[Newsbits] 23.09.2023

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Bamboo Biodiversity Project

The "Meri Maati, Mera Desh" biodiversity project has taken root on the Yamuna floodplains, aiming to revitalize India's natural heritage through ex-situ conservation. This project, driven by the Department of Forests and Wildlife and directed by Lieutenant Governor V K Saxena, is a significant step towards preserving India's rich biodiversity.

The Approach: Ex-situ Conservation

The "Meri Maati, Mera Desh" project adopts an ex-situ conservation approach. Ex-situ conservation involves the preservation of species outside their natural habitat, often in controlled environments like botanical gardens or arboretums. This approach is essential for safeguarding plant species facing threats in their native habitats.

Extensive Coverage Across India

This project boasts an extensive coverage area, encompassing a wide range of plant species from across India. These plants represent the biodiversity of regions spanning from Jammu and Kashmir to Lakshadweep and from the Western Ghats to Arunachal Pradesh.

Planting Details at 'Bharat Kunj' Bambusetum

The heart of the project lies at the 'Bharat Kunj' Bambusetum, situated on the Yamuna floodplains. Here, an area spanning 12,000 square meters has been designated for this ambitious endeavor.

Diverse Bamboo Varieties

One of the project's highlights is the cultivation of bamboo, with more than 53 bamboo species taking root in this dedicated space. In total, 2,120 bamboo plants have been planted, showcasing the remarkable diversity of this versatile plant.

Melocalamus Indicus: A Monopodial Bamboo Species

Among the bamboo species, the Melocalamus Indicus variety stands out. A total of 4,068 plants of this monopodial bamboo species have been strategically placed along the periphery of the Bambusetum.

A Timely Initiative: Commencement in August 2022

The "Meri Maati, Mera Desh" project kicked off in August 2022, under the favorable circumstance of land being freed from encroachment on the Yamuna floodplains. This initiative underscores the commitment of the Department of Forests and Wildlife to environmental conservation and the protection of India's invaluable biodiversity.

Sub-categorization among Scheduled Castes

In a move that has stirred both controversy and anticipation, the government is considering a proposal to introduce "sub-categorisation" within the Scheduled Caste (SC) quotas. This potential decision carries significant implications and has garnered attention due to its far-reaching consequences.

The Proposal: Sub-Categorisation of Scheduled Caste Quotas

The government is contemplating the introduction of "sub-categorisation" within the existing Scheduled Caste quotas. This proposal aims to reorganize and distribute quotas within the SC community to ensure equitable distribution of benefits.

Driving Factors: Demands from the Madiga Community in Telangana

The primary driving factor behind this proposal is the demand from the Madiga community in Telangana. The Madiga community represents 17% of the SC population in Telangana, but they argue that opportunities have been disproportionately cornered by the Mala SC community. The Madigas assert that sub-categorisation is necessary to address this inequality.

Similar cases of demand for sub-categorisation have arisen in other states as well, such as the Paswans in Bihar and the Jatavs in Uttar Pradesh. These influential SC communities believe that sub-categorisation will enable fairer allocation of benefits and opportunities.

Significance: Addressing Existing Differences and Competitive Affirmative Action

Existing differences in the SC category, including the absence of a creamy layer concept and the persistence of backwardness stemming from untouchability, underscore the need for sub-categorisation. The possible outcome of this move is competitive affirmative action, where different sub-groups within the SC category vie for their share of quotas and benefits.

Furthermore, other groups, such as the Marathas, Patels, and Jats, have been demanding Other Backward Class (OBC) status, adding another layer of complexity to the reservation system.

Implementation: Assigning Separate Quotas and Amending the Constitution

The proposed method for sub-categorisation involves assigning separate quotas for different sub-groups within the SC category. To implement this, amendments to Article 341 of the Constitution would be required.

Historical Context and Past Efforts

The Rohini Commission

The Rohini Commission previously focused on OBC sub-categorisation and submitted its report in July. However, this report does not directly address SC sub-categorisation.

Previous Supreme Court Decisions

In 2004, the Supreme Court struck down an Andhra Pradesh law related to SC sub-categorisation. In 2020, the court asserted that states have the power to implement sub-categorisation, with a larger bench reference pending.

