Current Affairs 6 to 10 January

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6 to 10 January


Asian elephant has lost most of its optimal habitat in Nilgiri Reserve
Deepor Beel
PMO reviews situation in ‘sinking’ Joshimath town
‘IAS officers vulnerable to political pressure, affects their autonomy’
SC thwarts eviction from Railway land in Haldwani, Uttarakhand  
GS 3

Asian elephant has lost most of its optimal habitat in Nilgiri Reserve


The name ’Nilgiris’ with literary meaning ‘blue mountains’ has originated from the blue flower clad mountains of the Nilgiris plateau within the State of Tamil Nadu.

It was the first biosphere reserve in India established in the year 1986.


The total area of the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve is 5,520 sq. km. 

It is located in the Western Ghats and encompasses parts of Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Karnataka.

Ecological Characteristics:

Confluence of Biotic zones: It exemplifies the tropical forest biome which portrays the confluence of Afro-tropical and Indo-Malayan biotic zones of the world.

Biodiversity Hotspot: Biogeographically, Western Ghats is the most important region and one of the noted Biodiversity Hotspots (biogeographic regions having highest density of endemic species) for speciation in the tropics.


The NBR harbors a wide spectrum of ecosystem types. Major parts of the core areas spread over Kerala and Tamil Nadu States, include evergreen, semi evergreen, moist deciduous montane sholas and grassland types of vegetation.

Whereas the core area spread over the State of Karnataka contains mostly dry deciduous forests and a few patches of moist deciduous, semi evergreen and scrub jungles.


Animals like Nilgiri tahr, Nilgiri langur, slender loris, blackbuck, tiger, gaur, Indian elephant and marten are found here.

Freshwater fishes such as Nilgiri danio (Devario neilgherriensis), Nilgiri barb (Hypselobarbus dubuis) and Bowany barb (Puntius bovanicus) are endemic to this Biosphere Reserve.

Water resources:

Many of the major tributaries of the river Cauvery like the Bhavani, Moyar, Kabini and other rivers like Chaliyar, Punampuzha, etc., have their source and catchment areas within the reserve boundary.

Tribal Population:

Tribal groups like the Todas, Kotas, Irullas, Kurumbas, Paniyas, Adiyans, Edanadan Chettis, Cholanaickens, Allar, Malayan, etc., are native to the reserve.

Protected Areas in NBR:

  1. The Mudumalai Wildlife Sanctuary
  2. Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary
  3. Bandipur National Park
  4. Nagarhole National Park
  5. Mukurthi National Park
  6. Silent Valley National Park

‘Huge green hydrogen subsidy distorts trade’

India believes huge subsidies announced by some developed countries for their green hydrogen sec tors can distort trade and is in violation of World Trade Organization (WTO) norms

Familial Forestry

Familial Forestry means caring for the tree as a family member so that the tree becomes a part of the family’s consciousness.

Rajasthan’s ‘tree teacher’ has blazed a trail of green Through his concept of family forestry, Bheraram Bhakhar has worked towards preventing desertification in western Rajasthan for 24 years

Asian Elephants:

The Asian elephant is divided into three subspecies: Indian, Sumatran, and Sri Lankan.

The Indian subspecies has the largest territory and is home to the majority of the continent’s remaining elephants.

The eldest and largest female elephant in the herd is in charge (known as the matriarch). The matriarch’s daughters and their children make up this herd.

Elephants have the longest known gestation period of any mammal, extending up to 680 days (22 months).

Protection Status:

IUCN Red List: Endangered.

Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972: Schedule I.

CITES: Appendix I


  1. Escalation of poaching.
  2. Habitat loss.
  3. Human-elephant conflict.
  4. Mistreatment in captivity.
  5. Abuse due to elephant tourism.
  6. Rampant mining, Corridor destruction.
  7. Human-Elephant Conflicts

Elephant-human conflict is a result of habitat loss and fragmentation.

When elephants and humans interact, there is conflict from crop raiding, injuries and deaths to humans caused by elephants, and elephants being killed by humans for reasons other than ivory and habitat degradation.

Such encounters foster resentment against the elephants amongst the human population and this can result in elephants being viewed as a nuisance and killed.

In addition to the direct conflicts between humans and elephants, elephants also suffer indirect costs like degradation of habitat and loss of food plants.

What is Project Elephant?

Project Elephant is a Central Government sponsored scheme launched in February 1992.

Through the Project Elephant scheme, the government helps in the protection and management of elephants to the states having wild elephants in a free-ranging population.

It ensures the protection of elephant corridors and elephant habitat for the survival of the elephant population in the wild.

This elephant conservation strategy is mainly implemented in 16 of 28 states or union territories in the country which includes Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh Jharkhand, Kerala, Karnataka, Meghalaya, Maharashtra, Nagaland, Orissa, Tamil Nadu, Uttaranchal, Uttar Pradesh, and West Bengal.

The union government provides technical and financial help to these states to carry out and achieve the goals of project elephant. Not just that, assistance for the purpose of the census, training of field officials is also provided to ensure the mitigation and prevention of man-elephant conflict.

Deepor Beel

Assam’s Deepor Beel soars above garbage mounds; survey shows more birds in wetlands


  1. It is one of the largest freshwater lakes in Assam and the State’s only Ramsar site besides being an Important Bird Area by Birdlife International.
  2. It is located towards the southwest of Guwahati city, Assam and is the erstwhile water channel of River Brahmaputra.
  3. The lake expands up to 30 sq. km in summer and reduces to about 10 sq. km in the winter. The wildlife sanctuary measures 4.1 sq. km within this wetland (beel).


  1. It constitutes a unique habitat for aquatic flora and avian fauna.
  2. It has both biological and environmental importance besides being the only major storm-water storage basin for Guwahati city.
  3. It provides a means of livelihood for a number of local families.
  4. Recently, six young girls from the fishing community from Assam have developed a biodegradable and compostable yoga mat called ‘Moorhen Yoga Mat’.

PMO reviews situation in ‘sinking’ Joshimath town

Residents blame NTPC’s Tapovan­-Vishnugad power project for the damage to the sacred town in Uttarakhand, demand proactive resettlement steps by government

The Tapovan Vishnugad power plant is a 520MW run-of-river project being constructed on Dhauliganga River in Chamoli District of Uttarakhand, India.

GS 4

‘IAS officers vulnerable to political pressure, affects their autonomy’

Addressing a discussion titled “Has the IAS failed the nation?” organised by the Delhi Administrative Officers’ Academic Forum (DAOAF), K. Mahesh, Special Director of Union Territory Civil Services, said the IAS has played a crucial role in nation building, but there are problems.

Mr. Mahesh said the IAS has also been cautious of its problems of corruption and “nexus between criminals, civil servants, and politicians” and this was addressed by the Vohra committee in 1993.

Mr. Mahesh said another crucial problem plaguing the IAS is that of autonomy and accountability, and officers find themselves vulnerable to political pressure, which affects their autonomy

Case Study

SC thwarts eviction from Railway land in Haldwani, Uttarakhand

Court says some of the residents have been living there for 50 to 70 years and cannot be uprooted overnight; suggests rehabilitation and denounces HC order allowing use of paramilitary for drive

The court said the issue has a “human angle”. Many proceedings under the Public Premises Act were instituted ex-parte against the families during the COVID-19 pandemic. A balance had to be struck bet ween the Railways’ need to develop the land and the families’ right to live with dignity. The rights of the families on the land had to be examined. Even those who have no rights, but have been living there for years, need to be rehabilitated.

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