Current Affairs Raj: Oct 2020

Delhi Law Academy

Turtle Conservation

•            The Rajasthan forest department is planning will launch a project for conservation of turtles in the state. The department aims to protect rich aquatic biodiversity of the chambal river and preserve all those species which act as natural cleaning agents.

•            Many turtles, being carnivorous, can help scavenging and naturally aid in cleaning the river water.

Turtle Species planned for Conservation

The primary focus of the turtle conservation project will be protecting nine species of turtle and their nesting sites on Chambal River bank in Sawai Madhopur and Dholpur districts. The species include:

1.           Red crowned roof turtle (listed as endangered species as per IUCN)

2.           Three-striped roof turtle (listed as endangered species as per IUCN)

3.           Crowned river turtle,

4.           Indian tent turtle,

5.           Indian roofed turtle,

6.           Indian narrow-headed soft shell turtle,

7.           Indian softshell turtle,

8.           Indian peacock softshell turtle,

9.           Indian flapshell turtle.

Turtle Conservation Project Proposal

•            As per the proposal, the conservation plan will include locating turtle nesting sites in a scientific manner, excavation, and relocation of eggs to the hatchery site. To protect eggs from predators and poaching a net garden fencing will be erected to protect the hatchery.

•            For the conservation of turtles (hard shell and soft shell), the department to establish a network of hatcheries at four locations.

•            The hatcheries have been proposed at three locations in Dholpur and one at Palighat at Chambal

•            As per the initial proposal, while 60% cost will be borne by the state government, the Centre would provide 40% share.

•            The project would also generate employment for locals as community participation will be involved for managing turtle hatchery sites, locating and relocating of turtle nests.

Ramgarh Meteor Crater

•            Rajasthan’s only terrestrial Meteorite Impact Crater (MIC) located at Ramgarh, in Baran district has been recently recognized by the Meteoritical Society, the US-based world body for meteorites.

•            Ramgarh Crater, along with nine other sites were added as confirmed meteorite impact craters to the global list, which now stands at 200.

What is a meteorite ?

•            A meteorite is the term given to a piece of a comet or asteroid that falls into the Earth’s atmosphere and survives to hit the surface.

What is Meteorite Impact Crater (MIC) ?

•            A Meteorite Impact Crater (MIC) is formed when an object like a meteorite crashes into the surface of the earth.

Impact Craters in India

There are 4 impact craters in India:

  • Lonar Crater in Buldhana District of Maharashtra (Recognised)
  • Dhala Crater in Shivpuri district of Madhya Pradesh (Recognised)
  • Shiva Crater near Mumbai, Maharashtra
  • Ramgarh Crater, in Baran, Rajasthan (Now, Recognised)

•            Ramgarh Crater is also known as Ramgarh structure, Ramgarh Dome and Ramgarh astrobleme. It is located in Ramgarh village in Mangrol tehsil of Baran district in Rajasthan, India.

•            The crater was first discovered by the Geological Survey of India in 1869. In 1869, crater was first visited by geologist Frederick Richard Mallet of GSI and later Rai Bahadur Kishan Singh Rawat (1850-1921), first mapped it on a small scale (1 : 63,360).

Shudh ke liye Yudh Campaign

•            A core group has been constituted at the state level and committees at district levels will be constituted for ‘Shudh Ke Liye Yudh’ campaign from October 26. At the district-level committees, collector will be the head with SP, police commissioner (Jaipur, Jodhpur), chief medical health officer, district supply officer, managing director dairy, additional district magistrate level officer and legal advisor as members.

•            The core group will remain in constant touch with committees at the district level headed by district collectors to ensure on-the-spot action against those who involve in food adulteration, such as manufacturers, wholesalers and retailers, and also to follow up the legal action against them.

Rajasthan HC: Schools can’t collect 70 per cent tuition fees till October 12

•            Rajasthan High Court has extended the moratorium on the order of a single bench to collect 70% tuition fees by private schools till 12th October 2020. Under this order, no private school operator can recover the fees from any student or punish a student for not paying fees.

•            Earlier, on 7th September, a single bench of the high court while hearing the petition of the Progressive Schools Association and others gave exemption to private school operators to collect 70% of tuition fees.

•            Thereafter, an appeal was filed against this order by the state government and various parents association. The state government, which is also a party in the appeal, said the single bench’s decision to collect 70 per cent tuition fees from parents was baseless and had no grounds.

CM Gehlot lays foundation stone for 17 industrial zones

•            In October 2020, Chief Minister laid foundation stone for 17 industrial zones and inaugurated 6 new areas at a virtual event.

