United Nations Current Affairs - 2019

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Equator Prize 2019 won by Deccan Development Society

The Women Sangams (groups) of Deccan Development Society (DDS) were honoured with Equator Prize 2019 by United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) for their contribution to ecology and innovations in rainfed millet cultivation.

Key Highlights

  • The Equator Prize 2019 was awarded to six women farmer belonging to Deccan Development Society (DDS) sanghams. They became only Indian group to have won 2019 award.
  • Although women working with DDS sanghams are mostly non-literate, dalit, and under-privileged yet more than three decades of their work in farming sector following age-old practices is now being recognized globally.
  • Achievement: They were awarded in recognition of efforts of building their own seed banks and growing millets in predominantly rain-fed villages of Sangareddy district, Telangana. Their effort showcased an outstanding example of a local, nature-based solution to climate change and sustainable development.
  • To mark their achievement DDS felicitated women for their contribution to ecology and innovations in rainfed millet cultivation.

About Deccan Development Society

  • It is Indian agriculture based Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO) in Medak district in Telangana. It was founded in 1983 and since then works towards various crop improvement programs and activities helping local farmers.
  • Since decades DDS has been offering a global solution to climate change, a crisis being faced worldwide.
  • Significance: Women belonging to DDS have been working relentlessly for past three decades to protect environment by following their traditional methods and systems. This has helped in ensuring food security and achieving food sovereignty.
  • Their efforts have proved that gender and caste discrimination will not come in way of achieving self-reliance and autonomy. The women have ensured food security and have achieved food sovereignty

About Equator Prize

  • The award was established in 2002. Since its inception, out of a total 223 awards, only 9 awards have been bagged by India so far.
  • It is awarded biennially by Equator Initiative of UNDP in recognition of community efforts to reduce poverty via conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity. The winners are selected by independent Technical Advisory Committee of UN and are awarded US$10,000.
  • In 2019, United Nations (UN) received a total of 847 nominations from over 127 countries. Out of them, only 20 were given this prestigious award, including DDS Sangams women too.

Month: Categories: Awards & HonoursUPSC

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ADB to finance Railways Track Electrification Project in India

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has signed an agreement to electrify railway tracks in India under Railways Track Electrification Project. As per agreement ADB will provide $750 million (equivalent in Indian Rupee) long-term financing to Indian Railway Finance Corporation (IRFC).

About ADB Loan Agreement

  • It is the largest single non-sovereign loan ever committed by ADB to a member country.
  • The proceeds of loan amount will be utilized by Indian Railway Finance Corporation (IRFC) to fund Railways Track Electrification Project.
  • About Project: It was launched as part of Railways broad modernization program which will help India’s railway sector to shift from dependence on fossil fuels towards electric power.
  • The electrification assets will be leased to Indian Railways (country’s national railway system) under a long-term lease agreement.
  • IRFC will use loaned amount to install electric traction equipment along 3,378 km of existing railway lines, so as to enable migration of passenger and freight traffic from diesel to electric traction.
  • Significance: This is a flagship project to demonstrate ADB’s strategy of supporting the key state-owned enterprises in strategic sectors and also reflects a major push by ADB’s private sector operations into transport infrastructure, and particularly railways.

About Indian Railway Finance Corporation (IRFC)

  • It is financing arm of Indian Railways that was set up in 1986.
  • It works toward mobilizing funds from domestic and international capital markets.
  • It is complete government owned entity and is registered as Non-Banking Finance Company (NBFC).

About Asian Development Bank (ADB)

  • It is regional development bank and multilateral lending agency. It was established on 19 December 1966 and is headquartered in Manila, Philippines.
  • It is an official United Nations (UN) Observer.
  • Objective: It envisions inclusive, resilient, prosperous, and sustainable Asia and Pacific, and aims towards sustaining efforts to eradicate extreme poverty in region.
  • Members: In 1966 ADB was started with 31 member countries. At present there are 68 member nation which includes 49 from Asia-Pacific region (including India) and 19 from outside. It is collectively owned by its members.
  • Members Votes: It is closely modeled on World Bank (WB) and has similar weighted voting system to it, like votes are distributed in proportion with member’s capital subscriptions to bank. As of 2016 United States and Japan hold largest proportion of shares.

Function:

  • To promote social and economic development by financially assisting its members and partners by providing loans, technical assistance, grants and equity investments
  • Finance: It gives finance assistance to both sovereign countries and to private entities. It also provides soft loans to poorer countries and hard loans to middle-income countries.
  • Its lending is mostly concentrated in five operational areas namely finance sector development, environment, climate Change and disaster management, education, regional cooperation integration and private sector lending.

Month: Categories: Business, Economy & Banking

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