Daily Prelims Notes 2 August 2022
- August 2, 2022
- Posted by: OptimizeIAS Team
- Category: DPN
Daily Prelims Notes
2 August 2022
Table Of Contents
- Kerala opposes changes to MMDR Act
- Working towards animal health
- Operation AAHT
- Pingali Venkayya
- Schemes in news
- Education in Mother Tongue
- Coal Production
- Rat Hole Mining
- Office of Coal Controller (earlier Coal Commissioner)
- Ministry of Development of North Eastern Region
- Flood management in North East region
- 7 new districts in West Bengal — how and why are districts created or abolished in India?
- Is India’s biodiversity getting exploited without benefits to communities?
- Illegal mining of beach sand minerals
- Peace parks as a transboundary approach to conservation
- Alpha Fold: A tour de force in science
1. Kerala opposes changes to MMDR Act
Section: Economy Geography
Context: The Kerala government has opposed the new set of proposed amendments to the Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Act.
Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Act:
- Mines and Minerals (Regulation and Development) Act (1957) enacted to regulate the mining sector in India.
- This act is applicable to all minerals except minor minerals and atomic minerals.
- Mining minor minerals comes under the purview of state governments. River sand is considered a minor mineral.
- For mining and prospecting in forest land, prior permission is needed from the Ministry of Environment and Forests.
This act provides for:
- The governance of mining leases within the country.
- The purpose of why the lease is given.
- How to ensure the well being of the people living in the areas where mines are auctioned.
The act was amended by The Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Amendment Act, 2021
- Removal of restriction on end-use of minerals: The act provides that no mine will be reserved for particular end-use (such as iron ore mine for a steel plant). Such mines are known as captive mines.
- Sale of minerals by captive mines: It provides that captive mines (other than atomic minerals) may sell up to 50% of their annual mineral production in the open market after meeting their own needs
- Auction by the central government in certain cases: Under the Act, states conduct the auction of mineral concessions (other than coal, lignite, and atomic minerals).
- The Amended act empowers the central government to specify a time period for completion of the auction process in consultation with the state government. If the state government is unable to complete the auction process within this period, the auctions may be conducted by the central government.
- Conditions for lapse of mining lease: The Act provides that a mining lease will lapse if the lessee: (i) is not able to start mining operations within two years of the grant of a lease, or (ii) has discontinued mining operations for a period of two years.
- However, the lease will not lapse at the end of this period if a concession is provided by the state government upon an application by the lessee.
What is the proposed amendment to the Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Act, 1957?
- The proposal to remove some names from the list of atomic minerals while empowering the Centre to give sanction for mining certain critical minerals is an encroachment on the powers vested with the States under List 2 of the Seventh Schedule.
- As per the proposal, eight out of 12 group of minerals will be omitted from Part B of the first Schedule of MMDR Act.
- They include beryl and other beryllium-bearing minerals, lithium-bearing minerals, minerals of the ‘rare earths’ group containing uranium and thorium, niobium-bearing minerals, titanium-bearing minerals and ores (ilmenite, rutile and leucoxene), tantallium-bearing minerals, zirconium-bearing minerals and oresincluding zircon and beach sand minerals.
- It has been proposed to create a new part D in the first Schedule (critical & strategic minerals) and the place the eight minerals along with others like indium, gallium, graphite, nickel, cobalt and tin.
- Alleging that the proposal is an attempt to privatize the critical sector and please the mining body.
2. Working towards animal health
Subject : Government Scheme
Section : Animal Sector
Context: The developments unleashed by COVID-19 have once again put the spotlight on the pressing need to create greater collaborations and synergies between research on human health and animal health.
Why Animal Health Matters?
- Globally, we have witnessed around 9,580 instances of disease out breaks from 2000 to 2010, of which 60% diseases were zoonotic in nature
- The incidences of disease outbreaks across the globe have been increasing at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 6%.
- In India, annual outbreak of zoonotic diseases translates into an estimated annual loss of $12 billion to the economy
- Zoonotic diseases are responsible for huge consequences to farmers, exports and gross domestic product (GDP) growth nationally
Effective Pandemic Preparedness:
- The Department of Animal Husbandry and Dairying (DAHD) has set up a dedicated ‘One Health Unit’ in collaboration with the Gates Foundation
- One of the primary focus areas of the unit has been on coming up with an “animal pandemic preparedness model by creating a mechanism for storage and seamless exchange of data and information on livestock health
- This will be implemented through the National Digital Livestock Mission (NDLM)
- To incentivize the growth of the animal health industry in India, companies can now avail incentives for setting up or expansion of animal vaccine and related infrastructure under the Animal Husbandry Infrastructure Fund
- To create a robust pandemic preparedness model, it is imperative to juxtapose the data on animal health with the available data on human health.