•            Among the 17 new zones, 10 are product specific, including a sports goods and toys zone in Khuskheda in Bhiwadi, manufacturing of medical devices at Jodhpur, pharmaceutical at Kota, ceramic products at Chittorgarh.

•            To attract new investments, land rates in the new industrial areas have been reduced by 35%.

Van Dhan Yojana

•            The state government has decided to implement Van Dhan Yojana in Modified Area Development Agency (MADA) areas in Rajasthan along with tribal sub-plan and Sahariya localities.

•            For this, a district-level coordination and monitoring committee has been formed under the chairmanship of the district collector. Additionally, the project officer (MADA) will be the district nodal officer (MADA area) for implementation of Van Dhan Yojana and additional commissioner (first) tribal area development department, Udaipur, will be the state nodal officer (MADA area).

Survey for Cheetah Reintroduction in Rajasthan

•            A survey was being carried out in a few areas of Chittorgarh to check feasibility if African cheetahs could be reintroduced in the State.

•            In addition to Chittorgarh, Nauradehi sanctuary in Madhya Pradesh is considered suitable to settle cheetahs.

•            The Centre has allotted Rs 2.50 crore to WII for the cheetah project. Initially, a plan was made to translocate a cheetah to Jaisalmer but the move was dropped due to oil and gas exploration works and BSF and army camps objecting to the move citing non-availability of food for the animals.

•            Additionally, a proposal had been sent to the Centre to make a new tiger reserve at Kumbhalgarh.

New Species of Butterfly Recognized

•            Spialia Zebra known as the Zebra Skipper, spotted in 2014 in Sagwara town of Dungarpur district, has been recognized as the 1328th species of butterflies in the country.

•            A government school teacher Mukesh Panwar spotted the butterfly at a farmhouse on November 8, 2014. He clicked pictures of the butterfly and sent it for further study to the Butterfly Research Center at Bhimtal, Uttarakhand.

•            After six years of intense research, the institute finally recognized it as the 1328th species found in India.

IPS Nina Singh

•            1989-batch Indian Police Service (IPS) officer, Nina Singh, has become the first ADG-level officer from Rajasthan to receive the Ati Utkrisht Seva Medal (AUSM) by the Ministry of Home Affairs for professional excellence. Nina Singh is Rajasthan’s first woman IPS officer.

•            She is currently posted as ADG (Training) in Rajasthan Police.

New Chairman of RPSC

•            On 14th October 2020, Rajasthan State Government has appointed former DGP Dr. Bhupendra Singh as the new chairman of Rajasthan Public Service Commission (RPSC) as per Article 316(1) of the Constitution of India. Dr. Bhupendra Singh has replaced current RPSC Chairman IAS Deepak Upreti.

•            Dr. Bhupendra Singh, who retired from the post of DGP, is the 6th IPS officer to become the chairman of the commission. The others are Habib Khan, LK Panwar, Mahender Lal Kumawat, Devender Singh and PS Yadav.

Expert Committee on Sambhar Lake

•            Rajasthan High Court has constituted an expert committee on Sambhar Lake under the chairmanship of the head of the forest department. The seven member expert committee includes three experts as well as officers from the industries, environment, forest and animal husbandry departments.

•            The committee will submit its report to the High Court in four weeks on steps to be taken to prevent a repeat of 2019 incident when more than 20,000 migratory birds died due to botulism.

•            In 2019, high court took suo motu cognizance on the mass death of migratory birds in Sambhar.

Deworming Programme in Rajasthan

•            Rajasthan Health Minister said that all children aged 1 to 19 years in the State will be administered deworming tablets albendazole by anganwari workers and ANMs from October 5 to 11 under the National Deworming Programme. The deworming medicines will be given at all anganwari centres, sub centres and urban health centres.

Worm Infection in Children

•            Worm infection in children is a leading public health problem. It also affects the physical and mental development of the children. There is also a risk of anaemia and malnutrition. Regular deworming can contribute to their physical and mental development by eliminating worm infection in children and adolescents.

•            World Health Organization estimates that 241 million children between the ages of 1 and 14 years are at risk of parasitic intestinal worms in India, known as Soil-Transmitted Helminths (STH).

•            These children represent approximately 68% of children in this age-group and approximately 28% of the number of children estimated to be at-risk of STH infections globally. These parasitic infections result from poor sanitation and hygiene conditions, and are easily transmitted among children through contact with infected soil.

