Items at a glance
GENERAL STUDIES II
- First Tribal Circuit.
- Human Development Index Report.
GENERAL STUDIES III
- Masala Bonds.
- Great Indian Bustard.
FACTS FOR PRELIMS
- International Whaling Commission.
- Black Buck.
GENERAL STUDIES II
- Welfare schemes for vulnerable sections of the population by the Centre and States and the performance of these schemes; mechanisms, laws, institutions and Bodies constituted for the protection and betterment of these vulnerable sections.
FIRST TRIBAL CIRCUIT
- First Tribal Circuit Project under Swadesh Darshan Scheme to be inaugurated.
- Minister of State for Tourism (IC), Government of India will be inaugurating the project “Development of Tribal Circuit: Jashpur- Kunkuri- Mainpat- Kamleshpur- Maheshpur- Kurdar-Sarodadadar- Gangrel- Kondagaon- Nathiya Nawagaon- Jagdalpur- Chitrakoot- Tirthgarh in Chhattisgarh” implemented under the Swadesh Darshan Scheme of Ministry of Tourism, in Gangrel, Chhattisgarh.
- This is the second project under the Swadesh Darshan Scheme being inaugurated in the country.
- The Ministry is carrying out an array of activities for development and promotion of tourism in the tribal region.
- The Ministry is developing the tourism infrastructure in the region under its schemes of Swadesh Darshan.
- Chhattisgarh is known for its exceptional scenic beauty and uniquely rich cultural heritage. The state has always been synonymous with tribes and tribal culture.
- Over one third of the state population is of tribes; the tribes here are unique in their lifestyles and have beautifully retained their own culture and traditions for centuries.
- Given the significant dominance of indigenous population in the region, the Ministry of Tourism, Government of India has selected Chhattisgarh to be included in the Swadesh Darshan Scheme under Tribal Circuit theme, with an objective to acknowledge the sovereignty of tribes, promote the rich and diverse primitive assets in the state.
Swadesh Darshan Scheme
- Swadesh Darshan scheme is one of the flagship schemes of Ministry of tourism for development of thematic circuits in the country in a planned and prioritized manner.
- Under the Swadesh Darshan scheme, thirteen thematic circuits have been identified, for development namely:
- North-East India Circuit,
- Buddhist Circuit,
- Himalayan Circuit,
- Coastal Circuit,
- Krishna Circuit,
- Desert Circuit,
- Tribal Circuit
- Eco Circuit,
- Wildlife Circuit,
- Rural Circuit,
- Spiritual Circuit,
- Ramayana Circuit and Heritage Circuit.
- It is 100% centrally funded scheme for the project components undertaken for public funding.
- It also has provision for leveraging voluntary funding under Corporate Social responsibility initiatives of Central Public Sector Undertakings and corporate sector.
- First project under the Swadesh Darshan Scheme the ‘North East Circuit: Imphal & Khongjom’ in Manipur will be inaugurated tomorrow.
- Link: http://pib.nic.in/newsite/PrintRelease.aspx?relid=181868
- Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests, Indian diaspora.
- Important International institutions, agencies and fora- their structure, mandate.
HUMAN DEVELOPMENT INDEX REPORT
- Millions out of poverty but glaring inequalities in India.
- India ranks a low 130 out of 189 countries in the latest human development Index (HDI) released by the United Nations Development Programme.
- The UNDP report stated that with an HDI value of 0.64 compared to last year’s 0.636, India is categorized as a medium human development and that its rank rose one spot compared to the 2017 HDI.
- Important findings:
- According to the 2018 findings, between 1990 and 2017, India’s HDI value increased from 0.427 to 0.640, an almost 50 per cent increase, which is “an indicator that millions have been lifted out of poverty.
- At the same time, in what signals the glaring inequality in the country, the HDI value declines by more than a fourth when adjusted for inequality.
- The value of India’s Inequality-adjusted HDI (IHDI) falls to 0.468, a 26.8 per cent decrease, far worse than the global average decrease in the global HDI value due to inequality at 20 per cent.
- Life expectancy:
- Life expectancy at birth in the country has increased by 11 years and children have been predicted to stay in school for 4.7 years longer than in 1990.
- Gross National Income:
- The highest leap has been in India’s GNI per capita which registered a 266 per cent increase between 1990 and 2017.
- Gender inequality index:
- India ranks 127 out of 160 countries on the Gender Inequality Index which reflects gender-based inequalities in reproductive health, empowerment (political and educational), and economic activity.
