Uttarakhand forest fires down by 93%
Forest fires that occurred with alarming regularity between February and June in Uttarakhand, ravaging thousands of hectares of forests and affecting hundreds annually, have recorded a drastic decline this year. From 2,158 wildfire incidents last year, the number was down to just 134 this season — a 93% decrease in cases— while 170 hectares were lost to smoke compared with nearly 3,000 hectares in 2019.
In Uttarakhand — where 9.3% of forest cover was identified as very highly moderately fire prone and 21.6% as highly moderately fire prone — forest officials said they deployed their 7,700-strong workforce of firefighters accordingly. “As many as 2,300 meetings were held in vulnerable areas and about 48,000 local residents participated
Both Uttarakhand and Madhya Pradesh — another state that usually tops the tally of forest fire incidents — used drones to keep an eye on forests for signs of smoke. MP recorded 1,322 fire alerts this year compared with 2,521 last year.
IMF says Indian economy will contract by 4.5% in 2020-’21
The International Monetary Fund announced that India’s Gross Domestic Product will contract by 4.5% in the 2020-’21 financial year.
This is much lower than the 1.9% positive growth the IMF had forecast in its World Economic Outlook for April.
India had imposed a nationwide lockdown on March 25. The lockdown was slowly eased, and by June 1, most non-essential services had been allowed to operate in non-containment zones in the country, subject to policies made by states.
The report said that the Indian economy will bounce back in 2021-’22 with a growth rate of around 6%.
The IMF also said that the world economy will experience an even deeper recession in 2020-’21. It will contract by 4.9% in 2020-’21.
The United States economy will contract by a whopping 8%, the IMF said.
Government approves 2% interest subsidy to ‘Shishu’ borrowers under Mudra Yojna
The government announced a 2% interest subvention to borrowers under the ‘Shishu’ category of the flagship Pradhan Mantri MUDRA Yojana (PMMY).
Under the Shishu category, collateral free loans of up to 50,000 will be given to beneficiaries.
Launched in 2015, the Pradhan Mantri MUDRA Yojana provides loans up to 10 lakh to non-corporate, non-farm small/micro enterprises.
These loans are classified as MUDRA loans under PMMY.
Commercial banks, RRBs, small finance banks, MFIs and NBFCs provide MUDRA loans.
NITI Aayog launched Behaviour Change Campaign Navigating the New Normal and Website
NITI Aayog, in partnership with Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF), Centre for Social and Behavioural Change (CSBC), Ashoka University, and the Ministries of Health and Ministry of Women and Child Development launched a behaviour change campaign called ‘Navigating the New Normal’, and its website on 25 June. Around 92,000 Non-Governmental Organisation (NGOs) and civil society organizations (CSOs) working with NITI Aayog participated in the virtual launch via a webcast.
The campaign focuses on COVID-19-safe behaviours, especially wearing masks, during the ‘Unlock’ phase of the ongoing pandemic.
The campaign & website was developed under the guidance of Empowered Group 6, constituted by the Government of India and chaired by CEO, NITI Aayog.
Dr. Harsh Vardhan launched eBloodServices Mobile App
Union Minister of Health & Family Welfare Dr. Harsh Vardhan launched the ‘eBloodServices’ mobile App on 25 June 2020 through video conferencing. The app was developed by the Indian Red Cross Society (ICRS). The Union Health Minister is the Chairman of the Indian Red Cross Society.
eBloodServices Mobile App is developed by the E-Raktkosh team of Centre for Development of Advanced Computing (CDAC) under the Digital India scheme launched by Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi in 2015.
This Blood Donation App is a prime example of how the Digital India Scheme is serving the need for accessing blood services.
Through this App, four units of blood can be requisitioned at a time and the blood bank will wait for as long as 12 hours for the person to collect it.
This app makes it easy for those in need to request for Blood units at IRCS NHQ.
Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the Mobile App will provide succor to all those who direly require blood.
The NHQ Blood Bank conducted 55 blood donation camps collecting 2896 units of blood. A total of 5221 units were collected during the lockdown period.
Researchers finds new biomolecules to fight drug resistance in Kala-azar
Researchers at the Department of Biotechnology’s National Centre for Cell Science (DBT-NCCS) in Pune discovered new biomolecules to fight drug resistance in Kala-azar exploring ways to tackle miltefosine resistance.
The researchers worked with one of the species of Leishmania that causes infection, called Leishmania major. The researchers manipulated the transporter proteins in the species in a manner that would result in increased uptake of the drug and decrease in its being thrown out of the parasite’s body.
The researcher used a computational method to design small molecules, called peptides, that could very specifically interact with the transporter proteins of L. major alone, and not interfere with human proteins in any way.
Specific types of protein molecules called transporter proteins to play a major role in carrying miltefosine into and out of the parasite’s body, which comprises a single cell.UKPCS Notes brings Prelims and Mains programs for UKPCS Prelims and UKPCS Mains Exam preparation. Various Programs initiated by UKPCS Notes are as follows:-
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