9 PM Current Affairs Brief – October 26th, 2019

Odisha Integrated Irrigation Project for Climate Resilient Agriculture

News: Government of India, Government of Odisha and the World Bank has signed a $165 million loan agreement for the Odisha’s Integrated Irrigation Project for Climate Resilient Agriculture.

Facts:

About the project:

  • The aim of the project is to strengthen the resilience of the small holder farmers against adverse climate.
  • The project will be implemented in rural areas that are vulnerable to droughts and are largely dependent on rainfed agriculture.
  • It will benefit around 125,000 smallholder farmers from 15 districts of Odisha.
  • This project is under the National Action Plan on Climate Change (NAPCC) of the government so as to achieve the sustainable agriculture-related targets of the SDGs by 2030.

Objectives of the project:

  • improve access to resilient seed varieties and diversify towards climate resilient crops.
  • improve access to better water management and irrigation services.
  • support farmers to reduce the current emphasis on food grains, especially paddy and wheat.
  • provide marketing support to farmers who are able to generate a marketable surplus.
  • support the rehabilitation of 532 water tanks thereby promoting productivity improvements at the farm level.

Additional information:

About NAPCC:

  • The National Action Plan on Climate Change (NAPCC) was launched in 2008 by the Prime Minister’s Council on Climate Change.
  • It aims at creating awareness among the representatives of the public, different agencies of the government, scientists, industry and the communities on the threat posed by climate change and the steps to counter it.
  • There are 8 national missions which forms the core of the NAPCC which represent multi-pronged, long term and integrated strategies for achieving key goals in climate change.These are-

Guidelines for Evaluation of Nanopharmaceuticals in India

News:Union Minister for Science & Technology has released the Guidelines for Evaluation of Nanopharmaceuticals in India.

Facts:

What are Nanopharmaceuticals?

  • Nanopharmaceuticals represent an emerging field where the sizes of the drug particle or a therapeutic delivery system work at the nanoscale. 
  • In the pharmaceutical industry, a long standing issue is the difficulty of delivering the appropriate dose of a particular active agent to specific disease site. 
  • Nanopharmaceuticals have enormous potential in addressing this failure of traditional therapeutics which offers site-specific targeting of active agents. 
  • Such precision targeting via nanopharmaceuticals reduces higher efficacy, lower toxicity and are safer than the conventional drugs.

Guidelines on Nanopharmaceuticals:

  • These Guidelines were prepared to provide transparent, consistent and predictable regulatory pathways for nanopharmaceuticals in India.
  • They were framed by the inter-ministerial expert committee constituted by the Department of Biotechnology in May 2019.
  • It was prepared in line with the provisions of Schedule Y of Drugs and Cosmetics Rules,1945 as well as Second Schedule of the New Drugs and Clinical Trials Rules, 2019 with specific requirements for nanopharmaceuticals.

Key points of the Guidelines:

  • The impact of nano material waste disposal on environment should be declared.
  • The stability testing for Nanoformulations should focus on functionality, integrity, size range of nanopharmaceuticals.
  • It makes it compulsory for the pharma companies to present the data on how the plasma, off-target tissue and disease sites are affected by repeated dosing.
  • It provides guidelines for animal toxicology data.It allows the toxicology studies to be performed only on rodent species and dogs in both sexes.

Significance of the guidelines:

  • The guidelines will help to facilitate research in line with the regulatory requirements.
  • It will help in making decision in clearing new products based on nanotechnology and would also help in attracting new private investments.
  • It will help to initiate activities for developing safety guidelines for other domains like agri-inputs, cosmetics, implantable devices.

Kanya Sumangala Yojana

News:Uttar Pradesh government launched its flagship scheme named Kanya Sumangla Yojna.

Facts:

About Kanya Sumangla Yojna:

  • The scheme aims to provide a fund worth Rs 15000 to every family where a girl child is born.
  • The scheme has been designed in a way that the parents will have to take proper care of the girl child with respect to her health and education and other aspects, in order to get the benefit.
  • The funds will be released in various installments when the girl child completes various milestones such as at the time of birth, vaccination, admission to Class 1, 5, 9 and graduation.

Sakharov Prize

News:The European Union(EU) Parliament has awarded the Sakharov Prize for Human Rights to Uighur intellectual Ilham Tohti.

