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30-April-2024-Daily-Current-Affairs

May 30 @ 7:00 am - 11:30 pm

EXPERT PANEL FAVOURS REOPENING ELEPHANT CORRIDOR, SHIFTING CHINNAKANAL COLONIES 

TOPIC: (GS3) ENVIRONMENT AND ECOLOGY – SOURCE: THE HINDU 

The expert panel appointed by the Kerala High Court has submitted a report outlining recommendations to address the human-wildlife conflict in Chinnakanal, Idukki district.  

  • The report highlights the case of Arikomban, a wild elephant relocated due to repeated raids on settlements and emphasizes the need for long-term solutions. 

Problem Analysis 

  • Habitat Fragmentation: The current isolation of the elephant population in Chinnakanal is a key driver of conflict. Elephants lack access to sufficient resources and their natural habitats. 
  • Arikomban’s Translocation: The report acknowledges the controversial relocation of Arikomban and argues for alternative approaches. 

Measures 

  • Elephant Corridor Restoration: The panel proposes reopening the traditional elephant corridor between Anayirankal and Old Devikulam.  
  • This 60-acre shola forest is crucial for connecting Chinnakanal’s elephants to the broader Munnar landscape, encompassing a vast 4,500 sq. km area. 
  • Voluntary Relocation: The report suggests the voluntary relocation of two colonies occupying 381 acres in Chinnakanal.  
  • Conservation Reserve: Establishing Chinnakanal as a conservation reserve could deter illegal activities and promote wildlife protection. 

ELEPHANT CORRIDOR 

An elephant corridor is a narrow strip of land that acts as a passage between two or more areas of elephant habitat. 

  • There are around 33 notified elephant reserves in India, spread over 14 states. These reserves are crucial for the conservation of Asian elephants, an endangered species. 

These corridors are crucial for the survival of elephant populations.  

  • Movement: Elephants are wide-ranging animals and need to move between different areas for various reasons. 
  • Habitat Fragmentation: Unfortunately, human activities like development projects and agriculture often fragment elephant habitats. 

The authority over elephant reserves in India is a shared responsibility between the Central and State governments: 

Central Government (Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change – MoEFCC): 

  • Sets policy guidelines for elephant conservation and management. 
  • Provides financial and technical assistance to states for managing elephant reserves. 
  • Issues notifications declaring areas as elephant reserves under the provisions of the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972. 
  • Oversees the implementation of the Wildlife Protection Act and ensures compliance by the states. 

State Governments: 

  • Have primary responsibility for managing elephant reserves within their jurisdiction. 
  • Prepare management plans for each elephant reserve in consultation with local stakeholders. 
  • Constitute Elephant Reserve Management Committees (ERMCs) for each reserve. These committees involve representatives from the Forest Department, local communities, and NGOs to ensure participatory management. 
  • Implement conservation measures like habitat improvement, anti-poaching patrols, and conflict mitigation initiatives. 

Elephants use corridors year-round for various reasons: 

  • Seasonal: They follow food and water, traveling more during dry seasons to reach resources. 
  • Breeding: Females use corridors to find birthing grounds and social groups. 
  • Safety: They avoid human activity and use corridors for safe passage between protected areas. 
  • Habitat loss: When their habitat is fragmented, corridors become crucial for connecting isolated areas. 

CONSERVATION RESERVES UNDER WILDLIFE PROTECTION ACT, 1972 

 

  • Declaration: State governments can declare an area, particularly those adjacent to sanctuaries or parks, as conservation reserves (Section 36). 
  • Focus: Primarily for the protection of wildlife and its habitat, with a specific emphasis on areas that complement existing protected areas. 
  • Management: Managed by the state Forest Department, similar to sanctuaries. 
  • Restrictions: Similar to sanctuaries, activities like hunting, grazing, or damaging vegetation are prohibited. 
  • Community Involvement: Unlike sanctuaries, the Act encourages consultation with local communities before declaring a conservation reserve. 

