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25 May Current Affairs

Western Ghats to be declared Ecologically Sensitive Area soon

In News:

The Union Minister Prakash Javadekar interacted with the Chief Ministers of the State Governments through video conference. The meeting held discussions relating to notification of declaring Western Ghats as Ecologically Sensitive Area.

Details:

The states that participated in the video conference include Karnataka, Kerala, Maharashtra, Goa, Tamil Nadu and Gujarat. The Government of India constituted a High level working group under Dr Kasturirangan. The committee identified geographical areas in the states that need to be declared Ecologically Sensitive Areas. Based on the report submitted by the committee, the Central Government in 2018 issued a draft notice to notify the areas as Ecologically Sensitive Areas (ESA).

The meeting is a follow up to make a conclusion in declared the regions as ESA.

Outcome of the meet:

The State Governments have expressed their interests in expediting early notification of ESA. They were unanimous in ensuring the protection of Western Ghats.

Maharashtra:

The State of Maharashtra proposed to include a greater number of villages as Ecologically Sensitive Areas. Under its proposal, the state has requested to include 2,092 villages under ESA. The Centre had proposed to include 2,133 villages.

These villages cover 37% of Western Ghats

What is ESA?

When an area is declared ESA, it means that restrictions are put on mining, thermal plants, quarrying, construction and setting up of industries.

Pradhan Mantri Ujjawala Yojana: 6.8 crore free Cylinders distributed

In News:

The Government of India announced that around 6.8 crore free cylinders have been distributed under Prdhan Mantri Ujjawala Yojana.

Details:

Under the scheme, free LPG cylinders are being provided by the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas. This covers more than 8 core beneficiaries of Pradhan Mantri Ujjawala Yojana. The beneficiaries are provided with the funds through Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT).

The GoI has allocated separate funds to distribute the cylinders under Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojana. It was launched to ease the lives of the people during lock down.

Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojana:

The scheme was launched in December 16, 2016 under Ministry of Finance. The scheme was valid till March 31, 2017. It was launched to declare unaccounted black money and wealth. The scheme was recently updated to mitigate the losses faced by the poor due to COVID-19.

Under the scheme, Rs 1.7 lakh crore was allocated. The updated scheme was launched on March 26, 2020.

Apart from this, the GoI has recently launched the Atma Nirbhar Bharat Abhiyan to revive the economy of the country. Around Rs 20 lakh crores have been allocated under the scheme. Through the scheme, the Government intends to boost MSMEs, agriculture, mining, fisheries. defence and science and technology. It mainly focuses on indigenisation of manufacturing. It will also focus on providing important to local produce through vocal for local initiative.

E-Conclave for Defence MSMEs held

In News:

The Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh chaired the E-Conclave of Defence MSME (Micro Small and Medium Enterprises).

Details:

The E-conclave was organized by CII (Confederation of Indian Industry), SIDM (Society of Indian Defence Manufacturers) and Department of Defence Production. Around 800 Defence MSMEs participated in the conclave that was held through video conferencing.

The Conclave identified the fact that the US Defence industry developed within a short span of two years during World War II.

Background:

The GoI recently announced that, the defence sector will focus on indigenization of defence raw materials to boost its defence production. This was announced to help economic growth during COVID-19 crisis. To achieve this, the GoI had imposed import ban on certain goods during its announcement of Atma Nirbhar Bharat Abhiyan. The Indian Air Force recently announced its stalling of three main projects of buying aircrafts from foreign countries. Instead, the IAF is to tie up with HAL to achieve those projects.

Thus, the conclave was conducted to let the MSMEs learn about the current requirements of defence sector. It also focused on how MSMEs can help boost defence production.

India’s Target:

The Conclave will certainly help India achieve its target of 25 billion defence production by 2025.

Khadi Masks gain Global recognition and demand

In News:

The Khadi and Village Industries Commission (KVIC) explore the possible option of exporting silk and cotton face masks to foreign countries. This is being done to promote “Vocal for Local”, that was initiated under Atma Nirbhar Bharat Abhiyan.

