Today's Headlines

Today's Headlines - 04 March 2023

 World Wildlife Day 2023

GS Paper - 3 (Environment)

3rd March is known as World Wildlife Day (WWD), marked annually to draw attention to issues of conservation of flora and fauna. This year, the theme is ‘Partnerships for Wildlife Conservation’. It will allow us to celebrate all conservation efforts, from intergovernmental to local scale. It is further expanded into the conservation of marine life and oceans, and on collaborating with businesses and funding conservation activities.

Why is World Wildlife Day marked?

  1. In 2013, the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) proclaimed 3 March as the UN World Wildlife Day to celebrate and raise awareness of protecting the world’s wild animals and plants.
  2. This was as the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) was signed in 1973 on this day.
  3. 3 March marks the 50th anniversary of CITES’ establishment. CITES is considered a landmark agreement on conservation that focuses on ensuring the sustainability of endangered species.

What is the CITES?

  1. CITES is an international agreement between governments. Its aim is to ensure that international trade in specimens of wild animals and plants does not threaten the survival of the species.
  2. It was agreed upon with the recognition that “The trade in wild animals and plants crosses borders between countries; the effort to regulate it requires international cooperation to safeguard certain species from over-exploitation.”
  3. It accords varying degrees of protection to more than 37,000 species of animals and plants, ranging from live animals and plants to wildlife products derived from them, including food products, exotic leather goods, medicines, etc.
  4. Currently, there are 184 parties to the convention, including India. The CITES Secretariat is administered by UNEP (The United Nations Environment Programme) and is located in Geneva, Switzerland.
  5. The Conference of the Parties to CITES is the supreme consensus-based decision-making body of the Convention and comprises all its parties.
  6. In India, apart from the Union Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change, the Wildlife Crime Control Bureau is a statutory body under the Ministry that is especially meant to combat organised wildlife crime in the country.
  7. It assists and advises the customs authorities in the inspection of the consignments of flora and fauna as per the provisions of the Wild Life Protection Act of 1972, CITES and the export and import policy governing items.

How does CITES work?

  1. The species covered under CITES are listed in three Appendices, according to the degree of protection they need.
  2. Appendix I includes species threatened with extinction. Trade in specimens of these species is permitted rarely, only in “exceptional circumstances”, such as gorillas, and lions from India.
  3. Appendix II includes species not necessarily threatened with extinction, but in which trade must be controlled to ensure their survival. For example, certain kinds of foxes and Hippopotamuses.
  4. Appendix III contains species that are protected in at least one country, which has asked other CITES Parties for assistance in controlling the trade, like the Bengal fox or the Golden Jackal from India. Different procedures are given category-wise to engage in the trade of species in each of the lists.

 Members of a House are bound by the ‘whip’

GS Paper - 2 (Polity)

Members of a House are bound by the ‘whip’, and if any section of MLAs within a political party that is part of a ruling coalition says it does not want to go with the alliance, the MLAs will attract disqualification, the Supreme Court observed orally on 28 February 2023. A five-judge Bench led by Chief Justice of India (CJI) D Y Chandrachud is hearing petitions filed in the wake of last year’s political crisis in Maharashtra precipitated by a division in the Shiv Sena.

What is a ‘whip’ in the House?

  1. In parliamentary parlance, a whip may refer to both a written order to members of a party in the House to abide by a certain direction, and to a designated official of the party who is authorised to issue such a direction.
  2. The term is derived from the old British practice of “whipping in” lawmakers to follow the party line.
  3. whip may require that party members be present in the House for an important vote, or that they vote only in a particular way.
  4. In India, all parties can issue whips to their members. Parties appoint a senior member from among their House contingents to issue whips — this member is called a chief whip, and he/ she is assisted by additional whips.

How serious are whips issued by parties?

  1. Whips can be of varying degrees of seriousness. The importance of a whip can be inferred from the number of times an order is underlined.
  2. A one-line whip, underlined once, is usually issued to inform party members of a vote, and allows them to abstain in case they decide not to follow the party line.
  3. two-line whip directs them to be present during the vote.
  4. three-line whip is the strongest, employed on important occasions such as the second reading of a Bill or a no-confidence motion, and places an obligation on members to toe the party line.

What can happen if a whip is defied?

  1. The penalty for defying a whip varies from country to country. In the United Kingdom, an MP can lose membership of the party for defying the whip, but can keep her/ his House seat as an Independent.
  2. In the US, as per a note published by PRS Legislative Research, “the party whip’s role is to gauge how many legislators are in support of a Bill and how many are opposed to it — and to the extent possible, persuade them to vote according to the party line on the issue”.
  3. In Indiarebelling against a three-line whip can put a lawmaker’s membership of the House at risk.
  4. The anti-defection law allows the Speaker/ Chairperson to disqualify such a member; the only exception is when more than a third of legislators vote against a directive, effectively splitting the party.

 World Bank index on life cycle of working women

GS Paper -2 (International organizations)

The laws affecting the Indian working woman’s pay and pension do not provide for equality with Indian men, dragging India’s score in a World Bank index on the life cycle of a working woman down to 74.4 out of a possible 100.

More about the news:

  1. According to the World Bank’s Women, Business and the Law 2023 report, ascore of 100 on the Index means that women are on an equal standing with men on all the eight indicators being measured.
  2. India scored higher than the 63.7 average for the South Asian region, though lower than Nepal which had the region’s highest score of 80.6.
  3. Out of the 190 economies covered in the Index, only 14 scored a perfect 100: Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Iceland, Ireland, Latvia, Luxemburg, The Netherlands, Portugal, Spain and Sweden.
  4. For India, the Index used data on the laws and regulations applicable in Mumbai, viewed as the country’s main business city.
  5. The report said, when it comes to constraints on freedom of movement, laws affecting women’s decisions to work, and constraints related to marriage, India gets a perfect score.

Reforms needed in areas:

  1. India lags behind in laws affecting women’s pay, laws affecting women’s work after having children, constraints on women starting and running a business, gender differences in property and inheritance, and laws affecting the size of a woman’s pension.
  2. Recommending that India consider reforms to improve legal equality for women, the report noted that one of the lowest scores for India comes from the indicator assessing laws affecting women’s pay.


India’s economy is growing exponentially. It is expected to grow from 3 trillion to 8 trillion in the next decade. This growth is due to India’s demographics, urbanization, technology adoption, financial inclusion, and mass consumerism.

Despite this growth, less than one-quarter (19%) of women aged 15 and older have participated in the labour force as of 2021(compared to 70.0% of men).

  • Eliminating the 58 percentage point employment gap between men and women would expand India’s GDP by almost a third—nearly six trillion US dollars by 2050.
  • Women are underrepresented across sectors, including: core, which encompasses infrastructure-related sectors like oil and gas (7%); automotive (10%); pharmaceutical and healthcare (11%); and information technology (28%).

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