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Cabinet clears fresh DNA profiling bill
Union Cabinet has approved the DNA Technology (Use and Application)
(deoxyribonucleic acid) is the molecule that contains the genetic
instructions and can be extracted from samples of blood,tissue,hair and
bodily fluids.Outside of identical twins,no two people have the same DNA
bill had been tabled earlier this year and was passed by the Lok Sabha in
January,2019.It lapsed after not being passed in the Rajya Sabha.
bill makes provision for the government to set up national and
regional DNA data banks that will maintain samples under
categories such as (a)crime scene (b)suspect or under-trial (c)offenders
(d)missing persons and (e)unknown deceased person.
bill provides that bodily samples for DNA analysis can be collected only
on consent from the people, including those who have been sentenced for up
to seven years.For people who have received a sentence of more than seven
years, the samples can be collected without consent.
Bill establishes a DNA Regulatory Board to accredit the
DNA laboratories that analyse DNA samples to establish the identity of an
bill will enable cross-matching of DNA of persons reported missing and
unidentified dead bodies and also for establishing the identity of victims
during mass disasters.
bill says that leaking of identifiable DNA information will be punishable
by up to one year of imprisonment and a fine of 1 lakh.And, altering or
destroying biological samples is punishable by up to five years of
imprisonment and a fine of Rs 2 lakh.
activists and lawyers criticized this bill as they argue that India does
not have a data protection law and that information like ancestry or susceptibility
to a disease or other genetic traits is liable to be misused.
has also been argued that DNA tests have not led to an improvement in
conviction rates in countries where legislation is already being followed.
contingent flies to France to participate in Ex-Garuda VI
Indian Air Force contingent with its aircraft has left for France to
participate in bilateral air exercise between Indian and French Air Force
named Exercise ‘Garuda-VI’.
is the sixth edition of Exercise Garuda and is being planned at
Mont-de-Marsan,French Air Force Base.The last exercise,‘Garuda V’ was held
at Air Force Station Jodhpur in June 2014.
exercise will provide an opportunity for Sukhoi 30 fighter jets of the
Indian Air Force(IAF) to engage in dogfights with France’s Rafale
multirole aircraft in simulated scenarios.
is one of the biggest air exercises that is being planned between the two
Air Forces.This will enhance understanding of interoperability during
mutual operations between the two Air Forces and provide an opportunity to
learn from each other’s best practices.
will also allow IAF pilots to have a closer look at the Rafale jets being
operated by the French Air Force.India had signed a deal with France in
2016 to buy 36 Rafale fighter jets.The first Rafale jet is scheduled to be
delivered in September,2019.
and France defence and security cooperation has been on an upswing in the
last few years.In 2018,two countries had inked a strategic pact providing
for the use of each others military facility including opening naval bases
and France have been also carrying out discussions on the possibility of
launching a tri-services military exercise between the armed forces of the
panel proposes ₹5,000 crore stressed asset fund for MSMEs
Reserve Bank of India(RBI) expert committee tasked with reviewing the
current framework for the micro,small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) has
submitted its report.
committee has recommended a ₹5,000 crore distressed asset fund for
micro,small and medium enterprises (MSMEs).
fund will assist units in a cluster where there is a change in the
external environment such as plastic ban which had resulted in large
numbers of such entities becoming non-performing.
panel has recommended doubling the cap on collateral-free loans to Rs 20
lakh from the current Rs 10 lakh.This will be extended to borrowers
falling under the Mudra scheme,self-help groups and MSMEs.
collateral free loan means that borrowers do not have to offer any asset
or pledge collateral to borrow against.
committee has also recommended that banks which wish to specialise in MSME
lending,their targets for farm loans under the priority sector lender
could be waived off and instead can be given a target for loans to the SME
targets could be of 50% of the net bank credit for universal banks and 80%
for small finance banks.At present,the overall priority sector lending
target for a universal bank is 40% of their net bank credit and 75% for
small finance bank.
