African Cheetahs to prowl Indian forests
The Supreme Court lifted its seven-year stay on a proposal to introduce African cheetahs from Namibia into the Indian habitat on an experimental basis.
- The plan was to revive the Indian cheetah population.
- In May 2012, the top court had stalled the plan to initiate the foreign cheetahs into the Palpur Kuno sanctuary in Madhya Pradesh, fearing that they may come into conflict with a parallel and a much-delayed project to reintroduce lions into the same sanctuary.
- The court was also worried whether the African cheetahs would find the sanctuary a favourable clime as far as abundance of prey is concerned.
What is the concern?
The cheetah does not breed well in captivity and requires vast stretches of grassland, and access to adequate prey to thrive.
Cheetah Reintroduction programme –
- The Wildlife Institute of India at Dehradun had prepared a ₹260-crore cheetah re-introduction project six years ago.
- Nauradehi was found to be the most suitable area for the cheetahs as its forests are not very dense to restrict the fast movement of the spotted cat. Besides, the prey base for cheetahs is also in abundance at the sanctuary.
- According to the earlier action plan, around 20 cheetahs were to be translocated to Nauradehi from Namibia in Africa.
Indian Red Cross Society celebrates centenary year
IRCS has recently celebrated the completion of 100 years since its inception.
About IRCS –
- Indian Red Cross Society (IRCS) was established in 1920 under the Indian Red Cross Society Act and incorporated under Parliament Act XV of 1920. The act was last amended in 1992 and of rules were formed in 1994.
- The IRCS has 36 State / Union Territories Branches with their more than 1100 districts and sub district branches.
- Honourable President of India is the President and Hon’ble Union Health Minister is the Chairman of the Society.
- The Vice Chairman is elected by the members of the Managing Body.
- The National Managing Body consists of 19 members.
- The Chairman and 6 members are nominated by the President. The remaining 12 are elected by the state and union territory branches through an electoral college.
- The Managing Body is responsible for governance and supervision of the functions of the society through a number of committees.
- The Secretary General is the Chief Executive of the Society.
10 more wetlands in India declared as Ramsar sites
India has added 10 more wetlands to sites protected by the Ramsar Convention.
The 10 new ones are Nandur Madhameshwar, a first for Maharashtra; KeshopurMiani, Beas Conservation Reserve and Nangal in Punjab; and Nawabganj, Parvati Agra, Saman, Samaspur, Sandi and Sarsai Nawar in Uttar Pradesh. The other Ramsar sites are in Rajasthan, Kerala, Odisha, Madhya Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Assam, West Bengal, Jammu and Kashmir, Andhra Pradesh, Manipur, Gujarat, Tamil Nadu and Tripura.
What is a ‘wetland’?
Wetlands are defined as: “lands transitional between terrestrial and aquatic eco-systems where the water table is usually at or near the surface or the land is covered by shallow water”.
About Ramsar Convention –
- The Convention came in to force in 1975.
- The Convention’s mission is “the conservation and wise use of all wetlands through local and national actions and international cooperation, as a contribution towards achieving sustainable development throughout the world”.
- Three pillars of the Convention are – Work towards the wise use of all their wetlands; Designate suitable wetlands for the list of Wetlands of International Importance (the “Ramsar List”) and ensure their effective management, and; Cooperate internationally on transboundary wetlands, shared wetland systems and shared species.
- Currently, India has 37 Ramsar (after addition of 10 new sites) Sites which are the Wetlands of International importance.
Medical Termination of Pregnancy (Amendment) Bill, 2020
The Union Cabinet has approved the Medical Termination of Pregnancy (Amendment) Bill, 2020 to amend the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act, 1971.
Salient features of proposed amendments –
- Proposing requirement for opinion of one provider for termination of pregnancy, up to 20 weeks of gestation and introducing the requirement of opinion of two providers for termination of pregnancy of 20-24 weeks of gestation.
- Enhancing the upper gestation limit from 20 to 24 weeks for special categories of women which will be defined in the amendments to the MTP Rules and would include ‘vulnerable women including survivors of rape, victims of incest and other vulnerable women (like differently-abled women, Minors) etc.
- Upper gestation limit not to apply in cases of substantial foetal abnormalities diagnosed by Medical Board.
- Name and other particulars of a woman whose pregnancy has been terminated shall not be revealed except to a person authorised in any law for the time being in force.