1) MGNREGS to fund work to reverse desertification: The government is now planning to bring convergence between MGNREGS and the Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayee Yojana (PMKSY).
- Desertification and Land Degradation Atlas(Published by the Environment Ministry in 2021): At least 30% of India’s total geographical area is under the category of “degraded land”.
- States with more than 50% of land area undergoing desertification or degradation: Jharkhand, Rajasthan, Delhi, Gujarat and Goa
- States with less than 10% land degradation:Kerala, Assam, Mizoram, Haryana, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Punjab and Arunachal Pradesh.
2) Pahari Community: The Pahari community is a linguistic group mainly residing in the Pir Panjal valley comprising Rajouri and Poonch districts in J&K.
- Gujjars, Bakerwals and Paharis are non-Kashmiri speaking population of J&K.
- Paharis comprise both Hindus and Muslims.
- Union Home Minister Amit Shah has announced Scheduled Tribe (ST) status for the Pahari community in Jammu and Kashmir.
3) Kappaphycus Alvarezii: Centre’s Multi-purpose Seaweed Park project promotes cultivation of Exotic Kappaphycus seaweed in TN’s coastal villages, which poses threat to coral reefs.
- Kappaphycus alvarezii is a red alga but, its actual live colour is green or yellow.
- The seaweed is native to the Indo-Pacific region. It has been widely introduced and cultivated in tropical regions for commercial purposes.
- The invasive seaweed Kappaphycus is an IUCN red-listed species.
- It is used in the production of an industrially lucrative polymer called Carrageenan. Carrageenan a substance extracted from red and purple seaweeds, which is used as a thickening or emulsifying agent in food products.
4) SASTRA Ramanujan Prize for 2022: will be awarded to Yunqing Tang.
- The award, instituted by the Shanmugha Arts, Science, Technology & Research Academy (SASTRA) in 2005 with a cash prize of $10,000, is presented annually to individuals aged 32 and below, who made outstanding contributions in the field of mathematics, influenced by Srinivasa Ramanjuan in a broad sense.
- Srinivasa Ramanujan: Ramanujam made substantial contributions to the analytical theory of numbers and worked on elliptic functions.
- He also worked on the partition of the whole number, hypergeometric series and Euler’s constant. In India, December 22nd is celebrated as National Mathematics Day in the memory of Srinivasa Ramanujan.
5) Pradhan Mantri Awaas Yojana –Gramin (PMAY-G): Over 69% houses constructed under PMAY in rural India are owned by women
- Objective: To provide pucca houses to all who are houseless and living in dilapidated houses in rural areas by 2022.
- Cost sharing: The cost is shared between Central and State Governments in the ratio 60:40 in plain areas and 90: 10 for North Eastern and Himalayan States. Selection of beneficiaries: Based on housing deprivation parameters of Socio-Economic and Caste Census (SECC), 2011, subject to 13 point exclusion criteria, followed by Gram Sabha verification.
- The beneficiary is entitled to 90 days of unskilled labour from MGNREGA.
- The beneficiary would be facilitated to avail loan of up to Rs.70,000/- for construction of the house which is optional.