Insight Current Affairs for ESE : 8 Dec,2018

Insight Current Affairs 8 Dec,2018

1. Tamil Nadu House passes a resolution against Mekedatu dam project

  • The Tamil Nadu Assembly unanimously passed a resolution condemning the Central Water Commission’s (CWC) nod to Karnataka to prepare a detailed project report on the Mekedatu Balancing Reservoir and Drinking Water Project.

Mekedatu Dam Project

  • ‘Mekedatu’ is at the confluence of Cauvery and Arkavathi rivers, near Kanakapura which is at a distance of 110 km from Bengaluru.
  • A multi-purpose balancing reservoir project over Mekedatu, built at a cost of Rs 5,912, was aimed at solving the drinking water problems of Bengaluru and Ramnagar district.
  • This project was also touted as one that could generate hydroelectricity to meet the power demand in the state.
  • The proposed project intends to store excess water that would otherwise flow into the Bay of Bengal.

CWC (Central Water Commission)

  • It is an apex organization in the country in the field of Water Resources.
  • It advises the Government of India in respect of Water Resources Development, regarding rights and disputes between different States which affect any scheme for the conservation and utilization and any matter that may be referred to the Commission in connection with river valley development.

Kaveri River water dispute

  • The sharing of waters of the Kaveri River has been the source of a serious conflict between the two states of Tamil Nadu and Karnataka.
  • Tamil Nadu has been accusing Karnataka of not releasing its due share of water.
  • Whereas, Karnataka has expressed its inability to release the stipulated quantum of water owing to the drought situation in the state.
  • Kerala and Puducherry are the other two states party to the dispute.

2. Vitamin D deficiency in newborns increases schizophrenia risk: Study says

  • Schizophrenia, a chronic and severe mental disorder that affects roughly 1 percent people globally, could be triggered by neonatal vitamin D deficiency.
  • The findings suggest that newborns with vitamin D deficiency had a 44 percent increased risk of being diagnosed with schizophrenia as adults, in contrast to those with normal vitamin D levels.
  • The disorder is associated with multiple risk factors, including genetic and environmental.
  • Vitamin D helps the body absorb calcium.
  • Apart from fish oils and egg yolks, a major source of Vitamin D is direct sunlight.
  • Hence, an increased risk of schizophrenia-like the prevalence of vitamin D deficiency is associated with being born in winter or spring and living in a high-latitude country.

3. Road accidents keep rising, more so in low-income countries: WHO

  • Pedestrians, cyclists, and motorcyclists living in developing countries bear the brunt of road accidents, according to the Global status report on road safety 2018.
  • The report is launched by the WHO in December 2018.
  • This group accounts for 54 percent of the deaths that occur due to road accidents, which are also the biggest cause of deaths in children and young adults (age group 5-29).
  • The report highlights that the number of annual road traffic deaths has reached 1.35 million—too high a price to pay for mobility.
  • According to the report, there was no reduction in the number of road traffic deaths in low-income countries between 2013 and 2016, also showing that there were some reductions in 48 middle and high-income countries.

India and Report

  • The report highlights India as an example of the implementation of seven or eight of the priority United Nations vehicle safety standards.
  • The report says that cities in India have reduced traffic crashes, and through media campaigns and stronger enforcement, more cities have cut drink driving.
  • Despite this, India reported 150,785 deaths in 2016.
  • The trend shows that deaths have been increasing since 2007.
  • India has put in place most of the rules needed to protect people but seems to have failed in cutting down deaths.
  • Therefore, there is an urgent need for governments to scale up their road safety efforts in order to live up the commitments made in Sustainable Development Agent 2030.

4. Maharashtra govt launches “SMART” initiative for Agribusiness, Rural Transformation

  • In a bid to transform rural Maharashtra, state govt. launched a unique initiative called “SMART”, which stands for State of Maharashtra’s Agribusiness and Rural Transformation.
  • This World Bank assisted project aims to revamp agricultural value chains, with a special focus on marginal farmers across 1,000 villages.
  • This initiative is a step towards doubling farmers’ income by 2022.
  • It will also support post-harvest value chain and bring efficiency to benefit the economy at large.
  • The project seeks to establish a partnership between the various stakeholders in the agri-business segments including farmer organisations, start-ups, SMEs and large corporates along with women’s self-help groups.

