Daily Current Affairs for UPSC CSE
- Indus Water Treaty
- Translocation of Cheetah
- Facts for Prelims
1 . Indus Water Treaty
Context: New Delhi has issued a notice to Islamabad seeking modification of the more than six-decade-old Indus Waters Treaty (IWT) that governs the sharing of waters of six rivers in the Indus system between the two countries. New Delhi said the notice follows Pakistan’s continued “intransigence” in implementing the treaty, by raising repeated objections to the construction of hydel projects on the Indian side
About the News
- India has informed Pakistan of its intention to amend the Indus Waters Treaty of 1960, which sets out a mechanism for management of cross-border rivers, because of the Pakistani side’s “intransigence” in implementing the pact.
- Despite the World Bank asking India and Pakistan to find a mutually agreeable way, instead of seeking separate processes, to address Pakistan’s objections to Kishenganga and Ratle hydroelectric projects in Jammu and Kashmir, Islamabad’s refusal to discuss the issue with India led to the government’s notice.
- The objective of the notice for modification is to provide Pakistan an opportunity to enter inter-governmental negotiations within 90 days to rectify the material breach of the Indus Waters Treaty. This process will also update the treaty to incorporate the lessons learned over the last 62 years.
- The notice was issued in line with Article XII (3) of the treaty, which states: “The provisions of this Treaty may from time to time be modified by a duly ratified treaty concluded for that purpose between the two Governments.”
- The notice appears to be a fallout of a longstanding dispute over two hydroelectric power projects that India is constructing – one on the Kishanganga river, a tributary of Jhelum, and the other on the Chenab.
- Pakistan has raised objections to these projects, and dispute resolution mechanisms under the Treaty have been invoked multiple times. But a full resolution has not been reached.
- Construction on the 330 MW Kishanganga hydroelectric project built on the tributaries of the Indus began in 2007. Meanwhile, the foundation stone for the Ratle Hydroelectric Plant to be constructed on the Chenab was laid in 2013.
- Pakistan raised a dispute on the two projects, saying it violated the Indus Waters Treaty (IWT). Criticising the Kishanganga project, Islamabad said that it blocks water that flows into Pakistan.
- In 2015, Pakistan approached the World Bank and sought the appointment of a neutral expert to address its objections to the Kishanganga and Ratle Hydro Electric Projects. The very next year, Islamabad retracted the request and sought a court of arbitration to adjudicate its objections.
- In 2017, the World Bank said India is allowed to construct hydroelectric power facilities on tributaries of the Jhelum and Chenab rivers with certain restrictions under the 1960 treaty
- In May 2018, Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated the Kishanganga project despite objections by Pakistan.
- The Kishanganga project stores around 0.65 million acre feet (MAF) of water from the Ujh river to irrigate at least 30,000 hectares and produce over 300 megawatts of power.
- In 2019, Nitin Gadkari, the then central minister for water resources, said India will stop water from flowing to Pakistan after the Pulwama attacks.
What are the Fresh Charges
- India’s letter to Pakistan said the latter’s move to initiate two simultaneous processes on the same questions which have the potential of bringing contradictory outcomes creates a legally untenable situation, which risks endangering the 1960 treaty.
- India said Pakistan hasn’t budged and despite its repeated efforts to find a mutually agreeable way forward, it refused to discuss the issue during the five meetings of the Permanent Indus Commission from 2017 to 2022.
- Under such circumstances, India issued a “notice of modification” of the treaty to its neighbour.
What is Indus Water Treaty?
- In the year 1960, India and Pakistan signed a water distribution agreement — came to be known as Indus Water Treaty which was orchestrated by the World Bank.
- This agreement took nine years of negotiations and divides the control of six rivers between the two nations once signed.
