6th November 2020

Vardhan gives Gandhian Young Technological Awards

Union Minister of Science and Technology has given Students Innovations for Advancement of Research Explorations – Gandhian Young Technological Innovation (SITARE-GYTI) and Society for Research and Initiatives for Sustainable Technological Innovations-Gandhian Young Technological Innovation (SRISTI-GYTI) awards.

  • Gandhian Young Technological Innovation awards constitute two categories of awards, SITARE–GYTI under Biotechnology Industry Research Assistance Council (BIRAC), Department of Biotechnology (DBT) and SRISTI-GYTI given by SRISTI.
  • The awards and appreciations are given under these two categories to encourage technology students to move towards setting up Biotech and other start-ups.

Paris Agreement

The United States has formally left the Paris Climate Agreement, three years after President Donald Trump announced his intention to undo what had been seen as a key achievement of his predecessor Barack Obama.

  • In December 2015, 195 countries signed an agreement to slow the process of global warming by making efforts to “hold the increase in the global average temperature to well below 2 degrees above pre-industrial levels and to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels”.
  • This basically means that the countries would try to limit the increase in global temperature rise. While poor countries and island states had requested a lower goal considering threats of droughts and sea-level rise, climate experts have said maintaining a 2 degrees increase will be a challenge in itself. The agreement came into force on November 4, 2016.
  • Another crucial point in this agreement was the decision to limit the amount of greenhouse gases emitted by human activities to a level that can be naturally absorbed by trees, soils and oceans. Nations have pledged “to achieve a balance between anthropogenic emissions by sources and removals by sinks of greenhouse gases in the second half of this century”. Climate experts have said that this meant attaining “net zero emissions” between 2050 and 2100. According to the UN’s climate science panel, net zero emissions must be attained by 2070 to avoid dangerous warming.

What were the conflicting points?

  • Developed countries were also told to provide financial resources to help developing countries in dealing with climate change and for adaptation measures. As part of a review mechanism, developed countries were also asked to communicate every two years the “indicative” amount of money they would be able to raise over the next two years, and information on how much of it would come from public financial sources. In contrast, developing countries have only been “encouraged” to provide such information every two years on a voluntary basis.
  • A key feature of the Paris Agreement has been the way the agreement reflects the principle of ‘common but differentiated responsibilities’ (CBDR), which has been invoked four times in the CBDR principle. Emerging nations stressed on the developed world to take greater responsibility for climate actions since they are largely responsible for emitting almost all of the greenhouse gases from about 1850 to the 1980s.
  • The agreement also includes a mechanism to address financial losses faced by less developed nations due to climate change impacts like droughts, floods etc. However, developed nations won’t face financial claims since it “does not involve or provide a basis for any liability or compensation”.

Why did the US leave the Paris agreement?

  • During his 2016 presidential campaign, Donald Trump had described the Paris Agreement as “unfair” to US interests, and had promised to pull out of the agreement if elected.
  • So in June 2017, months after his inauguration, Trump announced his government’s decision to quit the accord. Environmentalists fiercely criticised the move, saying that America’s exit would seriously jeopardise the agreement’s objective of keeping the global temperature rise to within 2 degrees Celsius from pre-industrial times, especially since the US was (and still is) the world’s second-largest emitter of greenhouse gases.
  • The US could not immediately exit the Paris Agreement, however, as United Nations rules permitted a country to apply for leaving three years after the accord came into force, i.e. November 4, 2019. The US formally applied to leave on that day, and the departure automatically came into effect on November 4, 2020, at the end of a mandatory year-long waiting period.


Wildlife Board clears plan for vulture conservation

The National Board for Wildlife (NBWL) has cleared a plan for conserving vultures. Saliently, the drugs that are used to treat cattle and known to poison vultures will be banned by the Drugs Controller General of India. Diclofenac, a drug used to treat cattle, was linked to kidney failure in vultures and a decline in the bird’s population. Though the drug was banned in 2006, it is reportedly still available for use.

