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Current Affairs 15th December 2023 for UPSC Prelims Exam

Koya Tribe

Context: To aid in the conservation efforts for the Indian Bison, the Koya tribe in Andhra Pradesh are now using palm leaves instead of traditional bison horns to create their customary flutes.

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About Koya Tribe

  • Distribution: The Koya population is concentrated in Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Odisha.
  • Language and Communication: They speak the Telugu, Koya language (which belongs to the Dravidian language family.)
  • Agricultural Practices: They practice Podu form of shifting cultivation, as practiced by various tribal groups in forest areas has for long been an economic survival versus environmental sustenance issue.
  • Worship and Deities: Their spiritual beliefs are deeply rooted in the reverence for female deities, with Mother Earth being of paramount importance.
    • Their pantheon also includes various deities from Hindu mythology such as .
  • Festivities and Rituals: The Medaram Jatara festival stands out as a significant cultural event, celebrating goddesses Sammakka and Saralamma, and is distinguished as Asia’s most considerable tribal festival.
    • Other festivals:
      • Vijji Pandum (seed-charming festival)
      • Kondala Kolupu (festival dedicated to appeasing Hill deities)
      • Bhumi Panduga (commencement of the agricultural season)
    • Dance Traditions: Koyas perform a robust colourful dance called Permakok ata (Bison horn dance) during festivals and marriage ceremonies.
    • Status: They held ST status in Chattisgarh but they were not granted ST status in their migrated states such as Telangana.

Food Security and Nutrition Report 2023

Context: Recently, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) released a report titled “Asia and the Pacific – Regional Overview of Food Security and Nutrition 2023: Statistics and Trend”.

Key Highlights of the FAO Report


  • Food affordability:1% of Indians couldn’t afford a healthy diet in 2021, down from 76.2% in 2020. Rising food costs remain a major concern.
  • Undernourishment:6% of the population is undernourished, with significant economic and social costs.
  • Food insecurity: The prevalence of moderate/severe and severe food insecurity is lower than the global average, but Southern Asia has higher rates than Eastern Asia.
  • Child health: % of children under five suffer from stunting, the highest rate in the region.
    • 7% suffer from wasting, and 2.8% are overweight.
  • Anaemia: 53% of women aged 15-49 have anaemia, the highest rate in Asia-Pacific.
  • Obesity: Adult obesity has increased from 1.6% in 2000 to 3.9% in 2016.
  • Breastfeeding: Exclusive breastfeeding among infants 0-5 months is at 63.7%, higher than the global average.
  • Low birthweight: India has the highest prevalence in the region (27.4%).

Findings with Respect to the Asia-Pacific Region:

  • Undernourishment Reduction: The prevalence of undernourishment in the Asia-Pacific region decreased to 8.4% in 2022 from 8.8% in 2021.
    • Overall Undernourishment: The Asia-Pacific region houses 370.7 million undernourished people, representing half of the global total.
  • Severe Food Insecurity: The region accounts for half of the world’s severe food insecurity, with more women than men affected.
    • Gender Disparity: In every subregion except Eastern Asia, women fared worse than men. About 10% of women faced severe food insecurity, while 25% faced moderate insecurity.
    • Cost of a Healthy Diet: The average cost of a healthy diet in the Asia-Pacific was estimated at 4.15 purchasing power parity dollars per person per day.
  • Subregional Differences:
    • Southern Asia: This area has the most severe food insecurity, with nearly 314 million undernourished people (85% of the region’s total).
    • Eastern Asia: Shows the lowest prevalence of severe food insecurity.
  • Impact of COVID-19 and the 5Fs Crisis: The pandemic and the subsequent crises in Food, Feed, Fuel, Fertilisers, and Finance have significantly impacted the region, exacerbating food insecurity and undernourishment.
  • Comparison with Global Figures: The region has shown lower prevalence rates for both moderate or severe and severe food insecurity compared with global rates since 2015, except for Southern Asia which has higher percentages.
Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO)
  • It is a specialised branch of the United Nations, primarily focusing on the global campaign against hunger.
  • Established on October 16, 1945, this date is commemorated annually as World Food Day worldwide.
  • The organization’s headquarters are located in Rome, Italy, and it operates alongside its sibling entities, the World Food Programme (WFP) and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD).

