Factly articles for November 26, 2020

12 min read

Explained: What are Desalination Plants?

News: Maharashtra has announced the setting up of a desalination plant in Mumbai becoming the fourth state in the country to experiment with the idea.


  • What are Desalination Plants? It is the process of removing salts from water to produce water that meets the quality (salinity) requirements of different human uses.
  • Technology: The most commonly used technology for the process is reverse osmosis.
    • Reverse Osmosis: It is the process where an external pressure is applied to push solvents from an area of high-solute concentration to an area of low-solute concentration through a membrane.
    • The microscopic pores in the membranes allow water molecules through but leave salt and most other impurities behind releasing clean water from the other side.
  • Where are Desalination Plants set up? These plants are mostly set up in areas that have access to sea water.
  • Advantages of Desalination Plants: a) They provide accessible drinking water b) They help with habitat protection as they reduce pressure on freshwater sources that may need to be protected.
  • Disadvantages of Desalination Plants: a) They consume a large amount of energy b) High costs to build and operate and c) The environmental impact can be high.

Sanitation and Hygiene Fund

News: The United Nations has launched the Sanitation and Hygiene Fund.


  • Aim: To provide accelerated funding to countries with the heaviest burden of diseases stemming from lack of sanitation services and have the least ability to respond to them.
  • Objectives: The objectives of the Fund are:
    • Expanding household sanitation
    • Ensuring menstrual health and hygiene
    • Providing sanitation and hygiene in schools and healthcare facilities
    • Supporting innovative sanitation solutions.
  • Host: The fund is hosted by the UN Office for Project Services, which provides technical advice and project implementation to the UN and its partners.

Additional Facts:

  • Progress on drinking water, sanitation and hygiene: 2000-2017: Report: It was released by UNICEF.It has found that significant progress was made toward achieving universal access to Water, Sanitation and Hygiene(WASH).However, an estimated four billion people worldwide still do not have access to safely managed sanitation service.

India test-fires land-attack version of BrahMos supersonic cruise missile

News: India has successfully test-fired a land-attack version of the BrahMos supersonic cruise missile from the Andaman and Nicobar Islands.


  • Brahmos Missile: It is a supersonic cruise Missile designed, developed and produced by BrahMos Aerospace, a joint venture company set up by the Defence Research and Development Organisation(DRDO) and Mashinostroyenia of Russia.
  • Features:
    • Range: It has been extended to 400 km from the original 290 km.
    • Speed: It has been maintained at 2.8 Mach or almost three times the speed of sound.
  • Significance: These tests are a display of India’s tactical cruise missile triad, i.e. launch capability from land, sea and air platforms.

Agriculture Minister launches Sahakar Pragya

News: Union Agriculture Minister has launched Sahakar Pragya programme.


  • Purpose: To impart training to primary cooperative societies in rural areas of the country through National Cooperative Development Corporation(NCDC).
  • Features: The programme comprises 45 training modules for transferring knowledge, skills and organizational capacities to equip the cooperative societies to run their affairs in terms of the market economy.

Additional Facts:

  • NCDC: It is an apex statutory institution established by an Act of Parliament in 1963 under the Ministry of Agriculture & Farmers Welfare.

SDG Investor Map for India

News: SDG Finance Facility platform at UNDP in partnership with Invest India, has launched SDG Investor Map for India.


  • SDG Investor Map: It aims to help public and private sector stake-holders direct capital towards Investment Opportunity Areas (IOAs) that can contribute to the nationally determined sustainable development needs of India.
  • Priority Sectors: The map has identified 18 IOAs across 6 Priority Sectors including Education, Healthcare, Agriculture and Allied Services, Financial Services, Renewable Energy and Alternatives, and Sustainable Environment.

Additional Facts:

  • Invest India: It was set up in 2009 as a non-profit venture under the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade, Ministry of Commerce and Industry.It is the National Investment Promotion and Facilitation Agency of India and acts as the first point of reference for investors in India.
  • Sustainable Development Goals(SDGs): These were launched at the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development in Rio de Janeiro in 2012.It consists of 17 goals and 169 specific targets that are to be achieved by 2030.However,they are not legally binding.

Explained: What is eVIN?

News: Government is using eVIN in association with the United Nations Development Program(UNDP) to identify primary beneficiaries and distribution networks for its Covid-19 vaccination programme in India.


  • Electronic Vaccine Intelligence Network(eVIN): It is an indigenously developed technology that digitises vaccine stocks and monitors the temperature of the cold chain through a smartphone application.
  • When was it launched? The innovative eVIN was first launched in 2015 to support better vaccine logistics management at cold chain points.
  • Implementation: It is being implemented under National Health Mission (NHM) by Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.

Nutrition portal to monitor services at anganwadis down for nearly three months

News: POSHAN Abhiyaan’s Integrated Child Development Services Common Application Software(ICDS-CAS) Portal has been down for nearly three months.


  • POSHAN Abhiyaan’s ICDS-CAS Portal: It is an innovative web and mobile-phone based application to improve service delivery and programme management.
  • Purpose: To facilitate anganwadi workers(AWWs) in their daily tasks, helps supervisors to assess and provide feedback to the workers and helps other programme officials to track service delivery and take informed decisions.
  • Developed by: The portal has been developed by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation(BMGF).
  • Components: The ICDS-CAS portal has three components — a mobile-based application for AWWs, a mobile-based application for supervisors and a web-based dashboard for other programme officials.

Additional Facts:

  • Poshan(Prime Minister’s Overarching Scheme for Holistic Nutrition) Abhiyan: It is Government of India’s flagship programme launched in 2018 to improve nutritional outcomes for children, pregnant women and lactating mothers with specific targets to be achieved by 2022.
    • Targets: To reduce stunting, under-nutrition, anemia (among young children, women and adolescent girls) and reduce low birth weight by 2%, 2%, 3% and 2% per annum respectively.Mission also strives to achieve reduction in Stunting from 38.4% (NFHS-4) to 25% by 2022 (Mission 25 by 2022).
  • Integrated Child Development Services(ICDS): It was launched in 1975 by the Ministry of Women and Child Development.It aims at holistic development of under-six children and to provide nutritional and health support to pregnant and lactating mothers.

Goa to get India’s first green energy convergence project

News: Energy Efficiency Services Ltd(EESL), a joint venture of PSUs under the Ministry of Power and Goa government signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to implement India’s first convergence project in Goa.


  • Aim of the project: To connect seemingly independent sectors like Solar Energy, Energy Storage and LED lights to generate green energy for rural and agriculture consumption and also to enable decarbonisation.


Additional Facts:

  • What is Convergence? It is a process of comprehensive development in areas by integrating the physical, institutional, social and economic infrastructure.
  • Example: Many of the sectoral schemes of the Government converge in the goal, although the path is different.There is a strong complementarity between AMRUT and Smart Cities Mission in achieving urban transformation.While AMRUT follows a project-based approach, the Smart Cities Mission follows an area-based strategy.