Neelam Sanjiva Reddy
President of India Shri Ram Nath Kovind has paid homage to Neelam Sanjiva Reddy at Rashtrapati Bhavan on his birth anniversary.
About Neelam Sanjiva Reddy –
- He was one of the foremost political leaders from Andhra Pradesh. He participated in various freedom struggles against the British and was imprisoned several times.
- He was elected to the Constituent Assembly in India.
- When the Andhra Province was separated from Madras and T. Prakasam became the Chief Minister of Andhra, Sanjeeva Reddy was appointed Deputy Chief Minister. When the new state of Andhra Pradesh was constituted Sanjeeva Reddy became its first Chief Minister and served in that capacity from 1956 to 1959. He again became the Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh in 1962 for one year.
- After the defeat of the Congress in the Lok Sabha elections of 1977, Sanjiva Reddy was elected with the backing of the Janata Party as the sixth President of India. As president, Reddy worked with Prime Ministers Morarji Desai, Charan Singh and Indira Gandhi.
- Reddy authored a book, ‘Without Fear or Favour: Reminiscences and Reflections of a President’, published in 1989.
The Baltic countries of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania have started what is being referred to as a ‘travel bubble’ to help put their economies back on track post-Covid lockdowns.
What is a ‘travel bubble’?
- Creating a travel bubble involves reconnecting countries or states that have shown a good level of success in containing the novel coronavirus pandemic domestically.
- Such a bubble would allow the members of the group to rekindle trade ties with each other, and kickstart sectors such as travel and tourism.
- In the Estonia-Latvia-Lithuania travel bubble, residents would be able to travel freely by rail, air, and sea without quarantine measures. All three are sparsely populated (Lithuania- 28 lakh, Latvia- 19.2 lakh, Estonia- 13.3 lakh people) and have been fairly successful at managing the outbreak.
- Recently, Australia and New Zealand reached an agreement to form a travel bubble between the two countries once it becomes safe to operate flights between them. Both have had success in suppressing the pandemic domestically. Once it opens, the trans-Tasman zone will allow travel without a quarantine period.
National Test Abhyas
Union Human Resource Development Minister has launched a new mobile app called the ‘National Test Abhyas’ to enable candidates take mock tests for upcoming exams such as JEE Main, NEET under the NTA’s purview.
- The app has been launched to facilitate candidates’ access to high quality mock tests in the safety and comfort of their homes since there was a demand for making up the loss to students due to closure of educational institutions and NTA’s Test-Practice Centers (TPCs) due to the continuing lockdown.
- The app will make available practice tests on smartphones or computers for all students in India irrespective of their level of access to devices and quality of network. The app also has an offline mode where students, on downloading the mock tests, can attempt the test without the internet.
Swachh Bharat Mission – Urban
For the assessment year 2019-2020, a total of six cities have been certified as 5-Star (Ambikapur, Rajkot, Surat, Mysuru, Indore and Navi Mumbai), 65 cities as 3-Star and 70 cities as 1-Star by the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs.
- The Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs has also devised the Star Rating Protocol for Garbage Free Cities – a comprehensive framework similar to our examination systems where each ward in every city must achieve a certain standard across 24 different components of solid waste management (SWM) and is graded based on overall marks received.
- The protocol has been devised in a holistic manner including components such as cleanliness of drains & water bodies, plastic waste management, managing construction & demolition waste, etc. which are critical drivers for achieving garbage free cities.
Protocols under SBM-U –
Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs (MoHUA) launched various initiatives to make SBM-U a successful project. Some of them include –
- ODF, ODF+ and ODF++ Protocol –
- Norms under ODF: No visible faeces shall found in the environment and every household, as well as public/community institutions, should be using safe technology option for disposal of faeces.
- Norms under ODF+: Not a single person should be defecating and/or urinating in open. All community and public toilets should be properly maintained and cleaned.
- Norms under ODF++: Proper treatment and management of faecal sludge/septage and sewage is safely managed and treated. There should be no discharge or dumping of untreated faecal sludge/septage and sewage in drains, water bodies or open areas.
2. Water + Protocol – It is designed to ensure that no untreated wastewater is discharged into the open environment or water bodies.
3. Star rating protocol for Garbage free cities: It is based on 12 parameters which follow a SMART framework – Single metric, Measurable, Achievable, Rigorous verification mechanism and Targeted towards outcomes.
4. Material Recovery Facilities (MRFs) – MoHUA has also partnered with National Highways Authority of India(NHAI) to use the plastic waste for road construction. Additionally, cities have been asked to set up adequate Material Recovery Facilities (MRFs) to handle the segregation, processing and recycle of plastic waste.
5. Swachh Surevkshan – MoHUA launched the Swachh Survekshan 2020 (SS 2020) league, a quarterly cleanliness assessment of cities and towns in India.
About Swachh Bharat Mission – Urban –
- It comes under the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs.
- The programme includes elimination of open defecation, conversion of unsanitary toilets to pour flush toilets, eradication of manual scavenging, municipal solid waste management and bringing about a behavioural change in people regarding healthy sanitation practices.
- The mission aims to cover 1.04 crore households, provide 2.5 lakh community toilets, 2.6 lakh public toilets, and a solid waste management facility in each town.
- Under the programme, community toilets will be built in residential areas where it is difficult to construct individual household toilets. Public toilets will also be constructed in designated locations such as tourist places, markets, bus stations, railway stations, etc.
- The programme will be implemented over a five-year period in 4,401 towns.
Amphan – Super Cyclone
Super cyclone Amphan that is barrelling towards West Bengal is the strongest storm to have formed in the BoB since the Super Cyclone of 1999 that ravaged Paradip in Odisha.
What made Amphan a ‘super cyclone’?
- Cyclones gain their energy from the heat and moisture generated from warm ocean surfaces. This year, the Bay of Bengal has posted record summer temperatures a fall-out, as researchers have warned, of global warming from fossil fuel emissions that has been heating up oceans.
- The BoB has been particularly warm. Some of the buoys have registered maximum surface temperatures of 32-34°C consecutively, for the first two weeks of May. These are record temperatures driven by climate change which have never been observed earlier.
- Higher than normal temperatures in the Bay of Bengal may be whetting ‘super cyclones’ and the lockdown, indirectly, may have played a role, meteorologists and atmospheric science experts told. Reduced particulate matter emissions during the lockdown meant fewer aerosols, such as black carbon, that are known to reflect sunlight and heat away from the surface.
- Every year, increased particulate pollution from the Indo-Gangetic plains is transported towards the BoB and this also influences the formation of clouds over the ocean. Fewer clouds and more heat in the Bay of Bengal may have amplified the strength of the cyclone.