Must Read

biggest-plant-conservation-report-of-its-kind-released-will-it-cure-plant-blindness-as-well-

Biggest plant conservation report of its kind released: Will it cure Plant Blindness as well?

One of the biggest reports on plant species conservation in India was on Sunday released making Uttarakhand the first state to release a unique report highlighting its conservation efforts to save over 1,145 rare plants from extinction.

 

The research and conservation project was conducted and compiled by the whistleblower IFS officer Sanjiv Chaturvedi and his team of bright budding researchers. As per the report as many as 1,145 plant species have been conserved out of which 46 species are endemic to Uttarakhand and 68 species are rare, endangered or threatened, under the red list of International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) or under state biodiversity board.

 

It covers all classes of plants - tree, shrub, herb, bamboo, wild climbers, fern, orchid, grass, cane, alpine flowers, palm, cycad, cactus, succulent, aquatic species, insectivorous plants and even lower plants like moss, lichen and algae, which have been documented, classified and conserved for the first time.

 

The project aimed at germplasm conservation so that species remain conserved with the forest department even if they disappear from their natural habitat in the wild. Conservation of endemic species is considered to be particularly important as they exist in one geographical region only.

 

The conservation programme includes herbs like Ashwagandha, Giloy, Kalmegh and Chitrak, Brahmkamal and mythological ‘Sanjeevani’ herb as well. Brahmkamal, the state flower of Uttarakhand is considered sacred. It is found at over 12,000 feet altitude in the Himalayan region bordering China, It is used as antiseptic and for treatment of other ailments.

 

Sanjeevani (Selaginella bryopteris) is another rare herb which has found a mention in Ramayan. Similarly, Thuner (Taxusbaccata), a tree found at very high altitude in Himalayan region and at the verge of extinction because of extraction of ‘taxol’, used in treating breast cancer, and Bhojpatra -- a holy tree on the bark of which ancient scriptures were written -- being the last species in tree line, are also conserved by the Uttarakhand forest department. Bhojpatra (Betulautilis) is found in the Himalayan region at around 10,000 ft altitude, before the start of glaciers.

 

Some of the famous and endangered plant species conserved are Chandan, Raktchandan, Ritha, Vajradanti, Jatamasi, Dhoop, Badritulsi, Sita Ashok, Mithavish, Sarpgandha, Brahmi, Salampanja (orchid), Kalmegha, and Buransh among others.

 

The project gathers importance because the present extinction rate of plant species has reached up to 5-7 species per year. Chaturvedi said that the ambitious conservation endeavor would end ‘plant blindness’, a term coined by US botanist Elisabeth Schussler and James Wandersee in 1998, which underlines the ironies of forest conservation regime. Presently most of the conservation efforts and public attention, funds are diverted into the conservation of glamorous megafauna species like tiger, elephant etc, completely neglecting plant conservation while they play a much more important ecological role. Chaturvedi further added that plants play a more important role in sustaining human life in terms of carbon sequestration, the supply of oxygen, air purification, for food security in terms of the gene pool of wild species, and providing valuable biochemical and bio-molecules in preparation of various medicines.

2 minutes ago
cbi-alerts-beware-of-malicious-softwares-and-mobile-apps

CBI alerts: Beware of malicious softwares and mobile apps

Based on inputs received from INTERPOL, CBI issued an alert against Cerberus; a banking Trojan. The malicious software takes advantage of COVID-19 Pandemic to impersonate and send SMS using the lure of COVID-19 related content to download the embedded malicious link, which deploys its malicious app usually spread via phishing campaigns to trick users into installing it on their smartphones.

 

This Trojan primarily focuses on stealing financial data such as credit card numbers. In addition, it can use overlay attacks to trick victims into providing personal information and can capture two-factor authentication details.

24 May 2020
biggest-plant-conservation-report-of-its-kind-released-will-it-cure-plant-blindness-as-well-

Biggest plant conservation report of its kind released: Will it cure Plant Blindness as well?

By Rakesh Ranjan 2 minutes ago

One of the biggest reports on plant species conservation in India was on Sunday released making Uttarakhand the first state to release a unique report highlighting its conservation efforts to save over 1,145 rare plants from extinction.

 

The research and conservation project was conducted and compiled by the whistleblower IFS officer Sanjiv Chaturvedi and his team of bright budding researchers. As per the report as many as 1,145 plant species have been conserved out of which 46 species are endemic to Uttarakhand and 68 species are rare, endangered or threatened, under the red list of International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) or under state biodiversity board.

