Glacier retreat in Himalayas to cause water crisis: study

News: A study commissioned by the Observer Research Foundation, has found that the retreat of glaciers in the Himalayan Hindu Kush region is affecting the surface water and groundwater availability in the region. Facts: Himalayan Hindu Kush region It is famously known as the earth’s “third pole” as it forms the largest area of permanent… Continue reading Glacier retreat in Himalayas to cause water crisis: study

‘World Bank-ISA Solar Risk Mitigation Initiative has mobilised $333 m’

News: The World Bank has operationalised a Solar Risk Mitigation Initiative (SRMI) with $333 million for 22 African countries. Facts: Solar Risk Mitigation Initiative: It has been developed by the World Bank in partnership with Agence Française de Développement (AFD), International Renewable Energy Agency(IRENA) and International Solar Alliance (ISA). Aim: To support countries in developing… Continue reading ‘World Bank-ISA Solar Risk Mitigation Initiative has mobilised $333 m’

Top IITs and IISc slip in global rankings

News: The QS World University Rankings 2021 has been released. Facts: QS World University rankings: They are published annually by global higher education consultancy Quacquarelli Symonds. Parameters: It is based on six indicators: academic reputation, employer reputation, citations per faculty, faculty/student ratio, international faculty ratio and international student ratio. Key Takeaways: Massachusetts Institute of Technology(MIT)… Continue reading Top IITs and IISc slip in global rankings

Indian Air Force designs, develops & manufactures ARPIT

News: Indian Air Force has indigenously designed, developed and manufactured an Airborne Rescue Pod for Isolated Transportation(ARPIT). Facts: ARPIT: It is a rescue pod that will be used for evacuation of critical patients with infectious diseases including COVID-19 from high altitude areas, isolated and remote places. Significance: It will help in preventing the spread of… Continue reading Indian Air Force designs, develops & manufactures ARPIT

Gujarat, Goa, Chandigarh lead India’s food safety index

News: Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has released the second State Food Safety Index. Facts: The index was released on the occasion of World Food Safety Day with the theme “Food Safety is everyone’s business”. It ranks states on five parameters of food safety: a) human resources and institutional data b) compliance… Continue reading Gujarat, Goa, Chandigarh lead India’s food safety index

Economy to contract by 3.2% this fiscal, says World Bank

News: The World Bank has released the Global Economic Prospects (GEP) June 2020 report. Facts: Global Economic Prospects is a World Bank Group flagship report that is issued twice a year, in January and June. Aim: To examine global economic developments and prospects with a special focus on emerging markets and developing economies. Key Takeaways:… Continue reading Economy to contract by 3.2% this fiscal, says World Bank

Andhra govt launches India’s first online waste management platform

News: Andhra Pradesh(AP) government has launched country’s first online Waste Exchange Platform for industrial waste. Facts: Purpose: To ensure safe disposal of toxic wastes with the help of monitoring, scrutinizing and auditing of the waste. Besides, the platform will also encourage proper utilisation of waste and promote 6Rs — reduce, reuse, recycle, refurbish, redesign and… Continue reading Andhra govt launches India’s first online waste management platform

Distinct colour band for number plate sticker for BS-6 four-wheel vehicles

News: The Ministry of Road Transport and Highways has made it mandatory for the Bharat Stage(BS) VI Vehicles to carry a one cm green sticker providing registration details. Facts: Bharat Stage(BS) norms: These are standards instituted by the Government of India in 2000 to regulate emission of air pollutants from motor vehicles.They are based on… Continue reading Distinct colour band for number plate sticker for BS-6 four-wheel vehicles

India must redouble sustainability efforts: Environment performance index

News: The 12th edition of the Environment Performance Index has been released by Yale and Columbia universities in collaboration with the World Economic Forum (WEF). Facts: The index is released biennially (once every two years).It ranks 180 countries on 32 performance indicators across 11 categories covering environmental health and ecosystem vitality. Key Takeaways: Top ranks:… Continue reading India must redouble sustainability efforts: Environment performance index

