoides: A flower bearing plant native to tropical America and known to exist in India before 1882.
    • Himalayan foothills, Terai and Northeastern hills
  • Parthenium Hysterophorus: A poisonous weed introduced in India in 1954 as contaminants in imported wheat Agro-pastoral regions, along with riverbanks, roadsides, animal trails.

Impacts of alien/invasive Plant Species:

  • A shortage of food inside Indian forests is forcing at least three megaherbivores to eat invasive species and farm crops.


  • What it normally eats: Different species of grass, tree barks, bamboo, leaves, creepers, palm leaves
  • Invasive species: Lantana camara, water hyacinth
  • Farm crops: Plantain trees, banana, coconut, paddy, sugarcane


  • What it normally eats: Grass (wild sugarcane), Shrubs (fiddlehead fern), rosewood and aquatic plant species
  • Invasive species: Lantana camara and Mikania Micrantha during summer months
  • Farm crops: Maize, potato, onion, pumpkins, carrot and cabbage

Wild Buffalo:

  • What it normally eats: Aquatic plants, grass, shrubs, herbs and trees
  • Invasive species: Mikania Micrantha, water hyacinth
  • Farm crops: Rice, sugarcane, jute






  • Recently, the Rhododendrons were in the news because of its medicinal properties.

About Rhododendrons:

  • It is a large genus of about 1,000 species of woody plants and as many as 87 species are found in the Indian Himalayan region.
    • Its flowers can be white, pink, red, orange and even purple.
  • It is a native species of the Himalayas, often evergreen flowering tree or shrub that thrives in alpine and temperate climates.
  • These signal the arrival of spring in hilly terrains of Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh, Nagaland, and Sikkim in India.
    • Kohima in Nagaland (the Japfu Peak) boasts the distinction of being home to the tallest rhododendron tree in the world.

Cultural, Geographical, and Ecological significance:

  • Rhododendron Arboreum, or ‘Buransh’ is designated as Uttarakhand’s state tree and Nagaland’s state flower.
  • Rhododendron Campanulatum or pink rhododendron (aka gulabi buransh) is the state flower of Himachal Pradesh.
  • Rhododendron Niveum (locally known as hiunpatay guransh) is the state tree of Sikkim.

Medicinal Properties:

  • The flowers are consumed to treat inflammation due to gout, arthritis or bronchitis.
  • The traditional belief in the state is that consuming rhododendron petals can help remove fish bones stuck in one's throat.
    • However, the Rhododendron Pontica, found in certain European countries and the UK, threatens biodiversity as it is invasive and toxic.


  • Indiscriminate felling and habitat destruction, and damage by pests and diseases have left several of the species vulnerable to extinction.
  • The Botanical Survey of India highlighted, rhododendrons are impacted by wild forest fires in Dzükou Valley in Nagaland and continuous human activities.

Conservation Efforts

  • The rhododendron’s development and blooming schedules are affected by rising temperatures and changed precipitation patterns.
  • A rhododendron park was opened after sowing and nurturing 500 rhododendron plants of six species in Nagaland.
  • In Uttarakhand, there are initiatives to create rhododendron conservation zones and support eco-friendly travel.


JN.1 (a separate variant of interest in COVID-19)


  • The WHO has tagged JN.1 strain as ‘variant of interest (VOI)’ as the covid cases rise across several countries.
    • Earlier, JN.1 was considered to be a subvariant of the Omicron strain of the SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes COVID-19.


  • The World Health Organization (WHO) and other public health agencies use a system to categorise variants based on their potential impact, such as Variants of Interest (VOIs) and Variants of Concern (VOCs).

The JN.1 Variant:

  • It is a descendant of the BA.2.86 variant.
    • As of early January 2024, Pune reported 150 cases of the JN.1 variant.
    • A total of 312 cases of the JN.1 variant have been detected in India so far, with about 47% of them recorded in Kerala.
  • Symptoms of the JN.1 variant are similar to those of previous Omicron variants, and it doesn’t seem to cause more severe disease.
  • According to the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), there is no need for an additional fourth booster dose of vaccine against COVID-19 amid the surge in cases and the detection of the JN.1 sub-variant.



  • Variant of Interest (VOI): A VOI typically refers to specific genetic markers that have been associated with changes to receptor binding.
    • This implies that variants of interest may be more difficult to treat, be at risk for more severe symptoms, or have a heightened rate of transmission.
  • Variant of Concern (VOC): When there is evidence for increased transmissions through field and clinical investigations, a variant becomes a VOC.


