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Daily Current Affairs : 17-Feb-2020

Major Topics Covered :

1. ISRO to launch an unprecedented 10 earth imaging satellites

2. Bio-Asia summit Hyderabad

3. United Nations Bio Diversity Summit to discuss threats to Migratory Species from Infrastructural Development(CMS-COP 13)

4. India and Norway to work towards mitigating marine plastic littering

5. Mukurthi National Park.

6. RBI Syncs Financial Year With Fiscal Year

1. ISRO to launch an unprecedented 10 earth imaging satellites

Why in news?

According to ISRO annual statement, it will launch 10 earth observation (EO) satellites during 2020- 21. Such a pre-ponderence of the EO launches is unprecedented and includes new categories such as the first Geo Imaging Satellite, GISAT-1.

Geo Imaging Satellite

GISAT 1 (GEO Imaging Satellite) is an Indian earth observing satellite operating from geostationary orbit to facilitate continuous observation of Indian sub-continent, quick monitoring of natural hazards and disaster.

• GISAT carries an imaging payload consisting of of multi-spectral (visible, near infra-red and thermal), multi-resolution from 50 m to 1.5 km. It will provide pictures of the area of interest on near real time basis including border areas.

• GISAT will provide near real time pictures of large areas of the country, under cloud free conditions, at frequent intervals. That is, selected Sector-wise image every 5 minutes and entire Indian landmass image every 30 minutes at 50 m spatial resolution.

• GISAT-1 that is apparently fixed over the subcontinent at an orbit 36,000 km high, the space agency plans to launch a new series of high resolution HRSATs as a threesome on a single PSLV launcher.

• The EO sats are ostensibly for benign uses such as land and agriculture watch. But their images also have a very important use for the military, for keeping an eye on the borders. o The satellites such as RISATs, which carry a synthetic aperture radar on them,

provide all-weather, 24-hour information to security agencies.


2. Bio-Asia Summit Hyderabad

Why in news?

The Government of Telangana is hosting Bio-Asia Summit 2020 in Hyderabad between February 17, 2020 and February 19, 2020. The main objective of the summit is to explore the capabilities of Life Science Companies and their investments.

Biotechnology In India

• India is the third largest biotechnology destination in Asia Pacic. There are more than 523 USFDA (United States Food and Drug Administration) approved Indian owned plants spread all over the world. This is the second highest in the world.

• Also, India is the largest supplier of BCG, DPT and measles vaccines. In 2018, the value of biotechnology industry was 51 billion USD. It is currently growing at the rate of 14.7% every year.

The importance of summit for India

• India is to become the most populous country in the world by 2030. The growing burden of diseases in the country is increasing rapidly. GoI is planning on 200 billion USD infrastructure in the next decade. The National Biopharma Mission will require strong workforce.

National Biopharma Mission

• The National Biopharma mission was launched in 2017 by the Ministry of Science and Technology with the assistance of World Bank. The mission estimated 250 million USD of investment in the field.


3. United Nations Bio Diversity Summit to discuss threats to Migratory Species from Infrastructural Development(CMS-COP 13)

Why in News

India is hosting the 13th Conference of Parties (COP) of the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS) from 17th to 22nd February, 2020 at Gandhinagar in Gujarat.

• The theme of CMS COP-13 is ‘Migratory species connect the planet and we welcome them home’.

• The mascot for CMS COP-13 is ‘Gibi The Great Indian Bustard’. It is a critically endangered species (according to the IUCN) and has been accorded the highest protection status (listed in Schedule I) under the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972.

Key facts

• The Conference will consider the need for implementation of guidance tools that will mitigate the impacts of infrastructure on migratory species. So far, the infrastructural threats to large mammals was governed by the Central Asian Mammals Initiative.

• The CMS Guidelines currently deals only with the underwater noises. It does not include threats related to infrastructural development. Therefore, this conference will focus on such threats and also aquatic species facing threats due to coastal developments such as roads, restaurants and hotels. The conference will also discuss Turtle Nesting and the threats.