- Within the framework of the NDLM, so far, substantial progress has also been made by linking all the animal disease diagnostic labs involved in sero-surveillance through a single portal, and harmonization of SOPs used by labs.
National Digital Livestock Mission (NDLM):
- It is a digital platform being developed jointly by DAHD and NDDB on the foundation of the existing Information Network for Animal Productivity and Health (INAPH).
- The aim is to create a farmer-centric, technology-enabled ecosystem where the farmers are able to realize better income through livestock activities with the right information.
- The bedrock of NDLM will be the unique identification of all livestock, which will be the foundation for all the state and national level programmes including domestic and international trade.
- This system will also include robust animal breeding systems, nutrition, disease surveillance, disease control programmes and a traceability mechanism for animals and animal products.
Subject : Government Scheme
Section : Animal Sector
Context: A month long special drive against Human Trafficking through rail was launched in the month of July 2022
- The Railway Protection Force, as a response mechanism to supplement the efforts of Anti Human Trafficking Units (AHTUs) of police, has recently launched an operation against Human Trafficking called “Operation AAHT”.
- Under Operation AAHT, the infrastructure and intelligence network of the force could be utilised to collect, collate and analyse clues on victims, source, route, destination, popular trains used by suspects, the identity of carriers/agents, kingpins etc and shared with other law-enforcing agencies.
- Under this, the RPF could act as a bridge cutting across Statesto assist the local police in the mission to curb the menace.
- RPF has set up 750 AHTUs across the country that would coordinate with Police
- RPF has signed a MoU with NGOe. Association of Voluntary Action (AVA) also known as Bachpan Bachao Andolan which will be supplementing RPF with training and will also be giving inputs regarding Human Trafficking to RPF.
- The drive created a platform for all stake holders to come together to take joint action against Human Trafficking through rail.
- A month long special drive against Human Trafficking through rail was launched in the month of July 2022
Subject: Modern History
Context: The Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi has paid homage to Pingali Venkayya on his birth anniversary.
- PingaliVenkayya was born on 2nd August 1876 in Bhatlapenumarru village of Andhra Pradesh.
- PingaliVenkayya was agriculturist and also an educationist who set up an educational institution in Machilipatnam.
- During his stay in South Africa at the time of the Anglo Boer war,Venkaya served as a British army soldier.
- Venkayya was very loyal and highly committed towards Gandhi and a firm believer of Gandhian principles.
- In 1916, he published a booklet on flags. The booklet was titled ‘A National Flag for India.’ It contained twenty-four designs of flags.
- In 1921, when he met Gandhi in Vijayawada, he showed him the booklet. Gandhi was pleased to see the design and acknowledged the need for a national flag, so he asked Venkayya to design a fresh one at the National Congress Meeting, held in 1921.
- Initially, PingaliVenkayya-designed the flag featured saffron and green colours only ( called the swaraj flag) ; however, later, it was redesigned, and the third colour, white, was introduced along with a spinning wheel (Dharma Chakra) at the centre.
- After undergoing several changes, the Tricolour was adopted as our national flag at a Congress Committee meeting in Karachi in 1931.
- The Indian flag was adopted in its present form during a meeting of the Constituent Assembly held on July 22, 1947.
- He died in poverty in 1963.
Subject : Government Scheme
|Scheme||Initiated by||Beneficiary||Salient features|
|Atal Innovation Mission (AIM)|
1. Sub schemes
A) Atal innovation center (AIC)
B) Atal Community Innovation Centre (ACIC)
|Niti Aayog||Atal innovation center (AIC): AIC is an initiative of the AIM, NITI Aayog to foster innovation and entrepreneurial spirit while creating a supportive ecosystem for start-ups and entrepreneurs in India.|
Atal Community Innovation Centre (ACIC): ACIC is envisaged to serve the unserved/underserved areas of the country with respect to the start-up and innovation ecosystem.
|Atal innovation center (AIC): Each AIC is supported with a grant of up to INR 10 crores over a period of 5 years. Since 2016, AIM has established 68 Atal Incubation Centres across 18 states and 3 UTs which have supported more than 2700 startups.|
Atal Community Innovation Centre (ACIC): Each ACIC is supported with a grant of up to INR 2.5 crores over a period of 5 years. AIM has established 14 Atal Community Innovation Centres across the country.