Global Study on Homicide Report 2023


  • The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) released ‘Global Study on Homicide Report 2023’ recently.


  • The UNODC Global Study on Homicide 2023 provides a comprehensive examination of intentional homicide trends and patterns around the world.
  • It explores the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on homicide trends, and considers the impacts of megatrends such as climate change, ageing populations, inequality, urbanisation, and technological shifts, with the aim of providing insights into how these larger global developments may intersect with and influence homicide rates.
  • It examines the criminal justice system’s response to intentional homicide, seeking to identify areas for improvement and intervention.
  • It is an effort to reveal and delve into the facts behind the violence, to try and identify notable trends and to inform policies and solutions.

Key Findings of the report:

  • Disputes over property, land or access to water were the reason for nearly 16.8% of murders recorded in India in 2019-21.
  • About 0.5% or 300 of the murders recorded in India in 2019-21 were due to water-related conflicts.
  • Women are more likely to be killed because of their gender, and more likely to lose their lives to violence at home.
    • Women account for the victims in 54% of killings in the home, and 66% of intimate partner killings.
  • It shows that 2021 was an exceptionally lethal year, with an estimated 458,000 intentional homicides worldwide, averaging 52 killings every hour.
  • The global homicide rate was at 5.8 for every 100,000 persons, a number that sadly reflects little progress in reducing lethal violence worldwide since the launch of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in 2015.

Homicides related to organised crime:

  • The Americas have the highest regional homicide rate in the world, with high rates of homicidal violence related to organised crime.
  • These are significantly more volatile than homicides perpetrated by intimate partners or other family members.
    • High homicide rates are also usually associated with a proportionately higher number of homicides related to organised crime.
    • Where there is a higher density of criminal organisations, there is a higher risk of homicidal violence.


Hirakud Dam


  • The recent collapse of an ash pond in a thermal power plant in Odisha has destroyed crops and polluted the Hirakud dam reservoir.

About Hirakud Dam:

  • Hirakud Dam Project is a multipurpose scheme intended for flood control, irrigation and power generation.
    • It is run by state-owned Odisha Power Generation Corporation.
  • It is located in Jharsuguda district, and built across river Mahanadi at about 15 km upstream of Sambalpur town in the state of Odisha.


  • Agriculture: It provides 1,55,635 hectares of Kharif and 1,08,385 ha of Rabi irrigation in the districts of Sambalpur, Bargarh, Bolangir and Subarnapur in the state.
  • Electricity: The installed capacity for power generation is 359.8 MW through its two power houses at Burla, at the right bank and Chiplima, at 22 km downstream of Dam.
  • Flood Control: It provides flood protection to 9500 sq. km of delta area in districts of Cuttack and Puri.


The National Repowering and Life Extension Policy


  • The Union Ministry of New and Renewable Energy released the National Repowering and Life Extension Policy for Wind Power Projects, 2023.

About the National Repowering and Life Extension Policy for Wind Power Projects, 2023:

  • The Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) has updated its 2016 policy for repowering wind power projects, aiming to simplify the process of replacing older turbines.
  • The goal of the policy is to maximise energy yield and adopt the latest onshore wind turbine technologies.
  • It allows for the upgrading of older generation turbines with more efficient ones before reaching the end of their design life by making modifications to parts like gearbox, blades, generator, and controller.
    • Using the most recent onshore wind turbine technologies, the policy seeks to maximise the energy yield per square km in the project area in order to optimise the efficient use of wind energy resources.
  • Electricity Procurement: It will be based on the average generation of the previous three years, until the power purchase agreement (PPA) expires.
    • The current PPA tenure will be extended for up to two years, or for a term equal to the refurbishment or repowering.
  • Distribution Company (DisCom): The existing discom is not entitled to any authority or procurement over the surplus power produced, following repowering or refurbishment.
    • The developer has the flexibility to sell the surplus power generated as per their choice, whether through the power exchange, bilateral agreements, or by engaging in short/medium/long-term PPA in accordance with prevailing laws and regulations.
  • There is no mandatory obligation to supply the power to any discom or procurer at fixed rates.


Solid Waste Management Rules, 2016


  • The Supreme Court observed that the Bhopal Municipal Corporation is not complying with the Solid Waste Management Rules, 2016.

