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Wanchuwa Festival

Paper : General Studies 1, Prelims Specific

Why in news?

Wanchua festival is being celebrated in Assam by the Tiwa tribe.

About the festival

  • Wanchuwa festival is one of the most important festivals in the Karbi Anglong district of Assam.
  • It is linked with agriculture, the mainstay of their economy.
  • The Tiwas tribe from Karbi Anglong district of Assam celebrate it.
  • Tiwas pray for a bountiful harvest and crop protection from natural calamities and pests.
  • Pigs’ skulls and bones are used as deities and are preserved through many generations.
  • Tiwa is a major tribe of Assam state who practice Jhum or shifting cultivation for their living in the hills.



WHO for eliminating industrially produced trans fats by 2023

Paper : General Studies 2, General Studies 3

Why in news?

  • WHO has partnered with International Food and Beverage Alliance (IFBA) to achieve the target of eliminating trans fats from industrially produced global food supply by 2023.

What are trans-fats?

  • Trans fat, also called trans-unsaturated fatty acids or trans fatty acids, is a type of unsaturated fat that occurs in small amounts in nature, but became widely produced industrially from vegetable fats starting in the 1950s for use in margarine, snack food, packaged baked goods, and for frying fast food.
  • Trans fatty acids both raise the ‘bad’ (LDL) cholesterol and lower the ‘good’ (HDL) cholesterol levels in blood, markedly increasing the risk of heart disease.
  • LDL (low density lipoprotein) cholesterol is called “bad” cholesterol because elevated levels of LDL cholesterol are associated with an increased risk of stroke, peripheral artery disease, or coronary heart disease (atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease, ASCVD).


Pit viper discovered in Arunachal Pradesh

Paper : Prelims Specific

Why in news?

  • A new species of reddish-brown pit viper – a venomous snake with a unique heat sensing system – was discovered from a forest in West Kameng district of Arunachal Pradesh.
  • It has been named Arunachal Pit Viper (Trimeresurus arunachalensis)
  • It makes Arunachal Pradesh the only Indian state to have a pit viper named after it.
  • It is India’s fifth brown pit viper after Malabar, horseshoe, hump-nosed and Himalayan species.

Centre’s panel to seek 8-10% OBC sub-quota

Paper : General Studies 2

Why in news?

  • The commission to examine sub-categorisation of Other Backward Classes is all set to recommend a fixed quota, possibly between 8 and 10 per cent or one-third of the 27 per cent OBC quota for about 1,900 of the 2,633 castes on the central list
  • Presently, half of these 1,900-odd castes have availed less than three per cent of reservation in jobs and education, and the rest availed zero benefits during the last five years.


About the Commission

  • The central government had appointed the Commission under Justice (Retd) G Rohini on October 2, 2017, and after several extensions to its term, its report is almost complete in time for the expiry of its term on May 31.
  • This is the first government-mandated exercise to quantify the skewed flow of benefits among different OBC communities and suggest steps to correct the imbalance.
  • In addition to fixed quotas within quotas, a significant recommendation of the Commission is that the classification is based on relative benefits availed and not relative social backwardness, which involves parameters such as social status, traditional occupations, religion, etc.


Coastal Regulation Zone norms flouted, SC orders demolition

Paper : General Studies 2, General Studies 3

Why in news?

The Supreme Court on Wednesday ordered demolition of five apartment complexes in Maradu municipality in Ernakulam district of Kerala for flouting Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) norms.

What are CRZ norms?

  • With the objective of conservation and protection of the coastal environment, Ministry of Environment and Forest and Climate Change notified the Coastal Regulation Zone Notification in 1991, which was subsequently revised in 2011.
  • These are regulations that moderate development along coastal areas and deal with issues such as construction, economic activity and transport.
  • CRZ norms have been modified in 2018 after the recommendations of the Shailesh Nayak Committee, 2015.


What are the salient features of the CRZ norms, 2018?

  • As per CRZ, 2011 Notification, for CRZ-II (Urban) areas, Floor Space Index (FSI) or the Floor Area Ratio (FAR) had been frozen as per 1991 Development Control Regulation (DCR) levels. In the CRZ, 2018 Notification, it has been decided to de-freeze the same and permit FSI for construction projects, as prevailing on the date of the new Notification. This will enable redevelopment of these areas to meet the emerging needs.
  • For CRZ-III (Rural) areas, two separate categories have now been stipulated as below:
  1. CRZ-III A – These are densely populated rural areas with a population density of 2161 per square kilometre as per 2011 Census. Such areas shall have a No Development Zone (NDZ) of 50 meters from the HTL as against 200 meters from the High Tide Line stipulated in the CRZ Notification, 2011 since such areas have similar characteristics as urban areas.
  2. CRZ-III B – Rural areas with population density of below 2161 per square kilometre as per 2011 Census. Such areas shall continue to have an NDZ of 200 meters from the HTL.
  • Temporary tourism facilities such as shacks, toilet blocks, change rooms, drinking water facilities etc. have now been permitted in Beaches. Such temporary tourism facilities are also now permissible in the “No Development Zone” (NDZ) of the CRZ-III areas as per the Notification. However, a minimum distance of 10 m from HTL should be maintained for setting up of such facilities.
  • The procedure for CRZ clearances has been streamlined. Only such projects/activities, which are located in the CRZ-I (Ecologically Sensitive Areas) and CRZ IV (area covered between Low Tide Line and 12 Nautical Miles seaward) shall be dealt with for CRZ clearance by the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change. The powers for clearances with respect to CRZ-II and III have been delegated at the State level with necessary guidance.
  • For islands close to the mainland coast and for all Backwater Islands in the main land, in wake of space limitations and unique geography of such regions, bringing uniformity in treatment of such regions, NDZ of 20 m has been stipulated.
  • All Ecologically Sensitive Areas have been accorded special importance: Specific guidelines related to their conservation and management plans have been drawn up as a part of the CRZ Notification.
  • In order to address pollution in Coastal areas treatment facilities have been made permissible activities in CRZ-I B area subject to necessary safeguards.
  • Defence and strategic projects have been accorded necessary dispensation.


Iran rolls back nuclear nuclear pledges

Paper : General Studies 2


Why in news?

  • Stopping short of violating its 2015 nuclear pact with world powers, Iran announced Wednesday that it’s scaling back curbs to its nuclear programme.
  • Stop sales of enriched uranium and heavy water to other countries which was allowed and helped it to reduce its stockpiles
  • Iran has also given a 60 day deadline to other signatories of the JCPOA for action to avoid US sanctions.


To read more on the issue, read current affairs for April 23, 2019