- India, ADB sign $500 million loan pact to build 9.8-km Ganga bridge in Bihar
Environment & Ecology
- Maharashtra becomes first state to adopt Fly Ash Utilisation Policy
- Special Committee for Inter-Linking of Rivers
Bilateral & International Relations
- India, Israel ink pacts on water management, Agriculture
- More than 20 countries sign International Solar Alliance
Science & Technology
- Researchers fabricate a flexible nanogenerator for wearable electronics
Key Facts for Prelims
- Hand-in-Hand 2016
- Hunar haat
India, ADB sign $500 million loan pact to build 9.8-km Ganga bridge in Bihar
The Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the Government of India have signed a $500 million loan to build a 9.8 km long road bridge across the Ganges River.
- The project is expected to be completed by the end of December 2020.
- The bridge aims to improve transport connectivity between North and South Bihar and acts as a better link between the State Capital, Patna, and the surrounding areas.
- The bridge, using state-of-the-art engineering techniques, will be the first of its kind in India. The height and length have been designed to minimize impacts on the river itself and to ensure the bridge will be able to withstand climate-related stresses such as a rise in the water level.
- Along with ADB’s loan and $900,000 in technical assistance to improve bridge operation and management, the state government of Bihar will provide support equivalent to $215 million.
- The bridge will be India’s longest river bridge and is expected to benefit over 9 million people.
- The bridge will be a boon for the inhabitants of Raghopur Diara river island who will gain year-round road access. Currently, the 250,000 inhabitants of the island rely on boats and a seasonal pontoon bridge as their only links to Patna.
Environment & Ecology
Maharashtra becomes first state to adopt Fly Ash Utilisation Policy
Maharashtra became the first Indian state to adopt Fly Ash Utilisation Policy.
- The policy will pave way for prosperity by creating wealth from waste, and environment protection.
Highlights of the policy:
- As per the policy, 100% of fly ash generated from thermal power plants and biogas plants will be used for construction activities.
- This fly ash will be used to make bricks, blocks, tiles, wall panels, cement and other construction materials.
- The policy also allows usage of fly ash within 300 kilometres of the power plant. Earlier, it was allowed to be used within 100 kilometres radius.
- The policy will create new employment opportunities in the power plant areas.
- It will also make available raw material for construction at low cost to help Housing for All projects.
What is Fly Ash?
- Fly ash is one of the coal combustion products.
- It is composed of the fine particles that are driven out of the boiler with the flue gases.
- In modern coal-fired power plants, fly ash is generally captured by electrostatic precipitators or other particle filtration equipment before the flue gases reach the chimneys.
- Fly ash includes substantial amounts of silicon dioxide, aluminium oxide and calcium oxide.
What are environmental impact of Fly Ash?
- Apart from causing air pollution, it can also contaminate water and soil systems.
- Heavy metals can leach from stored fly ash into groundwater, which can put the health of the surrounding population in danger.
Reuse of Fly Ash:
- Fly ash can be reused as a substitute material for Portland cement and sand in concrete production. It can also be used for road construction.
- Its agricultural uses include soil amendment, fertilizer, cattle feeders and soil stabilization in stock feed yards etc.
- It can also be used as a substitute material for clay for cement clinkers production.
Special Committee for Inter-Linking of Rivers
The Union Cabinet has approved constitution of ‘special committee for inter-linking of rivers’ in compliance with a Supreme Court order.
- The Status-cum-Progress Report of Special Committee for Inter-linking of Rivers will be submitted bi-annually for information of Cabinet.
Significance of this move:
- This move will help in monitoring of the precious Inter-linking of River Projects to be carried out under National Perspective Plan 1980 of Government of India.
- The bi-annual report will facilitate faster and appropriate decisions in the interest of the country as expeditiously as possible.
- The apex court of India had given the go ahead for the controversial inter-linking river project, seeking to transfer water from surplus to water deficit areas in the country.
- In its final judgement in 2012, the court had expressed the “pious hope of speedy implementation” to bring the project to a success.
- The court had also directed the Centre to constitute a ‘special committee’ forthwith for inter-linking of rivers for the benefit of the entire nation.
- The project is in the pipeline since 1980. It has been touted by the Central Government as one solution to a number of problems.
- It includes making water available for irrigating land, enabling full use of existing irrigation projects; generating power, flood control etc.
Bilateral & International Relations
India, Israel ink pacts on water management, Agriculture
India and Israel inked two agreements in the field of water resources management and agriculture.
- The agreements were signed following delegation level talks between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and visiting Israeli President Reuven Rivlin in New Delhi.
