Daily Current Affairs for 28th Sep 2023

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Why in news?

  • With the decadal growth rate of the elderly population of India estimated at 41% and its share of the total population projected to double to over 20% by 2050, the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), India, in its 2023 India Ageing Report, has said that by 2046, it is likely that the elderly population will have surpassed the population of children (aged up to 15) in the country.

Key findings of the report

  • Study says challenges facing India’s ageing population are the feminisation and ‘ruralisation’ of older population, and policies must be framed accordingly.
  • More than 40% of the elderly in India are in the poorest wealth quintile, with about 18.7% of them living without an income, the report said, adding that such levels of poverty may affect their quality of life and healthcare utilisation.
  • The report projected that the population of people aged 80 and above will grow at a rate of around 279% between 2022 and 2050 with a “predominance of widowed and highly dependent very old women” — a finding in line with the pattern across several nations.
  • The data showed that women, on an average, had a higher life expectancy at the age of 60 and 80 when compared with men — with variations across the States and Union Territories.
  • Further, the sex ratio (number of females per 1,000 males) among the elderly has been climbing steadily since 1991, while the ratio in the general population has been stagnating. Between 2011 and 2021, the ratio increased in India as a whole and across all regions, barring the Union Territories and western India.
  • In the northeast and the east, while the sex ratio of the elderly increased, it remained below 1,000 in both years, indicating that men still outnumber women in these regions even at 60-plus years.
  • Poverty is inherently gendered in old age when older women are more likely to be widowed, living alone, with no income and with fewer assets of their own, and fully dependent on family for support,” the report said, pointing out that the major challenges facing India’s ageing population are the feminisation and ‘ruralisation’ of this older population and that policies must be designed to suit their specific needs.

Variation in States

  • In Himachal Pradesh and Kerala, women at 60 have a life expectancy of 23 and 22 years, respectively, which is four years more than that of men at 60 in these States — as compared with the national average differential of only a year and a half, the report said.
  • Life expectancy of women at 60 is greater than 20 years in States such as Rajasthan, Haryana, Gujarat, Uttarakhand, Kerala, Himachal Pradesh, and the Union Territory of Jammu & Kashmir, raising concerns about their social and economic well-being.
  • The report noted that there was a significant inter-State variation in absolute levels and growth (and hence, share) of the elderly population as well, reflecting the different stages and pace of demographic transition across States.
  • Most States in the southern region and select northern States such as Himachal Pradesh and Punjab reported a higher share of the elderly population than the national average in 2021, a gap that is expected to widen by 2036, the report said.
  • While the States reporting higher fertility rates and lagging in demographic transition, including Bihar and Uttar Pradesh, expect to see an increase in the share of the elderly population between 2021 and 2036, the level will remain lower than the Indian average, the report said.
  • Compared with southern and western India, central and northeastern regions have States with younger groups as indicated by the ageing index.
  • In the southern region, the old-age dependency ratio (elderly people per 100 people between 15 and 59 years) was higher than the national average at around 20 as is true of western India at 17. Overall, Union Territories (13) and the north-eastern region (13) reflected lower old age dependency ratios.



Bihar’s second tiger reserve

Why in news?

  • Bihar is all set to get its second tiger reserve in Kaimur district by the end of the year or early 2024. The State is home to the Valmiki Tiger Reserve (VTR) in West Champaran district.

About the move

  • Officials of the State Forest Department said they are working on obtaining the National Tiger Conservation Authority’s (NTCA) approval for declaring Kaimur Wildlife Sanctuary as a tiger reserve.
  • The NTCA had, in principle, approved our proposal in July for the tiger reserve. The department has now started preparing for the final proposal to be sent to the NTCA for its formal approval.
  • As per an NTCA report, the tiger population in VTR at present stands at 54 as against 31 in 2018.

Dense forests

  • Kaimur district primarily comprises two landscapes — the hills, known as Kaimur plateau, and the plains on the west, which are flanked by the rivers Karmanasa and Durgavati.
  • It has a dense forest cover and is home to tigers, leopards and chinkaras.
  • The forests in Kaimur are the biggest in the State, spanning 1,134 sq km and including the 986-sq km Kaimur Wildlife Sanctuary.
  • At 34%, the district also has the highest green cover. The district shares boundaries with Jharkhand, Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh. Till 1995, tigers were regularly spotted in the Kaimur hills.



