India-Bangladesh Agreement on Gas-based Power Plant
Context: Reliance Power of India and Government of Bangladesh signed an agreement to set up 750 MW gas-based power plant in Meghnahat near Dhaka. The construction of this plant is planned to be completed by 2022 with an estimated cost of projects at approximately $1 billion. Under this agreement Bangladesh will purchase electricity from the project for a period of 22 years. Under this agreement, a MoU has also been signed between Reliance Power and Petro Bangla to set up 500 mmscfd LNG terminal at Kutubdia Island near Chittagong in Bangladesh.
Key points you should remember:
- Bangladesh is currently importing 1160 MW of power from India.
- The 1320 MW coal-fired Maitree thermal power plant, a Joint Venture of 50:50 between National Termal Power Corporation (NTPC), India and Bangladesh Power Development Board (BPDP), is being constructed at Rampal.
- Further, GoI is also extending financial assistance for the construction of a 130 km India-Bangladesh Friendship Pipeline for supply of diesel from Siliguri to Parbatipur in Bangladesh.
source DD news
Mussels: ‘Super-filters’ to Beat Water Pollution
Context: Scientists have been deploying mussels across the oceans to absorb microplastics and other pollutants in their fight against water pollution.
What are Mussels?
“Mussel” often used for member of several families of bivalve mollusks, which inhabits lakes, rivers, creeks and intertidal areas along the coastlines all over the world. Their external shell consists of two valves that aid in protecting it from predators.
How are they useful?
These mussels acts as a ‘super-filter’ which takes in phytoplanktons for nourishment along with microplastics, pesticide and several other pollutants. They are widely equipped as bio-indicators to help monitor the health of aquatic environments in both fresh water and the marine environments. The status of their population or structure, behaviour, physiology or contamination level with elements or compounds can state the status of the ecosystem. These mussels pump and filter the water through their gills as they breathe and feed. They store almost everything else that passes through them. What is the conservation status of Mussels? United States and Canada, which are home to the most diverse freshwater mussel fauna in the world, with about 297 known freshwater mussel taxa, of which 213 (71.7%) taxa are listed as endangered, threatened, of special concern.
WRI Report on food we waste
Context: A new report titled “Reducing Food Loss and Waste“ which has quantified global food wastage has been released by the World Resources Institute (WRI) with the help of Rockefeller Foundation.
- The food that is remained uneaten is responsible for emitting about eight per cent of the greenhouse gases in the atmosphere that aid in warming the planet.
- Every year, nearly 1/3rd of the food that is produced goes uneaten, costs the global economy over $940 billion.
- The Report puts forward a Global Action Agenda that puts a call on governments, companies, farmers and the consumers to collectively tackle the “world’s food loss and waste problem.”
- The Report highlights that most of the food loss takes place ‘near the farm’ predominantly in lower-income economies and most of the food waste ‘near the plate’ specifically in higher-income economies.
- The maximum amount of wastage is faced by the roots and tubers at over 62% for 2007. Further, fruits and vegetables follow with over 41%.
- If proportion by weight is considered, of all the food estimated to be lost and wasted globally, fruits and vegetables comprises up the largest share of total annual food loss and waste.
New Pain Sensory Organ in Skin Discovered
Context: New pain sensory organ in the skin has been discovered by the researchers that is able to detect the painful mechanical damage in the skin. The discovery has been made possible with the help of researchers from the Karolinska Institute in Sweden. This new sensory organ is sensitive to various hazardous environmental irritations as well as the mechanical damage, such as pricks and impacts. The discovery may help develop the novel painkillers. The new sensory organ is comprised of glia cells with multiple long protrusions which collectively build up a mesh-like organ within the skin. Once the organ is activated, an electrical impulse is started in the nervous system that results in the reflex reactions and also an experience of pain. This new discovery is significant in the sense that it can change the understanding of the cellular mechanisms of physical sensation and it may be of significance in understanding of the chronic path.
Global Fund for AIDS, TB and Malaria (GFTAM)
Context: India made an announcement for the contribution of 22 mn USD to GFTAM for 6th replenishment cycle.
The contribution this year is an increase of 10% over the amount contributed by India in the 5th cycle. It is to be noted that India was the first implementing nation to host a replenishment milestone of the Global Fund and has now become first among G20, BRICS and implementer countries to announce the pledge for the 6th Replenishment Conference, and hence has set up an example for other donors to contribute generously for the cause.
