Tsundoku-(noun) – is the constant act of buying books, but never reading them.
Ministry of AYUSH and the World Health Organization :-
Background :- The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister has given its approval to the Agreement for collaborative activities to be signed in the area of Traditional Medicine between Ministry of AYUSH, Government of India and the World Health Organization, Geneva.
The long-term collaboration with WHO would help in improving International acceptability and branding of Ayush systems, facilitate awareness generation regarding AYUSH systems of Medicine by means of education, skill development, workshops, publications and exchange programs between AYUSH and WHO for capacity building, facilitate advocacy and dissemination of information on AYUSH systems amongst the Member States; collaboration with third Parties for creating synergies in implementation of WHO Traditional Medicine Strategy 2014-2023 particularly in the context of AYUSH systems.
India would assign to WHO activities for development of the following WHO technical documents/publications which will help in better international acceptability of Indian Systems:
i. Benchmarks for training in Yoga;
ii. Benchmarks for practice in Ayurveda;
iii. Benchmarks for practice in Unani Medicine; and
iv. Benchmarks for practice in Panchakarma*
Under the long-term collaboration, AYUSH and WHO would subsequently take up other mutually agreed activities and initiatives that could encompass multilateral collaboration for promotion of Traditional and Complementary Medicine/Systems (T&CM) including development of the WHO publication on the Basic terminologies for T&CM; establishment of a database for global T & CM practitioners; establishment of a network of international regulatory cooperation for T&CM practice.
*Panchakarma is Ayurveda’s primary purification and detoxification treatment. Panchakarma means “five therapies”. These 5 therapeutic treatments eliminate toxins from the body, they are : Vamana, Virechana, Nasya, Basti and Raktamoskshana. The series of these five therapies help remove deep rooted stress and illness-causing toxins from the body while balancing the doshas (energies that govern all biological functions)
LIGO-India mega science proposal
The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister has given its ‘in principle’ approval to the LIGO-India mega science proposal for research on gravitational waves. The proposal, known as LIGO-India project (Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory in India) is piloted by Department of Atomic Energy and Department of Science and Technology (DST). The approval coincides with the historic detection of gravitational waves a few days ago that opened up of a new window on the universe to unravel some of its greatest mysteries.
The LIGO-India project will establish a state-of-the-art gravitational wave observatory in India in collaboration with the LIGO Laboratory in the U.S. run by Caltech and MIT.
The project will bring unprecedented opportunities for scientists and engineers to dig deeper into the realm of gravitational wave and take global leadership in this new astronomical frontier.
LIGO-India will also bring considerable opportunities in cutting edge technology for the Indian industry which will be engaged in the construction of eight kilometre long beam tube at ultra-high vacuum on a levelled terrain.
The project will motivate Indian students and young scientists to explore newer frontiers of knowledge, and will add further impetus to scientific research in the country.
Tax Collection by Government of India:-
Protected Area Network of India:-
Background :-The Union Environment minister recently launched the Environment Information System (ENVIS) portal.
Protected Areas of India (as on 09 February, 2016)
% of Geographical Area of India (%)
National Parks (NPs)
Wildlife Sanctuaries (WLSs)
Conservation Reserves (CRs)
Protected Areas (PAs)
Biosphere reserves are sites established by countries and recognized under UNESCO’s Man and the Biosphere (MAB) Programme to promote sustainable development based on local community efforts and sound science.The programme of Biosphere Reserve was initiated by UNESCO in 1971. The purpose of the formation of the biosphere reserve is to conserve in situ all forms of life, along with its support system, in its totality, so that it could serve as a referral system for monitoring and evaluating changes in natural ecosystems. The first biosphere reserve of the world was established in 1979, since then the network of biosphere reserves has increased to 631 in 119 countries across the world.
Presently, there are 18 notified biosphere reserves in India.
Name and location is important and special attention should be given to those which are notified post-2000:-
Date of Notification
Area (in km2)
(Core 1240 & Buffer 4280)
Part of Wayanad, Nagarhole, Bandipur and Madumalai, Nilambur, Silent Valley and Siruvani hills (Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Karnataka).
(Core 712.12, Buffer 5,148.570) & T. 546.34)
Part of Chamoli, Pithoragarh, and Bageshwar districts (Uttarakhand).
