1. Mission Kakatiya is a programme for restoring all the minor irrigation tanks and lakes in Telangana State, India. The programme helps in rejuvenating 46,531 tanks and lakes, storing 265 TMC water across the state in five years. 
  2. In the aftermath of the Kerala floods, the State is battling a disase called leptospirosis, commonly known as ‘rat fever.’ Leptospirosis is a zoonotic, or animal-borne, disease, caused by the bacteria of the genus Leptospira. It is largely found in animals, and occasionally surfaces in humans. It is most commonly spread through water contaminated by urine from infected animals, but contaminated food or soil can also act as vehicles for the disease. The key carriers are rodents, livestock and dogs, and that is why it is also known as ‘rat fever.’ Leptospiral infections occur more frequently in the 20-45 age group and it rarely happens in children. Much like dengue, it can manifest itself as no more than a mild flu and progress to a severe form that can cause kidney damage, liver failure, respiratory distress, meningitis, and even death. Leptospirosis outbreaks have frequently been reported in Kerala since the 1980s and are linked to flooding. Key regions that have historically reported notable incidence include Andaman and Nicobar, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu. The frontline medicine employed to contain leptospirosis outbreaks is doxycycline.
  3. With Communications Compatibility and Security Agreement (COMCASA), India has concluded three of the four foundational agreements with the U.S. India has already signed two of them – General Security Of Military Information Agreement (GSOMIA) in 2002 and the Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Agreement (LEMOA) in 2016. The COMCASA will allow the U.S. to transfer specialised equipment for encrypted communications for U.S.-origin platforms like C-17, C-130 and P-8I aircraft. It comes into force immediately and is valid for 10 years. The GSOMIA allows sharing of classified information from the U.S. government and American companies with the Indian government and defence Public Sector Undertakings (PSUs) but not with Indian private companies.
  4. To further defence innovation, a Memorandum of Intent has been signed between the U.S. Defense Innovation Unit (DIU) and the Indian Defence Innovation Organization – Innovation for Defence Excellence (DIO-iDEX), which will look into joint projects for co-production and co-development projects through the Defense Technology and Trade Initiative (DTTI).
  5. Vostok 2018 was a large-scale Russian military exercise, held from 11 to 17 September 2018. The exercise involved units from the Army, Air Force and Navy. China and Mongolia are also taking part in Vostok 2018.
  6. Forensic Gait Analysis was used in the investigation relating to the killing of journalist and activist Gauri Lankesh. Forensic Gait Analysis, was first used in the U.K. around 18 years ago and is now widely used as an aid for criminal investigations across the world. However, this is likely to be the first time the technique has been used as evidence in India. A subset of Forensic Podiatry, it matches body movement patterns of people in two videos to determine whether they are one and the same.
  7. Swachh Iconic Places – The project envisioned by the Prime Minister is being coordinated by Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation with the support of State governments and local administration.  It is a collaborative project with three other central Ministries: Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs, M/o Culture, and M/o Tourism. It also involves local administrations in the concerned States and Public Sector and Private Companies as sponsoring partners.
  8. India has renamed the National Centre for Antarctic and Ocean Research (NCAOR) — since 1998, charged with conducting expeditions to India’s base stations to the continent — as the National Centre for Polar and Ocean Research. India is an observer at the Arctic Council — a forum of countries that decides on managing the region’s resources and popular livelihood and, in 2015, set up an underground observatory, called IndARC, at the Kongsfjorden fjord, half way between Norway and the North Pole.
  9. India’s earth sciences community views the Himalayas as a “third pole” because of the large quantities of snow and ice it holds, and proposes to increase research spends towards understanding the impact of climate change in the Himalayas. It has already established a high-altitude research station in the Himalayas, called HIMANSH, at Spiti, Himachal Pradesh.
  10. An extensive study of over 250 soil samples from three south Indian States — Kerala, Karnataka and Tamilnadu — has shown that most of the banana fields have amounts of copper, magnesium, chromium and cobalt higher than the threshold levels for normal soils. Calcium levels almost reaching the threshold were seen in many fields. Calcium is used to maintain the soil pH and over the years has accumulated in the soil. 

Categories: POINT IAS

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