AFPA

Partnership for Improvisation between ADB and Govt. of Himachal Pradesh

The Govt of Himachal Pradesh, in cooperation with the Asian Development Bank (ADB), has agreed to boost infrastructure in the state district of Mandi, according to an official statement on Sunday.

The total cost of the project is Rs. 15 crores, from which Rs. 9 crores is charged by ADB as well as the rest by the state of Himachal Pradesh.

CM Jai Ram Thakur has practically inaugurated and laid the foundation blocks of various construction projects for Rs. 15 crores in the Mandi district.

More about the Features:

First, in collaboration with the Asian Development Bank, he opened the Primary Healthcare Center (PHC) in Pandoh and the Bhimakali Vehicle Parking Tower in Mandi District. This multi-story building will have the facilities to park 86 vehicles in addition to a hall with a seating capacity of about 300 people.

After, he inaugurated an elevator facility for the supply of water from Kangnidhar to Dudar Bharaun in gram panchayat Dudar Bharaun of Tehsil Sadar.

He even laid the foundation rocks for the new construction of the government primary school situated in Bal Mani (U-block) and the provision of practical household tap connectivity (FHTC) to the remaining households in the Gram panchayat villages of Tilly Kehanwal and Santardh in Tehsil Sadar.

After, he launched an elevator facility for the supply of water from Kangnidhar to Dudar Bharaun in gram panchayat Dudar Bharaun of Tehsil Sadar.

 

 

NASA-ESA is effectively launching the Sentinel-6 Michael Freilich satellite

The USA Space Agency NASA, as well as the European Space Agency (ESA), have successfully implemented the ‘Copernicus Sentinel-6 Michael Freilich satellite’ to track increased global sea levels. The USA-European Joint Satellite deployed a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from Space Launch Complex 4E only at Vandenberg Air Force Base situated in California.

Regarding Sentinel-6 satellite Michael Freilich:

The Sentinel-6 Michael Freilich satellite would further develop weather forecasting and provide accurate information on large-scale ocean currents to assist near-shore shipping.

The US-EU partnership for sea-level level tracking started in 1992 with the TOPEX/Poseidon satellite, preceded by Jason-1 (2001), OSTM/Jason-2 (2008) then Jason-3 (2016).

This Sentinel-6 Michael Freilich satellite would be accompanied by its identical Sentinel-6B in 2025.

Timeline of launch:

Called after former NASA Earth Science Division Chief Michael Freilich, the U.S.-European satellite would be shipped to orbit on the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket, which will be launched at 9:17:08 a.m. PST (12:17:08 p.m. EST) from the 4 East Space Launch Complex. If required, contingency launch options will be available on the following days, with an immediate launch window dropping roughly 12 minutes earlier each day.

Somewhat more than 2 minutes after the launch of the Falcon 9 rocket, the central engine will be shut down. Shortly thereafter, the 1st and 2nd stages of the rocket would be removed, followed by a 2nd stage engine start. The disposable Falcon 9 1st stage would then commence its automatic boost-back fire to the launch facility for a percussive descent.

The first shutdown of the 2nd stage engine would take place roughly eight minutes after take-off. This should fire 45 mins later a 2nd time, by which stage the launch system and the satellite would be in a brief “parking” orbit. Several mins later, the launch system and the satellite would be removed. Approximately 1 hour and 7 minutes after the release of the solar cell, the satellite is scheduled to make the first touch about 25 minutes later.

 

 

Government Allocates Rs 3,971 cr subsidised loans towards micro-irrigation ventures

The Ministry of Agriculture of the Union declared that it has issued nod for subsidised loans valued Rs 3,971.31 crore for the implementation of micro-irrigation schemes and that the highest loan for Tamil Nadu was already authorised.

Interest-subscribed loans are provided under the Micro Irrigation Fund (MIF) formed with the NABARD to execute micro-irrigation projects.

History:

This Rs 5,000 crore corpus project was operationalisedin the fiscal year 2019-20 to encourage the use of subsidised loans by States to extend the scope of micro-irrigation.

Allocation of funds:

The executive board of the MIF has authorised loans valued Rs 3,971.31 crore.

Through this a total credit of Rs 1,357,93 Crore was authorised for Tamil Nadu, accompanied by Rs 790,94 Crore for Haryana, Rs 764,13 Crore for Gujarat, Rs 616,13 Crore for Andhra Pradesh, Rs 276,55 Crore for West Bengal, Rs 150 Crores for Punjab and Rs 15,63 Crore for Uttarakhand.

To date, therefore, NABARD has given a cumulative loan sum of Rs 1,754.60 crores to the jurisdictions. Of all this, Rs 659.70 crores were allocated to Haryana, Tamil Nadu as well as Gujarat.