- Under this treaty, India got control over: Beas, Ravi, Sutlej (Eastern Rivers)
- Pakistan got control over: Indus, Chenab, Jhelum (Western Rivers)
Why this treaty is important for Pakistan
- Indus, Chenab and Jhelum are the lifelines of Pakistan as the country is highly dependent on these rivers for its water supply. Since these rivers do not originate from Pakistan but flow to the country through India, Pakistan fears the threat of drought and famine.
- While Chenab and Jhelum originate from India, Indus originates from China, making its way to Pakistan via India.
- The treaty clearly spells the do’s and don’ts for both countries; as it allows India to use only 20 per cent of the total water carried by the Indus river.
Permanent Indus Commission
- The Permanent Indus Commission (PIC) is a bilateral commission consisting of officials from India and Pakistan, created to implement and manage the goals and objectives and outlines of the Indus Waters Treaty (IWT)
- PIC is the channel of correspondence between the two countries for the purpose of IWT and first step for conflict resolution. If an agreement cannot be reached at the PIC level, the dispute can be referred to a Neutral Expert for the differences already identified in the treaty or referred to the two governments for approaching the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA). If the governments too fail to reach an agreement, the Treaty provides an arbitration mechanism.
- Under the provisions of the Indus Waters Treaty, signed between India and Pakistan in 1960, the two Commissioners are required to meet at least once every year, alternately in India and Pakistan.
- Under the provisions of Article VIII(5) of the Indus Waters Treaty, the Permanent Indus Commission is required to meet regularly at least once a year, alternately in India and Pakistan.
Can India cancel the pact unilaterally?
- The wording of the treaty has no provision for either country to unilaterally walk out of the pact. Article XII of the IWT says, “The provisions of this Treaty, or, the provisions of this Treaty as modified under the provisions of Paragraph (3), shall continue in force until terminated by a duly ratified treaty concluded for that purpose between the two governments.”
- This implies that if India wants to go about abrogating it, the country should abide by the 1969 Vienna convention on the law of treaties.
What exactly is the dispute redressal mechanism laid down under the Treaty?
- The dispute redressal mechanism provided under Article IX of the IWT is a graded mechanism. It’s a 3-level mechanism. So, whenever India plans to start a project, under the Indus Water Treaty, it has to inform Pakistan that it is planning to build a project.
- Pakistan might oppose it and ask for more details. That would mean there is a question — and in case there is a question, that question has to be clarified between the two sides at the level of the Indus Commissioners.
- If that difference is not resolved by them, then the level is raised. The question then becomes a difference. That difference is to be resolved by another set mechanism, which is the Neutral Expert. It is at this stage that the World Bank comes into picture.
- In case the Neutral Expert says that they are not able to resolve the difference, or that the issue needs an interpretation of the Treaty, then that difference becomes a dispute. It then goes to the third stage — the Court of Arbitration.
- The World Bank’s role is “limited and procedural”. Its role in “differences” and “disputes” is limited to designating individuals to fulfill roles as a neutral expert or in the court of arbitration proceedings when requested by either or both sides.
- There is a provision in the treaty for modification and there could be many things that India may like to change, or Pakistan may like to change.
Is India also at the receiving end being at the lower riparian with any other nation? Can such an action lead to violation of International law?
- There is a concept of upper riparian and lower riparian. Upper riparian is a place where the river originates and lower riparian is where it ends.
- Under international law, an upper riparian can never stop the flow of water to the lower riparian.
- The Bramhaputra river too originates in China and flows to India. Such a revocation of treaty can also lead to China consider such a possible measure in the near future where it might cite India’s example of what it possibly did to Pakistan.
2 . Translocation of Cheetah
Context: India has signed an agreement with South Africa to translocate 12 cheetahs to the Kuno National Park in Madhya Pradesh
About the Pact
- The Republic of South Africa and the Republic of India have signed a Memorandum of Understanding on Cooperation in the Re-introduction of Cheetah to the Asian country. In terms of the agreement, an initial batch of 12 cheetahs are to be flown from South Africa to India during February 2023. The cats will join eight cheetahs introduced to India from Namibia during 2022.
