Recently, the scientists decoded the genome sequence of a highly salt-tolerant mangrove species, Avicennia marina.
It is one of the most prominent mangroves species found in almost all mangrove forests in India.
It is a salt-secreting and extraordinarily salt-tolerant mangrove species whichcan grow optimally in 75% seawater and tolerates >250% seawater.
It is among some of the rare plant species, which can excrete 40% of the salt through the salt glands in the leaves, besides its capacity to obstruct salt entry to the roots.
It is also referred to as grey mangrove or white mangrove.
They occur worldwide in the tropics and subtropics, mainly between 30° N and 30° S latitudes. The greatest mangrove area is between 5° latitudes of the equator.
It is a shrub or small tree which grows in coastal areas- either saline or brackish water.
They are salt-tolerant trees, hence called halophytes, and are adapted to live even in the harsh coastal conditions.
They contain complex salt filtration system and complex roots to cope with saltwater immersion and wave action.
Their roots help these trees to respire in anaerobic soils.
The seeds of Mangrove Forests trees germinate in the trees itself before falling on ground– called Viviparity mode of reproduction.
Importance of Mangroves:
Mangrove roots help to impede salt water intrusion in the lands, and thereby enhance the deposition of sediment in areas, stabilise the coastal shores and provide a breeding ground for fishes.
Prevent coastal soil erosion.
Protect coastal lands from tsunami, hurricanes, and floods.
Support numerous flora, fauna and wildlife.
Provide favourable environment for breeding, spawning, rearing of fishes.
Polity and Governance
Central Vigilance Commission
Why in News?
GoI is yet to appoint a director of inquiry for conducting preliminary inquiry into corruption complaints sent by the Lokpal.
It is the apex vigilance institution created via executive resolution, based on the recommendations of Santhanam committee in 1964.
Later, in 2003 it was conferred with statutory status by Central Vigilance Commission Act, 2003.
It submits its report to the President of India annually.
On receipt of such report, the President causes the report to be laid before each House of Parliament.
The CVC is not under any Ministry/Department. It is an independent body responsible only responsible to the Parliament.
CVC has no investigation wing of its own.
It depends on the CBI and Chief Vigilance Officers (CVO) of central organizations.
Consists of CVCs along with 2 other vigilance commissioners.
They are appointed by the President of India on the recommendations of a committee consisting of:
Union Home Minister and
Leader of the Opposition in Lok Sabha (if there is no LoP then the leader of the single largest Opposition party in the Lok Sabha).
Term in Office:
Their term is 4 years or 65 years, whichever is earlier.
The CVC or any VCs can be removed from his office only by order of the
The grounds for removal are proved misbehavior or incapacity concluded as such by the Supreme Court enquiry on a reference made to it by the President.
National Human Rights Commission
Why in News?
The Calcutta High Court had given last chance to the state government to submit its reply to the report submitted by NHRC to inquire into alleged incidents of post-poll violence.
Chairman (Retd. Supreme Court Chief Justice or Judge), and
Seven other members (of which three are ex-officio members)
Appointed by: President, on recommendation of high-powered committee headed by Prime Minister.
Selection Committee Members:
The Prime Minister (chairperson)
The Home Minister
The Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha
The Leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha
The Speaker of the Lok Sabha
The Deputy Chairman of the Rajya Sabha
Tenure of Service: The Chairperson and the members are appointed for 3 years or till the age of 70 years, whichever is earlier.
They are eligible for re-appointment in NHRC, but not under any other central or state government.
NHRC can investigate grievances pertaining to the violation of human rights either suo moto or after receiving a petition.
It has the power to interfere in any judicial proceedings involving allegation of violation of human rights.
It can visit any jail or any other institution under the control of government to see the living conditions of the inmates and to make recommendations.
It can review the safeguards provided under the constitution or any statute for the protection of the human rights and can recommend appropriate measures.
It has the powers of a civil court.
It can recommend to both the central and state governments to take suitable steps to prevent the violation of Human Rights in the country.
It submits its annual report to the President who causes it to be laid before each House of Parliament.
Border Security Force (BSF)
Why in News?
BSF troops and Pakistani Rangers exchanged sweets on the occasion ofId-ul-Adha.
BSF was raised post 1965 India-Pakistan war.
It is one of the Central Armed Police Forces of Union of India.
It is under the administrative control of the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA).
It is deployed on:
Indo-Pakistan International Border,
Indo-Bangladesh International Border,
Line of Control (LoC) along with Indian Army, and
It also has an air wing, a marine wing, an artillery regiment, and commando units.
BSF has been defending the Sir Creak in Arabian Sea and Sundarban delta in the Bay of Bengal with its modern fleet of Water Crafts.
BSF also plays a key role in helping state administration to maintain Law and Order and conduct of peaceful elections.
For their role, they are referred as “the First Line of Defence of Indian Territories”.
The other Central Armed Police Forces:
Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF): Responsible for Internal Security.
Assam Rifles: Responsible for guarding India’s land borders with
Central Industrial Security Force (CISF): Provides security cover tospace establishments, nuclear installations, seaports, airports, power plants, sensitive Government buildings and even heritage monuments.
Indo Tibetan Border Police (ITBP): A specialized mountain force and responsible for guarding Indo-China border.
National Security Guard: A counter terrorism unit which was raised in 1984, following Operation Blue Star.
Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB): Earlier called as Special Service Bureau was raised in 1960s. Their objective is to achieve ‘Total security preparedness’ in the remote border areas.