 

It covers all classes of plants - tree, shrub, herb, bamboo, wild climbers, fern, orchid, grass, cane, alpine flowers, palm, cycad, cactus, succulent, aquatic species, insectivorous plants and even lower plants like moss, lichen and algae, which have been documented, classified and conserved for the first time.

 

The project aimed at germplasm conservation so that species remain conserved with the forest department even if they disappear from their natural habitat in the wild. Conservation of endemic species is considered to be particularly important as they exist in one geographical region only.

 

The conservation programme includes herbs like Ashwagandha, Giloy, Kalmegh and Chitrak, Brahmkamal and mythological ‘Sanjeevani’ herb as well. Brahmkamal, the state flower of Uttarakhand is considered sacred. It is found at over 12,000 feet altitude in the Himalayan region bordering China, It is used as antiseptic and for treatment of other ailments.

 

Sanjeevani (Selaginella bryopteris) is another rare herb which has found a mention in Ramayan. Similarly, Thuner (Taxusbaccata), a tree found at very high altitude in Himalayan region and at the verge of extinction because of extraction of ‘taxol’, used in treating breast cancer, and Bhojpatra -- a holy tree on the bark of which ancient scriptures were written -- being the last species in tree line, are also conserved by the Uttarakhand forest department. Bhojpatra (Betulautilis) is found in the Himalayan region at around 10,000 ft altitude, before the start of glaciers.

 

Some of the famous and endangered plant species conserved are Chandan, Raktchandan, Ritha, Vajradanti, Jatamasi, Dhoop, Badritulsi, Sita Ashok, Mithavish, Sarpgandha, Brahmi, Salampanja (orchid), Kalmegha, and Buransh among others.

 

The project gathers importance because the present extinction rate of plant species has reached up to 5-7 species per year. Chaturvedi said that the ambitious conservation endeavor would end ‘plant blindness’, a term coined by US botanist Elisabeth Schussler and James Wandersee in 1998, which underlines the ironies of forest conservation regime. Presently most of the conservation efforts and public attention, funds are diverted into the conservation of glamorous megafauna species like tiger, elephant etc, completely neglecting plant conservation while they play a much more important ecological role. Chaturvedi further added that plants play a more important role in sustaining human life in terms of carbon sequestration, the supply of oxygen, air purification, for food security in terms of the gene pool of wild species, and providing valuable biochemical and bio-molecules in preparation of various medicines.

cbi-alerts-beware-of-malicious-softwares-and-mobile-apps

CBI alerts: Beware of malicious softwares and mobile apps

By IndianMandarins 24 May 2020

Based on inputs received from INTERPOL, CBI issued an alert against Cerberus; a banking Trojan. The malicious software takes advantage of COVID-19 Pandemic to impersonate and send SMS using the lure of COVID-19 related content to download the embedded malicious link, which deploys its malicious app usually spread via phishing campaigns to trick users into installing it on their smartphones.

 

This Trojan primarily focuses on stealing financial data such as credit card numbers. In addition, it can use overlay attacks to trick victims into providing personal information and can capture two-factor authentication details.

andhra-hc-revokes-suspension-of-former-state-intelligence-chief

Andhra HC revokes suspension of former state intelligence chief

By IndianMandarins 23 May 2020

Andhra Pradesh High Court on May 22 revoked the suspension of former state intelligence chief A B Venkateshwar Rao (IPS:1989:AP) and directed the state government to take him back into service.

The HC ruled on a petition filed by the DGP rank officer challenging his suspension by Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy government on February 8, 2020.

The HC also set aside the order of CAT which upheld the suspension of Rao. It ruled that the IPS officer be paid a full salary for the period of suspension. Rao was suspended for his alleged irregularities in the procurement of security equipment from an Israeli company during the TDP regime.

But the Jagan Mohan Reddy government alleged Rao of colluding with Israeli defence equipment manufacturing firm RT Inflatables Pvt Ltd to illegally award critical intelligence and surveillance contract to his son Chetan Sai Krishna, who is the CEO of Akasam Advanced Systems Pvt Ltd. The government also alleged Rao for willfully disclosing intelligence protocols and procedures of police to the foreign defence manufacturing firm.

brazen-discrimination-in-railway-board-is-pmo-watching-

Brazen discrimination in Railway Board: Is PMO watching?

By IndianMandarins 23 May 2020

During the COVID crisis, when officers are not able to travel and present their cases to higher authorities, the Chairman Railway Board is being blamed by several officers for discrimination and departmentalism; though Railway itself is a department comprising various cadres and services. While blaming the CRB they talk facts and examples as well.

