India to expand polar research to the Arctic as well
- Three decades after its first mission to Antarctica, the government is refocusing priorities to the Arctic — because of opportunities and challenges posed by climate change.
- Recently India has renamed the National Centre for Antarctic and Ocean Research (NCAOR) as the National Centre for Polar and Ocean Research.
NCAOR- Since 1998, charged with conducting expeditions to India’s base stations to the continent.
- It’s also in talks with Canada and Russia, key countries with the presence in the Arctic circle, to establish new observation systems, according to a source.
- Now, India only has one Arctic observation station near Norway.
- India is already an observer at the Arctic Council.
- It is a forum of countries that decide on managing the region’s resources and popular livelihood.
- In 2015, India set up an underground observatory, called IndARC, at the Kongsfjorden fjord, halfway between Norway and the North Pole.
Why does India concern?
- A big worry for India is the impact of melting sea ice on the monsoon.
- Over the years scientists across the world are reporting that the rapid ice-melt in the Arctic is leading to large quantities of fresh water into the seas around the poles.
- This impedes the release of heat from the water and directs warm water into the seas around India, the theory goes, and eventually weakens the movement of the monsoon breeze into India.
Research Stations in the Arctic
Research Stations in Antarctica
Note- Dakshin Gangotri Antarctic research base superseded by the Maitri base from 1990.
Myanmar joins International Solar Alliance
- Myanmar recently joined the India-initiated International Solar Alliance (ISA), becoming the 68th member of the grouping that is aiming at optimum utilisation of solar energy.
- India is a key development aid partner for Myanmar and is implementing a number of infrastructure projects in that country.
- These include-
(a) The Kaladan Multimodal Transit Transport Project connecting Mizoram with Sittwe port in Myanmar
(b) The Trilateral Highway Project connecting India with Myanmar and Thailand and the Rhi-Tiddim road etc.
International Solar Alliance (ISA)
- The ISA is an Indian initiative, jointly launched by the Prime Minister of India, Shri Narendra Modi and the President of France on 30th November 2015 in Paris, on the side-lines of COP-21, the UN Climate Conference.
- The alliance’s primary objective is-
(a) Work for efficient exploitation of solar energy to reduce dependence on fossil fuels.
(b) Mobilise $1 trillion in funds for the future solar generation, storage and technology across the world.
- The ISA, headquartered in India, has its Secretariat located in the Gwalpahari, Gurgaon, Haryana.
- India has offered to meet ISA Secretariat expenses for initial five years.
- It is open to all 121 prospective member countries falling between the Tropics of Cancer and Capricorn.
- ISA plans to approach multilateral development banks (MDBs) such as Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) to create a special purpose vehicle (SPV) to specifically finance solar projects.
- This SPV aimed at financing $150 billion would become a World Solar Bank.
Three in five HIV-carriers now have access to drugs: UN
- There were 36.9 million people living with the immune system-attacking virus in 2017, of whom 15.2 million were not getting the drugs they need — the lowest number since the epidemic exploded, the joint UN programme on HIV/AIDS reported.
The target of 90:90:90
- The UN goal is for 90% of all HIV-positive people to know their status by 2020. Of these, at least 90% must receive ART, and the HIV virus be suppressed in 90% of those.
- Assessing progress towards the target, UNAIDS said 1.8 million people became newly infected with HIV in 2017.
- This was down from about 1.9 million the year before, and 3.4 million at the peak of the epidemic in 1996.
Antiretroviral therapy (ART)
- ART are medications that treat HIV.
- The drugs do not kill or cure the virus.
- However, when taken in combination they can prevent the growth of the virus.
- Antiretroviral drugs are referred to as ARV.
- Combination ARV therapy (cART) is referred to as highly active ART(HAART).
4th BIMSTEC Summit to be held in Kathmandu
- The fourth BIMSTEC Summit will be held in Kathmandu, Nepal (30 to 31 August 2018).
- The main focus of the summit will be to increase connectivity between the BIMSTEC nations including roads, airways and transmission lines.
- The Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) is an international organisation involving a group of countries in South Asia and South-East Asia.
- These 7 countries are- Bangladesh, India, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Bhutan and Nepal.
- The BIMSTEC states are among the countries dependent on the Bay of Bengal.
- Its secretariat is located in Dhaka, Bangladesh.
NMCG Organised “Ganga Vriksharopan Abhiyan” in Five Ganga Basin States
- National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG) is running “Ganga Vriksharopan Abhiyan” in five main stem Ganga basin states – Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand and West Bengal.
- The campaign, which has been initiated as part of the Forest Interventions in Ganga (FIG) component of Namami Gange programme, is significant as it aims to bring greater awareness among people and other stakeholders regarding the importance of afforestation for the task of Ganga Rejuvenation.
- A number of schools, colleges and departments have been requested to “Adopt a Plant” for turning this campaign into a people’s movement.
- Under the “Namami Gange” Programme, the government plans to develop the villages located along the main stem of river Ganga which have historic, cultural, and religious and/or tourist importance.
- Works related to Ganga Grams will encompass comprehensive rural sanitation, development of water bodies and river ghats, construction/ modernization of crematoria etc.
Namami Gange Mission
- ‘Namami Gange Programme’, is an Integrated Conservation Mission, approved as ‘Flagship Programme’ by the Union Government in June 2014.
- The mission was launched to accomplish the twin objectives of effective abatement of pollution, conservation and rejuvenation of National River Ganga.