COVID-19 Emergency Fund
•Video Conference called by PM Modi of South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) Leaders on COVID-19 was held recently.
•All the members of SAARC (India, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Nepal, Maldives, Sri Lanka, Afghanistan and Pakistan) attended the conference
•SAARC has a permanent secretariat in Kathmandu, Nepal.
•India has proposed to create a COVID-19 Emergency Fund which could be based on a voluntary contribution from all SAARC members.
【$10 million has been extended by India as a contribution to the fund.】
•It is the collaborative efforts of multiple disciplines working locally, nationally, and globally, to attain optimal health for people, animals and our environment, as defined by the One Health Initiative Task Force
•One Health model facilitates interdisciplinary approach in disease control so as to control emerging and existing zoonotic threats
•It is a globally accepted model for research on epidemiology, diagnosis and control of zoonotic diseases
[One Health Model can be effectively implemented for reducing incidence of emerging zoonotic threats like COVID-19]
Krishna Raja Sagar Dam
•It was built across river Kaveri for the Mysore and Mandya districts in Karnataka in 1932.
•The dam is named for the then ruler of the Mysore Kingdom, Krishnaraja Wodeyar IV.
•The Dam is the creation of one of the greatest engineers that India had produced, Sir M. Vishweshwaraiah.
[His birthday, 15th September is celebrated as Engineers day]
•The water level in the Krishna Raja Sagar Dam is coming down rapidly owing to the increase in the evaporation rate and the decrease in the inflows as a result of summer 💧
Chitra Jatra festival in Odisha
•The annual Chaitra Jatra festival scheduled to be held on 17th March, 2020 at Odisha’s Tara Tarini hill shrine has been cancelled as a precautionary measure against COVID-19 infection
•The festival is held on each Tuesday in the month of Chaitra, [which falls in March-April as per the English calendar]
•Tara Tarini hill shrine, located at a hilltop on banks of the Rushikulya river, is a major centre of Shakti worship in Odisha
•The twin goddesses Tara and Tarini represent one Shakti and are the main deity of Ganjam district (Odisha).
[Tara is an important deity of Mahayana Buddhist Sect]
Do you know?
•Indian Navy’s sailboat INSV Tarini was named after Tara Tarini hill shrine
A new study on Earth’s spin
•Recently, a study on Earth’s spin was published in the American Geophysical Union’s journal Paleoceanography and Paleoclimatology.
•The study came after scientists studied a 70 million years old mollusc fossil from Oman
•The study states that Earth spun 372 times a year 70 million years ago, compared to the current 365 times. This means the day was 23½ hours long, compared to 24 hours today.
【Ye bhi sahi hai!】
•It is important to note that the period of Earth’s orbit has remained the same. In other words, one year 70 million years ago was as long as one year today.
ROPAX: A water transport service
•Ministry of Shipping has launched a roll on-roll off cum passenger ferry service, called ‘ROPAX’, between Mumbai and Mandwa (Maharashtra).
•ROPAX service is a water transport service project under Eastern Waterfront Development
•The road distance from Mumbai to Mandwa is about 110 kilometres, and it takes three to four hours, whereas by waterway the distance is about 18 kilometres and a journey of just an hour.
(2 hours gain)
•The benefits of this service include reduction in the travel time, vehicular emission and traffic on the road
National Career Services (NCS) scheme
•It is one of the mission mode projects under the umbrella of E-Governance Plan.
•It works towards bridging the gap between job-seekers and employers, candidates seeking training and career guidance and agencies providing training and career counselling by transforming the National Employment Service.
•The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Labour in its report noted that utilisation of funds for the National Career Services (NCS) scheme of the Ministry, which facilitates job-seekers, was the worst compared to other schemes
ExoMars (Exobiology on Mars) programme
•It is a joint endeavour between ESA and the Russian space agency (Roscosmos).
•The primary goal of the ExoMars programme is to address the question of whether life has ever existed on Mars
•The ExoMars “Rosalind Franklin” vehicle was due to launch to the Red Planet in July/August but engineers aren’t able to get the vehicle ready in time.
[Because an Earth-Mars journey is only attempted when the planets are favourably aligned, the robot’s next opportunity won’t occur until 2022]
COVID-19 notified a disaster under State Disaster Response Fund (SDRF)
•According to the Disaster Management Act,2005 a disaster is defined as “a catastrophe, mishap, calamity or grave occurrence in any area, arising from natural or man made causes”
•State Disaster Response Fund Constituted under the Disaster Management Act, 2005 by respective states and it is the primary fund available with state governments for responses to notified disasters.
•The disasters covered under the SDRF include cyclones, droughts, tsunamis, hailstorms, landslides, avalanches and pest attacks among others
•Ministry of Home Affairs is the nodal ministry for overseeing the operation of the SDRF and monitors compliance with prescribed processes.
[Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) audit the SDRF every year]
Google subsidiary Verily
•Verily is a subsidiary of Google’s parent company Alphabet “focused on life sciences and healthcare”.
•It was launched in 2015, Verily claims its mission is to “make the world’s health data useful so that people enjoy healthier lives”
•It is helping the US government develop a website “to determine whether a test is warranted and to facilitate testing at a nearby convenient location”.
[with the goal of bridging the gap between research and care]
Stafford Act of USA
•US President Donald Trump has declared a national emergency in the country invoking the Stafford Act.
•The Act authorises the President to provide financial and other assistance to local and state governments, certain private nonprofit organisations, and individuals following declaration as a Stafford Act Emergency (limited) or Major Disaster (more severe)
[As per this act, the federal government contributes about 75% to the cost of relief for states]
Country’s first women-only medical college in Pune
•It will be called the Symbiosis Medical College for Women (SMCW).
•It will be the first medical college in the country to offer free medical education.
•The college will be located at the campus of the Symbiosis International University at Lavale, Pune.
Iron Rain on Wasp-76b( Exoplanet)
•Wasp-76b is an exoplanet (planet outside the solar system), probably has iron raining on it.
•It orbits so close to its host star that its dayside temperatures exceed 2,400 degrees Celsius – hot enough to vaporise metals like iron
•Wasp-76b is a huge gas planet that is twice the width of Jupiter.[ Its name comes from the UK-led Wasp telescope system that detected it in 2016.]
•It is 640 light-years from the Earth and is so close to its star that it takes just 43 hours to complete one revolution