Return of the Endangered Cheetahs in India

The Supreme Court of India has said that African cheetahs could be introduced to the wild at “carefully chosen location”. This comes as an apt response to a plea by the government, 70 years after cheetahs were wiped out. According to the International Union for the Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN) Red List, Only 7,100 cheetahs are left in the wild, majorly all of them surviving in Namibia, Africa.

Crux of the Matter

Statistics of the Spotted Cats
Studies report that at least 200 cheetahs were killed in India, largely by sheep and goat herders, during the colonial period. It remains the only large mammal to become extinct after the country gained independence in 1947. The Asiatic cheetah, which once roamed parts of India, is now only found in Iran, amongst the 50 left.

SC’s Iconic Decision
The highest judicial court under the Constitution of India adds that the animal would have to be introduced on an experimental basis to find out if it could adapt to Indian conditions. Three potential locations are in talks for this revival: Velavadar in Gujarat, Tal Chapar in Rajasthan and Kuno-Palpur in Madhya Pradesh, 2 grasslands and a scrub habitat. India’s former environment minister, Jairam Ramesh rejoiced the decision to reintroduce the animal as per the immediate tweet posted in his twitter handle.

Wildlife Officials’ Stance
For more than a decade, wildlife officials, cheetah experts, and conservationists had discussed the reintroduction of the spotted big cat to India. The only fear that now remains is that haste may make waste as India would end up housing the animals in semi-captive conditions in huge, secured open-air zoos rather than allowing them to live free. Earlier Lions were reintroduced in the Chandraprabha sanctuary in northern Uttar Pradesh state in the 1950s but were poached out of existence subsequently.

A Larger Vision Can Help
Abi Tamim Vanak, a savannah ecologist with the Ashoka Trust for Ecology and Environment, Bengaluru believes that if the government, working with conservationists, can think of an innovative model and a habitat-focused plan, traditional pastoralists as well as grassland fauna such as blackbuck, Great Indian bustard, chinkara, wolves, etc. could be protected in such landscapes.

Curiopedia

Reintroduction of the cheetah in India involves the re-establishment of a population of cheetahs into areas where they had previously existed but were hunted into extinction during and after the Mughal Period, largely by Rajput and Maratha Indian royalty and later by British colonialists, until the early 20th century when only several thousand remained. The Mughal emperor Akbar kept Cheetahs for hunting gazelle and blackbucks. Trapping of large numbers of adult Indian cheetahs, who had already learned hunting skills from wild mothers, for assisting in royal hunts is said to be another major cause of the species rapid decline in India as they never bred in captivity with only one record of a litter ever. Three of the last Asiatic cheetahs recorded from India were shot down in 1947, by Maharaja Ramanuj Pratap Singh Deo of Koriya. A part of the reintroduction process is the identification and restoration of their former grassland scrub forest habitats. This is within the scope of the duties of the local forest department of each State, where relocation occurs, through the use of Indian Central Government funding. More Info

Common Man Reigns in Padma Shri Awards

President of India, Ramnath Kovind, awarded Padma Shri to 141 nominees for their dedicated work and contribution to not only their field but also to the society. As also acknowledged by PM Modi, this year’s award is ‘an award of common folk‘.

Crux of the Matter

What is Padma Shri Award?
Padma Shri is the fourth highest civilian award in India. It is given to citizens of India in recognition of their distinguished contribution in various fields like arts, education, industry, literature, science, sports, medicine, social service, and public affairs. Padma award is also given to the people who are not citizens of India but who have contributed to India in different ways.

An Award of Common Folk
As said by the Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi, this year’s the Padma Shri awards are an ‘Award of Common People‘. Common folks from almost every spectrum have been selected because of their hard work and dedication.

This year, nomination applications for the award reached 46,000, which is 20 times higher than in 2014. The President approved 141 nominees for the award.

Who are the Awardees?
Awardee Jagdish Lal Ahuja has devoted his life for past two decades serving free food to the poor patients and many others like him are in the list for their selfless contribution to society.

Tulsi Gowda, an illiterate tribal woman, who is known as forest encyclopedia was awarded the Padma Shri for planting and nurturing thousands of trees for the past 72 years.

For promoting education in remote areas of Arunachal Pradesh, Mr. Sathyanarayan Mundayoor was awarded.

Bob Blackman, Prof. Indra Dassanayake (Posthumous), Lia Diskin, Barry Gardiner, and many others are not citizens of India but have been honored for their work.

Other awardees showcased dedicated efforts to bring changes in the society and have devoted their life for a cause in fields varying from arts to science.

Curiopedia

Orders, Decorations, and Medals of India – India honors its civilians to army personal to any person who has done incredible work for the society with awards like Bharat Ratna, Padma Awards, Military Gallantry Awards, etc. More Info

India on path to cleaner tech: 50 GW of renewable energy capacity installed

renewable

The G.O.I on Thursday earlier this week reported that a total of 47.86 gigawatts (GW) of renewable energy capacity has been installed in the nation, in the past six years from March 2014 to October 2019. Power and New & Renewable Energy Minister R K Singh verified the same in a written reply to a question in the Lok Sabha.