- Labour market:
- India’s worst performance on the gender scale is with regards to its female participation in the labour market which is 27.2 per cent compared to 78.8 per cent for men even as globally 49 per cent women are part of the labour force as compared to 75 per cent men
- Countries with high HDI value:
- Norway at 0.95 has been ranked the highest on the HDI scale while Niger is the bottom at 0.35.
- The greatest increase in HDI rank over the last five years is by Ireland followed by Turkey while the worst decline was seen in conflict-hit countries of Syria, Libya, and Yemen.
Human development Index
- The Human Development Index (HDI) is a tool developed by the United Nations to measure and rank countries’ levels of social and economic development.
- Four principal areas of examination are used to rank countries:
- Mean years of schooling.
- Expected years of schooling.
- Life expectancy at birth.
- Gross national income per capita.
- This index makes it possible to follow changes in development levels over time and to compare the development levels of different countries.
- How is HDI measured?
- The HDI is essentially a summary measurement of basic achievement levels in fundamental dimensions of human development.
- The computed HDI of a country is a geometric mean of normalized indexes of each of the life aspects that are examined – knowledge and understanding, a long and healthy life, and an acceptable standard of living.
- Health aspects:
- The health aspect of the HDI is measured by the life expectancy, as calculated at the time of birth, in each country.
- Education is measured on two levels: the mean years of schooling for residents of a country and the expected years of schooling that a child has at the average age for starting school.
- Standard of living:
- The metric chosen to represent standard of living is GNI per capita based on purchasing power parity (PPP), a common metric used to reflect average income.
- Millions out of poverty but glaring inequalities in India, reveals Human Development Index report.
- Link: https://indianexpress.com/article/india/human-development-index-undp-poverty-in-india-5357374/
GENERAL STUDIES III
- Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization of resources, growth, development and employment.
- Effects of liberalization on the economy, changes in industrial policy and their effects on industrial growth.
- Investment models.
- Norms for FPI eased; masala bonds issued till March 31, 2019, to be exempt from withholding tax.
- The government announced a set of five measures aimed at supporting the rupee, which has been under pressure and ensuring that the current account deficit stays in control.
- FPI norms eased:
- In order to attract more foreign portfolio investors into the corporate debt market, the government has eased the FPI norms.
- So, the condition that FPIs’ investment in a single corporate entity cannot exceed 20% of its corporate bond portfolio will be reviewed.
- The condition that FPIs cannot invest more than 50% of an issue of corporate bonds will also be reviewed.
- Masala bond route:
- In a bid to push Indian corporates to take the masala bond route, the government has exempted all such bond issues until March 31, 2019, from withholding tax.
- It has also said it will remove restrictions on Indian banks on market-making for such bonds and on underwriting them.
- The advantage of these bonds is that any depreciation in the rupee will not affect the borrower.
- What exactly are masala bonds?
- Masala bonds are rupee dominated borrowings by Indian entities in overseas markets.
- Usually, while borrowings in overseas markets, the currency is globally accepted one like dollar, euro, yen.
- Major advantages of borrowing abroad in rupees?
- Companies issuing masala bonds do not have to worry about rupee depreciation, which is usually a big worry while raising money in overseas markets.
- If the rupee weakens by the time the bonds come up for redemption, the borrower (company) will need to shell out more rupees to repay the dollars.
- Internationalization of rupee:
- Since the bonds are issued in INR, the forex related risk is on the investor and not the company.
- The benefit of the rupee-denominated bonds is that it will encourage foreign buyers to deal more in rupees; hence, internationalization of rupee can be promoted by rupee denominated bonds.
- The subscriber of these bonds have greater flexibility to transfer / sell the Rupee Bonds to a third party (domestic or offshore) but the issuer cannot use the proceeds from the issue for real estate activities or capital market investment.
- However, it can be utilized for development of integrated township / affordable housing project or any other infrastructural development project.
- Low interest rate
- As Masala Bond is issued with lower interest rate, it helps Indian companies to reduce its interest cost component on debt and it will give positive impact on balance sheet of company.
- Will the bonds be traded?
- The masala bonds can be traded only on the London Stock Exchange and not in India.
- Who issued these bonds?
- Any corporate or body corporate, Indian banks, Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs) and Infrastructure Investment Trusts (InvITs) are eligible to issue these denominated bonds overseas.
- Resident entities like Limited Liability Partnerships and Partnership firms are, however, not eligible to issue these bonds.
- Who can invest?
- Masala Bonds can be issued only in countries that have an arrangement for Financial Action Task Force (FATF) or are a member of a FATF-Style Regional body along with securities market regulator is a signatory to the International Organization of Securities Commission’s (IOSCO’s) or a signatory to bilateral MoU with the SEBI for information sharing arrangements.
- These bonds can either be placed privately or listed on exchanges as per host country regulations.
