Concrete cover in Dehradun increased by 600% between 1995 and 2015: Study
There has been a 600% increase in urbanisation – increase in concrete cover — in Doon between 1995 and 2015. As a result, the city has lost over 18% of its seasonal streams, which have now converted into ephemeral (rain-dependent) seasonal streams. It has also led to a 1% decrease in permanent water cover of the city.
This, in turn, has increased the risk of flooding during the monsoon season and led to greater water scarcity during summer months. These revelations are part of the City Water Balance Plan (CWBP) study, conducted by USAID along with the Centre for Urban and Regional Excellence (CURE) to analyse water use in Dehradun, and how to optimise groundwater use and recharge. The study was presented to the government earlier this month and, in fact, was conducted in collaboration with it. Researchers claimed that this study is one of its kind to be done in India.
Adding to the water woes of the city is the fact that water loss due to transmission through water supply pipes is 30%, much higher than the usual 15-20%.
VIPER Mission of NASA
The Volatiles Investigating Polar Exploration Rover (VIPER) will be launched by NASA in 2023.
About the mission:
♦ VIPER stands for Volatiles Investigating Polar Exploration Rover, and it is a mobile robot.
♦ To investigate the South Pole region of the Moon.
♦ To help in the creation of lunar resource maps.
♦ Determine the concentration of water and other potential resources on the surface.
♦ Determine whether human life can be sustained there by utilising locally available resources.
♦ It is the first mission to map the resources of any celestial body.
♦ NASA’s Commercial Lunar Payload Service will provide launch vehicles and landers for the upcoming 100-day mission.
Scheme for Promoting Merchant Ship Flagging in India
The Union Cabinet has approved a scheme to promote flagging merchant ships in the country.
♦ In accordance with the Atmanirbhar Bharat objectives, the Cabinet approved a scheme to provide subsidies to merchant ships in India.
♦ Indian shipping companies will receive subsidies in global tenders conducted by ministries and central public sector enterprises (CPSE).
♦ The government will provide a subsidy of Rs. 1,624 crore over a five-year period. This will be provided to shipping companies in the global tenders conducted by ministries and CPSEs for importing government goods.
♦ Ships flagged in India after February 1, 2021, whose age is between 10 and 20 years at the time of flagging in India, will receive extended subsidy support at 10% of the quoted price provided by L1 foreign shipping companies, or exercise the actual difference between the quotation provided by the Indian flag vessel with the right of first refusal (ROFS) and the quotation provided by the L1 foreign shipping company, whichever is smaller.
♦ The rate at which subsidy support is extended would be reduced by 1% per year until it reached 10% and 5%, respectively.
MoU between India and Russia
The Cabinet has approved a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between India and the Russian Federation on cooperation in the production of coking coal, which is used in the production of steel.
♦ The goal of the memorandum of understanding is to strengthen cooperation in the steel industry between the governments of India and Russia.
♦ The MoU will benefit the entire steel industry by lowering input costs. This could reduce the cost of steel in the country while also promoting equity and inclusiveness.
♦ The Memorandum of Understanding will establish an institutional mechanism for India and Russia to cooperate in the coking coal sector.
MoU between India and Denmark
The Cabinet has approved a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on Health and Medicine Cooperation between India and the Kingdom of Denmark.
Through joint initiatives and technology development in the health sector, the bilateral MoU will encourage cooperation between India’s Ministry of Health and Family Welfare and Denmark’s Ministry of Health.
It will strengthen India-Denmark bilateral ties.
First Pod Taxi Service in India
IPRCL (Indian Port Rail & Ropeway Corporation Limited) has prepared a Detailed Project Report (DPR) for the pod taxi service between Film City and Noida Airport at Jewar.
There are ideas to run a driverless taxi between these two destinations. The cost will be about Rs 862 crore, according to the DPR submitted to the Yamuna Expressway Industrial Development Authority (Yeida). This is 14 km long. And, this will be the first pod taxi service in India. Pod taxis can accommodate four to six passengers per car. This vital project will provide smooth connectivity to residential and industrial areas falling between film city and the Noida International Airport. As per the DPR, the corridor will pass through various sectors such as 21, 28, 29, 30 and 32, falling under the Yeida region.
Anniversary of Skill India Mission
PM Modi has addressed the nation on 15 July 2021, on World Youth Skills Day and it’s the sixth anniversary of the Skill India Mission.
About Skill India Mission:
Skill development of the new generation youth is a national need and a vast foundation for a self-reliant India. According to PM, under Skill India Mission, 1.25 crore youth have been trained to date.
The government launched the skill India Mission initiative to train over 40 crore Indians in different jobs related to the industry. Under this mission, the government seeks to create an empowered workforce by 2022 with the help of several schemes and training courses.
Retail Direct Gilt Accounts Scheme – RBI
The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has announced a scheme that will allow retail investors to open retail direct gilt accounts (RDG) directly with the central bank.
♦ In February 2021, the RBI Retail Direct facility was announced as part of ongoing efforts to increase retail participation in government securities.
♦ A “Gilt Account” is an account opened and maintained by an entity or a person for the purpose of holding Government securities.
♦ Goal: To improve the ease of access for retail investors by providing online access to the G-secs market – both primary and secondary – as well as the ability to open a gilt securities account (‘Retail Direct’) with the Reserve Bank of India.
♦ The account can be opened through a dedicated online portal that will provide registered users with access to the main issuance of government securities (G-secs) and NDS-OM.