26.4.23 UKPSC Daily Current Affair

Forest department plans to map areas of ‘Keeda Jadi’ to benefit locals
The forest department of Uttarakhand is planning to undertake a significant initiative to provide economic benefits to the high-altitude mountain communities by conducting satellite resource mapping and ground surveys of locations where the rare medicinal herb known as Keeda Jadi is found. Keeda jadi is harvested from April to June and is predominantly found in alpine pastures of the Himalayas.
Recognising that previous efforts in 2018 to regulate the collection, marketing, and royalty of keeda jadi for the benefit of hill villagers were not very promising , the forest department has now taken the approach of estimating the total production and mapping the locations first. Subodh Uniyal, the forest minister of Uttarakhand, told media, “The villagers of the hills should be the primary beneficiaries since they live in challenging geographical areas under harsh climatic conditions.”
Keeda jadi, also known as the caterpillar fungus, is renowned worldwide for its alleged aphrodisiac properties and commands a high price of Rs 20 lakh per kilogram in the international market. However, there is still ambiguity regarding its production, collection and transportation, which is now being re-addressed after almost five years.
India to join international climate action in civil aviation from 2027
India has announced that it will participate in the International Civil Aviation Organisation’s (ICAO) Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation (CORSIA) and the Long-Term Aspirational Goals (LTAG) from 2027. The decision was made at a meeting of the Parliament’s Consultative Committee of the Ministry of Civil Aviation held in New Delhi and chaired by the Minister of Civil Aviation Jyotiraditya Scindia.
ICAO’s Focus on Reducing Carbon Emissions:
ICAO has been tasked with reducing carbon emissions from international civil aviation. To achieve this goal, the global body has adopted several key aspirational goals, including a two per cent annual fuel efficiency improvement through 2050, carbon neutral growth, and net zero by 2050. These goals are clubbed under CORSIA and LTAG.
CORSIA is to be implemented in three phases, and financial implications due to offsetting have to be borne by individual airlines, depending upon their international operations. It is applicable only to flights originating from one country to another.
ICAO is an intergovernmental specialized agency associated with the United Nations (UN) that was established in 1947 by the Convention on International Civil Aviation (1944) known as the Chicago Convention. The headquarters of ICAO is located in Montreal, Canada.
IIT Madras to set up its first international campus in Tanzania
IIT Madras is set to establish the first Indian Institute of Technology in Africa in Tanzania, with classes scheduled to begin in October. The new campus will be located in Zanzibar, and marks IIT Madras’ first international campus. V Kamakoti, the institute’s director, announced the plans during his address at IIT Madras’ 64th Institute Day. A team of five IIT Madras professors visited Tanzania in February to hold discussions with officials about setting up the new campus.
Atmospheric Rivers caused 70 per cent of India’s floods between 1985 and 2020, says study
The devastating floods that occurred in the country between 1985 and 2020 during the summer monsoon season were directly associated with Atmospheric Rivers, a phenomenon of a stream of water vapour moving in the sky like a river flowing on the land, says a new study.
It says severe weather events like the 2013 Uttarakhand floods and the 2018 floods in Kerala that claimed several lives were all due to severe Atmospheric Rivers (ARs).
The study, jointly conducted by climate scientists from the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Gandhinagar, the National Institute of Technology, Srinagar, and the University of Washington, says a warming climate is increasing the moisture-holding capacity of Atmospheric Rivers, which leads to concerns about more devastating floods in the future.
Cool summer can impact monsoon onset: Experts
A cool summer or pre-monsoon season this year can impact the onset and progress of the southwest rains in India, top weather experts are of the view.
If the landmass of India tends to cool down during summer, as happened this year, the temperature gradient between the land and sea decreases. This can lead to a delay in the onset of the southwest monsoon over the Indian subcontinent, which normally sets over Kerala around June 1.
The evolution of wind and convective patterns in the Asia-Pacific region are also important. A cyclone is also soon likely to form over the Bay of Bengal. This can play an important role in the evolution of thermal, dynamic and convective patterns, leading to monsoon onset over the region. The next few days would be crucial to determine the timing of the monsoon onset this year . IMD’s forecast on monsoon onset will be released soon, based on these parameters.
At $15 billion, India’s trade deficit shrinks to 20-month low in April
 India’s trade deficit narrowed to a 20-month low of $15. 2 billion in April as goods imports and exports shrank in the wake of lower commodity prices amid weak demand in Europe and the US.
Latest data released by the commerce department pegged goods exports at $34. 7 billion, which was 12. 6% lower than a year ago and the steepest fall since August 2020 when it crashed 12. 7%. It was also the third straight monthly decline.
Similarly, imports contracted 14. 1% to $49. 9 billion — the sharpest fall since the 33% decline last October — and marked the first time since August 2021 when the monthly value of shipments coming into the country was under $50 billion, according to data available with the government and the RBI.
The government is drawing comfort from the services export numbers, which have so far bucked the trend. During April, services exports were estimated to have increased 26% to $30. 4 billion, while imports were pegged at $16. 5 billion, a 17% increase.
Besides, the commerce ministry revised the trade numbers for the last financial year. Export of goods and services in 2022-23 is estimated to have increased 14. 7% to $775. 9 billion, around $6 billion higher than the earlier estimate. Imports were around $894. 2 billion, 17. 7% higher, resulting in a trade deficit of $118. 3 billion.
The numbers also showed that goods exports increased 6. 7% to cross the $450-billion mark for the first time, while imports were estimated to have gone up 16. 5% to $714 billion during the last fiscal year.
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