The Appointments Committee of the Cabinet, headed by Prime Minister, approved the promotion of four Mechanical officers to the grade of Additional Member, which is a post equivalent to General Managers. Yet, one officer, A K Kathpal, the Principal Chief Mechanical Engineer of ICF, has been denied the elevation on the ground that there is a Vigilance case against him.

Even as the spate of vigilance cases against ICF officers involved in making the Train 18 have reached nowhere near conclusion, just a case in the initial stage is being used as a ploy to deny promotion to a senior officer.

The rules in this matter are very clear. Unless the vigilance case has reached finality and unless the Central Vigilance Commission has recommenced departmental proceedings against an officer, he cannot be denied promotion. Further, aas per CVC guidelines any complaint within 6 months of vacancy is not to be taken cognizance of.

In  Kathpal’s case the DPC was sent to ACC in April 2020 whereas the vigilance case now cited is much earlier. His case has not even been sent to the CVC. Yet, his promotion has been withheld and the Railway Ministry is planning to send a report to the ACC that Kathpal cannot be promoted. It is a complete mockery of ACC though it is unlikely that the ACC will agree to this nefarious design since the vigilance case existed against Kathpal even when his name was sent for empanelment as an Additional Member to the ACC.

The so-called ‘ism’, if any, is clear from the fact that the same yardstick has not been applied in the case of Electrical Officers. N K Gupta, the Principal Chief Electrical Engineer of ICF was promoted to Additional Member grade even when there were two vigilance cases pending against him. D P Dash, another Electrical officer, who was the Chief Electrical Design Engineer of ICF also had two vigilance cases against him, yet he was granted the Higher Administrative Grade. Two more Electrical Officers of ICF, Amitabh Singhal and Praveen Chauhan were promoted to Senior Administrative Grade in spite of vigilance cases against them.

O P Khare, a Stores Officer, who was the Principal Chief Materials Manager of ICF was allowed to retire with full benefits even as he had a vigilance case against him. 

The ‘ism’ is also evident from his propensity to post Electrical Officers on key posts not identified for the Electrical department. Sudhir Kumar an Additional Member in Railway Board is holding three posts of Additional Members, Planning, Electrification and Transformation. Navin Kumar, another Electrical Officer is holding two posts of Establishment Branch, Executive Director Gazetted Cadre and Joint Secretary Confidential, posts which were traditionally held by Personnel department officers. Yet another Electrical Officer, P C Lochab, is occupying the Establishment post of Railway Sports Control Board.

It is being said that Kathpal’s promotion is being denied to build a precedent to deny promotion to another Mechanical officer to the post to Additional Member or Secretary Railway Board. If the ACC agrees to these manipulations of the Ministry of Railways, it will not only be demoralizing for the officers in general,  it will also violate existing rules on vigilance cases.

group-a-officers-need-not-submit-a-medical-report-this-year-for-apar

Group A officers need not submit a medical report this year for APAR

By IndianMandarins 23 May 2020

The government has ordered to delink recording of annual performance appraisal reports of Group A officers from submission of summary of medical report for year 2019-20 in view of COVID-19 pandemic.

It has been decided by the ministry of personal to delink the submission of summary of Medical Report from recording and completion of APAR for the year 2019-20. The timeline for conducting of Annual Medical Examination and thereafter submitting the summary of the Medical Report for the year 2019-20 is extended up to December 31, 2020.

The ministry of personal already extended dates for initiation and completion of the central government employees’ APARs due to coronavirus pandemic on March 30, 2020. A revised target date for completion of APARs for Group A, B and C officers of central civil services had been issued by the ministry.

According to the revised schedule, the distribution of blank APAR forms needs to be completed by May 30 and the submission of self-appraisal to reporting officer by June 30. This measure is a one-time relaxation only.

is-baghel-government-inching-towards-trouble-with-its-lieutenants-under-surveillance

Is Baghel Government inching towards trouble with its lieutenants under surveillance

By Rakesh Ranjan 22 May 2020

If some well-placed sources are to be believed, the Bhupesh Baghel government in Chhattisgarh may land into trouble. Extensive raids conducted by Income Tax Department in February this year on the residence of Saumya Chaurasia, a 2008 batch PCS officer, may prove to be a prelude to further actions. The I-T Department had conducted raids at over 25 premises; including those of Ajaz Dhebar (Raipur Mayor and Congress leader), former Chief Secretary Vivek Dhand and several contractors, Chartered Accountants, and big businessmen.

