Daily Current Affairs : 30th July

Daily Current Affairs for UPSC CSE

Topics Covered

  1. Tiger Census
  3. Fugitive Economic Offender
  4. Rasagola
  5. Robo bee X wing
  6. National Minority Commission
  7. Facts for Prelims : Shawala Teja Singh Temple

1 . Tiger Census

Context : India has 2,967 tigers, a third more than in 2014, according to results of a tiger census made public on July 29 by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

About the Tiger Census

  • The tiger count is prepared after every four years. It is compiled by the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA)
  • Wildlife Institute of India also collaborates with NTCA for the census
  • Census provides details on the number of tigers in the 18 tiger reign states with 50 tiger reserves. This time, the census would also include data collected from the rough terrains of north-eastern states which was not possible due to logistic constrains before.
  • The latest survey is the culmination of 15 months of forest officials surveying 381,400 square kilometres of forested habitat, installing 26,760 camera traps and wildlife biologists ferreting through 35 million images of wildlife — 76,523 of which were tigers (there can be multiple images of the same tiger). Nearly 83% of the estimated tiger population was captured in these images.
  • Attempt to digitize the records have been implemented this by mandating the use of a GIS based app called M-STRiPES (Monitoring System For Tigers-Intensive Protection and Ecological Status) developed by Dehradun-based Wildlife Institute of India.

Need of Tiger Census

  • The tiger sits at the peak of the food chain, and its conservation is important to ensure the well-being of the forest ecosystem.
  • The tiger estimation exercise includes habitat assessment and prey estimation. The numbers reflect the success or failure of conservation efforts. This is an especially important indicator in a fast-growing economy like India where the pressures of development often run counter to the demands of conservation.
  • The Global Tiger Forum, an international collaboration of tiger-bearing countries, has set a goal of doubling the count of wild tigers by 2022. More than 80% of the world’s wild tigers are in India, and it’s crucial to keep track of their numbers.

Results of the census

  • Madhya Pradesh saw the highest number of tigers at 526, closely followed by Karnataka (524) and Uttarakhand (442). Chhattisgarh and Mizoram saw a decline in tiger population and all other States saw a “positive” increase, according to a press statement.
  • While Pench Tiger Reserve in Madhya Pradesh recorded the highest number of tigers, Sathyamangalam Tiger Reserve in Tamil Nadu registered the “maximum improvement” since 2014, a press note added.
  • Madhya Pradesh’s Pench sanctuary and Kerala’s Periyar sanctuary emerged as the best managed tiger reserves in the country. Dampa and Rajaji reserves, in Mizoram and Uttarakhand respectively, were left at the bottom of the ladder with a score of 42.97% and 44.53% respectively. 

Past Census

  • In 2016 India had only 1,411 tigers. This rose to 1,706 in 2010 and 2,226 in 2014 on the back of improved conservation measures and new estimation methods.

Main reasons for increase in numbers

  • Increased vigilance and conservation efforts by the Forest Department.
  • Increase in number of tiger reserves
  • Healthy increases in core area populations eventually lead to migrations to areas outside the core; this is why the 2018 census has found tigers in newer areas.
  • The other important reason is increased vigilance, and the fact that organised poaching rackets have been all but crushed.
  • The increased protection has encouraged the tiger to breed.
  • The rehabilitation of villages outside core areas in many parts of the country has led to the availability of more inviolate space for tigers.
  • Estimation exercises have become increasingly more accurate over the years, it is possible that many tigers that eluded enumerators in earlier exercises were counted this time.

2 . The Trade Record Analysis of Flora and Fauna in Commerce 


  • TRAFFIC, the Wildlife Trade Monitoring Network, is the leading non-governmental organisation working globally on the trade of wild animals and plants in the context of both biodiversity and sustainable development.
  • It was founded in 1976 as a strategic alliance of the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) and the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN)
  • TRAFFIC helped establish wildlife sniffer dog units in countries around the world, including the first in South Korea in 2001, following feasibility studies.
  • Since the 2008 establishment of the Wildlife Sniffer Dog unit in India, 43 dog squads have been trained, and the dogs, informally known as ‘Traffic’s super sniffers’, have been successful in leading to at least 150 wildlife seizures. TRAFFIC was also instrumental in the use of forensics to tackle wildlife crime, signing an MoU with TRACE (Technologies and Resources for Applied Conservation and Enforcement) in 2007.

3 . Fugitive Economic Offender Act

Context : The Supreme Court on Monday agreed to hear on August 2 a petition by absconding businessman Vijay Mallya against a move to declare him a fugitive under the Fugitive Economic Offenders (FEO) Act of 2018 and confiscate his assets worth crores of rupees.

