ESZ reduction worries environment
Stiff resistance to the proposal to reduce the regulated buffer zone around protected areas has failed to move the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEF&CC).
What is the issue?
The Ministry has gone ahead and given the green signal to reduce the Eco-Sensitive Zone of the Bannerghatta National Park by around 100 sq. km.
About Eco-Sensitive Zones –
- Eco-Sensitive Zones or Ecologically Fragile Areas are areas notified by the Union Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MoEF&CC) around Protected Areas, National Parks and Wildlife Sanctuaries.
- Activities conducted in eco-sensitive zones are regulated under the Environment (Protection Act) of 1986 and no polluting industry or mine is allowed to come up in such areas.
- The guidelines prohibit activities such as commercial mining, commercial use of firewood and major hydropower projects.
- Activities such as felling of trees, commercial use of natural water resources, including groundwater harvesting and setting up of hotels and resorts, are regulated in these areas.
About Bannerghatta National Park –
- The Bannerghatta National Park is located near Bangalore in Karnataka.
- Wildlife such as elephants, gaur, leopard, jackal, fox, wild boar, sloth bear, Sambar, Chital, spotted deer, barking deer, common langur, bonnet macaque, porcupine and hares are found in abundance.
- The Bannerghatta Biological Park has been an integral part of Bannerghatta National Park and emerged out as an independent establishment during the year 2002.
- In order to meet the growing demand for eco-recreation, eco-tourism and conservation, some area of forest from the National park were set aside to constitute as Biological Park.
- Bannerghatta Biological Park is one among the few places in the world where wilderness is preserved so close to a big city.
- It is having different units such as Zoo, Safari, Butterfly Park and Rescue Centre (Conservation of captive animals).
Government brings masks and hand sanitisers under the Essential Commodities Act
In view the ongoing outbreak of COVID-19 (Corona Virus) and concern of the logistics for COVID-19 management, the Government has notified these items as Essential Commodities by amending the Schedule of the Essential Commodities Act, 1955.
What happens now?
Under the E.C Act, after discussions with the manufacturers, States can ask them to enhance their production capacity of these items, to make the supply chain smooth, while under the Legal Metrology Act the States can ensure sale of both the items at MRP.
About Essential Commodities Act –
- The ECA was enacted way back in 1955.
- It has since been used by the Government to regulate the production, supply and distribution of a whole host of commodities it declares ‘essential’ in order to make them available to consumers at fair prices.
- The list of items under the Act include drugs, fertilisers, pulses and edible oils, and petroleum and petroleum products.
- The Centre can include new commodities as and when the need arises, and take them off the list once the situation improves.
- A State can, however, choose not to impose any restrictions. But once it does, traders have to immediately sell into the market any stocks held beyond the mandated quantity. This improves supplies and brings down prices.
- The recent amendment to the Legal Metrology (Packaged Commodities) Rules 2011 is linked to the ECA. The Government can fix the retail price of any packaged commodity that falls under the ECA.
NCRB celebrates 35th inception day
National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) celebrated its 35th Inception Day, on March 12, 2020. The Union Minister of Home Affairs launched the National Cybercrime Training Centre (NCTC) for professional quality eLearning services on cybercrime investigation on large scale to police officers, judges, prosecutors and other stakeholders.
What is CCTNS project?
- Crime and Criminal Tracking Network and Systems (CCTNS) is a project initiated in June 2009 which aims at creating a comprehensive and integrated system for enhancing the efficiency and effectiveness of policing at the Police Station level.
- This will be done through adoption of principles of e-Governance, and creation of a nationwide networked infrastructure for evolution of IT-enabled state-of-the-art tracking system around “investigation of crime and detection of criminals”.
- CCTNS is a Mission Mode Project (MMP) under the National e-Governance Plan of Government of India.
Major Port Authorities Bill 2020
Major Port Authorities Bill 2020 was introduced in the Lok Sabha to replace the Major Ports Trusts Act, 1963.
The Bill seeks to provide for regulation, operation and planning of Major Ports in India and to vest the administration, control and management of such ports upon the Boards of Major Port Authorities and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto.
Salient Features –
- The Bill is more compact in comparison to the Major Port Trusts Act, 1963 as the number of sections has been reduced to 76 from 134 by eliminating overlapping and obsolete Sections.
- The new Bill has proposed a simplified composition of the Board of Port Authority which will comprise of 11 to 13 Members from the present 17 to 19 Members representing various interests. A compact Board with professional independent Members will strengthen decision making and strategic planning
- The role of Tariff Authority for Major Ports (TAMP) has been redefined. Port Authority has now been given powers to fix tariff which will act as a reference tariff for purposes of bidding for PPP projects.
- An Adjudicatory Board has been proposed to be created to carry out the residual function of the erstwhile TAMP for Major Ports, to look into disputes between ports and PPP concessionaires, to review stressed PPP projects and suggest measures to review stressed PPP projects and suggest measures to revive such projects and to look into complaints regarding services rendered by the ports/ private operators operating within the ports would be constituted.
- Provisions of CSR & development of infrastructure by Port Authority have been introduced.
- Provision has been made for safeguarding the pay & allowances and service conditions including pensionary benefits of the employees of major ports and Tariff of Major Ports.
Bird flue detected at Parappanangadi
Besides two spots in Kozhikode, disease diagnosed at Parappanangadi in Malappuram.
About Avian Influenza –
- Avian influenza (AI) is a highly contagious viral disease affecting several species of food-producing birds (chickens, turkeys, quails, guinea fowl, etc.), as well as pet birds and wild birds.
- Avian Influenza was first reported from Hong Kong in 1997. Since then, there have been many outbreaks across the world. India too has had multiple outbreaks since 2005.
- Occasionally mammals, including humans, may contract avian influenza.
- Influenza A viruses are classified into subtypes based on two surface proteins, Hemagglutinin (HA) and Neuraminidase (NA). For example, a virus that has an HA 7 protein and NA 9 protein is designated as subtype H7N9.
- Avian influenza virus subtypes include A (H5N1), A (H7N9), and A (H9N2).
- HPAI A (H5N1) virus occurs mainly in birds and is highly contagious among them. HPAI Asian H5N1 is especially deadly for poultry.
- Avian Influenza outbreaks can lead to devastating consequences for the country, particularly the poultry industry.
- Farmers might experience a high level of mortality in their flocks, with rates often around 50%.
- Prevention – Strict biosecurity measures and good hygiene are essential in protecting against disease outbreaks.
- Eradication – If the infection is detected in animals, a policy of culling infected and contact animals is normally used in an effort to rapidly contain, control and eradicate the disease.