· Karnataka losing forest cover at alarming rate
ð With the state government choosing development over ecology, the state is slowly heading towards the disappearance of the forest land. ð In Karnataka, out of 15,860 hectares of forest land diverted for different projects, only 1,270 hectares of non-forest Compensatory Allotment land has been notified under Section 4 of the Karnataka Forest Act. ð The Protected Forest notification is still far off leading to loss of natural vegetation in Western Ghats.
ð Compensatory afforestation (CA) grown on non-forest land have not been very successful. In majority of cases, CA lands are not notified as Protected Forests, these lands are located far from forests clusters and pose management issues.
- India is world’s most depressed country
- According to a World Health Organization report, India is the world’s most depressed country, closely followed by China and the US.
- According to the 2015-16 National Mental Health Survey (NMHS), every sixth person in India needs mental health help of some sort.
- At least 6.5 per cent of the Indian population suffer from some form of the serious mental disorder.
- India’s first Cryptocurrency ATM opens in Bengaluru
- Despite the government and Reserve Bank of India’s (RBI) crackdown on cryptocurrency in India, virtual currency exchange Unocoin has installed a currency deposit and dispensing ATM at Kemp Fort Mall in Bengaluru.
- The kiosk, installed by Unocoin, allows its customers to deposit and withdraw minimum amount of Rs 1000 from the platform.
- First of its kind in India, this ATM circumvents the RBI regulation against bitcoins transaction.
· UIDAI proposal for SIM cards impacts privacy
- In a grave infringement of privacy, the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) and Department of Telecommunications (DoT) have announced a proposed process wherein live photographs along with location and time stamp will be captured for the purpose of issuing SIM cards.
- In the proposed process, a live photograph of the person with latitude, longitude, and time stamp will be captured. The photo of his/her ID such as Aadhaar card, voter ID, etc will be captured. The SIM card agent will be authenticated through OTP and a SIM card will be issued.
- Taking the photo ID such as Aadhaar card for offline verification is against the Aadhar Act itself. The UIDAI had previously informed the apex court that it was not possible to track the Aadhar holder by location. Experts have said if this proposal is implemented, it will become a form of mass surveillance.
- Furthermore, if in future, telecom companies decide to issue SIM cards at home, as part of customer choices, this adds to the mass surveillance by private companies.
· Union Government launches Swastha Bharat Yatra campaign to create awareness about Food Safety
- The Campaign is Launched by Central Government association with the State Government and it is led by theFood Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI).
- The ‘Swasth Bharat Yatra’ is launched simultaneously at Leh(in Jammu & Kashmir), Panaji(Goa), Thiruvananthapuram(Kerala), Puducherry, Ranji(Jharkhand) and Agartala(Tripura).
· Detailed Project Report is set for new rail corridor
- The Detailed Project Report (DPR) is set for the proposed 510-km third and fourth rail line from Thiruvananthapuram to Kasaragod to improve connectivity and operate more trains to the Kerala State. Kerala Railway Development Corporation Ltd(KRDCL) gave its approval for appointing Systra as the general consultant.
- Systra, the Paris-based engineering and consulting group, has been appointed as general consultant for preparing the DPR, which includes the traffic study, initial design, and financial model. It also includes the internal rate of return for laying the line on a cost-sharing basis between Railways and the State through KRDCL.
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