About Fugitive Economic Offender Act

  • The Act allows for a person to be declared as a fugitive economic offender (FEO) if:
    • (i) an arrest warrant has been issued against him for any specified offences where the value involved is over Rs 100 crore
    • (ii) he has left the country and refuses to return to face prosecution.     
  • To declare a person an FEO, an application will be filed in a Special Court (designated under the Prevention of Money-Laundering Act, 2002) containing details of the properties to be confiscated, and any information about the person’s whereabouts.  The Special Court will require the person to appear at a specified place at least six weeks from issue of notice.  Proceedings will be terminated if the person appears. 
  • The Act allows authorities to provisionally attach properties of an accused, while the application is pending before the Special Court. 
  • Upon declaration as an FEO, properties of a person may be confiscated and vested in the central government, free of encumbrances (rights and claims in the property).  Further, the FEO or any company associated with him may be barred from filing or defending civil claims.   

4 . Rasagola

Context : The rasagola, a popular dessert of Odisha, has received the geographical indication tag from the Registrar of Geographical Indication after years of controversy around the sweet.

Details of the News

  • The registration was conferred to ‘Odisha Rasagola’ under Section 16(I) or of authorized Section 17(3)(c) of Geographical Indication of Goods (Registration and Protection) Act 1999 o
  • It has been registered in favour of the Odisha Small Industries Corporation Limited (OSIC Limited), a government of Odisha undertaking and Utkal Mistanna Byabasayee Samiti, a traders’ organisation, in the foodstuff category.

About Odisha Rasagola

  • According to the application submitted to the Registrar of GI, ‘Odisha Rasagola’ is a sweet from the state of Odisha made of chhena (cottage cheese) cooked in sugar syrup, which is very soft to feel, is juicy and non- chewy in consistency and can be swallowed without teeth pressure.
  • Colour development of the ‘Odisha Rasagola’ is very specific, where without addition of external colour, various intensely-coloured rasagolas are prepared using the principle of caramelisation of sugar with specific methods of preparation, the application said.
  • The application further says Odisha Rasagolas are white in colour with round shape (non‐ spherical) but off white rasagolas in various shades are plentily prepared by cooking the rasagola at 110 degree Celsius for about 40 minutes in which caramalisation of sugar takes place giving the off white colour. The area of production of Odisha Rasagola has been shown all 30 districts.


  • Both Odisha and West Bengal have been contesting the origin of the rasagola. Historical records submitted say the ‘Odisha Rasagola’ is associated with world famous Puri Jagannath Temple.


  • “As per Record of Rights, this is the duty of Bhitarachha Sebaka. It is mentioned in Bhitarachha Sebara Niyama and published in Record of Rights, Part‐III, The Orissa Gazette, Extra‐ordinary, Law Department Notification Dated 12 October, 1955.
  • The reference of rasagola is found in the late 15th-century Odia Ramayana written by Balaram Das. Balaram Das’s Ramayana is known as Dandi Ramayana or Jagamohana Ramayana as it was composed and sung at the Jagamohana of the Puri Temple,”
  • In its ‘Ajodhya Kanda’, another religious script, one comes across elaborate descriptions of chhena and chhena‐based products including Rasagola.
  • Famous Odia writer Fakir Mohan Senapati, famous writer of Odisha, in his writing Utkal Bhramanam published by Utkal Deepika on August 27, 1892 mentioned about the plentiful use of rasagola in Odisha during those days.
  • Similarly, on December 14, 1893, a poem titled, ‘Bali Jatra’ was published in the weekly “Indradhanu” written by poet Damodar Pattanayak. The poem was an eye‐witness of Cuttack’s famous, historic fair, Bali Jatra (Journey to Bali Island of Indonesia) and mentioned that sweets shops were looking attractive in presence of Rasagola and other sweets.

About GI Tag

  • GI has its origins in the 1883 Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property. “The protection of industrial property has as its object patents, utility models, industrial designs, trademarks, service marks, trade names, indications of source or appellations of origin, and the repression of unfair competition”
  • But it was formalised in the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) of 1994. GIs are defined as “indications which identify a good as originating in the territory of a member, or a region or locality in that territory, where a given quality, reputation or other characteristic of the good is essentially attributable to its geographical origin.”
  • India, which is a party to TRIPS, formulated a GI law in 1999, which came into force four years later. India has till now granted 303 GIs, including 11 foreign products like Scotch and Cognac.
  • The GIs include twenty nine products which have got two separate GIs each, one for the name and the other for the logo. Darjeeling tea, Kanchipuram silk, Kashmir pashmina, Lucknow chikan craft, Hyderabad haleem and Maharashtra’s Warli painting are some well known products which have been granted a GI. Karnataka is the state with most GIs, accounting for over a tenth of the country’s total.
  • It is valid for 10 years after which it can be renewed.


