PIB News Synopsis 30th December, 2019

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1. Biometric enabled Centralised Access Control System (CACS) &Training Module of e-BCAS Project launched

  • Aims to digitise employee movement process at airports
  • The two projects launched are important milestones to enhance security and ease of doing business at airports.
  • This multi-layered security system encompasses the uniqueness of the Airport Entry Permit (AEP)users, biometric authentication in addition to PIN-based identity verification through contactless smart card technology.
  • The project aimed to digitize the existing mechanism at the airports and reduce human intervention systematically as until now employees were issued laminated paper based Aerodrome Entry Permit.
  • The ‘e-BCAS’ project envisaged to achieve a “paperless office” under e-Governance initiative of GoI.

2. Release of biennial “India State of Forest Report (ISFR)”

  • The report is published by the Forest Survey of India (FSI) which has been mandated to assess the forest and tree resources of the country including wall-to-wall forest cover mapping in a biennial cycle.
  • Starting 1987, 16 assessment have been completed so far.
  • The total forest and tree cover of the country is 80.73 million hectare which is 24.56 percent of the geographical area of the country.
  • As compared to the assessment of 2017, there is an increase of 5,188 sq. km in the total forest and tree cover of the country.
  • Range increase in forest cover has been observed in open forest followed by very dense forest and moderately dense forest

Some Major Findings

  • Area-wise Madhya Pradesh has the largest forest cover in the country followed by Arunachal Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Odisha and Maharashtra.
  • In terms of forest cover as percentage of total geographical area, the top five States are Mizoram (85.41%), Arunachal Pradesh (79.63%), Meghalaya (76.33%), Manipur (75.46%) and Nagaland (75.31%).

  • Mangrove cover has been separately reported in the ISFR 2019 and the total mangrove cover in the country is 4,975 sq km. An increase of 54 sq Km in mangrove cover has been observed as compared to the previous assessment of 2017.
  • The total growing stock of India’s forest and TOF is estimated 5,915.76 million cum
  • The extent of bamboo bearing area of the country has been estimated 16.00 million hectare.
  • The total carbon stock in country’s forest is estimated 7,124.6 million tonnes and there an increase of 42.6 million tonnes in the carbon stock of country as compared to the last assessment of 2017
  • Wetlands within forest areas form important ecosystems and add richness to the biodiversity in forest areas, both of faunal and floral species. Due to importance of wetlands, FSI has carried out an exercise at the national level to identify wetlands of more than 1 ha within RFA. There are 62,466 wetlands covering 3.8% of the area within the RFA/GW of the country.
  • For the first time, Ortho-rectified satellite data has been used for forest cover mapping due to its better positional accuracy as it removes effects of image perspective (tilt) and relief (terrain) and scale distortions in the image to represent features in its true positions for accurate measurement of distances, angels and areas.
  • FSI, in a first ever attempt has carried out a rapid assessment of biodiversity for all the States and UTs (except two) and for all the sixteen Forest Type Groups as per Champion & Seth Classification (1968).
  • The present report also gives information on the fire prone forest areas of different severity classes.
  • A new information has been generated from the national forest inventory data about the top five Non Timber Forest Produce (NTFP)species in each State & UT in terms of their availability in forests i.e. relative occurrence.
  • Invasive species pose serious threat to the sustainable management of forests. Analysis of NFI data has been done for determining five major invasive species of each State and UTs.

3. NASA Astronaut Christina Koch creates record for longest single spaceflight by woman

She has surpassed the earlier record of 288 days in space.
When she arrives back on Earth in February 2020, she will have spent more than 300 days in space.

4. New Russian weapon can travel 27 times the speed of sound

Russia has operationalised a new intercontinental hypersonic weapon that can fly 27 times the speed of sound.
The Avangard is launched atop an intercontinental ballistic missile, which is capable of sharp manoeuvres in the atmosphere en route to target making it much harder to intercept.

Avangard is designed using new composite materials to withstand temperatures up to 2,000 degree Celsius. It carries a nuclear weapon of up to 2 megatons.
Putin has said Russia had to develop the Avangard and other prospective weapons systems because of US efforts to develop a missile defence system that he claimed could erode Russia’s nuclear deterrent.

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