•            Helminths (worms) which are transmitted through soil contaminated with faecal matter are called soil- transmitted helminths (Intestinal parasitic worms). Roundworm (Ascaris lumbricoides), whipworm (Trichuris trichiura) and hookworms (Necator americanus and Ancylostoma duodenale) are worms that infect people.

•            STH infections can lead to anemia, malnutrition, impaired mental and physical & cognitive development, and reduced school participation.

National Deworming Day

•            The National Deworming Day is an initiative of Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India to make every child in the country worm free.

•            The objective of National Deworming Day is to deworm all preschool and school-age children (enrolled and non-enrolled) between the ages of 1-19 years through the platform of schools and Anganwadi Centers in order to improve their overall health, nutritional status, access to education and quality of life.

Invasive Lantana Species

•            The Sajjangarh Wildlife Sanctuary in Udaipur is facing a threat from the invasive toxic species of Lantana shrub.

•            The weed has rapidly spread over an area of around 200 hectares in the sanctuary which sprawls in an area of 519.61 hectares.

What is Latana Shrub?

•            The foliage and ripe berries of the lantana shrub contain toxic substances which affect cattle, sheep, horses, dogs, guinea pigs and rabbits.

•            Lantana spread rapidly & obstructs the pathway of wild animals and doesn’t allow grass species to grow which in turn affects the availability of food for the wild animals. This results in fodder scarcity and migration or decline of herbivores.

•            This can lead to starvation of leopards and other carnivores at the top of the food chain.

What is the Department Doing ?

•            To arrest its growth, which is feared to be very fast after receiving favourable conditions like rains, the forest department has embarked on a drive to remove the bushes before formation and shedding of seeds.

Rajasthan Signs MoU with WFP for Food Security

•            On 30th October 2020, MoU was signed between the state government and the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) at the CMO. WFP will provide its international experience, best practices and technical skills as well as full support for better implementation of food security schemes in Rajasthan.

•            The Public Distribution System, Mid-Day Meal Scheme and Integrated Child Development Services programmes could be implemented better through this MoU.

Polling for new Municipal Corporations

•            Polling for election to three municipal corporations of the state – Jaipur Heritage, Jodhpur North and Kota North were conducted on 29th October 2020. The second phase of polling – for Jaipur Greater, Jodhpur South and Kota South – will be held on November 1. Counting for both phases will be done on November 3.

•            The state government bifurcated municipal bodies in three big cities of the state in October last year, making way for two Mayors in each of these. The decision has increased the number of municipal corporations in Rajasthan to 10 – two each in Jaipur, Jodhpur and Kota, Ajmer, Bikaner, Udaipur and Bharatpur.

RBSE reduces Syllabus

•            In October 2020, the Rajasthan Board of Secondary Education (RBSE) reduced the syllabus for Classes IX to XII by up to 40 per cent because of the Covid-19 pandemic. The move comes after the CBSE cut the syllabus by 30 per cent.

‘Meri Saheli’ Campaign by Railways

•            Under the directions of the ministry of railways and NWR, the Railway protection Force (RPF) has unveiled a special campaign “Meri Saheli” for the safety of female passengers who are travelling alone on the trains. Under the initiative, the team will approach such female passengers at their station of boarding and will share their mobile numbers with them.

Pollution in Luni River

•            The rain-fed Luni river which used to be a boon for Balotara, Samdadi, Siwana, Sindhari, Gudamalani tehsil in Barmer district is now ruining these places. The polluted water in the river has spoiled the drinking water in a large number of wells and fertile lands are becoming barren.

•            The polluted water in the river is adding to the worries of the farmers in many villages, as the water has started reaching to Samdadi and many areas in Barmer district. Till a few years ago, monsoon waters used to replenish the Luni river, which was like a lifeline to the people of Barmer district and used to bring prosperity. However, fatal, chemically polluted water discarded into the river by the textile industries in Balotara, Pali and Jodhpur districts has ruined the river.

•            The chemical effluents of the textile units functioning in Jodhpur and Pali districts are discharged into Bandi river, which eventually merges into the Luni river, the rain-fed river passing from Barmer district, near Samdadi and it has reached Samdadi tehsil. During monsoon, under the shield of rains, the chemically polluted water from CETP plant and textile units in Pali and Balotara are discharged into the river.

•            This has also caused another problem. The polluted river water then seeps into the ground and as a result, groundwater is getting polluted in many areas and the land is turning infertile for cultivation consequently. The polluted water from Bandi river merging with the Luni river has polluted the water in agriculture wells in the 22-km area along the river in Samdadi tehsil area. From Samdadi tehsil to the last point of Luni river that is Kutch ki Khadi, the river has become polluted, adding to the issue.