committee has also recommended a government-sponsored fund of funds(FoF)
of Rs 10,000 crore.The FoF will be meant to support venture capital (VC)
and private equity(PE) firms investing in the MSME sector.
of Europe restores Russia′s voting rights
Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe has voted in favor of
restoring Russia’s voting rights five years after they were revoked over
its illegal annexation of the Crimean Peninsula.
move paves the way for Russia to participate in the election of a new
secretary general for the pan-European rights body.
was denied its voting rights after Russia’s annexation of the Crimea in
had responded by boycotting the assembly.Since 2017, the country had also
refused to pay its share of 33 million Euro to the human rights watchdog.
had threatened to quit the body altogether if it is not allowed to take
part in the upcoming election in the Council of Europe.
Council of Europe is Europe’s oldest political body.It aims to
uphold human rights,democracy and the rule of law across the continent.
council was founded in 1949 and it has 47 member states,28 of which are
members of European Union(EU).However,the organisation is distinct from
council oversees and enforces rulings made by the European Court of Human
Rights which considers cases brought by individuals and groups against the
signatories to the convention.The Council of Europe is also an official
United Nations Observer.
anti-missile deal, other sticky issues on plate during Pompeo-Jaishankar talks
States Secretary of State has arrived in India for his interaction with
the Indian Government.
two countries will discuss the US opposition to India’s $5 billion deal
for acquiring S-400 missile system from Russia.
US wants India to cancel the deal citing a US Countering America’s
Adversaries through Sanctions Act(CAATSA) that imposes sanctions on any
country that has significant transactions with Iran,North Korea or Russia.
key issue expected to come up in the discussion is the US tension with
Iran.While Indian oil companies have stopped imports to avoid sanctions,
but India will discuss the alternative sources of oil.
two countries will also interact on the deadlock over a trade deal and the
U.S. withdrawal of India’s GSP(Generalized System of Preferences) status.
will also be a talk on the H-1B issue where Secretary of State may assure
India that the US has no plans to impose a cap on issuing the H-1B visas
on countries that are forcing foreign companies to store data locally.
discussions will also happen on US demand that India must not allow
Chinese telecom major Huawei to participate in 5G network trials.
is likely to tell US that the Indian government will balance the national
security implications of the Chinese company with the demands of the local
telecommunications market before deciding on 5G trials.
NPAs of banks may shrink to 8 per cent by March 2020: Crisil
to the Crisil report,public sector banks which account for over 80% of the
non-performing assets(NPAs) could see the gross NPAs decreased to 10.6% by
March 2020 from a peak of 14.6% in March 2018.
reason attributed to this downfall in the NPAs were highlighted as higher
recoveries and slowdown.
Gross NPAs within the banking system had hit a peak of 11.5% in March 2018
and stood at 9.3% in March 2019.
report also says that the write-offs coupled with recoveries under
Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code(IBC) in stressed assets also played a
critical role in reduction of NPAs.
report also says that banks have already recognised around Rs 17 lakh
crore of stressed loans as NPAs since FY16 led by accelerated NPA
recognition following the Reserve Bank of India’s(RBIs) stringent norms
and asset quality reviews.
- The report
assumes that the bulk of the pending cases in the National Company Law
Tribunal (NCLT) would be resolved with higher recovery rates and faster
assets(NPA) is a loan or advance for which the principal or
interest payment remained overdue for a period of 90 days.
are required to classify NPAs into (a)Substandard assets: Assets
which has remained NPA for a period less than or equal to 12 months
(b)Doubtful assets: An asset would be classified as doubtful if it has
remained in the substandard category for a period of 12 months and (c)Loss
assets:Loss asset is considered uncollectible and of such little value
that its continuance as a bankable asset is not warranted although there
may be some salvage or recovery value.
union moots collegium to select governors, deputy governors
RBI union has proposed a Collegium of experts to appoint governors and
deputy governors to ensure central bank autonomy and independence.
collegium should comprise former RBI governors,other prominent central
bankers and economists.
recent resignation of the RBI deputy governor at least six months before
his term expired is the trigger for mooting such a proposal.
union said that collegium can ensure the neutrality, autonomy and
independence of the central bank of the country and prevent undesirable
political and purposive interference in such matter.
