- Cabinet approves Ratification of seven Persistent Organic Pollutants listed under Stockholm Convention
News: The Union Cabinet has approved the Ratification of seven (7) chemicals listed under Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants(POPs).
- Seven POPs: The seven POPsprohibited from manufacturing, trading using, importing and exporting are:
- Hexabromodiphenyl ether and Hepta Bromodiphenyl Ether
- Tetrabromodiphenyl ether and Pentabromodiphenyl ether
- Hexabromocyclododecane and
- Significance: The ratification process would enable India to access Global Environment Facility (GEF) financial resources.
- Other Decisions taken by Cabinet: The Cabinet has delegated its powers to ratify chemicals under the Stockholm Convention to Union Ministers of External Affairs(MEA) and Environment, Forest and Climate Change(MEFCC) in respect of POPs already regulated under the domestic regulations thereby streamlining the procedure.
- Stockholm Convention: Itis an international environmental treaty, signed in 2001 and effective from 2004.It aims to eliminate or restrict the production and use of persistent organic pollutants(POPs).
- What are POPs? These are chemicals that remain intact in the environment for long periods, become widely distributed geographically, accumulate in the fatty tissue of living organisms and are toxic to humans and wildlife.
News: Delhi Chief Minister has announced that the Delhi government will start spraying bio-decomposer solutions to prevent stubble burning in non-basmati rice fields in the national capital.
- What is Bio-decomposer? It is a decomposer capsule which could be converted into a liquid solution and sprayed on fields with crop stubble. The solution when sprayed in the fields can decompose crop residue and turn it into manure.
- Who developed it? It has been developed by the Indian Agricultural Research Institute(IARI),Pusa.
- The solution increases soil fertility and reduces the use of fertilisers.
- It is a low-cost, simple and effective way to deal with the problem of stubble burning.
- Stubble Burning: It is the practice of intentionally setting fire to residues which remains after the harvest of a crop. It is usually done to clear the field quickly for the next season and to burn off weeds and other pests.
- Stubble burning is pan-Indian problem. However, it is most acute in Punjab, Haryana and Western Uttar Pradesh.
News: The World Bank has released its biennial Poverty and Shared Prosperity Report.
- About the report: The report aims to provide the latest and most accurate estimates on trends in global poverty and shared prosperity.
- Global extreme poverty is expected to rise in 2020 for the first time in over 20 years due to disruption of the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Extreme poverty defined as living on less than $1.90 a day is likely to affect between 9.1% and 9.4% of the world’s population in 2020.
- Other Reports by World Bank:
- World Development Report
- Global Economic Prospect (GEP) Report
- Logistics Performance Index
- Remittance Report
- Global Financial Development Report
- Human Capital Index.
News: Union Minister of Textiles launched the 1st ever Brand & Logo for Indian Cotton on 2nd World Cotton Day.
- Kasturi Cotton: India’s premium Cotton would be known as ‘Kasturi Cotton’ in the world cotton Trade.The Kasturi Cotton brand will represent Whiteness, Brightness, Softness, Purity, Luster, Uniqueness and Indianness.
- Cott-Ally: It is a mobile app launched by Cotton Corporation of India (CCI) to provide latest news regarding weather conditions, Crop situation and best farm practices for cotton cultivation.
- Cotton Cultivation in India: India is the 2nd largest cotton producer and the largest consumer of cotton in the world.India produces about 6 million tons of cotton every year which is about 23% of the world cotton. India produces about 51% of the total organic cotton production of the world which demonstrates India’s effort towards sustainability.
- World Cotton Day(WCD): Itis observed globally on 7th October since 2019.The day aims to celebrate the advantages of cotton, ranging from its qualities as a natural fibre to the benefits people obtain from its production, transformation, trade and consumption.
News: Rajasthan government has decided to build temporary shelters for migratory birds near the Sambhar Lake (near Jaipur) before 2020’s winter season.
- Sambhar Lake: It is India’s largest inland saline water body located near Jaipur in Rajasthan.
- The lake is surrounded on all sides by the Aravali hills and is spread across Jaipur and Nagaur districts and also a part of Ajmer district in Rajasthan.
- The lake receives water from five rivers Medtha, Samaod, Mantha, Rupangarh, Khari and Khandela.
- Significance: The lake was also designated as a Ramsar site in 1990.It is also famous for salt production and is also an Important Bird Area(IBA).
- Why there is a need for shelters: Every year, a large number of birds from the cold northern regions of Central Asia come to Sambhar Lake.In 2019, more than 20,000 migratory birds died due to avian botulism in the lake.
- Avian Botulism: It is a neuro-muscular illness caused by Botulinum (natural toxin) that is produced by bacteria, Clostridium botulinum.
- The bacteria is commonly found in the soil, rivers, and seawater.It affects both humans and animals.
- The bacteria also need anaerobic (absence of oxygen) conditions and do not grow in acidic conditions.
- The illness affects the nervous system of birds, leading to paralysis in their legs and wings.
News: Indian Coast Guard have launched an offshore patrol vessel named ‘Vigraha’.
- Vigraha: It is an offshore patrol vessel(OPV) built and designed by Larsen and Toubro Shipbuilding under the ‘Make in India’ initiative.
- Offshore patrol vessels(OPVs): These are patrolling vehicles which are deployed by Indian coast guards to patrol the maritime boundary of India.
- Vikram-class offshore patrol vessel: Itis a series of seven offshore patrol vessels(OPV) being built by L&T Shipbuilding for the Indian Coast Guard.The seven OPVs are: a) Vikram b) Vijaya c) Varaha d) Veera d) Varad e) Vajra and f) Vigraha.
- Indian Coast Guard(ICG): It is a multi-mission organization launched in 1978 with the objective of superintendence and policing of India’s maritime areas including the Exclusive Economic Zone.It operates under the Ministry of Defence.
News: Union Cabinet has given its approval for signing a Memorandum of Cooperation(MoC) in the field of cybersecurity between India and Japan.
- Aim: TheMemorandum of Cooperation(MoC) will enhance cooperation in areas of mutual interest which include:
- Capacity building in the area of cyberspace
- Protection of critical infrastructure
- Cooperation in emerging technologies
- Sharing information on cyber security threats/incidents and malicious cyber activities.
- Developing joint mechanisms for practical cooperation to mitigate cyber threats.
- Reciprocal Provision of Supplies and Services agreement: It is a mutual logistics agreement signed between India and Japan.The agreement allows the militaries of the two countries to use each other’s bases and facilities for repair and replenishment of supplies.
- Lunar Polar Exploration mission: It is a joint mission of ISRO and Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency(JAXA) to be launched in 2023.It aims to send a lunar rover and lander to explore the south pole region of the Moon.