Around Rs 616.13 Crore loan has also been given to Andhra Pradesh, along with Rs 937.47 Crores to Tamil Nadu, together with Rs 21.57 Crore to Haryana as well as Rs 179.43 Crores to Gujarat till now.

 

 

World Leaders come together to cope up with anti-microbial resistance

The Representatives of the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO), the International Organization for Animal Welfare (OIE) as well as the World Health Organization (WHO) unveiled a novice One Health Global Leaders Network on Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR).

About the AMR:

The representatives of the Coalition include Heads of Cabinet, Government Ministers, representatives from the Pvt sector as well as civil society. The party is co-chaired by Mia Mottley, Prime Minister of Barbados, and Sheik Hasina Wazed, Prime Minister of Bangladesh. The new organisation will use the leadership and prestige of these world-renowned figures to catalyse public interest and action to conserve antimicrobial drugs and prevent the devastating effects of AMR.

The Tripartite organisations introduced the Community during Global Antimicrobial Awareness Week 2020 (18th-24th November) as a result of their collective call for unified action to conserve and preserve antimicrobial medications.

The Directors-General of FAO, OIE and WHO have described the exponential increase in drug tolerance as among the most pressing problems to a human, animal including environmental health in the world-threatening food security, global trade, economic growth and undermining momentum more toward the SDGs.

A shared agenda for the human, animal as well as plant health:

Misuse and abuse of antimicrobials in people, animals including agriculture are primary causes of AMR. Sensitive micro-organisms can transmit between people, animals or the atmosphere, and antimicrobials often used combat multiple infectious diseases in animals including humans could have been the same.

RBI panel raises promoters’ cap

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) panel proposed raising the ceiling on promoter shareholdings in private sector banks to 26% of paid-up equity after 15 years of service. The Panel also recommended that large companies could be able to fund banks following the requisite changes to the Banking Regulations Act.

Role of the IWG:

The IWG, which was set up to study the organisational structure of Indian private sector banks, has proposed transforming large NBFCs into banking institutions. Well managed major NBFCs with a total asset of Rs 50,000 crores and above, such as those controlled by a corporate house, can be deemed to be converting to banks subject to termination of 10 years of service and accordance with due diligence requirements and the additional conditions stated in that regard.

About the IWG report:

The limit on the long-term interest of the promoters, which is 15 years could be increased from the current amount of 15%-26% of the bank’s paid-up equity financing.

About the Committee:

The Committee headed by PK Mohanty also recommended the transfer of banking services to a small financial institution. To this end, the history of three years of experience like a payment bank could be deemed adequate, he added.

According to the study, small finance banks and payment banks can be mentioned within ‘6 years after the date of hitting net valuation equal to the prevailing capital condition recommended for universal banks’ or ’10 years after the date of start of the operation,’ whichever is later.

Propositions by the Panel:

The panel proposed raising the minimum initial capital threshold for licencing new banks from Rs 500 crores to Rs 1000 crores for universal banks and Rs 200 crores to Rs 300 crores for small financial institutions.

The Committee also proposed that the NOFHC must appear to be located in strategic for all new licences to be given to universal banks. However, it is necessary only in situations where the person promoters/promoters/converters have other party bodies.

 

 

Vatayan Lifetime Achievement Award given to the Union Education Minister

Union Minister of Education who is Ramesh Pokhriyal has won the Vatayan Lifetime Achievement Trophy. The event took place on 21st November 2020 in a simulated model. The award has been given to the Union Education Minister for Poetry and Other Creative Works.

The Minister has previously won a variety of honours in the fields of literary and governance, like Sahitya Gaurav Samman which was given by the Former President who was Dr A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, along with Sahitya Bharati Award by Former Prime Minister who was Atal Bihari Vajpayee, together with Bharat Gaurav Samman, as well as Outstanding Achievement Award given by the Global Organization of Person of Indian Origin by Mauritius in Ukraine.

Released report:

His release, such as the German edition ‘nureinWunsch’ of Pokhriyal’s collection of short stories ‘Only a Wish,’ was released at the Afro Asian Institute of Hamburg, while his ‘Sparsh Ganga’ proposal was included in the Mauritius education system. The Minister has written upwards of 75 books on topics that have been adapted into many national and international languages.

The Vatayan International Awards are given by the Vatayan-UK organisation in London, which recognises poets, authors and artists for their outstanding work in their various areas.

The government officials of the event:

The Vatayan-UK Samman was held at 8:30 p.m. on 21st November 2020 with guest appearances like Amish Tripathi, who is a writer and director of the Nehru Centre, London, alongside Kavi Anil Sharma Joshi, Deputy Chairman of the Central Hindi Board in Agra, Mira Kaushik who is the Chairman Vatayan, as well as Aditi Maheshwari who is the Executive Director Vani Prakashan.