8 countries form alliance to counter China

News: Senior lawmakers from eight countries have launched the Inter parliamentary Alliance on China(IPAC). Facts: IPAC is an international cross-party group of legislators working towards reform on how democratic countries approach China. Aim: To help counter the threat China’s growing influence poses to global trade, security and human rights. Participating Countries: U.S, Germany, U.K, Japan,… Continue reading 8 countries form alliance to counter China

Chinese troops makes slight retreat at Galwan Valley before crucial meet

News: Indian and Chinese troops have backed off slightly from Galwan river Valley ahead of crucial Lieutenant General level talks. Facts: Galwan River: It flows from the disputed Aksai Chin region to Ladakh of India.  Origin: It originates in the area of Samzungling on the eastern side of the Karakoram range and flows west to… Continue reading Chinese troops makes slight retreat at Galwan Valley before crucial meet

EESL and USAID Announce the “Healthy and Energy Efficient Buildings” Initiative

News: Energy Efficiency Services Limited(EESL) in partnership with the US Agency for International Development’s(USAID) MAITREE program has launched the “Healthy and Energy Efficient Buildings” initiative. Facts: Aim: To address the challenges of retrofitting existing buildings and air conditioning systems so that they are both healthy and energy efficient. Additional Facts: Market Integration and Transformation Program… Continue reading EESL and USAID Announce the “Healthy and Energy Efficient Buildings” Initiative

Explained: 163348(2002 NN4) – the Asteroid that made a close approach to Earth

News: NASA has announced that a giant asteroid called as 163348 (2002 NN4) is expected to pass Earth.The asteroid is a Near-Earth Object(NEO) and is classified as Potentially Hazardous Asteroid(PHA). Facts: Near Earth Object(NEO): These are comets and asteroids pushed by the gravitational attraction of nearby planets into orbits which allow them to enter the… Continue reading Explained: 163348(2002 NN4) – the Asteroid that made a close approach to Earth

Explained: What is the ongoing sixth mass extinction?

News: According to researchers at National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America(PNAS), the ongoing sixth mass extinction may be one of the most serious environmental threats to the persistence of civilisation. Facts: Mass extinction: It refers to a substantial increase in the degree of extinction or when the Earth loses more than… Continue reading Explained: What is the ongoing sixth mass extinction?

RBI creates Payment Infrastructure Development Fund

News: Reserve Bank of India(RBI) has created a Payment Infrastructure Development Fund of Rs 500 crores. Facts: Aim: To encourage the deployment of Points of Sale(PoS) infrastructure both physical and digital modes in smaller cities, towns and north eastern states. Contribution: RBI will make an initial contribution of Rs 250 crore to the fund. The… Continue reading RBI creates Payment Infrastructure Development Fund

Power Minister launches the ‘#iCommit’ initiative on World Environment Day

News: Union Power minister has launched the ‘#iCommit’ campaign on the occasion of World Environment Day. Facts: Aim: To call upon all stakeholders and individuals to continue moving towards energy efficiency, renewable energy and sustainability to create a robust and resilient energy system for India in the future. Nodal agency: It will be implemented by… Continue reading Power Minister launches the ‘#iCommit’ initiative on World Environment Day

Ambarnaya River Oil spill in Russia

News: Russian President has declared a state of emergency after 20,000 tonnes of diesel oil spilled into Ambarnaya river turning its surface crimson red. Facts: Ambarnaya River: It is a shallow river in Siberia, Russia which flows into Lake Pyasino, the source of Pyasina River. The river is also part of a network that flows… Continue reading Ambarnaya River Oil spill in Russia

Union Minister launches Nagar van scheme

News: On the occasion of World Environment Day, Union minister for Environment, Forests and Climate Change has launched Nagar van (City Forest) scheme. Facts: Aim: To increase forest cover in urban areas by developing 200 Urban Forests across the country in next five years. Implementation : It will be implemented with people’s participation and collaboration… Continue reading Union Minister launches Nagar van scheme

Periodic Labour Force Survey(PLFS) – Annual Report

News: National Statistical Office(NSO) has released the Periodic Labour Force Survey(PLFS) for July 2018 to June 2019. Facts: Unemployment Rate(UR): It is defined as the percentage of persons unemployed among the persons in the labour force. It has reduced to 5.8% during 2018-19 from 6.1% during the same period of 2017-18.Under this, urban unemployment rate… Continue reading Periodic Labour Force Survey(PLFS) – Annual Report