- The Reserve
Bank’s affairs are governed by a central board of directors.The
board is appointed by the Government of India in keeping with the Reserve
Bank of India Act.
Board consists of (a)official directors which includes the Governor and up
to four Deputy Governors (b)non-official directors who includes up to ten
directors from various fields (c)two government officials and (d)one
director from each of four local boards of the RBI.
Governor and Deputy Governors hold office for not more than five years,the
ten directors nominated by the government hold office for four years and
the government officials are to hold a term on the RBI Board as long as
the government sees fit.
Governor has to call a Board meeting at least six times in a year and at
least once each quarter.A meeting can be called if a minimum of four
Directors ask the Governor to call a meeting.
Governor or if for any reason unable to attend,the Deputy Governor
authorised by him to vote for him presides the Board meetings.In the event
of split votes the Governor has a second or deciding vote.
Minister of Finance informed Lok Sabha about the present state of Bank Non
Performing assets(NPA) in India.
minister said that as per RBI provisional data on global operations, the
aggregate amount of gross NPAs of Public sector banks(PSBs) and Scheduled
Commercial Banks(SCBs) till 31st March,2019 were Rs.8 lakh crore and Rs.
9.5 lakh crore respectively.
on NPAs is regularly published by RBI as part of its Financial Stability
Reports.NPA data is not collated by RBI in terms of corporate
primary reasons for spurt in NPA’s are (a)aggressive lending practices
(b)wilful default / loan frauds / corruption in some cases and (c)economic
the last four years,Government has taken comprehensive steps under its
4R’s strategy of (a)recognising NPAs transparently (b)resolving and
recovering value from stressed accounts (c)recapitalising PSBs and
(d)reforms in banks and financial ecosystem to ensure a responsible and
Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, 2016(IBC) has been enacted.Securitisation
and Reconstruction of Financial Assets and Enforcement of Security
Interest Act has also been amended to make it more effective.
promotion of road safety
minister has informed that Ministry of Road Transport and Highways has
launched a scheme for grant of financial assistance to NGOs for
administering Road Safety Advocacy in the last FY 2017-18.
this Scheme,proposals for road safety advocacy programmes through 203
different Non-Governmental Organisations(NGOs)/Trusts/ Cooperative
Societies have been sanctioned in FY 2017-18.
per the scheme provisions,financial assistance for a road safety programme
is Rs.five lakh.
scheme does not provide for any advance payment and financial assistance
is reimbursed only after the successful completion of the programme.
are adequate safeguards in the scheme to ensure proper utilization of
funds such as (a)No advance payment is released to any agency
(b)Registration of the NGO on Darpan Portal (c)The scheme is administered
through a Project Management Unit(PMU) for scrutiny of proposals.
scientists identify new biomarker for malaria
team of researchers from Indian Council of Medical Research(ICMR) has
identified a new biomarker in the body called as glutamate
dehydrogenase of malaria parasite.
promises to help develop a more sensitive diagnostic test for the malaria
used for diagnosing malaria are based on a gene,Histidine-rich Protein
2(HRP2) replete with amino acid Histidine.However,studies have shown that
this gene is often absent in some strains of the malaria parasite.
levels of malaria infection were going undetected. Scientists across the
world have been searching for new biomarkers that would be more effective.
- A biomarker or
biological marker is a measurable indicator of some biological state or
condition.Biomarkers are often measured and evaluated to examine normal
biological processes,pathogenic processes or pharmacologic responses to a
therapeutic intervention.Biomarkers are used in many scientific fields.