Multiple choice question: 

  1. Under the Wildlife Protection Act of 1972, which of the following categories of protected areas prohibit local inhabitants from gathering or utilizing any biomass? 
  1. national park 
  1. sanctuary 
  1. conservation reserve 
  1. community reserve 

ANSWER – A 

EXPLANATION: 

  • National parks: local people have no rights to collect or use biomass. strictest protection accorded. 
  • Sanctuaries: restricted rights for locals. collection for subsistence might be allowed with permission. 
  • Conservation reserves: relatively new category with focus on community involvement. some rights for locals might be allowed. 
  • Community reserves: not a statutory category under the WLPA. may involve some access for local communities. 

THE RISING SHARE OF PERSONAL INCOME TAX AND INDIRECT TAX IS A CONCERN  

TOPIC: (GS3) ECONOMY – SOURCE: THE HINDU 

As of February 2024, personal income tax formed 28% of gross tax revenue, a new peak but corporate tax share decreasing, while personal income tax share increasing. 

  • Corporate tax reductions since FY19 contributing to the decline in corporate tax share. 

Direct vs. Indirect Taxes: 

  • Direct taxes (e.g., income tax) decreasing in share, while indirect taxes (e.g., GST) increasing. 
  • Direct taxes considered “progressive” as they tax based on income levels. 
  • Indirect taxes considered “regressive” as they apply uniformly regardless of income. 

Taxpayer Profile: 

  • Majority of personal income tax filers earn between ₹1 lakh-₹5 lakh annually. 
  • Higher-income earners (above ₹50 lakh) constitute a small portion of taxpayers. 
  • Poorer and middle-class citizens bearing increasing tax burden. 
  • Rising share of personal income tax and indirect taxes contributing to higher burden. 

Policy Implications: 

  • Need for a balanced tax structure to ensure equitable distribution of tax burden. 
  • Consideration of measures such as inheritance tax to address wealth inequality. 
  • Review of tax policies to ensure fairness and sustainability. 

Direct Taxes: 

  • Levied directly on an individual’s income or wealth. 
  • Paid straight to the government by the taxpayer. 
  • Examples: Income tax, corporate tax, property tax, wealth tax (not levied in many countries anymore). 

Indirect Taxes: 

  • Imposed on goods and services. 
  • Collected by a seller or intermediary (like a store) and then passed on to the government. 
  • Usually factored into the final price the consumer pays.simply depends on value of product or service  
  • Examples: Sales tax, value-added tax (VAT), excise duty, customs duty, GST  

Share in Total Tax Revenue: 

  • The specific weightage of direct and indirect taxes varies depending on the country’s tax structure. Generally, in developed economies, the contribution of direct taxes tends to be higher compared to indirect taxes.  
  • This is because as income levels rise, a larger tax base is available for direct taxes. 

INDIA’S TAX REVENUE IS DIVIDED BETWEEN DIRECT AND INDIRECT TAXES 

Direct Taxes:  

  • According to the Indian Union Budget estimates for the 2023 financial year, direct taxes contributed roughly 51.5% of the total central tax collection. 

Indirect Taxes:  

  • Indirect taxes made up the remaining 48.5%. This category incorporates GST (Goods and Services Tax). 

GST and Other Indirect Taxes: 

  • GST itself is a type of indirect tax, and it contributes a significant portion within the indirect tax bracket. Estimates suggest its share to be around 18% of the total tax collection. 
  • This implies that other indirect taxes, like customs duty and excise duty, account for roughly 30.5% (48.5% – 18%). 

TAX evasion also leads to high share of indirect taxes  

  • Operating in Shadows: Unregulated markets operate clandestinely, making income and transactions difficult to track. 
  • Transaction Focus: Indirect taxes are typically transaction-based. In unregulated markets, transactions may prioritize speed and discretion, leading to lower emphasis on indirect tax collection. 
  • Shifting tax burden: Consumers pay more indirectly due to cheaper goods/services from unregulated sources. 
  • Informal taxation: Unregulated markets may have informal taxation systems (e.g., protection money to gangs), resembling indirect taxes. 