About the Solid Waste Management Rules, 2016:

  • These were announced by the Union Ministry of Environment, Forests, and Climate Change (MoEF&CC) to replace the Municipal Solid Wastes (Management and Handling) Rules, 2000.
  • These rules apply to urban agglomerations, census towns, notified industrial townships, and other areas outside of municipal boundaries.
  • These rules aim to manage waste effectively from its inception through its disposal, including collection, transport, treatment, and monitoring.
    • However, they do not cover industrial waste, hazardous waste, hazardous chemicals, biomedical wastes, e-waste, lead acid batteries, and radioactive waste, which are covered under separate rules framed under the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986.

Key Points in the rules:

  • Waste Generators’ Duties: Certain responsibilities like including segregation of waste at source and payment of user fees for collection, disposal, and processing of waste.
  • Government Duties: Various ministries and departments, including the Ministry of Urban Development, Department of Fertilisers, Ministry of Chemicals and Fertilisers, Ministry of Agriculture, Ministry of Power, Ministry of New and Renewable Energy Sources, and others, have specific duties.
  • Local Authorities’ Duties: Local authorities and village Panchayats of census towns and urban agglomerations have responsibilities related to waste collection, segregation, and disposal.
  • Manufacturers’ Duties: Manufacturers or brand owners of disposable products and sanitary napkins and diapers have responsibilities related to waste management.
  • Waste Processing and Treatment: Criteria for setting up solid waste processing and treatment facilities are specified.
  • Waste to Energy: Promotion of waste to energy processes is encouraged.
  • Sanitary Landfills: Specifications for sanitary landfills are provided.


International Debt Report 2023


The World Bank recently released the ‘International Debt Report 2023’


  • The International Debt Report (IDR), formerly International Debt Statistics (IDS), is a longstanding annual publication of the World Bank featuring external debt statistics and analysis for the low and middle income countries that report to the World Bank Debtor Reporting System (DRS).

Key Findings of 2023 report:

  • It is the 50th annual edition and includes:
    • Analyses of external debt stocks and flows as of end-2022 for these countries;
    • The macroeconomic and debt outlook for 2023 and beyond;
    • A focus on improved public debt transparency and the quality of debt reporting;
    • A discussion of the need for innovative approaches to debt management;
    • A commentary on how the International Debt Statistics database serves as an indispensable resource for researchers and policy makers; and
    • A one-page snapshot of relevant debt indicators and summary of debt stocks and flows for six years (2010 and 2018–22) for each country, plus global income group and regional aggregates.
  • Unique in its coverage of the important trends and issues fundamental to the financing of low and middle-income countries, IDR 2023 is an indispensable resource for governments, economists, investors, financial consultants, academics, bankers, and the entire development community.
  • The amount spent by developing countries to service their external debt in 2022. Debt-service payments (including principal and interest) rose by 5% over the previous year (nearly $443.5 billion) for all developing countries.
    • These costs shifted scarce resources away from health, education, environment and other areas.

Significance of the report:

  • It supports policymakers and analysts by monitoring aggregate and country-specific trends in external debt in low and middle-income countries.
  • It provides a comprehensive picture of external borrowing and sources of lending by type of borrower and creditor.
  • The IDR includes recent findings from academic research on debt transparency and draws on the IDS database to provide empirical evidence of the evolution of official and private creditors’ lending volumes and terms over the past decade.


Medical Patents in India


  • India is making efforts to curb problems of poor implementability of existing laws on intellectual property


  • The Indian government is working to create a patent regime that encourages technological development and complies with its global commitments.

Pharmaceutical Patenting in India:

  • Pharmaceutical patenting in India is of particular significance in the current public-health concerns as India and its pharmaceutical companies, in the form of generic drugs, are significant suppliers of low-priced drug products.

Medical Devices and Diagnostic Inventions

  • The Indian medical devices market is the fourth largest in Asia, after Japan, China and South Korea, and it is among the top 20 globally.
  • As of 2020, the Indian medical devices market is estimated to be worth $12 billion, with an expected compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 15%.

Patentability of Medical Devices:

  • In the United States, patent protection is granted for both products and procedures, whereas in India, patent law is more like the European Patent Law, which says that the procedure of treatment of the human/animal body by surgery/therapy and diagnostic methods is not patentable.