  • A study by the Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS) and the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds’ Centre for Conservation Science found that along with Diclofenac, there were several other drugs that were potentially toxic to vultures being used by vets for treating cattle. The drugs make their way into the vulture’s system as they feed on carcasses.
  • The long-billed vulture (Gyps indicus) and the slender-billed (G. tenuirostris) had declined by 97%, while the white-rumped (G. bengalensis) declined nearly 99% between 1992 and 2007, according to an earlier estimate by the BNHS.
  • The ‘Action Plan for Vulture Conservation 2020-2025’ also proposes to establish Vulture Conservation Breeding Centres in Uttar Pradesh, Tripura, Maharashtra, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu. There would also be a conservation breeding programme for the red-headed vulture and Egyptian vulture, and at least one “Vulture Safe Zone” in every State for the conservation of the remnant populations.
  • There would be four rescue centres in different geographical areas – Pinjore in north India, Bhopal in central India, Guwahati in northeast India and Hyderabad in south India, as well as regular surveys to track population numbers, the plan envisages.


  • Diclofenac is a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) administered to reduce inflammation and to reduce pain in certain conditions.
  • NSAIDs are associated with adverse kidney (renal) failure which is caused due to the reduction in synthesis of renal prostaglandins.
  • Vultures which were unable to break down the chemical diclofenac, suffer from kidney failure when they eat the carcass of animals which have been administered with the drug ‘Diclofenac’.

National Board for Wildlife

  • The National Board for Wildlife (NBWL) is constituted by the Central Government under Section 5 A of the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972 (WLPA).
  • The National Board may, at its discretion, constitute a Standing Committee under sub-section (1) of Section 5B.
  • The Standing Committee shall consist of the Vice-Chairperson (Union Minister in charge of Forests and Wildlife), the Member Secretary and not more than ten members to be nominated by the Vice-Chairperson from amongst the members of the National Board.
  • The WLPA mandates that without the approval/recommendation of the NBWL, construction of tourist lodges, alteration of the boundaries of PAs, destruction or diversion of wildlife habitat and de-notification of Tiger Reserves, cannot be done.
  • National Board for Wildlife is chaired by the Prime Minister. It has 47 members including the Prime Minister. Among these, 19 members are ex-officio members. Other members include three Members of Parliament (two from Lok Sabha and one from Rajya Sabha), five NGOs and 10 eminent ecologists, conservationists and environmentalists.


Interpol created two cybercrime-related communication services

The Interpol has created two secure and flexible services to facilitate cybercrime-related communication among law enforcement agencies and other stakeholders to ensure more effective and coordinated action based on timely intelligence.

  • One of them is the Cybercrime Knowledge Exchange workspace that handles general, non-police information and is open to all relevant users, and the other is the Cybercrime Collaborative Platform-Operation, which assists in the law enforcement operations, with access restricted to operational stakeholders only.
  • The Cybercrime Knowledge Exchange (CKE) workspace is open to law enforcement, governments, international organisations and cybersecurity industry experts to exchange non-police operational information on cybercrime. This workspace is a dynamic communication channel that enables users to discuss the latest cybercrime trends, prevention strategies, detection technologies and investigation techniques with authorised colleagues globally.
  • The system is expected to “foster an international network of subject matter experts to share knowledge and experience in this field”.
  • The Cybercrime Collaborative Platform-Operation is a centralised information database for coordination of global law enforcement operations against cybercrime. Hosting multiple, independent workspaces, this restricted-access platform enables operational stakeholders to share intelligence.


  • The International Criminal Police Organisation (INTERPOL) is an international organisation that facilitates worldwide police cooperation and crime control.
  • It originated with the first International Criminal Police Congress in 1914, which brought officials from 24 countries to discuss cooperation on law enforcement matters. 
  • It was founded in 1923 as the International Criminal Police Commission (ICPC).
  • In 1946, after the end of World War II, the organisation was revived as the International Criminal Police Organization (ICPO) by officials from Belgium, France, Scandinavia and the UK.
  • In 1956, the ICPC adopted a new constitution and the name INTERPOL.
  • It is headquartered in Lyon, France.
  • It has seven regional bureaus worldwide and a National Central Bureau (NCB) in all 194 member states, making it the world’s largest police organisation.
  • India has been a member since 1956.
  • India maintains a NCB which serves as the national platform for cooperation between domestic law enforcement units and the international police community.
UN member states without membership are Micronesia, North Korea, Palau, Tuvalu.
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