|School Innovation Council (SIC)||Ministry of Education’s Innovation Cell (MIC) was launched on 1 July 2022||It is a council of teachers, students, and experts from industry and academia to conduct round the year activities for students and teachers on Innovation and Entrepreneurship, monitored through the SIC portal of the MIC, to record the influence at the ground level.||1. It enables the mindset change, awareness, and training on Ideation, Innovation and Entrepreneurship, design thinking, Intellectual Property Rights, start-up finance, and HR among teachers and students.|
2. It will also enable the ranking system for schools on the level of innovation-oriented activities.
3. All registered schools are encouraged to perform innovation-related activities as per the SIC Calendar Activities that includes Leadership talk, motivation sessions, webinars, sessions, awareness, boot camps inviting innovative ideas from the student, developing the prototype, and national level exhibition of the best prototypes etc.
Subject :Government Schemes
- Education is in the concurrent list of the Constitution and majority of the schools are under the domain of the States/UTs.
- Section 29(f)of Chapter V under Right to Education Act, 2009 clearly states that, “medium of instructions shall, as far as practicable, be in child’s mother tongue.”
- As envisaged in of National Education Policy (NEP) 2020, wherever possible, the medium of instruction until at least Grade 5, but preferably till Grade 8 and beyond, is to be the home language/mother tongue/local language/regional language. Thereafter, the home/local language shall continue to be taught as a language wherever possible.
- The NIPUN Bharat Mission of the Government of India through its Mission Implementation Guidelines suggests that teaching learning process and development of teaching learning material should be done in mother tongue.
- Vidya Pravesh a three-month play-based school preparation programme for Grade-I and NISHTHA FLN (Foundational literacy and Numeracy) have also re-emphasised the same.
- As per Unified District Information System for Education Plus (UDISE+) 2020-21, there are 28 languages in which teaching learning is going on in grades (1-5). The languages are as follows: Assamese, Bengali, Gujarati, Hindi, Kannada, Konkani, Malayalam, Manipuri, Marathi, Nepali, Odia, Punjabi, Sanskrit, Sindhi, Tamil, Telugu, Urdu, English, Bodo, Khasi, Garo, Mizo, French, Hmar, Karbi, Santhali, Bhodi, Purgi.
Subject : Geography
Section : Economic Geography
Context: The coal stock available with the thermal power plants (TPP) has increased from 25.6 Million Tonnes (MT) as on to 29.5 MT from March to June.
- The draft Economic Survey 2021-22 projects coal demand to rise in the range of 3 – 1.5 Billion Tonnes by 2030.
- In the current financial year (up to June’22), the country has a growth of about 31% during the same period of last year
- The coal stock available with the thermal power plants (TPP) of the country is monitored on daily basis in Central Electricity Authority (CEA), has increased from 25.6 Million Tonnes (MT) to 29.5 MT April-June 2022
- The Thermal generation in the country during April-June 2022 registered a growth of about 18%.
Steps taken to boost domestic coal production:
- Enactment of Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Amendment Act, 2021: The Act provides that captive mines owners (other than atomic minerals) may sell up to 50% of their annual mineral (including coal) production in the open market after meeting the requirement of the end use plant linked as prescribed by the Central Government.
- Commercial auction of coal blocks on revenue sharing basis.
- A Monitoring Committee has been constituted under the Chairmanship of Secretary (Coal) with Chief Secretaries from respective Host States, Secretary (MoEF& CC), Coal Controller Organization (CCO) & CMPDIL as members of the Committee.
- Expansion of Mines: MoEF&CC gave a special dispensation under the request of ministry of coal, for consideration of Environment Clearance (EC) from 40% to 50% expansion in coal mining projects, within the existing premises/mine lease area, without additional land acquisition and only those mines, which have already obtained 40% dispensation based on earlier reforms provided by MoEF&CC.
Section: Economic Geography
Context: As per information received from Coal Controller Organization (CCO), no coal production has been reported during last 4 years from the State of Meghalaya.
- Rat hole mining involves digging of very small tunnels, usually only 3-4 feet high, which workers (often children) enter and extract coal.
- The National Green Tribunal (NGT) banned it in 2014, on grounds of it being unscientific and unsafe for workers. The state (Meghalayan) government has challenged the NGT ban in the Supreme Court.
