30th December 2020

Digital Ocean Platform

Recently, the Ministry of Earth Sciences has launched the Digital Ocean Platform.

  • It is a web-based application developed by Indian National Centre for Oceanic Information Services (INCOIS).
  • It is a first of its kind digital platform for Ocean Data Management.
  • The Digital Ocean will be promoted as a platform for capacity building on Ocean Data Management for all Indian Ocean Rim countries.
  • It includes a set of applications developed to organize and present heterogeneous oceanographic data by adopting rapid advancements in geospatial technology.
  • It facilitates an online interactive web-based environment for:
    • Data integration,
    • 3D and 4D data visualization,
    • Data analysis to assess the evolution of oceanographic features,
    • Data fusion and multi-format download of disparate data from multiple sources,
    • Remote sensing and model data
  • The User Management component of Digital Ocean allows:
    • Authentication of users, their roles and privileges of access to different data sets;
    • Categorization of data as per the data sharing guidelines;
    • Metadata management, mail management, usage statistics and system statistics; and
    • Monitoring of observing platforms and addition of new data streams

Significance of Digital Ocean Platform

  • Digital Ocean is a big step towards Prime Minister’s vision of Digital India i.e. to transform India into a digitally empowered society and knowledge economy.
  • The nation will be powerful which has the gold mine of data management and the capacity to process and interpret it meaningfully.
  • Ocean is a storehouse of infinite knowledge and ‘Digital Ocean’ helps to share this knowledge with a wide range of users including research institutions, academic community, maritime industry and policy makers.
  • It will play a central role in sustainable management of oceans and expanding India’s ‘Blue Economy’ initiatives.

INCOIS

  • ESSO-INCOIS was established as an autonomous body in 1999 under the Ministry of Earth Sciences (MoES).
  • It is a unit of the Earth System Science Organization (ESSO).
  • It is mandated to provide the best possible ocean information and advisory services to society, industry, government agencies and the scientific community through sustained ocean observations and constant improvements through systematic and focussed research.
  • It is a permanent member of the Indian delegation to IOC of UNESCO and a founding member of the Indian Ocean Global Ocean Observing System (IOGOOS).

Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunisation (GAVI)

Recently, the Union Minister of Health & Family Welfare has been nominated by the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunisation (GAVI) as a member on the GAVI Board.

 

  • The Minister will be representing the South East Area Regional Office (SEARO)/ Western Pacific Regional Office (WPRO) constituency on the GAVI Board.
  • The GAVI Alliance (formerly the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunisation) is a global health partnership of public and private sector organizations dedicated to “immunisation for all”.
  • It provides a unique opportunity for a wide-range of partners to build consensus around policies, strategies and priorities.
  • GAVI has observer status at the World Health Assembly.
  • Gavi’s impact draws on the strengths of its core partners, the World Health Organization, UNICEF, the World Bank and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
  • It plays a critical role in strengthening primary health care (PHC) and bringing us closer to the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) of Universal Health Coverage (UHC).
  • The GAVI Board is responsible for strategic direction and policy-making, oversees the operations of the Vaccine Alliance and monitors programme implementation.
  • The Board provides a forum for balanced strategic decision making, innovation and partner collaboration with membership drawn from a range of partner organisations, as well as experts from the private sector.

2011-2020 Warmest Decade on Record

Recently, the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) has highlighted that 2011-2020 Warmest Decade on Record.

  • The WMO has stated that 2020 is on track to becoming the warmest ever year, surpassing the highest surface temperatures recorded in 2016.
  • The average global temperature in 2020 is set to be about 1.2 degree Celsius above the pre-industrial era (1850-1900).
    • It is the highest since modern temperature recordings began in 1850.
  • The WMO has highlighted that the decadal warming trend has been noted with each passing decade since the 1980s.

Reasons for Consecutive Warm Decades

  • The main reason for global consecutive warm decades is the record levels of heat-trapping greenhouse gases present in the atmosphere.
  • The WMO experts have provided that carbon dioxide remains in the atmosphere for several decades, contributing to warming of the planet.
  • The experts said that the warming recorded during 2020 is despite the prevailing La Nina condition, which is the abnormal cooling of sea surface temperatures recorded along the equatorial and central Pacific Ocean.
  • The ocean heat content was at a record high, and it has been noted that the ocean has been fast to intake ocean heat.
  • More than 90 per cent of the excess energy accumulated in the climate system of increased concentrations of greenhouse gases goes straight into the ocean.

