16th Dec, 2020

India Water Impact 2020

India Water Impact Summit, held recently, saw many experts from India and abroad sharing their insights on the topic of conservation and development.

India Water Impact 2020 is a five-day long summit.

Experts and academicians from all over the world discuss and debate issues related to water conservation, water security and river rejuvenation during the summit.

The event is co-organised by National Mission for Clean Ganga and Centre for Ganga River Basin Management and Studies.

During the event, Norwegian Institute of Bioeconomy Research signed MOU with cGanga (think-tank of NMCG) for development of sludge management framework in India.

Vision 2035: Public Health Surveillance In India

NITI Aayog recently released a white paper: Vision 2035: Public Health Surveillance in India.

Vision: is to make India’s public health surveillance system more responsive and predictive to enhance preparedness for action at all levels.

The white paper lays out India’s vision 2035 for public health surveillance through the integration of the three-tiered public health system into Ayushman Bharat.

The building blocks for this vision are an interdependent governance between the Centre and states, a new data-sharing mechanism which involves the use of new analytics, health informatics, and data science including innovative ways of disseminating ‘information for action’.

Citizen-friendly public health surveillance system will ensure individual privacy and confidentiality, enabled with a client feedback mechanism.

Improved data-sharing mechanism between Centre and states for better disease detection, prevention, and control.

India aims to provide regional and global leadership in managing events that constitute a public health emergency of international concern.

Species in news: Himalayan Serow

A Himalayan serow has been sighted for the first time in the Himalayan cold desert region of Spiti, Himachal Pradesh.

Wildlife officials believe this particular animal may have strayed into the Spiti valley from the Rupi Bhaba Wildlife Sanctuary, HP 

Himalayan serow

Scientific name: The Himalayan serow, or Capricornis sumatraensis thar

It is a subspecies of the mainland serow (Capricornis sumatraensis).

It resembles a cross between a goat, a donkey, a cow, and a pig. 

It’s a medium-sized mammal with a large head, thick neck, short limbs, long, mule-like ears, and a coat of dark hair.

There are several species of serows, and all of them are found in Asia. 

Himalayan serows are typically found at altitudes between 2,000 metres and 4,000 metres.

They are known to be found in eastern, central, and western Himalayas, but not in the Trans Himalayan region.

It is herbivores.

IUCN Red List status: Vulnerable 

It is listed under Schedule I of The Wildlife Protection Act, 1972, which provides absolute protection.

Species in news: Indian Gaur

Indian Bison was in news recently.

It was seen in Pune’s urban landscape which led to its capture and consequently died due to injury.

The sad news of its death has put the spotlight on human-Gaur conflict in the country.

Indian Gaur

Scientific Name: Bos Gaurus.

It is one of the largest extant bovines. 

It is one of the largest species among the wild cattle.

Habitat: Gaurs are found on the forested hills and grassy areas of South to South-East Asia.

They are found in India, China, Thailand, Malaysia, Bangladesh, Bhutan, and Nepal.

The Western Ghats in southern India constitute one of the most extensive extant strongholds of gaur, in particular in the Wayanad – Nagarhole – Mudumalai – Bandipur complex.

The gaur is the State Animal of Goa and Bihar.

IUCN status: Vulnerable 

The Indian Government has included it in the Schedule I of the Wild Life Protection Act, 1972.

It is listed in CITES Appendix I.

TWG meeting held between India, Iran, and Uzbekistan on Chabahar port

The first Trilateral Working Group (TWG) Meeting between India, Iran and Uzbekistan on the joint use of Chabahar Port was held.

The Meeting was jointly chaired by Secretary (Shipping), Government of India, Deputy Minister of Transport, Uzbekistan and Deputy Transport Minister of Iran.

During the meeting, the participants discussed joint use of Chabahar Port for trade and transit purposes and enhanced regional connectivity.

All sides also welcomed India’s proposal to hold “Chabahar Day” on the side-lines of the International Maritime Summit scheduled to be hosted by India in January 2021.

The meeting was held as a follow up of decisions taken during the virtual summit held between Indian Prime Minister and President of Uzbekistan recently.

Chabahar Port is a seaport in Chabahar located in south-eastern Iran, on the Gulf of Oman. 

It serves as Iran’s only oceanic port, and consists of two separate ports named Shahid Kalantari and Shahid Beheshti.

DakPay: New digital Payment App

Department of Posts and India Post Payments Bank unveiled a new digital payment app DakPay.

DakPay is a suite of digital financial and assisted banking services provided by India Post & IPPB through the trusted Postal (‘Dak’) network across the nation to cater to the financial needs (‘Pay’) of various sections of the society.

DakPay UPI app allows users to create UPI ID and link multiple accounts across banks in a single mobile app. 

The app facilitates instant money transfers, QR based payments in merchant stores and online shopping on e-commerce websites.

Israel establishes diplomatic ties with Bhutan 

Recently, Israel has established diplomatic ties with Bhutan.

Earlier, Israel has supported Bhutanese human resource development since 1982, especially in the area of agriculture development that has benefited hundreds of Bhutanese youths.

The two nations established a formal diplomatic relation and agreed to work closely together in various sectors.

The two sides will not be setting up embassies and will coordinate through their missions in Delhi.

The establishment of diplomatic relations would create new avenues for cooperation between the two countries in water management, technology, human resource development, agricultural sciences and other areas of mutual benefit.

As for tourism, Bhutan that limits the number of outsiders who can enter will now likely be more open to Israelis.

The ties between the peoples through cultural exchanges and tourism would also be further enhanced.

Doctors witness increased cases of Covid-19 triggered Mucormycosis

Recently, doctors have witnessed increased cases of Covid-19 triggered Mucormycosis.

The reduced immunity of Covid-19 patients makes them more susceptible to this fungal infection.

Mucormycosis is also called Black Fungus or Zygomycosis.

It is a serious but rare fungal infection caused by a group of molds called mucormycetes.

It occurs through inhalation, inoculation, or ingestion of spores from the environment.

Mucormycosis does not spread between people or between people and animals.

It usually occurs in people who have health problems or take medicines that lower the body’s ability to fight germs and sickness.

Symptoms: One-sided facial swelling and numbness, headache, nasal or sinus congestion, black lesions on nasal bridge or upper inside of the mouth, fever, abdominal pain, nausea and gastrointestinal bleeding.

It needs to be treated with prescription antifungal medicine.

Often, mucormycosis requires surgery to cut away the infected tissue.

There is no vaccine to prevent it.

Early detection can prevent loss of eyesight, nose or jaw through clinical intervention.

Geminids Meteor Shower

The Geminids meteor shower was in news recently.

It is believed to be the strongest of the year which is active from December 4-December 20.

The Geminids meteor showers are unique because their origin does not lie in a comet, but what is believed to be an asteroid or an extinct comet. 

The Geminids emerge from 3200 Phaethon, which meteor scientists consider to be an asteroid.

Meteors are bits of rock and ice that are ejected from comets as they manoeuvre around their orbits around the sun.

When a meteor reaches the Earth, it is called a meteorite and a series of meteorites, when encountered at once, is termed a meteor shower.