‘Assam’s combined tree cover area lost in 20 years almost twice the size of Delhi’
Researchers have come up with the alarming find that Assam has lost around 269 thousand hectares (2,690 sqkm) of tree cover area in the last two decades (2001 to 2020), which is close to twice the size of Delhi having an area of 1,484 sqkm.
This has resulted in a significant rise in the minimum and maximum temperatures and human-animal conflict in the state.
According to a report of satellite data analysed by researchers at the University of Maryland, KarbiAnglong tops the list by losing over 97 thousand hectares followed by Dima Hasao over 63.2 thousand hectares, Sonitpur 17.4 thousand hectares, Tinsukia 13.2 thousand hectares and Kokrajhar 10.4 thousand hectares.
The state lost its highest tree cover in 2016 (25.4 thousand hectares) followed by nearly 23 thousand hectares in 2014 and 18.3 thousand hectares in 2020. The tree cover in Assam was 35% in 2000, which was 2.75 million hectares.
Guwahati lost 1.02 thousand hectares of tree cover from 2001 to 2020. Pointing to the felling of over 300 trees for the construction of flyovers and roads in the capital city and its adjacent Palashbari area, Das said “development at the cost of environment is worthless”.
Pollination of Moths Study
A study has revealed that moths are essential for pollination in northeast India’s Himalayan environment.
- The study established that 91 moths are pollinators of 21 different species of plants in Arunachal Pradesh and Sikkim within the northeastern Himalayas.
- The results are significant as most pollination research focused on daytime pollinators like butterflies and bees, while the contribution of nocturnal pollinators received less scientific attention.
- This research may be a part of a project which has been funded by the Ministry of Environment, Forest, and global climate change, and it’s one among the few such large-scale studies during which the research team studied the effect of various altitudes also as various seasons on the ecology of pollination of the moths.
- The study is predicated on field studies conducted in Himalayan terrains, starting from the foothills to elevations of up to 3000 meters, and laboratory investigations of over 1,800 moth proboscides, i.e., the mouthparts of moths.
India-France: Roadmap on Blue Economy and Ocean Governance
India and France recently agreed on a Roadmap on Blue Economy and Ocean Governance.
Both the countries agreed on this roadmap with the aim of contributing scientific knowledge and ocean conservation.
They seek to ensure that the ocean remains a global common, on the basis of rule of law.
This agreement was signed during three-day visit of External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar to France.Scope of the roadmap will encompass maritime trade, naval industry, marine technology, fisheries, scientific research, marine eco-tourism, inland waterways, integrated coastal management, and cooperation between competent administrations on civil maritime issues.
- Both the countries have planned to organise an annual bilateral dialogue on blue economy and ocean governance for exchanging views on their priorities, support ongoing & future cooperation and share their best practices.
India and France seek to make blue economy a driver of progress in their respective societies, apart from respecting environment and coastal & marine biodiversity. They noted that, fisheries are a vital economic sector, playing a decisive role in food security and livelihood security, specifically for coastal populations. According to them, demographic, economic & societal factors have resulted into increased global demand for marine products and increasing stress on global fish stocks. Both the countries will make blue economy a priority in development of their economic exchanges.
The central government is to start the ‘Purple Revolution’ in the Ramban district of Jammu and Kashmir.
- The purple revolution will be planned by encouraging lavender cultivation under CSIR-IIIM’s Aroma Mission through the Ministry of Science and Technology. It will be planned on lines of the Doda and Reasi districts.
- Cultivation of Lavender is often started in Ramban to increase income sources for the district’s youth.
- In Doda and Reasi, 500 youth enjoyed the purple revolution and augmented their income.
- Under the mission, farmers got free lavender saplings for the primary time in the Doda district of Jammu and Kashmir.
- Those that had cultivated lavender before were charged Rs. 5-6 per sapling.
- This revolution was started for supporting agro-economy-supported domestic aromatic crops by moving from imported aromatic oils to homegrown varieties.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi flagged 100 Kisan drones in several cities and towns of India to assist farmers in spraying pesticides in their farms.
- This is a replacement chapter in the direction of recent agricultural facilities of the 21st century. This move will be a milestone in the development of the drone sector and can also open the sky to unlimited possibilities.
- Union minister of finance Nirmala Sitharaman announced central stimulus for farming and agriculture sector in Budget 2022-23.
- The center will promote Kisan Drones, public-private partnerships to deliver digital & high-tech services, and chemical-free natural farming to farmers across India during 2022-23.
Drone Shakti Scheme
- This scheme was announced in Union Budget 2022. The budget pushed for promoting drones using start-ups and skilling at Industrial Training Institutes (ITIs).
- Under the scheme, start-ups will be promoted during a bid to facilitate ‘Drone Shakti’ for Drone-As-A-Service (DrAAS).
National Digital University
The Union Budget for 2022-23 looks to implement the National Education Policy (NEP). To help this the decision to establish a National Digital University was announced that will look to solve India’s seat scarcity problem in educational institutions.
The digital university will provide access to high-quality higher education in several languages while also complying with the National Education Policy 2020.
Prospects of Digital University in India
The Indian government plans to establish a digital university to provide world-class quality education and promote online learning in several Indian languages.
The government will also expand the ‘One Class One TV Channel’ programme under the PM e-Vidya scheme to address the learning loss which has been caused due to the closure of schools because of the pandemic.
The digital university which has been proposed along with the increased education through television programmes will help in guiding the nation through a pioneering, modern, and practical blueprint.
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