Daily Current Affairs for UPSC CSE
- Organisation of Islamic Cooperation
- Keystone Species
- Permanent Resident Certificate
- EVM is information
- Asian Palm Civet
1 . Organisation of Islamic Cooperation
Context : External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj will address the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) Foreign Ministers meet on March 1, the first time the Islamic body has invited an Indian dignitary to attend, the government announced on Saturday.
- The Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) is the second largest inter-governmental organization after the United Nations with a membership of 57 states spread over four continents.
- The Organization is the collective voice of the Muslim world. It endeavors to safeguard and protect the interests of the Muslim world in the spirit of promoting international peace and harmony among various people of the world.
- The Organization was established upon a decision of the historical summit which took place in Rabat, Kingdom of Morocco in 1969 following the criminal arson of Al-Aqsa Mosque in occupied Jerusalem.
- In 1970 the first ever meeting of Islamic Conference of Foreign Minister (ICFM) was held in Jeddah which decided to establish a permanent secretariat in Jeddah headed by the organization’s secretary general.
- Although India was part of the initial negotiations for the OIC in the 1960s, it was never included in the 50-year-old, 56-member group, mainly due to Pakistan’s opposition.
- In 2018, Bangladesh and Turkey called for reform in the OIC and granting India observer status, but have yet to make progress on that. The OIC Observer states, or states with large Muslim populations at present are Bosnia and Herzegovina, Central African Republic (CAR), Thailand, Russia and ‘Northern Cyprus’.
2 . Key Stone Species
Context : The arjuna tree may be best known for its medicinal properties and its importance to the charismatic grizzled giant squirrel, a higher number of trees specific to riverine habitats thrive under the canopies of old arjuna trees. The soil under these trees’ enormous canopies is also more moist and higher in organic carbon. This makes a case to recognize it as a keystone species — one that plays a crucial role in the landscape — and conserve large, old trees, say scientists. Interestingly, the proposed Mekedatu project — that aims to provide drinking water to Bengaluru — could result in the submergence of numerous old arjuna trees
About Keystone species
- A keystone species is a species that plays a critical role in maintaining the structure of an ecological community and whose impact on the community is greater than would be expected based on its relative abundance or total biomass.
- Without the keystone species, the ecological community to which it belongs would be greatly altered and many other species would be negatively impacted.
- In many cases, a keystone species is a predator. The reason for this is that a small population of predators is able to influence the distribution and numbers of many prey species. Although predators are common keystone species, they are not the only members of an ecological community that can serve this role. Herbivores too can be keystone species
- When a keystone species is removed from an ecological community, there is a chain reaction throughout many parts of the community. Some species become more numerous while others suffer population declines. The plant structure of the community may be altered due to increased or decreased browsing and grazing by certain species.
- Keystone species, because of their proportionately large influence on species diversity and community structure, have become a popular target for conservation efforts. The reasoning is sound: protect one, key species and in doing so stabilize an entire community.
3 . Permanent Resident Certificate
Context : Violence erupted in Arunachal Pradesh on the State government’s move to grant permanent resident certificates (PRC) to six non-tribal communities.
What is permanent resident certificate?
- The State Government of Arunachal Pradesh issues the domicile certificate otherwise called as Permanent Residence Certificate (PRC) to the residents of the state who stayed therein over a period. Those citizens who are not currently residing in the state but are sure of permanently staying therein can also apply for it.
- Besides the permanent residence certificate, the State also offers Temporary Residence Certificate (TRC) for those who reside in the State on a temporary basis. In this article, we look at the procedure of obtaining Arunachal Pradesh Permanent Residence Certificate in detail.
Purpose of the Certificate
- Permanent Residence Certificate is a legal document that serves as an evidence of residence and thus must be submitted wherever a residence proof is required.
- Permanent Residence Certificate should be produced in many situations such as admission in educational organisations, job reservation under specific quotas especially for government jobs, etc. to get local preferences.