Facts:

About Sakharov Prize:

  • The Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought is an annual award given by the European Parliament.
  • It is bestowed on individuals or organisations who have dedicated their lives to the defence of human rights and freedom of thought.
  • It was established in 1988 and named after Soviet scientist (physicist) and dissident Andrei Sakharov.
  • The first prize was jointly awarded to South African Nelson Mandela and Russian human rights campaigner Anatoly Marchenko.

National Corporate Social Responsibility Awards

News:President of India will present the National Corporate Social Responsibility Awards (NCSRA) on 29th October, 2019 in New Delhi.

Facts:

About the awards:

  • The National CSR Awards are the highest recognition in the domain of CSR by the Government of India.
  • The Awards have been instituted in 2017 by the Ministry of Corporate Affairs.
  • The objective of the award is to recognize corporate initiatives in the area of CSR to achieve inclusive growth  and sustainable development.

Additional information:

About CSR:

  • Corporate social responsibility (CSR) was initiated through the Companies Act, 2013.
  • The act mandated companies and government organisations with (a)turnover of Rs1,000 crore or more(b)net worth exceeding Rs 500crore or (c)having more than Rs 5 crore in net profits to spend 2% of average net profit of the preceding three years on CSR.

India, Nepal, Bhutan plan trans-border conservation area

News:India, Nepal and Bhutan have drafted a memorandum of understanding to create a trans-boundary wildlife conservation ‘peace park’.

Facts:

About the Park:

  • The proposed Park will include biodiversity-rich landscapes in adjoining areas of the three countries.
  • The park will be an extension of the Manas National Park as there is already one trans-boundary Protected Area in India and Bhutan which includes the Manas landscape of Assam.
  • The initiative was started by India keeping in view the migratory wildlife species in the region especially elephants.

Additional information:

About Manas National Park:

  • Manas National Park is a UNESCO Natural World Heritage site, Project tiger reserve and a biosphere reserve.
  • The park shares a common border with the Royal Manas National Park of Bhutan.
  • The park is home to many endangered species like Assam roofed turtle, golden Langur, hispid hare and pygmy hog.It is also famous for its wild water buffaloes
  • The park is located on the Manas river which is a major tributary of Brahmaputra.

Other National Parks in Assam:

  • Dibru-Saikhowa National Park,
  • Kaziranga National Park,
  • Nameri National Park,
  • Rajiv Gandhi Orang National Park.

Pancreatic Cancer

News:The The Global Burden of Disease Study 2017 for pancreatic cancer has been published in The Lancet.

Facts:

Key takeaways from the study:

  • The Pancreatic cancer what was once a rare disease, is now a growing cause of cancer mortality worldwide.From 1.96 lakh incidences in 1990, these rose to 4.41 lakh in 2017.
  • The burden of pancreatic cancer is higher in higher income countries when compared to low income countries.
  • The reason for low death rates in low-income countries is shorter life-expectancy and poor access to diagnostic facilities.As lifespan increases, so does the risk of pancreatic cancer.
  • For India, the death rate due to pancreatic has increased by over five times.India has the highest numbers among South Asian nations and makes up for more than 50% of the cases.
  • Pakistan comes second in the South Asian region while Bhutan had the least incidents and deaths in the region

Additional information:

About Pancreas:

  • The pancreas is an organ located behind the stomach in the upper left abdomen.
  • It has two main functions (a)an exocrine function that helps in digestion and (b)endocrine function that regulates blood sugar.
  • Pancreatic cancer refers to tumors that start in the cells of the pancreas.
  • The cancer develops when cells grow in an uncontrolled manner and form masses or tumors in the pancreas instead of growing into healthy pancreatic tissue.

Thotlakonda monastery

News:The Mahastupa of the Thotlakonda monastery which was reconstructed in 2016 by the State Archaeology department has collapsed recently.

Facts:

About Thotlakonda monastery:

  • Thotlakonda Buddhist Complex is situated in Visakhapatnam in Andhra Pradesh.
  • Thotlakonda was under the influence of ancient Kalinga which was an important source of dissemination of Buddhism to Sri Lanka and various parts of Southeast Asia.
  • The monastery also provides an insight into the process of transoceanic diffusion of Indic culture, especially Buddhism.
  • Thotlakonda monastery came to light during an aerial survey by the Indian Navy for setting up a naval base.
  • After its discovery, major excavations have been conducted which established the existence of a Hinayana Buddhist complex which flourished 2000 years ago.
  • The excavation has also revealed Satavahana dynasty lead and Roman silver coins indicating foreign trade.
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