- According to available government data, Meghalaya has a total coal reserve of 640 million tonnes, most of which is mined unscientifically by individuals and communities.
- Since the coal seam is extremely thin in Meghalaya, no other method would be economically viable.
- The water sources of many rivers, especially in Jaintia Hills district, have turned acidic.
- The water also has high concentration of sulphates, iron and toxic heavy metals, low dissolved oxygen (DO) and high BOD, showing its degraded quality.
- The roadside dumping of coal is a major source of air, water and soil pollution.
- Off road movement of trucks and other vehicles in the area for coal transportation also adds to the ecological and environmental damage of the area.
- The practice has been declared as unsafe for workers by the NGT.
- The mines branch into networks of horizontal channels, which are at constant risk of caving in or flooding.
2019, SC Judgement:
- The provisions of The Mines Act, 1952 are mandatorily to be followed before working a mine.
- Under Environment (Protection) Act, 1986, environmental clearance is required for a project of coal for mining of any extent of area.
- While implementing statutory regime for carrying mining operations in the Hills Districts of the State of Meghalaya, the State of Meghalaya has to ensure compliance of not only MMDR Act, 1957 but Mines Act, 1952 as well as Environment (Protection) Act, 1986.
- In Hill Districts of State of Meghalaya for carrying coal mining operations in privately owned/community owned land, needs the previous approval of the Central Government through the State Government.
The State Government has been implementing an action plan prepared by the Committee constituted by National Green Tribunal, to close down the openings of mines which were created before the ban imposed by Hon’ble NGT in 2014.
9. Office of Coal Controller (earlier Coal Commissioner)
Section :National organisation
- It was established in 1916, is one of the oldest offices in Indian Coal sector.
- Main aim behind setting up this office was to have Government control to adequately meet the coal requirement during First World War.
- Acute scarcity of coal necessitated promulgation of Colliery Control Order, 1944 for effective control on production, distribution and pricing of coal. Later in 1996, distribution and pricing of coal was deregulated, Hence the Colliery Control Rules, 2004, governs it
- It act as the appellate authority in case of dispute between consumers and owner arising out of declaration of grade and size of coal.
- Quality surveillance with respect to maintenance of grade of coal
- To grant opening / re-opening permission of coal mine, seam or a section of seam or to subdivide a mine.
- Coal Controller has been made the statistical authority with respect to coal and lignite statistics. Entrusted the responsibility of carrying out Annual Coal & Lignite survey and publishing of Provisional Coal Statistics and Coal Directory of India.
- Assessment and collection of excise duty levied on all raw coal raised and dispatched.
- Under Coal Mines (Conservation & Development) Act, 1974 and Coal Mines (Conservation and Development) Amendment Rules, 2011: Providing financial support to the coal operators for conservation of coal resources( Stowing in UG mines), Research, Infrastructure development, Protective works including blanketing with incombustible material, N2 & CO2 flushing, filling up of subsided areas, cutting of trenches etc.
10. Ministry of Development of North Eastern Region
Section :National organisation
- The Ministry of Development of North Eastern Regionis a Government of India ministry, established in September 2001.
- It functions as the nodal Department of the Central Government to deal with matters related to the socio-economic development of the eight States of NortheastIndia: ArunachalPradesh, Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Tripuraand Sikkim.
- It acts as a facilitator between the Central Ministries/ Departments and the State Governments of the North Eastern Region in the economic development including removal of infrastructural bottlenecks, provision of basic minimum services, creating an environment for private investment and to remove impediments to lasting peace and security in the North Eastern Region.
Functions of the DoNER.
- Non Lapsible Central Pool of Resources (NLCPR) Coordination with the Central Ministries and the State Governments of the NE states.
- Capacity Building
- Advocacy and Publicity
- International Cooperation
- Enterprises of the Department
The ministry has following organisations functioning under it:
- North Eastern Development Finance Corporation Ltd.(NEDFi)
- North Eastern Regional Agricultural Marketing Corporation Limited (NERAMAC)
- The Sikkim Mining Corporation Limited. (SMC)
- North Eastern Handlooms and Handicrafts Development Corporation (NEHHDC)
11. Flood management in North East region
Context: State-wise details of damage caused by hydro-meteorological calamities like floods during 2022-23 in the states of North Eastern Region is assessed/reported by the Disaster Management Division.
