Factly articles for 30th July 2020

16 min read

1.Centre launches pilot project to reduce emissions from agriculture

News: The Government of India has launched the Green-Ag Project to reduce emissions from agriculture and ensure sustainable agricultural practices.

Facts:

  • Objective: To catalyse transformative change of India’s agricultural sector to support achievement of national and global environmental benefits and conservation of critical biodiversity and forest landscapes.
  • Funding: The project is funded by the Global Environment Facility while the Department of Agriculture, Cooperation, and Farmers’ Welfare (DAC&FW) is the national executing agency.
    • Other key players involved in its implementation are the Food and Agriculture Organization(FAO) and the Environment Ministry (MoEF&CC).
  • Coverage: The project is being implemented in the states of Mizoram, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha and Uttarakhand.

Additional Facts:

  • Global Environment Facility(GEF): It is a Trust Fund established on the eve of the 1992 Rio Earth Summit.
  • Aim: To help developing countries and countries with economies in transition to meet the objectives of the international environmental conventions and agreements.
  • Trustee: World Bank serves as the GEF Trustee administering the GEF Trust Fund (contributions by donors).
  • Financial Mechanism: GEF is a financial mechanism for five major international environmental conventions:
    • Minamata Convention on Mercury
    • Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants(POPs),
    • United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity(UNCBD),
    • United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification(UNCCD)
    • United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

2.Cabinet approves New National Education Policy

News: The Union Cabinet has approved the New National Education Policy(NEP).

Facts:

  • Aim: To create an education system that contributes directly to transforming the country, providing high-quality education to all, and making India a global knowledge superpower.

Key Highlights:

  • Public Spending: To increase public spending on education to nearly 6% of gross domestic product (GDP) from around 4%.
  • Renamed: Ministry of Human Resource and Development(MHRD) to be renamed Ministry of Education.
            Categories             Key policy Highlights
School EducationNew Curriculum: The 10+2 structure of school curriculum is to be replaced by a 5+3+3+4 which includes 5 years of foundational education, 3 years of Preparatory, 3 of middle and 4 years of Secondary Schooling. Medium of Instruction: Mother Tongue as medium of instruction till Class 5 wherever possible. Coding and Vocational Integration: New Curriculum will include coding and Vocational Integration from Class 6. National Mission to ensure Foundational Literacy and Numeracy skills by 2025.
Assessment Reforms Examinations: All students will take school examinations in Grades 3, 5, and 8 which will be conducted by the appropriate authority. Board exams for Grades 10 and 12 will be continued, but redesigned with holistic development. PARAKH: A new National Assessment Centre, PARAKH (Performance Assessment, Review, and Analysis of Knowledge for Holistic Development) will be set up as a standard-setting body.
Equitable and Inclusive Education Bal Bhavans: Every state/district will be encouraged to establish Bal Bhavans as a special daytime boarding school to participate in art-related, career-related and play-related activities. Special Funds: Government will set up a Gender Inclusion Fund and Special Education Zones for disadvantaged regions and groups.
TeachersProfessional Standards: A common National Professional Standards for Teachers(NPST) will be developed by the National Council for Teacher Education by 2022. Qualifications: By 2030, the minimum degree qualification for teaching will be a 4-year integrated B.Ed. degree. National Mission for Mentoring will be established with a pool of outstanding senior/retired faculty who would be willing to provide short and long-term mentoring/professional support to university/college teachers.
Technology in EducationNational Educational Technology Forum(NETF) will be created to provide a platform for the free exchange of ideas on the use of technology to enhance learning, assessment, planning, administration.
Higher EducationIncrease GER to 50 % by 2035: The policy aims to increase the Gross Enrolment Ratio(GER) in higher education including vocational education from 26.3% (2018) to 50% by 2035.  Certification:There will be Multiple entry and exit points with appropriate certification with the option of choosing a 1 year Diploma, a 3 year bachelor’s degree or a 4 year bacherlors’ degree with research across disciplines.The M. Phil programme would be discontinued. Single Regulator: Higher Education Commission of India(HECI) will be set up as a single overarching umbrella body for the entire higher education, excluding medical and legal education. Academic Bank of Credit: An Academic Bank of Credit will be established for digitally storing academic credits. The National Research Foundation will be created as an apex body for fostering a strong research culture and building research capacity across higher education.
Promotion of Indian LanguagesInstitutions: The policy recommends setting up an Indian Institute of Translation and Interpretation(IITI) and National Institute (or Institutes) for Pali, Persian and Prakrit to ensure the preservation, growth, and vibrancy of all Indian languages.