(Core 47.48 & Buffer 227.92, Transition Zone 544.60)
Part of Garo hills (Meghalaya).
885 (Core 705 & Buffer 180)
Southern most islands of Andaman And Nicobar (A&N Islands).
Gulf of Mannar
Total Gulf area
(area of Islands 5.55 km2)
Indian part of Gulf of Mannar between India and Sri Lanka (Tamil Nadu).
(Core 391 & Buffer 2,446)
Part of Kokrajhar, Bongaigaon, Barpeta, Nalbari, Kamprup and Darang districts (Assam)
(Core 1700 & Buffer 7900)
Part of delta of Ganges and Brahamaputra river system
(Core 845, Buffer 2129 & Transition 1400
Part of Mayurbhanj district (Orissa).
(Core 340 & Buffer 425)
Part of Dibrugarh and Tinsukia Districts (Assam)
(Core 4094.80 &Buffer 1016.70)
Part of Siang and Dibang Valley in Arunachal Pradesh.
Parts of Betul, Hoshangabad and Chindwara districts of Madhya Pradesh.
(Core 1819.34 & Buffer 835.92)
Parts of Khangchendzonga hills and Sikkim.
Neyyar, Peppara and Shendurney Wildlife Sanctuaries and their adjoining areas in Kerala.
Achanakamar – Amarkantak
(Core 551.55 & Buffer 3283.86)
Covers parts of Anupur and Dindori districts of M.P. and parts of Bilaspur districts of Chhattishgarh State.
Part of Kachchh, Rajkot, Surendra Nagar and Patan Civil Districts of Gujarat State
Pin Valley National Park and surroundings; Chandratal and Sarchu&Kibber Wildlife Sancturary in Himachal Pradesh
Seshachalam Hill Ranges covering parts of Chittoor and Kadapa districts of Andhra Pradesh
Part of Panna and Chhattarpur districts in Madhya Pradesh
The Maps are old, and few of the proposed ones are already approved, so the maps should only be used to know the location of the reserves.
The concept of Biosphere Reserves, especially its zonation, intoCore Area(s) (dedicated to conservation), Buffer Area(s) (sustainable use) and Transition Area(s) (equitable sharing of benefits) were later broadly adopted under the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD ) process which entered into force on 29th December, 1993. TheCBD has two principal objectives, namely ,‘Conservation and Sustainable Use of Biological Diversity’ and ‘Fair and Equitable sharing of benefits arising from its utilization’.
The Articles 6-20 of CBD call for in-situ and ex-situ conservation, incentives for conservation and sustainable use, research and training, awareness and education,impact assessment, regulating access to genetic resources, access and transfer of technology and provisions of financial resources. While dealing with these issues, CBD emphasizes on nationally determined priorities, capacity and needs and with full and effective participation of local communities.
The Core Zone:
The core zone is kept absolutely undisturbed. It must contain suitable habitat for numerous plant and animal species, including higher order predators and may contain centres of endemism. Core areas often conserve the wild relatives of economic species and also represent important genetic reservoirs. The core zones also contain places of exceptional scientific interest. A core zone secures legal protection and management and research activities that do not affect natural processes and wildlife are allowed. Strict nature reserves and wilderness portions of the area are designated as core areas of BR. The core zone is to be kept free from all human pressures external to the system.
The Buffer Zone:
In the Buffer Zone, which adjoins or surrounds core zone, uses and activities are managed in ways that protect the core zone. These uses and activities include restoration, demonstration sites for enhancing value addition to the resources, limited recreation, tourism,fishing and grazing, which are permitted to reduce its effect on core zone. Research and educational activities are to be encouraged. Human activities, if natural within BR, are likely to be permitted to continue if these do not adversely affect the ecological diversity.
The Transition Zone:
The Transition Zone is the outermost part of a Biosphere Reserve. This is usually not delimited one and is a zone of cooperation where conservation, knowledge and management skills are applied and uses are managed in harmony with the purpose of the Biosphere Reserve. This includes settlements, crop lands, managed forests and area for intensive recreation, and other economic uses characteristic of the region. In Buffer Zone and the Transition Zones, manipulative macro-management practices are used. Experimental research areas are used for understanding the patterns and processes in the ecosystem. Modified or degraded landscapes are included as rehabilitation areas to restore the ecology in a way that it returns to sustainable productivity.