Govt issues draft rules for drones

News: Directorate General of Civil Aviation(DGCA) has issued draft rules for drones termed The Unmanned Aircraft System(UAS) Rules,2020. Facts: Drones or Unmanned aerial vehicles(UAVs): It is an unmanned aircraft piloted from a remote pilot station.DGCA has identified multiple categories of drones: Nano (up to 250 g), Micro ( over 250 g), small (2-25 kg), medium… Continue reading Govt issues draft rules for drones

Cabinet amends Essential Commodities Act, approves ordinance to ease barrier-free trade

News: Cabinet has approved three separate ordinances to push agriculture marketing and commodities trade reforms in the country. Facts: Amendments to Essential Commodities Act(1955): Aim: To deregulate the commodities such as cereals, edible oils, oilseeds, pulses, onions and potatoes.  Any limits under ECA over these commodities will be imposed only in exceptional circumstances such as… Continue reading Cabinet amends Essential Commodities Act, approves ordinance to ease barrier-free trade

HRD Ministry, Urban Affairs Ministry launches TULIP Programme

News: Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs(MoHUA) and the All India Council for Technical Education under the Ministry of Human Resource Development (HRD) have jointly launched The Urban Learning Internship Programme(TULIP). Facts: TULIP: It is a dedicated programme offering internships to fresh graduates in all urban local bodies(ULBs) and smart cities across the country in… Continue reading HRD Ministry, Urban Affairs Ministry launches TULIP Programme

India, Australia upgrade strategic talks to Minister level, as with US, Japan

News: Indian and Australia have held their first ever virtual leaders summit. Facts: Comprehensive Strategic Partnership(CSP): Elevated the 2009 bilateral Strategic Partnership to a Comprehensive Strategic Partnership(CSP). 2+2 Dialogue: Upgraded the existing 2+2 dialogue between their Foreign and Defence Secretaries to the Ministerial level. This will bring Australia on par with the 2+2 ministerial level… Continue reading India, Australia upgrade strategic talks to Minister level, as with US, Japan

Prime minister addresses the Virtual Global Vaccine Summit 2020

News: At the Virtual Global Vaccine Summit, India has pledged 15 Million US Dollars to Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunizations(GAVI). Facts: The Global Vaccine Summit of GAVI is being hosted by the UK government. Aim: To mobilise funding in order to protect the next generation with vaccines, reduce disease inequality and create a healthier,… Continue reading Prime minister addresses the Virtual Global Vaccine Summit 2020

Cabinet sets up Secretaries’ group to attract investment

News: Union Cabinet has approved the setting up of an empowered group of secretaries(EGoS) and project development cells(PDCs) in Ministries and departments for attracting investments to India. Facts: Empowered Group of Secretaries(EGoS): Composition: Cabinet Secretary (Chairperson) Secretary, Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (Member Convenor) CEO, NitiAayog (Member), Secretary, Department of Commerce (Member),… Continue reading Cabinet sets up Secretaries’ group to attract investment

Government to conduct skill mapping of citizens returning from overseas

News: Government of India has launched SWADES (Skilled Workers Arrival Database for Employment Support) Initiative. Facts: Aim: To create a database of Indian citizens returning from overseas under the Vande Bharat Mission based on their skill-sets and experience to tap into and fulfil demand of Indian and foreign companies. Bodies Involved: It is a joint… Continue reading Government to conduct skill mapping of citizens returning from overseas

Depsang tensions echo 2013 standoff

News: The tensions between India and China have increased after reports of a heavy Chinese presence at Depsang Plains. Facts: Depsang Plains: It is an area at a crucial dip (called the Bulge) on the Line of Actual Control (LAC). Controlled by: India controls the western portion of the plains as part of Ladakh whereas… Continue reading Depsang tensions echo 2013 standoff