- Flood management comes under the purview of the State Governments, and the schemes for flood control, etc. are formulated and implemented by concerned States.
- The Union Government supplements the efforts of the States including the States of North Eastern Region (NER) by providing technical guidance, financial resources and assistance for management of floods in critical areas.
- The Government had implemented a plan called Flood Management Programme (FMP) for providing Central Assistance to States including NER states for works related to river management, flood control, erosion control, drainage development, etc. which subsequently continued as a component of “Flood Management and Border Areas Programme” (FMBAP) for the period from 2017-18 to 2020-21 , further extended up to September 2022.
- 139.91 crore has been released to the States of NER for anti-erosion/flood control activities and prevention of landslides during last 5 years
Central Water Commission (CWC):
- It is the nodal organization entrusted with the task of flood forecasting & early flood warnings in the country.
- CWC has developed a basin wise flood forecasting model based on rainfall-runoff. Also, the North Eastern Space Application Centre (NESAC), an institution established under the joint initiative of Department of Space and North Eastern Council (NEC) uses satellite data for developing early warning system on natural calamities like floods.
Disaster Management Division
- The State-wise details of damage caused by hydro-meteorological calamities like floods during 2022-23, in the states of North Eastern Region is assessed/reported by the Disaster Management Division (Ministry of Home Affairs)
- It has issued guidelines on Management of Floods Urban Flooding, Landslides and Snow Avalanches and issued a National Disaster Management Plan in which action to be taken on various calamities, including floods and landslide, has been outlined.
Section : Art and Culture
PM mentioned fairs in his Mann Ki Baa
|Minjar Mela||Chamba, Himachal Pradesh.||Minjar is the most popular fair of Chamba which is attended by a large number of people from all over the country. This mela is held on the second Sunday of the Shravana month. The fair is announced by distribution of Minjar which is a silk tassel worn on some parts of the dress by men and women alike. This tassel symbolises the shoots of paddy and maize which make their appearance around this time of the year.|
|Sair||Himachal Pradesh||Celebrated to mark the end of the harvest season, Sair is a cultural festival that is observed in many parts of Himachal like Kullu, Solan, Mandi. However, if you want to experience this famous cultural festival of India in its full glory then you need to head to Shimla|
|Jagra||Shimla and Simour ,Himachal Pradesh||Bisu songs are sung after invoking the deity of Mahasu. This awakening of MahasuDevta takes place in Himachal at Shimla, Kinnaur and Sirmaur; simultaneously in Uttarakhand|
|Samakka-Saralamma Jatara Fair||Telangana||SammakkaSarakkaJathara is the largest tribal religious congregation in the world, held every two years (biennially), with approximately ten million people converging on the place, over a period of four days, which is located about 90 km from Warangal city. The SammakkaSarakkaJatra is a State Festival of Telangana. Many tribal devotees from different states of India (M.P, Chhattisgarh, Orissa, Maharashtra, Karnataka and parts of Jharkhand) reach this festive place to celebrate the Jathara. People offer bangaram/gold (jaggery) of a quantity equal to their weight to the goddesses and take holy bath in JampannaVagu (stream). It is a festival with no Vedic or Brahminic influence.|
|Maridamma fair||Maridamma temple is located in Peddapuram taluk in East Godavari district. Maridamma festival is celebrated for thirty-one days from the Amavasya in the month of Jyeshtha to the Amavasya in the month of Ashadha. Thousands congregate with dances like kolatoms and display physical feats and skills with sticks.|
|‘Siyawa ka Mela”Mankhan Ro Mela’||Rajasthan||The people of the Garasiya tribe in Rajasthan organize ‘Siyawa ka Mela’ or ‘Mankhan Ro Mela’ on Vaishakh Shukla Chaturdashi|
13. 7 new districts in West Bengal — how and why are districts created or abolished in India?
Section : Federalism
Context :The West Bengal cabinet has approved the creation of seven new districts in the state. This will take the number of districts in West Bengal to 30 from the existing 23.
Why have these districts been created?
- States keep creating new districts from time to time. The idea everywhere is, generally, that smaller units would make governance easier and would benefit the people by bringing the government and the administration closer to them, and making them more accessible. Sometimes, the decision to create a new district is driven by local demands.
- Smaller administrative units bring better and more transparent governance, and smoother and more effective delivery of welfare.
Who decides on creating or scrapping districts, or changing their boundaries?
- This power lies with the state governments, who can pass a law in the Assembly or simply issue an order and notify it in the gazette. The Centre does not have a say in the matter.
