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.
- Mass extinction: It refers to a substantial increase in the degree of extinction or when the Earth loses more than three-quarters of its species in a geologically short period of time.
- Earlier Extinctions: There have been five mass extinctions that have taken place in the last 450 million years.This have led to the destruction of 70%-95% of the species of plants, animals and microorganisms that existed earlier.
- These extinctions were caused by catastrophic alterations to the environment such as: Massive volcanic eruptions, Depletion of oceanic oxygen, Collision with an asteroid among others.
- Sixth Extinction: The sixth mass extinction which is ongoing is referred to as the Anthropocene extinction or Holocene extinction.
- The research has claimed that this extinction is human-caused and is more immediate than climate destruction.The rate of extinction of species is also estimated at 100 to 1,000 times higher than natural background rates.
News: Reserve Bank of India(RBI) has created a Payment Infrastructure Development Fund of Rs 500 crores.
- 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 remaining contribution will come from card-issuing banks and card networks operating in the country.
- Nodal Department: The fund will be governed by an advisory council and administered by the RBI.
News: Union Power minister has launched the ‘#iCommit’ campaign on the occasion of World Environment Day.
- 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 Energy Efficiency Services Limited (EESL) which will unite a diverse set of players such as Governments, Corporates, Organisations, Think Tanks and Individuals.
- EESL: It is a joint venture of four National Public Sector Enterprises– NTPC Limited, Power Finance Corporation Ltd (PFC), REC and POWERGRID and was set up under the administrative control of the Ministry of Power.
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.
- 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 into the environmentally sensitive Arctic Ocean.
News: On the occasion of World Environment Day, Union minister for Environment, Forests and Climate Change has launched Nagar van (City Forest) scheme.
- 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 between the Forest Department, Municipal bodies, NGOs and corporates.
- Funding: It will be funded in part by the Compensatory Afforestation Fund Act (CAMPA),2016 funds.
- Warje Urban Forest or Smriti Van: It is a Public Private partnership project of Pune that has been successful in converting 16.8 hectare of barren Warje hill into green forests.
- Urban Forest: It is a forest or a collection of trees that grow within a city, town or a suburb.In a wider sense, it may include any kind of woody plant vegetation growing in and around human settlements.
News: National Statistical Office(NSO) has released the Periodic Labour Force Survey(PLFS) for July 2018 to June 2019.
- 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 reduced to 7.7% in 2018-19 from 7.8% and in rural India to 5% from 5.3%.
- Labour Force Participation Rate(LFPR): It is defined as the percentage of persons in the labour force (i.e. working or seeking or available for work) in the population.
- It has increased to 37.5% during 2018-19 from 36.9% of 2017-18.
- Female Labour Force Participation Rate: It is the share of working-age women who report either being employed, or being available for work.
- It has also improved to 18.6% in 2018-19 from 17.5% the year before.
- Worker Population Ratio (WPR): It is defined as the percentage of employed persons in the population.
- It has increased to 35.3% as against 34.7% in the 2017-18.
- Periodic Labour Force Survey (PLFS): It is India’s first computer based survey launched by the National Statistical Office(NSO) in 2017.
- to estimate the key employment and unemployment indicators in the short time interval of three months for the urban areas only in the Current Weekly Status(CWS).
- to estimate employment and unemployment indicators in both usual status and CWS in both rural and urban areas annually.
- Activity Status- Usual Status: It is determined on the basis of the activities pursued by the person during the specified reference period.
- When the activity status is determined on the basis of the reference period of the last 365 days preceding the date of survey, it is known as the usual activity status of the person.
- Activity Status- Current Weekly Status(CWS): It is determined on the basis of a reference period of last 7 days preceding the date of survey is known as the current weekly status (CWS) of the person.
News: Directorate General of Civil Aviation(DGCA) has issued draft rules for drones termed The Unmanned Aircraft System(UAS) Rules,2020.
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 (25-150 kg) and large (over 150 kg).
Key Draft Rules:
- Who can Operate Drones? Any Indian Citizen 18 years or above or any company registered in India with Chairman and 2/3rd of board in India.
- Approval: Each drone importer, manufacturer, trader, owner and operator will need to take approval from the Directorate General of Civil Aviation(DGCA).
- Inspection: DGCA will have powers to inspect a Drone manufacturing or maintenance facility before granting any authorisation under these rules.
- UIN for drones mandatory: No drone can be owned or operated in India unless it has been allotted a Unique Identification Number (UIN), which will be issued by the DGCA.
- Drone Ports: The rules propose establishing dedicated drone ports and corridors in permitted areas.
- Operation of Drones: Only Nano class drones will be allowed to operate in India in general.Further, only a qualified remote pilot will be permitted to operate heavier drones.
- Use of Drones for Food Delivery: Government hasn’t given permission for that yet.
News: Ministry of Road Transport & Highways has launched ‘Prevention of Human and Animal Mortality on Highways’
- It is a UNDP national awareness campaign which seeks to generate awareness and education for the masses towards eliminating mortality on the roads.
Road Accidents in India
- The number of people killed on Indian roads recorded a rise of 2.37% to 1.51 lakh in 2018.
- The highest road fatalities were observed In Uttar Pradesh (22,256), followed by Maharashtra (13,261) and Tamil Nadu (12,216).
News: The Union Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEF&CC) has issued an advisory to streamline and formalize the process of importing live exotic animals.
Exotic Animals: According to the advisory, exotic animals are those that are mentioned under the Appendices of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), but not under the schedules of the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972.
Key features of the advisory:
- It has provisions for import and disclosure of exotic animals and their progeny already in India.
- A person trying to import a live exotic animal will have to apply for grant of a license to the DGFT.
- The importer will also have to attach a No Objection Certificate (NOC) of the chief wildlife warden of the state concerned.
CITES (the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora): It is an international agreement between governments. It aims to ensure that international trade in specimens of wild animals and plants does not threaten their survival.