World Bank cuts India’s FY17 growth forecast to 7%
The World Bank has lowered its growth forecast for India to 7 per cent from 7.6 per cent in 2016-17, citing a slowdown in consumption and manufacturing due to demonetisation and an ongoing decline in private investment and credit constraints due to impaired bank balance sheets.
The World Bank’s Global Economic Prospects January 2017 report added that the Indian economy is subsequently set to recover its growth momentum, with growth rising to 7.6 per cent in FY18 and further strengthening to 7.8 per cent in FY20.
“Unexpected ‘demonetization’— the phasing out of large-denomination currency notes which were subsequently replaced with new ones—weighed on growth in the third quarter of FY2017,” the report added. “Weak industrial production and manufacturing and services purchasing managers’ indexes (PMI), further suggest a set back to activity in the fourth quarter of FY2017.”
This was further accentuated by other economic factors, the report added, leading to a slump in the entire year’s growth rate.
“A retrenchment of private investment, reflecting excess capacity, corporate deleveraging, and credit constraints due to impaired commercial banks’ balance sheets, also had an adverse effect on activity,” according to the report. “For the whole of FY2017, growth is expected to decelerate to a still robust 7.0 per cent.”
The report, however, noted that four key reforms in India in 2016 could help growth rebound.
These, it said, were the passage of the bankruptcy and insolvency code, the liberalisation of FDI norms across sectors, the passage of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) Amendment Bill, and the agreement between the government and the Reserve Bank of India on a monetary policy framework that includes setting up a monetary policy committee and agreeing on a flexible inflation target.
Pakistan to renovate Katas Raj temple
The Katas Raj temple is revered by Hindus across the globe as legend has it that the foundation of the sacred site was laid by Lord Shiva. The temple was over 5,000 years old and had been the focal point of four civilisations. Al-Biruni, Persian scholar and polymath, had computed the earth’s circumference from here.
Hope Island is a graveyard for Olive Ridleys (Vulnerable -IUCN )
Carcasses of Olive Ridley turtles are washing ashore on Hope Island’s beaches here, indicating that the breeding cycle of the endangered species has been dealt a severe blow this year by mechanised fishing boats.
The turtles, which are protected under the Wildlife (Protection) Act, commence their journey from the Indian Ocean during their mating season in October and November. When they reach the Bay of Bengal, the females lay eggs on the beaches. Even as the destination for a majority is Gahirmatha in Odisha, the sandy stretches of Hope Island of the Coringa Wildlife Sanctuary have turned into a breeding area for a few hundred turtles every year.
A female lays 100 to 150 eggs in a pit dug by it carefully and leaves the shore after covering the hollow with sand. Six weeks later, the newly hatched turtles start the journey to their Indian Ocean habitat. Records show 482 turtles laid eggs here in the last year.
“Owners of mechanised boats are not taking precautions to protect the turtles. Most of them are crushed under the boats and succumb to injuries,
The Fisheries Department tried to encourage the mechanised boat owners to fit a Turtle Excluder Device (TED) to their trawl nets to allow the animals to pass, 10 years ago. Of the 422 boats, few have opted for the device due to lack of sensitisation. “The device is not available in the open market,” said S. Angeli, Deputy Director of the Fisheries department.
Coringa Wildlife Sanctuary is a wildlife sanctuary and estuary situated in Andhra Pradesh, India. It is the second largest stretch of mangrove forests in India with 24 mangrove tree species and more than 120 bird species. It is home to the critically endangered white-backed vulture and the long billed vulture.
