News: Odisha Government has started a two-year conservation project for Fishing Cats in Bhitarkanika National Park.
- Fishing Cat: They are a medium-sized wildcat found in South and Southeast Asia.
- Habitat: In India, fishing cats are mainly found in the mangrove forests of the Sundarbans, on the foothills of the Himalayas along the Ganga and Brahmaputra river valleys and in the Western Ghats.
- Significance: In 2012, the West Bengal government officially declared the Fishing Cat as the State Animal.
- IUCN Red List: Vulnerable.
- CITES: Appendix II
- Indian Wildlife Protection Act,1972: Schedule I
- Threat: Habitat Destruction, Hunting, Poaching among others.
News: Government has approved a 2% interest subsidy for Shishu loan account holders under the Pradhan Mantri Mudra Yojana(PMMY) for a period of 12 months to eligible borrowers.
- Pradhan Mantri MUDRA Yojana(PMMY): It was launched by the Prime Minister in 2015.
- Aim: To provide loans up to 10 lakh to the non-corporate, non-farm small/micro enterprises.
- Lending Institutions: Commercial Banks, RRBs, Small Finance Banks, MFIs and NBFCs.
- Categories of Loans: MUDRA has created three products as per the stage of growth and funding needs of the beneficiary micro unit:
- Shishu: Covering loans up to Rs. 50,000.
- Kishore: Covering loans above Rs. 50,000 and up to Rs. 5 lakh
- Tarun: Covering loans above Rs. 5 lakh and up to Rs. 10 lakh.
- Udyami Mitra Portal: It was launched by Small Industries Development Bank of India (SIDBI) to improve accessibility of credit and handholding services to MSMEs.
- Udyam Sakhi: It is an initiative of the Ministry of Micro,Small & Medium Enterprises (MSME) to encourage women entrepreneurs by creating business models revolving around low-cost products and services to empower women and make them self-reliant and self-sufficient.
News: The Union health minister has launched the ‘eBloodServices’ App in partnership with the Indian Red Cross Society(IRCS).
- eBloodServices: It aims to allow people to access safe blood easily especially during COVID-19 pandemic.
- Developed by: It has been developed by the E-Raktkosh team of Centre for Development of Advanced Computing(CDAC) under the Digital India scheme.
- Significance: The app will make it easy for a blood seeker to get blood with complete transparency and single window access to the service.
- e-Raktkosh: It is a Centralized Blood Bank Management System that provides a comprehensive IT solution to standardize and streamline the standard operating procedures, guidelines and workflow of blood banks across the country.
- Indian Red Cross Society: It is a voluntary humanitarian organization established in 1920 under the Indian Red Cross Society Act.The Chairman of the Society is Union Health Minister.
- Digital India: It is a flagship programme launched in 2015 by the Government of India with a vision to transform India into a digitally empowered society and knowledge economy.
News: Financial Action Task Force(FATF) has released a report titled “Money Laundering and the Illegal Wildlife Trade” report.
- This is the first ever report of the Financial Action Task Force(FATF) on Illegal Wildlife Trade(IWT).
- Aim: To provide guidance to countries on measures they can take to combat money laundering from the illegal wildlife trade.
- FATF: It is an inter-governmental body established in 1989 during the G7 Summit in Paris.
- Secretariat: It is located at the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) headquarters in Paris.
- Objectives: To set standards and promote effective implementation of legal, regulatory and operational measures for combating money laundering and terrorist financing and other related threats to the integrity of the international financial system.
- Members: It comprises 37 member jurisdictions and 2 regional organisations representing most major financial centres in all parts of the globe.
News: NITI Aayog has launched a behaviour change campaign called ‘Navigating the New Normal’.
- The campaign has been launched in partnership with Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation(BMGF), Centre for Social and Behavioural Change (CSBC), Ashoka University and the Ministries of Health and Women and child development.
- Aim: To develop an appropriate COVID safe behavior in the country such as by making people adapt to wearing masks as a part of their daily routine.
- Features: The campaign has two parts:
- The first is a web portal containing resources informed by behavioural science and the use of nudge and social norms theory related to Covid-safe behavioural norms during the ongoing Unlock phase and
- The second is a media campaign focused on the wearing of masks.
- Nudge and Social Norms Theory: The theory says that people rather than being forced can be encouraged and influenced to pursue or desist from certain actions through nudges(encouragement or intervention).
- The Nudge theory got international spotlight when Richard Thaler bagged the Economics Nobel Prize in 2017 for his work on behavioural economics.
News: Researchers from IIT Madras are collaborating with their counterparts in Germany to develop new materials for green energy solutions.The project has been taken up under the Scheme for Promotion of academic and Research Collaboration(SPARC).
- SPARC Scheme: It is an initiative of the Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD).
- Aim: To improve the research ecosystem of India’s Higher Educational Institutions by facilitating academic and research collaborations between Indian Institutions and the best institutions in the world from 28 selected nations to jointly solve problems of national and international relevance.
- National Coordinator: Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur is the National Coordinating Institute to implement the SPARC programme.
News: United Nations Office of Drugs and Crimes(UNODC) has released the World Drug Report 2020 on the occasion of International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking.
- United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime(UNODC): It was established in 1997 through a merger between the United Nations Drug Control Programme and the Centre for International Crime Prevention.
- Aim:To assist Member States in addressing the issues of drugs, crime and terrorism.
- Headquarters: Vienna, Austria.
- International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking: The day is observed on June 26 since 1987 to raise awareness of the major problem that illicit drugs represent to society.The theme for 2020 is “Better Knowledge for Better Care”.
- Education for Justice Initiative: It was launched by the UNODC in 2019 to prevent crime and promote a culture of lawfulness through education activities designed for primary, secondary and tertiary levels.
News: The Central government has approved an Ordinance to bring all urban and multi-state co-operative banks under the direct supervision of the Reserve Bank of India(RBI).
- Aim: To empower more security to depositors and to prevent instances of fraud and serious financial irregularities such as the major scam at Punjab and Maharashtra Co-operative(PMC) Bank in 2019.
- How were they regulated earlier? Till now, the Urban co-operative banks came under dual regulation of the RBI and the Registrar of Co-operative Societies.
- Significance: It will empower the RBI to regulate all urban and multi-state co-operative banks on the lines of commercial banks.
- Concerns: The rural co-operative banks will continue to remain under the dual regulation.
- Co-operative Banks: These are financial entities established on a co-operative basis and belonging to their members.This means that the customers of a co-operative bank are also its owners.
- Regulation: Co-operative Banks are registered under the States Cooperative Societies Act.They also come under the regulatory ambit of the Reserve Bank of India(RBI) under two laws: Banking Regulations Act, 1949 and the Banking Laws (Co-operative Societies) Act,1955.