World Soil Day observed on 5th December
World Soil Day 2022
December 5 is celebrated annually as World Soil Day to highlight the importance of healthy soil and promote sustainable management of soil resources. The event aims to raise awareness of the importance of soil quality for human well-being, food security and ecosystems, and events are held at the UN FAO offices and through community based events. The day was first considered by the International Union of Soil Sciences in 2002, but was not officially endorsed by FAO until 2013.
World Soil Day 2022: Theme
The theme for 2022 World Soil Day is ‘Soils: Where Food Begins’. It emphasises upon the importance of maintaining healthy ecosystems and human well-being. The theme aims to highlight the growing changes in soil management, increase soil awareness, and inspire efforts and people to improve soil health.
World Soil Day 2022: History
World Soil Day (WSD) is held annually on 5 December as a means to focus attention on the importance of healthy soil and to advocate for the sustainable management of soil resources. An international day to celebrate soil was recommended by the International Union of Soil Sciences (IUSS) in 2002.
Under the leadership of the Kingdom of Thailand and within the framework of the Global Soil Partnership, FAO has supported the formal establishment of WSD as a global awareness raising platform. The FAO Conference unanimously endorsed World Soil Day in June 2013 and requested its official adoption at the 68th UN General Assembly. In December 2013, the UN General Assembly responded by designating 5 December 2014 as the first official World Soil Day.
The date was chosen as it coincides with the official birthday of the King of Thailand, H.M. King Bhumibol Adulyadej. He had officially sanctioned the event. World Soil Day was first officially marked in memory of the monarch in 2016, the year he passed away after serving as the head of state for seven decades.
Reserve Bank of India Issues Framework for Indian Banks’ Foreign Biz
The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has put in place a framework to allow overseas subsidiaries and branches of Indian banks and financial institutions to undertake activities not specifically permitted in the Indian domestic market.
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The framework also specifies the applicability of these instructions to International Financial Services Centres in India, including Gujarat International Finance Tec-City (GIFT City). While these activities may not need prior approval, they are subject to compliance with all applicable laws/regulations and conditions stipulated by the RBI and those prescribed by the host regulator.
About The Compliance:
The parent Indian bank and financial Institution shall ensure that dealing in such products is done with the prior approval from their board and, if required, the appropriate authority in the jurisdictions concerned. They must have adequate knowledge, understanding, and risk management capability for handling such products, added the RBI.
These entities can act as market makers for products only if they have the ability to price/value such products and the pricing of such products is demonstrable at all times. Their exposure and mark-to-market on these products are appropriately captured and reported in the returns furnished to the central bank. They have to provide information about dealing in such financial products in the manner, format, and within the time frame as prescribed by the RBI. They are barred from dealing in products linked to the rupee unless specifically permitted by the RBI. Also, they are not allowed to accept structured deposits from any Indian residents.
New York Film Critics Circle awards 2022: Filmmaker SS Rajamouli won Best Director
New York Film Critics Circle 2022:
Filmmaker SS Rajamouli won the Best Director Award for RRR at the New York Film Critics Circle 2022. The group is one of the first critics’ groups to weigh in on the awards season. Rajamouli’s win surprised many as his competitors included Steven Spielberg, Darron Aronofsky, Sarah Polley, and Gina Prince-Blythewood. A pre-Independence fictional story, “RRR” stars Ram Charan and Jr NTR as real-life Indian revolutionaries in the 1920s Alluri Sitarama Raju and Komaram Bheem, respectively.
Notably: After earning more than Rs 1200 crore at the worldwide box office, the film emerged as one of the most successful films at the box office in India and received rave reviews from Indian film critics. However, it was not selected as India’s official entry for Oscars 2023.
At the New York Film Critics Circle:
Todd Field’s Tar has won the Best Picture of the year, also nabbing Best Actress for Cate Blanchett’s leading performance.
Colin Farrell won Best Actor for two of his performances this year — Kogonada’s future-set sci-fi drama After Yang and Martin McDonagh’s The Banshees of Inisherin.
Ke Huy Quan has won the Best Supporting Actor for his performance in Everything Everywhere All At Once,
Keke Palmer won the Best Supporting Actress for Nope.
