News: HelpAge India,an NGO has received the ”2020 UN Population Award” in the institutional category for its contribution towards serving disadvantaged elderly people and raising awareness on their cause.
- UN Population Award: It was established by the United Nations General Assembly(UNGA) in 1981.
- Objective: The award honours an individual and/or institution in recognition of outstanding contributions to population and reproductive health questions and to their solutions.
- Committee: The Committee for the United Nations Population Award is composed of 10 UN Member States with United Nations Secretary General and UNFPA Executive Director serving as ex-officio members.
- United Nations Population Fund(UNFPA): It is the United Nations sexual and reproductive health agency.It aims to deliver a world where every pregnancy is wanted,every childbirth is safe and every young person’s potential is fulfilled.Headquarters: New York, United States. Report: State of World Population Report.
News: The 36th SAARC Charter Day is being observed on 8th December.This day marks the signing of the SAARC Charter in 1985 by the leaders of SAARC Countries at the First SAARC Summit held in Dhaka (Bangladesh).
- South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation(SAARC): It is a regional intergovernmental organization of states in South Asia. It was established in 1985.
- Aim: To promote the welfare of the people of South Asia and to improve their quality of life, and to accelerate economic growth, among other things.
- Members: Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.
- Secretariat: Kathmandu, Nepal.
Challenges Faced by SAARC:
- As per the World Bank report, with intra-regional trade at less than 5% of total trade, South Asia is the least integrated region in the world.
- The South Asia Free Trade Agreement(SAFTA) that came into force in 2006 is yet to be implemented in spirit.
- Pakistan’s non-cooperation has stalled some major initiatives under SAARC such as Motor Vehicle agreement among others.
News: India and UN-Based Better Than Cash Alliance organized a joint Peer learning exchange on fintech solutions for responsible digital payments at the last mile.
- Better Than Cash Alliance: It was created in 2012 as a partnership of governments, companies and international organizations that accelerates the transition from cash to responsible digital payments.
- Launched by: It was launched by the United Nations Capital Development Fund, the United States Agency for International Development, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Citigroup, the Ford Foundation, the Omidyar Network and Visa Inc..
- Members: The Alliance has 75 members which are committed to digitizing payments.
- Objectives: The Alliance Secretariat works with members on their journey to digitize payments by:
- Providing advisory services based on their priorities.
- Sharing action-oriented research and fostering peer learning on responsible practices.
- Conducting advocacy at national, regional and global level.
News: India’s 1st LGBT+ workplace equality index has been launched.
- India Workplace Equality Index: It is the country’s first comprehensive benchmarking tool for employers to measure their progress on LGBT+ inclusion at the workplace.
- Launched by: It was launched by non-profit Keshav Suri Foundation, partnered with Pride Circle, Stonewall UK and FICCI.
- Parameters: The index measures nine areas: policies and benefits, employee lifecycle, employee network group, allies and role models, senior leadership, monitoring, procurement, community engagement and additional work.
- Winners: Twenty-one firms won under the gold category while 18 were placed under silver and 13 got bronze.
News: Israel has announced the launch of Beresheet 2 Mission.
- Background: Beresheet spacecraft built by Israeli NGO SpaceIL and state-owned Israel Aerospace Industries had reached the moon in 2019, but suffered an engine failure as it prepared to land.
- Beresheet 2: It is a planned mission by Israel Aerospace and SpaceIL with the aim of landing an unmanned craft on the moon in 2024.
- Significance: Israel could become the fourth nation to land a spacecraft on the moon after the USA, the former Soviet Union and China.
News: Defence Research and Development Organisation(DRDO) has successfully demonstrated communication between its two labs using Quantum Key Distribution(QKD) technology.
- Quantum Key Distribution(QKD): It is primarily a mechanism to undertake secure communication which utilises a cryptographic protocol involving various components of quantum mechanics.
- Process: The technology enables two communicating sides to come up with random secret keys shared by both of them and known exclusively to them so only they can use it to encrypt and decrypt messages, thus achieving highly-secure communication.
- Developed by: The technology has been developed by two DRDO facilities, Centre for Artificial Intelligence and Robotics (CAIR), Bengaluru and DRDO Young Scientists’ Laboratory – Quantum Technology (DYSL-QT),Mumbai.