IASCLUB Daily Current Affairs :13 August 2019

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Decision on Kashmir doesn’t affect LAC, Delhi tells Beijing

External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar reassured China that New Delhi’s decision to exercise greater administrative control over Ladakh would have no implications for India’s external boundaries or the Line of Actual Control with China.

More in news:

  • Jaishankar’s remarks follow the Chinese Foreign Ministry’s earlier response that India had “continued to damage China’s territorial sovereignty by unilaterally modifying the form of domestic law.” The Chinese Foreign Office had also said that this practice was “unacceptable” and it would not have any effect.
  • Jaishankar said he had pointed out that regarding the boundary question, the two sides had agreed to a fair, reasonable and mutually acceptable settlement based on the 2005 Political Parameters and Guiding Principles.
 Line of Actual Control (LAC):

·         Line of Actual Control is the effective military border which separates Indian controlled areas of Jammu and Kashmir from Aksai Chin. It is the effective border between People’s Republic of china and India. It is nearly 4,057 km long. It touches  Jammu and Kashmir, Uttarakhand, Himanchal and Sikkim of Indian states. This border is not a legally recognized international boundary, but rather it is the practical boundary.

·         Indians consider Johnson Line of 1865 as the boundary, whereas PRC government claims Macartney-MacDonald Line of 1899 as the accepted boundary. This term LAC got legally recognized during Sino-Indian agreements which were signed in 1993 and 1996. LAC has been a sensitive issue just like LOC. In 1962, a brief war had killed more than 2000 people. This war has resulted from the Himalayan border dispute.

·         Apart from the geographical differences, LOC is a clearly demarcated line and a lot of activity takes place in this region, which involves firings, face to face confrontation, etc. On the other hand, LAC is not clearly demarcated and nearly 50 to 100 km distance is maintained between the two armies.

From Assam to Chhattisgarh, a maiden 1,500-km journey for wild buffaloes

Around the end of monsoon in October, five female wild buffaloes will travel more than 1,500 km crossing five States — the longest such translocation in the country ever — from Assam to the Udanti Wildlife Sanctuary in Raipur district, to help revive the waning population of Chhattisgarh’s State animal and expand its territory across States.

More in news:

  • With just nine buffaloes, including three females, left in the sanctuary, their revival across central India,a historical habitat,rests on hassle-free translocation, successful breeding and subsequent restocking of other habitats in the region.

Survival hazard

  • The survival hazard of inbreeding, continuing lineage and increasing male population have necessitated the translocation. “Scientists and government officials met earlier this year to finalise a translocation protocol.
  • Stating that 20-25 buffaloes of Indravati National Park in Bijapur, Chhattisgarh, also frequently travel to neighbouring Kolamarka Conservation Reserve in Gadchiroli, Maharashtra.
  • Keeping them in one place won’t be sustainable. There needs to be a landscape approach across the States as corridors cut across them.
  • The estimated population of the wild buffaloes (Bubalus arnee) in the Northeast is around 3,000-4,000, the largest in the country and accounting for 92% of the world population.
  • It is listed under Schedule 1 of the Wild Life (Protection) Act, 1972, and classified as endangered in the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.
  • When the translocation plan was mooted, several conservationists initially questioned whether the buffaloes found in central India would be similar to the ones in the Northeast and be compatible. The government sent genetic samples to the Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology, Hyderabad, and got the approval.
Wildlife Protection Act, 1972:

·         The Wildlife Protection Act, 1972 is an Act of the Parliament of India enacted for protection of plants and animal species. Before 1972, India had only five designated national parks.

·         Among other reforms, the Act established schedules of protected plant and animal species; hunting or harvesting these species was largely outlawed.

·         The Act provides for the protection of wild animals, birds and plants; and for matters connected there with or ancillary or incidental thereto.

·         It has six schedules which give varying degrees of protection.

·         Schedule I and part II of Schedule II provide absolute protection – offences under these are prescribed the highest penalties.

·         Species listed in Schedule III and Schedule IV are also protected, but the penalties are much lower.

·         Schedule V includes the animals which may be hunted.

·         The specified endemic plants in Schedule VI are prohibited from cultivation and planting.

·         The hunting to the Enforcement authorities have the power to compound offences under this Schedule (i.e. they impose fines on the offenders).

Wildlife sanctuary set to expand boundaries

The Forest Department has identified 308.84 hectares of revenue land for inclusion in the Krishna Wildlife Sanctuary (KWS) as recommended by the National Board for Wildlife, compensating the land being diverted for setting up a Missile Test Launch Facility by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) in Nagayalanka mandal in Krishna District.

More in news:

  • Declared a sanctuary in 1989, the KWS is spread across 194.84 hectares in Krishna and Guntur districts. The huge chunk of revenue land adjacent to the existing sanctuary is now supporting a moderately dense mangrove cover in Nagayalanka mandal, geographically near the confluence point of the river Krishna and the Bay of Bengal. Of the total 154.42 hectares of forest land to be diverted to the DRDO, 45 acres falls in the heart of the sanctuary.
  • The DRDO proposes to utilise the 45-acre forest land in the sanctuary for the road facility that connects to the test and technical facility of the project, almost dividing it into two parts.
  • The stretch of 308.84 hectares (761.085 acres) of revenue land adjacent to the KWS has been identified as per the recommendations of the National Board for Wildlife. The final notification exercise to include the area in the sanctuary has almost been completed. The higher authorities are re-examining the facts and area without any technical problems before issuing the final notification.
National Board for Wild Life:

·         National Board for Wild Life is a “Statutory Organization” constituted under the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972.

·         Theoretically, the board is “advisory” in nature and advises the Central Government on framing policies and measures for conservation of wildlife in the country. However, it is a very important body because it serves as apex body to review all wildlife-related matters and approve projects in and around national parks and sanctuaries.

Composition

·         The National Board for Wildlife is chaired by India’s Prime Minister and its vice chairman is Minister of Environment. Further, the board is mammoth body with 47-members including Parliament Members, NGOs, eminent conservationists, ecologists and environmentalists, Government secretaries of various departments, Chief of the Army Staff, Director General of Forests, tourism etc. etc.

·         The members include 15 non-government members, 19 ex-officio members and 10 government officials such as secretaries.

·         There is a standing committee of the board which approves all the projects falling within protected wildlife areas or within 10 km of them; but notably, law does not specify the formation of the standing committee. The rules under the wildlife law allow the board to take decisions with half the members but are silent about the standing committee.

3-year moratorium on opening law colleges

The Bar Council of India on Monday imposed a moratorium on opening law colleges for a period of three years.

More in news:

  • The restriction, however, will not apply to National Law University, if proposed by a government in a State where there is no such varsity.
  • Besides, the BCI can open any model institution of Legal Education, like the National Law School of India University it opened in Bengaluru.
  • The Council requested State governments and universities to stop unfair means and ensure that vacancies of law teachers in all the colleges are filled within four months.
  • At present, there are enough Institutions in all parts of the country to feed the law courts and to serve the people. There is no dearth of advocates and the existing institutions are sufficient to produce the required number of law graduates annually.
  • Mushrooming of law colleges without proper infrastructure was raised by BCI member. The issue was raised in Parliament too. The Council resolved that it would consider pending proposals only. No fresh application would be entertained for any new institution.
  • The Council said there were about 1,500 law colleges. Among the problems that plague these institutions are lack of infrastructure and chronic teaching vacancies.

Editorial section:

 An abrogation of democratic principles- The Hindu

Countering the Right’s hegemony- The Hindu

Strongman candidate- The Hindu

The perilous state of academic freedom- The Hindu

Rooting AI in ethics- The Hindu

 

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