18.02.21 Daily UKPSC Current Affairs



Corbett, with capacity to nurture over 150 one-horned rhinos, ‘top priority’ site for their reintroduction: Study


A study recently published in the journal, ‘Nature’, states that out of the 31 protected areas (PAs) — comprising different tiger reserves, national parks and wildlife sanctuaries across India, Nepal and Bhutan — Corbett National Park can become an adequate habitat for the single-horn rhino.

The one-horn rhino is categorised as a vulnerable species in the IUCN Red List, and currently, there are only around 3,500 rhinos across the globe out of which around 2,400 are in Assam’s Kaziranga National Park and around 600 in Nepal’s Chitwan National Park.


Therefore, experts feel there is a dire need to reintroduce the animal which is most trafficked for its horn. Historically, in Nepal, rhinos were found in Banke National Park, Bardiya National Park, Shuklaphanta National Park, Koshi Tappu Wildlife Reserve, Chitwan National Park and Parsa Wildlife Reserve while in Bhutan, the animal’s presence was noted in the Royal Manas National Park.


In India, the megaherbivores were found across Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Assam, West Bengal, Arunachal Pradesh and Bihar. In Uttarakhand, the animal’s presence has been recorded in Corbett, Jhilmil Jheel Conservation Reserve, Sonanadi Wildlife Sanctuary and Rajaji National Park.

The study — ‘Feasibility of reintroducing grassland megaherbivores, the greater one-horned rhinoceros and swamp buffalo within their historic global range’ — was conducted by a group of scientists from India and the UK, and was published on February 24.

The scientists reached the conclusion of Corbett being a suitable habitat after analysing some of the vital parameters for the survival of the rhinos at a new location — legal status of the protected animal, protection from poachers, management efficacies and least human conflict.




Foreign Ministers of India, Australia, Japan and US to meet to discuss free, open and inclusive Indo-Pacific region

The Third India-Australia-Japan-USA QUAD Foreign Minister’s Meeting will be held with the participation of the respective Foreign Ministers.

The QUAD meeting provides an opportunity to continue the useful exchange of views from their last meeting in Tokyo in October last year.

The Ministers will exchange views on regional and global issues especially practical areas of cooperation towards maintaining a free, open and inclusive Indo-Pacific region.

They will also discuss ongoing efforts to combat the COVID-19 pandemic, addressing global climate change and other issues of mutual interest.



Intensified Mission Indradhanush 3.0 launched to expand immunization coverage across the country


Health and Family Welfare Minister Dr. Harsh Vardhan launched Intensified Mission Indradhanush 3.0, (IMI 3.0) to expand immunization coverage across the country.

It will have two rounds starting from the 22nd of this month and the 22nd of March this year.

The IMI 3.0 is aimed at reaching the unreached population with all the available vaccines under Universal Immunisation Programme and thereby accelerate the full immunization and complete immunization coverage of children and pregnant women.

The focus of the Intensified Mission Indradhanush 3.0 will be the children and pregnant women who have missed their vaccine doses during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The present campaign will target achieving 90 percent  Full Immunization Coverage in all districts of the country.

Atal Paryavaran Bhavan Inaugurated By Environment Minister

The Minister of the Environment, Forest and Climate Change unveiled the Atal Paryavaran Bhavan in Lakshadweep on February 19, 2021.


Suheli Par: This is the coral atoll of Lakshadweep. The atoll has an oval shape and is 17 kilometers long. It is surrounded by abundant marine fauna. It is located southwest of Kavaratti, 76 kilometers south of Agatti. It is located 139 kilometers west of Karpeni and 205 kilometers from the NNW of Minikuy Island. The Nine Degrees Strait stretches between these islands. The area is 87.76 square kilometers.

Nine Degrees Channel: It is a passage in the Indian Ocean between Karpeni and Sukhripal Islands and Mariku Atoll. The channel is about 200 kilometers wide and 2597 meters deep.

Kadmat Island: It is also called Cardamom Island. This is a coral island, belonging to the Amindivi island subgroup. The total length is 9.3 kilometers. Coral reefs with seagrass and turtles are the marine characteristics of the island.

Lakshadweep: This group of islands is located 200 to 440 kilometers southwest of India. It is administered as a territory of the United Kingdom and an area of   India. Its total surface area is 32 sq.km. It includes 10 subdivisions. The capital of the island is Kavalati. The area is under the jurisdiction of the Kerala High Court.



Power sector reforms for Five States


The other five states underwent partial Power Sector Reforms and obtained additional borrowing of Rs. 2,094 crore.


The states of Bihar, Goa, Karnataka, Rajasthan and Uttarakhand have successfully achieved the targets set by the Ministry of Power to reduce Aggregate Technical & Commercial (AT&C) losses, or achieved target reduction in Average Supply Costs and Average Revenue Realisation (ACS-ARR) gap.


Reducing AT&C losses and ACS-ARR gap are two of the three reforms in Power Sector specified by the Department of Expenditure, Ministry of Finance.

Part of the state’s additional borrowing ceiling is related to the reform of the Power Sector.

States obtain permission to borrow funds equivalent to 0.05% of the Gross State Domestic Product (GSDP) to meet the state’s target to reduce AT&C losses, and obtain an additional 0.05% GSDP to meet the ACS-ARR gap target.

In response to the challenges posed by the pandemic, GOI increased the state’s borrowing limit by 2% of its GSDP.

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