Current Affair – April 30, 2021


  • China launched the main module of its first permanent space station.
  • It launched  a Long March 5B rocket from the Wenchang Launch Cen­ter on the southern island province of Hainan.

About Tianhe

  • The Tianhe, or the “Hea­venly Harmony” module is the core component of China’s planned space station.
  • It is first of 11 missions necessary to complete, supply and crew the station by the end of next year.
  • The Tianhe module contains living quarters for crew members .
  • It is 16.6m long and 4.2m wide. It will provide power and propulsion and contains the life support technologies and living quarters required by visiting astronauts.

China Space station programme

  • So far, China has sent two previous space stations into orbit. The Tiangong-1 and Tiangong-2 were trial stations though, simple modules that allowed only relatively short stays by astronauts.
  • China hopes to have the new station operational by 2022.
  • The new, multi-module Tiangong station is set to be operational for at least 10 years.
  • Tianhe is the core component of it.


  • The only current space station in orbit is the ISS which is a collaboration between Russia, the US, Canada, Europe and Japan. China has been blocked from participating in it.
  • The ISS is due to be retired after 2024, which could potentially leave Tiangong as the only space station in Earth’s orbit.
Source: The Hindu

Vaccine Maitri

  • India is unlikely to resume its Vaccine Maitri programme for the neighbourhood, including Bangladesh, Nepal and Sri Lanka.
  • India has had to suspend the export of both commer­ cial and grant­based vaccine doses.

Reasons for halt

  • Sudden shortage of vaccines
  • Surge in COVID­19 cases
  • Government’s plan for vaccination for all adults set to start on May 1
  • The halt will continue until at least July.

About Vaccine Maitri

  • Vaccine Maitri which means Vaccine Friendship was launched because India’s foreign policy is governed by its age-old maxim of “VasudhaivaKutumbakam’’-The World is One Family.
  • When the world faced a ‘crisis of confidence’ regarding the shortage of diagnostics and vaccines, India decided to ship out doses of the novel coronavirus vaccine to ‘neighbouring and key partner countries.
Source: The Hindu

Study on biocapacity

  • A new study has analysed the exposure of national economies to resource constraints.
  • The researchers compared countries based on their gross domestic product per capita and ecological deficit between 1980 and 2017.
  • The study was carried out by a team of researchers from four organisations namely the Global Footprint Network, the Munasinghe Institute for Development, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and the Missouri Botanical Garden.

Findings of the study

  • About  72% of the world’s population  were unable to sustainably obtain necessary ecological resources and could not purchase them from other countries in 2017.
  • These people lived in countries with low biocapacity and below average incomes. ‘Biocapacity’ is the ability of an ecosystem to regenerate the resources that people use.
  • In 1980, 57% of the world’s population lived in low biocapacity and below average incomes. In 1980, the worldwide ecological deficit was only 19%.
  • In 2017, 72%  people lived in low biocapacity and below-average income. The global ecological deficit rose to 73%.
  • However, this figure (73%) may have dropped to 56 per cent in 2020 due to lockdowns caused by the novel coronavirus disease pandemic.

Comparison among countries

  • Wealthier countries tended to be rich in natural resources. Just 14% of them were found to have resource deficits. However, such countries used approximately 52% of the planets’ biocapacity.
  • While a country like Switzerland having biocapacity deficits and very high incomes might be able to maintain higher levels of consumption, those such as Niger or Kenya, that had biocapacity deficits and insufficient income were fragile as slight economic downturns or extreme weather could temporarily reduce biocapacity and lead to food and energy insecurity.
  • Recommendation: Governments should use policy tools to enhance their countries’ resource security by managing both resource demand and resource availability.
Source: Downtoearth

UN Report on Covid  and challenge of forest management

  • Global Forest Goals Report 2021 was released on April 26, 2021.
  • The report is prepared by the Department of Economic and Social Affairs of the United Nations.
  • It draws upon 52 voluntary national reports and 19 voluntary national contributions, representing 75% of forests in the world.

Findings of Report

  • The COVID-19 pandemic has aggravated the challenges faced by countries in managing their forests, a recent United Nations report has said.
  • Forests have been a lifeline for millions of people during the pandemic. Some of the most vulnerable segments of society, especially the rural poor and indigenous peoples have turned to forests for their most essential subsistence needs. This has increased pressures on forest systems.
  • It provides an initial overview of progress towards achieving the six Global Forest Goals and their 26 associated targets as contained within the United Nations Strategic Plan for Forests 2030.

UN Strategic Plan for Forests

  • The United Nations Strategic Plan for Forests 2017-2030 was created with a mission to promote sustainable forest management.
  • It aims to enhance the contribution of forests and trees to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
  • It recognizes that in order to create a world in which forests could provide economic, social, environmental and cultural benefits for present and future generations, they will be needed by humanity in the first place.
  • The first Global Forest Goal in the Plan provides for increasing forest area by 3% by 2030.
  • Climate change and a biodiversity crisis are other big threats to forest ecosystems besides the pandemic.

IPBES Report

  • The ‘Global Assessment Report on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services’ of the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) had highlighted that one million species were at risk of extinction and that 100 million hectares of tropical forest were lost from 1980-2000.
  • It called for a future course of action that included greater sustainability and a greener and more inclusive economy to tackle the threats of COVID-19, climate change and the biodiversity crisis faced by forests.
Source: Downtoearth

Project ‘Sustainable Livelihoods For Tribal Households in India’

  • TRIFED has entered into a collaborative project titled “Sustainable Livelihoods For Tribal Households in India” with The LINK Fund.
  • Both the organizations will also work together to creating women-centered infrastructure and innovation and entrepreneurship.
  • TRIFED and The LINK Fund  have entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to work together towards Tribal Development and employment generation by providing
  • Support to tribals for increasing value addition in their produce and products.
  • Sustainable livelihoods and value addition for increase in income and employment generation.
  • Technological intervention for efficiency in value addition for MFPs, produce and crafts diversification, skill training and enhancement of value additions in minor forest produce.


  • The Tribal Cooperative Marketing Development Federation of India (TRIFED) came into existence in 1987. It is a national-level apex organization functioning under the administrative control of Ministry of Tribal Affairs.
  • TRIFED has its Head Office located in New Delhi.
  • It is the nodal agency working for the empowerment of tribal.
  • It has been focusing  on finding new ways to improve the lives and the livelihoods of the tribal people.


  • The LINK Fund is a philanthropic operational foundation.
  • The LINK Fund (TLS) is a practitioner-led fund that , headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland and works to end extreme poverty and mitigate the effects of climate change.
Source: PIB

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