The Government of India recently approved Rs 50 crores to develop an all-weather ROPAX in Odisha. The total cost of the project is estimated to be Rs 110 crores. The project aims to launch Roll-on or Roll-off Passenger Jetty connecting Kaninali in Bhadrak district and Talachua in Kendrapara district.
The project will reduce passenger travel time from six hours to one hour. The connecting points of the jetty are located in the northern and southern banks of river Dhamra.
The launch of the jetty service will increase business activities and commercial activities and also will uplift the economic status of the region.
It is the most important nesting site of Olive Ridley sea turtles. The Gahirmatha beach separates Bhitarkanika Mangroves and the nesting site of the turtles. The Olive Ridley sea turtles have been put under the Vulnerable category in the IUCN Red List of threatened species. Also, they have been put under Schedule I of the Indian Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972.
It is a mangrove wetland in Odisha. It is famous for estuarine crocodiles.
The Department of Science and Technology is to release a National Level Climate Vulnerability report. The title of the report is “Climate Vulnerability Assessment for Adaptation Planning in India using a Common Framework”.
Several climate vulnerability assessments for different states and districts already exists. However, these assessments cannot be compared with each other as the framework used for the assessment is different. This limits the decision-making capabilities at administrative and policy levels. Thus, a Common vulnerability Framework was created.
The Common Framework for Vulnerability Assessment was created based on the fifth Assessment report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. This framework was developed by IISc Bangalore, IIT Guwahati and IIT Mandi. The framework was applied to the Indian Himalayan regions involving twelve states. It was highly successful. Thus, the framework was rolled out based on the framework for the entire country.
This vulnerability is highly important, especially in developing countries like India. It will help to develop suitable adaptation projects and programmes.
The report will help policy makers to initiate appropriate climate actions.
The DST is implementing two main national missions. They are National Mission on Strategic Knowledge for Climate Change and National Mission for Sustaining the Himalayan Ecosystem.
The Russian Government has agreed to deliver the first regimental set of S-400 Triumf SA-21 Growler Air Defence System to India. India and Russia have signed a 5.43 billion USD contract on the defence system. The NATO reporting name of the defence system is SA-21 Growler.
China had received the second batch of S-400 Triumph SA-21 Growler in 2020. Now both India and China are to possess same defence systems.
India and China are currently negotiating disengagement process to pull back their men and weapons in the border. If the border dispute escalates, then the Indian Air Force will be playing a crucial role. In such cases both the countries might use S-400 SAMs considering the inhospitable Himalayan terrain.
With creation of road infrastructure by Border Road Organisation, the S-400 SAM shall easily be traversed to borders using heavy trucks.
In 2017, the US had imposed CAATSA (Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act). India was consistent that the process of procuring the missiles from Russia had started way before CAATSA was introduced.
The United Nations General Secretary recently called for the first United Nations Food Systems Summit to be held in September 2021. The summit is to strategize actions for positive change in Agri-food systems.
The Summit will focus on pathways to shape food systems globally to accelerate progress in Sustainable Development Goals. The summit will focus on five action tracks. They are as follows:
India has volunteered to Action Track 4, which is, Advance Equitable Livelihood. In order to take this further, the Government of India has constituted a high level Inter Departmental Group. The main objective of the group is to hold National Dialogues with all the stake holders of agriculture and food systems to explore national pathways in creating sustainable food system in India.
The first National Dialogue on Agri-Food System was held on April 12, 2021. The dialogue was attended by farmer organisations, civil society organisations, farmer producer organisations, research institutions and other government agencies.
Apart from these National Dialogues on UN Food Systems Summit, the state governments will also hold state level dialogues.
It aims to review issues and evidences that prevent the emergence of “Advance Equitable Livelihoods”. It will study the inequality and power imbalances at community and household level. Climate Change is one of the major factors that hinder advance equitable livelihoods. The Climate change is threatening food production. Also, the increase in sea level is increasing the risk of catastrophic flooding.
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration is to launch four astronauts to the International Space Station on World Earth Day (April 22). NASA is to launch the mission along with SpaceX.
Crew Dragon was the first space vehicle to launch humans from American soil in nine years. It was first launched in May 2020. It was funded through NASA’s commercial Crew Programme. It evolved from an earlier design called Dragon 1. Dragon 1 was launched more than twenty times on missions to deliver cargo to the International Space Station between 2012 and 2020.
SpaceX Crew 1 was the first time astronauts used a spaceship developed and launched by a private company. Also, it carried back astronauts to the earth.
The Government of India recently approved the transfer of technology from Bharat Biotech to Hafkine Institute.
The International Monetary Fund recently released the Regional Economic Outlook for Sub Saharan Africa. According to the report the Sub Saharan region is to witness the world’s slowest growth in 2021.
The WHO backed COVAX facilities are ready to help the Sub Saharan countries in administering vaccines. However, the financing and investment are not matching to scale up the supply of vaccines as quickly as possible. On the basis of current trends, very few African countries will be able to make vaccines widely available before 2023.
The Indian Meteorological Department recently announced that the southwest monsoon is expected to be normal at 98% of the Long Period Average. This is mainly because the La Nina or El Nino weather conditions that affect monsoon rains in India are likely to be absent. Also, Indian Ocean Dipole that has direct bearing on Indian monsoon is also expected to be neutral this year.
The Indian Ocean Dipole is an irregular sea surface temperature fluctuation in Indian Ocean. During Indian Ocean Dipole, the western Indian Ocean becomes alternately colder and warmer than the eastern part of the ocean.