- The central government does play a role, however, when a change of name of a district or railway station is contemplated. The request of the state government in this regard is sent to several central government departments before a no-objection certificate is issued.
Have Indian states been creating a lot of new districts?
- Yes, the number of districts around the country has been going up steadily over the years. The 2001 Census recorded 593 districts, which went up to 640 in 2011. India currently has more than 775 districts.
- Uttar Pradesh has the most districts (75) in the country, followed by Madhya Pradesh (52). Goa, by contrast, has only 2 district However, the number of districts in a state is not always a function of the area of the state, or of its population.
- In general, the largest districts in India by area cover sparsely populated areas — for example, Kachchh in Gujarat, and Jaisalmer, Bikaner, Barmer, and Jodhpur in Rajasthan.
14. Is India’s biodiversity getting exploited without benefits to communities?
Section : Biodiversity
- Data on the website of the National Biodiversity Authority (NBA) shows that as much as 56.1 per cent of applications approved by the Authority under the access and benefit sharing regime since 2006 were between financial years 2020-2021 and 2021-2022.
Access and Benefit Sharing Clearing House (ABSCH)
- The Access and Benefit-sharing Clearing-House (ABS Clearing-House, ABSCH) is a platform for exchanging information on access and benefit-sharing established by Article 14 of the Nagoya Protocol, as part of clearing-house mechanism under Article 18, paragraph 3 of the Convention.
- The ABS Clearing-House is a key tool for facilitating the implementation of the Nagoya Protocol by enhancing legal certainty, clarity and transparency on procedures for access and for monitoring the utilization of genetic resources along the value chain.
- By making relevant information regarding ABS available, the ABS Clearing-House helps users access genetic resources and associated traditional knowledge, and providers fairly and equitably share in the benefits arising from their utilization.
Biological Diversity Act 2002
- The act was enacted in 2002, it aims at the conservation of biological resources, managing its sustainable use and enabling fair and equitable sharing benefits arising out of the use and knowledge of biological resources with the local communities.
- India is also one of the early signatories to the Convention on Biological Diversity 1992 which recognizes the sovereign rights of states to use their own Biological Resources.
Salient Features of the Act
- The Act prohibits the following activities without the prior approval from the National Biodiversity Authority:
- Any person or organisation (either based in India or not) obtaining any biological resource occurring in India for its research or commercial utilisation.
- The transfer of the results of any research relating to any biological resources occurring in, or obtained from, India.
- The claim of any intellectual property rights on any invention based on the research made on the biological resources obtained from India.
- Any offence under this Act is non-bailable and cognizable
- The act envisaged a three-tier structure to regulate the access to biological resources:
- The National Biodiversity Authority (NBA)
- The State Biodiversity Boards (SBBs)
- The Biodiversity Management Committees (BMCs) (at local level)
- The Act provides these authorities with special funds and a separate budget in order to carry out any research project dealing with the biological natural resources of the country.
- It shall supervise any use of biological resources and the sustainable use of them and shall take control over the financial investments and their return and dispose of those capitals as correct.
- Under this act, the Central Government in consultation with the NBA:
- Shall notify threatened species and prohibit or regulate their collection, rehabilitation and conservation
- Designate institutions as repositories for different categories of biological resources
- Any grievances related to the determination of benefit sharing or order of the National Biodiversity Authority or a State Biodiversity Board under this Act, shall be taken to the National Green Tribunal (NGT).
National Biodiversity Authority
- In order to carry out the provisions of the act, the National Biodiversity Authority (NBA) had been set up under the Ministry of Environments and Forest by the Government of India in 2003 to implement India’s Biological Diversity Act (2002).
- The NBA is a statutory, autonomous body headquartered in Chennai.
- State Biodiversity Boards (SBB) were also created in the 29 states along with Biological management committees for each local body.
The functions of the National Biodiversity Authority are as follows
- Monitoring and prevention of actions prohibited under the Act.
- Providing advice to the government on how best to conserve biodiversity in India.
- Prepare a report on how the government can select biological heritage sites.
- Make concrete steps to prevent the grant of intellectual property rights regarding locally used biological resources or allied traditional knowledge.
State Biodiversity Boards (SBBs)
- The SBBs are established by the State Governments in accordance with Section 22 of the Act.
