Today's Headlines

Today's Headlines - 29 January 2023

India issued notice to Pakistan on the IWT

GS Paper - 2 (International Relations)

New Delhi has issued notice to Islamabad seeking modification of the more than six-decade-old Indus Waters Treaty (IWT) in view of Pakistan’s “intransigence” in implementing it, the government said. The notice through the Commissioner for Indus Waters, will open the process of making changes to the treaty.

What is this notice that India has sent?

  1. The notice for modification was to provide Pakistan with an opportunity to enter into intergovernmental negotiations within 90 days to rectify the material breach of IWT.
  2. This process would also update the IWT to incorporate the lessons learned over the last 62 years.
  3. India has issued the notice to Pakistan under Article XII (3) of the IWT.
  4. 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.

What is the Indus Waters Treaty?

  1. The IWT was signed on 19 September 1960, by Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru and Pakistan’s President Mohammed Ayub Khan in Karachi after nine years of World Bank-brokered negotiations between India and Pakistan.
  2. The treaty defines the water-sharing arrangement for six rivers of the Indus basin that flow through both India and Pakistan. It has 12 Articles and 8 Annexures (from A to H).
  3. As per the treaty’s provisions, India can make “unrestricted use” of all the water of the “Eastern Rivers” — Sutlej, Beas, and Ravi — while Pakistan shall get water from the “Western Rivers”, IndusJhelum, and Chenab.
  4. All the waters of the Eastern Rivers shall be available for the unrestricted use of India, except as otherwise expressly provided in this Article, states Article II (1) of the treaty.
  5. The Article III (1) which has provisions related to the Western Rivers, states, “Pakistan shall receive for unrestricted use all those waters of the Western Rivers which India is under obligation to let flow under the provisions of Paragraph (2)

 

Veer Guardian 2023 conclude

GS Paper - 2 (International Relations)

The inaugural edition of the 16-day bilateral air exercise between the Indian Air Force and the Japan Air Self-Defence Force has concluded in Japan. The exercise, 'Veer Guardian 2023', involved precise planning and skilful execution by both the air forces, the Indian Air Force said. 

What

  1. The IAF and JASDF engaged in air combat manoeuvring, interception and air defence missions, both in visual and beyond visual range settings.
  2. Aircrew of the two participating air forces also flew in each other's fighter aircraft to gain a deeper understanding of each other's operating philosophies, the IAF said.
  3. It said the JASDF participated in the exercise with its F-2 and F-15 aircraft, while the IAF contingent participated with the Su-30 MKI aircraft.
  4. The IAF fighter contingent was complemented by one IL-78 flight refuelling aircraft and two C-17 Globemaster strategic airlift transport aircraft.
  5. The exercise also witnessed numerous ground interactions between IAF and JASDF personnel wherein various aspects were discussed by both sides.
  6. This enabled the participating contingents to obtain an invaluable insight into each other's best practices and learn from each other's unique capabilities.

 

India's first nasal Covid vaccine

GS Paper - 3 (Health and Diseases)

India got its first-ever intranasal vaccine iNCOVACC, which was manufactured by Hyderabad-based Bharat Biotech. The vaccine, dubbed "game changer" by some experts, was launched by Union health minister Mansukh Mandaviya and science and technology minister Jitendra Singh.

More about vaccine

  1. The nasal vaccine — BBV154 — had received the Drugs Controller General of India's (DCGI) approval in November for restricted emergency use among adults as a heterologous booster dose.
  2. The dose will be priced at Rs 800 per dose for the private markets and Rs 325 per dose for central and state governments.
  3. iNCOVACC is a recombinant replication deficient adenovirus vectored vaccine with a pre-fusion stabilised spike protein.
  4. This vaccine candidate was evaluated in phase I, II and III clinical trials with successful results.
  5. The vectored intranasal delivery platform gives us the capability for rapid product development, scale-up and easy and painless immunization during public health emergencies and pandemics.

How does iNCOVACC work?

  1. iNCOVACC is a recombinant replication-deficient adenovirus vectored vaccine with a pre-fusion-stabilized SARS-CoV-2 spike protein.
  2. iNCOVACC has been specifically formulated to allow intranasal delivery through nasal drops.
  3. The nasal delivery system has been designed and developed to be cost-effective in low- and middle-income countries.