History of partnership between India and Global Fund
Since 2002, India has been sharing a sustained partnership with the Global Fund, both as recipient as well as a donor. Investment support of US $ 2.0 billion from the Global Fund so far has made significant contribution in achieving the targets related to HIV/AIDS, TB and Malaria reduction and escalating our fight against these three diseases. With respect to the current funding cycle (2018-21), India has been allocated US$ 500 million by the Global Fund. As a donor, a contribution of US$ 46.5 million has been made by India so far till 2019 including an investment of US$ 20 million for the 5th Replenishment.
About Global Fund For AIDS, TB and Malaria (GFTAM)
It is an international partnership and financing organization whose sole aim is to “attract, leverage and invest additional resources to put an end to the epidemics of HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria in order to support achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals established by the United Nations.” It maintains its secretariat in Geneva, Switzerland. GFTAM began operations in January 2002 with Microsoft founder Bill Gates as one of the first private foundations among many bilateral donors to facilitate seed money for the partnership. It is the world’s largest financier of AIDS, TB, and malaria prevention, treatment, and care programs. As of June 2019, it had disbursed more than US$41.6 billion to support these programs.
Joint India- NDB Workshop
Context: A 1-day Joint India- NDB workshop on Enhancing NDB’s engagement with the India private and public sector was held recently.
It was co-organized by New Development Bank and the Department of Economic Affairs (DEA) Ministry of Finance, Government of India.
What has been the scenario so far?
As of now, the proportion of loan approved to India by New Development Bank is 28%, which is the 2nd highest after China amongst the BRICS countries. In India, states like Madhya Pradesh, Bihar, Rajasthan, Maharashtra and Assam are recipient of the funding from the Bank and it is now keen on expanding its operation in other states and union territories in India as well. Some of the priority areas that NDB is expected to consider to finance include transportation (metro, inter-city mobility), digital infrastructure, agriculture (irrigation, agricultural supply chain, storage) and social sector (education, healthcare, skilling). According to an estimate India will be requiring an investment of about USD 1.30 trillion in the infrastructure over the next 5 years, which can be met through the contributions from NDB.
About New Development Bank
The New Development Bank (NDB) is the first Multilateral Development Bank which is established by developing countries and emerging economies — Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa. The Bank has a mandate to mobilize resources for infrastructure and sustainable development projects in BRICS and other emerging economies and developing countries, hence, complementing the existing efforts of multilateral and regional financial institutions for global growth and development. India being one of the founding members, holds 20% stake in the Bank. The Bank has its headquartered in Shanghai. The Bank has an international credit rating of AA+ which is a demonstration of the strong growth and financial strength of the Bank.
AH-64E Apache Attack Helicopter
Context: IAF formally inducted the AH-64E Apache Attack Helicopter into its inventory at Air Force Station Pathankot.
Indian Air Force has signed a contract with ‘The Boeing Company’ and US Government for 22 Apache Attack Helicopters. The first 8 helicopters have been delivered on schedule and the last batch of helicopters is to be delivered by March 2020. These helicopters are planned to be deployed in India’s Western regions.
About AH-64 Apache Attack Helicopters
The Boeing AH-64 Apache is an American twin-turboshaft attack helicopter. The U.S. Army is the primary operator of the AH-64. This attack helicopter has also become the primary attack helicopter of multiple nations, comprising Israel, Greece, Japan, the Netherlands, Singapore, and the United Arab Emirates. It has been built under license in the UK as the Agusta-Westland Apache. AH-64 have served in various conflicts regions around the world including Panama, the Persian Gulf, Kosovo, Afghanistan, and Iraq. It was also used by Israel in its military conflicts in Lebanon and the Gaza Strip.
- ASEAN-US MARITIME EXERCISE (AUMX): This is the first ASEAN-US Maritime Exercise going to be held between ASEAN region and the U.S. at the Sattahip Naval Base in Thailand and will end in Singapore. It will be a 5-day exercise.
- Exercise Yudh Abhyas 2019: The 15th edition of joint military training between India and U.S. is being conducted at Joint Base Lewis Mc Chord, Washington, USA from 05-18 September 2019.
- It is one of the largest joint running military training and defence corporation endeavors between India and USA.
- Indian Army Team Summit MT Leo Pargyil (6773m).
- Leo Pargyil is the 3rd highest peak of Himachal which lies in the Zanskar range is considered to be among the most challenging and technically difficult peak to scale.
- CEC Sh. Sunil Arora Assumes Chairmanship of Association of World Election Bodies (A-WEB).