Kerala Current Affairs - 2019

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Pangio Bhujia: New eel-loach species discovered in Kerala

Researchers from Kerala have discovered new species of eel-loach named ‘Pangio bhujia’ in Kozhikode district of state. It is unique species of miniature well-dwelling subterranean fish. It is the first species of eel-loach in the world that has been discovered to be living in subterranean environments. Eel-loaches are generally found in fast-flowing streams in the south and the south-east Asia.

About Pangio bhujia

Discovery: It was discovered living in a six-metre-deep homestead well used for potable and irrigation pur­pose, as well as from channel connecting pond to an adjacent paddy field in the village of Cherinjal in Kozhikode.

Name and Genus: It has been named ‘Pangio bhujia’, due to its resemblance to the North Indian snack, bhujia. It belongs to genus Pangio.

Characteristics: It is approximately 3 centimetres long and pinkish-red in colour. It resides in purest waters of deep subterranean aquifers. It has several unique characters including absence of dorsal fin, which has never been encountered in genus Pangio to which this new species belongs to. It is also unique among order Cypriniformes (an order of ray-finned fish, including the carps, minnows, loaches, and relatives) and highly unusual even among teleost or bony fishes generally.

Highlights: NITI Aayog’s School Education Quality Index (SEQI)

The Government of India think tank NITI Aayog released the SEQI – School Education Quality Index. SEQI evaluates the performance of states and union territories in the school education sector. The report has categorized the states as small and large states for ease of comparability. The Union Territories are categorized separately.

Key findings of the report

  • Between 2015 – 16 and 2016 – 17, 18 of the 20 large states have improved in overall performance. The highest incremental performance was recorded in Kerala. Kerala had a score of 77.6% in 2015 – 16. It has increased to 82.2% in 2016 – 17.
  • The other states that have shown incremental performance following Kerala were Tamil Nadu, Haryana, Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh.
  • Of all the large states, Rajasthan made a quantum jump by scoring 8% more than the previous score.
  • Karnataka and Uttarakhand declined in overall performance.
  • Among the small states, the incremental performance was shown by Tripura, Manipur, Meghalaya, Nagaland and Goa. The scores declined in Mizoram, Arunachal Pradesh and Sikkim.

About SEQI

The SEQI was conceptualized by MHRD and NITI Aayog. The index is divided into 2 categories

  • Outcomes – It includes learning, infrastructure and facility, access and equity
  • Governance processes and structural reforms

The institution considers 34 indicators while deciding the ranking. The highest weightage is given to learning outcomes.

As school education is a subject on Concurrent list, state – level leadership is crucial for fruitful outcomes. The index helps to review the status of school education quality. It acts as a feedback to the government initiatives and their implementation.

Other Index by NITI Aayog

Apart from SEQI, NITI Aayog also release heath index and composite water management index annually. They were first launched in 2018. The purpose of launching the indices is to promote cooperative and competitive federalism among states. Apart from this, NITI Aayog also released SDG index in 2018 to measure the progress of states towards the SDGs for 2030.

About NITI Aayog

It is National Institution for Transforming India, established to achieve SDG and to enhance cooperative federalism in India. The Prime Minister is the chairperson of the think tank. It was established in 2015. The think tank replaced 65-year-old planning commission. One of the major initiatives of NITI Aayog is the use of blockchain technology in E – Governance. The name of this project is India chain. The vision of the project is to link India chain and India Stack, the digital infrastructure that forms the backbone of Aadhar project.