Biodiversity Management Committees (BMCs)
- According to Section 41 of the Act, every local body shall constitute the BMC within its area for the purpose of promoting conservation, sustainable use and documentation of biological diversity including:
- Preservation of habitats
- Conservation of Landraces
- Folk varieties and cultivars
- Domesticated stocks And breeds of animals
- Microorganisms And Chronicling Of Knowledge Relating To Biological Diversity
- The main function of the BMC is to prepare People’s Biodiversity Register in consultation with the local people.
- The register shall contain comprehensive information on availability and knowledge of local biological resources, their medicinal or any other use or any other.
Biodiversity Heritage Sites (BHS)
- Under Section 37 of Biological Diversity Act, 2002 the State Government in consultation with local bodies may notify the areas of biodiversity importance as Biodiversity Heritage Sites.
- The Biodiversity Heritage Sites are the well defined areas that are unique, ecologically fragile ecosystems – terrestrial, coastal and inland waters and, marine having rich biodiversity
The Nagoya Protocol
- The Nagoya Protocol on Access to Genetic Resources and the Fair and Equitable Sharing of Benefits Arising from their Utilization to the Convention on Biological Diversity, also known as the Nagoya Protocol on Access and Benefit Sharing (ABS) is a 2010 supplementary agreement to the 1992 Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD).
- Its aim is the implementation of one of the three objectives of the CBD: the fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising out of the utilization of genetic resources, thereby contributing to the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity.
- Ratification of the Nagoya Protocol by 51 Partiesincluding India to the CBD is also a major step towards achieving the first of the global Aichi Biodiversity Targets (Target 16 that by 2015, the Nagoya Protocol is in force and operational), and that too more than a year before its target date, which is quite unprecedented.
- The pivotal role played by India in achieving this remarkable feat once again showcases India’s leadership on biodiversity in the global arena.
15. Illegal mining of beach sand minerals
Subject : Geography
Section: Economic Geography
- Ministry of Mines has invited comments/suggestions of the stakeholders viz, Central Government Ministries/Departments, States Governments and Union Territories, mining industry stake-holders, industry associations, general public, and other persons and entities concerned on the proposal to remove certain atomic minerals including beach sand minerals in Part B of the First Schedule of the Mines and Minerals (Regulation & Development) [MMDR] Act, 1957.
- Some of these minerals are technology and energy critical (elements) having uses in the space industry, electronics, information technology and communications, energy sector, electric batteries and the nuclear industry and are critical in net zero emission commitment of India.
- Country is dependent on imports for most of these important commodities. These minerals have high economic importance and considerable supply risk due to geo-political uncertainties.
- As per section 23C of the MMDR Act, 1957 the State Governments are empowered to frame rules to prevent illegal mining and the State Governments may, by notification in the Official Gazette, make such rules for preventing illegal mining, transportation and storage of minerals and for purposes connected therewith.
- Data regarding incidence of illegal mining of such minerals is not maintained Centrally.
However, Government of India has taken a number of steps to check such illegal mining of Beach Sand Minerals viz;
- A new section “11B” has been introduced under the MMDR Act 1957 to empower of Central government to make rules for regulating atomic minerals specified under Part B of First Schedule.
- Ministry of Mines notified Atomic Mineral Concession Rules 2016 (AMCR-2016) towards protecting and conserving the “Atomic Minerals” by introducing the concept of “Threshold value”. “Beach Sand Minerals” (BSM) declared as “Atomic Minerals” under part-B of First Schedule of the MMDR Act 1957.
- Directorate General of Foreign Trade, Department of Commerce, Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Government of India issued Notification on export policy on BSM under which export of BSM have been brought under State Trading Enterprise and shall be canalized through IREL.
- Towards ensuring complete government control over “Monazite” and “Zircon” occurring within the “Beach sand Minerals” Ministry of Mines (MoM) amended AMCR-2016- Threshold value of Monazite” for BSM occurring in teri or placer deposits as “0.00% in Total Heavy Minerals (THM).
- Ministry of Mines vide notification No. S.O. 2807(E). dated 12.07.2021 under the provisions of sub-section (1) of section 24(Power of entry and inspection for purpose of ascertaining the position of the working, actual or prospective, of any mine or abandoned mine or for any other purpose connected with this Act or the rules made thereunder) of the MMDR Act, 1957 authorizing the officers of the Atomic Minerals Directorate for Exploration and Research (AMD) to exercise all or any of the powers specified in that sub-section, in respect of minerals specified in Part B of the First Schedule to the said Act.
