UPSC Daily Current Affairs : 25-May-2020

Topic Covered :

  1. Open Skies Treaty

  2. New plant species found in Western Ghats 

  3. Royal Bengal Tiger found dead

  4. Pradhan Mantri Van Dhan Yojana

OPEN SKIES TREATY

Why in news?

  • The U.S. has given notice that it will exit the Open Skies Treaty (OST).


Highlights:

  1. It is an agreement that allows countries to monitor signatories’ arms development by conducting surveillance flights over each other’s territories.

  2. U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who announced the withdrawal, said Russia had “continuously and flagrantly” violated the treaty.

  3. History :

  • The idea behind the OST, first proposed in the early years of the Cold War by former U.S. President Dwight Eisenhower, came to fruition decades later and was signed in 1992, during the George H.W. Bush presidency and after the Soviet Union had collapsed.

  • The OST came into effect in 2002 under the George W. Bush administration and it allows its 34 signatories to conduct unarmed reconnaissance flights over the territory of treaty countries.

  • The U.S. has used the treaty more intensively than Russia. Between 2002 and 2016, the U.S. flew 196 flights over Russia (in addition to having imagery from other countries) compared to the 71 flights flown by Russia, as per a BBC report.

  • Chris Ford, a senior U.S. diplomat for non-proliferation, also cited changes to the security environment as a reason for the U.S. exiting the OST.

  1. New Start Treaty :

  • The U.S.’s exit last year from another arms deal the West had signed with Russia — the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) treaty — as well as its imminent departure from the OST has raised the strong possibility that the Trump administration may not renew the New Start Treaty, an agreement signed by the Obama administration with Russia that caps Russian and U.S. nuclear arsenal.

  • The New Start Treaty is due to expire next February.

  • The Trump administration has been worried that extending New Start would negatively impact an arms deal with China and Russia.

  • New Start doesn’t include China and thus is worried about the increasing nuclear stockpile of China.


Source : Hindu ( https://www.thehindu.com/news/international/us-to-pull-out-of-open-skies-treaty-trumps-latest-treaty-withdrawal/article31646724.ece )



NEW PLANT SPECIES FOUND IN WESTERN GHATS

Why in news?

  • A team of scientists of the Botanical Survey of India (BSI) have reported the discovery of three new plant species in the evergreen forest patches of the southern end of the Western Ghats in Kerala and Tamil Nadu.


Highlights:


The three species are :

  • Eugenia sphaerocarpa of the Myrtaceae or Rose apple family,

  • Goniothalamus sericeus of the Annonaceae family of custard apple and

  • Memecylon nervosum of the Melastomataceae (Kayamboo or Kaasavu in local parlance) family.


Source : Hindu ( https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/southern-reaches-of-western-ghats-yield-3-new-plant-species/article31659292.ece )


ROYAL BENGAL TIGER FOUND DEAD

Why in news?

  • A male Royal Bengal Tiger was found dead in the Nallamalla forest in Andhra Pradhesh’s Prakasam district on Saturday. 


Highlights:

  • No injuries were found on the carcass. Forest officials saw the tiger, aged around 15-years-old, roaming in the forest under the Yerragondlapalem range a week ago.

  • Samples have been sent to a lab for analysis. “We suspect that the tiger died due to ageing,” officials said.

About Royal Bengal Tiger :

  • IUCN Status – Endangered

  • Rising sea levels due to climate change pose a serious threat to the species.

  • The Royal Bengal Tiger are great swimmers and they have developed this skill because of their habitat. The mangroves have made them prone to swimming and they can hunt in the water too. 

  • Bengal tigers also have large, retractable claws that allow them to climb and kill prey.

  • These Royal bengal Tigers are found largely in India and in Bhutan, Nepal, Myanmar, Bangladesh, and China, they are found in smaller quantities.

  • One of the interesting facts about Royal Bengal Tiger is that the early traces of the oldest fossil of a tiger have been found in Sri Lanka and not India or Bangladesh. It is estimated to be 16,500 years old and is assumed that tigers were present all over Sri Lanka.


Source : Hindu ( https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/andhra-pradesh/royal-bengal-tiger-found-dead-in-nallamala-forest/article31666629.ece )


PRADHAN MANTRI VAN DHAN YOJANA

Why in news?

  • SHGs from Shahpur have benefitted from the PM Van Dhan Yojana and have been selling their produce online leading to increased income.


Highlights:

  • Pradhan Mantri Van Dhan Yojana (PMVDY) is a retail marketing led value addition plan for Minor Forest Produce (MFP), meant for forest-based tribes to optimize the tribal income, locally.

  • Under the program, MFP-based tribal groups / enterprises of around 300 members are formed for collection, value addition, packaging & marketing of Minor Forest Produces (MFPs).

  • These tribal enterprises will be in the form of Van Dhan SHGs which will be a group of 15-20 members and such 15 SHG groups will further be federated into a larger group of Van Dhan Vikas Kendras (VDVKS) of around 300 members.

  • TRIFED will support the VDVKs through providing them with model business plans, processing plans & tentative list of equipment for carrying out the value addition work of MFPs. The details would be made available on the TRIFED’s website.


Source : PIB ( https://pib.gov.in/PressReleseDetail.aspx?PRID=1626581 )


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