Sustainable Catchment Forest Management (SCATFORM) project:
- Recently Tripura has launched the Sustainable Catchment Forest Management (SCATFORM) project which is undertaken with the assistance of JICA (Japan International Cooperation Agency).
- The SCATFORM project aims to address issues such as forest cover loss and forest degradation have been mainly caused by shifting cultivation, which increases soil erosion risks on hill slopes especially in upper catchment areas.
- It would be implemented mainly in upper catchments where forest degradation and soil erosion are severe and livelihood improvement needs are high. The project aims to the improve quality of forest in the catchment area by sustainable forest management, soil and moisture conservation and livelihood development.
- The activities undertaken under the project involves promotion of bamboo plantation, agroforestry based livelihood, eco-tourism development, development of value addition for bamboo and other Non-Timber Forest Product (NTFP) in order to create alternate livelihood opportunities for local communities.
- The 80 per cent of the cost is contributed by JICA and the rest would be funded by the state and central governments.
Triple drug therapy
- Recently a pilot project to administer triple drug therapy with the long term aim of eradicating lymphatic filariasis was recently launched in Nagpur, Maharashtra.
- Nagpur is one of the five districts in the country and only one in Maharashtra where this triple drug therapy campaign is being launched.
- The World Health Organization (WHO) is recommending three drug treatment to accelerate the global elimination of lymphatic filariasis.
- The treatment, known as IDA, involves a combination of ivermectin, diethylcarbamazine citrate and albendazole.
- It is being recommended annually in settings where its use is expected to have the greatest impact.
- The third drug being used in this therapy will help control adult worms of lymphatic filariasis. Micro filariasis, which is produced by adult worms, is the cause of swollen leg. Previously the adult worms were sterilized by drugs and remained inactive for a year. Now that period will increase to two years.
- The plan is to administer these drugs for two consecutive years. The life of the adult worm is hardly four years, so it would die a natural death without causing any harm to the person.
- Lymphatic filariasis poses a grave threat to India. Over 40% of worldwide cases are found in India.
- Since 2004, two drug therapy for lymphatic filariasis has been in place but the addition of the third drug now will give a boost to the overall campaign.
- India has missed earlier deadlines to eradicate the disease by 2015 and 2017.
- The global deadline now is 2020 and the three drug approach may help the country get there.
- Caused by infection with parasitic worms living in the lymphatic system.
- The larval stages of the parasite (microfilaria) circulate in the blood and are transmitted from person to person by mosquitoes.
- Manifestation of the disease after infection takes time and can result in an altered lymphatic system, causing abnormal enlargement of body parts, and leading to severe disability and social stigmatization of those affected.
- The parasites are transmitted by four main types of mosquitoes i.e. Culex, Mansonia, Anopheles and Aedes.
National Social Assistance Programme (NSAP)
- The NSAP is a Centrally Sponsored Scheme under the Ministry of Rural Development. It came into effect from 15th August,1995.
- It represents a significant step towards the fulfillment of the DPSP in Article 41 of the Constitution. In particular, Article 41 of the Constitution of India directs the State to provide public assistance to its citizens in case of unemployment, old age, sickness and disablement and in other cases of undeserved want within the limit of its economic capacity and development.
- It aims to provide financial assistance to the elderly, widows and persons with disabilities in the form of social pensions.
- It currently covers more than three crore people who are below the poverty line (BPL), including about 80 lakh widows, 10 lakh disabled and 2.2 crore elderly.
- The Arab League is a regional organization of Arab countries in and around North Africa, the Horn of Africa and Arabia.
- It was formed in Cairo on 22 March 1945 with six members: Kingdom of Egypt, Kingdom of Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, and Syria. Currently, the League has 22 members, but Syria’s participation has been suspended since November 2011, as a consequence of government repression during the Syrian Civil War.
- The League’s main goal is to “draw closer the relations between member States and co-ordinate collaboration between them, to safeguard their independence and sovereignty, and to consider in a general way the affairs and interests of the Arab countries“.
- Methanol can be used as an energy producing fuel, transportation fuel and cooking fuel, cutting down India’s oil import bill by an estimated 20% over the next few years. Unlike CNG, using methanol as a transportation fuel would require minimal alteration in the vehicles.
- Methanol is a clean-burning fuel that produces fewer smog-causing emissions — such as sulphur oxides (SOx), nitrogen oxides (NOx) and particulate matter — and can improve air quality and related human health issues.
- Methanol is most commonly produced on a commercial scale from natural gas.
- It can also be produced from renewable sources such as biomass and recycled carbon dioxide.
- As a high-octane vehicle fuel, methanol offers excellent acceleration and power. It also improves vehicle efficiency.
- The Polar vortex is a large area of low pressure that consistently overlies the North and South poles.
- They are called ‘vortexes’ because of the mass of cold, dense air that spins counter-clockwise like a hurricane.
- The polar vortex can lead to major cold air outbreaks in the Northern Hemisphere, including North America, Europe and Asia.
- Usually this mass of cold polar air remains over the poles – strong and compact.
- Sometimes during winter in the northern hemisphere, , the vortex becomes weak and expands, sending Arctic cold air southward (into the United States, in this case).
- The weakening is partly due to warming temperatures in the stratosphere.
- So, with climate change, these polar vortex intrusions into the southern latitudes could become common.
- It is capable of delivering subzero temperatures in the new areas for several days at a time.
Pradhan Mantri Rojgar Protsahan Yojana:
- The scheme “Pradhan Mantri Rojgar Protsahan Yojana”(PMRPY) was announced in the Budget for 2016-17.
- The objective of the scheme is to promote employment generation.
- The scheme is being implemented by the Ministry of Labour and Employment.
- Under the scheme employers would be provided an incentive for enhancing employment by reimbursement of the 8.33% EPS contribution made by the employer in respect of new employment.
- The PMRPY scheme is targeted for workers earning wages upto Rs. 15,000/- per month.
Kyasanur forest disease (KFD)
- KFD is caused by the Kyasanur Forest Disease Virus (KFDV). The virus was identified in 1957 when it was isolated from a sick monkey from the Kyasanur Forest. Since then, between 400-500 humans cases per year have been reported.
- Hard ticks (Hemaphysalis spinigera) are the reservoir of the KFD virus and once infected, remain so for life.
- Rodents, shrews, and monkeys are common hosts for KFDV after being bitten by an infected tick. KFDV can cause epizootics with high fatality in primates.
- Transmission to humans may occur after a tick bite or contact with an infected animal, most importantly a sick or recently dead monkey. No person-to-person transmission has been described.
- The disease as of now is stated to be transmitted through monkeys. Large animals such as goats, cows, and sheep may become infected with KFD but play a limited role in the transmission of the disease.
- These animals provide the blood meals for ticks and it is possible for infected animals with viremia to infect other ticks, but transmission of KFDV to humans from these larger animals is extremely rare. Furthermore, there is no evidence of disease transmission via the unpasteurised milk of any of these animals.