Factly :-News Articles For UPSC Prelims | 18 June, 2021

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“Deep Ocean Mission” Approved by Cabinet

What is the News? 

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs has approved the Deep Ocean Mission.

About Deep Ocean Mission:

  • Deep Ocean Mission aims to explore the deep ocean for resources. Also, for sustainable use of ocean resources, it aims to develop deep-sea technologies.
  • Nodal Ministry: Ministry of Earth Sciences(MoES) will be the nodal Ministry for implementing this mission.
  • Duration of the mission: The mission will be implemented over a period of 5 years in a phased manner. Its 1st phase will be of 3 years.

Components of the Mission: The Deep Ocean Mission consists of the following six major components:

  1. Development of Technologies for Deep Sea Mining and Manned Submersible:
    • A manned submersible will be developed to carry three people to a depth of 6000 metres in the ocean with a suite of scientific sensors and tools.
    • For mining Polymetallic Nodules from 6000 m depth in the central Indian Ocean, an Integrated Mining System will also be developed.
  2. Development of Ocean Climate Change Advisory Services: Models will be developed to understand and provide future projections of important climate variables on seasonal to decadal time scales.
  3. Technological innovations for exploration and conservation of deep-sea biodiversity: Bio-prospecting of deep-sea flora and fauna including microbes and studies on sustainable utilization of deep-sea bio-resources will be the main focus under this component.
    • Bio-prospecting is defined as a systematic and organized search for useful products derived from bio-resources. It includes plants, microorganisms, animals that can be developed further for commercialization and overall benefits of the society.
  4. Deep Ocean Survey and Exploration: This component will explore and identify potential sites of multi-metal Hydrothermal Sulphides mineralization along the Indian Ocean mid-oceanic ridges.
  5. Energy and freshwater from the Ocean: Studies and detailed engineering design for offshore Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion (OTEC) powered desalination plants are being planned under this component.
    • OTEC is a processor technology for producing energy by harnessing the temperature differences (thermal gradients) between ocean surface waters and deep ocean waters.
  6. Advanced Marine Station for Ocean Biology: This component is aimed at the development of human capacity and enterprise in ocean biology and engineering. It will translate research into the industrial application and product development through on-site business incubator facilities.

Significance of the mission:

  • Deep Ocean Mission will be a mission mode project to support the Blue Economy Initiatives of the Government of India.
  • The technology and expertise needed in such missions are now available in only five countries – US, Russia, France, Japan, and China. India will be the sixth country to have it.

Note:

  • The United Nations(UN) has declared the decade 2021-2030 as the Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development.
  • The Government of India’s Vision of New India by 2030 announced in 2019 highlighted the Blue Economy as one of the ten core dimensions of growth.

Source: PIB


Ministry of Tribal Affairs launches “Adi Prashikshan Portal”

What is the News? 

The Minister of Tribal Affairs has launched the ‘Adi Prashikshan Portal’.

About Adi Prashikshan Portal:

  • Adi Prashikshan Portal aims to act as a central repository for information on all training programmes conducted by Tribal institutions across the country under Adi Prashikshan-Training for Tribals initiative.
  • Developed by: Ministry of Tribal Affairs in collaboration with UNDP and Tribal Research Institutes (TRIs)-Odisha.
  • Institutions covered under the portal: The portal would act as a Central Repository of all training programs conducted by:
    • Tribal Research Institutes(TRIs)
    • Different divisions of the Tribal Ministry
    • National Society for Education of Tribal Students(NESTS)
    • Centre of Excellences funded by the Ministry of Tribal Affairs and
    • National Tribal Research Institute.

Adi Prashikshan-Training for Tribals initiative:

  • It is an initiative to reach the remotest tribal areas using information technology. This will allow tribal communities to access their rights and benefits.
  • It is an effort to bring Training Institutions, Organizations, Experts and Trainers together.