Implications of Warming Decades

  • Ecosystems: Global warming stresses ecosystems through temperature rises, water shortages, increased fire threats, drought, weed and pest invasions, intense storm damage and salt invasion.
  • Species: One in six species is at risk of extinction because of climate change.
  • Food and farming: Changes to rainfall patterns, increasingly severe drought, more frequent heat waves, flooding and extreme weather make it more difficult for farmers to graze livestock and grow produce.
  • Water: Reduced rainfall and increasingly severe droughts may lead to water shortages.
  • Coastal Erosion: Rising sea levels and more frequent and intense storm surges will see more erosion of coastline, wearing away and inundating community and residential properties.
  • Damage to homes: Increasingly severe extreme weather events like bushfires, storms, floods, cyclones and coastal erosion, will see increased damage to homes, as well as more costly insurance premiums.

India’s Highest Meteorological Centre

Recently, the Union Minister of Earth Sciences has inaugurated highest Meteorological Centre (MC) in India.

  • The India Meteorological Department (IMD) will now provide specialised weather forecasts for traffic movement on highways, agriculture, and defence personnel from its Ladakh centre.
  • The Leh centre is the second MC located in the Himalayas after Itanagar in Arunachal Pradesh.
  • The centre would provide localised weather forecasts thus strengthening weather-related early warning system for the region.
  • The centre will also give weather forecasts about tourist places such as Nubra, Changthang, Pangong Lake, Zanskar, Kargil, Drass, Dha-Baima (Aryan valley) and Khalsi.

Need for Meteorological Centre in Leh

  • Ladakh remains vulnerable to erratic weather and changing climate that have adverse effects on the lives of the locals.
  • The Union Territory of Leh is a geo-strategic location from the security point of view.
  • The Union Territory has varying micro-climatic zones ranging from plains, cold desert, hills and extreme dry places.

Post COVID push for Indian Economy

Recently, the former governor of Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has said that India can potentially build upon three positive aspects i.e. rural push, federalism and consumer base.

  • The COVID-19 pandemic and the subsequent lockdown left a trail of economic devastation on most countries.
  • The challenge for the government is to put the economy back on a healthy growth trajectory and ensure that growth is inclusive.

Key Highlights

Push in the rural economy

  • The expanded MNREGA provided a lifeline when most needed, and the frontloaded transfer payments to women, pensioners and farmers have put money in the hands of households and have helped revive demand.
  • The brisk procurement by the FCI (Food Corporation of India) has buttressed farmers’ incomes while it helped the government extend the food security programme.

Stronger Federalism

  • India’s federalism has withstood the test of vigorous democracy during the tensions between the Centre and the states on some issues such as GST compensation.

Huge Consumption Base

  • The third positivity is the India’s huge consumption base with 1.35 billion people and a per capita income of just over $2,000.
  • The increase in income of the bottom half will quickly turn into consumption, which in turn will spur production.
  • The consumption-production cycle can potentially put India on a virtuous cycle of growth and jobs.

Additional Information

V-shaped Economic Recovery

  • The V-shaped recovery is a type of economic recession and recovery that resembles a “V” shape in charting.
  • The V-shaped recovery represents the shape of a chart of economic measures economists create when examining recessions and recoveries.
  • The V-shaped recovery is characterized by a quick and sustained recovery in measures of economic performance after a sharp economic decline.

 

Dedicated Freight Corridor

Recently, the Prime Minister has inaugurated the section between Khurja and Bhaupur in Uttar Pradesh for commercial operations of the Dedicated Freight Corridor (DFC).

  • The Ministry of Railways, under the direction of the Indian Government, had taken up the dedicated freight corridor (DFC) project.
  • The project involves the construction of six freight corridors traversing the entire country.
  • The purpose of the project is to provide a safe and efficient freight transportation system.
  • In 2006, the Government of India established a dedicated body to implement the project, called the Dedicated Freight Corridor Corporation of India (DFCCIL).

Why Dedicated Freight Corridor (DFC) is important?

  • Around 70% of the freight trains currently running on the Indian Railway network are slated to shift to the freight corridors, leaving the paths open for more passenger trains.
  • The tracks on DFC are designed to carry heavier loads than most of Indian Railways.
  • The DFC will get track access charge from the parent Indian Railways, and also generate its own freight business.
  • The objectives of DFC are:
    • To create world-class rail infrastructure with advanced technology and knowledge to carry higher throughput per train.
    • To improve overall transport efficiency.      
    • To offer customer guaranteed, faster transit, energy efficient, environment-friendly transport.
    • To encourage total supply chain management.
    • Reduce the unit cost of transport logistics.
    • Increase Rail share in the freight market.
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