The characteristic features of Biosphere Reserves are:-
(1) Each Biosphere Reserves are protected areas of land and/or coastal environments wherein people are an integral component of the system. Together, they constitute a world wide network linked by International understanding for exchange of scientific information.
(2) The network of BRs include significant examples of biomes throughout the world.
(3) Each BR includes one or more of the following categories:-
(i) BRs are representative examples of natural biomes.
(ii) BRs conserve unique communities of biodiversity or areas with unusual natural features of exceptional interest . It is recognized that these representative areas may also contain unique features of landscapes, ecosystems and genetic variations e.g. one population of a globally rare species; their representativeness and uniqueness may both be characteristics of an area.
(iii) BRs have examples of harmonious landscapes resulting from traditional patterns of land-use.
(iv) BRs have examples of modified or degraded ecosystems capable of being restored to more natural conditions.
(v) BRs generally have a non-manipulative core area, in combination with areas in which baseline measurements, experimental and manipulative research, education and training is carried out. Where these areas are not contiguous, they can be associated in a cluster.
Functions of Biosphere Reserves:-
• To ensure the conservation of landscapes, ecosystems, species and genetic variations.
• To encourage the traditional resource use systems;
• To understand the patterns and processes of functioning of ecosystems;
• To monitor the natural and human-caused changes on spatial and temporal scales;
• To promote, at the local level, economic development which is culturally, socially and ecologically sustainable.
• To develop the strategies leading to improvement and management of natural resources;
• To provide support for research, monitoring, education and information exchange related to local, national and global issues of conservation and development
• Sharing of knowledge generated by research through site specific training and education
• Development of community spirit in the management of natural resources.
• A site that must contain an effectively protected and minimally disturbed core area of value of nature conservation and should include additional land and water suitable for research and demonstration of sustainable methods of research and management.
• The core area should be typical of a biogeographical unit and large enough to sustain viable populations representing all tropic levels in the ecosystem. Secondary criteria
• Areas having rare and endangered species
• Areas having diversity of soil and micro-climatic conditions and indigenous varieties of biota.
• Areas potential for preservation of traditional tribal or rural modes of living for harmonious use of environment.
How Biosphere Reserves are different from protected areas such as National Parks (NP) and Wildlife Sanctuaries(WS)?
It may be noted that the BR is not intended to replace existing protected areas but it widens the scope of conventional approach of protection and further strengthens the Protected Area Network. Existing legally protected areas (National Parks, Wildlife Sanctuary, Tiger Reserve and reserve/protected forests) may become part of the BR without any change in their legal status. On the other hand, inclusion of such areas in a BR will enhance their national value. It, however, does not mean that Biosphere Reserves are to be established only around the National Parks and Wildlife Sanctuaries. However, the Biosphere Reserves differ from protected areas due to their emphasis on :
(i) Conservation of overall biodiversity and landscape, rather than some specific flagship species, to allow natural and evolutionary processes to continue without any hindrance.
(ii) Different components of BRs like landscapes, habitats, and species and land races.
(iii) Developmental activities, and resolution/mitigation of conflicts between development and conservation,
(iv) Increase in broad-basing of stakeholders, especially local people’s participation and their Training, compared to the features of scheme on Wildlife Sanctuaries and National Parks.
(v) Sustainable environment friendly development, and sustained coordination amongst different development organizations and agencies.
(vi) Research and Monitoring to understand the structure and functioning of ecological system and their mode of reaction when exposed to human
RAMSAR Wetland Sites:-
The Ramsar Convention is an international treaty for the conservation and sustainable utilization of wetlands, recognizing the fundamental ecological functions of wetlands and their economic, cultural, scientific, and recreational value
Name of Site
Date of Declaration
East Calcutta Wetlands
Jammu and Kashmir
Keoladeo Ghana NP
Nalsarovar Bird Sanctuary
Pong Dam Lake
Jammu and Kashmir
Jammu and Kashmir
Vembanad Kol Wetland
Upper Ganga River
(Brijghat to Narora Stretch)
Jammu & Kashmir
Natural World Heritage Sites:-
A UNESCO World Heritage Site is a place that is listed by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization as of special cultural or physical significance.
