News: India has contributed over USD 15.46 million to the India-UN Development Partnership Fund.
- 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.
- 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.
News: The Odisha State Disaster Management Authority(OSDMA) has implemented the Tsunami Ready programme in two villages.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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.
- 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).
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.
- 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.
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.
- 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.
- 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.
News: Uttarakhand Government has announced the development of India’s first Snow Leopard Conservation centre of India.
- 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.
- 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.
News: SpaceX has successfully completed a flight test of the future rocket Starship which the company hopes to send to Mars.
- 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.
News: The Reserve Bank of India has released its monetary policy committee (MPC) report.
- 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.
- 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%.