- Government moves to stabilise rupee.
- Link: https://www.thehindu.com/business/Economy/government-moves-to-stabilise-rupee/article24950247.ece
- Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment.
GREAT INDIAN BUSTARD
- Once in the race to become India’s national bird, the Great Indian Bustard now faces extinction.
- According to the IUCN Red List, an information source on the global conservation status of animal and plant species, the bird’s population was approximately 1,260 in 1969.
- It was present in 11 states, including Haryana, Punjab, Odisha, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Tamil Nadu.
- Today, this critically endangered species with an average weight of 15-18kg, among the heaviest of flying birds barely survives, despite many of its remaining habitats in Rajasthan (where it is the state bird), Gujarat, Maharashtra and Karnataka being turned into priority conservation sites (also known as “important bird areas”).
- Initiatives for conservation:
- Efforts to save the species, which is placed in Schedule I of the Indian Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972, the highest degree of legal protection in the country, are ongoing.
- In 2013, the Rajasthan government launched Project Great Indian Bustard, with the aim of constructing breeding enclosures for the species and developing infrastructure to reduce human pressure on its habitats.
- Wildlife officials and experts submitted their recommendations to the standing committee of the National Board for Wildlife to save four critically endangered species, including the bustard, from extinction.
- Issue regarding conservation:
- The bustard is a slow breeder. When there isn’t much rainfall, it may even skip breeding.
- Physical characteristics:
- The bustard’s size and other characteristics are also impediments to survival. It cannot perch on trees and the female nests on open ground, laying just one egg.
- Habitat loss:
- Great Indian Bustard faces a larger threat from man-made changes to its last remaining natural landscapes.
- Increase in human habitation:
- Along with increase in human habitation along the canal, came animals such as feral pigs and dogs, which prey on the bustard’s eggs and offspring.
- High power tension lines and wind mill transmission:
- Relatively new high-power tension lines and windmill transmission wires have also hampered conservation efforts.
- Bustards have poor frontal vision and heavy flight, which make them particularly prone to power-line collision.
Great Indian Bustard
- The Great Indian Bustard or Indian bustard is a bustard found on the Indian subcontinent.
- A large bird with a horizontal body and long bare legs, giving it an ostrich like appearance, this bird is among the heaviest of the flying birds.
- Once common on the dry plains of the Indian subcontinent, as few as 250 individuals were estimated in 2011 to survive and the species is critically endangered by hunting and loss of its habitat, which consists of large expanses of dry grassland and scrub.
- These birds are often found associated in the same habitat as blackbuck. It is protected under Wildlife Protection Act 1972 of India.
- Bustard species was formerly widespread in India and Pakistan.
- The bustard is critically endangered in Pakistan primarily due to lack of protection and rampant hunting.
- A few birds were detected in a September 2013 survey of the Cholistan Desert in Pakistan.
- In India, the bird was historically found in Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Odisha, Andhra Pradesh, Rajasthan, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu.
- Today the bustard is restricted to isolated pockets in Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan (shared with Pakistan).
- The habitat where it is most often found is arid and semi-arid grasslands, open country with thorn scrub, tall grass interspersed with cultivation.
- It avoids irrigated areas.
- The Great Indian Bustard’s last sigh.
- Link: https://www.livemint.com/Leisure/aE08dRPnA2iRRIOiVD7rAO/The-Great-Indian-Bustards-last-sigh.html
FACTS FOR PRELIMS
INTERNATIONAL WHALING COMMISSION
- The International Whaling Commission (IWC) is the global body charged with the conservation of whales and the management of whaling.
- The IWC currently has 89 member governments from countries all over the world.
- All members are signatories to the International Convention for the Regulation of Whaling. This Convention is the legal framework which established the IWC in 1946.
- Proposal to create whale sanctuary in S Atlantic defeated.
- Link: https://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-life/proposal-to-create-whale-sanctuary-in-s-atlantic-defeated/article24939034.ece
- The blackbuck also known as the Indian antelope is an antelope found in India, Nepal and Pakistan.
- The blackbuck is the sole extant member of the genus Antilope.
- IUCN status: Least Concern.
- The blackbuck is a diurnal antelope (active mainly during the day).
- The antelope is native to and found mainly in India, while it is extinct in Bangladesh.
- In India, hunting of blackbuck is prohibited under Schedule I of the Wildlife Protection Act of 1972.
- The blackbuck has significance in Hinduism; Indian and Nepali villagers do not harm the antelope.
- The Great Indian bustard last sigh.
- Link: https://www.livemint.com/Leisure/aE08dRPnA2iRRIOiVD7rAO/The-Great-Indian-Bustards-last-sigh.html