1)International Solar Alliance:
Why in news: The Third Assembly of the International Solar Alliance was recently held.
Key takeaways from the virtual assembly
- India has been re-elected as the President of the International Solar Alliance (ISA) and France as the Co-President for a term of two years.
- The assembly also approved the initiatives of the ISA Secretariat in institutionalizing ISA’s engagement with the private and public corporate sector through the Coalition for Sustainable Climate Action (CSCA).
- Visvesvaraya award was also conferred. It recognizes the countries with maximum floating solar capacity in each of the four regions of ISA.
- The awards went to Japan for the Asia Pacific region and the Netherlands for Europe and Other region.
- The Kalpana Chawla award for outstanding contribution of scientists and engineers working in the field of solar energy.
- The Diwakar award recognises organisations and institutions that have been working for the benefit of differently-abled people and have maximised the use of solar energy in the host country.
- For COVID-19, ISA set up ISA CARES. It is an initiative dedicated to deployment of solar energy in healthcare sector in LDC/SIDS ISA Member countries.
- The initiative aims to solarize one primary health sector in each district of the target Member countries.
International Solar Alliance
- It is an Indian initiative that was launched by the Prime Minister of India and the President of France on 30th November 2015 in Paris, France on the side-lines of the Conference of the Parties (COP-21), with 121 solar resource-rich countries lying fully or partially between the tropic of Cancer and tropic of Capricorn as prospective members.
- Objective: To collectively address key common challenges to the scaling up of solar energy in ISA member countries.
- Members: Till now, 87 countries have signed the Framework Agreement of the ISA and of these 67 have deposited their instruments of ratification.
- Nicaragua, a Central American country is the 87th and the latest country to sign the agreement.
- ISA Headquarter and interim Secretariat: Gurugram, India
2) STARS project:
Why in news: The Union Cabinet has approved World Bank supported Strengthening Teaching-Learning and Results for States -STARS project recently.
- STARS stands for Strengthening Teaching-Learning and Results for States Program (STARS).
- It is a project to improve the quality and governance of school education in six Indian states.
- Six states are- Himachal Pradesh, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Odisha, and Rajasthan.
- Access and retention;
- Right to education entitlements;
- Quality interventions;
- Teacher education and training;
- Gender and equity;
- Inclusive education; and
- Upgradation of the learning environment.
3) New wheat variety helps farmers in a village in Maharashtra double their yield:
Why in news: MACS 6478 a wheat variety was developed by Scientists from Agharkar Research Institute (ARI), an autonomous institute of the Department of Science and Technology (DST), Government of India
- It has doubled the crop yield for farmers in Karanjkhop, a village in Maharashtra.
- The farmers are now getting a yield of 45 to 60 quintal per hectare with the new variety compared to earlier average yield ranging 25 to 30 quintal per hectare.
- It is also called high yielding Aestivum, matures in 110 days and is resistant to most races of leaf and stem rust.
4) Construction of Zojila tunnel starts:
Why in news: Union Minister launched the first blasting for construction related work at the 14.15 km Zojila tunnel.
- Blasting means blowing up or breaking apart something solid with explosives.
- It is one of the longest in Asia, that will provide all-year connectivity between Srinagar valley and Leh.
- The tunnel will provide all-weather connectivity between Srinagar valley and Leh on NH-1 and will bring about an all-round economic and socio-cultural integration of Jammu and Kashmir.
- It involves construction of a 14.15-kilometre long tunnel at an altitude of about three thousand metres under Zojila pass on NH-1 connecting Srinagar and Leh through Dras and Kargil.
- Megha Engineering & Infrastructure Limited (MEIL) has been awarded with the contract of construction of ZojiLa Tunnel between Baltal and Minamarg within six years and nearly 19-KM approach roads on both sides in two and half years.
- Both on the east portal of ZojiLa Tunnel at Meenamarg on Kargil side in UT Ladakh and the west portal of Nilagrar tunnel in Ganderbal district of UT Jammu & Kashmir, tunnel works would begin with simultaneous blasts.
- At present it is one of the most dangerous stretches in the world to drive a vehicle and this project is also geo-strategically sensitive.
- Zojila Tunnel project shall bring to fruition, 30 years of overwhelming public demand of Kargil, Drass and Ladakh region.
5) Global tuberculosis report 2020:
- WHO has published a global tuberculosis (TB) report every year since 1997.
- The report provides a comprehensive and up-to-date assessment of the TB epidemic, and of progress in prevention, diagnosis and treatment of the disease at global, regional and country levels.
- This is done in the context of recommended global strategies and targets endorsed by WHO’s Member States, broader development goals set by the United Nations (UN) and targets set in the political declaration at the 2018 UN high-level meeting on TB.
- The 2020 edition of the global TB report was published on 14 October 2020.
- The data in this report are updated annually.