1. Species in news: Pliosaur

Pliosaurs:
  • Over 150 million years ago, enormous reptiles swam the Jurassic oceans.
  • The largest aquatic carnivorous reptiles that have ever lived, they are often dubbed “sea monsters”.
  • Scientifically, they are placed in the suborder Pliosauroidea, whose members are called pliosaurs.
  • Interest in these giants has been revived with the recent discovery of their bones in a cornfield in the Polish village of Krzyzanowice. Remains of pliosaurs are rare in Europe.
  • They measured over 10 metres in length and could weigh up to several dozen tons.
  • They had powerful, large skulls and massive jaws with large, sharp teeth.
  • Their limbs were in the form of fins.
Swietokrzyskie Mountains:
  • The Swietokrzyskie Mountains are a mountain range in central Poland.
  • In the Jurassic era, the Swietokrzyskie Mountains area is believed to have been an archipelago of islands, where there were warm lagoons and shallow sea reservoirs, home to the marine reptiles discovered by the palaeontologists.
  • The locality where the remains were discovered is considered to be rich in the fossils of coastal reptiles. Researchers now hope to find more remains in the coming months.

2.e-NAM

Why in News?
  • Centre has asked the states to dismantle APMC and move towards e-NAM. The electronic National Agriculture Market.
About e-NAM:
  • NAM is an online platform with a physical market or mandi at the backend. NAM is not a parallel marketing structure but rather an instrument to create a national network of physical mandis which can be accessed online.
  • It seeks to leverage the physical infrastructure of mandis through an online trading portal, enabling buyers situated even outside the state to participate in trading at the local level.
  • The launching of e-platform for marketing of agriculture products is being done with the aim to provide more options to farmers to sell their produce.This initiative is part of implementation of the roadmap for doubling income of the farmers by 2022.

3.FCRA

Why in News?
  • The Home ministry had cancelled the license of 1,800 NGOs, educational institutions for violating the various provisions of Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA).
About:
  • Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA), 2010 seeks to regulate the foreign contributions or donations to organizations and individuals in India and to curb those contributions which might be detrimental to the national interest.
  • Despite being a law related to financial regulation, this law does not fall within the purview of the RBI but under the Home Ministry as it is internal security legislation.
  • As per FCRA 2010, the following organisational individuals are debarred from receiving foreign contribution. They are
  1. 1.Candidate for election
  2. 2.cartoonist, editor, publishers of registered newspaper
  3. 3.Judge, government servants or employee of any corporation
  4. 4.Member of any legislature
  5. 5.Political parties.
Salient features of FCRA 2010:
  • A provision was made for the cancellation of registrations of NGOs if the Home Ministry believes that the organisation is political and not neutral.
  • The registration certificate granted to the NGOs under the 2010 act came with five year validity.
  • A provision was inserted stating that the asset of the person who has become defunct needs to be disposed of in a manner stated by the government.A separate account needs to be maintained by the organisations to deposit the Foreign Contributions received and no other funds except for Foreign Contributions shall be deposited in that account.
  • Every bank would be obligated to report to the prescribed authority, the amount of foreign remittances received and other related details such as the source, manner of receipt etc.

4.HADR Exercise TIGER TRIUMPH

Why in News?
  • The maiden India – US joint tri-services Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR) Exercise named ‘TIGER TRIUMPH’ is scheduled to be held in November 2019 for 9 days.
HADR Exercise TIGER TRIUMPH:
  • TIGER TRIUMPH is the first joint Indo-US Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR) exercise.
  • It is aimed at developing interoperability for conducting HADR operations.
  • Participating teams from India:
    • Indian Naval ships Jalashwa, Airavat and Sandhayak
    • Indian Army troops from 19 Madras and 7 Guards
    • Indian Air Force MI-17 helicopters and Rapid Action Medical Team (RAMT)
  • It is aimed at developing interoperability for conducting HADR operations.
    • US Navy Ship Germantown
    • Troops from US Third Marine Division
  • It is an exercise carried out on the Eastern coast of India starting with the Harbour Phase at Visakhapatnam.
  • Personnel from both navies would participate in training visits, subject matter expert exchanges, sports events and social interactions.
  • After this phase, the ships, with troops embarked, would sail for the Sea Phase and undertake maritime, amphibious and HADR operations.
  • On reaching the HADR area at Kakinada, the landing of Relief Forces would be undertaken to the Exercise scenario.
  • At the HADR Exercise Area, a Joint Command and Control Centre would be established jointly by the Indian Army and US Marines.
  • The IAFRAMT and the US Navy Medical Team would establish a Medical Facility Camp for providing medical aid to victims, who would have been previously evacuated by road and air to the Camp.

