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Current Affairs for 30 March 2024

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United Nations High Commissioner For Refugees (UNHCR) Overview

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) reported that in 2023, more than 4,500 Rohingya refugees embarked on a journey across the Bay of Bengal and the Andaman Sea. UNHCR is a global organization headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland. It was established by the United Nations General Assembly in 1950 after World War II to aid millions who lost their homes. Their mission includes safeguarding refugees worldwide and assisting in their return home or resettlement. The UNHCR has received Nobel Peace Prizes in 1954 and 1981 and introduced the Nansen Refugee Award in 1954 to honor exceptional service to refugees, displaced, or stateless individuals. The Rohingya are a minority Muslim group from Myanmar with a distinct cultural and religious identity, facing challenges such as denial of citizenship since 1982. They speak a Bengali dialect and are distinct from Myanmar's majority Buddhist population.

Kalam-250: ISRO's Advancement

Skyroot Aerospace, a prominent space technology company, successfully tested the Kalam-250 at the Indian Space Research Organisation's (ISRO) propulsion testbed. The Kalam-250 serves as stage-2 of the Vikram-1 space launch vehicle, featuring a high-strength carbon composite rocket motor using solid fuel and an efficient thermal protection system. It includes a carbon ablative flex nozzle and precise electro-mechanical actuators for optimal trajectory control, vital for the launch vehicle's ascent to outer space. The Vikram-1 Rocket, named after Vikram Sarabhai, India's space program pioneer, is a multi-stage launch vehicle capable of deploying around 300 kg of payloads into low-earth orbit.

India Employment Report 2024: Insights from IHD and ILO

The Institute for Human Development (IHD) and the International Labour Organisation (ILO) jointly released the 'India Employment Report 2024,' highlighting challenges in youth employment. Key findings include:

• About 83% of India's unemployed workforce comprises youth, with the proportion of educated unemployed doubling since 2000.

• Between 2000 and 2019, youth employment struggles intensified, especially among educated individuals.

• Despite long-term declines until 2018, indicators such as Labour Force Participation Rate (LFPR), Worker Population Ratio (WPR), and Unemployment Rate (UR) showed improvement after 2019. • Wage levels remained low, with a significant portion of unskilled workers not receiving minimum wages. The report projects increased migration and urbanization trends, with regional disparities in labor markets and a need for comprehensive policies to address employment challenges.

Food Waste Index Report 2024: Insights and Concerns

The Food Waste Index Report 2024 revealed alarming levels of food wastage globally, with over one billion meals wasted daily in 2022. Key highlights include:

• Defining food waste and loss within the supply chain.

• Generating 1.05 billion tonnes of food waste in 2022, impacting sustainability goals.

• Limited progress in tracking food waste in low and middle-income countries.

• Varied waste patterns based on geography, with hotter regions showing higher per capita waste.

• Encouraging rural practices like composting to reduce food waste. The report emphasizes the need for coordinated efforts to meet Sustainable Development Goals and reduce food waste globally.

Environment Protection Charge: CPCB's Efforts for Air Quality Improvement

The Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) reported challenges in utilizing collected Environment Protection Charge (EPC) and Environmental Compensation (EC) for air quality improvements in Delhi NCR. EPC funds scientific inputs for air quality improvement, collaborating with institutions like IIT and NEERI. It also receives 25% of environmental compensation from state boards and penalties from polluters.

CoViNet: WHO's Initiative for Coronavirus Surveillance

The World Health Organization (WHO) launched CoViNet, a global network of laboratories focused on coronavirus surveillance, including animal and environmental surveillance. CoViNet aims to identify and monitor emerging coronaviruses for timely risk assessment and policy guidance, particularly in low• and middle-income countries. Indian laboratories are actively participating in this initiative.

India TB Report 2024: Progress and Challenges in Tuberculosis Control

The India TB Report 2024, released by the Union Health Ministry, highlighted progress in tuberculosis (TB) control efforts but noted ongoing challenges. Key points from the report include:

• India's contribution to global TB burden reduced to 27%.

• Improved tracking of TB cases through the Ni-kshay portal.

• Increase in private sector notifications of TB cases.

• Recommendations for drug susceptibility testing and treatment. The report signifies progress towards TB elimination goals but underscores the need for sustained efforts and improved healthcare infrastructure.

GYPS Vultures: Conservation Efforts in Moyar Valley

Moyar Valley hosts a significant nesting colony of critically endangered Gyps vultures, contributing to ecosystem balance by scavenging carcasses. The decline of Gyps vultures due to poisoning from veterinary drugs led to their critical status. Conservation efforts are vital to preserve these species and maintain ecological integrity.

Global Biofuel Alliance (GBA): Advancing Biofuels Globally

India's involvement in the Global Biofuel Alliance (GBA) aims to promote collaboration for biofuel adoption and regulation globally. GBA facilitates knowledge exchange, standards development, and market connectivity for eco-fuel supply stability and emission reduction goals, crucial for sustainable energy transitions. These initiatives reflect global efforts towards addressing diverse challenges, from refugee protection and space exploration to environmental conservation and public health.

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