Increasing Tax Base in India:  

  • Digitalization: Expand digital payment infrastructure to track transactions effectively.India’s digital payment transactions grew from 2.5 billion in 2017-18 to 34.3 billion in 2020-21. 
  • Simplification: Simplify tax filing processes to encourage compliance.Example: Introduction of pre-filled income tax forms reduced filing time to 3-5 minutes. 
  • Tax Awareness: Enhance public awareness about the importance of paying taxes.Example: Tax awareness campaigns increased tax compliance by 19% in rural areas. 
  • Data Analytics: Utilize data analytics to identify tax evasion patterns.Example: Income Tax Department’s Project Insight analyzed data from various sources to detect tax evasion. 
  • Legal Reforms: Implement legal reforms to strengthen tax enforcement mechanisms.Example: Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code facilitated recovery of ₹3.45 lakh crore of bad debts. 

Multiple choice question: 

  1. Consider the following statements with reference to the Goods and Services Tax (GST),:
  1. It is a multi-stage tax levied on the manufacture, sale and consumption of goods and services. 
  1. It subsumes a number of indirect taxes levied by the Central and State Governments. 
  1. It is levied at the point of consumption of goods and services. 

Which of the statements given above are correct? 

  1. 1 and 2 only 
  1. 2 and 3 only 
  1. 1 and 3 only 
  1. 1, 2 and 3 

ANSWER – D 

Explanation: 

All three statements are correct about GST: 

  • Multi-stage tax: GST is indeed levied at various stages of production and distribution, unlike a single-point tax. 
  • Subsumes indirect taxes: GST replaced a multitude of indirect taxes previously levied by the Central and State governments, simplifying the tax structure. 
  • Tax at consumption point: The final consumer bears the burden of GST, unlike taxes like excise duty levied at the manufacturing stage. 

THE PARADOX OF THRIFT: DOES A RISE IN SAVINGS CAUSE A FALL IN INVESTMENT? 

TOPIC: (GS3) ECONOMY – SOURCE: THE HINDU 

The paradox of savings (or paradox of thrift) suggests that increased individual saving can lead to a decrease in overall savings in the economy. This seems counterintuitive because typically, more saving is seen as beneficial. 

Keynesian View: 

  • Higher savings reduce consumer spending. 
  • Less spending leads to lower profits for businesses, discouraging investment. 
  • This reduces overall savings and economic growth. 
  • Governments should encourage spending during economic downturns. 

Criticisms: 

  • Increased saving leads to more funds available for investment. 
  • Lower consumer spending can be offset by higher investment in production factors. 
  • Businesses may adjust investments towards future needs with higher savings. 
  • A free market allows capitalists to adapt investment strategies to changing consumer preferences. 
  • In essence, the paradox highlights the complex relationship between saving, spending, investment, and economic growth. 

Economic Slowdown 

  • An economic slowdown is a period of slower economic growth.  
  • Reduced Growth Rate: The main indicator of a slowdown is a decrease in the rate of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth. GDP represents the total value of goods and services produced in a country. 
  • Slower Pace of Activity: During a slowdown, economic activity expands at a slower pace compared to previous periods. This can manifest in areas like production, employment, and trade. 
  • Not a Recession: It’s important to distinguish a slowdown from a recession. A recession is a more severe downturn characterized by negative GDP growth for a prolonged period (typically two quarters or more). 

Recession 

A recession is a significant decline in economic activity that lasts for months or even years. It’s a period of negative economic growth. 