Global Water Resources Report 2021 Released by WMO
WMO (World Meteorological Organization) has released its first annual State of Global Water Resources Report 2021. The aim of this annual report is to support monitoring and management of global freshwater resources in an era of growing demand and limited supplies.
Overview of The Report:
The report gives an overview of river flow, as well as major floods and droughts. It provides insights into hotspots for changes in freshwater storage and highlights the crucial role and vulnerability of the cryosphere (snow and ice).
The report shows how large areas of the globe recorded drier than normal conditions in 2021 – a year in which precipitation patterns were influenced by climate change and a La Niña event. The area with below-average streamflow was approximately two times larger than the above-average area, in comparison to the 30-year hydrological average.
Focus Of The Report: 3 Key Areas:
Streamflow, the volume of water flowing through a river channel at any given time.
Terrestrial water storage (TWS) — all water on the land surface and in the sub-surface.
The cryosphere (frozen water).
What Has Been Said:
“The impacts of climate change are often felt through water — more intense and frequent droughts, more extreme flooding, more erratic seasonal rainfall and accelerated melting of glaciers — with cascading effects on economies, ecosystems and all aspects of our daily lives. And yet, there is insufficient understanding of changes in the distribution, quantity, and quality of freshwater resources,” said WMO Secretary-General Prof. Petteri Taalas.
“The State of Global Water Resources report aims to fill that knowledge gap and provide a concise overview of water availability in different parts of the world. This will inform climate adaptation and mitigation investments as well as the United Nations campaign to provide universal access in the next five years to early warnings of hazards such as floods and droughts,” said Prof. Taalas.
An Alarming Situation:
Currently, 3.6 billion people face inadequate access to water at least a month per year and this is expected to increase to more than 5 billion by 2050. Between 2001 and 2018, UN-Water reported that 74% of all natural disasters were water-related. The recent UN climate change conference, COP27, urged governments to further integrate water into adaptation efforts, the first-time water has been referenced in a COP outcome document in recognition of its critical importance.
Key findings of the Report: Across the Globe: Streamflow:
The area with below-average streamflow is two times larger than the above-average area when compared with the 30-year hydrological average.
The areas having below-average streamflow are:-
South America’s Rio de la Plata area, where drought has remained persistent since 2019
South and South-East Amazon
River basins like the Colorado, Missouri and Mississippi in North America.
In 2021, rivers in Africa like Niger, Volta, Nile and Congo experienced less than normal discharge. Similarly, rivers in several parts of Russia, West Siberia and Central Asia also experienced lower-than-average discharge during the same period.
Places that experienced above-normal river discharges are several North American basins, the North Amazon and Southern Africa (Zambezi and Orange), Northern India and China (Amur river basin).
Around one-third of the areas that were analysed was in line with the 30-year average.
Major flood events occurred in China, north India, western Europe and countries affected by Tropical cyclones like Mozambique, the Philippines and Indonesia.
Countries like Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia have experienced several consecutive years of below-average rainfall, leading to the occurrence of regional drought in these places.
Condition Of Surface Water: Terrestrial water:
In 2021, places like the US’ west coast, central part of South America and Patagonia, North Africa and Madagascar, Central Asia and the Middle East, Pakistan and North India had below-normal terrestrial water storage (when compared with the average from 2002-2020).
It was above-normal in central Africa, northern part of South America (specifically the Amazon basin) and the northern part of China.
In the long term, several places are expected to experience a negative trend in terrestrial water storage. These include Rio Sao Francisco basin in Brazil, Patagonia, the Ganges and Indus headwaters and the south-western US.
Places like Great Lakes Region, the Niger Basin, East African Rift and North Amazon basin are expected to record positive trend in terrestrial water storage.
However, the negative trends are stronger than the positive ones. Excessive exploitation of groundwater resources for irrigation purposes are expected to worsen the negative trend.
The cryosphere (places where glaciers, snow cover, ice caps and permafrost are present) is the largest natural reservoir of freshwater in the world.
Changes to cryosphere water resources affect food security, human health and ecosystem, leading to significant impact on economic and social developments. These changes can also cause river inundation and flash floods because of glacier lake outbursts.
