The Union Cabinet recently approved the Memorandum of Understanding signed between the Director General of Trade Remedies of India and Trade and Tariff Commission of Bangladesh. The agreement was signed to increase the cooperation in the area of trade remedies. The agreement was signed on March 27, 2021.
The agreement aims to promote exchange of information, trade remedies and other activities in accordance with the provisions of World Trade Organisation.
The agreement mainly targeted on countervailing, anti-dumping and safeguard measures in bilateral trade between India and Bangladesh.
What is Countervailing duties?
The Countervailing Duties, also called CVDs are import tariffs. They are imposed to nullify the adverse effects of subsidies. CVDs are also called anti-subsidy duties.
Suppose a country finds out that a foreign country is subsidising its imports. This will cause harm to domestic suppliers. Thus, the home country can impose duties on such goods to protect its domestic suppliers. These duties are imposed only under World Trade Organisation rules.
What is difference between countervailing duties and anti-dumping duties?
The countervailing duties are imposed on subsidised products on exporting country. On the other hand, anti-dumping duties are imposed on imports that are of low price.
Let us assume that China is exporting silicon wafer to India.
Case 1: Chinese Government provides subsidy to silicon wafer manufacturers. Now when India imposes import duties, then it is called countervailing duties.
Case 2: No subsidies are provided to silicon wafer by Chinese Government. But the exporter is selling at very low prices. In this case, when India imposes duty, it is called anti-dumping duties.
The World Meteorological Organisation recently released the “State of the Global Climate 2020” report.
Key Findings of the Report
2011-2020 was the warmest decade in record.
COVID-19 and extreme weather events were double blow to millions in the world.
The Cyclone Amphan is the costliest tropical cyclone on record in the North Indian Ocean. The Cyclone made a landfall in May 2020 near India-Bangladesh border. The economic losses in India due to the cyclone is approximately 14 billion USD.
2020 is one of the three warmest years on record.
The increase in global average temperature as of 2020 was 1.2 degree Celsius as compared to the pre-industrial levels. Pre-industrial levels refer to the period before 1850. The increase has occurred despite the cooling effect of La-Nina in 2020.
India had one of its two wettest monsoon seasons since 1994. The average rainfall between June and September was 9% above the long-term average.
Around 2,000 deaths were reported during monsoon seasons due to flooding, landslides and heavy rains.
The global average carbon dioxide concentrations have exceeded 410 parts per million. This is 148% higher than the pre-industrial levels.
Only 59 countries that represent 54% of global emissions have framed their net-zero targets. Of these only six countries have legislations on net-zero emissions. Seven countries were categorised as “critically insufficient”. The pledges of these countries will lead to four degrees increase in temperatures. This includes US and Russia.
India, Bhutan, Costa Rica and Philippines are compliant with Paris Agreement according to Climate Action Tracker.
About the Report
The World Meteorological Organisation is publishing the report since 1993. The report mainly documents indicators of climate system such as increasing land and ocean temperatures, greenhouse gas concentrations, melting ice, sea-level increase, glacier retreat and extreme weather.
The report also highlights the impacts of climate change on socio-economic development, food security, migration and marine ecosystems.
According to the United Nations, the report is a warning call. The countries should commit to Net Zero emissions by 2050 as early as possible.
The United Nations is also pushing its member countries to submit an action plan well ahead of COP26. The action plan should be ambitious enough to cut global emissions by 45% by 2030 as compared to 2010 levels.
The Union Minister for Commerce and Industry recently launched the “Start Up India Seed Fund” scheme. The scheme aims to provide financial support to the startups for their prototype development, proof of concept, product trials, market entry.
Startup India Fund Scheme
The scheme will provide Rs 945 crores in the next four years to the startups.
It is expected to support more than 3,600 startups through three hundred incubators.
The scheme will create robust startup ecosystem in Tier-2 and Tier-3 cities. The startups in these cities are often deprived of funding.
The fund will support transformative ideas and kindle startup revolution.
The funds under the scheme will be disbursed in following ways:
Up to Rs 20 lakhs is to be granted for prototype development, Proof of concept and product trials.
Up to Rs 50 lakhs is to be granted to scale up through convertible debentures.
Seed Funds are those funds that are provided or used during the very beginning of an investment.