- Malaria is
a disease caused by Plasmodium parasites that are transmitted to people
through the bite of infected female Anopheles mosquitoes.
to the World Malaria Report 2018, more than 200 million people were
affected by malaria in 2017. India (4%) along with Nigeria Democratic
Republic of the Congo, Mozambique, and Uganda accounted for nearly 50% of
all malaria cases worldwide.
in circulation fell post note ban: FM
minister has said that demonetisation along with increased digital
transactions and the reduced cash usage in the informal economy has led to
a reduction in currency in circulation by ₹3.4 lakh crore.
Government has also said that fake note circulation has also dropped.It
quoted RBI reports which said that the number of counterfeit notes
detected in the banking system has come down to 3.17 lakhs pieces in FY19
from as high as 5.22 lakhs pieces in FY18.
digital transactions in terms of value has increased to 188 lakh crore in
September 2018 from ₹112 lakh crore in November 2016.In volume terms,they
increased to ₹241.88 crore from ₹91.83 crore in the same period.
also had a significant positive impact on curbing violence since illegally
held cash which forms the major chunk of terrorist funding and most of
these cash held by terrorists turned worthless post demonetisation.
- Demonetization is
the act of stripping a currency unit of its status as legal tender.In
2016,the Indian government decided to demonetize the 500 and 1000 rupee
notes, the two biggest denominations in its currency system.
objectives of Demonetization were (a)To fight black money and corruption
in the country by preventing hoarding of cash (b)To fight terrorism by
cutting off funding in cash and (c)To prevent counterfeiting of currency
notes.Other objectives like transition toward a less-cash economy or push
for digital transaction were added later by the Government.
tortoise discovered in Arunachal Pradesh
experts have discovered the Impressed Tortoise (Manouria impressa)
in near Yazali of Lower Subansari district in Arunachal Pradesh.
new species of tortoise are elusive and have never been previously sighted
are considered to be restricted to western Myanmar, pockets of habitat in
Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia, and southern China, and Peninsular
Impressed Tortoise is, medium-sized species and has a spine which bent
upwards and beautifully serrated.
inhabits moist, primary forests of hilly tracts. It is impressive in
colour and shape and hence called Impressed Tortoise.
tortoise is listed as Vulnerable in the IUCN Red List.
discovery of impressed tortoise has increased the total number to 29
species of non-marine chelonians and five tortoises in India. Chelonian is
an order of reptile that includes turtles, terrapins and tortoises.
Tortoises differ from turtles on account of being terrestrial animals.
mothers head 4.5% of all Indian households
to UN Women’s Report titled “Women’s Progress of the World 2019-2020”, in
India, 13 million (4.5% of all households) are run by single mothers.
India, 46.7% of families are couples living with their children, over 31%
live in extended families, while single person families account for 12.5%
the report has noted that In India, the poverty rate of single-mother
households is 38% compared to 22.6% of dual parent households.
more than eight out of ten single-parent households are headed by women
report has noted that for women in India, participation in the lab or
force is dramatically impacted by marital status. According to 2012 data,
29.1 percent of all women aged 25 to 54 are in the labour force, compared
to 97.8 percent of men of the same age
report has also drawn attention to the needs of the growing elderly
population. Worldwide, it is projected that men’s life expectancy will be
lower than that of women in 4.6 years during the period 2015-2020. Thus,
there needs to be focus on senior women.
report offers solutions for elderly women such as family-friendly
policies, including cash transfers, healthcare, and care services for children
and older people
tops the list for best performing State in health
NITI Aayog has released the second edition of its State Health Index 2019
in a report titled “Healthy States, Progressive India: Report on Rank of
States and UTs”
report has been prepared by NITI Aayog in collaboration with the health
ministry and with technical assistance from the World Bank
index analyses overall performance and incremental improvement in the States
and the Union Territories for the period with 2015-16 as the base year and
2017-18 as the reference year.
takes into account 23 health indicators such as neonatal mortality rate,
under-five mortality rate, proportion of low birth weight among new-borns,
proportion of districts with functional Cardiac Care Units, full
immunisation coverage etc.
