GS Paper I- History and Geography of the World and Society.

Brazzaville Declaration Signed To Protect World’s Largest Tropical Peatland.



  • In an unprecedented move to protect the Cuvette Centrale region in the Congo Basin, the world’s largest tropical peatlands, from unregulated land use and prevent its drainage and degradation, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), the Republic of Congo and Indonesia jointly signed the Brazzaville declaration that promotes better management and conservation of this globally important carbon store.
  • There is a lot at stake in the protection of these peatlands: the equivalent of three years of global greenhouse gas emissions are stored in the Congo Basin, emissions that could be released if the peatlands are degraded or the natural wetlands drained.


Highlights Of The Development-

  • To preserve the future of these valuable natural peatlands – which are about the size of England, and were only mapped scientifically in their entirety for the first time last year – the DRC and the Republic of Congo established a transboundary collaboration agreement. The agreement noted the importance of good land use and infrastructure planning that takes the nature of peatlands into account.
  • Conservation and development can go hand in hand, said Erik Solheim, Head of UN Environment. We will manage to conserve the peatlands if we put people’s needs first. We can help countries to better understand the unique nature of the peatlands, and plan very carefully for any potential use, he added.
  • Peatlands are wetlands that contain a mixture of decomposed organic material, partially submerged in a layer of water, lacking oxygen. The complex biodiversity of the peatlands means they are home to a variety of species, but their high carbon content makes them uniquely vulnerable to incineration if they are drained. The declaration recognizes the importance of the scientific breakthrough of mapping the world’s largest tropical peatland area.
  • Both the Republic of the Congo and the DRC are in the process of planning economic concessions for agriculture, oil and gas mining, and logging. Unregulated exploitation of the peatlands could potentially be detrimental to the environment and to the climate, as it could release the carbon emissions that have been locked in for millennia.
  • Peatlands have grown over the course of 10.000 years, and they can be destroyed in a matter of days if the land use is not sensitive to the nature of the peatlands, said Tim Christophersen, Head of Freshwater, Land and Climate Branch at UN Environment.
  • The declaration was signed on the sidelines of the Third Partners Meeting of the Global Peatlands Initiative, taking place in Brazzaville, Republic of Congo, on 21-23 March 2018. The meeting was opened by Clément Mouamba, Prime Minister of the Republic of Congo, together with Erik Solheim.

Sources- UN environment.


GS Paper II- Polity.

Jackfruit Declared As Kerala’s Official Fruit.


  • The Kerala Government on 21st March, 2018 declared Jackfruit as its official fruit. The official announcement in this regard was made by Agriculture minister, V S Sunil Kumar, in the state assembly. The aim is to promote the ‘Kerala Jackfruit’ as a brand in markets across the country and abroad, showcasing its organic and nutritious qualities, he said. This would also help in giving in the fruit’s production and sale, besides increasing its value-added products.
  • Every year around 32 crore jackfruit is produced in the state, of which 30 per cent gets wasted. A total revenue of Rs 15,000 crore is expected through sale of jackfruit and its allied products through branding of the fruit.


Highlights Of The Development-

  • The ‘Kerala jackfruit’ is more organic and tasty as it is produced in a very natural way without using any chemical fertilisers or pesticides, the minister said.
  • There are also plans to distribute maximum jackfruit saplings among the public to grow it in their backyards as part of plans to expand the cultivation, he said.
  • The agricultural office in Ambalavayil in Wayanad will be used as a research station for jackfruit.
  • Elephant is the state animal of Kerala, while ‘great hornbill’ the bird and ‘kanikkonna’ the official flower. The state had recently declared pearl spot, popularly known as ‘karimeen’, as its official fish.

Sources- The Indian Express.


GS Paper III- Technology.

CM Pinarayi Vijayan Launches M-Kerala App At Kerala’s First Global Digital Summit.


  • Kerala CM Pinarayi Vijayan on 22nd March, 2018 launched M-Kerala, a unified app for all government services at #FUTURE 2018, a first-of-its-kind digital tech summit in the state.
  • Kerala also becomes the state with the largest public Wi-Fi deployment in the country. The state government has identified more than 1,000 public hotspots for Wi-Fi in Kerala.
  • Access to internet is a basic human right in Kerala, a state with mobile tele-density of more than 115 per cent in 2017. The state has also adopted a number of programmes to make the state e-literate.
  • The internet penetration in the state is at 52 per cent. The state has a robust e-governance model with more than 3,000 paperless government offices.


Highlights Of The Development-

  • #FUTURE is Kerala’s first-ever Global Digital Summit and was inaugurated by Vijayan on 22nd March, 2018 in Kochi.
  • The summit saw participation from leaders, including Nandan Nilekani, Non-Executive Chairman, Infosys, Christoph Mueller, Chief Digital and Innovation Officer, Emirates Group, Roland Schuetz, Group CIO, Lufthansa Group, Alok Ohrie, President and MD, India Commercial, Dell EMC; and Byju Raveendran, founder and CEO, Byju’s.
  • They are among nearly 30 global experts who shared their knowledge and experiences during discussions scheduled over two days,covering sectors from travel and transportation; big data and health and sustainability to education and skills; technology and banking, finance and retail.
  • #FUTURE is the brainchild of Kerala’s High Power IT Committee (HPIC), headed by Infosys Co-Founder S D Shibulal.
  • One of the outcomes of the summit will be formation of a 150-member ‘Digital Achievers Network of Kerala Origin’, who becomes the brand ambassadors of Kerala and champion the state’s efforts to become a knowledge industry hub.

Sources- The Week.