Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation Current Affairs - 2020

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Cabinet approves India’s MoUs with UK, Sweden and BMGF

On January 8, 2020, the Union Cabinet approved Memorandum of Understandings India had signed with United Kingdom, Sweden and Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF)


The Ministry of Health and BMGF had signed the Mou in November 2019. The BMGF agreed to work with the Ministry to strengthen health sector of the country. It focuses on reducing child mortality, morbidity, maternal mortality and neonatal mortality. Also, it will aim to reduce burden of diseases such as Lymphatic Filariasis, Visceral Leishmaniasis and TB. The BMGF will also aid in improving quality of family planning methods.

The cabinet provided an ex-post facto approval for the project. Ex-post Facto is a Latin Word that means “from a thing done afterward”. In simple words, the project has already been started of completed.


The Ministry of Earth Sciences and Ministry of Education and Research signed Mou in December 2019. According to the MoU, the countries will work on Polar Science. The countries agreed on polar exploration as they are both signatories of Protocol to Antarctic Treaty on Environmental Protection and Antarctic Treaty.


The Ministry of Railway and the UK Government signed MoU to make Indian Railways self-sufficient in energy. The parties will work towards adopting solar and wind energy and adopt energy efficient practices. The UK Government will also aid in deploying Electric Vehicle Charging Infrastructure.

The objective of the MoU is to integrate renewable energy into electricity grid of railways. The UK Government will also help in conducting workshops, trainings and technological exchanges on emerging technologies on renewable energy.

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Centre launches EChO Network to catalyze cross-disciplinary leadership in India

Government of India launched EChO Network, a national program to provide a template for cross-disciplinary leadership in India. The network specifically focuses on increasing research, knowledge, and awareness of Indian ecology and the environment. It was launched in New Delhi by Prof. K Vijay Raghavan, Principal Scientific Adviser to Centre. Currently, no such network is present anywhere in world, thereby, EChO Network establishes a new platform to change how science is embedded in our modern society.

About EChO Network

Founding Partners of EChO Network: Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Centre for Cellular and Molecular Platforms (C-CAMP), Hindustan Unilever Limited (HUL), India Climate Collaborative (ICC), RoundGlass and Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and Environment (ATREE).

Objective: To bring together leaders and individuals working hard to make a positive difference for Indian ecosystem and to share knowledge and synergize their efforts under umbrella of science.

India has recently undertaken many national-level efforts for promoting ecological and environmental research on subcontinent, however, there still remains a lacuna of trained scientists with interdisciplinary skills and collaborative mindset. Therefore, this network will inspire an entirely new approach to Indian education and exploration necessary for the post-technological world.

EChO Network would develop a national network to catalyse a new generation of Indians who can synthesize interdisciplinary concepts with strong technological expertise and knowledge as well as tackle real-world problems in agriculture, medicine, technology and ecology.

The Network will identify gaps in knowledge regarding selected topics in human and environmental ecosystems, with help of regular interactive sessions with citizens, industry, academia, and the government.

The program will also train postdoctoral leaders in research and outreach on selected topics, while also incorporating current public and private efforts into a national network.

Eventually, EChO Network intends to create an international distributed institute comprising of individuals housed within government, academic sectors, private, and, industry, thus combining their expertise and resources collectively to tackle large scale problems.

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