Insights Daily Current Events, 06 July 2015
BSNL launches Wi-Fi service at Hampi
Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL), as part of Digital India Project, has provided Wi-Fi hotspot service in Hampi, which is on the international tourist map.
- The service could be used free for 30 minutes. Thereafter, one has to pay Rs. 30 for 30 minutes, Rs. 50 for 60 minutes, Rs. 90 for 120 minutes and Rs. 150 for the entire day as usage charges.
- Under the Digital India Project, it has been planned to connect 2.5 lakh gram panchayats in the country, including 5,631 in the State, with Internet service by December 2015.
- Hampi is one of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites in India located near Hospet town in the Karnataka state.
- It is located within the ruins of the city of Vijayanagara, the former capital of the Vijayanagara Empire.
- The emperor Ashoka’s minor rock edicts in Nittur & Udegolan (both in Bellary district, Karnataka) lead one to believe that this region was within the Ashokan kingdom during the 3rd century BCE.
- A Brahmi inscription & a terracotta seal dating to the 2nd century CE were also discovered from the excavation site.
- The first historical settlements in Hampi date back to 1 CE.
- It is situated on the banks of the Tungabhadra River.
- Hampi has various notable Hindu temples with some vedanta mythology inside the temples, some of which are still active places of worship.
Sources: The Hindu, Wiki.
‘A.P. spreading canard about Pranahita project’
Telangana Chief Minister recently said that he is personally studying various options with regard to fixing a site for construction of the barrage of the mega Pranahita-Chevella project. He said he was also studying design proposals for the project so that maximum benefit was achieved from it.
- The Maharashtra government has agreed to lifting of water from the Pranahita but objected only to submergence in its area. Hence, the feasibility of the project is being studied keeping this in mind.
About Pranahita-Chevella project:
- It is a lift irrigation scheme to harness the water of Pranhita tributary of Godavari river for use in the Telangana state of India. The project would cost Rs 40,000 cr.
- Under Godavari Water Disputes Tribunal award agreements, Maharashtra state earlier agreed for construction of barrages by the undivided Andhra Pradesh state across the Pranhita river which is forming common boundary between the two states.
- The project had been mired in controversy with regard to submergence of villages in Maharashtra. Telangana chief minister K Chandrasekhar Rao has reached an agreement with his Maharashtra counterpart Devendra Fadnavis agreeing to make some changes in the Pranahita-Chevella project design paving way for the works on the project to start early.
Pranhita is the River flows on the border of Gadchiroli district in Maharashtra and Adilabad district in Telangana. Pranhita is the name given to the combined flow of the rivers Wardha and Wainganga.
Sources: The Hindu, Wiki.
Dramatic drop in number of underfed children: UNICEF
A recently released data by UNICEF shows that despite remarkable improvements in child nutrition over the last decade in India, some States, such as Gujarat, have struggled to reduce the numbers of underweight and stunted children. The report is named the Rapid Survey on Children (RSOC). It is a sample survey of over one lakh households conducted by the UNICEF.
Important observations made by the survey:
- Tamil Nadu, West Bengal, Uttarakhand and Tripura are the only States which have reduced the proportion of underweight adolescent girls.
- While some States have made remarkable progress in battling child malnourishment, others have made little progress despite a decade of high growth.
- Among the developed States, Gujarat is the only one to perform worse than the national average in reducing the numbers of child stunting cases and underweight children.
- Almost all States have performed poorly in reducing the number of underweight adolescent girls.
- Uttar Pradesh still has the highest levels of child stunting, with over 50% of the children under the age of five underdeveloped, meaning that their height is more than two standard deviations less than the expected height for their age for that population.
- Jharkhand has the highest number of underweight children under the age of five, meaning their weight for age is more than two standard deviations less than what would be expected.
- Kerala remains the best performing State in the number of child stunting cases, while Manipur and Mizoram have the lowest numbers of underweight children.
- Delhi and Mizoram reduced child stunting at the fastest rate between 2004-05 — when the last official National Family Health Survey (NFHS-3) was conducted — and 2013-14.