Hope Island, relatively young island, it formed in the last 200 years into a 16-kilometre-long (9.9 mi) sand spit from the sand carried by the waters of Godavari delta. The area between Kakinada coast and Hope Island is known as Kakinada Bay. Hope Island protects the city of Kakinada from the strong storm surges coming from the Bay of Bengal. Hope Island acts as a sort of natural break water and provides tranquility to the ships anchored in Kakinada bay which makes Kakinada Port one of the safest natural ports in the Eastern Coast of India
SC orders audit of 30 lakh NGOs
The Supreme Court has directed the government to audit nearly 30 lakh NGOs which received public funds but consistently failed to explain how they spent the money.Besides, asking the government to initiate civil recovery proceedings against such rogue organisations, the court has ordered that any NGO found to have cooked its books or indulged in misappropriation should be subject to immediate criminal prosecution.The court has also asked the government to frame guidelines for accreditation of NGOs, the manner in which these organisations should maintain their accounts and the procedure for recovery in case they fail to submit their balance sheets.The Supreme Court demanded that the government file a compliance report by March 31, 2017.
The order is unprecedented because defaulting NGOs so far have been only blacklisted by the government. Though public funds to the tune of thousands of crores are spent on NGOs and voluntary organisations annually, the CBI had submitted that only about three lakh of about 32 lakh NGOs file their balance sheets with the government.
Study throws light on groundwater, rainfall link
According to a recently conducted study, the groundwater level in north India has been declining at a rate of 2 cm per year during the period 2002-2013, while in north-central and south India, it has increased by 1-2 cm per year during the same period. The study was carried out by a team of researchers from the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Gandhinagar.
While changes in monsoon rainfall pattern during the period of study can largely explain the total variability of groundwater storage in north-central and south India, the usage of groundwater for irrigation purposes accounts for groundwater variability in northwest India.
The increased usage of groundwater for irrigation in northwest India is, in turn, linked to changes in monsoon rainfall pattern. In Punjab and Haryana, groundwater extraction was mainly responsible for declining groundwater storage.
For instance, over the Gangetic Plain and other parts of north India monsoon rainfall has been declining since 1950, leading to reduced recharge of groundwater.
Also, as a result of declining monsoon rainfall and intensive agriculture, groundwater withdrawals in the country have increased over tenfold since the 1950s — from 10-20 cubic km per year in 1950, to 240-260 cubic km per year in 2009.
National Youth Festival
National Youth Festival is organized every year by the Department of Youth Affairs of Union Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports on the birth anniversary of Swami Vivekananda on January 12.
Theme of the year – Youth for Digital India.
Nyda’s giant ice balls
Giant ice balls covered the coast along the Gulf of Ob, an arm of the Kara Sea in north-western Siberia a little over a week ago. The phenomenon was noticed in the small village of Nyda, which lies on the Yamal Peninsula just above the Arctic Circle.The icy spheres ranged from the size of a tennis ball to almost 3 feet across, covering 18 km of the coast.
Locals in Nyda say they have never seen anything comparable in the past.
However, this is not the first time this winter phenomenon has occurred. In 2013 and 2015, ice boulders had washed ashore on the banks of Lake Michigan. In March 2015, giant ice balls had washed ashore in Stroomi on the Finnish Gulf coast.
Giant ice balls or boulders are formed when water begins to freeze and is pushed ashore by wave action, according to AccuWeather.com Meteorologist Jim Andrews. A small chunk of ice in the water grows in size as it tumbles in the waves. The ice boulders form when the air is cold enough for the water to instantly freeze and the lake is cold, but not too cold. A stiff breeze helps to churn things up.
The process begins as a small chunk of ice in the shore. The tiny bit of ice slowly grows larger as it tumbles in the seas, or lakes, growing layer by layer as the water instantaneously freezes upon it. Ice boulders can only form when the air is cold enough for the water to instantly freeze. After hours of tumbling, the ice ball can become as large as a football. Deposited on the shore, the picturesque ice balled shore is a must visit as it is a meteorological phenomenon that not happen too often.
In the case of the Arctic beach along the Gulf of Ob, the tide that came in contacted a layer of frost, covering the beach in ice. As the water slowly receded, it left bits of ice that spun on the wet sand creating spheres.