Uttarakhand govt asks defence ministry for choppers to control forest fires in hills
In the wake of rising incidence of wildfires in Uttarakhand, the state government has written to the ministry of defence, citing what has been termed a “worsening situation” of forest fires, to provide two IAF helicopters which would be deployed in the Garhwal and Kumaon region to douse the forests that are burning in these areas.
The forest fires are a result of 80% lesser rains the state received than usual, leaving the entire forest floor dry, and leading officials to anticipate a rerun of the 2016 situation when IAF helicopters had to be deployed as 4,538 hectares of forest area was turned into ashes in wildfires causing loss worth Rs 46.29 lakh.
Notably, in 983 fire incidents this year, over 1,291 hectare forests have been gutted and six human lives were lost, which resulted in loss of Rs 38.29 lakh. The state has lost 735.22 ha forest in Garhwal region followed by 531.01 ha in Kumaon and 24.9 ha of wildlife administration.
In Uttarakhand, 0.17% forest cover comes under extremely fire-prone area, 1.60% is under very highly fire-prone, 9.32% under very highly moderately fire-prone, 21.66% highly moderately fire-prone and 67.25% in less fire-prone categories.
World in 2030 – Public Survey Report
UNESCO released the World 2030: Public Survey Report. The organization released the report based on surveys conducted from May 2020 to September 2020. The survey collected feedback from more than 15,000 people around the world. Highlights:
According to the report, climate change, violence and conflict, loss of biodiversity, discrimination and inequality, water and housing, and insufficient food are the four major challenges facing a peaceful society in 2030.
Participants believe that education is the only key way to solve the many difficulties that will be faced in 2030. However, North Americans (United States, Canada) believe in science rather than education. Apart from education, the only solution is international cooperation.
The report believes that the main challenges in 2030 are as follows: Violence and conflict, Discrimination and inequality, False information and freedom of expression, Climate change and biodiversity loss, Lack of food, water and housing, Health and disease, Lack of decent jobs and opportunities, Political participation and democratic principles, Artificial Intelligence and New Technology, Tradition and culture are at risk.
UNESCO is acronymed as United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization. It was established in 1945.
Ukrainian President Urges NATO Speed Up the Membership
Ukrainian President (Volodymyr Zelensky) urged NATO for speedning up the process of joining the alliance, as it was the only way to end the fight against pro-Russian separatists. Background: Since 2014, the conflict in eastern Ukraine has been intensifying, which is the main escalation of the conflict in eastern Ukraine.
There, the government forces fought against separatists in the Donbas region, which mainly speaks Russian. Ukraine accused Russia of gathering thousands of military personnel last week on its northern and eastern borders and the Crimea peninsula annexed by Moscow in 2014. Ukraine’s Western allies have quickly defended themselves and issued a series of statements warning Russia not to take further action.
NATO: NATO was established in 1949 when the “Washington Treaty” was signed. It is a security alliance of 30 countries in North America and Europe. NATO was established during the Cold War and was a fortress against Soviet aggression. Its basic goal is to defend the freedom and security of allies through political and military means.
World Economic Outlook International Monetary Fund
The International Monetary Fund released the World Economic Outlook entitled Managing Recovery in Different. Highlights:
The report predicts that India’s GDP growth in the current fiscal year 2022 will be 12.5%. This is 1% higher than the previous forecast of 11.5% in January 2021. This is the highest among emerging economies and elite developed economies.
In addition, India’s growth forecast for 2023 has been raised from 6.8% to 6.9%. Previously, the International Monetary Fund had predicted that India’s growth rate would be 6.8%.
The global economy will grow by 6% in 2021 and is expected to slow to 4.4% by 2022. By 2020, the global economy will shrink by 3.3%.
According to this report, China has recovered its pre-COVID GDP in 2020. However, many other countries are not expected to resume production until 2023.
National Policy for Rare Diseases
The Union Health Minister approves the National Policy for Rare Diseases, 2021. About the National Policy for Rare Diseases, 2021:
The Rare Disease Policy aims to reduce the high cost of treatment of rare diseases by paying more attention to indigenous research with the help of the national consortium convened by the Department of Health Research of the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.
Increasing research and development focus and local drug production will reduce the cost of treatment of rare diseases.
The policy also envisages the establishment of a rare disease registration system based on national hospitals so that there is enough data to define rare diseases and conduct research and development related to rare diseases in the country.
The policy also focuses on early screening and prevention through primary and secondary health care infrastructure (for example, health and wellness centers and District Early Intervention Centers (DEIC)) and counselling for high-risk parents.
Cabinet nod to reimplement law on fighting NCR’s bad air
The Union cabinet approved the re-promulgation of ordinance on air quality management in National Capital Region (NCR) and adjoining areas spread over four states — Haryana, Punjab, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh — with important changes that seek to assuage farm unions opposed to the new agriculture laws.
The re-promulgated legislation has been tweaked to take care of the concerns of farmers who had objected to its substantially high penalty provision for stubble burning in neighbouring states. The multi-member statutory commission will now also have representation from farmers, industry and construction sectors. Penalty provisions for erring industry or other sectors remain intact with jail term up to five years or with fine up to Rs 1 crore or with both for any non-compliance or contravention of any provision or rules and order or direction of the panel.
The commission had replaced the Supreme Court-backed Environment Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority — EPCA — which had been taking care of the issues of air pollution in the NCR for last 22 years. The EPCA had successfully implemented certain measures such as relocation of polluting industries, switching over of public transport buses from diesel to CNG and restriction of entry of polluting trucks in the Capital.
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