Gist of The Hindu: DECEMBER 2022
7th edition of India Water Week
- President DroupadiMurmu recently inaugurated the 7th edition of India Water Week.
- It was conceptualized and organized for the ﬁrst time in 2012.
- It is an initiative of Ministry of Jal Shakti, Department of Water Resources, River Development & Ganga Rejuvenation, Government of india
- The theme of the 7th India Water Week is ‘Water Security for Sustainable Development and Equity’.
- The function is organised by the ministry of water resources, river development and Ganga rejuvenation in an effort to raise awareness and conserve and use water resources in an integrated manner.
- The event will address the issues of sustainability of water resources development and management in line with the sustainable development goals.
- Denmark, Singapore and Finland are the partner countries for IWW 2022.
- The Kashmir tourism department had invited students and local farmers to join the saffron festival organised in Pampore’s Ladoo area to highlight the whole process of saffron cultivation.
- Saffron cultivation is believed to have been introduced in Kashmir by Central Asian immigrants around the 1st Century BCE.
- In ancient Sanskrit literature, saffron is referred to as ‘bahukam’. It has been associated with traditional Kashmiri cuisine and represents the rich cultural heritage of the region.
- Kashmir saffron is grown in some regions of Kashmir, including Pulwama, Budgam, Kishtwar, and Srinagar. It is renowned globally as a spice.
- It rejuvenates health and is used in cosmetics and for medicinal purposes.
- The unique characteristics of Kashmir saffron are its longer and thicker stigmas, natural deep-red color, high aroma, bitter flavor, chemical-free processing, and high quantity of crocin (coloring strength), safranal (flavor), and picrocrocin (bitterness).
- It is the only saffron in the world grown at an altitude of 1,600 m to 1,800 m AMSL (above mean sea level), which adds to its uniqueness and differentiates it from other saffron varieties available in the world.
The saffron available in Kashmir is of three types —
- ‘Lachha Saffron’, with stigmas just separated from the flowers and dried without further processing;
- ‘Mongra Saffron’, in which stigmas are detached from the flower, dried in the sun and processed traditionally; and
- ‘Guchhi Saffron’, which is the same as Lachha, except that the latter’s dried stigmas are packed loosely in air-tight containers while the former has stigmas joined together in a bundle tied with a cloth thread
World Cities Day 2022
- World Cities Day is celebrated every year to highlight need for international cooperation to promote global urbanisation and address its challenges.
- Theme for this year’s World Cities Day is “Act Local to Go Global” recognising role of urban areas in achieving Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as although global in scope implementation of SDGs is local i.e., largely in cities.
- When planned for and managed well, urbanization contributes to economic growth and poverty alleviation, as well to sustainability and climate change mitigation, by helping curb emissions.
- Unplanned growth, however, results in a proliferation of slums, pollution,lack of affordable housing, poor access to sanitation and waste management, and vulnerability to natural hazards.
- An estimated 90% of urbanization over the next few decades will happen in cities alone.
- SDG 11 identifies sustainable urbanization as one of the key priorities for global development.
- Also, World Bank’s Climate Change Action Plan recognizes that cities will be key for this transition to a low-carbon, sustainable economy.
# Black Sea Grain Initiative
- India raised concerns at the United Nations Security Council about the suspension of the UN-brokered Black Sea Grain initiative (BGSI).
- Global wheat prices have risen following Russia’s withdrawal from BSGI.
- BSGI was launched by Russia, Türkiye, Ukraine and United Nations, to reintroduce vital food and fertilizer exports from Ukraine to the rest of world.
- Following Russia-Ukraine Conflict, huge stock of grains built up in silos, with ships unable to secure safe passage to and from Ukrainian ports.
- Deal allowed exports from three key Ukrainian ports: Chornomorsk, Odessa, and
- Aim is to contribute to prevention of global hunger, to reduce and address global food
insecurity, and to ensure safety of merchant ships delivering grain and foodstuffs.
Lab Grown Diamonds
- Union Minister for Commerce and Industry, Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution and Textiles, Shri Piyush Goyal appreciated the Gujarat Government for spearheading several wide-ranging initiatives to promote the Lab Grown Diamonds Sector.
- Simply put, a lab grown diamond is developed in lab under a machine, while a natural diamond is dug out from inside the earth.
- Lab-made diamonds are developed from a carbon seed placed in a microwave chamber and superheated into a glowing plasma ball. The process creates particles that crystallise into diamonds in weeks.
- This tech-based manufacturing directly cuts down the capital and labour-intensive factors of the mined diamond chain and so lab-grown diamonds cost 30-40 per cent cheaper than mined despite being 100 per cent diamond.
- There are two types of lab-grown diamonds — CVD and HPHT. India particularly specialises and leads in the chemical vapor decomposition (CVD) technology that is certified as the purest type of diamonds.
Step taken by the government:
- The government of India has permitted 100 per cent foreign direct investment (FDI) in the sector under the automatic route.
- In Budget 2019-20, the GST rate has been reduced from 18 per cent to 5 per cent.
- The year 2019, particularly, was the year for lab-grown diamonds. India alone witnessed a sharp rise in lab-grown diamond exports worth $443 million which rose 102 per cent year-on-year.
- China successfully launched final module for Tiangong, a space station that Chinese MannedSpace Agency (CMSA) is building in low Earth orbit.
- It is set to be the second permanently inhabited outpost in low-Earth orbit after the NASA-ledInternational Space Station (ISS).
- Chinese astronauts are currently excluded from ISS because US law bans NASA from sharing its data with China.
- Tiangong will be much smaller and lighter than ISS.
Courtesy: The Hindu