India’s Population Trends : by Lancet
•According to a recent analysis by the Lancet, India’s population is forecasted to peak around 1.6 billion in 2048 from 1.38 billion in 2017.
[ It will be followed by a 32% decline to around 1.09 billion in 2100.]
•India in 2100 will remain the world’s most populous country
•From 2017 to 2100, India is projected to rise up the rankings of countries with the largest total Gross Domestic Product (GDP) globally from 7th to 3rd, in terms of nominal GDP.
•The country’s Total Fertility Rate (TFR) declined to below 2.1 in 2019 and is projected to have a continued steep fertility decline until about 2040, reaching a TFR of 1.29 in 2100
•The world population is forecasted to peak at around 9.7 billion people in 2064 and fall to 8.8 billion by the century’s end
Report on Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients: by TIFAC
•Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients (APIs), also called bulk drugs, are significant ingredients in the manufacture of drugs. [The Hubei province of China is the hub of the API manufacturing industry]
•Recently, the Technology Information Forecasting and Assessment Council (TIFAC) has brought a report titled ‘Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients- Status, Issues, Technology Readiness, and Challenges’
•Indigenous production of Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients (APIs) needs to be scaled up to a level where the production is economically viable.
•Need for Mission mode Chemical Engineering with defined targets for uninterrupted synthesis of API molecules.
•To create mega drug manufacturing clusters with common infrastructure in India etc.
•India’s Pharmaceutical Industry is third largest in the world, in terms of volume, behind China and Italy, and fourteenth largest in terms of value.
End of Hong Kong’s special status by USA
•Hong Kong will now be treated the same as mainland China without any special privileges, special economic treatment or exports of sensitive technologies.
•Under the USA’s Hong Kong Policy Act of 1992, the USA treats Hong Kong, a semi-autonomous part of China with its own legal and economic system, differently than the Chinese mainland in trade, commerce and other areas.
•The new law will force all but provincial Chinese banks to choose between assisting Beijing’s efforts in Hong Kong or being able to conduct transactions in USA dollars and operate in the world’s largest economy
[Around 85,000 USA citizens lived in Hong Kong in 2018 and more than 1,300 USA companies operate there, including nearly every major financial firm]
•Recently, Pakistan and China have signed an agreement for the 700 MW Azad Pattan hydel power project on the Jhelum river in Sudhnoti district of Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK).
[The 1.5-billion USD project is under the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).]
•The Azad Pattan project is one of five hydropower schemes on the Jhelum, the other four are
Chakothi Hattian and
•It will be developed on the ‘Build, Own, Operate, Transfer (BOOT)’ model.
It is expected to be commissioned by 2024.
[The project will be transferred to the government of Pakistan after 30 years.]
•India has protested the construction of dams and other infrastructure in PoK and Gilgit Baltistan, which are territories claimed by it as part of Jammu & Kashmir.
Pneumonia Conjugate Vaccine (PCV)
•The vaccine is a mix of several bacteria of the pneumococci family, which are known to cause pneumonia — hence ‘conjugate’ is included in the name of the vaccine.
[Conjugate vaccines are made using a combination of two different components.]
•It is used for active immunisation against invasive disease and pneumonia caused by Streptococcus pneumoniae in infants
•The Serum Institute of India Pvt. Ltd, Pune, has been granted permission to manufacture the first indigenously developed Pneumonia Conjugate Vaccine (PCV) i.e. Pneumococcal Polysaccharide.
•India is planning for the nationwide rollout of PCV under Universal Immunisation Programme (UIP)
Kochi International Container Trans-shipment Terminal (ICTT): Vallarpadam Terminal
•Recently, the Ministry of Shipping reviewed the development of the country’s first trans-shipment hub – Kochi International Container Trans-shipment Terminal (ICTT).
[ICTT is locally known as the Vallarpadam Terminal.]
•It is a terminal at a port which handles containers, stores them temporarily and transfers them to other ships for the onward destination.
•It basically acts as a switching point for cargo carried by deep-sea vessels operating on trans-continental trade routes.
•It is a part of the Cochin Port in Kochi, Kerala. It is located on Vallarpadam Island.
[It was built with an investment of about Rs. 3,200 crore]
•It was opened in February 2011
Melghat Tiger Reserve, Maharashtra
•The Chief Minister of Maharashtra has requested the Union government for considering an alternative alignment for the Akola-Khandwa rail line that passes through the Melghat Tiger Reserve
•It lies in Melghat Forests of Amravati district in Vidarbha region of Maharashtra bordering Madhya Pradesh in the North and East.
•It is a part of the Satpura-Maikal landscape.
•It is among the first nine places in the country designated as tiger reserves in 1973-74.
•It forms a very important catchment to Tapi river systems
India-EU Virtual Summit 2020
•Recently, India and the European Union (EU) held their 15th “annual” summit after a gap of more than two years
•A roadmap to 2025 has been endorsed between India and EU as a common roadmap to guide joint action and further strengthen the Strategic Partnership over the next five years.
•Both have a common interest in each other’s security, prosperity and sustainable development. They can contribute jointly to a safer, cleaner and more stable world.
•India and EU had launched talks for having a wide-ranging Free Trade Agreement (FTA), officially called broad-based Bilateral Trade and Investment Agreement (BTIA), long ago in 2007
•The EU is India’s largest trading partner grouping (countrywise China is India’s largest trading partner), while India is the EU ‘s ninth biggest trading partner
•The EU officials described the recent India-China border standoff on the Line of Actual Control (LAC) as a matter of considerable concern.
•India’s Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and Europol launched negotiations to combat organised crime and terrorism
PRAGYATA Guidelines on Digital Education
•Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) has released guidelines on digital education titled ‘PRAGYATA’
•These are only advisory in nature and state governments can formulate their own rules, based on local needs.
•The guidelines include eight steps of online/digital learning i.e. Plan- Review- Arrange- Guide- Yak (talk)- Assign- Track- Appreciate.
•It advises schools to first survey the digital infrastructure available with teachers as well as students, the levels of parental involvement before making decisions about the mode of teaching
•It emphasised the aim of digital classrooms is not to try and recreate Face-to-Face (F2F) classrooms over the internet.
【Over 25 crore students across the country have been out of school since mid-March 2020. (owing to Covid-19 pandemic).】