- While Madhya Pradesh and Bihar still have high levels of underweight children, both States reduced these numbers at fast rates along with Himachal Pradesh.
- No State reported an increase in the proportion of children underweight or stunted, a significant reversal from past trends.
- The RSOC findings show that at the national level, stunting is higher in rural areas (41.7%) than in urban areas (32.1%), as is the case for underweight children.
Sources: The Hindu.
Corporation Bank launches first MUDRA card
The MUDRA (Micro Units Development and Refinance Agency) card under the Pradhan Mantri MUDRA Yojana (PMMY) scheme was launched by the Corporation Bank recently.
- The card facilitates the withdrawal and use of the working capital finance by micro entrepreneurs.
- Corporation Bank is the first bank to launch the MUDRA Card based on the RuPay platform.
About the Pradhan Mantri MUDRA Yojana (PMMY) scheme:
The MUDRA scheme is aimed at “funding the unfunded”.
- The scheme, which has a corpus of Rs 20,000 crore, can lend betweenRs 50,000 and Rs 10 lakh to small entrepreneurs.
- MUDRA will be set up through a statutory enactment. It will be responsible for developing and refinancing all micro-finance institutions (MFIs) which are in the business of lending to micro and small business entities engaged in manufacturing, trading and service activities.
Role of MUDRA bank?
- MUDRA Bank will refinance Micro-Finance Institutions through a Pradhan Mantri Mudra Yojana. In lending, priority will be given to SC/ST enterprises.
- It will also partner with State and regional-level coordinators to provide finance to last-mile financiers of small and micro business enterprises. Its proposed role includes laying down policy guidelines for micro enterprise financing business, registration, accreditation and rating of MFI entities.
- The agency will also lay down responsible financing practices to ward off over-indebtedness and ensure proper client protection principles and methods of recovery.
- These measures will greatly increase the confidence of young, educated or skilled workers who would now be able to aspire to become first generation entrepreneurs.
- Existing small businesses, too, will be able to expand their activities.
- By floating MUDRA bank, the Centre has ensured credit flow to SMEs sector and has also identified NBFCs as a good fit to reach out to them.
- People will now be able to get refinance at subsidised rate and it would be passed on to the SMEs. Moreover, it would enable SMEs to expand their activities.
Sources: The Hindu, PIB.
Sahara was once home to world’s largest lake
According to a recent study, conducted by the researchers from the University of London, the Sahara desert contained the world’s largest freshwater lake until it evaporated in just a few hundred years.
- The researchers used satellite images to map abandoned shore lines and analysed sediments to calculate the age of these shore lines, producing a lake level history spanning the last 15,000 years.
- At its peak around 6,000 years ago, Palaeolake Mega-Chad was the largest freshwater lake on Earth, with an area of 3,60,000 square km. Today’s Lake Chad is reduced to a fraction of that size, at only 355 square km.
- Researchers said that the drying of Lake Mega-Chad reveals a story of dramatic climate change in the southern Sahara, with a rapid change from a giant lake to desert dunes and dust, due to changes in rainfall from the West African Monsoon.
Sahara Desert – Basics:
- It is the largest hot desert and third largest desert after Antarctica and the Arctic.
- combined surface area: 9,400,000 square kilometres (3,600,000 sq mi).
- It comprises much of the land found within North Africa, excluding the fertile coastal region situated against the Mediterranean Sea, the Atlas Mountains of the Mahgreb, and the Nile Valley of Egypt and Sudan.
- The Sahara is bounded by the Atlantic Ocean to the west, the Atlas Mountains and the Mediterranean to the north, the Red Sea to the east, and the Sudan and the valley of the Niger River to the south.
- It covers large parts of Algeria, Chad, Egypt, Libya, Mali, Mauritania, Morocco, Niger, Western Sahara, Sudan and Tunisia.
- It is the world’s largest low-latitude hot desert. The area is located in the horse latitudes under the subtropical ridge.
Sources: The Hindu, Wiki.
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