Crux of the Matter
  • As per government data, India added 98 gigawatts of power generation capacity. 52% of this was based on renewable energy technologies dominated by solar power, which saw the addition of 30 gigawatts of new projects.
  • Over the last five years, solar power capacity in India has increased 10 times to 33.7 gigawatts as of 31 December 2019.
  • In 12 of the 18 quarters ending December 2019, capacity added through renewable energy technologies exceeded that based on fossil fuels (coal, diesel, and gas) witnessed the addition of 42 gigawatts of new capacity.
  • Diesel-fired capacity declined from 1,200 megawatts to 510 megawatts during the aforementioned period. Power generation capacity based on biomass and biofuel cogeneration doubled from 4.4 gigawatts to 9.8 gigawatts during the same time.
  • This has come out as a major achievement for the country which otherwise used non-renewable energy sources for two-thirds of its electricity generation capacity.
Curiopedia

Renewable energy in India : India is one of the countries with the largest production of energy from renewable sources. As of 2019, 35% of India’s installed electricity generation capacity is from renewable sources, generating 17% of total electricity in the country. In the Paris, Agreement India has committed to an Intended Nationally Determined Contributions target of achieving 40% of its total electricity generation from non-fossil fuel sources by 2030. The country is aiming for even more ambitious target of 57% of the total electricity capacity from renewable sources by 2027 in the Central Electricity Authority’s strategy blueprint. According to 2027 blueprint, India aims to have 275 GW from renewable energy, 72 GW of hydroelectricity, 15 GW of nuclear energy and nearly 100 GW from “other zero emission” sources. In the quarter ending September 2019, India’s total renewable electricity capacity (including large hydro) was 130.68 GW. This represents 35.7% of the total installed electricity generation capacity in the country, which is around 366 GW. More Info

India's cash-rich 1%, 4 Times wealthier than Poorest 70%

Releasing the study ‘Time to Care‘, ahead of the 50th Annual Meeting of the World Economic Forum (WEF), rights group Oxfam says that India’s richest 1 per cent hold more than four-times the wealth held by 953 million people who make up for the bottom 70 per cent of the country’s population. The total wealth of all Indian billionaires is more than the full-year budget.

Crux of the Matter
  • Oxfam said its calculations are based on the latest data sources available, including from the Credit Suisse Research Institute’s Global Wealth Databook 2019 and Forbes’ 2019 Billionaires List.
  • The findings also revealed that the world’s 2,153 billionaires have more wealth than the 4.6 billion people who make up 60 % of the planet’s population.
  • Oxfam India CEO Amitabh Behar has said that “The gap between rich and poor can’t be resolved without deliberate inequality-busting policies, and too few governments are committed to these.”
  • Reportedly, it would take a female domestic worker 22,277 years to earn what a top CEO of a technology company makes in one year.
  • Getting the richest one per cent to pay 0.5 % extra tax on their wealth over the next 10 years would equal the investment needed to create 117 million jobs in sectors such as elderly and childcare, education and health.
  • Governments must now prioritise care as being as important as all other sectors in order to build more human economies that work for everyone, not just a fortunate few.
Curiopedia

Time to Care report talks about Unpaid and underpaid care work and the global inequality crisis. This great divide is based on a flawed and sexist economic system that values the wealth of the privileged few, mostly men, more than the billions of hours of the most essential work – the unpaid and underpaid care work done primarily by women and girls around the world. Tending to others, cooking, cleaning, fetching water and firewood are essential daily tasks for the wellbeing of societies, communities and the functioning of the economy. The heavy and unequal responsibility of care work perpetuates gender and economic inequalities, which has to change. Governments around the world should invest in national care systems to address the disproportionate responsibility for care work done by women and girls. Thereby progressive taxation, including taxing wealth and legislating in favour of carers, must be introduced. More Info

DRDO successfully test-fires K-4 Missile

K-4

India’s Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) successfully test-fired a 3500-kilometre range nuclear-capable missile that can be launched from a submarine on Sunday. The test of the K-4 ballistic missile took place off the coast of Andhra Pradesh.

Crux of the Matter
  • In November 2019, India formally declared its nuclear triad stated in its nuclear doctrine operational after INS Arihant completed its first deterrence patrol.
  • The missile is planned to be fitted into the indigenously built Arihant-class nuclear-powered submarines of the Indian Navy.
  • Reports state that the K-4’s circular error of probability (the radius of the missile’s point of impact which is also a measure of the efficacy of its guidance systems) was 40 meters or less. This makes it ideal to strike targets from stand-off ranges.
  • The missile has been tested several times earlier as part of developmental trials to validate different parameters as per unnamed sources.
  • “Our Circular Error Probability (CEP) is much more sophisticated than Chinese missiles,” the source said. The CEP determines the accuracy of a missile. The lower the CEP, the more accurate the missile is.
Curiopedia

K-4 is a nuclear-capable Intermediate-range submarine-launched ballistic missile under development by Defence Research and Development Organisation of India to arm the Arihant-class submarines. The missile has a maximum range of about 3500 km. The development of the K-4 was undertaken after facing significant difficulties in compacting similarly capable Agni-III to equip INS Arihant which has a limited 17-metre (56 ft)-diameter hull. K-4 has a range comparable to Agni-III with major length reduction from 17 metres (56 ft) to 12 metres (39 ft). The gas-booster designed for K-4 was successfully tested from a submerged pontoon in 2010. DRDO stated that the aim of the missile was to achieve high accuracy. The missile is also able to cruise at hypersonic speeds and is manoeuvrable. To defeat ballistic missile defence systems, the K4 can perform three-dimensional manoeuvres. More Info