Factly articles for 7th August 2020

12 min read

1.India contributes over $15 mn to India-U.N. Development Partnership Fund

News: India has contributed over USD 15.46 million to the India-UN Development Partnership Fund.

Facts:

  • India-UN Development Partnership Fund(India-UN Fund): It was established in 2017 as a dedicated facility within the United Nations Fund for South-South Cooperation.
  • Supported by: It is supported by the Government of India, managed by the United Nations Office for South-South Cooperation (UNOSSC) and implemented in collaboration with the United Nations system.
  • Purpose: It supports Southern-owned and led, demand-driven, and transformational sustainable development projects across the developing world.
  • Implementation: United Nations agencies implement these projects in close collaboration with governments of partner countries.

Additional Facts:

  • UNOSSC: It was established in 1974 and hosted by UNDP to promote, coordinate and support South-South and triangular cooperation globally and within the United Nations system.
  • South-South cooperation: It refers to the exchange of expertise between actors (governments, organizations and individuals) in developing countries.
  • Triangular cooperation: It refers to development partners, countries, and international organizations providing financial or technical support to facilitate development activities between 2 developing countries.

2.Virtual Event on UNESCO-IOC Tsunami Ready Recognition to Odisha Communities

News: The Odisha State Disaster Management Authority(OSDMA) has implemented the Tsunami Ready programme in two villages.

Facts:

  • Tsunami Ready Programme: It is a community performance-based programme initiated by the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission(IOC) of UNESCO.
  • Aim: To promote tsunami preparedness through active collaboration of public, community leaders and national and local emergency management agencies.
  • Objectives:
    • To improve coastal community’s preparedness for tsunami emergencies
    • To minimize the loss of life and property and
    • To ensure systematic approach in building community preparedness through implementing the best-practice indicators set by the UNESCO-IOC.

Additional Facts:

  • IOC-UNESCO: It was established in 1960 as a body with functional autonomy within UNESCO.It is the only competent organization for marine science within the UN system.

3.Explained: What is the tick-borne virus spreading in China?

News: A new infectious disease called Severe Fever with Thrombocytopenia Syndrome(SFTS) caused by a tick-borne virus has killed seven people and infected 60 others in China.

Facts:

  • SFTS virus: Severe fever with thrombocytopenia syndrome virus (SFTSV) belongs to the Bunyavirus family and is transmitted to humans through tick bites.
  • Origin: The virus was first identified by a team of researchers in China in 2009.
  • Symptoms: High fever, chills, loss of appetite, gastrointestinal symptoms, neurological abnormalities, thrombocytopenia (extremely low levels of platelets), leukocytopenia (low levels of white blood cells) so on.
  • Risk Factor: The risk factors observed in more serious cases include multi-organ failure, hemorrhagic manifestation and the appearance of central nervous system(CNS) symptoms.
  • Treatment: While a vaccine to treat the disease is yet to be successfully developed, the antiviral drug Ribavirin is known to be effective in treating the illness.
  • Concerns: Due to current case fatality rate of between 16 and 30%, the virus has been listed among the top 10 priority diseases Blueprint by the World Health Organisation(WHO).

4.Pokkali rice seedlings travel from Kerala to the Sunderbans

News: Farmers in West Bengal are experimenting with the pokkali variety of rice to tide over a crisis-like situation created by severe seawater incursion into paddy fields in the Sundarbans.

Facts:

  • Pokkali: It is a unique variety of rice known for its saltwater resistance and is cultivated in the districts of Alappuzha, Thrissur and Ernakulam districts of Kerala.
  • GI Tag: The brand Pokkali has received a GI tag from the Geographical Indications Registry Office,Chennai.
  • Vyttila-11: It is the latest variety of pokkali developed by the Kerala Agricultural University.

5.Ministry of Jal Shakti launches new version of India Water Resources Information System

News: The Ministry of Jal Shakti has launched a new version of the India Water Resources Information System(India-WRIS) with new functionalities and features.

Facts:

  • India-WRIS: It is a web portal that contains information related to Water Resources through dashboards for rainfall, water levels & discharge of rivers, water bodies, ground water levels, reservoir storages, evapotranspiration and soil moisture among others.
  • The Ministry of Jal Shakti(MoJS) under the National Hydrology Project had launched the first version of India Water Resources Information System (India-WRIS) in 2019.

Additional Facts:

  • National Hydrology Project(NHP): It aims to improve the extent, quality and accessibility of water resources information and to strengthen the capacity of targeted water resources management institutions in India.
  • Implementation: This Central Sector Scheme is being implemented by Department of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation with support from World Bank.

6.India’s first snow leopard conservation centre to come up in Uttarakhand

News: Uttarakhand Government has announced the development of India’s first Snow Leopard Conservation centre of India.

Facts:

  • The centre is to be developed by the Uttarakhand forest department and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).
  • Aim: To conserve and restore Himalayan ecosystems and also to conserve elusive snow leopards and other endangered Himalayan species.

Additional Facts:

  • Snow leopards live in the mountainous regions of central and southern Asia.
  • Range Countries: Snow leopard is found in 12 range countries namely Afghanistan, Bhutan, China, India, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia, Nepal, Pakistan, Russia, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan.
  • India: The states of Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh constitute snow leopard Habitat range in India.
  • IUCN Status: Vulnerable
  • CITES: Appendix I
  • Significance: Snow leopard is the State animal of Himachal Pradesh.

7.Explained: What is SpaceX’s Starship?

News: SpaceX has successfully completed a flight test of the future rocket Starship which the company hopes to send to Mars.

Facts:

  • Starship: Starship has been designed by SpaceX.It is a spacecraft and super-heavy booster rocket meant to act as a reusable transportation system for crew and cargo to the Earth’s orbit, Moon and Mars.
  • Benefits: Starship can deliver satellites at lower marginal costs than SpaceX’s Falcon vehicles and can also make interplanetary travel accessible and affordable.

8.Reserve Bank of India’s(RBI) monetary policy review

News: The Reserve Bank of India has released its monetary policy committee (MPC) report.

Facts:

Key Highlights:

  • Repo Rate:It is the rate at which the RBI lends money to the banks for a short term.It remains unchanged at 4%.
  • Reverse Repo Rate:It is the short term borrowing rate at which RBI borrows money from banks.It remains unchanged at 3.35%
  • Marginal Standing facility: It is a window for banks to borrow from the Reserve Bank of India in an emergency situation when interbank liquidity dries up completely.It has remained unchanged at 4.25%.
  • Additional credit support for housing and rural sectors: RBI will provide additional special liquidity facility of Rs 10,000 crore to NABARD & NHB to improve fund availability.
  • Priority Sector Lending(PSL): RBI has brought startups under the purview of priority sector lending(PSL).It has also increased borrowing limits of the renewable energy sector.
  • Innovation Hub: RBI will set up an Innovation Hub to further promote and facilitate an environment that can accelerate innovation across the financial sector.
  • KV Kamath Committee: RBI has set up a committee under KV Kamath, to make recommendations on the required financial parameters along with the sector-specific benchmark ranges for one time restructuring of loans.

Additional Facts:

  • Monetary Policy Committee(MPC): It is a committee of the Reserve Bank of India which consists of six members with three nominated by the Union government and three representing the RBI.
  • It is mandated by law to ensure that retail inflation stays within a band of two percentage points of the target inflation rate of 4%.