  • India is part of the Doha Declaration on the TRIPs and Public Health Agreement, 2001.
  • The issue of access to medicines has taken on global dimensions since the millennium. However, growth was very slow because of the low expenditure on public health and very few institutes of public health.


BT Brinjal


  • A brinjal that democratised science in India.

About BT Brinjal:

  • It is a genetically modified (GM) crop developed to resist the brinjal fruit and shoot borer, an insect. It has been a topic of debate in India due to various concerns.
  • It was developed by M/S Mahyco in collaboration with University of Agricultural Sciences, Dharwad; Tamil Nadu Agricultural University, Coimbatore and ICAR-Indian Institute of Vegetable Research, Varanasi.
  • It was approved by the Genetic Engineering Appraisal Committee (GEAC) in 2009 but due to a 10-year moratorium imposed on GM crops by the Technical Expert Committee (TEC) appointed by the Supreme Court of India, no further action on commercialization has been taken.
  • GEAC (works under MoEF&CC) has again allowed biosafety research field trials of two new transgenic varieties of indigenously developed Bt Brinjal in eight states during 2020-23.
  • The National Institute of Agricultural Economics and Policy Research anticipates, brinjal output will increase and retail prices will fall, benefiting consumers far more than farmers.
  • GM crops that are allowed in India: Bt Brinjal, Bt Cotton, Herbicide-tolerant crops, GM Mustard.

Concerns related to GM Crops:

  • Potential Toxicity and Allergenicity;
  • Environmental Risks;
  • Development of Pest Resistance or New Secondary Pests;
  • Gene Flow: It refers to the transfer and incorporation of genes from one population into another through pollen or seed movement.
    • This can lead to hybridization between GM crops and their sexually compatible species.
  • Weediness or Invasiveness: Concerns have been raised that transgenic crops themselves could become weeds and invade agricultural or natural ecosystems.
    • The engineered traits could be introduced into wild relatives via hybridization and increase the competitive ability and the weediness of those wild plants or their hybrid derivatives.

Government rules on GM in India:

  • In India, the use of GM trees is regulated under the Environment Protection Act, 1986, and the Rules for the Manufacture, Use, Import, Export, and Storage of Hazardous Microorganisms/Genetically Engineered Organisms or Cells, 1989.
  • While the GEAC is responsible for granting approval for the field trials of GM crops in India.
  • The GEAC considers various factors, such as the potential risks to the environment and human health, before granting approval for field trials.

Promoting the R&D of GM crops in India:

  • National Agricultural Innovation Project (NAIP)
  • National Food Security Mission (NFSM)
  • Biotechnology Industry Partnership Program (BIPP)
  • National Biotechnology Development Strategy (NBDS)
  • Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana (RKVY)




  • PrEPVacc, a HIV vaccine trial in Africa for this decade has been stopped after preliminary data showed it was not effective in preventing infections.

About PrEPVacc:

  • PrEPVacc is an African-led, European-supported HIV prevention study running in East and Southern Africa from 2018 to 2024.
    • The oral PrEP component of the study is continuing to completion.
  • It was testing two different vaccine regimens against HIV on about 1,500 volunteers in Uganda, Tanzania and South Africa since December 2020, but showed very little or no impact at all.

What is PrEP?

  • PrEP is a proven intervention that has been shown to prevent HIV, where an Antiretroviral pill is taken prior to being exposed to HIV.

The PrEP results of PrEPVacc will be valuable for informing future implementation and uptake strategies by local stakeholders and champions in settings where PrEP uptake is low even when accessible, but is likely to be more widely available in the future.


Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV):

  • HIV is a virus that attacks the immune system, specifically the CD4 cells, which are crucial for fighting off infections.
  • It primarily spread through unprotected sexual contact, sharing needles or syringes, and from mother to child during pregnancy, childbirth, or breastfeeding.

HIV Facts & Figures:

  • AIDS Society of India, India has the third-highest HIV burden with 2.35 million.
  • In 2019, there were 69,220 new HIV infections and 58,960 AIDS-related deaths in India.
  • UNAIDS Report 2020, Asia Pacific region saw a 12% decline in new HIV infections and a 29% decline in AIDS-related deaths over the last decade.


  • Many people with HIV do not experience any symptoms for years after infection, but the virus continues to damage the immune system.
  • As HIV progresses, symptoms may include fever, fatigue, weight loss, night sweats, swollen lymph nodes, and recurrent infections.