- Ministry of Mines vide notification S.O. 2805(E). dated 12.07.2021 under the provisions of Section 22 (Cognizance of Offences punishable under this Act and the rules made thereunder) of the MMDR Act, 1957 authorizing the officers of the Atomic Minerals Directorate for Exploration and Research to prefer complaints in writing in respect of any offences punishable under the said Act or the rules made thereunder in respect of minerals specified in Part B of the First Schedule to the said Act.
The Mines and Minerals (Regulation and Development) Act (1957)
- It is an Act of the Parliament of India enacted to regulate the mining sector in
- It was amended in 2015 and 2016. This act forms the basic framework of mining regulation in India.
- This act is applicable to all mineral except minor minerals and atomic minerals.
- It details the process and conditions for acquiring a mining or prospecting licence in India.
- Mining minor minerals comes under the purview of state governments. River sand is considered a minor mineral.
- For mining and prospecting in forest land, prior permission is needed from the Ministry of Environment and Forests.
16. Peace parks as a transboundary approach to conservation
- Conflicts over disputed borders, increasingly exacerbated by climate change, are putting some of the world’s key biodiversity hotspots at risk.
- Even in countries that have avoided border wars, a global campaign of fence building — aimed at keeping out human migrants whose numbers are rising in an era of climate change and sociopolitical unrest — is causing widespread damage to vulnerable natural landscapes and migratory animal species.
- In potential conflict zones like the Himalayas, Eastern Europe, the Caucasus, and the South China Sea, this surging human march across national frontiers has already led to violence, and in some cases to open warfare.
- Border-straddling conservation zones known as peace parks offer a more sustainable way of managing border disputes than militarization and fence building. Peace parks on the U.S.-Canada border and in the Himalayas offer successful examples.
- Today, four international peace parks sit astride that border: Peace Arch Park (Washington/British Columbia); Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park (Montana/Alberta); International Peace Garden (North Dakota/Manitoba); and Roosevelt Campobello International Park (Maine/New Brunswick).
- A “Park for Peace” is a special designation that may be applied to any of the three types of Transboundary Conservation Areas, and is dedicated to the promotion, celebration and/or commemoration of peace and cooperation (IUCN, 2015).
- These protected areas may include some different land uses within their boundaries. The three primary goals of transboundary protected areas are usually the conservation of biodiversity, socio-economic development and the promotion of a culture of peace and cooperation.
- The identification and designation of Peace Parks by cooperating jurisdictions should include only those areas where the agreed management objectives explicitly recognize both a protected area and a no conflict zone.
17. Alpha Fold: A tour de force in science
Subject :Science and Technology
Section : Awareness in IT
- DeepMind, a company owned by Google, announced this week that it had predicted the three-dimensional structures of more than 200 million proteins using AlphaFold.
What is AlphaFold?
- AlphaFold is an AI-based protein structure prediction tool. It is based on a computer system called deep neural network. Inspired by the human brain, neural networks use a large amount of input data and provides the desired output exactly like how a human brain would.
- The real work is done by the black box between the input and the output layers, called the hidden networks.
- AlphaFold is fed with protein sequences as input. When protein sequences enter through one end, the predicted three-dimensional structures come out through the other. It is like a magician pulling a rabbit out of a hat.
How does AlphaFold work?
- AlphaFold is an AI-based protein structure prediction tool. It used processes based on “training, learning, retraining and relearning” to predict the structures of the entire 214 million unique protein sequences deposited in the Universal Protein Resource (UniProt) database.
What are the implications of this development?
- Proteins are the business ends of biology, meaning proteins carry out all the functions inside a living cell.
- Therefore, knowing protein structure and function is essential to understanding human diseases.
- Scientists predict protein structures using x-ray crystallography, nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy, or cryogenic electron microscopy.
- These techniques are not just time-consuming, they often take years and are based mainly on trial-and-error methods. The development of AlphaFold changes all of that. It is a watershed movement in science and structural biology in particular.
What does this development mean for India?
- The Indian community of structural biology needs to take advantage of the AlphaFold database and learn how to use the structures to design better vaccines and drugs.
Is AlphaFold one-of-a-kind tool in predicting protein structures?
- Although a tour-de-force in structural biology, like any other method, AlphaFold is neither flawless nor the only AI-based protein structure prediction tool.
- RoseTTaFold, developed by David Baker at the University of Washington in Seattle, U.S., is another tool. Although less accurate than AlphaFold, it can predict the structure of protein complexes.