China to set up 1,124 MW power project in PaK under CPEC

News: China will be setting up a Kohala hydropower project in Pakistan occupied Kashmir(PoK) under China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). Facts: Kohala hydropower project: It is a 1,124-megawatt power project to be built on the Jhelum river.It is intended to provide more than five billion units of clean and low-cost electricity annually for consumers in Pakistan.… Continue reading China to set up 1,124 MW power project in PaK under CPEC

COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund

Facts: The COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund was established by the World Health Organization(WHO) with the help of the United Nations Foundation and the Swiss Philanthropy Foundation. Aim: To raise money from a wide range of donors to support the work of the World Health Organization(WHO) and partners to help countries respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.… Continue reading COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund

India’s first dolphin observatory coming up in Bihar

News: Bihar government is setting up India’s first Dolphin observatory in the Vikramshila Gangetic Dolphin Sanctuary(VGDS). Facts: Gangetic river dolphin: It is India’s national aquatic animal found in parts of the Ganges, Meghna and Brahmaputra river systems in India, Nepal and Bangladesh. They are locally known as Susu which refers to the noise the dolphin… Continue reading India’s first dolphin observatory coming up in Bihar

Electronics incentive schemes launched

News: The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology has launched three Electronics incentive schemes. Facts: Scheme for Promotion of Manufacturing of Electronic Components and Semiconductors(SPECS): Aim: To help offset the disability for domestic manufacturing of electronic components and semiconductors in order to strengthen the electronics manufacturing ecosystem in the country. Under this, the government will… Continue reading Electronics incentive schemes launched

Non-profit Organisations Can Directly List on Social Stock Exchanges: Sebi Panel

News: Sebi-constituted panel under the chairmanship of Ishaat Hussain has submitted its recommendations on social stock exchange(SSE). Facts: Key Recommendations: Direct listing of non-profit organisations(NGO) through the issuance of bonds and a range of funding mechanisms. Tax Sops: It has recommended exemptions from securities transaction tax (STT) and capital gains tax (CGT) to ensure that… Continue reading Non-profit Organisations Can Directly List on Social Stock Exchanges: Sebi Panel

Democratic Republic of Congo declares new Ebola outbreak

News:Democratic Republic of Congo has declared a new Ebola epidemic in the western city of Mbandaka. Facts: Ebola virus disease(EVD) formerly known as Ebola haemorrhagic fever is a severe often fatal illness in humans. Origin: Ebola virus was first discovered in 1976 near the Ebola River in what is now the Democratic Republic of Congo.… Continue reading Democratic Republic of Congo declares new Ebola outbreak

Khelo India Community Coach Development programme launched

News: Union Sports minister has launched the Khelo India Community Coach Development programme. Facts: Aim: It is a 25 day programme to equip physical education teachers and community coaches with the right set of knowledge and skills to help children of all ages to take up a variety of fitness-related activities and conduct age-appropriate fitness… Continue reading Khelo India Community Coach Development programme launched

Indian Energy Exchange launches its Real-Time Electricity Market (RTM) platform

News: Indian Energy Exchange has launched its Real-Time Electricity Market (RTM) platform. Facts: Real-Time Electricity Market(RTM): It is an organized market platform to enable the buyers and sellers pan-India to meet their energy requirement closer to real time of operation. Additional Facts: Indian Energy Exchange(IEX): It is the first energy exchange in India providing a… Continue reading Indian Energy Exchange launches its Real-Time Electricity Market (RTM) platform

Government launches PM SVANIDHI scheme to provide affordable loan to street vendors

News: The Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs has announced a scheme for street vendors named PM Street Vendors Atma Nirbhar Nidhi(PM SVANidhi). Facts: PM SVANidhi: It is a special micro-credit facility scheme to enable more than 50 lakh urban/peri-urban & rural street vendors to restart their livelihoods affected due to the lockdown. Features of… Continue reading Government launches PM SVANIDHI scheme to provide affordable loan to street vendors

Kisan Credit Cards (KCC) campaign launched for 1.5 crore dairy farmers

News: Government of India will provide Kisan Credit Card(KCC) to 1.5 crore dairy farmers belonging to Milk Unions and Milk producing Companies within the next two months under a special drive. Facts: The Kisan Credit Card(KCC) scheme was launched by the Government of India in 1998.  Objective: To provide adequate and timely credit support from… Continue reading Kisan Credit Cards (KCC) campaign launched for 1.5 crore dairy farmers

