Daily Current Affairs for UPSC CSE
- Global environment Facility
- District mineral foundation
- INS Mormugao
- Decriminalization of offences under GST
- Kunming – Montreal Agreement
- Minimum Tax
- Carbon markets
- Facts for Prelims
1 . Global Environment Facility
Context: There is an urgent need to create a new and dedicated fund to help developing countries successfully implement a post-2020 global framework to halt and reverse biodiversity loss, India has said at the U.N. biodiversity conference in Canada’s Montreal. So far, the Global Environment Facility which caters to multiple conventions, including the UNFCCC and UN Convention to Combat Desertification, remains the only source of funding for biodiversity conservation.
- The GEF was established on the eve of the 1992 Rio Earth Summit.
- It is an independently operating financial organization.
- It is the world’s largest funder of biodiversity protection, nature restoration, pollution reduction, and climate change response in developing countries.
- distributes more than $1 billion a year on average to address inter-related environmental challenges.
- It finances international environmental conventions and country-driven initiatives that generate global benefits.
- It includes 184 countries in partnership with international institutions, civil society organizations, and the private sector.
Areas of work
- The GEF provides grants for projects related to biodiversity, REDD+ (Sustainable Forest Management), climate change, land degradation, the ozone layer, persistent organic pollutants, etc.
- It unites countries with institutions, civil society, NGOs, and the private sector to help tackle our planet’s most pressing environmental problems while supporting national sustainable development initiatives.
- GEF runs a Small Grants Programme that provides financial support to projects which embody a community-based approach.
The GEF Also Serves as Financial Mechanism for The Following Convention:
- Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD)
- United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC)
- United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD)
- Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants
- Minamata Convention on Mercury
2 . District Mineral Foundation
Context: Odisha’s Keonjhar district is India’s highest recipient of funds under the District Mineral Foundation (DMF) scheme, and has spent ₹3,000 crore under the scheme over the past seven years, but the district has only recently finalised who the real beneficiaries are.
- Keonjhar is hugely rich in mineral reserves, especially iron ore. It has a geographical area of 8,303 sq km.
- The district has 2,555 million tonnes of iron ore available beneath its soil, of which approximately 50 million tonnes is extracted each year, a key driver of Odisha’s economy.
- It is a district where 62% of the population lives below the poverty line, especially marginalised groups such as tribals and other forest dwelling communities.
- As per the Census 2011, Scheduled Tribes constitute 44.5% of the district’s population, while 11.62% are Scheduled Castes.
- District Mineral Foundation (DMF) is a trust set up as a non-profit body under Mines and Minerals (Development & Regulation) Amendment Act, 2015, in those districts affected by the mining works, to work for the interest and benefit of persons and areas affected by mining related operations.
- It is funded through the contributions from miners.
- They are established by state governments in every district affected by mining-related operations.
- To work in the interest and benefits of persons and areas affected by mining-related operations in a manner as may be prescribed by the State Government.
- A DMF is responsible for implementing the Pradhan Mantri Khanij Kshetra Kalyan Yojana (PMKKKY) and other schemes in areas where mining is carried out.
- DMF Funds Contribution:
- In case of all mining leases executed before 12th January, 2015 (the date of coming into force of the Amendment Act) miners will have to contribute an amount equal to 30% of the royalty payable by them to the DMFs.
- Where mining leases are granted after 12.01.2015, the rate of contribution would be 10% of the royalty payable.
- Composition: Composition and Functions of the DMF is prescribed by the State Governments taking guidelines from the following-
- Article 244 of Indian Constitution
- Fifth and sixth schedules
- Provisions of the Panchayats (Extension to the Scheduled Areas) Act, 1996
- The Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act, 2006.
About the Pradhan Mantri Khanij Kshetra Kalyan Yojana (PMKKKY)
- The Ministry of Mines launched the scheme in 2015 for the welfare of areas and people affected by mining-related operations, using the funds generated by DMFs.
- Under this-
- At least 60% the fund will be utilized for “High Priority Areas” like Drinking water supply, Environment preservation & pollution control measure, Health care, Education, etc.
- Rest of the fund will be utilized for “Other Priority Areas”, such as Physical infrastructure, Irrigation, Energy & watershed development and Measures for enhancing environmental quality.
- Under this-
3 . INS Mormugao
Context: In a boost to the country’s maritime capabilities, INS Mormugao has officially joined the Indian Navy’s fleet, marking a significant milestone for indigenous military expedition.