 

 

Sustainable Alternative Towards Affordable Transportation(SATAT) Initiative

About the scheme:

  • SATAT initiative aims at sustainable transportation which would benefit vehicle users, farmers, and entrepreneurs as a major part of the project are looking at setting up almost 5000 Compressed- Bio -Gas plants (CBG)which are to be set up by entrepreneurs
  • The Government, under this initiative, is looking to set up 5000 CBG plants by 2023-24 with a production target of 15 million tonnes. It will also see an investment of 2 lakh crore in setting up 5000 plants.
  • It seeks to produce from biowaste and crop waste by 2023-24.

Key points:

  • This initiative is novel in its sense as it seeks to boost the availability of affordable and clean transport fuel, a recent major deal under this initiative has been for setting up 900 CBG plants between Adani Gas and Torrent Gas.
  • This initiative fulfils dual objectives of solid waste management on one hand as well as sustainable fuel generation on the other.
  • Not only crop but animal husbandry waste and marine waste are included.
  • This scheme provides a great future as gas from the CBG plants can be leveraged to also fuel automobiles.

The scheme is quite visionary as it seeks to fulfil the Sustainable Development Goals to reduce wastage and pollution, thereby promoting renewable sources of energy.

 

 

From the East, the discovery of Roridomyces Phyllostachydis: Bioluminescent variety of mushroom

What is the type and where is it from?

  • A mushroom documentation project conducted has to lead to the discovery of the bioluminescent variety of the mushroom found in the forests of Meghalaya, found for the first time in Mawlynnong in East Khasi Hills district in August and later at Krang Shuri in West Jaintia Hill district.
  • It is now one among the 97 luminescent varieties known to the world but is also novel in the sense that it is the first mushroom in the Roridomyces genus to be found in India. Moreover, it is the first of its type to have light emitting from its stalk.

This is a very enriching discovery as it adds to the collection of diverse species found in the North-East and shows a greater research potential in this area.

 

The Water Disaster in the Himalayas

With the prolonged standoff at LAC (Line of actual control) between India and China and ties between both nations touching a historical low, border infrastructure has become a challenge. The burden has been doubled up now by the recurrent floods happening in the North East due to heavy construction of several dams across the Yarlung River (Indian name-Brahmaputra) on the Chinese side. This has created a ripple effect of disaster leading to huge destruction as well as depriving people of their livelihoods.

Characteristics of the Brahmaputra which leads to floods:

  • Floods happen twice a year-Twice the inhabitants has to face the brunt of the floods caused by the river, one during the melting of glaciers in the Himalayas in summer and the other one during Monsoons.
  • The deeper effect of Climate Change -Increase in the severity of the floods can be attributed to the anthropological led activities which have caused climate change and also affected the level flows of the river.
  • Geological Nature- Brahmaputra is famous for its changing river course pattern, which is caused by the greater level of landslides and geological activity.

Water disputes with China, how?

  • Lack of resource availability in China which is currently home to 20 per cent of global pollution and only 7 % of water resources.
  • Pollution-Surface and groundwater pollution is a major reason regarding the water dispute.
  • River Interlinking issues- China has a greater role in connecting its southern part (water-rich region) to its northern part(water-deficient reason) connected by dams, canals, roads, etc.
  • International Dimension-Since China lies to the upper riparian course of the Yarlung River (Brahmaputra), to create an international crisis it has purposefully blocked rivers like the Mekong and its tributaries across countries like Thailand, Laos, Vietnam causing excessive flows and damage to the river due to its altered course.
  • A geopolitical tool-This natural crisis can be tweaked by the Chinese as an instrument of geopolitical pressure as previously such threats have been issued (Doklam crisis), causing high tensions.

Level of Destruction caused:

  • Degradation of entire basin- Large scale construction of dams leads to heavy siltation, thereby affecting the quality of soil, causing loss of agricultural productivity.
  • Impact on Ecological diversity- It is home to the world’s most sensitive ecological zone, identified as the 34th biological hotspots. Moreover, it is home to the Kaziranga National Park, which houses 35 mammalian species out of which 15 are threatened. Also, the Gangetic Dolphin found here is critically endangered. Thus it affects the surrounding ecosystem deeply.
  • Prone to disasters- As we know the Himalayas lies in an active seismic zone which increases the vulnerability of landslides and earthquake and thereby leading to devastating floods.
  • A threat to livelihood- A major part of the populations lives closer to the Brahmaputra Basin, that is about close to 1 million of Indian population and about 10 million of Bangladeshi population, and such recurrent floods not only affect their livelihood but also threaten their existence.