  • Negative GDP Growth: This is the most crucial factor, recession is a negative growth rate for consecutive 2 months  
  • Rising Unemployment: As businesses scale back production due to lower demand, layoffs become more common, leading to rising unemployment. 
  • Falling Retail Sales: Consumer spending typically drops during a recession as people tighten their budgets due to job insecurity or declining incomes. This results in a decrease in retail sales. 
  • Overall wages and salaries may stagnate or decline, and industrial output might decrease, reflecting the sluggish economic activity. 

Causes of Recession 

  • Financial Crisis: A collapse in financial markets, like the 2008 financial crisis, can lead to a credit crunch, making it difficult for businesses and individuals to borrow money. This disrupts investment and spending, causing a recession. 
  • Economic Bubbles and Bursts: When asset prices (like stocks or housing) inflate rapidly and then crash, it can cause a chain reaction of economic decline. 
  • Policy Mistakes: Government policies that are poorly designed or implemented can also contribute to recessions. For example, excessively high interest rates can dampen economic activity. 
  • External Shocks: Global events like pandemics, wars, or oil price hikes can disrupt supply chains and consumer confidence, potentially leading to a recession. 

Instances of Recession in India 

While India has experienced periods of economic slowdown, there haven’t been many full-blown recessions as defined by the technical criteria of two consecutive quarters of negative GDP growth. However, some periods can be considered close calls: 

  • 1950s and 1960s: These decades saw several periods of sluggish growth, often attributed to policy decisions and wars with neighboring countries. 
  • 1970s: The oil crisis of the 1970s impacted India’s import-dependent economy, leading to a period of slow growth and high inflation. 
  • 1980s: The debt crisis and policy adjustments in the 1980s resulted in a period of economic stagnation. 
  • 2020: The COVID-19 pandemic caused a sharp decline in GDP growth in 2020, although it wasn’t technically a recession due to a rebound in the following quarters. 

Multiple choice question: 

  1. Consider the following statements about economic slowdown:
  1. It is a period of negative gross domestic product (gdp) growth. 
  1. It is characterized by rising unemployment and declining industrial output. 
  1. It is often accompanied by deflation, or a decrease in the general price level. 

Which of the statements given above are correct? 

  1. 1 only 
  1. 2 and 3 only 
  1. 1 and 3 only 
  1. 1, 2 and 3 

ANSWER – B 

EXPLANATION: 

A Slowdown is distinct from a recession, which is defined by negative gdp growth for two consecutive quarters. 

Slowdowns are characterized by rising unemployment and declining industrial output, indicating a sluggish economy. 

Deflation, while possible during a slowdown, is not a defining characteristic. in fact, slowdowns can sometimes be accompanied by inflation. 

INDIAN OCEAN WARMING: A CAUSE FOR CONCERN 

TOPIC: (GS3) ENVIRONMENT AND ECOLOGY – SOURCE: THE HINDU 

 The Indian Ocean has warmed by 1.2°C since 1950 and is projected to heat up further (1.7°C to 3.8°C) by 2100. 

Concerns regarding Marine Heatwaves:  

  • These underwater heatwaves, linked to cyclones, are expected to become ten times more frequent, reaching 220-250 days per year compared to the current 20 days. 
  • Impact on Marine Life: The warm water is likely to create a “near-permanent heatwave state” harming coral reefs, seagrasses, and kelp forests, negatively affecting fisheries. 
  • Heat Content on the Rise:  The Indian Ocean’s heat content (energy stored in the water) is increasing rapidly, projected to reach rates 3-5 times higher in the future. 
  • Equivalent to Atomic Bombs:  This heat gain is like adding the energy of one Hiroshima bomb detonation every second for a decade. 
  • Sea Level Rise:  Thermal expansion of water due to heat is a major contributor to rising sea levels in the Indian Ocean, more than melting glaciers and ice. 

Marine Heatwaves 

Marine heatwaves are just like heatwaves on land, but they occur in the ocean. Caused by rising global temperatures, these events see large areas of ocean water experience abnormally high temperatures for extended periods. 

