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Insights Daily Current Events, 21 January 2015

Insights Daily Current Events, 21 January 2015

Make in Northeast

The central government has announced “Make in Northeast” initiative beginning with a comprehensive tourism plan for the region.

Objective: It will not only generate revenue for Northeast but also create job opportunities to prevent the exodus of youth which is presently taking place from the region to the rest of the country.

Make in Northeast:

  • It is inspired by ‘Make in India’ concept.
  • It will in the long run seek to promote exclusive Northeast expertise in areas like tea processing, organic farming, food processing, exploitation of wind power through wind mills, AYUSH, wellness therapies like spas, etc.
  • It will attract investments in the North East region.
  • In order to develop Northeast as a destination for investors, holiday seekers and tourists mega circuit and mega destination projects of Tourism Ministry in the area will also be pursued.

Other initiatives :

Recently the government had planned a 2015 Calendar for the Ministry of DoNER based on theme of Northeast festivals with each month displaying the traditional local festival of each region in that particular season. When circulated across the country, this annual calendar would serve as a document to introduce the tradition, culture and tourism of the region through one single document.

Sources: PIB.


Giant leap for big cat

Preliminary estimates in “Status of Tigers in India, 2014” show that there are 2,226 tigers in India, up 30 per cent from 1,706 in 2010. India now has 70% of the tiger population in the world.


  • The largest increase is recorded in the Western Ghats Landscape complex — Kerala, Karnataka, Goa and Tamil Nadu — with 776 tigers (up from 402 in 2006).
  • The Mudumalai-Bandipur-Nagarahole-Wayanad complex holds the world’s single largest tiger population currently estimated at over 570 tigers (in 11,000 of habitat.
  • Goa now has a persistent tiger presence with three to five animals.
  • However, the Sunderbans did not report an increase in the numbers because of a low prey base and other factors. Odisha reported a fall in number.
  • The population had increased at the rate of six per cent per annum in India from 2006 while the world lost 97 per cent tigers in the last 50 years in 13 countries. The main reasons for this increase were effective tackling of poaching, and the positive attitude of the wildlife services.

The latest round of assessment used state-of-the art technology of double sampling, using camera traps to estimate the assessment and distribution of tigers over 3,78,118 of forests in 47 reserves in 18 States. The only portions which were not scanned were some parts of the north-east and Jharkhand.

Sources: The Hindu.


Periyar tiger reserve wins NTCA award

The Periyar Tiger Reserve in Kerala has bagged the National Tiger Conservation Authority biennial award for encouraging the local public participation in managing the reserve.

Developments in Periyar Tiger Reserve:

  • It is spread over 925 in Kerala.
  • The reserve set up the Periyar Foundation in 2006 which was a model for other reserves in biodiversity conservation and community participation in managing natural resources. After this, the Wildlife Protection Act was amended so that each reserve would set up a Foundation.
  • The community-based eco-tourism activities helped visitors and there were night scouting programmes with the help of expert trackers as well.
  • Tourism was supplemented by pepper growing and marketing which was a value addition.
  • Self-help groups were involved in honey processing and other income-generating activities.
  • Of the 75 eco development committees, 15 were tribal and each had about 150 to 200 members. There were 19 different eco-tourism programmes apart from village eco-development programmes like bee-keeping.
  • The committees also played a major role during the Sabarimala pilgrimage which involved a 23-km trek in the dense forests. Small shops were set up along the way and people helped in regulating the pilgrims and in waste management, removing 40 to 50 tonnes each season.


Sources: The Hindu.


Odds of escaping poverty in India, U.S. same: WB

The World Bank report, “Addressing inequality in South Asia,” has found that the probability of a poor person moving out of poverty in India in 2014 was as good as that in the U.S.

Important observations made:

  • The report has found that sons from Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe households are no longer stuck in the jobs done by their fathers.
  • Across generations, mobility of occupational profiles among Muslims has been similar to that of higher caste Hindus, whereas mobility among Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes and Other Backward Classes has become higher than that of upper caste Hindus over time.
  • The report shows that one of the main drivers of upward mobility is the increase in number of non-farm jobs in rural India.
  • Between 2004-05 and 2009-10, 15 per cent of India’s population, or 40 per cent of the poor, moved above the poverty line. In the same period, a sizeable portion of the poor and the vulnerable — over 9 per cent of the total population or about 11 per cent of the poor and vulnerable — moved into the middle class.

Sources: The Hindu.


H1N1: States told to be ready

The Union Health Ministry has asked the States to ensure facilities for the diagnosis and treatment of H1N1 infection (swine flu). The Centre had urged the States to create awareness of flu symptoms, preventive measures, diagnostic facilities and treatment.

The health departments have been asked to ensure sanitation and hygiene in public places. High-risk groups, which include those with low immunity, non-communicable diseases such as diabetes or serious ailments, have been advised to take precautions and report to the nearest hospital or diagnostic centre in case of symptoms.

