- Uttarakhand mulls artificial rainfall to tackle forest fires
- After witnessing 1,883 forest fire incidents in the state in the current season causing losses to the tune of Rs 45 lakh, the state forest department is now mulling to use artificial rains to tackle forest fires through cloud seeding.
Cloud seeding is a type of weather modification that causes rains. This is done by dispersing substances into the air that serve as cloud condensation or ice nuclei, which alter the microphysical processes within the cloud.
- The department is preparing the expected funding after which a detailed plan will be presented for the government’s approval. If all goes well, the forest department will use the cloud seeding technique to tackle the forest fires in the state from 2020.
- According to forest department data, only 220 trees were affected in forest fires this year which has destroyed 2,644 hectares of forest land. The state has witnessed 35,241 forest fire cases from 2006 to 2016.
- Forex reserve rises by 1.99 billion to 419.99 billion
- India’s foreign exchange reserves increased by 994 billion to 419.992 billion US Dollar in the week ended 24th May 2019.
- RBI released that foreign currency assets rose by 1.991 billion to 392.188 billion US Dollar.
- In the previous week, the reserves had declined by 2.05 billion to end at 417.99 billion US Dollar.
- Gold reserves remained stable at 23.021 billion US Dollar. India’s special drawing rights with the International Monetary Fund went by 0.8 million to 1.445 billion US Dollar, while the country’s reserve position also increased by 2 million to 3.336 billion US Dollar.
- The US formally terminated Indias eligibility for a duty free import scheme
- The United Stateson formally terminated India’s eligibility for a duty-free import scheme for developing countries on 31 May. It cited that India has not given assurances it will provide equitable and reasonable access to its markets to US companies as required under relevant American trade laws. The US President Donald Trump has said the country would end its preferential trade treatment for India on June 5.
- Notably, India is the biggest beneficiary of the US’ Generalized System of Preferences (GSP).It sold an estimated $6.3 billion worth of goods to the United States under this program in 2018.
- The Generalized System of Preferences (GSP)is a U.S. trade program designed to promote economic growth in the developing world by providing preferential duty-free entry for up to 4,800 products from 129 designated beneficiary countries and territories. GSP was instituted on January 1, 1976, by the Trade Act of 1974
The GSP program has effective dates which are specified in relevant legislation, thereby requiring periodical reauthorization in order to remain in effect
GSP expired on July 31, 2013, and was most recently reauthorized on June 29, 2015 (effective July 29, 2015) for a period of two and a half years. The relevant legislation permits retroactive extension of GSP benefits. Recently the USA has excluded India from the list of beneficiaries of this program
- NITI Aayog suggested a National Project Management Policy Framework
- A task force on project management, headed by NITI Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant, has suggested the development of aNational Project Management Policy Framework for the effective execution of public sector and public-private partnership infrastructure projects.
- It has also recommended the setting up of a nodal body for the certification of chartered project management professionals to createworld-class infrastructure. The project management, with a view to delivering on time and within budget, is a learnable capability that can be institutionalised as demonstrated by the experiences of the U.S., the U.K., the UAE, and China.
- ONGC became Indias most profitable public sector company
- Oil and Natural Gas Corp (ONGC), India’s top oil and gas producer, has toppledIndian Oil Corp (IOC) to regain the crown of being the country’s most profitable public sector company.
- Oil and Natural Gas Corp (ONGC) reported a 34% jump in its 2018- 19 fiscal net profit to26,716 crore.
- Whereas, IOC registered a net profit of 17.274 crore for the fiscal year ended March 31, 2019.
- ONGC, in the previous two financial years, had lost the most profitable PSU tag to IOC. With its refining margins under pressure due to falling oil prices, IOC had also lost the title of being India’s largest company by turnover tag to billionaire Mukesh Ambani-led Reliance Industries in FY19.
- Reliance has been India’s most profitable company for the fourth year in a row.
- India has 20 health workers per 10,000 people: NSSO study
- National Sample Survey Organization (NSSO)data showed that India has 20.6 health workers per 10,000 people.
- This is less than the World Health Organization’s (WHO)minimum overreach of 22.8 per 10,000 people.
Distribution of health workers:
- This is uneven between the urban and rural areas.
- Rural areas with 71 % of India’s population have only 36% of health workers.
Delhi highest concentration of health workers followed by Kerala, Punjab, and Haryana.
- Public and private sector: The study has further notified that there is an uneven distribution of health workforce seen in public and health sector too.