Western Ghats Current Affairs - 2020

Western Ghats to be declared Ecologically Sensitive Area soon

On May 21, 2020, the Union Minister Prakash Javadekar interacted with the Chief Ministers of the State Governments through video conference. The meeting held discussions relating to notification of declaring Western Ghats as Ecologically Sensitive Area.


The states that participated in the video conference include Karnataka, Kerala, Maharashtra, Goa, Tamil Nadu and Gujarat. The Government of India constituted a High level working group under Dr Kasturirangan. The committee identified geographical areas in the states that need to be declared Ecologically Sensitive Areas. Based on the report submitted by the committee, the Central Government in 2018 issued a draft notice to notify the areas as Ecologically Sensitive Areas (ESA).

The meeting is a follow up to make a conclusion in declared the regions as ESA.

Outcome of the meet

The State Governments have expressed their interests in expediting early notification of ESA. They were unanimous in ensuring the protection of Western Ghats.


The State of Maharashtra proposed to include a greater number of villages as Ecologically Sensitive Areas. Under its proposal, the state has requested to include 2,092 villages under ESA. The Centre had proposed to include 2,133 villages.

These villages cover 37% of Western Ghats

What is ESA?

When an area is declared ESA, it means that restrictions are put on mining, thermal plants, quarrying, construction and setting up of industries.

Tamil Nadu becomes 5th State to Declare a State Butterfly

Tamil Nadu has officially declared Tamil Yeoman (Cirrochroa thais) as the state butterfly to symbolise its rich natural and cultural heritage. This move aimed at boosting conservation efforts of attractive insects. It will also help channelising government funds towards a particular environmental cause.

With this, Tamil Nadu became fifth Indian state to declare its state butterfly. Maharashtra was 1st state to officially declare Blue Mormon (Papilio polymnestor) as its state butterfly, way back in 2015 followed by Uttarakhand (Common peacock), Karnataka (Southern bird wings) and Kerala (Malabar banded peacock).

About Tamil Yeoman

Its scientific name is Cirrochroa thais. It is locally known as Tamil Maravan, which means ‘Tamilian Warrior’. It belongs to the family of brush-footed butterflies or the Nymphalid.

Unique Features: It is usually sized between 60 and 75mm and has natural zigzag patterns near its bright orange-coloured wings with dark brown highlights at the border of its wings. It is fast and fly straight with few wing beats and long glide.

Habitat: It is endemic to Western Ghats. It is mostly found in moist deciduous, evergreen forests and along water streams.

Why State Butterfly of Tamil Nadu? This southern state has total of 32 species of butterflies endemic to the state. Tamil Yeoman was chosen as state butterfly for its cultural identity linking the state through its name and is abundance in hilly areas.

Environment Significance of Butterflies

They are great bio-indicators of ecosystem as they are highly sensitive to environmental conditions such as sunlight, temperature, humidity and rainfall patterns. Their presence, patterns and migration assist in mapping climatic health of region. They are most studied insect group across the world.

Other official State Species of Tamil Nadu

State animal: Nilgiri Tahr

State bird: Emerald Dove

State Tree: Palm Tree

State flower: Gloriosa

State fruit: Jack fruit