 

Mughal Gardens renamed

GS Paper - 1 (Culture)

The iconic Mughal Gardens at the Rashtrapati Bhavan (President’s House) in Delhi have been renamed. “The collective identity of all the gardens at Rashtrapati Bhavan will be ‘Amrit Udyan’. Earlier there were descriptive identities, now a new identity has been given to the gardens.

A long history of Mughal Gardens in India

  1. The Mughals were known to appreciate gardens. In Babur Nama, Babur says that his favourite kind of garden is the Persian charbagh style (literally, four gardens).
  2. The charbagh structure was intended to create a representation of an earthly utopia – jannat – in which humans co-exist in perfect harmony with all elements of nature.
  3. Defined by its rectilinear layouts, divided in four equal sections, these gardens can be found across lands previously ruled by the Mughals.
  4. From the gardens surrounding Humanyun’s Tomb in Delhi to the Nishat Bagh in Srinagar, all are built in this style – giving them the moniker of Mughal Gardens.
  5. defining feature of these gardens is the use of waterways, often to demarcate the various quadrants of the garden.
  6. These were not only crucial to maintain the flora of the garden, they also were an important part of its aesthetic. Fountains were often built, symbolising the “cycle of life.”

The gardens at the new Viceroy’s house

  1. In 1911, the British decided to shift the Indian capital from Calcutta to Delhi. This would be a mammoth exercise, involving construction of a whole new city – New Delhi – that would be built as the British Crown’s seat of power in its most valuable colony.
  2. About 4,000 acres of land was acquired to construct the Viceroy’s House with Sir Edwin Lutyens being given the task of designing the building on Raisina Hill.
  3. Lutyens’ designs combined elements of classical European architecture with Indian styles, producing a unique aesthetic that defines Lutyens’ Delhi till date.
  4. Crucial in the design of the Viceroy’s House was a large garden in its rear. While initial plans involved creating a garden with traditional British sensibilities in mind, Lady Hardinge, the wife of the then Viceroy, urged planners to create a Mughal-style garden.
  5. It is said that she was inspired by the book Gardens of the Great Mughals (1913) by Constance Villiers-Stuart as well as her visits to Mughal gardens in Lahore and Srinagar.

 

Rise in Water bird count recorded

GS Paper - 3 (Environment and Ecology)

There 5,396 birds belonging to 70 species reported from 11 sites spread across the district in the Asian Water birds CensusLast year, the count was 3,270 birds from 72 species. The Asian Water bird Census (AWC) 2023 has recorded a 65% increase in water birds in Thiruvananthapuram district, albeit with a slight dip in the count of species. The annual census that was jointly conducted by WWF-India and the social forestry wing of the Forest department recently enumerated 5,396 birds belonging to 70 species from 11 sites spread across the district.

Black-capped Kingfisher

  1. This was a considerable increase from the count of 3,270 birds belonging to 72 species recorded last year.
  2. Barring a slight decline that was observed in Poovar estuary and the Punchakkari-Vellayani wetland complex, all the other locations reported a trend of increasing population.
  3. However, the birders raised concerns on the quality of habitats across all the wetlands.
  4. Except Pazhanchira wetlands near Attingal, all the other wetlands have been facing multiple and severe threats from anthropogenic activities.

Threats at Vellayani

  1. The Punchakkari-Vellayani wetland complex, regarded the birding hub of the capital city, has been experiencing threats in the form of solid waste dumping, shift from paddy cultivation to fertiliser-intensive vegetable cultivation, and noise pollution from crackers that are used by farmers to scare away birds, and loudspeakers. A growing trend of wedding and other photo shoots has also driven away birds from the area.
  2. The team visited the comparatively less disturbed Pazhanchira wetlands, near Attingal, and counted 1,298 birds belonging to 34 species.
  3. The Akkulam wetlands reported an increase in bird count compared to the last year, despite the lake facing grave threats from unscientific developmental activities, reclamation, and severe water pollution.

Home to Migratory Birds

  1. Wetland is home to many bird species including migratory ones like Pacific Golden Plover, Western Yellow Wagtail, White Wagtail, Painted Stork, Eurasian Spoonbill, Wood Sandpiper and Grey-headed Lapwing. The team counted 1,419 birds belonging to 51 species at this location.
  2. Shore birds such as Great Crested Terns, Greater and Lesser Sand Plovers, Kentish Plovers and Western Reef Herons were sighted in the Poovar estuary.

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