Tiger deaths in Nilgiris

Why in news?

  • A total of 10 tigers (six cubs and four adults) have died in the Nilgiris since the middle of August. The six tiger cubs died in two separate incidents, while the four adult tigers died in four separate events, with at least one suspected to have been poisoned. The inability of the state forest department to trace the whereabouts of the two mother tigresses has raised concerns among conservationists about the welfare of the animals.

Recent Incidents

  • The first reported tiger deaths occurred in the buffer zone of the Mudumalai Tiger Reserve (MTR) in Siriyur. They could have died due to starvation or umbilical infection.
  • The second death was of an adult tigress in the Naduvattam Range in the Nilgiris forest division, with officials suspecting that the tigress died due to injuries after fighting with another animal.
  • Another suspected incident of fighting is believed to have caused the death of the fourth tiger, the second adult, in the Kargudi forest range.
  • Two more tigers were found dead in Udhagai South Range near Avalanche in the Nilgiris Forest Division. One of the tigers, a sub-adult, was found with injury marks, indicating that it too died due to a fight with another animal. However, the larger male, found dead nearby, had no apparent injuries.
  • A search of the area led forest department staff to the carcass of a cow that had been preyed upon by the larger tiger. After an investigation, a man was arrested for poisoning the carcass of the cow in retaliation for the tiger hunting the animal.
  • In a final incident, four tiger cubs were found dead over the course of three days in Kadanad in the Nilgiris North Range.

Concerns of the conservationists

  • In February this year, the forest department arrested four poachers from Rajasthan who had allegedly poached a tiger in the areas surrounding Emerald Dam near Avalanche, a few kilometres away from where the two tigers were found dead.
  • In addition, the inability of the forest department to track down the two mothers of the six tiger cubs that died in Siriyur and Kadanad has raised concerns over their well-being. Camera traps and tiger trackers continue to look for the animals, but with little luck.

Reasons behind the deaths

  • The high density of tigers in the Mudumalai-Bandipur-Nagarhole complex of the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve is pushing populations into the surrounding habitats in the Mukurthi National Park, Nilgiris and Gudalur forest divisions.
  • This leads to increased competition between animals and more fighting, resulting in more deaths.
  • Conservationists worry that this increase in population could lead to more negative human-animal interactions in the near future.
  • They emphasise the need to regenerate degraded habitats that can be re-colonised by the tigers’ prey such as Sambar, spotted deer and the Indian gaur.

Officials Responses

  • To allay fears that poachers could be targeting tigers, the forest department plans to set up anti-poaching camps in six forest ranges surrounding the Mukurthi National Park.
  • There are also plans to begin annual monitoring of tiger populations in the Nilgiris Forest Division, with the population size, range of each individual animal and other parameters to be recorded for better management.
  • They have also increased perambulation of areas surrounding key tiger habitats in Mukurthi and Mudumalai.



Odisha Government Announces Own Tiger Census

Why in the news?

Recently, the Odisha government decided to conduct its own tiger census.

  • The announcement comes after the state questioned the findings of the All-India Tiger Estimation (AITE)2022.

Why a separate census?

  • Odisha government has questioned the findings of the All-India Tiger Estimation (AITE)2022, which said more than half the tigers Odisha had in 2016 had vanished.
  • Odisha Forest Department officials said the figures depicted in AITE-2022 might not be an accurate reflection of the presence, habitat occupancy and number of tigers in Odisha, as the sampling intensity was relatively low.

How will the census be conducted?

The survey will be carried out in four following phases:

  • Preparatory phase: Secondary information about tigers is collected from various sources, and the areas to be taken up for the ‘sign survey’ are finalised.
  • Sign survey: Indirect evidence like pugmarks and scats, scratch marks on the trees, rake marks, animal kills and the alarm call by prey animals will be collected along the pre-determined trails inside a census unit. Genetic analysis of the scat samples will also be done for identification of species and sex of the big cats.
  • Camera trap deployment: A minimum of five pairs of camera traps will be deployed in each grid of 25 sq/km for a period of 40 days.
  • Analysis and compilation: Analysis of camera trap images and DNA findings from scats will be done before the compilation of numbers.