Benefits of Portal

  • Firstly, the portal will transform the various ongoing training initiatives under different units of the Tribal Ministry.
  • Secondly, the portal will also catalyze and improve the processes of conducting training by making it online and accessible to all.

Source: AIR


Maharashtra’s “Chandrapur” district is a hotbed for human-animal conflict

What is the News?

Maharashtra’s Chandrapur district has seen 22 deaths from tiger attacks in 2021. However, the Central Chanda divisional forest area has kept the numbers down to two only.

Tigers in Chandrapur District of Maharashtra:

  • Chandrapur accounts for as many as 200 of Maharashtra’s 311 tigers. Under this, the Central Chanda area is estimated to hold 25 adult tigers. Hence, this district is a hotbed for man-animal conflict.

How did the Central Chanda area reduce deaths from the Tiger attack? The forest officials from Central Chanda has taken a series of measures. This includes,

  • Raising awareness among locals and avoiding accidental run-ins with the tiger
  • Changing timings of entry of villagers into the forest area
  • Ensuring villagers went in groups and not alone
  • Entry Registers were set up at the entrance of the forest area to act as a deterrent for those trying to sneak into the forest.
  • An anti-snare campaign was organized to educate villagers against setting up traps to catch small herbivores which end up attracting tigers
  • To motivate the forest staffers, certificates for good work were provided to them.

Tiger Reserves and Sanctuaries in Chandrapur District of Maharashtra:

Tadoba Tiger Reserve:

  • Tadoba Andhari Tiger Reserve is located in Chandrapur district in Maharashtra.
  • The reserve includes the Tadoba National Park and the Andhari Wildlife Sanctuary.
  • Vegetation: Southern Tropical Dry Deciduous Teak Forests.
  • Significance: It is Maharashtra’s oldest and largest national park.It was established as the second Tiger Reserve in Maharashtra in 1994-95.

Ghodazari Wildlife Sanctuary:

  • Ghodazari Wildlife Sanctuary is a wildlife reserve established in 2018 in the Chandrapur district in Maharashtra.
  • The sanctuary is considered a key region on the connecting corridor for the tiger migration between the Tadoba Andhari Tiger reserve and Umred Karhandla Wildlife Sanctuary.
  • Lake: Ghodazari lake is an important destination for native and migratory birds due to its undisturbed water body and abundance of food.
  • Fauna: Tigers are the main attraction and reason behind the creation of the sanctuary. Other wildlife mammals and reptiles are also found in the sanctuary.
  • Flora: The Sanctuary consists mainly of deciduous forest. It has an extensive distribution of teak, ain, Bamboo and other trees.

Source: Indian Express


SC refuses to stay demolition of settlements in “Aravalli range” in Haryana

What is the News?

The Supreme Court of India has refused to stop the demolition of over 10,000 settlements encroaching on forests in the Aravalli range in Haryana’s Faridabad district.

What was the case about?

  • Public interest litigation was filed in the Supreme Court seeking a stay on the demolition of the settlements.
  • The petitioners had also asked the court for more time to produce documents to claim rehabilitation.

What did the Supreme Court say?

  • The Supreme Court has refused to stop the demolition. It said that the residents had enough time to prove their claims in accordance with a notification issued by Haryana in 2020.
  • The court also said the onus was on the State to rehabilitate the residents in compliance with a 2003 scheme. Hence, demolition should continue.

About Aravalli Range:

  • Aravalli Range is the oldest mountain range in India and one of the oldest mountain systems in the world.
  • The Aravalli range is spread across the states of Gujarat, Rajasthan, Haryana and Delhi.
  • History:
    • The natural history of the Aravalli Range dates back to times when the Indian Plate was separated from the Eurasian Plate by an ocean.
    • Mining of copper and other metals in the Aravalli range dates back to at least the 5th century BCE, based on carbon dating.
  • Rivers: The three major rivers and their tributaries flow from the Aravalli. Namely Banas and Sahibi rivers which are tributaries of Yamuna, as well as Luni River which flows into the Rann of Kutch.
  • Highest Peak: Guru Shikhar Peak on Mount Abu is the highest peak in the Aravalli Range (1,722 m).

