News: On World Cities Day, UN-Habitat has released the World’s Cities Report 2020: The Value of Sustainable Urbanization.
- About the report: The report aims to show the intrinsic value of sustainable urbanization and how it should be harnessed for the wellbeing of all.
- World Cities Day: It was designated by the United Nations General Assembly on 31st October with the aim to promote the international community’s interest in addressing challenges of urbanization.Theme of 2020 is “Valuing Our Communities and Cities“.
- Urban October: It was launched by UN-Habitat in 2014 to emphasize the world’s urban challenges and engage the international community towards the New Urban Agenda.
- Sustainable Development Goal 11: It formulates the ambition to make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable – underlying the relevance of UN-Habitat’s mission.
- World Cities Day Global Observance: It was hosted virtually in Kenya under the general theme “Better City, Better Life” with a sub-theme focused on “Valuing our Communities and Cities”.
- United Nations Human Settlements Programme(UN-Habitat): It was established in 1978 as United Nations agency for human settlements and sustainable urban development.Headquarters:Nairobi,Kenya.
News: Union Housing and Affairs Minister has inaugurated the 13th Urban Mobility India Conference 2020.
- Organized by: The conference is being organized by the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs.
- Aim: To disseminate information to the cities whose officials attend the conference to help them keep up-to-date with the latest and best urban transport practices globally.
- Theme: “Emerging Trends in Urban Mobility” .
News: Union Minister of Earth Sciences has released the National Council
of Applied Economic Research(NCAER) report titled “Estimating the economic benefits of Investment in Monsoon Mission and High Performance Computing facilities”.
- Aim: To use a holistic approach to estimate the incremental economic and social benefits subsequent to setting up of the “Monsoon Mission” and investments made in “High-Performance Computing systems”.
- For every rupee spent by the government on the National Monsoon Mission and High-performance Computing programs, the country would gain economic benefits worth fifty rupees which is 50 times more benefit on the investment over the next five years period.
- 76% of the livestock owners are using weather information for making decisions on modification of shelter; vaccination against seasonal disease; and fodder management. 82% of fishermen reported using Ocean State Forecast (OSF) advisories every time before venturing into sea.
- National Monsoon Mission: It was launched by the Ministry of Earth Sciences(MoES) in 2012 with an aim to develop a state-of-the-art, dynamic monsoon prediction system for short, medium and long-range forecasts.
- Implementation: The responsibility of execution of the mission is bestowed upon the Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology (IITM),Pune.
- High Performance Computing(HPC) facilities at MoES institutes has brought in a paradigm shift in weather and climate modelling activity for operational weather forecasts.The HPC facilities established at two of the MoES institutes are:
- “Pratyush” at Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology(IITM),Pune with computing capacity of 4 peta-flops and
- “Mihir” at National Centre for Medium Range Weather Forecast (NCMRWF), Noida with a computing capacity of 2.8 peta-flops.
- Agro-climatic zones: It refers to a geographical area with similar soil type, rainfall, temperature and water availability.India is divided into 15 major agro-climatic zones.
News: Water supply was affected in parts of Delhi after a spike in Ammonia levels in the river Yamuna led to a temporary closure of two water treatment plants.
- Ammonia(NH3): It is a colourless gas and is used as an industrial chemical in the production of fertilisers, plastics, synthetic fibres, dyes and other products.
- Source: It occurs naturally in the environment from the breakdown of organic waste matter and may also find its way to ground and surface water sources through industrial effluents, contamination by sewage or through agricultural runoff.
- Acceptable Limit: The acceptable maximum limit of ammonia in drinking water as per the Bureau of Indian Standards is 0.5 ppm.
- Effects: If the concentration of ammonia in water is above 1 ppm it is toxic to fishes. In humans, long term ingestion of water having ammonia levels of 1 ppm or above may cause damage to internal organs.
- Mixing of freshwater with ammonia polluted water.
- Stringent implementation of guidelines against dumping harmful waste into the river.
- Making sure untreated sewage does not enter the water.
- Maintaining a sustainable minimum flow, called the ecological flow.
- Ecological flow is the minimum amount of water that should flow throughout the river at all times to sustain underwater and estuarine ecosystems and human livelihoods and for self regulation.
- Yamuna River: It is the second-largest tributary river of the Ganga and the longest tributary in India.It originates from the Yamunotri Glacier in Uttarakhand and merges with Ganga at Prayagraj.It flows through the states of Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana and Delhi.
News: Union Minister for Food & Consumer Affairs has said that Fifteen States have been identified for implementing Pilot Scheme on Fortification of Rice & its distribution through Public Distribution System(PDS).
- Pilot Scheme on Fortification of Rice: It is a Centrally Sponsored Scheme which aims to address anaemia and micronutrients’ deficiency amongst beneficiaries consuming rice supplied under PDS.
- Duration of Scheme: The Scheme has been approved for a period of three years beginning 2019-2020.
- Implementation: 15 State Governments have identified their respective districts (1 district per state) for implementing the Scheme.
- Already 5 states of Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu and Chhattisgarh have started the distribution of fortified rice in their respective identified districts.
- Food Fortification: It is the deliberate addition of one or more micronutrients to food so as to correct or prevent a deficiency and provide a health benefit.
- Biofortification: It is the process by which the nutritional quality of food crops is improved through agronomic practices, conventional plant breeding or modern biotechnology.
- Difference between Biofortification and Food Fortification: Biofortification differs from conventional fortification as biofortification aims to increase nutrient levels in crops during plant growth rather than through manual means during processing of the crops.
News: Kerala has launched a state-of-the-art Accelerator for Electronics Technologies(ACE) to boost startups.
- Launched by: It is a joint initiative of Kerala Startup Mission (KSUM) and Centre for Development of Advanced Computing(CDAC).
- Objective: To develop itself as a leading accelerator in the country”s electronics technologies.It also aims to nurture the development of high-tech startups in electronics and allied disciplines.
- C-DAC: It is an autonomous scientific society created in 1987 under the operational control Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology.It primarily carries out Research and development(R&D) in IT, Electronics and associated areas.
News: Government has said that Integrated Government Online training ’-iGOT platform has issued more than 15 lakh online trainees certificates.
- iGOT: It is an E-learning platform launched by the Department of Personnel and Training to promote capacity building among the frontline workers to handle CoVID-19 pandemic.
- Target Group: Doctors, Nurses, Central & State Govt. Officers, Civil Defence Officials, Police Organisations, National Cadet Corps (NCC), Nehru Yuva Kendra Sangathan (NYKS), Indian Red Cross Society (IRCS) and other volunteers.
- Hosted by: The platform is being hosted on the DIKSHA platform.
- DIKSHA: It is an initiative of National Council of Educational Research and Training(NCERT), Ministry of Education.It offers engaging learning material relevant to the prescribed school curriculum to teachers, students and parents.