Project Tiger was launched by the Government of India in the year 1973 to save the endangered species of tiger in the country. Starting from nine (9) reserves in 1973-74 the number is grown up to forty eight (48). A total area of 69793.24 km2 is covered by these project tiger areas.
Tiger Reserves of India (as on February, 2016)
Name of Tiger Reserve
Area of the core / critical tiger habitat (In Sq. Kms.)
Area of the buffer / peripheral (In Sq. Kms.)
Total area(In Sq.Kms.)
Nagarjunsagar Srisailam (part)*
Biligiri Ranganatha Temple
Nagarjunasagar Srisailam (part) *
Amangarh (buffer of Corbett TR)
MARITIME INDIA SUMMIT 2016:-
Maritime India Summit 2016 (MIS 2016) is a maiden flagship initiative of Ministry of Shipping, Government of India that will provide a unique global platform for investors to explore potential business opportunities in the Indian Maritime Sector. MIS 2016 is being organized from April 14-16, 2016 at Bombay Convention and Exhibition Centre, Goregaon, Mumbai, India. The summit will have a 2 day conference on April 14-15 and exhibition for 3 days from April 14-16, 2016.
The Summit will showcase exciting investment opportunities in:
Shipbuilding, Ship Repair and Ship Recycling
Port Modernization and New Port Development
Port-based Industrial Development, Port-based Smart Cities and Maritime Cluster Development
Hinterland Connectivity Projects and Multi-Modal Logistics Hubs
Inland Waterways and Coastal Shipping for Cargo and Passenger movement
Lighthouse Tourism and Cruise Shipping
Renewable Energy Projects in Ports
Other Maritime Sector related services (Financing, Legal, Design etc.)
Senior bureaucrats asked to maintain confidential diary on juniors’ integrity:-
With an aim to keep a track and record evidence of the integrity of government officers, the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) has asked government supervisory officers to maintain a confidential diary. It has instructed the seniors to consult this diary when filling the integrity column in the annual performance appraisal reports (APARs).
The officers have been asked to note various instances creating suspicion about the integrity of a subordinate and action taken by them (supervisors) to verify the truth of such suspicions in this confidential diary. It should also have notes on action taken by supervisors like making confidential enquiries departmentally or by referring the matter to the special police establishment.
Amendment to the Delimitation Act, 2002 and the Representation of the People Act, 1950
Background :- The Union Cabinet has given its approval to amend section 11 of the Delimitation Act, 2002 and section 9 of the Representation of the People Act, 1950.
It will enable Election Commission to carry out limited delimitation of Assembly and Parliamentary Constituencies in the Cooch Behar District of West Bengal consequent upon the exchange of 51 Bangladeshi enclaves and 111 Indian enclaves respectively between India and Bangladesh in July, 2015.
This is in pursuance of the Constitution (One Hundredth Amendment) Act, 2015 and also allows for introduction of a Bill, namely, the Election Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2016 in Parliament.
In a historic pact between India and Bangladesh, 51 Bangladeshi enclaves (Chhitmahals) in Indian Territory and 111 Indian enclaves in Bangladesh territory were exchanged with effect from 31st July, 2015.
The move altered the geography and demography of the district of Cooch Behar in West Bengal. With a view to carry out consequential geographic and demographic alterations vis-à-vis the electoral mosaic of the affected areas, the Election Commission requested to amend section 11 of the Delimitation Act, 2002 and section 9 of the Representation of the People Act, 1950 to enable it to carry out limited delimitation of constituencies in the affected areas.
Since the newly acquired area consequent upon the exchange of territory between India and Bangladesh has become the part of the Indian territory, it is required to make delimitation exercise within the limited constituency area before the ensuing State Assembly elections in West Bengal. Accordingly, the Election Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2016 has been proposed for enactment.
Operation Khanij Khoj:-
Background :-Union Minister of Steel & Mines Launches ‘Operation Khanij Khoj’ of GSI Targeting Deep Seated and Concealed Mineral Deposits
Details:- The ‘Operation Khanij Khoj’ state-of-the-art project of GSI is to be implemented in two selected areas in the country. It is focused on probing for deep seated/concealed mineral deposits. Characterizing India’s geological cover, investigating lithospheric architecture, resolving 4D geodynamic and metallogenic evolution, and detecting and characterizing the distal footprints of ore deposits, would be the main components of this initiative.