States' Actions and Varying Opinions

States like Haryana, Punjab, Tamil Nadu, and Karnataka have attempted SC sub-categorisation, but the results are currently on hold, awaiting decisions from the Supreme Court.

Both the National Commission for Scheduled Castes (NCSCSC) and the National Commission for Scheduled Castes (NCSC) have varying views on sub-categorisation. The NCSCSC favors sub-categorisation, while the NCSC disagrees.

State responses to the Centre have also been divided, with 14 states disagreeing and 7 states agreeing with the proposal.

Internal Views and Concerns

Internally, the debate revolves around data backing certain SC communities benefiting more from sub-categorisation, with some in favor. Conversely, there are concerns about federalism, potential encroachment on state power, and the possibility of creating a creamy layer within the SC category.

World Sign Language Day 2023

The International Day of Sign Language, observed on the 23rd of September each year, serves as a global platform to promote linguistic and cultural diversity, with a special focus on the Deaf communities worldwide. This day is a celebration of the rich tapestry of sign languages and their significance in fostering inclusivity and understanding. Let's delve into the details of this important observance.

Sign Languages: Complex Visual-Gestural Communication Systems

Sign languages are complex visual-gestural communication systems used by Deaf communities to convey meaning and express themselves. These languages possess their own unique grammar and syntax, making them distinct and fully functional means of communication. The International Day of Sign Language recognizes the importance of preserving and celebrating this linguistic heritage.

Theme: "A World Where Deaf People Everywhere Can Sign Anywhere!"

The theme for the International Day of Sign Language encapsulates the aspirations of Deaf individuals globally. It envisions a world where Deaf people have the freedom and opportunity to use sign language everywhere, breaking down communication barriers and fostering a more inclusive society.

Historical Significance and Resolution

UN Resolution A/RES/72/161

The International Day of Sign Language owes its official recognition to United Nations Resolution A/RES/72/161. This resolution was sponsored by the Permanent Mission of Antigua and Barbuda to the United Nations and garnered support from 97 other UN Member States. It was adopted on December 19, 2017, marking a significant milestone in the recognition of sign languages and the Deaf community's rights.

Honoring the World Federation of the Deaf (WFD)

The choice of September 23rd for observing this day is not arbitrary; it pays homage to the World Federation of the Deaf (WFD). Established in 1951, the WFD is a federation comprising 135 national federations of the Deaf. This organization has been at the forefront of advocating for the rights and well-being of Deaf individuals worldwide, working tirelessly to ensure their inclusion and empowerment.

ADMM Plus EWG on Counter-terrorism FTX 2023

In a significant international engagement, the Indian Army's 14 Rajputana Rifles contingent has embarked on a mission to participate in the ASEAN Defence Ministers Meeting (ADMM) Plus Expert Working Group (EWG) Counter-Terrorism Field Training Exercise (FTX) 2023. This multinational joint military exercise is a crucial platform for strengthening regional cooperation in counter-terrorism efforts.

The Exercise in Detail

Full Name and Type

  • Full Name: ASEAN Defence Ministers Meeting (ADMM) Plus Expert Working Group (EWG) Counter Terrorism Field Training Exercise (FTX) 2023.
  • Type: This exercise is a multinational joint military initiative.

Nature of Exercise

  • Counter-Terrorism Drills: The primary focus of the exercise revolves around counter-terrorism operations.
  • Task: Participating contingents will engage in simulated missions aimed at destroying terrorist groups in fortified areas.

Main Objective

  • Strengthening Regional Cooperation: The exercise's central goal is to strengthen and promote regional cooperation in counter-terrorism efforts.

Key Players

Host Countries

  • Russia: Russia serves as the co-chair of the EWG for this exercise.
  • Myanmar: Myanmar is also a co-chair of the EWG, jointly responsible for organizing and facilitating the exercise.

When and How Often

ADMM Plus Meetings

  • Frequency: The ADMM Plus meetings occur annually, with the first held in 2017.
  • Purpose: These meetings are essential for fostering dialogue and cooperation among ASEAN member states and their Plus Group counterparts.