Due to the rising atmospheric temperatures, the annual glacier run-off will increase until reaching the point called “peak water”, after which run-off declines.
The long-term projections of the changes in glacier run-off and the timing of peak water are important inputs for making long-term decisions required to improve the climate adaptation capabilities.
The future assessments by the WMO’s State of Global Water Resources will provide incentive to regularly assess the changes in the cryosphere and changes in the availability of water resources at basin and regional levels.
Rajeeva Laxman Karandikar named as chairperson of the National Statistical Commission
Government of India had appointed Rajeeva Laxman Karandikar, Professor Emeritus at Chennai Mathematical Institute (CMI), as the part-time chairperson of the National Statistical Commission (NSC) of India for a period of three years. He will take up this role as an additional responsibility while continuing as Professor Emeritus at CMI. He joined CMI as a visiting professor in 2010, and officiated as the Director of CMI from January 2011 to April 2021.
Who is Rajeeva Laxman Karandikar?
Mr. Karandikar is widely known for his three decades of work on probability theory as well as applications of mathematics and statistics to real world questions.
He has designed, supervised and analysed nationwide opinion polls for the Indian parliamentary elections as well State assemblies since 1998. He is known for developing a new model and methodology for seat prediction, which has been quite successful for over the last 20 years.
Mr. Karandikar was a member of the committee constituted by the Election Commission (EC) of India to advice the EC on the sampling scheme for EVM-VVPAT verification.
National Statistical Commission (NSC) of India:
NSC is an autonomous body formed in June 2005 under the recommendation of the Dr. C Rangarajan commission. The objective of its constitution was to reduce the problems faced by statistical agencies in the country with respect to the collection of data, and strengthen public trust in the numbers released by the Government of India. The chairperson of the Commission enjoys the status of a Minister of State, Government of India.
Vijender Sharma elected as the President of the Institute of Cost Accountant of India
The Institute of Cost Accountants of India said that Vijender Sharma has been elected as the new president and Rakesh Bhalla as vice-president for 2022-23. The institute, which is a statutory body set up under an Act of Parliament, comes under the administrative control of Union Ministry of Corporate Affairs. Mr. Vijender Sharma was Vice President and CMA Rakesh Bhalla was Central Council member and Chairman of Direct Tax Committee of the Institute in previous term 2021-22.
Who is Vijender Sharma?
Sharma is a fellow member of ICAI and a law graduate. He is a leading practising cost accountant since 1998 and insolvency professional since January 2017. He has an experience of over 22 years in diversified areas of financial, cost and management accounting, internal audit, management consultancy, forensic audit, insolvency and liquidation, etc.
Who is Rakesh Bhalla?
Bhalla is a fellow member of ICAI and a commerce graduate. He had also been elected Chairman (2011-12) of northern council of the institute and has expertise in the field of Accounting, Costing, Direct and Indirect taxation with wide exposure to systems and audits.
About the Institute of Cost Accountants of India:
The Institute of Cost Accountants of India (ICAI-CMA) is a statutory body constituted under an act of the Parliament and is the regulator for the profession of Cost and Management Accountancy in India. Its qualified members are specialized in the field of Costing, Valuation, Insolvency Bankruptcy Code-2016 and Goods & Services (GST) Acts. The institute is also member of International accounting bodies. Having more than 60000 qualified members across the world.
Sanjay Kumar named as secretary of Department of School Education
IAS Sanjay Kumar took charge as Secretary of the Department of School Education and Literacy, Ministry of Education in Shashtri Bhawan in New Delhi. Sanjay Kumar, a 1990-batch Bihar cadre IAS officer, was a former Secretary, Department of Youth Affairs, Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports. He replaced Anita Karwal IAS upon her superannuation.
Sanjay Kumar held a meeting with the senior officials of the Ministry in which he reviewed the functioning of the department, autonomous bodies and various schemes relating to school education. Discussions were held on the implementation of the National Education Policy 2020, capacity building of teachers, infrastructure in schools, and the upcoming Prime Minister’s interaction programme ‘Pariksha Pe Pariksha’. Kumar said that he looks forward to contributing towards providing quality, accessible and affordable education to every student in the country. Sanjay Kumar also served as the principal secretary of education in Bihar.