  • Legal Protection : Once a product has got a GI, it would be illegal for someone outside that region to make and sell a similar product under that name.
  • Commercial reasons : A study found that GI products in the EU on average command a premium of 2.2 times the price of non-GI products; wines have the highest premium, at 2.7 times, while it is 1.6 times for cheeses. But in India, there is no data available on the commercial benefits of GI. 

5 . Robo bee X Wing

Context : In a recently published paper in Nature, researchers from the Harvard Microrobotics Laboratory in Cambridge have claimed to have made possible the “lightest insect-scale aerial vehicle so far to have achieved sustained, untethered flight.”

About Robo bee X wing

  • It is essentially a flying machine, which can flap its wings 120 times a second and is half the size of a paperclip
  • The robot can sustain a flight for less than a second. Initially, the researchers called this lightest centimetre-sized vehicle, “RoboBee”, but with the current advancement which makes it possible for RoboBee to fly untethered, its name has been upgraded to, “RoboBee X-Wing”.
  • It uses 110-120 milliwatts of power using solar energy, matching the “thrust efficiency” of similarly sized insects such as bees.
  • Much like aircraft, the robot is heavier than the air it displaces — a concept referred to as “heavier-than-air flight”. However, when objects become smaller, achieving a heavier-than-air flight becomes more complicated.


  • Studying the mechanisms that insects use to flap their wings and navigate in the air is a matter of interest to biologists. Flapping-wing robots can help in addressing questions related to the evolution of flight, the mechanical basis of natural selection and environmental monitoring. 

6 . Minority Status

Context : The National Commission of Minorities (NCM) has refused to entertain a plea to declare Hindus a “minority community” in those States where they do not form a majority of the population.

About the news

About National Commission of Minorities

  • With the enactment of the National Commission for Minorities Act, 1992, the Minorities Commission became a statutory body and renamed as National Commission for Minorities.
  • The first Statutory National Commission was set up on 17th May 1993. by Ministry of Welfare, Government of India, five religious communities viz; the Muslims, Christians, Sikhs, Buddhists and Zoroastrians (Parsis) were notified as minority communities.
  • On 27th Jan 2014, Jains have also been notified as minority community.
  • As per the 2001 Census, these six religious minority communities constitute 18.80% of the country’s population.
  • The Commission shall have all the powers of a civil court trying a suit

Functions of NCM

  • Evaluation of the progress of the development of minorities under the Union and States
  • Monitoring of the working of the safeguards for minorities provided in the Constitution and in laws enacted by Parliament and the State Legislatures;
  • Making recommendations for the effective implementation of safeguards for the protection of the interests of minorities by the Central Government or the State Governments;
  • Looking into specific complaints regarding deprivation of rights and safeguards of minorities and taking up such matters with the appropriate authorities;
  • Getting studies to be undertaken into the problems arising out of any discrimination against minorities and recommending measures for their removal;
  • Conducting studies, research and analysis on the issues relating to socio-economic and educational development of minorities;
  • Suggesting appropriate measures in respect of any minority to be undertaken by the Central Government or the State Governments;
  • Making periodical or special reports to the Central Government or any matter pertaining to minorities and in particular the difficulties confronted by them; and
  • Any other matter, which may be referred to it by the Central Government.

Duties of the Central Govt

  • The Central Government shall cause the recommendations to be laid before each House of Parliament along with a memorandum explaining the action taken or proposed to be taken on the recommendations relating to the Union and the reasons for the non-acceptance, if any, of any of such recommendations.

Complaints not entertained by the Commission

  • those not based on or relating to Minority status/rights/safeguards.
  • those concerning matters sub judice (pending before a court/quasi-judicial/body).
  • those for which ordinary judicial/quasi-judicial/administrative remedies are available elsewhere but have not been availed by complainant without any reasonable justification.
  • those relating to events which are one-year old or older.
  • those which are vague. anonymous, pseudonymous or frivolous.
  • those not directly addressed to the Commission and sent to it by way or copies of complaints/ representations addressed into any other authority.

7 . Facts for Prelims

  • Shawala Teja Singh Temple : Shawala Teja Singh temple is a 1000 years old Hindu temple in Sialkot in the Punjab province of Pakistan.

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