report ranked states and UTs in three categories — larger States, smaller
States and Union Territories to ensure comparison among similar entities.
has been designated for the best performing State in the health sector
among the 21 large States. The position of the second-best State has been
taken by Andhra Pradesh, and the third by Maharashtra. Haryana, Rajasthan
and Jharkhand improved the most.
the large states, Uttar Pradesh was the worst performing state. Other poor
performing states were Bihar, Odisha, and Madhya Pradesh.
the smaller states, Mizoram ranked first in overall performance. Tripura
and Manipur improved the most.
the UTs, Chandigarh ranked first in overall performance, while Dadra and
Nagar Haveli improved the most.
report has also observed that there was a general positive correlation
between the Health Index scores and the economic development levels of
States and UTs as measured by per capita Net State Domestic Product
a few States with relative low level of economic development performed
well in the Health Index, such as Jammu and Kashmir, Manipur, Mizoram,
Andhra Pradesh, and Punjab.
crore houses likely to be completed by 2020 ahead of deadline: Puri
Housing and Urban Affairs Minister of State has said that the government’s
target of constructing one crore houses by 2022 under the Pradhan Mantri
Awas Yojana (Urban) could be completed by the end of 2020.
was speaking on the fourth anniversary of the launch of three schemes for
urban development – PMAY (U), the Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban
Transportation (AMRUT) and the Smart Cities Mission.
Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana Urban (PMAY-U) aims to construct 1.2 crore
houses and ensure “Housing for All by 2022” by providing financial
assistance to the beneficiaries. It has four components: a) In-situ Slum
Redevelopment (ISSR), b) Affordable Housing in Partnership (AHP), c)
Beneficiary-led Individual house construction or Enhancement (BLC), and d)
Credit-Linked Subsidy Scheme (CLSS).
Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transportation (AMRUT) seeks to provide
basic services (e.g. water supply, sewerage, urban transport) to
households and build amenities in cities to improve the quality of life
for all, especially the poor and the disadvantaged.
Smart Cities Mission seeks to promote cities that provide core
infrastructure and give a decent quality of life to its citizens, a clean
and sustainable environment and application of technology as a means to
create smart outcomes for citizens.
nodal ministry for the above schemes is Ministry of Housing and
of Indian children will be stunted by 2022: report
to a report prepared by the UN World Food Programme in collaboration with
the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation, going by the
current trends, 31.4% under five years will still be stunted by 2022.
report has noted that food grain yields in India have risen 33% over the
last 20 years, but are still only half of 2030 target yields.
report has observed that though the food production is higher than ever
before, the consumer’s access to rice, wheat and other cereals has not
increased at the same rate. This is because of population growth,
inequality, food wastage and losses, and exports
average per capita consumption of energy among the poorest 30% of the
population is 1811 kilo calories-much lower than the norm of 2155 kilo
calories per day.
there is regional variation in stunting which is a measure of chronic
malnutrition. In States like Bihar and Uttar Pradesh 48% and 46% of
children are stunted. While, it is only 20% in states like Kerala and Goa.
are high rates of stunting among children in the poorest wealth quintile
(51.4%), Scheduled Tribes (43.6%) and Scheduled Castes (42.5%), and
children born to mothers with no education (51%).
inaugurates new Lausanne headquarters
International Olympic Committee(IOC) has formally opened its new
headquarters in Lausanne,Switzerland.The Olympic House has been built on
the site of the former headquarters.
International Olympic Committee(IOC) is a non-governmental sports
organisation based in Lausanne,Switzerland.It was established in 1894.
- IOC is
the authority responsible for organising the modern Summer and Winter
IOC is the governing body of the National Olympic Committees (NOCs) are
the national constituents of the worldwide Olympic Movement.As of
2016,there are 206 NOCs officially recognised by the IOC.
IOC also ensures the regular celebration of the Olympic Games,supports all
affiliated member organisations of the Olympic Movement and strongly
encourages the promotion of the Olympic values.