UPSC Prelims News of 25 November 2022
Leith’s Soft-Shelled Turtle
Context: India has strengthened protection to Leith’s Soft-shelled Turtle under CITES.
About Leith’s soft-shelled turtle:
- Habitat: It is a large fresh water soft-shelled turtle which is endemic to peninsular India and can be found in rivers and reservoirs.
- Threats: The species has been poached and illegally consumed within India. It has also been illegally traded abroad for consumption.
- The population has declined by 90% in the last 30 years.
- CITES: India’s proposal to move the turtle from Appendix II to Appendix I of the CITES of wild fauna and flora, has been adopted by the Conference of Parties to CITES.
- The move will ensure that legal international trade in the species does not take place for commercial purposes.
- IUCN: It is classified as Critically Endangered.
- The species is listed on Schedule IV of the Wild Life (Protection) Act, 1972.
Context: India has successfully launched the Agni-III Intermediate Range Ballistic Missile from A.P.J. Abdul Kalam Island in Odisha.
- Agni-III is the third entrant in the Agni missile series and was test fired successfully in its second flight in 2007
- The missile is capable of carrying a nuclear warhead and hitting target 3,500 kilometres away.
The Agni-III missile’s strike range is between 1,000 km and 2,000 km.
- Features: The two-stage solid fuel missile is equipped with sophisticated navigation, guidance and control systems and advanced on-board computer systems.
- Agni-III is compact for easy mobility and flexible deployment on a number of surface and sub-surface platforms.
- It has a high range of circular error probable (CEP), due to which Agni-3 missile is known as the world’s most accurate strategic ballistic missile of its range class.
- A ballistic missile uses projectile motion to deliver warheads on a target. It is powered only for a brief period till it reaches a suitable height before coming down on the target.
Champions of the Earth Award
Context: Indian wildlife biologist Dr Purnima Devi Barman has been awarded with Champions of the Earth award in the Entrepreneurial vision category.
About the Award:
- Champions of the Earth is the UN’s highest environmental honour.
- It is an appreciation for innovative ways implemented by the awardees across the world to support nature’s extraordinary capacity for renewal.
Dr Purnima Devi Barman:
- She is an Indian wildlife biologist working in Assam to protect greater adjutant storks, which is the second-rarest stork species in the world.
- Their population has dropped to 1,200 today, due to degradation of their natural habitat.
- Dr Barman assembled a group of village women to help her and named the group as the ‘Hargila Army’.
- They began building tall bamboo nesting platforms for the endangered birds to hatch their eggs.
- The Hargila Army has helped communities plant 45,000 saplings near stork-nesting trees and wetland areas. They also work to reduce pollution in rivers by organising cleaning drives on the banks of rivers and in wetlands.
- Role in women upliftment: Dr Barman helped the women become financially independent by weaving looms and yarn. They create textiles decorated with motifs of the ‘hargila’.
Context: A three-day celebration of the 400th birth anniversary of the legendary Assamese general and folk hero Lachit Borphukan began in New Delhi.
About General Lachit Borphukan:
- Born on 24th November, 1622, Lachit Borphukan was an Army General of Ahom (Assam) Kingdom and is revered as the greatest military hero of Assam.
- He is known for his exemplary leadership in the Battle of Saraighat (1671), where the Ahoms defeated the Mughal forces.
- He excelled in the art of Guerrilla Warfare. And he was the inspiration behind strengthening India’s naval force and revitalizing inland water transport due to his great naval strategies.
- The Lachit Borphukan gold medal is awarded to the best cadet from the National Defence Academy. It was instituted in 1999 to inspire defence personnel to emulate Borphukan’s heroism and sacrifices.
About Battle of Saraighat:
- The battle was fought on the Brahmaputra River near Saraighat between the Mughal and the Ahom Kingdom in 1671.
- It was the last major attempt by the Mughals to extend their empire into Assam. It is regarded as one of the great battles fought.
- Ahom forces combined a frontal attack and a surprise attack from behind. They lured the Mughal fleet into moving ahead by feigning an attack with a few ships from the front.
- The Mughals vacated the waters behind them, from where the main Ahom fleet attacked and achieved a decisive victory.
- The battle was a decisive one but it didn’t bring the Mughal- Ahom conflict to an end. Later in the battle of Itakhuli in 1682, the Mughal presence in Assam came to an end.