· Uttarakhand’s annual budget evokes mixed response
ð The state’s annual budget for the financial year 2019-20 presented in the assembly by finance minister Prakash Pant evoked mixed response from people in the industrial sector.
ð Uttarakhand Manufacturers’ Association president saw ‘nothing new for the industry’ in the budget.
ð Expectations of new steps to promote micro small medium enterprise (MSME) have been belied just as hopes of GST refund for the quarter from October to December 2017 due for over a year have been mocked.
ð According to him, 20% budgetary deficit and 31% of the revenue being spent on payment of salary and wages is something to be worried about.
· NASA plans to send astronauts on Moon in 2028
- NASA, The U.S. space agency, plans to send American astronauts back on the Moon by 2028, with unmanned demonstration missions in2024 and 2026. Bridenstine laid out the space agency’s plan to support the development of commercial hardware capable of landing astronauts on the Moon. The mission architecture represents a dramatic shift from the way NASA had put humans on the Moon when Apollo 11 in July 1969 put Neil Armstrong as the first man to walk on the lunar surface.
- The procurement plan, as laid out in a document known as a Broad Agency Announcement, calls for commercial ventures to propose concepts for a descent module, a space refueling system and a transfer vehicle by March 25. In May, NASA would select several companies for an initial six-month phase to study and develop in this line and will allocate up to$9 million to each company. Astronauts would make their first trip to the lunar surface in 2028. NASA’s plan calls for four astronauts to spend as long as seven days on the Moon.
· Symantec has launched Email Fraud Protection
- Global cybersecurity company Symantechas launched ‘Email Fraud Protection’, an automated solution, to help organizations block fraudulent emails from reaching enterprises.
- It aims to reduce workload for IT departments and eliminate the need to manually manage email security configurations while combating Business Email Compromise attacks. The solution is now available as part of Symantec’s Email Security Solution and Integrated Cyber Defence Platform. With this solution, email authentication standards are met by automatic monitoring of approved third-party senders.
- Inland Waterways Authority of India launches LADIS portal
- The Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI) launched a new portal LADIS – Least Available Depth Information System.
- The portal being hosted on IWAI’s website www.iwai.nic.in has been developed in-house.
- Initially LAD information will be available for NW-1, NW-2, Indo-Bagladesh Protocol route and NW-3, along with the date of survey.
- The facility will be expanded to other NWs also.
- Emergency response number ‘112’
- Persons in distress across 16 states and Union territories, apart from the city of Mumbai, can now call a single emergency response number ‘112’ to get immediate assistance from the police, fire and rescue, health and other emergency services. Union home minister Rajnath Singh launched the emergency response support system (ERSS) and other initiatives for women safety, including an investigation tracking system for sexual offences and safe city implementation monitoring portal
- ERSS, under which all states and UTs must set up a dedicated emergency response centre (ERS), is being launched for Andhra Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Punjab, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, UP, Telangana, Tamil Nadu, Gujarat, Puducherry, Lakshadweep, Andaman, Dadar Nagar Haveli, Daman & Diu and J&K. The service has already been started in Himachal Pradesh and Nagaland.
- ERSS also provides a 112 India mobile App for making distress calls by any person. For women and children, 112 India App provides a special ‘SHOUT’ feature which alerts registered volunteers in the vicinity of victim for immediate assistance. The Central government is funding Rs.321.69 crore to the States/UTs for ERSS as part of Nirbhaya scheme project.
- Singh also launched the Investigation Tracking System for Sexual Offences (ITSSO). The ITSSO, meant for law enforcement agencies in the country, is an online module that allows state to undertake real-time monitoring and management for completion of investigation in rape cases in 2 months. It leverages the existing CCTNS data base, which covers nearly 15,000 police stations in the country.
- In order to instil sense of security in women in metro cities, government has identified eight cities for implementation of safe city projects in first phase at a cost of Rs 2,919 crore. The cities are Ahmedabad, Bengaluru, Chennai, Delhi, Hyderabad, Kolkata, Lucknow & Mumbai.
· Study finds link between drought and groundwater
- A study that reconstructed droughts and famines across India over the last 146 years says lack of moisture in the soil for extended periods of time can be linked to some of the most devastating famines.
- The study found that between1870 and 2016 India witnessed seven major soil moisture droughts or agricultural drought periods (1876-1882, 18951900, 1908-1924, 1937- 1945, 19821990, 1997-2004, and 2011-2015) based on their analysis of severity, area, and duration. Three droughts in 1877, 1896, and 1899 were linked to El Nino when warm temperatures in the Pacific Ocean cause below-normal rains, but barring the famine of 1943, five major famines during 1873-74, 1876, 1877,1896-97, 1899 were caused by large-scale and severe soil moisture droughts driven by JuneSeptember monsoon failures.
- India is the world’s largest user of groundwater extracting 250 cubic kilometres every year – more than one-fourth of the world total.
- The South Asian Network on Dams, River and People estimates that ground water is vital for two-thirds of irrigated area, 85% of rural population and more than half of urban and industry.
- As per the Central Ground Water Board, water level in only 30% wells rose more than two metres between 2007 and 2017, while there was a 30% decrease in 43% wells.
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