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Prelim Bits 17-10-2023 | UPSC Daily Current Affairs

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October 17, 2023

Berlin Process

Leaders from the European Union and the Western Balkans met at Tirana, Albania to discuss the path to membership in the bloc for 6 Balkan countries.

  • Berlin Process – A platform for high-level cooperation between the leaders of the 6 Western Balkan countries (WB6)
  • Establishment – 2014
  • Objective
    • To improve connectivity, neighbourly and interpersonal relationships among WB6
    • To integrate the WB6 into a single market and supporting their green and digital transformation
    • To support for the EU integration
  • Goals – It was given during 2014 Declaration of the German Chair
    • Resolution of bilateral and internal issues
    • Reconciliation within and between the societies in the region
    • Enhancing regional economic cooperation
    • Laying the foundations for sustainable growth

The EU enlargement process has been stalled since 2013 when the last country to become a member was Croatia.

  • Prerequisite for joining EU
    • To reform their economies and political institutions
    • To overcome regional conflicts
    • To stand together as Russia wages war in Ukraine
  • Challenges – Dispute between Serbia and Kosovo remains a great concern for the EU before the summit.

The summit, which is being held for the first time in a non-EU member country, takes place at a pharaonic landmark, known as the Pyramid.

Balkan Countries

  • WB6 - Albania, Bosnia, Kosovo, Montenegro, North Macedonia and Serbia
  • Balkan Countries - Croatia, Slovenia, Bulgaria, Romania, Moldova, Greece, Turkey and WB6

balkan-countries

References

  1. The Hindu| Western Balkan nations to join EU
  2. BerlinProcess| About Berlin Process

 

PLFS Annual Report 2022 - 2023

NSSO has released the 6th Annual Report of Periodic Labour Force Survey (PLFS) conducted during July 2022-June 2023.

  • Launched By – National Sample Survey Office (NSSO)
  • Year of launch - 2017
  • Indicators
    • Labour Force Participation Rates (LFPR) - Percentage of persons in labour force (i.e. working or seeking or available for work) in the population.
    • Worker Population Ratio (WPR) - Percentage of employed persons in the population
    • Unemployment Rate (UR) - Percentage of persons unemployed among the persons in the labour force
  • Objective
    • To estimate the employment and unemployment indicators in time interval of 3 months for the urban areas only in the ‘Current Weekly Status’ (CWS)
    • To estimate employment and unemployment indicators in both ‘Usual Status’ (ps+ss) and CWS in both rural and urban areas annually
  • Time period of 6th report - 2022- 2023
  • Sampling method - A rotational panel sampling design has been used in urban areas where each, selected household is visited 4 times.
  • Trends – The LFPR and WPR has witnessed an increase whereas Unemployment Rate (UR) has declined in 2022- 2023 over 2017-18.

References

  1. The Hindu| Improvement in Labour indicators
  2. MOSPI Web| 6th PLFS Report

 

Dhanauri Wetland

National Green Tribunal (NGT) has granted the UP government 4 weeks time to update on the status of obtaining the Ramsar tag for Dhanauri Wetland.

  • Dhanauri Wetland is to be notified as Balmiki Ramsar Wetland and Sarus Sanctuary/Conservation Reserve whose proposal is pending before the Uttar Pradesh Wetland authority.
  • Location - Greater Noida, Uttar Pradesh
  • Area coverage – 98 hectares
  • Importance – It is home to over 217 species of birds including Sarus Crane.
  • It is possibly the largest roosting site for sarus cranes in north India.
  • It recharges groundwater and helps the community sustain its agricultural practices in the region.
  • Recognition – It has been recognised as an Important Bird Area by Bird Life International and so recorded by the BNHS (Bombay Natural History Society).

Out of 75 Ramsar sites in India, 10 are in UP – Bakhira Sanctuary, Nawabganj Bird Sanctuary, Saman Bird Sanctuary, Sandi Bird Sanctuary, Sur Sarovar, Haiderpur Wetland, Upper Ganga, Sarsai Nawar Jheel, Samaspur Bird Sanctuary and Parvati Arga Bird Sanctuary.

Sarus Crane

  • Sarus Crane is the State Bird of Uttar Pradesh.
  • It is the tallest flying bird in the world.

Act/List

Status

sarus-crane.

IUCN

Vulnerable

WPA, 1972

Schedule I

CITES

Appendix I

References

  1. Indian Express| Dhanauri Wetland
  2. Times of India| Timeline of protection of Dhanauri Wetland

 

Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice (SBSTTA)

25th meeting of Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice (SBSTTA-25) was held at Nairobi, Kenya in 2023.

  • SBSTTA – It is an open-ended intergovernmental scientific advisory body created under Article 25 of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD).
  • Objectives
    • To provide the COP and its other subsidiary bodies, with timely advice for implementation of the Convention
    • To meet parties scientific, technical and technological needs
    • To move from agreement to action towards the common vision of living in harmony with nature
  • Reports to –COP
  • Participants – Government representatives
  • Functions
    • Provides assessments of the status of biological diversity
    • Provides assessments of the types of measures taken in accordance with the provisions of the convention
    • Responds to questions that the COP may put to the body

SBSTTA-25

  • It is the 1st meeting since the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework was adopted in 2022.
  • Around 670 participants from 135 countries attended the meeting.
  • Proposal – To create categorical indicators instead of simple binary indicators to provide a more nuanced report on progress.
  • Online discussion board – To help experts share their views on the monitoring framework and indicators.
  • Comments on the discussion Board indicate the need to improve the existing indicators and that the progress is slow.