Details:

So far, the KVIC has received 8 lakh orders of masks and has supplied 6 lakhs during Lock down period. With overwhelming responses in India, KVIC is to expand the khadi masks globally. The plan is to supply Khadi Masks to countries such as USA, Dubai, Mauritius, middle east and to several other European countries.

Significance:

The export of Khadi masks will help to increase production and ultimately help boost employment. As the masks are cost effective, breathable, reusable, washable and bio-degradable, their demands are increasing globally.

Also, their efficiency is high as they are made of double twisted Khadi fabric.

Why are cotton masks more comfortable?

The double twisted fabric helps retain moisture and creates easy passage for air. This makes cotton fabric more comfortable to wear. On the other hand, synthetic masks are not porous. Hence do not allow passage of air. It does not absorb the sweat as well. Hence, wearing synthetic masks increases perspiration and creates discomforts and itching forcing the users to touch or adjust the mask.

GoI launches 5 initiatives towards Conservation of Biodiversity

In News:

To celebrate the International Day for Biological Diversity, 2020, the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change launched five initiatives on conservation of biodiversity.

Details:

The five initiatives include the following:

The “Biodiversity Samrakshan Internship Programme” was launched. It aims at engaging 20 students in post graduate programme for a period of 1 year. The programme will engage creative students that are willing to learn about biodiversity conservation and natural resource management.

The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) campaign called Illegal Trafficking of Endangered Species was launched. The campaign is called “Not All Animals Migrate by Choice”.

The Wildlife Crime Control Bureau campaign called Not All Animals Migrate by Choice was launched.

A Webinar series was launched. The series was on “Biodiversity Conservation and Biological Diversity Act, 2002”.

The World Wildlife Fund Model Conference of Parties was launched. It includes younger generation. This will engage them towards imprint of humanity towards biodiversity.

International Day of Biological Diversity:

Every year, the International Day of Biological Diversity is celebrated by the United Nations. The day is celebrated under the theme “Our Solutions are in Nature”.

Super Year for Biodiversity:

The United Nations framed 20 global actions to be implemented between 2010 and 2020. This is called Strategic Plan for Biodiversity. The year 2020 is called Super Year for Biodiversity.

Status Paper on Government Debt released

In News:

The Ministry of Finance released Status Paper on Government Debt 2018-19. According to the report, the overall debt of centres and states declined by 68.7% in March 2018 to 68.6% in 2019.

Details:

The Status Paper on Government Debt is being produced by the Ministry of Finance since 2010. Current debt of India stands at Rs 1.3 crore crore.

Key Findings of paper:

The debt of central government dropped marginally from 45.8% in 2017-18 to 45.7% in 2019, The external debt was 2.7% of GDP. The Average Interest Cost of the centre remained unchanged in the year 2018 to 2019. Around 94% of centre’s liabilities were of domestic debts.

The tenure of the longest security was 37 years.

Government Debt:

The Government Debts are classified as internal debt and external debt. The Internal Debts include non-marketable and marketable debt. External debt refers to debt borrowed from all the sources outside the country.

Government Liabilities are classified into liabilities in public account and debt contracted against Consolidated Funds of India.

United Nations: India’s KHUDOL declared one of Top 10 Global Initiatives to fight COVID-19

In News:

The United Nations listed the KHUDOL initiative of Manipur as one of the top 10 global initiatives to fight against COVID-19.

Details:

KHUDOL is an initiative of a NGO called Ya_All. Under the initiative, the NGO provides food, hygiene and health of LGBTQ community, daily wage workers, people with AIDS.

The organization mobilized network of 100 volunteers. Through the volunteers the organization distributed 1000 health kits, 1500 condoms and 6500 sanitary pads.

Transgender measures of Manipur:

Manipur has been creating inclusive safe space for the transgender community. The state has been taking extra care towards the transgenders as compared to other states. Separate rooms and toilets were established for the transgender community.

North East Region:

When compared to other states, the north east region had been showing vast improvements in reducing the spread of COVID-19. This included Meghalaya, Mizoram, Arunachal Pradesh, Sikkim and Nagaland. Also, the GoI had successfully implemented the North East Model to contain the disease in the region.

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