Key Initiatives and Projects:

  • The FAO has introduced the Globally Important Agricultural Heritage Systems (GIAHS) initiative, emphasising the preservation of traditional agricultural systems.
  • It plays a critical role in monitoring the global Desert Locust situation, which is vital for preventing potential food crises.
  • The Codex Alimentarius Commission (CAC), operated jointly with the World Health Organization (WHO), focuses on global food standards.
  • The FAO facilitated the creation of the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture, which was adopted in 2001.

Flagship Publications:

  • The State of World Fisheries and Aquaculture” (SOFIA), providing insights into global aquaculture and fisheries.
  • The State of the World’s Forests” (SOFO), which looks into forest resources and their management.
  • “The State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World” (SOFI),
  • “The State of Food and Agriculture” (SOFA),
  • “The State of Agricultural Commodity Markets” (SOCO), analysing the global commodity markets and their impact on food security and sustainable development.

Saiga – Species in News

Context: The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List has recently reclassified the status of the Saiga Antelope (Saiga tatarica) from Critically Endangered to Near Threatened.

About Saiga Antelope

Aspect Details
Species Overview The saiga antelope, a distinctive Eurasian steppe-dwelling herbivore, is recognized for its large, migratory, and nomadic nature.
Geographic Distribution Habitats span across Kazakhstan, Mongolia, Russia, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan.
  • Part of the Bovidae family within the Artiodactyla order
  • It includes two subspecies: Saiga tatarica tatarica (widespread) and Saiga tatarica mongolica (Mongolia-specific).
Habitat Characteristics Prefers flat, open terrains with sparse vegetation, conducive to swift movement.
Physical Features Notable for its peculiar hanging nose, resembling a camel but with the size of a goat, and males bearing horns.
Population Decline Post-1991 Soviet Union collapsed, the population plummeted by over 95% due to poaching for meat and horns (used in traditional Chinese medicine) and a devastating 2015 epidemic.
Conservation Efforts
  • Positive global Red List status changes have been achieved through concerted conservation efforts.
  • Kazakhstan has led with anti-poaching measures, law enforcement, and establishment of Protected Areas.
  • CMS (Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals) plays a pivotal role in international cooperation for Saiga conservation.
Population Recovery The global population has rebounded to over 1.9 million, with the Mongolian subspecies showing significant recovery (15,540 individuals as per the 2023 census).
Continued Threats Challenges include poaching, illegal trade, disease, climate change impacts, habitat disturbance, and infrastructure development.

House Security laws in Lok Sabha

Context: In a recent incident at the Lok Sabha, India’s lower house of Parliament, two individuals caused a significant security breach.

Regulation of Visitors in Lok Sabha: Rules and Procedures

  • Rule 386 – Admission Regulations: Overseen by the Speaker, this rule regulates non-member admission to Lok Sabha areas not reserved for members.
  • Rule 387 – Speaker’s Authority: Grants the Speaker the power to remove visitors from any part of the House.

Entry Process for Visitors

  • Requesting Entry: Visitors, including academics and the public, obtain entry through MPs, observing legislative processes.
  • MPs’ Responsibility: MPs must personally endorse visitors, taking full accountability for them.
  • Visitor Cards: Issued specifically for certain dates and times, sometimes in duplicate for special cases.
  • Identification Requirement: Visitors must carry photo ID.
  • Gallery Access: Public and Speaker’s galleries available, with limited access facilitated by MPs and Speaker’s approval for the latter.
  • Members’ Accountability: MPs responsible for any issues related to their guests, advised to exercise caution. Similar rules apply for Rajya Sabha.

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