India slips to 89th rank on global talent competitiveness:-
The report is released every year on the first day of the World Economic Forum (WEF) Annual Meeting.
Reflecting an acute shortage of skilled labour force and difficult business conditions, India has slipped 11 places to rank 89th on a global index of talent competitiveness, a list which has been topped by Switzerland.Last year, India was ranked 78th on the index that measures a nation’s competitiveness based on the quality of talent it can produce, attract and retain.
Switzerland is followed by Singapore, Luxembourg, the US and Denmark in the top five positions on the annual Global Talent Competitiveness Index (GTCI)
In both China and India skill shortage in vocational talent shows up clearly in the GTCI scores, as it also does in South Africa
This gap in terms of vocational skills, however, is not limited to BRICs and emerging economies: GTCI data shows that it extends to a number of high-income countries, such as Ireland, Belgium or Spain
IRNSS is an independent regional navigation satellite system designed to provide position information in the Indian region and 1500 km around the Indian mainland.
IRNSS would provide two types of services, namely Standard Positioning Services available to all users and Restricted Services provided to authorized users.
As of now, 5 satellites are launched out of total 7. The last two satellites are scheduled to be launched this year, which will make the IRNSS functional.
Significance of IRNSS:
Once fully operational, the National Space Agency is aiming to reduce the country’s dependence on foreign navigational systems such as the US Global Positioning System (GPS) and the Russian GLONASS.
Applications of IRNSS:
Terrestrial, Aerial and Marine Navigation.
Vehicle tracking and fleet management.
Integration with mobile phones.
Mapping and Geodetic* data capture.
Terrestrial navigation aid for hikers and travelers.
Visual and voice navigation for drivers.
*Geodesy is the science of accurately measuring and understanding three fundamental properties of the Earth: its geometric shape, its orientation in space, and its gravity field— as well as the changes of these properties with time
Cabinet approves policy on Promotion of City Compost
The policy primarily seeks to promote the use of city compost.
City Compost :-
Given the huge no. of inhabitants of cities, and particularly Indian cities, they produce a large volume of organic waste.However in the absence of any plan for organic waste management in large scale , these organic waste are dumped in landfills.If properly utilized this can benefit in creating city compost from organic waste there by lending a hand to organic farming.One key issues in this regard is to have a proper municipal solid waste management system where waste is segregated at source .
Compost from city garbage would keep the city clean.
Composting can reduce the volume of waste to landfill/dumpsite by converting the waste into useful by-products.
It also prevents production of harmful greenhouse gases (especially methane) and toxic material that pollutes groundwater apart from polluting the environment.
City Waste composting would also generate employment in urban areas.
Project Green Port :-
The Ministry of Shipping has started ‘Project Green Ports’ which will help in making the Major Ports across India cleaner and greener
Details of the Project :-
It will operate in two verticals :- Green Ports Initiatives’ related to environmental issues and second is ‘Swachh Bharat Abhiyaan’.
Green Port Initiatives include twelve initiatives which will be implemented under strict time bound fashion in order to achieve the targets. Initiatives are preparation and monitoring plan, acquiring equipments required for monitoring environmental pollution, acquiring dust suppression system, setting up of sewage/waste water treatment plants etc.
Swachh Bharat Abhiyaan,it has 20 activities with certain time-line to promote cleanliness at the port premises. Some of the activities include cleaning the wharf, cleaning and repairing of sheds, cleaning and repairing of port roads, painting road signs, zebra crossing, pavement edges etc.
New bird species found in India, first in a decade:-
The Himalayan Forest Thrush ( in Arunachal Pradesh particularly) is only the fourth new bird species to be described in India since Independence.
It was found that the species breeding in the forests of the eastern Himalayas had no scientific name, and so it was named Zoothera salimalii after Salim Ali, who made significant contributions to ornithology in India.
India – Sanitation and Bio-toilets :-
Time and again, we keep reading news items on the problem of open defecation in our country. In fact, it has more or less come to be identified as a national trait or even a symbol much like the elephants and snake charmer of yore. India has the dubious distinction of being home to 60 per cent of all open defecators of the entire world. More than 62 crore people, or roughly half the population of the whole of India practice open defecation and this number does not appear to be going down anytime in the foreseeable future. Even urban India has to bear the brunt with 18 per cent defecating in the open, while in rural India, it is as high as 69 per cent.
The lack of toilet facility exerts a collateral damage on the education front too. Most of the schools in rural areas are co-ed with boys and girls attending classes together as they cannot afford to have separate schools and teachers for them. And in most secondary schools, the girl students simply drop out when they attain certain age mainly because there are no toilets in the premises where they can take care of personal hygiene.
One of the major reasons why the practice of open defecation still continues in our country is the lack of water. We often see reasonably well built toilets falling into disuse within weeks due to clogging because there is not enough water.
Quite apart from the aesthetic angle, open defecation poses a major public health hazard. The free and easy mixing of faecal waste with water sources such as streams, ponds and tanks especially during the wet season leads to heavy contamination of drinking water since modern water purification systems for domestic use are hard to come by in rural areas. No wonder, there is a never-ending malady of water-borne diseases like typhoid, dysentery, hepatitis, intestinal worms and so on in the hinterland.
Benefits of Bio-toilet:- It is against this backdrop that the bio-toilet enters the scene with a positive impact. In contrast to the septic tank or soak pit, it deploys what is known as the bio-digester tank as it helps digest the fecal matter using a modern biological principle. It does it with the help of anaerobic bacteria which, as the name indicates, grow and multiply in the total absence of atmospheric oxygen as it prevails inside the sealed tank. These bacteria fully digest the waste into water and bio-gas. In other words, the bio-toilet technology involves active digestion while the older methods rely on passive decomposition.
The bio-toilet offers other advantages as well. It is more compact as it occupies only one-third of the space taken by the septic tank or soak pit. The latter need periodic emptying and cleaning out every few months, while the bio-toilet needs no emptying as it ensures over ninety per cent decomposition of the waste matter. The bio-toilet thus, enjoys a maintenance free life of nearly 50 years while the septic tank needs annual repairs and needs to be replaced every five years.