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Current Affairs 12th April 2024 for UPSC Prelims Exam

Statue of Valour

Context: The 125-foot statue of Ahom general Lachit Borphukan in Assam symbolises local pride and influences political dynamics amid elections.

The Statue of Valour: A Tribute to Lachit Borphukan

  • Location: Jorhat district, eastern Assam (at Lachit Borphukan’s maidan)
  • Description: 125-foot bronze statue of Ahom general Lachit Borphukan
  • Sculptor: Ram Vanji Sutar (Padma Bhushan awardee, also sculpted the Statue of Unity)
  • Significance: Part of the Lachit Borphukan Maidam Development Project, which includes a museum, auditorium, and hostel.

Current Affairs 12th April 2024 for UPSC Prelims Exam_4.1

About Lachit Borphukan

Aspect Details
Role General of the Ahom Dynasty
Birth Year 1622
Military Skills Skilled commander, expert in guerrilla warfare
Career Progression Rose to commander-in-chief of the Ahom army (appointed by Prataap Singha.)
Notable Achievement Led Ahom victory in the Battle of Saraighat, 1671
Death 1672, at age 50
Legacy Renowned for military prowess and strategic brilliance
INS Lachit Indian Navy’s guided-missile destroyer named in honour
Lachit Divas Celebrated annually on November 24th in Assam.
Lachit Borphukan Gold Medal ●        Introduced in the year 1999.

●        Awarded to all those cadets of the National Defence Academy who perform at their highest level.


Battle of Saraighat, 1671
  • Fought on the Brahmaputra River, the Battle of Saraighat marked a decisive victory for the Ahom kingdom against the Mughal Empire.
  • At that time, Aurangzeb was the ruler of the Mughal Empire and the Mughal army headed by Raja Ram Singh-I (son of Mirza Raja Jai Singh) fought with the Ahom Kingdom led by Lachit Borphukan in Saraighat, Guwahati.
  • The Ahoms employed innovative naval tactics to overpower the Mughals, effectively safeguarding their sovereignty and territorial integrity.

Wayanad Sanctuary

Context: Nearly 100 hectares of woodland were destroyed in a fire within the Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary’s Sulthan Bathery forest area.

About Wayanad Sanctuary

  • Location: Kerala, India
  • Established: 1973
  • Significance:
    • Part of the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve – the first biosphere reserve in India included in the UNESCO World Network of Biosphere Reserves (2012)
    • Connects to three tiger reserves: Nagarhole and Bandipur (Karnataka) and Mudumalai (Tamil Nadu)
  • Area: 44 sq km
  • Water Source: Kabini River (a tributary of Cauvery River)
  • Forest Types:
    • South Indian Moist Deciduous
    • West Coast Semi-Evergreen
    • Plantations (teak, eucalyptus, Grewelia)
  • Wildlife:
    • Mammals: Elephant, Gaur, Tiger, Panther, Sambar, Spotted Deer, Barking Deer, Wild Boar, Sloth Bear, Langurs (Nilgiri, Bonnet Macaque, Common), Wild Dog, Otter, Malabar Giant Squirrel etc.

Invasive Alien Species

Context: The administration of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands sought assistance from the Wildlife Institute of India to manage the overpopulation of chital deer on Ross Island (Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose Island).

Chital, introduced by the British in the early 20th century, have no natural predators on the islands and have become an invasive species, spreading across the Andaman archipelago.

About  Invasive Alien Species (IAS)

  • According to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), IAS are species introduced outside their natural distribution that threaten biodiversity.
  • Characteristics of IAS include their ability to arrive, survive, and thrive in new environments by reproducing quickly and outcompeting native species for resources.
  • In India:
    • Under the amended Wildlife Protection Act, 1972 (2022), IAS are defined as non-native species whose introduction or spread could negatively impact native wildlife or habitats in India. However, this definition does not cover invasive species only in certain regions within India, such as the chital in the Andamans.
  • Examples of Invasive Wildlife in India:
    • Fish: African catfish, Nile tilapia, red-bellied piranha, and alligator gar.
    • Turtles: Red-eared slider, which is a common exotic pet that competes with local species for food and habitat.

Specific Cases and Studies:

  • Red-eared sliders were seized by the Customs Air Intelligence Unit at Trichy International Airport, with 6,850 live turtles found in June of the previous year.
  • The African catfish, introduced for aquaculture, is now found in major rivers and lakes across India and is impacting local aquatic ecosystems.


  • Native Flora and Fauna:
    • Invasive species like the chital deer disrupt local ecosystems and food chains, leading to dominance over native species and affecting the regeneration of native vegetation.
    • The African catfish in Keoladeo Park, Rajasthan, preys on waterfowl and migratory birds.
  • Economic Impact of IAS:
    • A 2023 report by the Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) highlighted that invasive species cause significant economic costs, estimated at over $423 billion annually worldwide as of 2019.
    • The cotton mealy bug, an invasive species in India, has severely impacted cotton yields in the Deccan region.

Examples, Data and Case Studies for Value Addition

  • Conservation (GS 3): The New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC) initiated a ‘tree ambulance’ service.
    • The launch aims to preserve and boost New Delhi’s urban forestry.
    • This service is dedicated to providing care for trees suffering from diseases, insect infestations, and mite attacks.
  • Cyber Security (GS 3): India ranked 10th in the global rankings for cybercrime, as reported in PLoS ONE journal.
    • Russia is at the top of this index, with the most frequently occurring cybercrime being frauds related to advance fee payments.

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