- Following the import of the 12 cheetahs in February, the plan is to translocate a further 12 annually for the next eight to 10 years
- Cheetahs are very adaptable and had a wide distribution until 100 years ago including being found in some areas of India.
- They will be able to survive most of the climate conditions in India. Cheetahs can adapt to seasonal shifts. They also contend with extreme rain and wet seasons in Africa, much like in India.
- For hunting, cheetahs do well in open savannahs and grassland environments and can also occur in areas with moderate woody vegetation cover.
- Cheetahs also benefit from high grass or bush areas that enable them to remain undetected while stalking prey.
- The cheetah is believed to have originated in South Africa and spread across the world through land connectivity. In the Kalahari, the cheetah was once critically endangered due to poaching and hunting. But now, with healthy female cheetahs producing five to six cubs each, South Africa is rapidly running out of space for its cheetah population.
- According to a study, fewer than 7,100 cheetahs remain in the world.
- IUCN status: The cheetah is listed as Vulnerable by the World Conservation Union (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species.
- Two subspecies, the Asiatic cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus venaticus) and the Northwest African cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus hecki) are listed as critically endangered.
- The cheetah’s historical distribution in Africa covered a substantial portion of the continent, but because of range contraction in the last century, the cheetah is found in only 9% of its historic range, of which 77 % is outside of protected areas.
- The species is nearly extinct in its entire Asian range, except for a remnant population in Iran, about 20 individuals or less.
- Southern/eastern African cheetah range includes the eight countries of Namibia, Botswana, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Angola, Zambia, Tanzania, and Kenya. This is the largest population of wild cheetahs in the world.
- Smaller, fragmented populations of the Horn of Africa cheetah, also called the Somali cheetah, are found in some parts of Ethiopia and some of the Horn of Africa countries, although their numbers have never been officially recorded.
How did cheetahs go extinct in India?
- The cheetah has an ancient history in the country, with a Neolithic cave painting of a ‘slender spotted feline being hunted’ having been found at Chaturbunj Nala in Mandasur, Madhya Pradesh. The name ‘cheetah’ is believed to have originated from Sanskrit word chitrak, which means ‘the spotted one’.
- In India, the cheetah population used to be fairly widespread. The animal was found from Jaipur and Lucknow in the north to Mysore in the south, and from Kathiawar in the west to Deogarh in the east.
- The cheetah is believed to have disappeared from the Indian landscape in 1947 when Maharaja Ramanuj Pratap Singh Deo of Koriya princely state hunted down and shot the last three recorded Asiatic cheetahs in India. The cheetah was officially declared extinct by the Indian government in 1952.
- While over-hunting was a major contributing factor for the cheetah’s extinction, the decimation of its relatively narrow prey base species and the loss of its grassland-forest habitat also played a role. During the decades preceding independence, as well as those after, India’s emphasis on agriculture – which included acquiring and parcelling off grassland – led to a decline in the cheetah’s habitat.
- Since the 1940s, the cheetah has gone extinct in 14 other countries – Jordan, Iraq, Israel, Morocco, Syria, Oman, Tunisia, Saudi Arabia, Djibouti, Ghana, Nigeria, Kazakhstan, Pakistan and Afghanistan.
Why is the cheetah being brought back?
- The aim behind the translocation is not only to restore India’s ‘historic evolutionary balance’, but also to develop a cheetah ‘metapopulation’ that will help in the global conservation of the animal.
- As it is a flagship species, the conservation of the cheetah will revive grassland-forests and its biome and habitat, much like Project Tiger has done for forests and all the species found in these forests. Project Tiger has also resulted in the conservation of 250 water bodies found in India’s 52 Tiger Reserves. The Cheetah Project is likely to have a similar impact.
- The translocation project has also helped conservation efforts in Africa, in particular South Africa. The South African cheetah population had dwindled two decades ago, before the conservation programme ensured that the numbers increased – of the global cheetah population of 7,000, 4,500 belong to South Africa.
