· Long-awaited Icha Dam construction to begin soon
- Pending since 1990, the construction work for Icha Dam under the Subarnarekha Multi Purpose project will finally begin. The State Cabinet recently cleared the way to starting the construction of the dam, the height of which will now be reduced from 225 metres to 213 metres.
- Construction of Icha dam is one of the four components of Subernarekha Multipurpose project having the total budget of Rs 6,600 crore. The other components were construction of Chandil Dam, Kharkai Barrage and Galudih Barrage. While the construction for Chandil Dam and Galudih Barrage is completed, Kharkai barrage is also on verge of completion with 95 per cent work being done.
- First human rights TV channel Launched in London
- The world’s first television channel dedicated to human rights was launched in London by the International Observatory of Human Rights (IOHR). It would be a web-based channel and would deliver human rights issues to audiences in over 20 countries across Europe, Latin America and the Middle East. The broadcasts of the channel can be viewed via the netgem.tv interactive platform.
- The programmes are currently broadcasted in English and eventually hopes to broadcast in other languages including Farsi, Turkish, Arabic and Russian.
Global Risks Report
- The Global Risks Report 2019 of the World Economic Forum (WEF) describes changes occurring in the global risks landscape from year to year and identifies global catastrophic risks. The report also examines the interconnectedness of risks and considers how the strategies for the mitigation of global risks might be structured.
- The top-five risks by impact, facing the world are weapons of mass destruction; failure of climate-change mitigation and adaptation; extreme weather events; water crises; and major natural disasters.
- Rising geopolitical and geo-economic tensions are the most urgent risk in 2019.
- UN raises concern on India’s definition of forests
- A technical assessment by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) of India’s submission on forest cover has raised concerns about the country’s definition of forests, which experts say exaggerates forest cover and inadvertently masks deforestation.
- The global body has recommended that India delineate areas under orchards, and bamboo and palm cultivation for an accurate assessment of carbon stocks of forests. The exaggeration could fall at least in the range of 5-12% of the forest cover.
- The government considers an area of one hectare (ha) or more with at least 10% canopy cover, irrespective of land use and ownership, including all land that meets the forest thresholds —
- Tree crops, fruit orchards, bamboo and agro-forestry — as a forest.
- India submitted its Forest Reference Levels (FRL) in 2018 to the UN’S Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD+), which is an effort to value the carbon stored in forests to create incentives for developing countries to protect their environment. The FRL is a baseline for the assessment of emission reduction through forests. Emission reduction efforts under REDD+ can be monetised through a market mechanism.
· ASER Report 2018
- The Annual Status of Education, ASER report by the NGO Pratham which measures the learning outcomes has been released. The report was based on an annual household survey which covered 5.46 lakh children in 596 rural districts across the country.
The important findings from the ASER 2018 survey are:
- For the first time since the introduction of the Right to Education Act, India witnessed tangible improvements in the quality aspects. The study shows that more than half (50.5%) of all children in Class 5 can read a Class 2 textbook, up from 46.9% in 2012.
- Government schools in eight states of Himachal Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Odisha, Chhattisgarh, Karnataka, Kerala, Mizoram and Arunachal Pradesh have recorded a growth in basic reading levels of more than 5 percentage points over 2016.
- Government schools in 10 states of Punjab, UP, Assam, Chhattisgarh, Maharashtra, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Nagaland, Mizoram and Arunachal Pradesh have recorded a growth of more than 5 percentage points in basic arithmetic levels 2016.
- 1 out of 4 children in rural India leaves Class 8 without basic reading skills and over half of them (55.9%) without basic numerical literacy or without the ability to do a simple division sum.
- 1% of children in the 15-16 age group are not in school.
- The government schools in Uttar Pradesh have registered an 11.9% jump in reading skills for Class 5 students while private schools saw only a 7.6% rise.
· Relaxation of Norms under PCA Framework
- Prompt Corrective Action (PCA) framework has been issued by the RBI to maintain the sound financial health of banks. The RBI will initiate certain structured and discretionary actions for the bank under the PCA. The PCA framework kicks in when the Banks breach any of the three key regulatory trigger points
Capital to risk-weighted assets ratio
Net non-performing assets
Return on assets.
- The PCA framework is aimed at nudging the banks to take corrective measures in a timely manner, in order to restore their financial health.
- Indias largest startup ecosystem inaugurated in Kerala by CM Pinarayi Vijayan
- Kerala chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan launched country’s largest startup ecosystem, integrated startup complex under the Kerala Startup Mission (KSUM),at the Technology Innovation Zone (TIZ), in Kochi, Kerala.
- It is a 8 lakh sq ft. facility housing incubation infrastructure across a series of sectors in technology.
- BRIC aids developing solutions for cancer diagnosis and care.
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