Swine Flu:

Swine Influenza (swine flu) is a respiratory disease of pigs caused by type A influenza viruses that causes regular outbreaks in pigs. H1N1 is a flu virus. When it was first detected in 2009, it was called “swine flu” because the virus was similar to those found in pigs.

  • Transmission from Pigs to Humans: The H1N1 virus is currently a seasonal flu virus found in humans. Although it also circulates in pigs, one cannot get it by eating properly handled and cooked pork or pork products.
  • In 2009, H1N1 was spreading fast around the world, so the World Health Organization called it a pandemic.


  • Swine flu is contagious, and it spreads in the same way as the seasonal flu.
  • When people who have it cough or sneeze, they spray tiny drops of the virus into the air. If a person comes in contact with these drops or touch a surface that an infected person has recently touched, the person can catch H1N1 swine flu.
  • Pregnant women who contract the H1N1 infection are at a greater risk of developing complications because of hormonal changes, physical changes and changes to their immune system to accommodate the growing foetus.


Most symptoms are the same as seasonal flu. They can include:

  • cough
  • fever
  • sore throat
  • stuffy or runny nose
  • body aches
  • headache
  • chills
  • fatigue
  • diarrhea
  • dyspnea

If, not controlled it can lead to more serious complications like pneumonia and respiratory failure.

Influenza vaccines are one of the most effective ways to protect people from contracting illness during influenza epidemics and pandemics. The antiviral drugs are sometimes prescribed to reduce the severity of symptoms.

Sources: The Hindu, WHO.

India is world’s second most trusting nation: survey

Moving up the ranks, India has emerged as the second most trusted country in the world in terms of faith reposed on its institutions even as globally trust levels have fallen, says a survey.

The study was conducted by public relations firm Edelman.

Important findings:

  • Trust in institutions in India has improved sharply in 2015 with the country moving up three notches to the second place among 27 nations.
  • While the number of “truster” countries are at an all-time low of six in 2015 including UAE, India, China and Netherlands, the number of “distruster” countries has grown significantly to 13 including Japan, Russia, Hong Kong, South Africa and Italy.
  • Brazil, Malaysia, France and the US are among the 8 “neutral” nations as per the trust index.
  • According to the report, an “alarming evaporation of trust” has happened across all institutions, reaching the lows of the Great Recession in 2009.
  • Trust in government, business, media and NGOs in the general population is below 50 per cent in two-thirds of countries, including the U.S., U.K. and Germany.
  • From fifth most trusted in 2014, India has now become the second-most trusted in 2015 with a score of 79 per cent in the barometer.
  • The list is topped by UAE with 84 per cent trust.
  • Indonesia (78 per cent), China (75 per cent), Singapore (65 per cent) and Netherlands (64 per cent) are the others that have recorded highest levels of trust.


Sources: The Hindu.

EU lifts ban on Indian mangoes

The seven-month ban on Indian mangoes, imposed last year by the European Union, has been lifted well in advance of the deadline set for the ban, which was originally till December 2015.

  • This has come after an audit by the EU which showed significant improvements in the phytosanitary export certification system.

Why were they banned?

Shipments of mangoes from India had been stopped last year after inspections found some consignments infested with fruit flies.

Other details:

  • The ban has been lifted only on mangoes. Ban on taro, bitter gourd, snake gourd and eggplant remains in force.
  • The EU accounts for more than 50 per cent of total exports of fruits and vegetables from India. The U.K. is the main destination, followed by the Netherlands, Germany and Belgium.
  • Small traders and importers of the fruit in the United Kingdom were hit last year due to the ban.

Sources: The Hindu.


Will implement 13th Amendment within a unitary state: Ranil

The Sri Lankan PM has said that the Sri Lankan government will implement the 13th Amendment to its Constitution within a unitary state.

  • Implementation of the 13th Amendment — born out of the Indo-Lanka Accord of 1987 — has remained a long-pending demand of the Tamil National Alliance (TNA), the main party representing the island’s Northern Tamils.
  • The Amendment envisages substantive devolution of political powers to the provinces.

13th Amendment:

  • The Thirteenth Amendment (13A) to the Constitution of Sri Lanka creates Provincial Councils in Sri Lanka. This also makes Sinhala and Tamil as the official language of the country and English as link language.
  • It is based on the Indo-Sri Lanka Peace Accord. It was an accord signed in Colombo on 29 July, 1987, between Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi and Sri Lankan President J. R. Jayewardene.
  • The accord was expected to resolve the ongoing Sri Lankan civil war. Under the terms of the agreement, Colombo agreed to devolution of power to the provinces, the Sri Lankan troops were to be withdrawn to their barracks in the north and the Tamil rebels were to surrender their arms.


Sources: The Hindu.