What is the pugmark method?

  • The pugmark method is a traditional method of counting tigers that is still used in many parts of India. It involves identifying and counting individual tiger pugmarks.
  • The method is not perfect, but it is a relatively inexpensive and easy way to collect data on tiger populations.
  • Importance: The pugmark method will help the forest department in better deployment of camera traps, judicious deployment of forest personnel, and in creating micro plans for tiger conservation.

Do You Know?

  • The All-India Tiger Estimation (AITE) is conducted by the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA).
  • The AITE is a quadrennial exercise that is conducted in all tiger-bearing states in India.


The Odisha government’s decision to conduct its own tiger census is a welcome step. It is important to have accurate data on tiger populations in order to effectively manage and conserve these iconic animals.



Study On Neanderthals and Denisovans Genes

Why in the news?

Recently, researchers have linked Neanderthal DNA to a serious hand disease, the shape of people’s noses, and other human traits.

About the Study:

  • Researchers inserted a gene carried by Neanderthals and Denisovans into mice to investigate its effects on biology and found that it gave them larger heads and an extra rib.
  • Using new and rapidly improving technologies, scientists are piecing together fragments of ancient DNA and uncovering the genetic legacy of our extinct cousins.
  • They are finding that traits inherited from Neanderthals and Denisovans still affect us today, influencing our fertility, immune systems, and even how our bodies respond to diseases like COVID-19.

Who were Neanderthals and Denisovans?

  • Neanderthals and Denisovans were two closely related species of archaic humans that lived alongside our early Homo sapiens ancestors.
  • Neanderthals lived in Europe and Western Asia, while Denisovans lived in Asia. Both species went extinct tens of thousands of years ago

Significance of the Study:

  • Neanderthals and Denisovans, our ancient human cousins, once lived alongside our early Homo sapiens ancestors.
  • They interbred, and as a result, some of their DNA is still present in humans today.
  • Advances in finding and interpreting ancient DNA have allowed scientists to see things like genetic changes over time, which can help them understand how ancient humans adapted to their environments or were affected by random chance.


  • The study of Neanderthals and Denisovans is still a relatively new field, but it is one that is rapidly advancing. As scientists learn more about these ancient humans, we will gain a better understanding of our own origins and evolution.



Waheeda Rehman Receives the Dadasaheb Phalke Award

Why in the news?

Recently, Waheeda Rehman, a renowned Indian veteran actor, was bestowed with the prestigious Dadasaheb Phalke Lifetime Achievement Award for 2021.

  • The award will be presented during the 69th National Film Awards ceremony.

About the Dadasaheb Phalke Award

  • The Dadasaheb Phalke Award is the highest recognition for cinematic achievement in India.
  • It is named after Dadasaheb Phalke, who is considered to be the father of Indian cinema.
  • The award is presented annually by the Directorate of Film Festivals, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, Government of India.
  • The Dadasaheb Phalke Award is given to an individual who has made outstanding contributions to the growth and development of Indian cinema.

Waheeda Rehman’s career and achievements

  • Waheeda Rehman has had a long and illustrious career in Indian cinema, spanning over six decades.
  • She has starred in some of the most iconic films in Indian history, including Pyaasa (1957), Kaagaz Ke Phool (1959), Guide (1965), Khamoshi (1969), and Trishul (1978).
  • Her performances have been lauded for their grace, subtlety, and emotional depth.
  • In addition to her acting prowess, Waheeda Rehman is also known for her beauty and elegance. She is considered to be one of the most beautiful actresses to ever grace the Indian screen.
  • Waheeda Rehman is a recipient of numerous awards and accolades, including the National Award for Best Female Actor, the Padma Shri, and the Padma Bhushan. She is also a Fellow of the Sangeet Natak Akademi.

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