Need for Seed Funds
Indian startups are facing capital inadequacy especially in the seed and Proof of Concept development stage. Capital requirement is highly crucial at this stage as it might make or break a situation for startups that possess good business ideas.
Expert Advisory Committee
The Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade shall constitute an Expert Advisory Committee to monitor the overall execution of the scheme.
In February 2021, the GoI announced that a SISFS is to be established by April 2021. It is inline with Atma Nirbhar Bharat campaign that was launched in May 2020.
In 2013, Jonh Paul Hodnett, a graduate student unearthed fossil of a shark at Albuquerque, New Mexico. It turns out that, it is a fossil of a new shark species so far not known to man. After seven years of excavation, it has been named as Dragon shark. It is also called Hoffman’s Dragon shark or Godzilla shark.
About Dragon Shark
The shark has 0.75-metre-long fin spines. Thus, it was named Godzilla Shark initially.
It is 2 metres long.
The teeth of the shark were the first sign that it might be a different species. The teeth of the shark were shorter, squatter and less than an inch (2 centimetres) long.
About the Fossil
This recovered fossil is the most complete of its evolutionary branch (ctenacanthus). The Ctenacanthus split from the modern-day sharks around 390 million years ago. They went extinct 330 million years ago. The Ctenacanthus lived during the Carboniferous period.
The discovered fossil shows that the parts of eastern Mexico was once covered by sea. This sea extended till the current day North America.
The high desert plateaus of New Mexico have also yielded several dinosaur fossils, especially the fossils of Tyrannosaurus. The Tyrannosaurus roamed around before millions of years ago. A recent study says that more than 2.5 billion Tyrannosaurus once existed on the earth.
Name of the shark
Hoffman has named the shark as “Dracopristis hoffmanorum” to honour the New Mexico family that owns the land in the Manzano mountains. The fossil was discovered in this land.
It is a geologic period that lasted from 358.9 million years ago to 298.9 million years ago. It belongs to the late Palaeozoic era. The earth was covered with dense and swampy forest during this period. The period gave rise to large deposits of peat. Peat is a brown deposit that resembles soil. It is formed by partial decomposition of vegetable matter in the wet acidic conditions. The peat transformed into rich coal stores in the North America and Western Europe.
The Government of India recently launched an online portal to procure telecom gears from “trusted sources”. The sources to be listed in the portal are to be identified by the highest cybersecurity offices in the country.
About the Portal
The portal will list all the trusted companies and their gears. This will help the telecom operators in the country to obtain quality and trusted products.
The access of the portal is currently available only to selected operators.
The portal is currently in its beta phase. GoI is to launch the portal officially in June 2021 after removing errors if any in the portal.
What is beta phase?
Beta phase is one of the phases in the Software release cycle . It is one of the stages of development and maturity of a software.
What is Software Release Cycle?
A software release cycle is the stage of development and maturity of a software. The states are as follows:
Pre-Alpha: Activities performed before formal testing of the software
Alpha: First phase of software testing
Beta: In this stage, the software features are complete. However, it is likely to contain known and unknown bugs. This phase mainly focuses on reducing the impacts on users.
Release to Manufacturing: The end user is allowed to verify the integrity and authenticity of the software
General Availability: completing all the required commercialization activities
Release to the Web: Distributing the software using the internet. That is, no physical media is used in this type of release
Why is the portal being launched in India?
The portal is being launched to protect Indian companies from becoming victims of cyber threats from neighbouring countries, especially China. The cybersecurity threats from China have increased lately. This is one of the man reasons Huawei that had great impact on the rollout of 4G is not expected to make it to the final list.
The Global Forest Watch recently reported that India recorded 82,170 forest fire alerts between April 1, 2021 and April 14, 2021. This is nearly double the number reported during the same period in 2020. The alert was based on the data from the Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS).
What is VIIRS?
VIIRS is a weather monitoring equipment placed in satellites orbiting the earth. It is basically a sensor, that was designed and manufactured by Raytheon company. It collects imagery and radiometric measurements of atmosphere, land, cryosphere and oceans. The data is collected in visible and infrared bands of electromagnetic spectrum.
VIIRS is placed in Suomi National Polar orbiting Partnership (Suomi NPP) and NOAA-20 weather satellites.
