Changpas, Scab Disease (Venturia Inaequalis) , National Vulture Conservation Action Plan (2020 - 25) , and Agriculture (DTE 16 - 31 December 2020)

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The Changpas
  • The weather, however, has changed in the past few decades. The winters and summers are warmer, and there is a perceptive decline in precipitation and snowfall between November and March. This has drastically reduced the size of the grazing grounds.
  • Changpas are among the world՚s primary suppliers of cashmere wool, which comes from the pashmina or Changthangi goat՚s undercoat. This undercoat is at its maximum length in winter, and the Changpas shear in early spring ensuring the goats are not harmed. In recent times, say the Changpas, warmer winters have lowered the quality of the animal wool.
  • Rebo, a tent made using yak wool. The material, erected over a half-a-metre-deep pit and held in place by wooden posts, protects from icy winds. Each rebo houses a family. Now use army tents procured from Leh.
  • Sudden and intense snowfall can kill pashmina goats. Such incidents are rising across the Changthang plateau.

Scab Disease (Venturia Inaequalis)

  • Infested apple production in Kashmir
  • Asia՚s largest fruit mandi in Sopore district
  • Extreme snowfall in Nov 2019 + wet monsoon
  • Brazil lost Amazonian rainforest equal to the size of Jamaica between August 1,2019 and July 31,2020, according to data released by the Brazilian National Institute of Space Research. Nearly 11,088 km2 of rainforest were deforested in this period, an increase of 9.5 % from deforestation witnessed in the same months in 2018 - 19.

National Vulture Conservation Action Plan (2020 - 25)

  • Most common vultures - oriental white-backed, long-billed, and slender-billed declined by more than 96 % in a decade (1993 - 2003)
  • Reason: diclofenac, a non-steroidal drug given to cattle to treat inflammation – caused kidney failure in vultures
  • In 2006,1st vulture conservation plan - banned the veterinary use of diclofenac
  • 8 breeding centers: Pinjore (Haryana) , Rajabhatkhawa (West Bengal) , Rani (Assam) , Van Vihar (Madhya Pradesh) , Nandankanan Zoo (Odisha) , Nehru Zoological Park (Telangana) , Muta Zoo (Jharkhand) and Sakkarbagh Zoo (Gujarat) .
  • In 2015, it restricted the vial size of diclofenac formulation for humans to 3 ml to check its use by the veterinarian, who need much higher dosage for treating cattle. It was also made a schedule H drug (under the Drug and Cosmetics Act 1940) , which means it cannot be sold without a doctor՚s prescription.
  • Vultures are considered safe if the prevalence of diclofenac in cattle carcasses drops to below 1 %
  • 3 more drugs - ketoprofen, nimesulide and aceclofenac — which are toxic to vultures are still used
  • Prakash was the first scientist to quantify the population crash at the Keoladeo National Park in Bharatpur, Rajasthan
  • New plan: It has suggested diclofenac be considered as a schedule X drug, which makes it mandatory for a chemist to retain a copy of the prescriptions against which diclofenac is sold. The copies need to be produced when the sales records are audited. It suggests that DCGI should institute a system that automatically removes a drug from veterinary use if it is found to be toxic to vultures. Aims to promote safe alternative drugs such as meloxicam and tolfenamic.
  • India has over nine vulture species and most states have at least six of them
  • Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Assam, Jharkhand and Tamil Nadu — have set up these vulture safe zones
  • Critically endangered – red headed, long billed, slender billed & oriental white backed vulture
  • Near threatened – breaded and Himalayan vulture
  • Threatened – Egyptian vulture.


  • Record-breaking production in the kharif (monsoon) season despite the pandemic
  • Rabi crop area has increased by 4 %
  • Agriculture՚s contribution to the economy in the first half of the current fiscal year — a gross value added worth 834,897 crore — remains the sector՚s highest contribution in the past three year
  • 2020 witnessed historic harvest; only sector to grow during pandemic
  • Widening geography of farmers protests - In February 2020, Goa՚s sugar-cane farmers staged protests. Distress among farmers in the Northeast, too, has been on the rise. In Assam, agrarian agitation increased by nine times between 2016 and 2018. In 2018, the state reported 37 cases of agrarian agitation as compared to just four in 2016. Manipur and Tripura, with no recorded protest by farmers from 2016 - 2018, reported agitations in 2020.

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