About INS Mormugao
- The warship ‘Yard 12705’, named after the Goan port city of Mormugao, is the second of the four Visakhapatnam-class destroyers being built under the Indian Navy Project 15B, or P15B.
- The destroyer has multi-dimensional combat capabilities which include surface-to-surface missiles, surface-to-air missiles and modern surveillance radar.
- It has been built with over 75% indigenous content.
What is Project 15B?
- Project 15 was launched in the 1990s to add guided missile destroyers to the inventory of the Indian Navy.
- The project was named ‘Delhi class’. It was followed by Project 15A or Kolkata class which primarily focused on advanced technology and equipment in surface ships.
- Project 15B or the Visakhapatnam class is a follow-on class of weapon-intensive Project 15A destroyers.
- The project was launched in January 2011 to incorporate advanced design concepts such as state-of-the-art weapons and sensors, advanced stealth features and a high degree of automation for improved survivability, sea keeping, stealth and manoeuvrability.
- The lead ship of Project 15B, INS Visakhapatnam, was the first of the class to be commissioned.
- Besides INS Mormugao, the other two destroyers are expected to be commissioned between 2023 and 2025.
Capabilities of INS Mormugao-
- INS Mormugao is regarded as one of the most potent warships to have been constructed in the country. It is 163 metres long, 17 metres wide and displaces 7,400 tonnes when fully loaded.
- The ship is propelled by four gas turbines in a combined gas and gas (COGAG) configuration.
- The propulsion system allows the ship to achieve a speed of more than 30 knots (50km/h) and a maximum range of 4,000 nautical miles. It can accommodate a crew of about 300 personnel.
- INS Mormugao’s firepower comprises BrahMos surface-to-surface missiles (SSM), Barak-8 surface-to-air (SAM) missiles for a long range of shore and sea-based targets and a 76mm super rapid gun mount.
- The ship is armed with RBU-6000 anti-submarine rocket launchers and 533mm torpedo launchers.
- It is also equipped to carry and operate multi-role helicopters. Its enhanced stealth features ensure a reduced Radar Cross Section or radar signature.
- It is automated with sophisticated digital networks such as the Gigabyte Ethernet-based Ship Data Network (GESDN), the Combat Management System (CMS), Automatic Power Management System (APMS), Integrated Platform Management System (IPMS) and Ship Data Network (SDN).
- While the CMS performs threat evaluation and resource allocation based on the tactical picture compiled and ammunition available onboard, APMS controls power management.
- IPMS is used to control and monitor machinery and auxiliaries and the SDN is the ‘information highway for data’ from sensors and weapons.
- The ship has multiple fire zones, battle damage control systems, distributional power systems to enhance survivability in emergencies and a total atmospheric control system to protect the crew against nuclear, biological and chemical threats.
Strategic importance of INS Mormugao-
- Self-reliance- Built with over 75% indigenous content, the commissioning of INS Mormugao is a shot in the arm for India’s self-reliance efforts and crucial for the 15-year Indian Naval Indigenisation Plan (INIP) 2015-2030 implemented in 2014.
- Countering China- Amid growing Chinese strategic interests, India renewed its focus on bolstering its maritime capabilities in the region to counter the threat.
- Enhanced Combat capabilities- The addition of a technologically advanced stealth warship to the naval inventory provides a strategic advantage to India and adds to the combat capabilities of the armed forces. Besides surface operations, guided missile destroyers are capable of engaging in anti-aircraft and anti-submarine warfare.
4 . Decriminalization of offences under GST
Context: The 48th GST Council meeting was held on December 17. The GST Council chaired by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman recommended to decriminalise certain offences under Section 132 of the Central Goods and Services Tax (CGST) Act, 2017. Some other recommendations, for the facilitation of trade, include an increased threshold of the amount of tax for prosecution, reducing the compounding amount in GST etc.
What was previously criminalised under GST?
- The GST law establishes stringent penalties and guidelines that taxpayers must abide by in order to ensure smooth intrastate or interstate trade of goods and to combat corruption and maintain an effective tax collection system.
- The GST Law provides for two different types of penalties. They may be both concurrent and simultaneous.
- The department authorities have the authority to impose monetary fines and the seizure of goods as penalties for violating statutory provisions.
- Criminal penalties include imprisonment and fines, which are also provided by GST Law but which can only be awarded in a criminal court following a prosecution.
