Factly News articles for December 24, 2020

CO2 emissions from building sector highest in 2019: UNEP 

News: United Nations Environment Programme(UNEP) has released a report titled Global Status Report for Building and Construction,2020. 


  • The report has been prepared by the Global Alliance for Buildings and Construction(GlobalABC), the Secretariat of which is hosted by the UNEP. 

Key Takeaways: 

  • CO2 Emissions from the Building Sector: The building sector emitted more than a third of global energy-related carbon dioxide(CO2) in 2019. 
  • The CO2 emissions increased due to a high proportion of fossil fuels used for power generation, combined with higher activity levels in regions where electricity remains carbon-intensive. 
  • Impact of COVID-19 on Construction: The construction activities dropped by 20-30% in 2020 compared to 2019 because of the COVID-19 pandemic and 10% of overall jobs lost or at risk in the building construction sector. 


  • Buildings and construction sector needs to urgently implement a triple strategy of a) aggressively reducing energy demand in the built environment b) decarbonisation of the power sector and c) implement materials strategies that reduce lifecycle carbon emission 
  • Governments must prioritize low-carbon buildings in pandemic stimulus packages. It should launch programmes that can create jobs, boost economic activity and activate local value chains in the construction sector. 
  • Investors should reevaluate all real estate investment through an energy-efficiency and carbon reduction lens. 

Additional Facts: 

  • GlobalABC: It is the leading global platform for governments, private sector, civil society and intergovernmental organizations to increase action towards a zero-emission, efficient and resilient buildings and construction sector.GlobalABC was a key outcome of the 2015 UN climate conference. 


Explained: What is 3D Printing? 

News: L&T Construction has 3D printed a G+1 (Ground plus one) building for the first time in India at Kancheepuram, Chennai with indigenous concrete mixture. 


  • 3D printing or additive manufacturing(AM) is a process of making three dimensional solid objects from a digital file. 

Process of 3D Printing: 

  • The process starts with making a virtual design of the object that has to be created. 
  • This virtual design is made in a CAD (Computer Aided Design) file using a 3D modelling program (new object) or using a 3D scanner (existing object).  
  • Slicing software slices the final model into hundreds or thousands of horizontal layers. When this prepared file is uploaded in the 3D printer, the printer creates the object layer by layer. 
  • The 3D printer reads every slice (or 2D image) and proceeds to create the object blending each layer together with no sign of the layering visible, resulting in one three-dimensional object. 


  • Applications of 3D Printing: The 3D printing technology is used for both prototyping and distributed manufacturing with applications in architecture, construction, industrial design, automotive, aerospace, dental and medical industries, biotech (human tissue replacement), fashion, jewellery, education, geographic information systems and many other fields. 

Advantages of 3D Printing: 

  • Low cost: 3D printing is cheaper than traditional methods of manufacturing. 
  • Less Time: Printing of the 3D object can be done directly, differing from the traditional manufacturing where different components had to be joined to form the final product. 
  • Efficiency: Generating prototypes with 3D printers is much easier and faster with 3D printing technology. 
  • Flexibility: Different materials can be used in the 3D models. This makes it very easy to create construction models or prototypes for a wide variety of projects within many industries. 
  • Reduced wastage: AM process produces less waste in comparison with other traditional manufacturing techniques 

Issues with 3D Printing: 

  • Limited size: The size of objects created with 3d printers is currently limited 
  • Limited Raw Materials: With 3D printing being an additive method (layer after layer), the materials available suited for it are limited- ceramics, resin, plastics, etc. 
  • Effect on employment: Jobs in manufacturing will be rendered obsolete which will have a negative impact on developing economies. 


Union Minister launches Mobile Application “Swachhata Abhiyan” 

News: Union Minister for Social Justice and Empowerment has launched a Mobile Application “Swachhata Abhiyan”. 


  • Swachhata Abhiyan: It is a mobile application developed to identify and geotag the data of insanitary latrines and manual scavengers so that the insanitary latrines can be replaced with sanitary latrines and rehabilitate all the manual scavengers to provide dignity of life to them. 
  • Significance: This would help in rehabilitating all manual scavengers and replace insanitary latrines with sanitary ones. 

Additional Facts: 

  • Manual scavenging: It is the practice of manually cleaning, carrying, disposing of or handling human excreta. 
  • According to the 2011 Census, there are more than 26 Lakh insanitary latrines in the country and the existence of insanitary latrines is the main reason for manual scavenging. 

 Indian Government efforts to end Manual Scavenging: 

  • Prohibition of Employment as Manual Scavengers and their Rehabilitation Act 2013: The key features of the act are: 
  • It bans manual scavenging and also discharges employees who are engaged in this practice on a contractual or regular basis. 
  • It widened the definition of manual scavengers by including it in all forms of manual removal of human excreta like an open drain, pit latrine, septic tanks, manholes, and removal of excreta on the railway tracks.  
  • It lays key focus on rehabilitating the manual scavengers by providing them with ready-built houses, financial assistance & loans for taking up alternate occupation on a sustainable basis, organizing training programs for the scavengers so that they can opt for some other profession at a stipend of Rs. 3000 and offering scholarships to their children under the relevant scheme of the government. 
  • The Act makes the offense of manual scavenging cognizable and non-bailable. 
  • It calls for a survey of manual scavenging in urban & rural areas and the conversion of insanitary latrines into sanitary latrines. 
  • It makes it obligatory for employers to provide protective tools to the workers. 