  • Imagine a beach vacation – the perfect water temperature might be 25°C. A marine heatwave could push that temperature to 30°C or higher, and it might last for weeks or even months. 
  • These warm waters have a ripple effect. They can: 
  • Fuel cyclones: Warmer water provides more energy for storms to develop and intensify. 
  • Harm marine life: Coral reefs bleach and die, seagrasses struggle, and fish populations can be disrupted. 
  • Impact fisheries: With stressed marine ecosystems, fish catches can decline, affecting food security and livelihoods. 

HOW TO TACKLE MARINE HEAT WAWES  

  • Reduce Global Warming: Curb greenhouse gas emissions: Implementing stricter regulations and transitioning to renewable energy sources are crucial for slowing down ocean warming. 
  • International cooperation: Global efforts through agreements like the Paris Agreement are essential to achieve significant reductions in emissions. 
  • Build Ocean Resilience: Marine protected areas: Establishing and enforcing marine protected areas can provide sanctuaries for marine life, allowing them to recover from heatwave impacts. 
  • Sustainable fishing practices: Preventing overfishing allows fish populations to be more robust in the face of environmental stressors like heatwaves. 
  • Research and innovation: Investing in research on heatwave prediction, coral reef restoration techniques, and heat-resistant marine life can inform future adaptation strategies. 
  • Public awareness: Raising public awareness about the threats posed by marine heatwaves can encourage support for climate action and sustainable practice. 

CRITICAL MINERALS SUMMIT 

TOPIC: (GS3) ENVIRONMENT – SOURCE: INDIAN EXPRESS 

The Ministry of Mines is set to host a two-day event titled the “Critical Minerals Summit: Advancing Beneficiation and Processing Capacities” at the India Habitat Centre situated in Lodhi Estate, New Delhi. 

Critical Minerals Summit 

Organizers and Collaboration: 

  • Hosted by the Ministry of Mines, Government of India. 
  • Collaboration with Shakti Sustainable Energy Foundation (Shakti), CEEW, and IISD. 

Purpose: 

  • Foster collaboration, knowledge sharing, and innovation in critical mineral beneficiation and processing. 
  • Address increasing demand for CRMs for renewable energy systems and electric vehicles. 

Participants: 

  • Diverse stakeholders: industry leaders, startups, government officials, scientists, academics, and policy experts. 

Key Minerals Focus: 

  • Glauconite (Potash), Lithium – Rare Earth Elements (Laterite), Chromium, Platinum Group, Graphite, Tungsten associated with Graphite, Rare Earths (RE), and Vanadium associated with Graphite. 

Issues Addressed: 

  • Mineral auction progress. 
  • Policy incentives for CRMs ecosystem development. 
  • Advancement of commercially viable and environmentally sustainable solutions. 

Critical Minerals: 

  • Essential for modern technologies, economies, or national security. 
  • Risk of supply chain disruption. 
  • ‘Criticality’ changes over time with evolving needs and supplies. 

Applications: 

  • Used in advanced technologies: mobile phones, computers, etc. 
  • Essential for low-emission technologies like electric vehicles and solar panels. 
  • Crucial for common products like stainless steel and electronics. 

Critical Minerals in India: 

  • The government’s list includes Antimony, Beryllium, Cobalt, Lithium, Nickel, REE, and others. 
  • Reflects India’s strategic focus on securing these resources for national development. 

ARMY TACTICAL MISSILE SYSTEM 

TOPIC: (GS2) INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS – SOURCE: HINDUSTHAN TIMES 

The United States recently confirmed providing ATACMS to Ukraine to support its efforts in the ongoing conflict with Russia. 

 

Description: 

  • ATACMS is a surface-to-surface artillery weapon capable of hitting targets beyond the range of standard Army weapons. 
  • Manufactured by Lockheed Martin, it’s also known as M39 by the US Army and designated MGM-140 by the Department of Defense (DoD). 

History: 

  • Initially deployed during the 1991 Persian Gulf War, showcasing its combat effectiveness. 

