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Insights Daily Current Events, 16 February 2015

Insights Daily Current Events, 16 February 2015

ZSI plans digitisation of specimens

The Zoological Survey of India (ZSI) is aspiring for an ambitious project of digitisation of its millions of specimens, besides identifying the gap areas in taxonomy.

  • The ZSI, in the past 99 years, has identified 96,000 species in India, considered a mega-diversity country possessing seven-eight per cent species of the world.
  • Scientists at the ZSI point out that despite the identification of 96,000 species, only 10 per cent of the country’s biodiversity and 50 per cent of the ecosystem had been explored.

About ZSI:

Established in 1961, it is a premier organisation in zoological research and studies.

  • It was established to promote the survey, exploration and research of the fauna in the region.
  • The activities of the ZSI are coordinated by the Conservation and Survey Division in the Ministry of Environment and Forests, Government of India.

Main objectives:

  • Exploration and Survey of Faunal Resources
  • Taxonomic Studies
  • Status Survey of Endangered Species
  • Publication of Results through Departmental Journals
  • Publication of Fauna of India
  • Maintenance and Development of National Zoological Collections

Red Data Book:

  • Similar to the Red Data Book produced by IUCN, ZSI also releases a Red Data Book on Indian Animals. It was first published in 1983.

The ZSI also participates in the Indian Antarctic Program, since its inception in 1989.

Sources: The Hindu, ZSI.gov.in.

 

MoEF seeks enhanced budget for National Adaptation Fund

The Union Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change has demanded enhanced budgetary allocation for the National Adaptation Fund.

  • In 2014, the government allocated Rs. 100 crore to set up the Fund but this is way short of what is needed for adaptation programmes.
  • The Ministry is keen that some allocation be made in all Ministries so that climate change is integrated into planning.
  • The government had doubled the coal cess to finance clean energy research but there is no new proposal from the ministry to increase the cess further.

National Adaption Fund:

  • It was set up in July, 2014 with an initial allocation of Rs.100 cr.
  • This fund will assist national and state level activities to meet the cost of adaptation measures in areas that are particularly vulnerable to the adverse effects of climate change.

Sources: The Hindu, MoEF.

 

India’s forest cover up by 5,871 sq km

The report of Forest Survey of India, released recently, points out that West Bengal’s forest cover has increased by 3,810 sq km, which is followed by Odisha where increase in forest cover has been 1,444 km and Kerala where the increase has been about 622 sq km.

Important observations made:

  • The report says that of the 5,871 sq km increase in the forest cover of India, West Bengal accounts for nearly 64 per cent of this rise. Increase in the forest cover of the State is mainly due to coppice growth (dense growth of small tress) and afforestation inside the forests, growth of commercial plantations and shade trees in tea gardens. West Bengal, a state with high population density, has only 18.93% forest cover.
  • The report says that States from northeast like Nagaland, Arunanchal Pradesh, Tripura and Manipur, whose forest cover comprises over 75 percent of the State’s area, have shown a decrease in forest cover. The main reason for this is attributed to the biotic pressure and shifting cultivation in the region.
  • In Andhra Pradesh, a State with 16.77 percent of its area covered by forest, there has been a decrease of 273 km of forest area.
  • The forest cover has decreased by 176 sq km in Madhya Pradesh and 53 km in Chhattishgarh and it has increased by 496 sq km in Jharkhand and 446 sq km in Bihar.
  • The report says that there has been an increase of 31 sq km of ‘very dense’ forest cover compared to the last assessment carried two years ago. It has also revealed that ‘moderately dense’ forest has decreased by 1,991 sq km while ‘open forests’ have increased by 7,891 sq km, putting the overall increase at 5,871 sq km.

Sources: The Hindu.

 

Investors shun gold ETFs amid stock market rally

Gold exchange-traded funds (ETFs) have lost favour among Indian investors. With the price of underlying precious metal underperforming other asset classes, Indian mutual fund investors have taken money off these products.

About Gold ETFs:

  • A gold exchange-traded fund (or GETF) is an exchange-traded fund (ETF) that aims to track the price of gold.
  • Gold ETFs are units representing physical gold which may be in paper or dematerialised form.
  • These units are traded on the Exchange like a single stock of any company.
  • Gold ETF’s are intended to offer investors a means of participating in the gold bullion market without the necessity of taking physical delivery of gold, and to buy and sell that participation through the trading of a security on a stock exchange.

Sources: Business Standard, Wiki.

 

 

Mock Questions:

1)Consider the following statements regarding Zoological Survey of India (ZSI):

  1. It was established to promote the survey, exploration and research of the flora and fauna in India.
  2. The ZSI also participates in the Indian Antarctic Program.

Which of the above statements are true?

a)Only 1.

b)Only 2.

c)Both.

d)None.

 

2)Consider the following statements regarding National Adaptation Fund:

  1. It was set up in 1976.
  2. This fund will assist only national level activities to meet the cost of adaptation measures in areas that are particularly vulnerable to the adverse effects of climate change.

Which of the above statements are true?

a)Only 1.

b)Only 2.

c)Both.

d)None.

 

3)The recently released report of Forest Survey of India says that:

  1. Most of North Eastern States have shown a decrease in forest cover.
  2. West Bengal has seen highest forest cover increase.
  3. There has been an increase in ‘very dense’ forest cover compared to the last assessment carried two years ago.

Which of the above statements are true?

a)Only 1.

b)Only 2 & 3.

c)All.

d)None.

 

4)Consider the following statements regarding Gold exchange-traded funds (ETFs):

  1. Gold ETFs are units representing physical gold.
  2. These units are traded on Commodity Exchange.

Which of the above statements are true?

a)Only 1.

b)Only 2.

c)Both.

d)None.


 

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