  • At present, there is currently no cure for HIV or AIDS, but Antiretroviral Therapy (ART) can slow the progression of the virus and improve quality of life.
  • It involves taking a combination of medications that target different stages of the virus’s life cycle, reducing its ability to replicate and damage the immune system.
  • The drugs have to be taken for life because the virus continues to persist in reservoirs across the body.
  • If left untreated, the virus destroys a person’s immune system and leads to AIDS resulting in death.


Noma, a Neglected Tropical Disease


  • The World Health Organisation (WHO) declared ‘Noma’ as Neglected Tropical Disease (NTD).


  • Noma is a severe gangrenous disease of the mouth and face with a mortality rate of around 90%.
    • Its pathogenesis is linked with non-specific polymicrobial organisms and a range of modifiable risk factors and underlying social determinants shared with other neglected tropical diseases (NTDs).
  • It impacts children aged 2-6 years and is seen in developing countries.
    • Africa is the most affected continent, although cases have also been reported in Asia, the Americas and other regions.
  • Affected children that survive the diseases are often left with serious aesthetic and functional consequences including disfigurement and impairments in breathing, swallowing, speaking and vision that further contribute to their social isolation, stigmatisation, discrimination, and consequently to violations of their human rights.
  • Disease burden: WHO estimated 140 000 incident cases per year and a prevalence of 770 000 cases.
    • The case-fatality rate was estimated at 90%, although evidence shows that this can be greatly reduced by early treatment.
  • Diagnosis: Noma is diagnosed using clinical criteria that differ according to the different stages of progress. There is currently no point of care diagnostic test.
    • WHO classifies Noma into 5 clinical stages:
      • Stage 0 – simple gingivitis (gum inflammation);
      • Stage 1 – acute necrotizing gingivitis;
      • Stage 2 – oedema;
      • Stage 3 – gangrene;
      • Stage 4 – scarring; and
      • Stage 5 – sequelae.


  • Early detection is essential, as therapy is most effective at the early stages of disease when it appears as aggressively swollen gums (acute necrotizing gingivitis).
  • Treatment typically includes prescription of widely available antibiotics, advice and support on practices to improve oral hygiene, disinfectant mouthwash (salt water or chlorhexidine could be used), and nutrition supplements.


Neglected Tropical Disease (NTD):

  • WHO defines NTDs as a diverse group of communicable diseases that prevail in tropical and subtropical conditions in 149 countries.
  • Populations living in poverty, without adequate sanitation and in close contact with infectious vectors and domestic animals and livestock are those worst affected.
  • NTDs also find a mention in SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals 2030).


Current Status in India:

  • India has the world’s largest absolute burden of at least 10 major NTDs, including hookworm, dengue, lymphatic filariasis, leprosy, visceral leishmaniasis or kala-azar and rabies.
  • NTDs continue to pose significant health burdens on some of the most disadvantaged communities in India.
    • In the country, over 670 million people are at risk of infection by Wuchereria Bancrofti and Brugia Malayi parasites in 272 districts which represents around 40 per cent of the global disease burden.
  • India has the largest population in south Asia, and has been trying for two decades to eliminate these diseases. India aimed for their elimination by 2015, then 2018, then 2020. Post pandemic the loose target is now 2030.
  • India has committed  towards the target of eradicating lymphatic filariasis by the end of 2027.


National Programmes to Deal with NTDs

  • The following national programmes in relation to tropical diseases are being implemented:
  • National Vector Borne Disease Control Programme (NVBDCP): for control of Dengue and elimination of Kala-azar and Lymphatic Filariasis.
  • National Leprosy Eradication Programme: India has achieved the elimination of leprosy at national level in December 2005. Focus is now to achieve elimination of leprosy at district level.
  • National Programme for Control of Blindness: services are provided for the control of Trachoma.
  • School Health Programme: services are provided for the prevention of Soil-transmitted Helminthiases



Subjective Questions

  1. Analyse the impacts associated with climate change on livestock. Highlight the possible solutions to improve the conditions of livestock in India.
  2. Highlights the strategic importance along with major concerns of the Red Sea Trade Route. What are the global efforts to secure it?
  3. What are the reasons and challenges associated with the food inflation in India? Do you think that the recent ban of food items could solve the problem?
  4. Highlights the major initiatives with their outcomes and gaps taken during CoP28 of UNFCCC.