Smuggling. Current Affairs - 2020

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Turtle Rehab Centre in Bihar-First of its kind

In January 2020, a turtle rehabilitation Centre is to be set up in Bihar’s Bhagalpur forest. The centre will shelter more than 500 turtles and is to be spread over half a hectare.

Highlights

The rehab centre will act as home to sick and severely injured turtles that are being rescued from smugglers. Prior to the rehab, the forest officials were not able to monitor the rescued turtles before releasing them into rivers. The rehab centre will help in solving this problem.

Why Bhagalpur?

The flow of water in River Ganga in Bhagalpur is ample. There are number of sandbanks in the region that act as ideal breeding ground for the turtles. Also, the turtles in the region weigh up to 15 kilograms and are smuggled in large extent.

According to a report by National Mission for Clean Ganga and WII (Wildlife Institute of India), the turtles in the region are under great threat due to habitat fragmentation due to dams and barrages, illegal poaching, pollution, accidental drowning in fishing nets. Therefore, it is essential to save such life threatened turtles and release back to the river in the right season.

Need

According to a study of Traffic India, every year around 11,000 turtles are smuggled from India. They are targeted for their meat as turtle meat gives energy boost and keeps diseases away. The hard-shell turtles are poached for pet trade. They are in high demand in China, Japan and South East Asia.

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Stamps released to commemorate contribution of Directorate of Revenue Intelligence

On December 26, 2019, Union Finance Minister Smt. Nirmala Sitaraman released postage stamps to commemorate the services of Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) in order to protect the nation.

Significance

DRI plays an immense role to counter smuggling and preserve cultural heritage and environment of the country. It is essential for DRI to keep pace with technologies such as data analytics to fight against contraband items such as gold and narcotics. Contraband are goods that are against the law to trade or to import or export.

Directorate of Revenue Intelligence

DRI is the chief anti-smuggling intelligence agency in the country. The agency works in securing smuggling of contraband such as narcotics, gold, firearms. It also works towards proliferation of commercial frauds, black money and trade-based money laundering.

It enforces provision of around 50 statutes. It includes arms act, NDPS act, WMD act, etc.

The agency was established in 1957 in order to function as the apex of Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs to counter smuggling.

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