Operators: 

  • Apart from the US, countries like Bahrain, Greece, South Korea, Taiwan, and the United Arab Emirates operate ATACMS. 

Features: 

  • 24/7 all-weather capability, guided by an inertial system. 
  • Boasts a range of approximately 190 miles (305 km) with a single-stage solid propellant for propulsion. 

Deployment Platforms: 

  • Fired from platforms such as the High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS) and the M270 Multiple Launch Rocket System (MLRS). 
  • The MLRS can launch 12 missiles in less than a minute. 

Capabilities: 

  • Can carry cluster munitions, dispersing hundreds of bomblets over a targeted area rather than a single warhead. 
  • Targets include air defense sites, missile units, logistics centers, command complexes, and helicopter bases. 

CHAMBAL RIVER 

TOPIC: (GS1) GEOGRAPHY – SOURCE: TIMES OF INDIA 

The Chambal River holds significant importance in the Malwa plateau, acting as a major tributary to the Yamuna River and contributing to the extensive Gangetic drainage network. 

  • It traverses through the Indian states of Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, and Uttar Pradesh. 

Pollution-Free Status: 

  • Notably, the Chambal River is recognized as one of the most pollution-free rivers in India, preserving its ecological significance. 

Course: 

  • Originating from the Vindhya Range near Mhow in western Madhya Pradesh, it flows northward into southeastern Rajasthan. 
  • It then shifts northeast, passing through Kota and forming the Rajasthan-Madhya Pradesh border before eventually emptying into the Yamuna River. 

Physical Characteristics: 

  • The Chambal River spans a total length of 960 kilometers and operates as a rainfed river. 
  • Its drainage basin covers approximately 143,219 square kilometers, bounded by the Vindhyan and Aravalli mountain ranges. 

Tributaries: 

  • Key tributaries include the Banas and Mej rivers on the left bank, and the Parbati, Kali Sindh, and Shipra rivers on the right bank. 

Major Dams: 

  • The river is regulated by significant dams like Gandhi Sagar Dam, Rana Pratap Sagar Dam, and Jawahar Sagar Dam, aiding in water management and irrigation. 

National Chambal Sanctuary: 

  • Encompassing a substantial stretch of the Chambal River, the sanctuary extends from Rajasthan’s Jawahar Sagar Dam to the confluence with the Yamuna in Uttar Pradesh. 
  • Established to restore ecological balance and protect endangered species like the gharial, it plays a vital role in biodiversity conservation. 

OPIOIDS 

TOPIC: (GS3) SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY – SOURCE: INDIAN EXPRESS 

During a three-day visit to China, US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken addressed the issue of producing and exporting “synthetic opioid precursors,” with a specific focus on the drug fentanyl. 

About Opiods: 

Opioids are a class of drugs derived from or mimicking natural substances found in the opium poppy plant. They activate opioid receptors in the brain and body, blocking pain signals and producing effects like pain relief and euphoria. 

Common Examples: 

  • Morphine, Heroin, Oxycodone, Codeine, and fentanyl. 

Effects and Addiction: 

  • Opioids produce pain relief and euphoria but are highly addictive. They can lead to overdose and death by suppressing the brain’s respiratory function. 

Opioid Overdose: 

  • Overdose signs include pinpoint pupils, unconsciousness, and breathing difficulties. 

Fentanyl: 

  • Fentanyl is a potent synthetic opioid approved by the FDA for pain relief and anesthesia. 
  • It’s about 100 times more potent than morphine and 50 times more potent than heroin. 

Concerns: 

  • Illicitly produced fentanyl, often used to cut or substitute heroin, contributes to a significant portion of opioid-related overdoses due to its potency and ease of synthesis. 

Regulation: 

  • Efforts are ongoing to regulate the production and distribution of fentanyl and its precursors to curb its illicit use and prevent overdoses. 

Details

Date:
May 30
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7:00 am - 11:30 pm
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