Inaugural ADMM Plus

  • Date: The inaugural ADMM Plus meeting took place on 12th October 2010.
  • Location: The historic event was hosted in Ha Noi, Vietnam.

2023 Participation

  • Participants: The 2023 edition of the exercise includes contingents from ASEAN member states and the Plus Group countries.

Noteworthy Facts

Preceding Event

  • Table Top Exercise: Before the field training exercise, a Table Top Exercise of ADMM Plus EWG on Counter-Terrorism was conducted.
    • Location: This exercise was held in Nay Pyi Taw, Myanmar.
    • Dates: The Table Top Exercise took place from 2nd to 4th August 2023.

Varanasi International Cricket Stadium

In a recent development that has garnered widespread attention, India's Prime Minister inaugurated the foundation stone-laying ceremony for a state-of-the-art International Cricket Stadium in Varanasi. This ambitious project is set to transform the sports infrastructure landscape in Uttar Pradesh and provide a world-class facility for cricket enthusiasts.

The Vision: A Modern International Cricket Stadium

The proposed stadium is not just another cricket ground; it aspires to be a modern international cricketing hub. Here are some key details about this upcoming facility:

Cost and Size

  • Cost: The stadium is estimated to cost around Rs 450 crores, a significant investment in sports infrastructure.
  • Area: Spanning more than 30 acres, the stadium boasts an extensive layout.
  • Capacity: With a seating capacity of 30,000 spectators, it promises to be a massive sporting arena.

Thematic Architecture Inspired by Lord Shiva

The stadium's architectural design draws inspiration from Lord Shiva, one of the most revered deities in Hinduism. This influence can be seen in several elements:

  • Crescent-shaped Roof: The stadium's roof is designed in a crescent shape, reflecting Lord Shiva's iconic moon adornment.
  • Trident-shaped Lights: The lighting fixtures are trident-shaped, symbolizing the trident held by Lord Shiva.
  • Ghat Steps-based Seating: Seating arrangements mimic the steps often found in ghats along the banks of the Ganges River.
  • Bilvipatra-shaped Metallic Sheets: The facade of the stadium features sheets shaped like bilva leaves, which hold immense significance in Lord Shiva's worship.

Why Build Such a Stadium?

Developing World-Class Sports Infrastructure

The construction of this stadium aligns with the broader vision of developing world-class sports infrastructure in India. It aims to promote cricket as a sport and provide players with top-notch facilities for training and competition.

The Key Players

Funding Sources

Several entities have come together to make this ambitious project a reality:

  • Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI): BCCI has allocated a substantial budget of ₹330 crores for the construction of the stadium, demonstrating their commitment to the development of cricket in India.
  • UP Government: The Uttar Pradesh government has contributed ₹121 crores for land acquisition, a crucial step in the stadium's development.

Where Is the Stadium Located?

Location: Ganjari, Rajatalab, Varanasi

The stadium's location in Ganjari, Rajatalab, Varanasi, is strategically chosen to cater to a wide audience in Uttar Pradesh. It is set to become a hub for cricket enthusiasts in the state.

When Can We Expect Completion?

Completion: December 2025

While there is still some time before the stadium is fully operational, the projected completion date is December 2025. This gives us something to look forward to in the world of cricket.

Interesting Facts About India's International Cricket Stadiums

India boasts a rich cricketing heritage, and it's home to a remarkable number of international cricket stadiums. Here are some noteworthy stadiums:

  • Total Stadiums: India boasts a total of 53 international cricket stadiums, the highest in the world.
  • Eden Gardens: Located in Kolkata, Eden Gardens is one of the most iconic cricket stadiums in India.
  • Wankhede Stadium: Mumbai's Wankhede Stadium has witnessed numerous historic cricketing moments.
  • Arun Jaitley Stadium: Situated in Delhi, this stadium is named in honor of the late Arun Jaitley, a prominent political figure.
  • M. A. Chidambaram Stadium: Chennai's M. A. Chidambaram Stadium is known for its passionate cricket-loving crowd.
  • M. Chinnaswamy Stadium: Located in Bangalore, this stadium is known for its electric atmosphere during matches.

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