5.Suranga Bawadi

Why in News?
  • Suranga Bawadi, an integral part of the ancient Karez system of supplying water through subterranean tunnels built during Adil Shahi era in Vijayapura, is now set to get funding for restoration.
  • A New York-based non-governmental organisation has included it in the World Monument Watch list for 2020 along with 24 other monuments from across the world.
  • With this, the Suranga Bawadi is expected to get funds for restoration within the next two years.The NGO would also coordinate with the authorities concerned for restoration and create public awareness on its importance
Karez System:
  • Karez is a method of irrigation in which groundwater is tapped by a tunnel.
  • After running for some distance, the tunnel comes out in the open and the water is conducted to the command area.According to historians, the Adil Shahis built the magnificent underground system to supply water to the city, which had a population of nearly 12 lakhs then.
  • Though the Karez system was built in the 16th century by Ali Adil Shah–I, his successor, Ibrahim Adil Shah–II, brought in several changes by adding more structures to strengthen it.
World Monuments Fund:
  • The monument has been selected under the ‘Ancient Water System of the Deccan Plateau’ by World Monuments Fund [the NGO], which monitors restoration of ancient monuments across the globe.
  • It works in collaboration with the local stakeholders, including the district administration, the ASI, and local explorers of ancient monuments, in highlighting the need for the restoration of ancient monuments.
World Monuments Watch:
  • Every two years WMF publishes the World Monuments Watch (formerly the World Monuments Watch List of 100 Most Endangered Sites).
  • Since the first list was compiled in 1996, this program has drawn international attention to cultural heritage sites around the world threatened by neglect, vandalism, armed conflict, commercial development, natural disasters, and climate change.
  • Through the World Monuments Watch, WMF fosters community support for the protection of endangered sites and attracts technical and financial support for the sites.

6.National Water Policy (NWP)

Why in News?
  • The Union Water Resources Ministry has finalised a committee to draft a new National Water Policy (NWP).
National Water Policy:
  • National Water Policy is formulated by the Ministry of Water Resources of the Government of India to govern the planning and development of water resources and their optimum utilization.The first National Water Policy was adopted in September 1987. It was reviewed and updated in 2002 and later in 2012.
  • Among the major policy innovations in the 2012 policy was the concept of an Integrated Water Resources Management approach that took the “river basin/ sub-basin” as a unit for planning, development and management of water resources.
  • A National Bureau of Water Use Efficiency is also on the cards.
Committee:
  • It will be chaired by Mihir Shah, who is a former Planning Commission member and a water expert.
  • The committee has 10 principal members, including Shashi Shekhar, a former secretary of Water Resources, and A.B. Pandya, former chairman of the Central Ground Water Board.
  • The committee is expected to produce a report within six months.
Focus on Minimum Levels:
  • It also proposed that a portion of river flows ought to be kept aside to meet ecological needs.
  • Such an approach led to the government, in 2018, requiring minimum water levels to be maintained in the Ganga all through the year and hydropower projects, therefore, to refrain from hoarding water beyond a point.
  • That policy also stressed for a minimum quantity of potable water for essential health and hygiene to all its citizens to be made available within easy reach of households.
  • Inter-basin transfers are not merely for increasing production but also for meeting basic human need and achieving equity and social justice.
  • Inter-basin transfers of water should be considered on the basis of merits of each case after evaluating the environmental, economic and social impacts of such transfers.
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