The VIIRS is mainly used to monitor and investigate changes and properties in surface vegetation. The combination of MODIS, VIIRS and AVHRR help in assessing impacts of climate change on the earth surface.
MODIS is Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer. AVHRR is Advanced Very High-Resolution Radiometer.
From the combined data of MODIS, AVHRR and VIIRS, two sets of data are generated. They are as follows:
One set of data is produced by the National Polar Orbiting Partnership (NOAA). It provides data to be used by National Weather services.
The other set of data is generated by NASA. It is to be used by scientific communities located in different parts of the world.
In January 2019, the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change launched FAST. FAST will monitor forest fires in India using real time information from VIIRS. FAST is Fire Alert System.
Every year, the World Heritage Day is celebrated on April 18. The day is also called the International Day for Monuments and Sites. This year, the World Heritage Day was celebrated under the following theme
World Heritage Day
The World Heritage Day is promoted by the International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOSMOS).
The celebration of the day aims to preserve human heritage, vulnerability and diversity of the world monuments.
The World Heritage Day was proposed by ICOSMOS in 1982 and was approved by the United Nations in 1983.
It is an organisation that was established based on the principles of Venice Charter. The Venice Charter is also called the 1964 International Charter on the Conservation and Restoration of Monuments and Sites.
World Heritage Site
For a place to get selected as the World Heritage Site, it should be a classified landmark. That is, the site should be unique in historical and geographic means. Also, it should have cultural significance.
The World Heritage sites are maintained by the UNESCO World Heritage Committee under the World Heritage Programme. The World Heritage Sites are embodied in the international treaty called the Convention concerning the Protection of the world cultural and natural heritage. The treaty was adopted by UNESCO in 1972.
World Heritage Sites in India
There are thirty-eight UNESCO World Heritage sites in India. Of these, seven hold natural importance and thirty hold cultural importance. The Khangchendzonga National Park is classified as “mixed”, that is, it has both cultural and natural importance.
It has been eleven years since the Deepwater Horizon Oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico exploded. The explosion that occurred in the rig on April 20, 2010, killed eleven people.
What is Deepwater Horizon Disaster?
After two days of the explosion, oil continued to spill from the pipe for eighty-seven days. This released 377,514 tonnes of oil into the Gulf. This is considered as the largest marine oil spill in history. According to NASA, the oil spill affected 70,000 square miles of ocean. By 2011, several coastal states such as Mississippi, Louisiana, Alabama and Florida were contaminated by oil. This is referred to as Deepwater Horizon Disaster.
What caused the disaster?
A surge of natural gas blasted through the concrete core. The core was recently installed to seal the well for later use. The core blasted as it was too weak to withstand the pressure of the gas. The concrete core was weak as the mixture used nitrogen gas to accelerate the curing.
Curing of Concrete
It is a method by which concrete is protected against loss of moisture. It is important to keep the concrete hydrated. This is because curing increases strength of the concrete. Also, it decreases the permeability of hardened concrete.
For most of the concrete structures, the curing period is seven days.
Recent Oil Spills
In 2020, Russia declared a state of emergency after 20,000 tonnes of diesel oil escaped into the Ambarnaya river from a nearby power plant.
In August 2020, a Japanese bulk carrier ship MV Wakaship split into two parts near a marine park in Mauritius. The carrier was carrying fuel oil.
India and Kyrgyztan recently held a joint Special Force Military Exercise called the “Khanjar”. The exercise was held at Bishek, the capital of Kyrgyzstan.
About the Exercise
The exercise was held for two weeks.
It will focus on counter-terrorism and high-altitude and mountain trainings.
The Khanjar exercise is held annually between India and Kyrgyzstan since 2011.
In 2015, India and Kyrgyzstan signed four agreements. The agreements focused on boosting defence cooperation. Kyrgyzstan is located in Central Asia. India has been looking for several opportunities to increase its trade in the region lately. The INSTC (International North South Transport Corridor) and Chabahar ports were planned and developed to fulfil India’s interests in central Asia. Developing good relations with Kyrgyzstan is thus important for India.
The Fergana valley is shared by Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. The valley is home to terrorist groups such as Hizb-ut-Tahtir and Islamic movement of Uzbekistan.
With US withdrawing its troops, Taliban might take the central stage in Afghanistan. It might expand its presence from Afghanistan. Thus, it is essential for India to build strong defence ties with these central Asian countries.
What is Special Force Unit of Indian Military?
The forces that are trained to operate a specific special task are special forces. For instance, Para Special Forces of the Indian Army are trained in various roles such as counter-terrorism, hostage rescue, special reconnaissance, counter-insurgency.
The Garud Commando Force is a special force that operates under Indian Air Force. The main tasks of this force include counter-terrorism, providing security to IAF assets, hostage rescue.
The Marcos Special Force operates under Indian Navy. They are the Marine Commandos. The force has earned international reputation for its professionalism. The MARCOS was founded in 1987. THE MARCOS frequently conduct maritime operations in Jammu and Kashmir through the Wular lake and Jhelum river. They are trained to operate in all types of environment such as air, sea and land.
The Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy recently released the first tranche of Rs 672 crores under the Jagananna Vidya Deevena Scheme for the year 2021-22. This reimbursed the fees for 10.88 lakh students. So far, a total of Rs 4, 879 crores have been disbursed under the Jagananna Vidya Deevena Scheme.
Jagananna Vidya Deevena Scheme
The main objective of Jagananna Vidya Deevena Scheme is to provide scholarships to all the students who are not able to pay their fees because of their financial burden. The scheme mainly focuses on students seeking higher education. It aims to provide fee reimbursement to more than 14 lakh students of the state.
The scheme will directly credit the amount into the accounts of students’ mothers. Earlier, the money was transferred to the owners of the colleges.
The number students that benefited from the scheme in 2021 has increased by 77,000 as compared to that of 2020. In 2021, this number has increased to 10.88 lakhs.
Apart from the Jagananna Vidya Deevena Scheme, Andhra Pradesh has also launched Jagananna amma Vodu Scheme. Under the scheme, Rs 15,000 will be provided annually to the poor to help children studying in Class 1 to 12.
Education Policy of Andhra Pradesh
Andhra Pradesh is using two-pronged strategy to improve education in the state. One is by providing financial assistance to mothers of the students. On the other hand, the Andhra Pradesh Government is introducing English as a medium of instruction in government schools.
The second instalment of the scheme is to be released in July 2021 and the third instalment is to be released in December 2021.
The Reserve Bank of India recently set up a committee to study about the Asset Reconstruction Companies (ARC) in the country. The committee will evaluate the role of ARCs in debt resolution and will review their business model.
About the Committee
The Committee is headed by former RBI Executive director Sudarshan Sen.
It will review the legal and regulatory framework of ARCs.
It will recommend measures to improve the efficacy of Asset Reconstruction Companies.
The Committee will also review the role of ARC in stressed asset resolution under the IBC (Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code).
Need for the Committee
The Securitisation and Reconstruction of Financial Assets and Enforcement of Security Interest (SARFAESI) Act was enacted in 2002. The regulatory guidelines for Asset Reconstruction Companies (ARC) were issued under the SARFAESI Act in 2003. Since then the ARCs have grown in size and numbers. However, their potential to resolve stressed assets is yet to be realised completely.
The Reserve Bank of India had announced under its Monetary Policy Committee decisions that it will review the working of ARCs in the country.
What is the issue?
The Asset Reconstruction Companies have been coming forward in the resolution processes under Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code. In reality, this will affect the Public Sector Banks such as SBI. For instance, UV ARC Limited came forward with a resolution plan for Aircel. However, RBI had rejected the plan citing that the plan did not abide by SARFAESI Act. RBI had rejected several such proposals made by ARCs. This has created controversies. Thus, RBI has formed the committee to study about the Asset Reconstruction Companies and their potential role in debt resolution processes.
The Ingenuity Mars Helicopter has successfully become the first aircraft in history to fly in another planet.
The helicopter was carried by the Perseverance Mars rover. Perseverance rover is a part of the Mars 2020 mission. The Mars 2020 was launched on Atlas V launch vehicle.
The success message of the flight of the helicopter was received through the Perseverance rover. Perseverance Rover acted as the medium of communication throughout the flight of Ingenuity.
It is a solar powered helicopter.
During the flight, Ingenuity reached a maximum height of ten feet (three metres). It also maintained a stable hover for thirty seconds at that height.
The total time of the flight was 39.1 seconds.
Ingenuity was parked at about 64.3 metres from the Perseverance rover and was well communicated.
The flight of Ingenuity was not recorded in real time due to the distance between the Mars and the Earth. The data between the control station in the earth and perseverance rover was sent and received through the Deep Space Network of NASA.
Deep Space Network
The Deep Space Network, also called the DSN of NASA is an international array of giant radio antennas. It supports interplanetary space missions. It is operated by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory of NASA.
The DSN is located in three different locations. The locations are spaced at 120 degrees apart in longitude around the world. The antennas of the network are located in Madrid (Spain), Goldstone (California) and Canberra (Australia).
The sites have been chosen in such a way that they permit constant communication between NASA and spacecraft. Also, the sites have been selected in such a way that the next site takes over before previous site sinks below the horizon of the spacecraft.
The Prime Minister recently chaired a high-level meeting with the top doctors of the country. After the meeting, it was decided to liberalize and accelerate the phase three strategy of COVID-19 Vaccination programme in the country.
Strategy of Phase 3 of COVID-19 Vaccination Programme
Everyone above the age of eighteen years is eligible to get vaccinated.
The Union Government has empowered the states to procure additional doses directly from the manufacturers.
Under phase III, the healthcare and frontline workers will be prioritised to get second dose of the vaccine.
The Government of India is to provide incentives for manufacturers to increase scale of production. This is to be done to attract new national and international players in the field.
The Manufacturers are to be empowered to release 50% of supply to states and open market at a pre-declared price.
The Indian Vaccine Manufacturers have to sell 50% of their monthly doses to the Union Government. The rest 50% shall be sold to states and in open market. However, there are no such restrictions to foreign manufacturers. They can sell directly to states and open markets.
All the vaccines are to be administered under the National Vaccination Programme.
The price per vaccination in all vaccination centres should be reported in real time.
All the vaccination should follow all the protocols such as those captured on the CoWIN platform and those linked to AEFI (Adverse Event Following Immunization) reporting.
It is COVID Vaccine Intelligence Network. Basically, it is a software, a cloud-based IT Platform. It is owned by Ministry of Health and Family Welfare. It was earlier used in Pulse Polio administration. It has now been updated for COVID-19. It monitors and tracks vaccine drive in the country.
The Ministry of Railways recently announced that it is to create a Green Corridor to ensure fast movement of Oxygen Express trains. These Oxygen Express trains are to be operated to help the country handle the issue of shortage of oxygen.
What is the plan?
The Indian Railways is to move empty tankers from Boisar and Kalamboli railway stations. They are located near Mumbai. These tankers are to be sent to Jamshedpur, Vizag, Bokaro and Rourkela to load medical oxygen.
Due to the COVID-19 double mutant variant, the number of COVID-19 infections began to increase in the country. With this, India became the second most COVID-19 infected country in the world after USA. And this led to the increase in oxygen demand.
Other GoI measures
The Government of India is to set up 162 Oxygen plants in thirty-two states. The funds to establish hundred of these centres are to be provided through PM CARES Fund.
Over one lakh oxygen cylinders are to be procured.
The Ministry of External Affairs recently announced that India is to import 50,000 tonnes of oxygen.
The Union Government has exempted the interstate movement of oxygen tankers from registration of permits. This will enable easier movement of the tankers in the country.
The Oxygen filling plants have been permitted to operate twenty four hours.
The Central Government has also permitted the use of industrial oxygen cylinders to be used as medical oxygen after due purging. Purging is removing an unwanted quality.
The Nitrogen and Argon tankers have been allowed to be converted into oxygen tankers to overcome the shortage of tankers.
Twelve states that are facing high shortage of oxygen supply have been identified.
The Reporters Without Borders, a not-for-profit body recently published the World Press Freedom Index, 2021. It ranked 180 countries. India ranked 142 in the index. India was at the same position in 2020 as well.
Norway topped the index followed by Finland and Denmark. The index was topped by Norway in 2020 as well.
Eritrea received the last rank in the index. China ranked 177th out of 180 countries. North Korea was at rank 179 and Turkmenistan was at rank 178.
India in the ranking
India was at rank 133 in 2016 and has been sliding positions since then. Amongst the Indian neighbourhood, Sri Lanka was ranked at 127, Nepal was ranked at 106, Myanmar at 140, Bangladesh at 152 and Pakistan at 145.
What does the report say about India?
According to the World Press Freedom Index, the BJP supporters in the country have created an environment of intimidation for critical journalists.
The report classified India under ‘’BAD” category along with Brazil, Russia and Mexico.
The report has named India as one of the world’s most dangerous countries for journalists. It is highly dangerous especially for journalists trying to do their job properly.
The report has also made an open statement that Prime Minister Modi “Tightens his Grip on Media”.
According to the report, the journalists in the country are exposed to every kind of attack This includes police violence against reporters, reprisals instigated by criminal groups and ambushes by political activists or corrupt local officials.
The right-wing Hindu Nationalism is purging the manifestations of anti-national thought from the public debate (Purge means to get rid of). Hate-campaigns are waged on social networks against journalists who dare to speak or write about the subjects annoying the Hindutva followers.
The report says that, the main vaccine against disinformation, JOURNALISM, has been completely blocked in 73% of 180 countries.
The Union Minister of Tourism and Culture Shri Prahlad Singh Patel recently inaugurated the first online exhibition of Ramayana.
About the exhibition
The exhibition will show case 49 miniature paintings. These paintings have been collected from the National Museum in New Delhi.
The paintings were dated between 17th century and 19th century.
Ramayana in one of the major epics of Indian history. It was written by Maharishi Valmiki. It was originally written in Sanskrit. There are several versions of the epic such as Jain versions, Buddhist versions, Sikh versions, Cambodia version, Laos versions, Thailand version, Philippines, Myanmar, etc.
UNESCO on Ramlila
In 2008, UNESCO declared Ramlila as Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. The Ramlila festivities are particularly popular in Varanasi, Ayodhya, Madhubani, Satna, Almora and in major cities of Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Bihar.
Ramlila is now a part of Myanmar, Thailand and Cambodia as well. This is mainly because of the Hindu communities that moved to these countries in the 19th and 20th centuries.
UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritages in India
There are thirteen Indian cultural heritages that are placed under UNESCO Intangible cultural heritage list.
The list includes expressions and traditions, artifacts, instruments, cultural spaces that are associated with cultural heritage.
The other UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritages of India are as follows:
Buddhist Chanting (by the Buddhist lamas in Ladakh region)
Kalbelia (a song and dance form of Rajasthan)
Koodiyattam of Kerala
Mudiyett (a dance of Kerala)
Nawruz (Persian new year)
Ramman (festival of Uttarakhand)
Traditional copper and brass utensil making
The NortonLifeLock recently released a report titled “2021 Norton cyber–Safety Insights Report”.
Key Findings of the report
59% of Indians, that is, more than one in two adults in the country have experienced cyber crime in the last twelve months.
The report says that seven in ten Indian adults believe that remote work atmosphere created by COVID-19 has made it easier for the hackers and cybercriminals.
Around 52% of the adults in India do not know how to protect themselves from cybercrime.
27 million Indian adults experienced identity thefts.
90% of the consumers using online transactions are taking proactive steps to safeguard their data.
42% believe that it is impossible to protect their privacy.
66% are worried that they are more vulnerable to cybercrimes due to COVID-19 and how it is making the world to become more reliable on digital platforms.
52% of cybercrime victims turned to their friends for help and 47% contacted the company for resolving the issues.
Of the total cybercrimes that occurred in India, 14% occurred in 2020.
More than twenty-seven million adults have faced identity thefts in 2020-21.
Steps taken to spread awareness about Cyber crimes
Indian Cyber Crime Coordination Centre (I4C) was launched to handle issues related to cybercrimes in the country.
Online Cybercrime reporting portal was launched to report complaints related to child sexual abuse material or child pornography.
Cyber Swachhta Kendra was established. These are Botnet Cleaning and Malware Analysis Centres. It provides detection of malicious programmes and free tools to remove such programmes.
National Critical Information Infrastructure Protection Centre was launched to protect critical information infrastructure.
The Ministry of Energy of Israel recently announced a National Plan to reduce 80% of Greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 as compared to that of 2015.
About the plan
The plan aims to shut down all coal-fired power plants by 2025.
It aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the electricity sector by 75% to 85% by 2050.
It will increase the production of renewable energy in the country.
The plan is to be implemented through development of innovative technologies, transition to electric vehicles, changes in energy usage in households and also through improvements in power grid.
What is the plan?
The plan will aim to make 25% of buses and vehicles in the country to be zero-emission by 2030 as compared to that of the current level.
Also, it will work in reducing 10% of the heavy trucks, especially those trucks weighing less than 3.5 tonnes to be zero emission by 2030.
It will direct homes and businesses to adopt public transportation hubs and will create sustainable and walkable communities.
The downtown areas are to be closed for cars. Only those vehicles that do not pollute are to be allowed in these regions.
The country is to move towards solar and hydrogen energy to achieve the targets.
The plan is expected to decrease the distances travelled in cars and heavy trucks. Also, the sustainable methods of travel are to increase to 50% in 2030 and 70% in 2050 as compared to 37% in 2018.
Around 25% of new apartment buildings are expected to become green energy buildings.
The plan will reduce 47% of methane emissions from landfill by 2030 and 92% by 2050.
It will reduce the waste reaching landfill to 20% in 2030 and 5% in 2050 as compared to 78% in 2018.
India and Germany have recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding on “Cities Combating Plastic Entering the Marine Environment”. It is in line with the objective of Swachh Bharat Mission-Urban.
About the MoU
According to the MoU, the project to be implemented mainly focuses on sustainable solid waste management.
It will help India achieve the goal of phasing out single use plastics by 2022.
The project is being launched under the Joint Declaration made by the countries regarding cooperation in the field of Prevention of Marine Litter. The declaration was signed by India and Germany in 2019.
The project is to be implemented mainly in the states of Kerala, Uttar Pradesh and Andaman and Nicobar Islands.
The project is to be implemented for a period of three and a half years.
It will mainly support cities such as Port Blair, Kochi and Kanpur.
The project will help the cities in improving their system of garbage collection, segregation.
It will also work towards enhancing marketing of plastic wastes.
Around 15% to 20% of the plastics entering the oceans are through the riverine system. Of this, 90% are contributed by the ten most polluted rivers in the world. Two of these rivers are located in India. They are the Ganges and Brahmaputra.
India lags in data of exact plastics being dumped in the oceans.
With COVID-19 outbreak, the use of Personal Protective Equipment has increased that is often discarded in unscientific ways.
India is the twelfth largest source of marine litter in the world. By 2025, it is expected to become the fifth largest source of marine litter.
India consumes 16.5 million tonnes of plastics annually. Of this, 43% are single use plastic material.
The Defence Research Development Organisation (DRDO) has recently developed a Supplemental Oxygen Delivery System. It is to be used for soldiers posted at extreme high-altitude areas.
About the System
The system was developed by the Defence Bio-Engineering and Electro Medical Laboratory (DEBEL) located in Bengaluru. It operates under DRDO.
The system delivers supplementary oxygen based on the Blood Saturation levels. This will help soldiers from sinking into a state of Hypoxia. Hypoxia is fatal in many cases.
Supplemental Oxygen Delivery System in COVID-19
The system shall also be used to provide medical oxygen to COVID-19 patients. India is now on high demand of medical oxygen with COVID-19 cases increasing at great level. The Government of India is to establish 162 oxygen manufacturing plants that will provide medical oxygen, especially to hospitals in rural. Of these, 100 are to be funded by the PM-CARES fund. Also, India is to import 50,000 tonnes of Oxygen.
What is Hypoxia?
Hypoxia is the state where oxygen reaching the tissues is inadequate. The same condition occurs in COVID-19.
About Supplementary Oxygen Delivery System
The electronics hardware of the system has been designed to work at extremely low temperature, low humidity and low barometric pressures.
It reads the SpO2 levels of the person through a wrist worn pulse oximeter. The levels are read through wireless interface.
Based on the levels of SpO2, the solenoid valve is adjusted to supply oxygen to the person.
The system supplies oxygen through nasal nares.
The system is available in different sizes from one litre and one kilogram weight supplying 150 litres of Oxygen to ten litres and ten kilogram weight supplying 1,500 litres of oxygen.
It supplies oxygen for 750 minutes at a flow rate of two litres per minute.
It is of low weight.
The design has been sent for bulk production.
The oximeter is completely automatic and thus can be deployed in households. This is because, it gives an alarm for lower SpO2 levels.