- Sections 122 to 131 of the CGST Act of 2017 contain provisions relating to penalties, while Sections 132 to 138 contains provisions relating to prosecution and compounding.
- The amount of tax evaded, the amount of Input Tax Credit (ITC) improperly claimed or used, or the amount of refund improperly claimed determines the length of the prison sentence.
- The aforementioned section further divides offences into those that are cognisable and bailable and those that are not cognisable and bailable.
- Additionally, it is observed that many non-compliances fall under both categories of penalties, prosecution, and compounding.
- Under the CGST Act, if a group of two persons or more agree to commit an illegal act like tax evasion, fraud etc. they are held liable under the act of criminal conspiracy.
Recommendation of 48th GST Council Meeting-
- The 48th GST Council meeting has recommended various measures to decriminalise the GST offences-
- such as raising the minimum threshold of tax amount for launching prosecution under GST from one crore to two crore, except for the offence of issuance of invoices without supply of goods or services or both
- reducing the compounding amount from the present range of 50 to 150% of the tax amount to the range of 25 to 100%,
- and decriminalising certain offences specified under Section 132 of the CGST Act, 2017, such as obstructing or preventing any officer from doing his duties, deliberate tempering of material evidence and failure to supply information.
- Infancy- GST law is still developing and is in its infancy which makes the same difficult and uncertain to enforce.
- There are instances of conflict between court decisions and rulings. The government is still working to streamline the laws.
- Ease of Doing Business- imposing penal provisions in an ambiguous ecosystem significantly alters how businesses perceive risk and uncertainty, directly impacting their ability to conduct business.
- Investors may be discouraged by the fear of criminal sanctions in small, trivial, and petty matters, even before their engagement in any business activity or investment.
About GST Council
- It is an apex committee to modify, reconcile or makes recommendations to the Union and the States on GST, like the goods and services that may be subjected to or exempted from GST, model GST laws, etc.
- Article 279A of the Indian Constitution empowers the President of India to constitute a joint forum of the Centre and States called the GST Council.
5 . Kunming – Montreal Protocol
Context: The 15th Conference of Parties (COP15) to the UN Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) adopted the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework (GBF). The framework has 23 targets that the world needs to achieve by 2030.
What is Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework (GBF)?
- It sets out targets for 2030 on protection for degraded areas, resource mobilisation for conservation, compensation for countries that preserve biodiversity, halting human activity linked to species extinction, reducing by half the spread of invasive alien species, cutting pollution to non-harmful levels and minimising climate change impact and ocean acidification, among others.
- The framework has 23 targets that the world needs to achieve by 2030.
- The countries will monitor and report every five years or less on a large set of indicators related to progress.
- The Global Environment Facility has been requested to establish a Special Trust Fund to support the implementation of the Global Biodiversity Framework (“GBF Fund”).
What does the Kunming-Montreal pact aim to achieve?
- The GBF goals and targets do not prohibit the use of biodiversity, but call for sustainable use, and a sharing of benefits from genetic resources.
- The GBF emphasises respect for the rights of indigenous communities that traditionally protect forests and biodiversity, and their involvement in conservation efforts.
- It advocates similar roles for women and local communities.
- Besides emphasising sustainable practices in agriculture, aquaculture, fisheries and forestry, the agreement calls upon members to adopt biodiversity-supporting methods such as agroecology and sustainable intensification.
- This acquires significance, since growing Genetically Modified (GM) crops is not favoured by agroecologists as they could contaminate nearby wild species of the same plants.
- One target also looks at turning cities into hosts of biodiversity, by expanding the area of and improving the quality and access to urban green and blue spaces.
What are the Key Targets of the GBF?
- 30×30 Deal: Countries committed to protecting 30% of land and 30% of coastal and marine areas by 2030, fulfilling the deal’s highest-profile goal, known as 30-by-30.
- The deal also aspires to restore 30% of degraded lands and waters throughout the decade, up from an earlier aim of 20%.
- And the world will strive to prevent destroying intact landscapes and areas with a lot of species, bringing those losses “close to zero by 2030”.
- Stop the extinction- of known species, and by 2050 reduce tenfold the extinction risk and rate of all species (including unknown).
- Pesticides- Reduce risk from pesticides by at least 50% by 2030.
- Pollution- Reduce pollution risks and negative impacts of pollution from all sources by 2030 to levels that are not harmful to biodiversity and ecosystem functions.
- pledged to reduce pesticides threats by “at least half”, and instead focusing on other forms of pest management.
- Funding: Signatories aim to ensure $200 billion per year is channelled to conservation initiatives, from public and private sources.
- Wealthier countries should contribute at least $20 billion of this every year by 2025, and at least $30 billion a year by 2030.
- The Global Environment Facility (GEF), a multilateral body that partners countries and agencies, has been asked to establish in 2023, and until 2030, a Special Trust Fund to support the implementation of the GBF.
- The GBF is aligned with UN Sustainable Development Goals, three of which directly deal with the environment and thus with biodiversity: Goal 13 on climate action, Goal 14 on life below water and Goal 15 on life on land.
6 . Minimum Tax
Context: Members of the European Union last week agreed in principle to implement a minimum tax of 15% on big businesses.
- In 2021, 136 countries had agreed on a plan to redistribute tax rights across jurisdictions and enforce a minimum tax rate of 15% on large multinational corporations.
- It is estimated that the minimum tax rate would boost global tax revenues by $150 billion annually.
What is minimum tax?
- A global corporate minimum tax is a proposal to impose a minimum rate of taxation on corporate income in most countries of the world by international agreement.
- EU members have agreed to implement a minimum tax rate of 15% on big businesses in accordance with Pillar 2 of the global tax agreement framed by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) last year.
- Under the OECD’s plan, governments will be equipped to impose additional taxes in case companies are found to be paying taxes that are considered too low.
- This is to ensure that big businesses with global operations do not benefit by domiciling themselves in tax havens in order to save on taxes.
- Pillar 1 of the OECD’s tax plan, on the other hand, tries to address the question of taxing rights.
- Large multinational companies have traditionally paid taxes in their home countries even though they did most of their business in foreign countries.
- The OECD plan tries to give more taxing rights to the governments of countries where large businesses conduct a substantial amount of their business.
- As a result, large U.S. tech companies may have to pay more taxes to governments of developing countries.
What is the need for a global minimum tax?
- Curbing global tax competition- Corporate tax rates across the world have been dropping over the last few decades as a result of competition between governments to spur economic growth through greater private investments.
- Example- Global corporate tax rates have fallen from over 40% in the 1980s to under 25% in 2020.
- It made it harder for governments to shore up the revenues required to fund their rising spending budgets.
- Social spending- Supporters of the OECD’s tax plan believe that it will end the global race to the bottom (to reduce corporate tax) and help governments collect the revenues required for social spending.
- The plan will also help counter rising global inequality by making it tougher for large businesses to pay low taxes by availing the services of tax havens.
- Resistance from tax havens- Some governments, particularly those of traditional tax havens, are likely to disagree and stall the implementation of the OECD’s tax plan.
- Low tax jurisdictions are likely to resist the OECD’s plan unless they are compensated sufficiently in other ways.
- Global tax cartel- Since the OECD’s plan essentially tries to form a global tax cartel, it will always face the risk of losing out to low-tax jurisdictions outside the cartel and cheating by members within the cartel.
- Countries both within and outside the cartel will have the incentive to boost investments and economic growth within their respective jurisdictions by offering lower tax rates to businesses.
7 . Carbon Markets
Context: The Parliament passed the Energy Conservation (Amendment) Bill, 2022 on December 12, declining the Opposition’s demands to send it for scrutiny to a parliamentary committee and amid concerns expressed by members over carbon markets.
- The Bill amends the Energy Conservation Act, 2001, to empower the Government to establish carbon markets in India and specify a carbon credit trading scheme.
What are carbon markets?
- In a nutshell, carbon markets are trading systems in which carbon credits are sold and bought. Carbon markets are essentially a tool for putting a price on carbon emissions.
- One tradable carbon credit equals one tonne of carbon dioxide or the equivalent amount of a different greenhouse gas reduced, sequestered or avoided.
- Article 6 of the Paris Agreement provides for the use of international carbon markets by countries to fulfil their NDCs.
- Carbon allowances or caps, meanwhile, are determined by countries or governments according to their emission reduction targets.
- A United Nations Development Program release in 2022 noted that interest in carbon markets is growing globally, i.e, 83% of NDCs submitted by countries mention their intent to make use of international market mechanisms to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Types of Carbon Markets-
- There are broadly two types of carbon markets that exist today— compliance markets and voluntary markets.
- Compliance markets are created as a result of any national, regional and/or international policy or regulatory requirement.
- Today, compliance markets mostly operate under a principle called ‘cap-and-trade”, most popular in the European Union (EU).
- This cap is determined as per the climate targets of countries and is lowered successively to reduce emissions.
- Entities in this sector are issued annual allowances or permits by governments equal to the emissions they can generate.
- If companies produce emissions beyond the capped amount, they have to purchase additional permit, either through official auctions or from companies which kept their emissions below the limit, leaving them with surplus allowances.
- The market price of carbon gets determined by market forces when purchasers and sellers trade in emissions allowances.
- Notably, companies can also save up excess permits to use later.
- Through this kind of carbon trading, companies can decide if it is more cost-efficient to employ clean energy technologies or to purchase additional allowances.
- Last year, the value of global markets for tradeable carbon allowances or permits grew by 164% to a record 760 billion euros ($851 billion).
- Voluntary carbon markets – national and international – refer to the issuance, buying and selling of carbon credits, on a voluntary basis.
- In a voluntary market, a corporation looking to compensate for its unavoidable GHG emissions purchases carbon credits from an entity engaged in projects that reduce, remove, capture, or avoid emissions.
- For Instance, in the aviation sector, airlines may purchase carbon credits to offset the carbon footprints of the flights they operate.
- In voluntary markets, credits are verified by private firms as per popular standards.
- There are also traders and online registries where climate projects are listed and certified credits can be bought.
- Current global value for voluntary markets is comparatively smaller at $2 billion.
- Other national and sub-national compliance carbon markets- They also operate around the world-
- Example- China launched the world’s largest ETS in 2021, estimated to cover around one-seventh of the global carbon emissions from the burning of fossil fuels.
- Markets also operate or are under development in North America, Australia, Japan, South Korea, Switzerland, and New Zealand.
- Reduction in cost of implementing NDCs- The World Bank estimates that trading in carbon credits could reduce the cost of implementing NDCs by more than half — by as much as $250 billion by 2030.
- Innovation in market- ince government-regulated trading schemes provide a clear trajectory, indicating how emission limits would be made tighter and allowances made decreasingly available, they may prompt companies to innovate, invest in, and adopt cost-efficient low-carbon technologies.
- The UNDP points out serious concerns pertaining to carbon markets- ranging from double counting of greenhouse gas reductions and quality and authenticity of climate projects that generate credits to poor market transparency.
- Greenwashing- There are also concerns about what critics call greenwashing—companies may buy credits, simply offsetting carbon footprints instead of reducing their overall emissions or investing in clean technologies.
- No real change- ETSs may not automatically reinforce climate mitigation instruments.
- The International Monetary Fund points out that including high emission-generating sectors under trading schemes may increase emissions on net and provide no automatic mechanism for prioritizing cost-effective projects in the offsetting sector.
What does the Energy Conservation (Amendment) Bill, 2022, say about carbon markets and what are the concerns?
- The Bill empowers the Centre to specify a carbon credits trading scheme.
- Under the Bill, the central government or an authorised agency will issue carbon credit certificates to companies or even individuals registered and compliant with the scheme.
- These carbon credit certificates will be tradeable in nature.
- Other persons would be able to buy carbon credit certificates on a voluntary basis.
Criticism of the bill-
- Clarity on mechanism- whether it will be like the cap-and-trade schemes or use another method and who will regulate such trading.
- Ministry issuing the bill- while carbon market schemes in other jurisdictions like the U.S., United Kingdom, and Switzerland are framed by their environment ministries, the Indian Bill was tabled by the power ministry instead of the Ministry of Environment, Forest, and Climate Change (MoEFCC).
- Existing schemes- the Bill does not specify whether certificates under already existing schemes would also be interchangeable with carbon credit certificates and tradeable for reducing carbon emissions.
- Notably, two types of tradeable certificates are already issued in India— Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs) and Energy Savings Certificates (ESCs).
8 . Facts for Prelims
Upper Tamokoshi plant-
- The Upper Tamakoshi Hydroelectric Project is a 456 MW peaking run-of-the-river hydroelectric project in Nepal.
- It is the largest hydroelectric project in Nepal, operating since July 2021.
- It is sited on the Tamakoshi River (also spelled Tama Koshi), a tributary of the Sapt Koshi river (also spelled Saptakoshi), near the Nepal–Tibet border.
- When it is operated at full capacity, it is the largest hydroelectric plant in Nepal, with a power output equivalent to two-thirds of Nepal’s current power generation.