Self-Employment Scheme for Rehabilitation of Manual Scavengers (SRMS):  

  • It aims to rehabilitate manual scavengers and their dependents in alternative occupations, in a time bound manner. 
  • Under this, manual scavengers are provided rehabilitation benefits which include  
  • One Time cash assistance of Rs.40000/-. 
  • Loans up to Rs. 15.00 lacs at concessional rate of interest. 
  • Credit linked back end capital subsidy up to Rs. 3,25,000/-. 
  • Skill Development Training up to two years with a stipend of Rs.3000/- per month. 


India sends flood support to Vietnam under Mission Sagar III 

News: Indian Naval Ship Kiltan arrived at Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam as part of Mission Sagar-III.  


  • Mission Sagar: It was launched by the Indian government as a part of India’s Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR) assistance to Friendly Foreign Countries during the ongoing pandemic. 
  • Mission Sagar-I: It was undertaken in May-June 2020, wherein India reached out to Maldives, Mauritius, Seychelles, Madagascar and Comoros, and provided food aid and medicines. 
  • Mission Sagar-II: As part of Mission Sagar-II, Indian Naval Ship Airavat has delivered food aid to Sudan, South Sudan, Djibouti and Eritrea. 
  • Mission Sagar-III: As part of Mission Sagar-III, Indian Navy Ship Kiltan delivered 15 Tonnes Of Aid To Vietnam For Flood Relief. 

Significance: These deployments are also in consonance with the Prime Minister’s vision of Security and Growth for All in the Region (SAGAR). 

Additional Facts: 

  • Security and Growth of All in the Region(SAGAR) in the Indian Ocean(SAGAR): The term was coined by the Indian Prime Minister in 2015. 

Key Elements of SAGAR: 

  • Enhancing capacities to safeguard land and maritime territories and interests. 
  • Deepening economic and security cooperation in the littoral. 
  • Promoting collective action to deal with natural disasters and maritime threats like piracy, terrorism and emergent non-state actors. 
  • Working towards sustainable regional development through enhanced collaboration. 
  • Engaging with countries beyond our shores with the aim of building greater trust and promoting respect for maritime rules, norms and peaceful resolution of disputes. 


Prime Minister Formalisation of Micro food processing Enterprises (PM-FME) Scheme 

News: Tribal Cooperative Marketing Federation of India(TRIFED) has signed an MoU with Ministry of Food Processing Industries(MOFPI) For Upliftment of Tribal Lives Through the Implementation of PM- FME Scheme. 


  • PM-FME Scheme: It is a centrally sponsored scheme launched by the Ministry of Food Processing Industries(MOFPI). 


  • To modernize and enhance the competitiveness of the existing individual micro enterprises and ensure their transition to formal sector 
  • To provide support to Farmer Producer Organizations, Self Help Groups, and Producers Cooperatives along their entire value chain. 
  • Duration: The scheme will be implemented over a period of five years from 2020-21 to 2024-25 with an outlay of Rs 10,000 crore.  
  • Funding: The expenditure under the scheme would be shared in 60:40 ratio between Central and State Governments, in 90:10 ratio with North Eastern and Himalayan States, 60:40 ratio with UTs with legislature and 100% by Centre for other UTs. 
  • Coverage: Under the scheme, 2,00,000 micro food processing units will be directly assisted with credit linked subsidy. Adequate supportive common infrastructure and institutional architecture will be supported to accelerate growth of the sector. 

Key Features: 

  • One District One Product:  
  • The Scheme adopts One District One Product (ODOP) approach to reap the benefit of scale in terms of procurement of inputs, availing common services and marketing of products. 
  • The States would identify food products for a district keeping in view the existing clusters and availability of raw material.  
  • The ODOP product could be a perishable produce based product or cereal based products or a food product widely produced in a district and their allied sectors. 
  • Other Focus Areas:  
  • The scheme focuses on Waste to wealth products, minor forest products and Aspirational Districts. 
  • The Scheme also places special focus on capacity building and research. NIFTEM and IIFPT, two academic and research institutions under MOFPI along with State Level Technical Institutions selected by the States would be provided support for training of units, product development, appropriate packaging and machinery for micro units. 
  • Financial Support: 
  • Existing individual micro food processing units desirous of upgrading their units can avail credit-linked capital subsidy at 35% of the eligible project cost with a maximum ceiling of Rs.10 lakh per unit. 
  • Support would be provided through credit linked grants at 35% for development of common infrastructure including common processing facility, lab, warehouse through FPOs/SHGs/cooperatives or state owned agencies or private enterprise. 
  • A seed capital (initial funding) of Rs. 40,000- per Self Help Group (SHG) member would be provided for working capital and purchase of small tools. 