Reasons for Translocation from Africa
- With a genetically healthy population, the numbers are growing even within these comparatively small private reserves. If this continues, the cheetahs will decimate the prey in these areas. We may need to start using contraceptives on cheetahs to control the population. This will be very unfortunate as once contraception is used, there is no guarantee that the female cheetah will regain fertility once the effect of the contraceptive wears off. We need to look at cheetahs as a global population, a metapopulation, instead of breaking them into fragments of small species, which I think is a terrible idea.
- Especially in the case of cheetahs where the genetic difference between the African and Indian cheetahs is so small, and the ecological functions are practically the same
Have there been earlier attempts to bring back the cheetah?
- While attempts to relocate cheetahs to India began in 2009, it was only in 2020 that the Supreme Court of India finally gave the green signal for such efforts.
- India’s first attempt to bring back the cheetah was in the early 1970s. Dr Ranjitsinh was tasked with carrying out negotiations with Iran on behalf of the Indira Gandhi government.
- “Indira Gandhi was very keen on bringing back the cheetah. The negotiations went well and Iran had promised us the cheetah. But our potential release sites needed to be upgraded with an increase in prey base and greater protection. Moreover, during the process, Emergency was declared in the country and soon after, the regime of the Shah of Iran fell,’’ said Dr Ranjitsinh.
- While the Persian Cheetah was preferred for relocation, as it was Asiatic, this is no longer possible as the cheetah population in Iran has dwindled to under 50.
How was Kuno National Park chosen for the translocation?
- Six sites, which had been previously assessed in 2010 for the translocation of the Asiatic Lion, were re-assessed by WII in 2020 – Mukundara Hills Tiger Reserve and Shergarh Wildlife Sanctuary, both in Rajasthan, and Gandhi Sagar Wildlife Sanctuary, Kuno National Park, Madhav National Park and Nauradehi Wildlife Sanctuary, which are in Madhya Pradesh.
- Of these six sites, Kuno, which had been monitored since 2006, was found to be ready to receive the cheetah immediately, as it had already been prepared for the Asiatic Lion. Both animals share the same habitat – semi-arid grasslands and forests that stretch across Gujarat, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh.
- In Kuno National Park, because of the lion relocation project, the Madhya Pradesh Forest Department had already relocated 24 of the 25 villages and declared it a national park, which led to “remarkable recovery in its habitat, prey abundance and reduction of human impact”, according to the assessment carried out by WII in 2020.
About Cheetahs in India
- The cheetah’s history in India dates back to Neolithic times when a cave painting of a creature that looked like a spotted feline was discovered in Mandasur, in the state of Madhya Pradesh. It’s believed that the name cheetah came from the Sanskrit word ‘chitrak’, which literally means “the spotted one.”
- In India, the cheetah population was fairly widespread. The animal was commonly seen in various areas such as Lucknow and Jaipur and also in Mysore, Kathiawar, and even in the east
- It’s believed that the cheetah went extinct from India in 1947 after the Koriya’s ruler, Ramanuj Singhdeo, killed the last three Asiatic cheetahs in the country. The animal was officially declared extinct only in 1952
Threat of Extinction faced by Cheetahs:
- Cheetahs face the threat of extinction due to climate adversity, hunting by humans, and habitat destruction, gradually reducing the size of their populations worldwide.
- Cheetahs require large areas of land with suitable food, water, and habitats to survive. Human development and expansion cause destruction and fragmentation of wild lands and affect the cheetah’s available habitat and movements.
- Numerous landscapes across Africa that once were shelters for numerous cheetahs are now struggling with fewer numbers. Under the Species Recovery Program of the Indian government, species that become extinct are restored in their historic natural habitat.
About Kuno National Park
- Kuno National Park is a national park and Wildlife Sanctuary in Madhya Pradesh, India. It derives its name from Kuno River.
