India Current Affairs - 2019

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Royal Bengal Tigers may not survive Climate Change: UN Report

According to a recent UN report, Climate change and rising sea levels may eventually wipe out ‘The Sundarbans’, which is one of world’s last and largest tiger strongholds. The studies of report rely on climate change scenarios developed by Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) for its simulation models.

Key Findings of Report

  • As per UN findings if greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions continued at current rate, the atmosphere would warm as much as 1.5C (above preindustrial levels) by 2040. This climate change would lead to rising sea level and existential threat to the Sundarbans.
  • In 2010, World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF, a Non-governmental organization) estimated that sea level rise of 11 inches could reduce number of tigers in Sundarbans by 96% within a few decades.
  • By 2070, there will be not be any suitable habitats of tiger remaining in Bangladesh Sundarbans.
  • 70% of Sundarbans is just a few feet above sea level, thus faces grave threat due to climate changes. It is one of the prime habitats of Bengal tigers, who are among 500,000 land species whose survival is in question because of threats to their natural habitats due to climate change.
  • Once the Sundarbans are flooded it may lead to increased confrontations (conflict) between humans and tigers, as the latter would stray outside their habitat in search of new land.
  • Conservation efforts and fight against habitat loss in Sunderbans needs to begin immediately, as it could take about 20 years for these efforts to even start showing any results, but if action isn’t taken soon there won’t be any forest or tigers to save in 50 years.

About Sundarbans

  • They are 10,000 square kilometres of marshy mangroves ecosystem shared between Bangladesh and India.
  • They hosts world’s largest mangrove forest and a rich ecosystem that supports hundreds of animal species, including Bengal tiger.
  • They are only mangrove forests in world where Bengal tigers are found.

About Bengal tiger (Panthera Tigris Tigris)

  • It is national animal of India and Bangladesh.
  • It found predominantly in India with some populations in Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh, China and Myanmar.
  • Initiatives by India: As Bengal tiger species is the most numerous of all tiger subspecies (about 2,500 left in wild) Indian government undertakes various initiave to in a bid to conserve species. The Project Tiger launched in 1973 was India’s first-ever tiger conservation programme.
  • IUCN Red List Status is endangered.
  • Since early 1900s, hunting, poaching, habitat loss, and illegal trade of animal parts (to meet growing demand in Asia) have decreased global population of tigers from around 100,000 to fewer than 4,000 and puy the species at risk.

Month: Categories: Environment & BiodiversityUPSC

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CBIC organises meeting of WCO’s Asia Pacific Region

Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs (CBIC), under Ministry of Finance is organising a meeting of Regional Heads of Customs Administration of Asia Pacific Region of World Customs Organisation (WCO) in Kochi (in Kerela) from 8th to 10th May, 2019.

As India currently holds seat of Vice Chairperson of Asia Pacific region (assumed on 1 July 2018) for a two-year period, it is hosting this meeting in this capacity.

Key Highlights of Meeting

  • It will discuss about progress being made in carrying forward various initiatives and programmes of WCO, in promoting, securing and facilitating cross-border trade in Asia Pacific region. It will also look into capacity building and technical assistance required to achieve this goal.
  • Pranab Kumar Das, Chairman of CBIC will chair the meeting.
  • Participants: includes customs delegations from over 20 countries of Asia Pacific region and senior officials of WCO and its regional bodies namey Regional Intelligence Liaoning Office (RILO) and Regional Office for Capacity Building (ROCB).
  • Key Focus Areas: of meeting includes, implementation of trade facilitation measures, building capacity of small island economies (in Asia pacific region), cross-border e-commerce transactions, performance measurement, trusted trader programmes, and on-going review of Revised Kyoto Convention (RKC).

About WCO

  • It was established in 1952 as Customs Co-operation Council (CCC) and in 1994 it adopted its current name World Customs Organisation (WCO).
  • It is headquartered in Brussels (in Belgium).
  • It is an independent intergovernmental body, which seeks to enhance effectiveness and efficiency of Customs administrations.
  • It is only intergovernmental organisation which exclusively focuses on Customs matters.
  • One of its crucial role is to streamline cross border procedures and enhance security of global trade.
  • The governing body of WCO is ‘WCO Council’, which brings together all Members of Organization one time every year.
  • Functions: to maintain international Harmonized System (HS, also known as Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System) of tariff nomenclature, and to administer technical aspects of World Trade Organization (WTO) Agreements on Customs Valuation and Rules of Origin.
  • Members: It represents 182 Customs administrations globally (which collectively undergoes about 98% of world trade). Its membership is divided into 6 regions. Each of these six Regions is represented by regionally elected Vice-Chairperson to WCO’s Council. India holds Vice Chair of Asia Pacific region of WCO for a two-year period.

Month: Categories: International

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