Source: The Hindu


Birth and Death Registrations Increased in 2019

What is the News?

The Office of the Registrar General of India has released a report titled “Vital Statistics of India Based on The Civil Registration System”.

About the Report:

  • The report provides an overview of the working of the Civil Registration System(CRS) in the country. It presents a compilation of data on registered births, deaths, and sex ratio based on Civil Registration Records.
  • Data: The level of registration was arrived at using Sample Registration System Rates for 2018. It is because the survey for 2019 which was scheduled for 2020 could not be completed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Key Findings of the Report: The level of birth and death registration with the Civil Registration System (CRS) in India has gone up considerably in 2019.

Birth Registration:

  • Based on information received from the 32 States/UTs, the share of institutional births to total registered births is 81.2 %.
  • The level of registration of births has increased to 92.7% in 2019 from 82.4% in 2011.
  • 14 States/UTs have achieved the 100% level of registration of births. Around 10 out of 20 major States have crossed the 90% level of registration of births.
  • Out of the total registered births, the share of males and females are 52.1% and 47.9% respectively.
  • In case of registration of births within the prescribed time period of 21 days, the 15 States/UTs have achieved more than 90% registration of births to the total births registered.
    • The three States namely Andhra Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Kerala have achieved 80 to 90% registration of births within 21 days.
  • Highest Sex Ratio at Birth(SRB) based on Registered events has been reported by Arunachal Pradesh(1024), followed by Nagaland(1001), Mizoram(975) and Andaman and Nicobar Islands(965).
  • Lowest Sex Ratio at Birth(SRB) has been reported by Gujarat(901), Assam(903), Madhya Pradesh(905) followed by Jammu & Kashmir (909).

Death Registration:

  • The number of registered deaths has increased from 69.5 lakhs in 2018 to 76.4 lakhs in 2019.
  • Out of the total registered deaths, the share of male and female are 59.6% and 40.4% respectively.
  • Based on information provided from 31 States/UTs, the share of Institutional deaths in total registered deaths is 32.1%.
  • In case of registration of deaths within the prescribed time period of 21 days, 11 States/UTs have achieved more than 90% registration of deaths to the total deaths registered.
  • The level of registration of deaths has increased from 66.4% in 2011 to 92.0% in 2019.
  • Among the states, 19 States/UTs have achieved 100% percent level of registration of deaths.
  • In case of registration of infant deaths, the share of urban areas is 75.5% compared to rural with only 24.5%.

Source: The Hindu


Supreme court approves “CBSE assessment formula”

What is the News?

Earlier, the Central Board of Secondary Education(CBSE) cancelled Class 12th final exams due to COVID-19. Recently the Supreme Court of India has approved the formula submitted by the CBSE to assess the final marks of Class 12 students.

What is the CBSE assessment formula?

The CBSE assessment formula has divided the marks’ assessment process into two components — theory and practical.

Theory Component: The theory component is based on the 30:30:40 formula:

  • Firstly, the first 30% weightage will be given based on the average scores obtained by the students in Class 10 in their three best performing subjects out of a total five.
  • Secondly, another 30% weightage would be given to marks based on the theory component of the final exam taken in Class 11.
  • Finally, 40% weightage would be given for marks obtained in one or more unit tests, mid-term exams and pre-board exams in Class 12.

Practical Component:

  • On the practical side, the calculation would be on the “actual basis” of the marks uploaded by the schools on the CBSE’s portal.

What happens to a student who does not get pass marks through this method?

  • Students who fall short in one subject will be placed in the ‘compartment’ category. The compartment examination will be conducted after the declaration of results to give them a chance to clear that subject.
  • However, those who fall short in more than one subject will be placed in the ‘essential repeat’ category.

What about students who are not happy with this assessment method?