IMD issues Long Range Forecasts for rains in two stages. They are
Apart from this, the IMD also prepares forecasts for winter precipitation (January to March) and also a forecast for the north east monsoon (October to December).
The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare recently announced that around hundred new hospitals are to have their own oxygen plant under the PM CARES Fund. PM CARES Fund is Prime Minister’s Citizen Assistance and Relief in Emergency Situations Fund.
The Government of India has sanctioned 162 Pressure Swing Adsorption Plants to manufacture oxygen. This is to make hospitals self sufficient in oxygen. Around hundred of these plants were sanctioned under PM CARES Fund. The Health Ministry will identify hundred hospitals in far flung locations to sanction installation of Pressure Swing Adsorption plants.
It is a technology that is used to separate gas species from a mixture of gases under pressure. The plant operates at near ambient temperatures. It uses adsorbent materials such as activated carbon, zeolites and molecular sieves to adsorb the target gas.
Adsorption is the process in which a solid holds the molecules of gas or liquid.
It was set up to deal with any kind of emergency of distress situation like that of COVID-19. The Prime Minister is the chairman of the charitable trust of the fund. The other members of the trust include Home Minster, Defence Minister and Finance Minister.
The contributions to PM CARES fund will qualify CSR (Corporate Social Responsibilities). That is the contributions made towards PM CARES Fund is counted as CSR expenditure. Under the Companies Act, 2013, the companies with a minimum net worth between Rs 500 crores and Rs 1000 crores are required to spend at least 2% of their average profit on CSR activities.
The Economist Intelligence Unit along with Facebook recently released the Inclusive Internet Index. According to the index, India is at the 49th spot when it comes to internet inclusion and gender equality in accessing the internet.
The rankings were done based on availability, affordability, relevance and readiness of internet. Based on availability of internet India was ranked 77th. Based on affordability of internet, India was ranked 20th. Based on relevance, India was ranked 49th. Based on readiness to access the internet, India was ranked 29th.
India was ranked at 52nd on Inclusive Internet Index, 2020.
It is the research and analysis division of economist group based in London. It provides advisory services such as five year country economic forecasts, monthly country reports and industry reports.
In April 2021, Uttarakhand recorded 361 forest fire incidents in just five days. During this period, over 567 hectares of forests have been destroyed. This includes 380 hectares of reserve forest areas. Though forest fire seasons occur every year, the damaged caused this year is high.
Every year forest fires begin in mid-February in the state of Uttarakhand. It is the season between winter and monsoon. This happens on the onset of spring when the trees shed their dry leaves. Also, during this period the soil loses moisture due to increase in temperature. The forest season continues till June. This season is now increasing mainly due to climate change and scarce rainfall in the Himalayas.
This year, the forest fires that began in October 2020 are still burning even in April 2021.
The three main factors that cause forest fires are oxygen, fuel load and temperature. The dry leaves are the main fuel for the forest fires. They are in higher quantity during this period of time as compared to the rest of the year.
Also, the surface of hilly areas gets dried faster than the plains. This is mainly due to the lower accumulation of rainwater in the hills.
Uttarakhand has 38,000 square kilo metres of forests. This is around 71% of its geographical area. Since 2000, the forest fires have affected more than 48,000 hectares. (Uttarakhand was formed in 2000).
As the forest fires began to increase in the state, the Chief Minster of Uttarakhand Tirath Singh Rawat sought help from the Union Minister Amit Shah. To this, the centre has sent two MI-17 helicopters to fight forest fires. These helicopters have been deployed in the Kumaon and Garhwal regions.
The Van Panchayats should be given incentives and rights to protect forest areas. The Forest Act, 1988 dissociates local community with forests. The local community villagers do not initiate dousing fires in the absence of a sense of belonging. More water holes should be developed to recharge groundwater and to maintain moisture in the soil.
The US health authorities recently paused the rollout of one-shot Johnson and Johnson COVID-19 vaccine. The vaccine uses similar technology as that of the Astra Zeneca vaccine. Both the vaccines are developed from adenoviral vectors.
Around six women in the US suffered from blood clots out of seven million administered doses. The vaccine has been found to have a link with a very rare vaccine induced immune thrombotic thrombocytopenia.
The Astra Zeneca Vaccine uses Adeno virus from Chimpanzee. Other companies use Adenovirus from humans to develop COVID-19 vaccine.
The Adenoviral vector is made by removing the genetic material that could allow the virus to replicate or spread disease. This adenoviral shell is then inserted with genetic instructions on how to target another virus (like COVID-19 virus).
An adenovirus looks like a serious vector to the immune system of human body. Thus, the immune system responds seriously. This is why people have been reporting fatigue, fever or sore arm after receiving vaccine dose.
The Adenovirus infections are common in humans. Thus, human immune system would have already developed certain antibodies against them. This limits the number of administered doses. This is why several Adenovirus based COVID-19 vaccines are stopped with single shot. For instance, the Johnson and Johnson vaccine and Casino vaccine of China are both single dose vaccines.
The United Nations Population Fund recently released a report “My Body is My Own”. The report is about women’s power to make decisions on their bodies. It also reported about the laws in different countries that support women rights in this matter.
The Indian Space Research Organisation recently signed an agreement with the French Space Agency CNES. CNES is National Centre for Space Studies. CNES stands for Centre National d’etudes Spatiales. According to the agreement, CNES is to help India in its first Human Space Mission called the Gaganyaan.
India had already signed agreements with Russia to train four astronauts for the Gaganyaan mission. India is also in talks with Australia to have a ground station for the Gaganyaan mission at the Cocos island.
Here are Today’s News Headlines by GK Today for April 16, 2021: