9 PM Current Affairs Brief – March 23rd, 2020

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SAARC Disaster Management Centre

News:The SAARC Disaster Management Centre has launched a website for information related to the COVID-19 pandemic in the region. 

Facts:

About:

  • South Asian Association of Regional Cooperation(SAARC) Disaster Management Centre(SDMC-IU) has been set up at Gujarat Institute of Disaster Management (GIDM) Campus,Gujarat in 2017.
  • The centre serves eight member countries of SAARC namely Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan Sri Lanka, Afghanistan and Bangladesh.
  • Aim: To provide policy advice, technical support on system development, capacity building services and training for holistic management of disaster risk in the SAARC region. 
  • It also facilitates exchange of information and expertise for effective and efficient management of disaster risk.

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UK confirmed as first co-chair to India led Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure

News:The United Kingdom will be co-chairing the India led CDRI (Global Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure).

Facts:

  • About CDRI: the UN Secretary-General’s Climate Action Summit in New York,US in 2019.
  • It is an international knowledge and capacity development platform where countries can collaborate to make their existing and new infrastructure strong enough to withstand natural disasters.
  • The Governing Council is the highest policy-making body of the CDRI.It is co-chaired by India and a representative of another national government nominated by rotation every two years.
  • Members:As of March 2020, the CDRI comprises 15 member countries namely Afghanistan, Australia, Bhutan, Fiji, Germany, Italy, India, Japan, Mauritius, Maldives, Mongolia, Nepal, Sri Lanka, United Kingdom and United States.
  • Secretariat:It is based in New Delhi, India.

National Innovations in Climate Resilient Agriculture(NICRA)

News:The Government of India is implementing programmes such as National Innovations in Climate Resilient Agriculture (NICRA) to tackle the impact of climate change on agriculture.

Facts:

About NICRA:

  • It was launched by the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) in 2011. 
  • Aim:To enhance resilience of Indian agriculture to climate change and climate vulnerability through strategic research and technology demonstration.
  • The research on adaptation and mitigation covers crops, livestock, fisheries and natural resource management. 
  • It consists of four components namely a) Strategic Research b) Technology Demonstration c) Capacity Building and d) Sponsored or Competitive Grants.

Additional information:

About ICAR:

  • The Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) is an autonomous organisation under the Department of Agricultural Research and Education (DARE), Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare.
  • It is the apex body for coordinating, guiding and managing research and education in agriculture including horticulture, fisheries and animal sciences in the entire country.

Long-tailed macaque

News:According to a study,Long-tailed macaques have shown rich tool-use behaviour to simplify their efforts.

Facts:

About Lion Tailed Macaque:

  • The lion-tailed macaque (Macaca silenus) are endemic to the Western Ghats of India.
  • It is a diurnal animal meaning it is active exclusively in daylight hours. Unlike other macaques,it avoids humans.
  • IUCN Status: Endangered
  • Schedule I of the Wildlife (Protection) Act 1972
  • Appendix I of CITES
  • Threats: a) Overpopulation b) Habitat destruction and c) Hunting among others.

India, France conduct joint patrols from Reunion Island

News:India and France have conducted joint patrols from the Reunion Island for the first time.

Facts:

About Reunion Island:

  • Reunion Island is a remote Indian Ocean island located between Madagascar and Mauritius.It is an overseas region of France.
  • The island’s capital is Saint-Denis which is home to one-fifth of the population.
  • The Island is home to one of the world’s most active volcanoes, the Piton de la Fournaise which is also a World Heritage site.

E-Learning Platforms

News:Union Human Resource Development(HRD) Minister has asked students to use the available digital e-Learning platforms during the period the educational institutions are closed as a precautionary measure against COVID-19.

Facts:

About the Initiatives:

  • DIKSHA Portal:It offers teachers, students and parents engaging learning material relevant to the prescribed school curriculum.
  • e-PATHSHALA:It is a joint initiative of Ministry of HRD and NCERT to showcase and disseminate all educational e-resources including textbooks, audio, video, periodicals and a variety of other digital resources.
  • SWAYAM:Study Webs of Active Learning for Young Aspiring Minds (SWAYAM) is an integrated platform for offering online courses, covering school (9th to 12th) to Postgraduate Level.
  • SWAYAM Prabha: It is an initiative to provide 32 High Quality Educational Channels through DTH (Direct to Home) across the length and breadth of the country on a 24X7 basis.
  • National Digital Library of India(NDL): It is a project to develop a framework of virtual repository of learning resources with a single-window search facility.

World Cities Summit 2020

News:Singapore Government has invited Uttar Pradesh(UP) Chief minister for World Cities Summit 2020.

Facts:

About the Summit:

  • World Cities Summit is a biennial summit jointly organized by Singapore’s Centre for Liveable Cities and the Urban Redevelopment Authority since 2008.
  • Aim:To provide an exclusive platform for government leaders and industry experts to address liveable and sustainable city challenges, share integrated urban solutions and forge new partnerships.
  • Theme: Liveable and Sustainable Cities: Adapting to a Disrupted World

BRO opens bridge on Teesta river 

News:The Borders Road Organization has opened a bridge across Teesta river under Project Swastik.

Facts:

About Teesta River:

  • The Teesta River originates in the Himalayas and flows through Sikkim and West Bengal to merge with the Brahmaputra in Assam and (Jamuna in Bangladesh).
  • Flowing through the length of Sikkim, the Teesta River is considered to be the lifeline of the state.
  • The dispute over Teesta is the most contentious issue between India and Bangladesh.
  • However, the Teesta river water sharing agreement has not been signed due to opposition from West Bengal.(River is a State subject and is notable in this context).

Additional information:

About Border Roads Organisation(BRO):

  • BRO was formed in 1960 to secure India’s borders and develop infrastructure in remote areas of the north and north-east states of the country.
  • It has been under the control of the Ministry of Defence since 2015.

Union Cabinet approves Scheme for Domestic Manufacturing of Medical Devices 

News:Union Cabinet has approved the Domestic manufacturing of Medical Device Park Scheme.

Facts:

About:

  • Aim:To boost the domestic manufacturing of medical devices in the country which will reduce the imports and the cost of production.
  • Under the scheme,the government has decided to set up four ‘Medical Device Parks’ and three ‘Bulk Drug Parks’ across the country for which it will provide incentives to states.
  • Funding:It will give grants-in-aid to each state, up to Rs 100 crore for each ‘Medical Device Park’ and Rs 1,000 crore for each ‘Bulk Drug Park’ over the next five years.

Cabinet okays three schemes for electronics manufacturing in India

News:Union Cabinet has approved three schemes to boost large-scale electronics manufacturing in India.

Facts:

About the Schemes:

About Electronics Manufacturing Clusters(EMC2.0) Scheme:

  • Nodal Ministry:Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY).
  • Aim:To create world class infrastructure along with common facilities and amenities through setting up of Electronics Manufacturing Clusters(EMCs) and Common Facility Centers(CFCs).
  • These centres would help in a) growth of the Electronics System Design and Manufacturing (ESDM) sector b) development of the entrepreneurial ecosystem c) attract investments d) increase employment opportunities and e) tax revenues.

About Scheme for Promotion of manufacturing of Electronic Components and Semiconductors(SPECS):

  • Aim:To offer financial incentive of 25% of capital expenditure for the manufacturing of goods that constitute the supply chain of an electronic product.

About Production Incentive Scheme (PLI) for Large Scale Electronics Manufacturing:

  • Aim:To attract large investments in mobile phone manufacturing and specified electronic components, including assembly, testing, marking and packaging (ATMP) units.
  • Under the scheme,the government will offer an incentive of 4-6% on incremental sales of goods manufactured in India and is expected to create a total of 8 lakh jobs.

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