5. Cabinet approved the National Mission on Interdisciplinary Cyber-Physical Systems

  • The Union Cabinet has approved the launching of National Mission on Interdisciplinary Cyber-Physical Systems (NM-ICPS) to be implemented by Department of Science &Technology at a total outlay of Rs. 3660 crore for a period of five years.
  • The Mission addresses the ever-increasing technological requirements of the society and takes into account the international trends and roadmaps of leading countries for the next generation of technologies.
  • The Mission aims at the establishment of 15 numbers of Technology Innovation Hubs (TIH), six numbers of Application Innovation Hubs (AIH) and four numbers of Technology Translation Research Parks (TTRP).
  • These Hubs & TTRPs will connect to Academics, Industry, Central Ministries and State Government in developing solutions at reputed academic, R&D and other organizations across the country in a hub and spoke model.

The Hubs & TTRPs have four focused areas along which the Mission implementation would proceed, namely

  • (i) Technology Development
  • (ii) HRD & Skill Development
  • (iii) Innovation, Entrepreneurship & Start-ups Ecosystem Development
  • (iv) International Collaborations
  • The proposed Mission would act as an engine of growth that would benefit national initiatives in health, education, energy, environment, agriculture, strategic cum security, and industrial sectors, Industry 4.0, SMART Cities, Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) etc.
  • NM-ICPS is a Pan India Mission and covers the entire gamut of India that includes Central Ministries, State Governments, Industry and Academia.
  • CPS and its associated technologies, like Artificial Intelligence (Al), Internet of Things (loT), Machine Learning (ML), Deep Learning (DP), Big Data Analytics, Robotics,Quantum Computing, Quantum Communication, Quantum encryption (Quantum Key Distribution), Data Science & Predictive Analytics, Cyber Security for physical infrastructure and other infrastructure, have pervaded and is playing a transformative role in almost every field of human endeavour all most in all sectors.

6. Gujarat may soon declare its first biodiversity heritage sites

  • The Gujarat government is working towards declaring two sites — an indigenous mango forest in Chinchli village of Dangs and an inland mangrove site in Guneri village of Kutch — on the Western Indo-Pakistan border as Biodiversity Heritage Sites (BHS).
  • The sites, proposed by the Gujarat Biodiversity Board (GBB), will be the state’s first biodiversity heritage sites.
  • Guneri, nearly a hundred years old, is a natural inland mangrove site spread over 33 hectares including the buffer zone. Generally, mangroves are grown in coastal areas. However, the site in Guneri has inland mangrove of considerable height. It also has the presence of wildlife like chinkara, ratel, and some migratory birds.
  • The Chinchli region in Dang district has a unique indigenous mango forest spread over 2,357 hectares in Piplaidevi Range. It contains 2,708 huge indigenous mango trees. The region also has 68 species of trees, 25 species of shrubs, 100 species of herbs, 50 species of climbers, 25 species of grass and 20 species of lower groups of plants like moss. As per estimates, Chinchli could date back to over 200 years. The region is hilly and some of the cliffs of the hills are a natural nesting site of endangered vultures.

7. Kolkata-Patna becomes India’s second container cargo sector on Inland Waterways

  • Earlier, on November 12, 2018, the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi had received the country’s first IWT containerized cargo that reached Varanasi from Kolkata.
  • Kolkata-Patna is India’s new IWT origin-destination pair for containerized cargo movement on the National Waterway-1.
  • Container cargo transport comes with several inherent advantages. Even as it reduces the handling cost, allows easier modal shift, reduces pilferages and damage, it also enables cargo owners to reduce their carbon footprints.
  • The Ministry of Shipping is developing NW-1 (River Ganga) under Jal Marg Vikas Project (JMVP) from Haldia to Varanasi (1390 Km) with the technical and financial assistance of the World Bank at an estimated cost of Rs 5369 crore.