References

  1. Down To Earth| 25th meeting of SBSTTA
  2. CBD| SBSTTA

 

Har Shikhar Tiranga Mission

Shikar Tiranga national team of Mt. Everest climbers hoisted Indian flag atop Arma Konda (1,680 metres), the highest peak of Andhra Pradesh.

  • Mission – An expedition to hoist the Indian national flag on the highest peak of every State in India.
  • This expedition was a part of the larger Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav, commemorating 75 years of Indian independence.
  • TaglineA journey of unity, patriotism, and adventure.
  • Objectives
    • To showcase India’s high-altitude diversity to the world.
    • To promote adventure and environmental awareness.
    • To spread the message of the national flag.
  • Team – Includes Army personnel and civilians
  • They scaled 28 mountains since 2022 to till date.
  • Supported by – Defence Ministry and Government of Arunachal Pradesh.

National Institute of Mountaineering and Adventure Sports (NIMAS) is in Dirang, Arunachal Pradesh.

Highest points

  • Tamil Nadu – Dodda Betta Peak (2,636 m)
  • Kerala – Anamudi (2,647 m)
  • Himachal Pradesh - Mt. Reo Purgyil (6,818 m) of Spiti Valley

References

The Hindu| Har Shikhar Tiranga Mission

 

Other Important News

Ferry service between India - Srilanka

  • India-Sri Lanka ferry service restarted after 40 years from Nagapattinam in Tamil Nadu to Kankesanthurai in Jaffna, Northern Sri Lanka.
  • Aim – To bolster bilateral ties, boosting tourism, and increasing people-to-people relations.
  • The high-speed craft (HSC), Cheriyapani has been designated for the ferry service.

Madeira River

  • Madeira River has recorded an historically low level, causing the halt of the Santo Antonio hydroelectric dam.
  • About - The Madeira River is the largest and most important tributary of River Amazon.
  • Significance - The River's water flow accounts for around 15% of the total volume of water that flows into the Amazon River.
  • Dams - Two huge hydroelectric dams are under construction – Santo Antonio and Jirau.

Rio Negro River

  • The Rio Negro River is the second largest tributary of Amazon.
  • The Negro River drains about 10% of the Amazon basin and is the world's 6th largest by water volume.
  • The river is tea-colored and the black-water rivers derive entirely from soils of lowland forests, rich in leaves and other decaying organic matter.

Nagarjunasagar Srisailam Tiger Reserve (NSTR)

  • It is India's largest tiger reserve located in the Nallamala hill ranges of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana.
  • NSTR was notified in 1978 and became a tiger reserve in 1983.
  • It was renamed as the Rajiv Gandhi Wildlife Sanctuary in 1992.
  • Rajiv Gandhi Wildlife Sanctuary and Gundla Brahmeswaram Wildlife Sanctuary (GBM) were located here.

India Art, Architecture and Design Biennale, 2023

  • The India Art, Architecture and Design Biennale, 2023 is scheduled to be held from December 9-15, 2023.
  • It will be organized by the Ministry of Culture.

Hydro-electric power projects (HEP)s in Bhutan

  • The recent floods in Sikkim has created worries over India assisted, under-construction mega hydropower projects in Bhutan.

India assisted HEPs in Bhutan

  • Punatsangchhu Stage-I - 1,200 MW
  • Punatsangchhu Stage-II - 1,020 MW
  • Kholongchu - 660 MW
  • Chhukha –  336 MW
  • Tala - 1,020MW
  • Kurichhu - 60 MW

International Day for the Eradication of Poverty

  • The International Day for the Eradication of Poverty, celebrated annually on October 17.
  • The United Nations designated this day in 1992 to commemorate the World Day for Overcoming Extreme Poverty.
  • Aim - To promote understanding and dialogue between people living in poverty and the wider society.
  • Theme, 2023 - “Decent Work and Social Protection: Putting dignity in practice for all".
  • According to the United Nations, 8.4% of the world’s population were living in extreme poverty at the end of 2022.

BhoomiSeva

  • It is a dynamic self-funded startup stands for "Nourishing Earth, Enriching Lives."
  • It delivers patented, automated, and ICAR-certified equipment that performs soil health tests.
  • It recently launched a soil health card project that will be promoted through a network of 12.5 lakh chemists’ shops through “Bhu-Vision” (soil testing platform).

Al Aqsa

  • Al Aqsa refers to the compound of Islamic religious buildings, including the Dome of Rock and Al Aqsa Mosque, in Jerusalem’s Old City.
  • Located adjacent to Christian and Jewish religious sites, it has been a flashpoint in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

World Food Day 2023

  • About - World Food Day is celebrated on October 16 every year.
  • History - The day commemorates the founding of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization in 1945.
  • Theme, 2023 - 'Water is Life, Water is Food. Leave No One Behind'.
  • Significance - It encourages action for the future of food, people, and the environment and awareness of hunger.
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