- India, who voted against the Partitioning of Palestine plan of 1947 and voted against Israel’s admission to the United Nations in 1949, officially recognised Israel as a state in 1950.
- The two nations share an extensive economic, military and strategic relationship.
- In terms of military relationship, India is the largest buyer of Israeli military equipment. Israel is the second-largest defence supplier to India. At present, Russia is the largest supplier.
- In terms of trade relations, India is the third-largest Asian trade partner of Israel. Overall, India is also the tenth-largest trade partner of Israel.
- The diamonds constitute close to 50% of bilateral trade between both countries. In recent times trade has diversified into several sectors such as agriculture, pharmaceuticals, IT and telecom and homeland security.
- In 2017, the two countries will celebrate 25 years of the establishment of full diplomatic relations. They established the diplomatic relations in 1992.
More than 20 countries sign International Solar Alliance
Over 20 countries, including Brazil and France, have become signatories to the framework agreement of the International Solar Alliance.
- The framework agreement of ISA was opened for signatures on the sidelines of CoP22 to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) at Marrakech, in Morocco.
- The signing of the framework agreement has to be followed by ratifications by countries.
- The agreement will become operational after at least 15 countries have ratified it.
About International Solar Alliance:
- ISA was launched at the UN Climate Change Conference in Paris in November last year by Modi and French President Francois Hollande.
- The alliance, headquartered in India, aims to bring together countries situated between the Tropics of Cancer and Capricorn which receive abundant sunshine for around 300 days a year.
- ISA aims to invite solar rich 121 countries located fully or partly between the tropics of Cancer and Capricorn to join the alliance.
- It will function from the Gurgaon, Haryana based National Institute of Solar Energy (NISE).
- Alliance seeks to share common platform to reduce the cost of finance and technology that is needed to deploy solar power widely.
- Alliance would pursue cooperation in training, building institutions, regulatory issues, common standards, and investment including joint ventures.
Science & Technology
Researchers fabricate a flexible nanogenerator for wearable electronics
Pune researchers have produced wearable electronics that uses a portable nanogenerator which generates electric power when pressure or twist is applied.
- The nanogenerator, which was fabricated by them, produced 14 volts when thumb pressure was applied.
What is Nanogenerator?
Nanogenerator is the term researchers use to describe a small electronic chip that can use mechanical movements of the body, such as a gentle finger pinch, to generate electricity.
How was is produced?
- To produce the nanogenerator, researchers electrospun a piezoelectric polymer [P(VDF-TrFE)] directly onto a flexible, conducting carbon cloth.
- The carbon cloth was produced by the researchers by heating a piece of cotton cloth at 800 degree C for several hours in an inert atmosphere.
- To improve the piezo voltage of the polymer fibres, the researchers coated the fibres with a stronger, inorganic ferroelectric material (BaTiO3) paste.
- The nanoparticles from the coating helps fill the gaps between the polymer nanofibres and increase the piezoelectric property.
- In addition, the ferroelectric material was also incorporated into the polymer to further enhance the piezoelectric property. This was done right when the polymer was electrospun.
- The coated polymer was covered by another piece of flexible carbon cloth before the device was sealed. The carbon cloth on either side of the device acted as two electrodes.
How it operates?
- The cloth has a surface microstructure which produces good bonding between the cloth (electrode) and the active layer. The bonding will be poor in the case of a metal layer.
- Due to the roughness of the cloth surface, when you press or flex the device the applied force is transmitted along different directions of the piezoelectric active layer. And this improves the piezoelectric property of the nanogenerator.
- When thumb pressure was applied on the polymer alone 2-3 volt was produced. In the case of the polymer with BaTiO3 coating, the piezo voltage generated was 7-8 volt. But 14 volt was produced when BaTiO3 was incorporated into the polymer and also coated on the fibre surface.
Key Facts for Prelims
- It is a joint military exercise between India and China which recently began in Pune.
- India has organised this joint military exercise.
- This is the sixth such joint exercise being organised between the two countries. First such exercise was held in China at Kunming of Yunnan province in 2007.
- The exercise is aimed at sharing the expertise in drills and practices while tackling insurgency and terrorism and thereby promote healthy military-to-military relations between India and China.
- It is being organised for the first time at India International Trade Fair (2016), New Delhi.
- Union Ministry of Minority Affairs has organized the market.
- The exhibition is aimed at promoting and supporting artisans from Minority communities and providing them domestic as well as international market for display and sell their products.
- The market provides artisans from minority communities a chance to display their products and skills at an international platform.
- Over 184 master artisans will showcase their traditional art at this special crafts bazaar.