  • Students who are not satisfied with the manner of assessment or the marks they will get will be allowed to sit for written examinations conducted by the board. The CBSE will conduct exams when conditions are conducive for holding the examinations.
  • The marks that they get in this exam will be considered as the final marks.

Source: The Hindu


India starts exporting GI-certified “Jalgaon banana” to Dubai

What is the News?

In a major boost to India’s exports of Geographical Indications(GI) certified agricultural produce, a consignment of fibre and mineral-rich ‘Jalgaon Banana’ has been shipped to Dubai.

About Jalgaon Banana:

  • Jalgaon is known as the ‘banana hub’ of Maharashtra. It accounts for about 50% of the State’s banana plantation.
  • In 2016, the Jalgaon Banana got the Geographical Indication(GI) Tag certification.
  • The quality of Banana from the Jalgaon is different because of the proximity to the Tapi river.
  • The minerals and fibres in the Jalgaon Banana lend it a unique quality, which makes the Jalgaon soil unique for banana cultivation.

Banana Cultivation in India:

  • India is the world’s leading producer of bananas, with a share of around 25% in total output.
  • States: Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, Kerala, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Madhya Pradesh contribute more than 70% of the country’s banana production.
  • Export of Banana: Despite being a leading producer of banana, India’s share is just 0.1% in the export market.
    • India’s banana exports grew both in terms of volume as well as value from 1.34 lakh metric tonne in 2018-19 to 1.95 lakh metric tonne in 2019-20
    • Moreover, India’s banana export has been rising sharply recently because of the adoption of farm practices in line with global standards.

Source: PIB


Children and Digital Dumpsites Report Highlights impacts of E-waste

What is the News?

The World Health Organization(WHO) has released a report titled “Children and Digital Dumpsites”.

About Children and Digital Dumpsites Report:

  • The report summarizes the latest scientific knowledge on the links between informal e-waste recycling activities and the health impact among children.
  • The report also underlined the risk faced by children working in the informal processing of discarded electronic devices or e-waste.

Key Findings of the Children and Digital Dumpsites Report:

  • Every year, as many as 18 million children — as young as five years — and about 12.9 million women work at e-waste dumpsites.
  • The e-waste from high-income countries is dumped in the middle- or low-income countries for processing every year. This e-waste is dismantled and recycled by children.
  • This e-waste contains over 1,000 precious metals and other substances like gold, copper, mercury, and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons.
  • Low-income countries do not have proper safeguarding regulations, which makes the process even more dangerous.
  • Moreover, children are especially preferred at these dumpsites because of their small and dexterous hands. Several women, including pregnant women, also work at these sites.

Impact of E-Waste:

  • Children: The children working at these e-waste dumpsites are prone to improper lung function, deoxyribonucleic acid damage, and increased risk of chronic diseases like cancer and cardiovascular disease. Children are also less likely to metabolize or eradicate pollutants absorbed.
  • Women: Processing e-waste exposes women as well as their children to toxins, which can lead to premature births and stillbirth.
  • E-Waste Areas: The hazardous impact of working at e-waste dumpsites is also experienced by families and communities that reside in the vicinity of these e-waste dumpsites.

Recommendations:

  • The report has called for the monitoring, safe disposal of e-waste, and raising awareness about its outcomes on the health of children and women working at these dumpsites.

About E-Waste:

  • E-Waste(Electronic-Waste) is a term used to describe old, end-of-life, or discarded electronic appliances. It includes computers, mobiles, consumer electronics among others.

E-Waste Generation:

  • According to the Global E-waste Statistics Partnership, the volume of e-waste generated is surging rapidly across the globe.
  • About 53.6 million tonnes of e-waste were generated in 2019. But only 17.4% of this e-waste was processed in formal recycling facilities.
  • The rest of it was dumped in low- or middle-income countries for illegal processing by informal workers.
  • Moreover, this is likely to increase in the coming years because of the rise in the number of smartphones and computers.

Source: Down To Earth


 

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