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Insights Daily Current Events, 09 March 2015

 

Insights Daily Current Events, 09 March 2015

Spectrum bids touch Rs. 86,000 cr.

The government has got commitments of Rs. 86,000 crore from telecom players at the end of the fourth day of the auction of spectrum, crossing the targeted minimum of Rs. 82,000 crore from the sale of 2G and 3G airwaves.

Spectrum allocation in India:

India was among the early adopters of spectrum auctions beginning auctions in 1991.

Who conducts auctions?

  • The Department of Telecommunications (DoT) conducts auctions of licenses for electromagnetic spectrum.

Electromagnetic spectrum:

The electromagnetic spectrum is the range of all possible frequencies of electromagnetic radiation.

The types of electromagnetic radiation are broadly classified into the following classes:

  • Gamma radiation
  • X-ray radiation
  • Ultraviolet radiation
  • Visible radiation
  • Infrared radiation
  • Terahertz radiation
  • Microwave radiation
  • Radio waves

Radiations in the increasing order of their wavelength (shortest to longest):

Gamma ray< X ray< Ultraviolet< Visible< Infrared< Microwave< Radio.

Sources: The Hindu, Wiki.

 

Sunderbans losing green cover and land mass, says ISRO study

According to a satellite analysis conducted by the Indian Space Research Organisation, the Indian Sunderbans has lost 3.71% of its mangrove and other forest cover, while losing 9,990 hectares of its landmass to erosion in one decade.
The Eastern Zone Bench of the National Green Tribunal, which is hearing a case of environmental violations in the Sunderbans, directed holding the study.

The study also says that:

  • As much as 1,607 hectares of the eroded area had vegetation.
  • During the 10 years, 216 hectares of landmass had been added, of which 121 hectares has green vegetation.
  • About 95.14% of the green cover has not undergone gone any change, while fresh vegetation has come up in 1.1% of the entire area.
  • The depletion may be due to natural and anthropogenic (human intervention) processes.
  • The 9,600-sq.km Indian Sunderbans is highly susceptible to coastal erosion and coastal land dynamics. A recent World Bank report had also pointed out that the carrying capacity of the landmass had exceeded with the population density of over 1,000 a sq.km.

Sundarbans:

  • The Sundarbans is a natural region in West Bengal and Bangladesh. It is the largest single block of tidal halophytic mangrove forest in the world.
  • The Sundarbans covers approximately 10,000 square kilometres (3,900 sq mi) of which 60% is in Bangladesh with the remainder in India.
  • It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Mangroves in India:

Mangroves in India account for about 3% of the world’s mangrove vegetation. Mangrove cover in India is 4,662 sq. km, which is 0.14% of the country’s total geographical area. Sundarbans in West Bengal accounts for almost half of the total area under mangroves in the country. Mangrove in India is famous for its rich variety of flora and fauna.

The forest survey report, 2013, notes down that the overall Mangrove cover in the county in 2013 has decreased compared to 2011.The reasons for the decrease in the mangrove cover may be:

  • Grazing by domestic cattle and exploitation of mangrove woods for fuel and timber.
  • The neo-tectonic movement of river courses.
  • Abatement of upstream freshwater discharges due to construction of dams and reservoirs.
  • Rapid trend of reclamation of mangrove forests for habitations.
  • Pollutant discharges from cities and industries etc.

 

Composition of Mangroves in India: The very dense mangrove comprises 1,403 sq. km (30.10% of the total mangrove cover), moderately dense mangrove is 1,658.12 sq. km (35.57 %) while open mangroves cover an area of 1,600.44 sq. km (33%).

For further reference: http://cwc.gov.in/CPDAC/Paper_Research_Work/Paper%20Research%20Work%20.pdf.

 

Sources: The Hindu, GSI, Forest survey report, cwc.gov.in, Wiki.

 

 

Compulsory licensing soon for export of generic drugs by India

The Indian pharmaceutical industry is expected to receive a massive boost if a recent attempt by the World Trade Organization (WTO) to amend its TRIPS (Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights) Agreement on the access to essential medicines goes through.

How would it help?

It will enable India to export generic versions of some costly life-saving drugs made under compulsory licensing to third world countries, especially in Africa, which do not have the production capacity for such medicines.

Background:

  • The 2001 Doha Ministerial Conference had decided to amend the TRIPS Agreement by allowing generic copies made under compulsory licences to be exported to countries lacking production capacity, if certain conditions and procedures are followed.
  • Generally, a country issues a compulsory license to produce generic versions of a patented drug
    for domestic consumption. However, in 2003 it was agreed that such a provision could be expanded for export purposes, for the benefit of least developed countries and those lacking manufacturing capacity.
  • This was agreed in 2003 and implemented in 2005 but the ratification process was never be completed.
  • Presently, countries that require generics produced under compulsory licensing to be imported have used the waiver mechanism under the TRIPS pact. This isn’t enough. Countries with the wherewithal to export have to also change their domestic laws. So far, this has been only done by India, Norway, Canada and the European Union.

TRIPS:

TRIPS is an international agreement administered by the World Trade Organization (WTO), which sets down minimum standards for many forms of intellectual property (IP) regulations as applied to the nationals of other WTO Members.
It was negotiated at the end of the Uruguay Round of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) in 1994.

  • TRIPS requires WTO members to provide copyright rights, covering content producers including performers, producers of sound recordings and broadcasting organizations; geographical indications, including appellations of origin; industrial designs; integrated circuit layout-designs; patents; new plant varieties; trademarks; trade dress; and undisclosed or confidential information.
  • The agreement also specifies enforcement procedures, remedies, and dispute resolution procedures.

Sources: The Hindu, Wiki.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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