Ladakh’s Tso Kar Wetland Complex now a Wetland of International Importance 

News: India has added Tso Kar Wetland Complex in Ladakh as its 42nd Ramsar site which is a second one in the Union Territory (UT) of Ladakh. 


  • Tso Kar Basin: It is a high-altitude wetland complex consisting of two principal waterbodies Startsapuk Tso( a freshwater lake of about 438 hectares to the south and Tso Kar (a hypersaline lake of 1800 hectares to the north) situated in the Changthang region of Ladakh, India.  
  • Significance: It is also called Tso Kar meaning white lake because of the white salt efflorescence found on the margins due to the evaporation of highly saline water. 
  • Important Bird Area: The Tso Kar Basin is an A1 Category Important Bird Area (IBA) as per Bird Life International and a key staging site in the Central Asian Flyway. 
  • Important Breeding Ground: The site is one of the most important breeding areas of the Black-necked Crane (Grus nigricollis) in India. It is also the major breeding area for Great Crested Grebe Bar-headed Geese, Ruddy Shelduck, Brown-headed Gull, Lesser Sand-Plover and many other species. 


Additional Facts: 

  • Wetlands: It provides a wide range of important resources and ecosystem services such as food, water, fibre, groundwater recharge, water purification, flood moderation, erosion control and climate regulation.  
  • They are a major source of water and our main supply of freshwater comes from an array of wetlands which help soak rainfall and recharge groundwater. 
  • Ramsar Convention on Wetland (1971): It is an intergovernmental treaty which provides the framework for national action and international cooperation for the conservation and wise use of wetlands and their resources. 
  • Aim: To develop and maintain an international network of wetlands which are important for the conservation of global biological diversity and for sustaining human life through the maintenance of their ecosystem components, processes and benefits. 
  • Montreux Record: It is a register of wetland sites on the List of Ramsar wetlands of international importance. It shows such sites where there has been or likely to be adverse ecological changes due to anthropogenic activities. Indian sites in the Montreux Record are Keoladeo National Park (Rajasthan), Loktak Lake (Manipur). 


For Further Read: https://blog.forumias.com/wetlands/ 


U.K., EU reach post-Brexit trade agreement 

News: Britain and the European Union have struck a free-trade deal on that should avert economic chaos on New Year’s and bring a measure of certainty for businesses after years of Brexit turmoil. 


  • Brexit: It is the withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union and the European Atomic Energy Community. 

Key Features of the Brexit Deal: 

  • Trade in Goods: The agreement ensures that most goods traded between the EU and U.K. won’t face new tariffs or quotas. However, British exporters will face an array of new regulatory hurdles that will make it more costly and burdensome to do business in Europe. 
  • Level Playing Field: The deal commits both sides to upholding their environmental, social, labor and tax transparency standards to make sure they don’t undercut each other. The British say the deal doesn’t include a ratchet mechanism that would force it to stiffen its rule in lockstep with the EU. 
  • Customs: Both sides pledge to limit customs red tape, including through programs for trusted traders known as authorized economic operators (AEOs have benefits including fewer controls). 
  • Dispute Settlement: Disputes on the deal must be negotiated between the EU and the U.K. with no role for the EU courts. 
  • Professional Services: There will no longer be automatic mutual recognition of professional qualifications. 
  • Mobility – freedom of movement: UK nationals no longer have the freedom to work, study, start a business or live in the EU. Visas will be required for stays over 90 days. 


PM to launch Ayushman Bharat PM-JAY SEHAT for J&K 

News: Prime Minister will launch Ayushman Bharat PM-JAY SEHAT to extend coverage to all the residents of the Union Territory of Jammu & Kashmir. 



  • PM-JAY SEHAT: It aims to ensure Universal Health Coverage by providing free of cost insurance cover to all the residents of the UT of J&K. 
  • The scheme will cover the remaining population which has not been covered under the Ayushman Bharat Scheme. 

Key Features of the scheme: 

  • It provides financial cover up to Rs 5 lakh per family on a floater basis to all residents of the UT of J&K.  
  • It provides for operational extension of PM-JAY to 15 lakh (approx.) additional families.  
  • The scheme will operate on insurance mode in convergence with PM-JAY.  
  • The benefits of the scheme will be portable across the country. The hospitals empaneled under PM-JAY scheme shall provide services under this scheme as well. 
  • Significance: With the launch of ‘SEHAT’ Scheme, J&K will be among the first in the country to achieve Universal Health Coverage. 

 Additional Facts: 

  • Universal Health Coverage: It includes the full spectrum of essential, quality health services, from health promotion to prevention, treatment, rehabilitation, and palliative care and enables everyone to access the services, protecting people from the financial consequences of paying for health services out of their own pockets and reducing the risk that people will be pushed to poverty. 
  • Ayushman Bharat : It was launched in 2018.It is the world’s largest health insurance/ assurance scheme fully financed by the Centre. 
  • It provides a cover of Rs 5 lakh per family annually for secondary and tertiary care hospitalisation for public and private enlisted hospitals in the country. 
  • The two flagship programmes under Ayushman Bharat programme are (a) Health and Wellness Centre and (b) Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (PM-JAY).