- Chinese state-run bank launched the first India-dedicated investment fund
- A state-run Chinese bank has launched the country’s first India-dedicated publicly offered investment fund.
- The fund, named the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC) Credit Suisse India Market Fund, will “invest in exchange-traded funds listed on more than 20 exchanges in Europe and the US that are based on the Indian market”.
- It is China’s first publicly offered fund for investing in India.
- The fund will invest in the future of the Indian economy and track the distribution of the industrial structure across the Indian market.
Source- DD News
- Multiple threats to Himalayan biodiversity
- The Indian Himalayas, which constitute about 12% of the country’s landmass, is home to about 30.16% of its fauna, says a new publication from the Zoological Survey of India (ZSI).
- The Indian Himalaya is spread across six States from Jammu and Kashmir in the west through Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Sikkim and West Bengal’s Darjeeling to Arunachal Pradesh in the far east.
- The Indian Himalayas are divided into two bio-geographic zones — the Trans-Himalaya and the Himalaya, based on physiographic, climatic and eco-biological attributes.
- The central Himalayas are the richest in faunal diversity with 14,183 species, followed by the western Himalayas, which is home to 12,022 species.
- The publication lists 133 vertebrate species of the region cited as threatened in the IUCN Red List.
- The mammals include in the list are-
(a) Critically endangered Pygmy Hog, the Namdapha flying squirrel
(b) Endangered Snow leopard, the Red Panda and the Kashmir Gray Langur etc.
- The bird include in the list is-
(a) Critically endangered White-Bellied Heron and Siberian crane and
(b) Vulnerable species like the Black Necked crane and the Indian Spotted eagle
- The Indian Himalayas host 1,249 species/subspecies of butterflies, with the highest density recorded in Arunachal Pradesh.
- Some of the rare high-altitude butterflies found in the Himalayas are Parnassius stoliczkanus (Ladakh banded Apollo) and Parnassius epaphus (Red Apollo), listed under Schedule I and Schedule II of the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972, respectively.
What are the threats to the Himalayan Biodiversity?
- Climate Change
- Habitat loss due to land use change
- Illegal wildlife trade
- Forest fires and
- Increasing anthropogenic activities
- The Indian Himalayas also has 131 protected areas, which cover 9.6% of the entire protected area of the country, almost the same as the Western Ghats (10% of protected areas), another biodiversity hotspot in the country.
Source- The Hindu
- FSSAI launches SNF@Workplace initiative to stem obesity, non-communicable diseases
- The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) launched the SNF@Workplace initiative (safe and nutritious food at workplace) to improve nutrition of millions of office going Indians.
- This initiative is an effort to stem the increase in obesity and non-communicable diseases across the country.
- To aid workplaces and build a policy framework, FSSAI has also released The Orange Book: Your Guide to Safe and Nutritious Food at the Workplace.
- Before SNF@Workplace, the FSSAI had launched SNF@Home and SNF@School.
- They now plan to launch SNF@Hospitals in a coming months’ time. This will ensure that safe and nutritious food is served to patients at hospitals.
Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI)
- It is an autonomous body established under the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, Government of India.
- FSSAI was established by Government of India on 5 September 2008 under Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006.
- FSSAI is responsible for protecting and promoting public health through the regulation and supervision of food safety.
- The FSSAI consists of a chairperson & 22 members.
- The FSSAI has its headquarters at New Delhi.
Source- Down to Earth
- India 3rd largest solar market in the world
- According to the recent report of Mercom Communications India, India emerged as the third largest solar market in the world in 2017 behind China and the US.
- In 2017, India emerged as the third largest solar market has grown at a CAGR of approximately 170 percent since 2010.
- As per the report, India set a new record with 9.6 GW of solar installations in 2017, which was more than double the 4.3 GW installed in 2016.
- The robust growth boosted the country’s total solar installed capacity to 19.6 GW as of December 2017.
- Of the total 1.6 GW cumulative solar rooftop installations in India by 2017, 995 MW was installed last year.
Mercom Communications India
- It is an arm of global clean energy consulting firm Mercom Capital Group.
Source- DD News
- Eminent physicist Sudarshan passed away
- Ennackal Chandy George Sudarshan, popularly known as E.C.G. Sudarshan, who made path-breaking discoveries in the realm of quantum optics died aged 86 in Texas.
- He was recommended for the Nobel Prize for Physics nine times but never awarded.
- Professor Sudarshan made significant contributions to the field of theoretical physics — optical coherence, tachyons, quantum zeno effect, open quantum system etc.
- They founded the V-A theory of the weak force, which eventually paved the way for electroweak theory.
- Professor Sudarshan also developed a quantum representation of coherent light later known as Sudarshan-Glauber representation. Glauber was awarded 2005 Nobel Prize in Physics for the contribution to the quantum theory of optical coherence.
Source- The Hindu
- Environment ministry launched programme “GSDP” to train 5.5 lakh green skilled workers by 2021
- The Union Environment Ministry launched its full-fledged Green Skill Development Programme(GSDP) that aims to train over 5.5 lakh workers in environment and forest sectors in the country through 30 courses by 2021.
Green Skill Development Programme(GSDP)
- The pilot project of GSDP was launched in June 2017.
- The project was launched for skilling Biodiversity Conservationists (Basic Course) and Para-taxonomists (Advance Course) of 3 months duration each at 10 locations, spread over 9 bio-geographic regions of the country.
- ENVIS (Environment Information System) RPs in Botanical Survey of India (BSI), Zoological Survey of India (ZSI) and their respective regional offices were the nodal Centres for the pilot programme.
- Now Ministry is going to launch the project to all-India level.
Source- Economic Times
- Govt. plans to propose the nationwide ban on petcoke as a fuel
- India’s government plans to propose banning burning petroleum coke as a fuel nationwide to comply with a Supreme Court request as part of a long-running case to clean the country’s air.
- The country is the world’s biggest consumer of petcoke.
Why is petcoke preferred than coal?
- An oil refinery by-product, petroleum coke, or petcoke, is used as a fuel because of its higher energy content than coal.
What are the issues with the use of petcoke?
- It releases larger amounts of carbon dioxide and sulphur dioxide, which can cause lung disease and acid rain.
- India is home to the world’s 14 most polluted cities based on 2016 data measuring concentrations in the air of particulate matter smaller than 2.5 microns, which is particularly hazardous since they can lodge deep in the lungs.
Source- Economic Times