- To apply for ration card permanent residence certificate is a vital and mandate document.
- To avail the provisions of various schemes of the state or to claim scholarships of the State, permanent residence certificate is essential
What has the state government proposed?
- The State government in the state is considering issuing the certificate to the six non-Arunachal Pradesh ST communities living in Namsai and Changlang districts and to the Gorkhas living in Vijaynagar. Amongst those communities are Deoris, Sonowal Kacharis, Morans, Adivasis and Mishings. Most of these communities are recognised as Scheduled Tribes in neighbouring Assam.
- A Joint High Power Committee (JHPC), after holding discussions with the stakeholders, recommended granting PRC to the six communities, who are not natives of Arunachal Pradesh but have been living in Namsai and Changlang districts for decades.
Why are people in Arunachal protesting against PRC?
- There is resentment among several community-based groups and organisations in Arunachal Pradesh, who feel the rights and interests of indigenous people will be compromised if the proposal is implemented.
4 . EVM is information
Context : An Electronic Voting Machine (EVM) is “information” under the Right to Information Act, the Central Information Commission has ruled.
About the News
- Definition of information under Section 2(f) of the RTI Act includes “any material in any form, including records, documents, memos, e-mails, opinions, advices, press releases, circulars, orders, logbooks, contracts, reports, papers, samples, models, data material held in any electronic form…”
- The CIC upheld applicant Razaak K. Haidar’s contention that the terms “models” and “samples” should apply to an EVM.
- ECI Under-Secretary Soumyajit Ghosh admitted that “models/samples of EVM are available with the ECI, but the same are only kept for training purpose by the ECI, and not saleable to the general public.”
- ECI argued that the information was exempted from disclosure under Section 8(1)(d) of the RTI Act as “the software installed in the machines is an intellectual property of a third party, the disclosure of which would harm the competitive position of the third party concerned. Hence ECI can file a new response response to the appellant within four weeks, as it had erroneously denied the information sought, using Section 6(1) of the RTI Act, which does not deal with grounds for exemption
Section 8 (1) d of the RTI Act
- Information including commercial confidence, trade secrets or intellectual property, the disclosure of which would harm the competitive position of a third party, unless the competent authority is satisfied that larger public interest warrants the disclosure of such information;
What is Information as per RTI Act
- Information means any material in any form, including records, documents, memos, e‑mails, opinions, advices, press releases, circulars, orders, logbooks, contracts, reports, papers, samples, models, data material held in any electronic form and information relating to any private body which can be accessed by a public authority under any other law for the time being in force;
5 . Asian Palm Civet
About Asian Palm Civet
- The Asian palm civet is a small viverrid native to South and Southeast Asia. Since 2008
- It is widely distributed with large populations that in 2008 were thought unlikely to be declining
- In 2012, it was suggested that recent increases in capturing the animals for kopi luwak (civet coffee) production may constitute a significant threat to wild palm civet populations.
- It is a Schedule II species protected under the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972
- Kopi Luwak is coffee prepared using coffee beans that have been subjected to ingestion and fermentation in the gastrointestinal tract of the Asian palm civet, which is called luwak in Indonesia.
- Caffeine content in both Arabica and Robusta luwak coffee is lower than in unfermented coffee. Large deformation mechanical rheology testing revealed that civet coffee beans are harder and more brittle in nature than their control counterparts indicating that digestive juices enter into the beans and modify the micro-structural properties of these beans. Proteolytic enzymes cause substantial breakdown of storage proteins
- Kopi Luwak is traditionally made from the faeces of wild civets, however, due to it becoming a trendy drink, civets are being increasingly captured from the wild and fed coffee beans to mass-produce this blend. Many of these civets are housed in battery cage systems which have been criticised on animal welfare grounds
- The impact of the demand for this fashionable coffee on wild palm civet populations is yet unknown but may constitute a significant threat. In Indonesia, the demand for Asian palm civets appears to be in violation of the quota set for pets