• The discussion is important because there are more than 25 million kilo metres of new roads to be constructed by 2050. This will increase by 60% as compared to the roads in 2010. In the next 40 years, 3,35,000 km of railway tracks are to be constructed

Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals

  • In order to protect the migratory species throughout their range countries, a Convention on Conservation of Migratory Species (CMS), has been in force since 1983, under the aegis of the United Nations Environment Programme.

  • Also referred to as the Bonn Convention, it provides a global platform for the conservation and sustainable use of migratory animals and their habitats and brings together the States through which migratory animals pass, the Range States, and lays the legal foundation for internationally coordinated conservation measures throughout a migratory range.

  • Under this convention, migratory species threatened with extinction are listed on Appendix I and Parties strive towards strictly protecting these animals, conserving or restoring the places where they live, mitigating obstacles to migration and controlling other factors that might endanger them.

  • Migratory species that need conservation and management or would significantly benefit from international co-operation are listed in Appendix II of the Convention.

  • India has signed a non-legally binding Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with CMS on the conservation and management of Siberian Cranes (1998), Marine Turtles (2007), Dugongs (2008) and Raptors (2016).

  • o India is a temporary home to several migratory animals and birds. The important

  • among these include Amur Falcons, Bar headed Geese, Black necked cranes, Marine turtles, Dugongs, Humpback Whales, etc.

4. India and Norway to work towards mitigating marine plastic littering

Why in news?

• During CMS-COP13 India and Norway reiterated to work towards s strengthening mutual cooperation on climate and environment including ocean affairs. The countries decided to work towards mitigating marine plastic pollution. This is to be done on the lines of Kigali Amendment of Montreal Protocol and MoU signed between India and Norway under IndiaNorway Ocean Dialogue (INOD). Under the MoU India-Norway Marine Pollution Initiative was adopted.

Kigali Amendment

• In October 2016, the Montreal Protocol was signed by more than 170 countries in order to protect ozone layer and climate. The Kigali Amendment to the protocol aims to phase down the Hydrouorocarbons.


5. Mukurthi National Park

Why in news?

Preparing for the summer and peak fire season, work on construction of fire lines in the Mukurthi National Park (MNP). Important facts

• Mukurthi National Park (MNP) is located in the northwest corner of Tamil Nadu in the Western Ghats.

• It is a part of Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve (UNESCO World Heritage Site) along with Mudumalai Wildlife Sanctuary, Bandipur National Park, Nagarhole National Park, Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary and Silent Valley.

Keystone Species : The park was created to protect its keystone species, the Nilgiri Tahr.

o There has been almost a 27% increase in the population of the Tahr in the Nilgiris

over the last few years.

Forest Type: The park is characterised by montane grasslands and shrublands interspersed with sholas in a high altitude area of high rainfall, near-freezing temperatures and high winds.

Peaks: The Park is also home to Mukurthi Peak, one of the highest peaks in the Nilgiri Hills.

Tribes Living Inside: Todas

• Todas are a pastoral tribe of the Nīlgiri Hills.


6. RBI Syncs Financial Year With Fiscal Year

Why in news?

• On February 15, 2020, the board of Reserve Bank of India (RBI) decided to sync the Financial year of the bank with the Fiscal Year. The Fiscal Year begins in April and ends in March and the Financial year is between July and June Important facts

• The Central Board of Directors of RBI at the 582 nd meeting recommended aligning of Fiscal and financial years. The alignment would change 8-decade practice of RBI.

• The alignment was recommended by an expert committee led by Bimal Jalan. According to the committee, the central bank will be able to provide estimates of the surplus transfers better after the alignment. This will reduce the interim dividend that the RBI has to pay to the Government.

o However, the interim dividend will be restricted to extraordinary

circumstances. It will also bring in cohesiveness with the reports and policy projections made by the RBI. Significance of the move

• The Centre had been demanding for an interim dividend (between April to August) as its nal balance sheet is prepared in August. This was mainly because RBI had a different accounting year.

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