It may be mentioned here that Ms Chaurasia who was posted as Deputy Secretary to Chhattisgarh CM Bhupesh Baghel has been considered among a few closest officers to the present dispensation in the state. Reportedly, she is under the surveillance of central agencies.

It is learned that key conversations between senior Congress leaders in Chhattisgarh and New Delhi were intercepted and the said IT raids were supposed to have some links with the intercepted calls.

As it happens in Indian politics across party lines, the ruling party in a state or states are expected to support or fund elections in other states. Chhattisgarh too supposedly extended huge financial assistance during Jharkhand elections. Sources say that central agencies have intercepted some key conversations between senior Congress leaders in Chhattisgarh and New Delhi.

Sources indicate that the Baghel government may get into trouble the same way it happened with Kamal Nath. It may be recalled that on April 07, 2019 in the middle of 2019 Lok Sabha elections, there were massive IT raids at various locations having direct and indirect links with Kamal Nath including his nephew Ratul Puri (CM’s OSD), Praveen Kakkar and a close associate R K Miglani.

It could well be underlined that for the BJP, Madhya Pradesh and Karnataka are accomplished tasks now and BJP Rajya Sabha Member Subramanyam Swami has started instigating the Uddhav government in Maharashtra to untie the knot with Congress-NCP alliance. However, it would not be so easy to destabilize the Congress government in Chhattisgarh which has a brute majority unlike MP, Rajasthan, Karnataka, and Maharashtra.

(By Rakesh Ranjan)

appointment-of-eight-foreign-postings-including-geneva-brussels-wdc-likely-this-week

Appointment of eight foreign postings including Geneva, Brussels WDC likely this week

By IndianMandarins 22 May 2020

If some well-placed sources are to be believed as many as eight key positions at the level of Joint Secretary and Director may be filled up shortly. The process of selection for these posts is underway and announcements may be made in a couple of days.

Reportedly, two Joint Secretary rank IAS officers may get assignments in World Bank and Geneva whereas two Director level IAS officers may get new assignments in China and Brussels. In case the buzz turns out to be true, the Joint Secretary level postings may surprise people in power corridors.  

Further, Rahul Bijoria, a private person, is also in the reckoning for the Director level post in World Bank. Three officers belonging to IES, ICAS and IRTS cadre are also being considered for posts in Washington DC (Counsellor Economic), ADB Manila and PMI Geneva respectively.

congress-finds-a-sea-of-opportunities-for-revival-in-covid-crises-and-distressed-migrant-labourers

Congress finds a sea of opportunities for revival in COVID crises and distressed migrant labourers

By IndianMandarins 22 May 2020

The Congress is looking at the ongoing scenario as a sea of opportunities for its revival amid people’s distress over alleged mismanagement of certain things by the Centre during the nationwide lockdown. Congress leaders like Rahul Gandhi not only questioned Centre’s strategy in handling the global COVID-19 pandemic but also offered various suggestions. One such suggestion was to provide direct cash assistance instead of loans to the people affected by COVID-19. The Congress also criticised the Centre over Rs 20 lakh crore stimulus package calling it a farce.

 

Further, the cash-strapped Congress has left no stone unturned to be seen as a party with proactive ground workers reaching out to the distressed people directly. Offering to pay for migrant labourers’ train fare, arranging busses for their repatriation to ration distribution have been some of the initiatives that had put the ruling BJP on defensive. The Congress knows well that the Modi government has been in constant endeavour in engaging the attention of rural masses with innovative ways leaving minimum avenues for its opponents to call it anti-poor and anti-people.

 

But the way BJP government has committed certain mistakes in handling the issues of migrant labourers, it gets a beating from almost every quarter and a dent into its image creating space for the Congress for its revival. However, one of its MLAs from Raebareli – Aditi Singh -- revolting against the party asking a certain question may help the BJP to question the very intent of the Congress. But it is the ruling party that is supposed to answer not the opposition.

free stat counter

Indianmandarins.com, an initiative of New Media Network, is a multi-media initiative for the fast and real-time dissemination of news and information related to civil services, central PSUs and other institutions that play a critical role in governance, administration, corporate governance, and public life in India. We aspire to provide our esteemed readers with news breaks and situation analysis in the above-mentioned domain of operations. Currently, we are available at www.indianmandarins.com. We are now planning to branch off into print publication and few other related business initiatives.