What solution do we have?

  • Both sides need to reach an agreement and deeply analyze this problem.
  • A decentralized network of check dams, rain-capturing, lakes, traditional means of water capture have shown effective result and can be harnessed to a greater scale to reduce the impact of the recurrent floods.
  • It is a disaster which is affecting both sides (India and China ) and solving such a disaster is crucial for both the stakeholders.

 

 

THE RODCHENKOV ACT

The Rodchenkov Act has been recently passed by the Senate and is awaited for the US president to sign.

Key points:

  • It allows the USA to initiate proceedings against all people involved in dopamine rings such as coaches, managers, officials, suppliers even if they are not residents of the United States or the Act of doping has taken place outside the USA.
  • The main objective of the said Act is to bring to book the facilitators who otherwise are not held responsible when athletes test positive for performance-enhancing substances banned under the World Anti Doping Agency Code (WADC).
  • The Act seeks to criminalise major international dope fraud conspiracies mentioned in Section 4 of this Act.

This Act was the need of the hour considering the rise in dopamine cases in the International Sports Forum and will be a very effective step in this regard.

 

 

The 23rd Bangalore Tech Summit(BTS) goes digital

PM Modi virtually inaugurated the 23rd edition of the Bangalore Tech summit held from November 19-21 2020.

The theme of BTS 2020-“Next is Now”.

Organisers:

Organised by the Government of Karnataka, Karnataka Innovation and Technology Society (KITS), Karnataka Government’s vision Group on Information Technology, Biotechnology and Startup, Software Technology Parks of India (STPI) and MM Activ Sci-tech Communications.

Focus areas of Discussion:

  • The BTS 2020 summit mainly focussed on technologies and innovations in the field of ‘Information Technology and Electronics’ and ‘Biotechnology’.
  • Key focus areas were aerospace, defence technologies, healthcare, future of work, a startup for the public good, electronics and semiconductors and reimagining digital health and COVID-19 pandemic preparedness.

Key dignitaries present:

  • Scott Morrison, PM of Australia, Guy Parmelin, Vice President of the Swiss Confederation, and many other prominent international figures.
  • Delegates from various countries like Australia, France, Israel, Netherlands, Switzerland, and more than 25 countries who are under the agreement of Global innovation Alliance participated in the virtual summit.

Agreements between India and Australia on technological development:

  • During the summit, possibilities of cooperation range from Space, research, critical minerals,5G, Artificial intelligence, and Quantum computing.
  • Also, discussions were done to launch the Australia-India Cyber and Critical technologies partnership rant program for open, reliable, and secure internet.
  • Discussions on signing the Australia -India Technology Framework on cyber and cyber enable technology.

 

 

Announcement of 8 MOU with GTA countries by Govt of Karnataka

  • Karnataka Government has signed 8 MOUs, an MOU each with Finland, Sweden, USA, Indiana, and Virginia and 2 MOU with the Netherlands.
  • These include diverse areas like Skilling, Research and Development, ecosystem, biotechnology, health care, etc.
  • Four more MOUs to be signed by Karnataka Govt in Aerospace sector with Global Innovation Alliance partner countries.

Agreement between the Karnataka Government and Sweden:

  • Innovative applications across sectors such as Smart Health, Smart Manufacturing, Smart City and Smart Agriculture, Swedish based association for business incubators and science park will work together with Centre of Excellence (CoE) for the Internet of Things (IoT) at Bengaluru.
  • It is also expected to revolutionise Karnataka as a provider of end to end solutions in engineering space.

Other Agreements signed:

  • Centre of Excellence for Data Science and AI initiative between Karnataka Government and NASSCOM with Business Finland based on the implementation of agriculture, transport, safety, etc. promotions sustainable growth in fields of AI.
  • The State of Karnataka and the USA signed an agreement to lift MSME towards greater levels and encourage domestic innovation and generate employment in the Electronics Design and an aura Turing sector and also give incubation support to Startup.

The tech summit was a successful one despite held digitally amidst a pandemic as major agreements regarding technological development between the countries and interstate. -country alliances will give a huge impetus to innovation, science, and technology in various countries.

 

 

Blossom in the East

India’s International Cherry Blossom Festival that is held in Meghalaya, attracting a large number of tourists annually in Shillong, has been cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

  • This is the only Cherry Blossom festival that is held in India.
  • Beautiful flowers can be spotted during this time of the year which is just a melancholy view for the spectators.

Analysis:

This will affect the tourist revenue and cause the stakeholders to suffer huge losses, as we already know that the travel and tourism industry has taken a huge beating in the COVID 19 scenario, and cancellation of such events is a further blow depriving people of their important source of livelihood.