- Situated close to the Nepal border with Tibet, the project on the Tamakoshi river was called “Nepal’s Three Gorges dam” given its size and its contribution to making Nepal a power surplus country in the “wet” or rainy season.
Deep fake technology
- It is an Artificial Intelligence (AI) software that superimposes a digital composite on to an existing video (or audio).
- The origin of the word “deepfake” can be traced back to 2017 when a Reddit user, with the username “deepfakes”, posted explicit videos of celebrities.
- Deepfakes are created by machine learning models, which use neural networks to manipulate images and videos.
- A model such as this analyses video footage until it is able algorithmically to transpose the ‘skin’ of one human face on to the movements of another — as if applying a latex mask.
- Deepfakes are a compilation of artificial images and audio put together with machine-learning algorithms to spread misinformation and replace a real person’s appearance, voice, or both with similar artificial likenesses or voices.
- It can create people who do not exist and it can fake real people saying and doing things they did not say or do.
- It is used to generate celebrity porn videos, produce fake news, and commit financial fraud among other wrongdoings.
Prashasan Gaon Ki Ore-
- Prashasan Gaon Ki Ore Campaign is a Nation-wide campaign for Redressal of Public Grievances and Improving Service Delivery at the Grassroot level.
- The Department of Administrative Reforms and Public Grievances (DARPG), Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions is celebrating Good Governance Week during 19th -25th December 2022.
- During the week, DARPG is organizing the Sushasan Saptah ‘Prashasan Gaon Ki Ore’ 2022 a Nation-wide campaign.
- The campaign seeks to focus on improving service delivery and redressal of public grievances across all the Tehsils/Districts of India and progress will be reported by the District Collectors on a dedicated campaign portal
- This is the second time in Amrit Kaal Period, that the Government of India will be conducting a National Campaign at Tehsil level to address Public Grievances and Improving Service Delivery.
- During ‘Prashasan Gaon Ki Aur’ campaign in the year 2021, more than 2.89 crore applications for service delivery were disposed, over 6.5 lakh grievances were attended, 621 services were added in the citizen charters, 380 Citizen Charters were updated, 265 best governance practices and 236 success stories were uploaded on the portal.
- The objective is to translate the vision of the Prime Minister to bring citizens across all Districts and Tehsils of India closer to administration.
- All Ministries/Departments of Government of India, all State and Union Territories Governments and Districts would be participating in the campaign, inaugural event and the workshops
Purse siene fishing-
- A purse seine is a large wall of netting deployed around an entire area or school of fish.
- Purse seine fishing, deployed widely on India’s western coasts, uses a large vertical net to surround dense shoals of pelagic or midwater fish in the open ocean, and then draws in the edges like tightening the cords of a drawstring purse.
- Purse seines can reach more than 6,500 ft (2,000 m) in length and 650 ft (200 m) in depth, varying in size according to the vessel, mesh size, and target species.
- Schooling pelagic fish of all sizes, from small sardines to large tunas.
- In some States, it is linked to concerns about the decreasing stock of small, pelagic shoaling fish such as sardines, mackerel, anchovies and trevally on the western coasts.
- While traditional fish workers blame purse seines as a reason for the decrease in sardines in Indian waters, those using big boats with purse seine fishing nets claim that it is simply a more scientific way to catch fish, particularly from the first layer of the sea.
- Currently, bans on purse seine fishing are implemented in the territorial waters of Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Puducherry, Odisha, Dadra and Nagar Haveli and Daman and Diu, and the Andaman and Nicobar Islands up to 12 nautical miles.
- The Betta Kuruba (Betta meaing ‘Hill’, Kuruba meaning ‘shepherd’) tribe lives in the hilly regions of Karnataka, and is one of the few indigenous communities of the Nilgiris.
- Traditionally, the Kuruba people drew sustenance from hunting, gathering and collecting wild honey.
- Due to relocation, the Betta Kuruba people are being forced to give up their traditional livelihood, and work as agricultural labourers in coffee, spice (such as pepper, ginger, cardamom) and tea plantations.
- They speak Betta Kurumba language (Beṭṭa Kurumba) is a Dravidian language closely related to Tamil.
- They are generally believed to be the descendants of the Pallavas.
- Consanguineous marriages like cross-cousin marriages are preferred among the Kurumbas.
- Lok Sabha has recently passed a Bill to include the ‘Betta-Kuruba’ community along with ‘Kadu Kuruba’ in the list of Scheduled Tribes in Karnataka.