Uttarakhand to set up centre for education on wildlife conflicts
In a key decision, the state wildlife board has decided to set up a centre of excellence to mitigate human-wildlife conflicts and to impart knowledge about wildlife health to all the stakeholders, including local villagers, who would be trained in the centre. Divulging details, forest minister Subodh Uniyal told TOI, “We want to strike a fine balance between nature and humans.
The main objective of the centre of excellence, which would be the country’s first such centre, is to turn our forests into areas with abundant food and water sources so animals don’t have to venture into human habitations for their needs.”
A total of 995 people have died and 4,858 others have sustained injuries in man-animal conflicts since 2000 when Uttarakhand was carved out from UP. In fact, Uttarakhand is among the top three states, including West Bengal and Karnataka, in terms of human-wildlife conflict.
Meanwhile, the state wildlife board – in its 17th meeting chaired by chief minister Pushkar Singh Dhami on Tuesday – gave its nod to send a proposal to the National Wildlife Board seeking its clearance for ropeway links to major pilgrimage sites, including Kedarnath temple and Hemkund Sahib. The government had announced a 13-km ropeway project from Sonprayag in Rudraprayag district to Kedarnath. The project will aid pilgrims who have to currently trek a long distance to Kedarnath from Gaurikund.
India-EU Trade and Investment Agreements
Recently, India and the European Union concluded the first round of negotiations for India-EU Trade and Investment Agreements in New Delhi.
52 technical sessions covering 18 policy areas of the free trade agreement and 7 sessions on Investment Protection and Geographical Indicators were held.
India and EU had launched talks for having a wide-ranging Free Trade Agreement (FTA), officially called broad-based BTIA, long ago in 2007.
The BTIA was proposed to encompass trade in goods, services and investments
Combined GSDP for 2020-21 exceeds GDP
The pandemic seems to have put India’s national accounting system in disarray with the combined GSDP (gross state domestic product) at 2011-12 prices of 26 large states and UTs exceeding the national GDP by Rs 4.7 lakh crore, shows data collated from the RBI and state governments. And this is despite the fact that four north-eastern states and the smaller UTs are not part of the total.
For the financial year 2020-21, the combined total of GSDP (constant prices) of these 26 states and UTs, for which data is available, works out to Rs 140.3 lakh crore. But the country’s GDP for the same year at constant prices was Rs 135.6 lakh crore, according to estimates put out on May 31.
Analysis of data since 2011-12, the year from which state GSDP data for the base 2011-12 is available, shows that in the past, the combined GSDP of 26 large states and UTs ranged between 97% and 99% of the country’s GDP. In 2019-20, this increased to 99.9% of the national GDP but for 2020-21 it was 104% of India’s GDP. This means the aggregate of these state economies is larger than the economy of the country, clearly not possible.
Kerala seems to have suffered the most as the state’s economy shrunk by 9.2%. The figures were 7.6% for Maharashtra, the country’s largest state economy with nearly 14% of national GDP for 2020-21.
Other states whose economies shrunk by 6% or higher were Haryana, Delhi, HP, UP, Rajasthan and Punjab. Among smaller states, Meghalaya was the worst hit as its economy shrunk by 7.5%. The data for 2020-21 was not available for Andaman and Nicobar Islands, AP, Chandigarh, Manipur, Mizoram, Nagaland and Puducherry.
Centre asks states to reduce their statutory and overhead charges on MSP of foodgrains
Concerned over the country’s rising food subsidy bill, the Centre has asked states to reduce their statutory and overhead charges on the minimum support price (MSP) of foodgrains, which include mandi fees, arathia commission and development fees, to 2% or less.
While Punjab and Haryana add a maximum charge of 6% and 4% on the MSP respectively, four other states — Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Chhattisgarh and Telangana — levy charges more than 2%.
According to the 2020-21 annual report of Food Corporation of India (FCI), it paid Rs 5,550 crore to the states. Making a detailed presentation before food ministers and secretaries from states, the food ministry has urged them to reduce such charges to help lower the subsidy burden.
The ministry urged the state governments to float tenders for getting short-term cash credit loans (CCl) to get a lower interest rate. It cited how the FCI has got short-term loans at an interest rate of less than 5%. The Centre has also asked states to transport paddy from mandis to mills directly and thereby avoiding storage expenses.
Vaccine hesitancy among Indians is 11%, says report
Indians stands at 11%. In a research study published in ‘Scientific Reports’ journal of Nature group, it was revealed that around 89% were willing to be vaccinated.
Various sections of people like those who are delaying taking the Covid-19 vaccine, those undecided and those who would reject the vaccine even if it is provided for free are included. Respondents for the vaccine study are mostly from Telangana (7.1%), Karnataka (32%), Tamil Nadu (15.5%) and Andhra Pradesh (8.7%).
The study was aimed at identifying vaccine hesitancy behaviour among Indian population. The researchers collected data from 1,006 participants. The study found a prevalence rate of vaccine hesitancy in the population.
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