- It was established in 1981 as a wildlife sanctuary with an initial area of 344.686 km² in the Sheopur and Morena districts.
- Before the creation of the national park, Kuno was a wildlife sanctuary, also called the Palpur-Kuno wildlife sanctuary. In 2018, it was given the status of a national park.
- Kuno park is known for its leopard, jackal, and Chinkara.
- The Wildlife Institute of India and the Wildlife Trust of India had shortlisted Palpur-Kuno park as a habitat for cheetahs and Asiatic lions.
- The cheetah that once roamed in India’s northern plains became extinct in India in 1948.
- In January 2022, environment minister Bhupender Yadav launched the action plan for reintroducing cheetahs in India, starting with Kuno national park.
- On 17 September 2022, five female and three male cheetahs aged 4 to 6 years arrived in Kuno National Park from Namibia.
3 . Facts for Prelims
Follow on Public Offer
- FPO (Follow on Public Offer) is a process by which a company, which is already listed on an exchange, issues new shares to the investors or the existing shareholders, usually the promoters.
- An FPO is done to raise additional capital or to reduce existing debt and a company does it in two ways:
- Dilutive FPO: In dilutive FPO, the company issues an additional number of shares in the market for the public to buy however the value of the company remains the same. This reduces the price of shares and automatically reduces the earnings per share also.
- Non-dilutive FPO: Non-dilutive IPO takes place when the larger shareholders of the company like the board of directors or founders sell their privately held shares in the market.
- This technique does not increase the number of shares for the company, just the number of shares available for the public increases. Unlike dilutive FPO, since this method is not doing anything to the number of shares of the company, it does not do anything to the company’s EPS.
- The Changthangi or Pashmina goat, is a special breed of goat indigenous to the high altitude regions of Ladakh in Jammu and Kashmir. They are raised for ultra-fine cashmere wool, known as Pashmina once woven.
- Pashmina Goat are found in the Ladakh (the high altitude region of the Himalayas) where the temperature is generally around -40 degree Centigrade in winters.
- The Textiles are handspun and were first woven in Kashmir. The quality of Pashmina wool is very soft and fine. It is one of the finest and highest quality wool in the whole world
- The Changthangi goat grows a thick, warn undercoat which is the source of Kashmir Pashmina wool – the world’s finest cashmere measuring between 12-15 microns in fiber thickness.
- These goats are generally domesticated and reared by nomadic communities called the Changpa in the Changthang region of Greater Ladakh. The Changthangi goats have revitalized the economy of Changthang, Leh and Ladakh region.
- The word Pashmina comes from ‘Pashm’, which means ‘soft gold’ in the Persian language. This is because the Cashmere wool that it is made from is luxuriously soft and fine. This makes Pashmina shawls unbelievably delicate, warm, and resplendent.
- Changthang is often called the rooftop of the world. This is owing to its altitude of more than 15000 feet above sea level.
- During 1933–1945, Hitler’s German Nazi administration killed many ethnic groups, notably European Jews, whom he regarded as an inferior race. It is said that Jewish men, women, and children at the Auschwitz concentration camp in Poland faced the most heinous atrocities.
- Hitler believed Jews were a foreign threat to German racial purity and planned a “final solution” that became known as the Holocaust. Over a million children became victims during the Holocaust.
- To kill the Jewish population of the country, Hitler established concentration camps, including one at Auschwitz in Nazi-occupied Poland. Over two million people were killed in Auschwitz alone, and the majority of them were Jews.
- Holocaust is considered to be one of the most heinous acts of violence and discrimination when Nazis attempted to implement their “final solution” to the “Jewish problem.”
- The United Nations General Assembly declared in November 2005 that January 27 to be observed worldwide as International Holocaust Remembrance Day.
- Every year, International Holocaust Remembrance Day is observed on January 27 to reflect on the atrocities inflicted by Adolf Hitler, which resulted in the deaths of an estimated six million Jews. The day commemorates the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau in January 1945 from Nazi control.