3.ADB approves $3 million grant to India to combat COVID-19

News: Asian Development Bank(ADB) has approved a USD 3 million grant to India from its Asia Pacific Disaster Response Fund.

Facts:

  • Asia Pacific Disaster Response Fund: It is a special fund supported by ADB to provide incremental grant resources to developing member countries impacted by a major natural disaster.

Additional Facts:

  • Asian Development Bank (ADB): It is a regional development bank established in 1966.It is headquartered in Manila, Philippines.
  • Aim: To promote social and economic development in Asia.
  • Members: 68 members, of which 48 are from within Asia and the Pacific and 19 outside.
  • Shares: Japan and the US hold the largest proportion of shares in ADB followed by China, India and Australia.
  • Significance: It is an official United Nations Observer.

4.India’s first solar-powered ferry Aditya wins global honour

News: India’s solar-powered ferry named ‘Aditya’ has won the prestigious Gustave Trouve Award for Excellence in Electric Boats and Boating.

Facts:

  • Aditya: It is India’s first solar-powered ferry and the largest solar powered boat in India.
  • It has been in operation between Vaikkom and Thavanakkadavu in Kerala since 2017 by the Kerala State Water Transport Department (KSWTD).

5.India to apply CA|TS standards across all Tiger Reserves

News: National Tiger Conservation Authority(NTCA) has announced the adoption of the Conservation Assured | Tiger Standards[CA|TS] across all of the country’s 50 Tiger Reserves.

Facts:

  • CA|TS: It was launched in 2013 as a partnership of tiger range governments, inter-governmental agencies, institutions, NGOs and conservation organisations.
  • Purpose: It is a conservation tool that sets best practice and standards to manage target species and encourages assessments to benchmark progress.Tigers are the first species selected for the initiative.
  • Implementation: World Wildlife Fund for Nature(WWF) is helping tiger range countries to implement CA|TS and is joined by other key global organisations.

Additional Facts:

  • Global Tiger Forum(GTF): It is an inter-governmental international body established in 1993 with members from willing countries to embark on a global campaign to protect the Tiger.It is located in New Delhi, India.
  • Global Tiger Initiative(GTI): It was launched in 2008 as a global alliance of governments, international organizations, civil society and the private sector with the aim of working together to save wild tigers from extinction.In 2013, the scope was broadened to include Snow Leopards.
  • WWF:It is an international non-governmental organization founded in 1961 to stop the degradation of the planet’s natural environment and to build a future in which humans live in harmony with nature. Headquarters:Gland, Switzerland.

6.Gas flaring: An emission that escapes global attention

News: According to a World Bank report, the gas flaring has hit the highest level in a decade mostly due to an increase in three countries — the United States, Venezuela and Russia.

Facts:

  • Gas Flaring: In chemical factories, oil refineries, oil wells and landfills, gaseous waste products and even non-waste gases produced are routed to an elevated vertical chimney called a gas flare and burnt off at its tip. This is called gas flaring.
  • Why is gas flaring done? Waste gases are subjected to such a process either because the gases are waste or it is difficult to store and transport them.Non-waste gases are burnt off to protect the processing equipment when unexpected high pressure develops within them.
  • Harmful Effects: Gas flaring in oil rigs and wells contribute significantly to greenhouse gases in our atmosphere.

Additional Facts:

  • Global Gas Flaring Reduction Partnership(GGFR): It is a public private initiative managed by the World Bank that aims to end gas flaring at oil production sites across the world by helping remove barriers to flaring reduction, conducting research, sharing best practices among others.
  • Zero Routine Flaring by 2030 Initiative: It was launched by the World Bank in 2015 to eliminate the existing oil industry practice of routinely flaring gas at production sites by 2030.

7.Five Rafale fighter jets arrive at Ambala air base

News: The first five of a batch of French Rafale fighter jets has arrived at Haryana’s Ambala air base.

Facts:

  • Rafale Fighter Jet: It is a twin-engine medium multi-role combat aircraft manufactured by the French company Dassault Aviation.
  • Purpose: It can be used to perform ground and sea attacks, reconnaissance, high-accuracy strikes and nuclear strike deterrence.

Additional Facts:

  • SCALP: It is an air-to-ground cruise missile that has a capability of long-range deep strike missile.
  • MICA: It is an air-to-air missile that can be used for operations such as  close-quarter dogfights and Beyond Visual Range(BVR).
  • HAMMER: It is an air-to-ground precision guided missile produced by French conglomerate Safran which can be used against bunker-type hardened targets within the range of 70 km.
  • Meteor: It is a Beyond Visual Range Air-to-Air Missile (BVRAAM) system developed by European firm MBDA.