Explained: What RBI discontinuing 7.75% saving bonds means to investors

News: Government of India has discontinued the 7.75% savings (taxable) bonds,2018 for subscription. Facts: The 7.75% Savings(Taxable) Bonds,2018 were issued with effect from January,2018. Eligibility: The bonds were available for subscription to resident citizens/Hindu Undivided Family (HUF) to invest in a taxable bond. Investment: The minimum investment in this bond starts at Rs 1,000 with… Continue reading Explained: What RBI discontinuing 7.75% saving bonds means to investors

DRDO develops Ultra Swachh for disinfection of PPEs, electronic items, fabrics

News:Defence Research and Development Organization(DRDO) has developed a disinfection unit named Ultra Swachh. Facts: Purpose: To disinfect a wide range of materials, including Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs), electronics items, fabrics and others. Bodies Involved: Developed by Institute of Nuclear Medicine and Allied Sciences, laboratory of DRDO with industry partner Gel Craft Health care Private Ltd.… Continue reading DRDO develops Ultra Swachh for disinfection of PPEs, electronic items, fabrics

IT Minister Launches National AI Portal of India

News: Union Minister for Electronics and IT has launched India’s National Artificial Intelligence(AI) Portal called www.ai.gov.in and National Program for the youth called “Responsible AI for Youth”. Facts: National Artificial Intelligence(AI) Portal: Bodies Involved: It has been jointly developed by the Ministry of Electronics and IT and IT Industry.  The National e-Governance Division of Ministry… Continue reading IT Minister Launches National AI Portal of India

Indian National Supermodel to predict the future of coronavirus spread

News:Department of Science and Technology(DST) has begun work on the creation of a Covid -19 Indian National Supermodel. Facts: Aim: To forecast the spread of coronavirus and also monitor the future transmission of infection with the aim to assist governments in enhancing disease surveillance measures. Bodies Involved: Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Scientific Research (JNCASR)… Continue reading Indian National Supermodel to predict the future of coronavirus spread

Proxima Centauri b confirmed as nearest Earth Sized Planet

News:Scientists have confirmed the existence of Proxima Centauri b as an Earth-sized planet. Facts: Proxima Centauri b is an exoplanet orbiting in the habitable zone of the star Proxima Centauri. It is located approximately 4.2 light-years from Earth making it the closest known exoplanet to the Solar System. Additional Facts: Proxima Centauri:It is the red… Continue reading Proxima Centauri b confirmed as nearest Earth Sized Planet

Energy access goals need greater effort in post-COVID-19 world: Report

News: The Tracking SDG 7: The Energy Progress Report has been released by International Energy Agency(IEA), the International Renewable Energy Agency(IREA), the United Nations Statistics Division, World Bank and the World Health Organization. Facts: Aim: To guide international co-operation and policy-making to achieve universal, sustainable energy access by 2030 by focusing on four key SDG… Continue reading Energy access goals need greater effort in post-COVID-19 world: Report

Major Impact on climate due to extension of Amery Ice Shelf, NCPOR study says

News:According to the National Centre for Polar and Ocean Research (NCPOR),there would be a 24% increase in the expansion of the Amery Ice Shelf (AIS) boundaries in Antarctica by 2021 from its 2016 positions. Facts: The Amery Ice Shelf(AIS) is one of the largest glacier drainage basins in the world located on the east coast… Continue reading Major Impact on climate due to extension of Amery Ice Shelf, NCPOR study says

Now, ‘Banana Covid’ hits plantations

News: Fusarium Wilt TR4 dubbed as Banana Covid is setting up new hotspots and threatening the output of Banana Cultivation  in India. Facts: Tropical Race 4(TR4): It is a novel fungus strain that causes Fusarium wilt (aka Panama disease) in banana plants. Origin: It was first identified in Taiwan and has jumped from Asia to… Continue reading Now, ‘Banana Covid’ hits plantations