News:An international conference ANGAN (Augmenting Nature by Green Affordable New-habitat) focussed on Energy Efficiency in the building sector has started.
About the conference:
- The Conference is organised by the Bureau of Energy Efficiency (BEE), Ministry of Power, Government of India in collaboration with GIZ under the Indo German Technical Cooperation.
- The conference will be attended by experts from 16 countries who will discuss various options and technologies for energy efficient buildings
- It will provide a platform to deliberate on (a) interdependence between organizations (b) systemic sustainability and (c)feedback loops for better resource efficiency.
- The BEE is a statutory body under the Ministry of Power,Government of India.
- It was set up under the provisions of Energy Conservation Act,2001.
- Its mission is to assist in developing policies with the primary objective of reducing energy intensity of the Indian Economy.
- BEE coordinates with designated consumers, designated agencies and other organizations.It recognizes, identify and utilize the existing resources and infrastructure in performing the functions assigned to it under the Energy Conservation Act.
News:Lancet has released a report on Malaria eradication.
About the report:
- The report has held that with the right strategies and sufficient funding,it is possible to eradicate malaria as early as 2050.
- The report has noted that since 2000,global malaria incidence and death rates have declined by 36% and 60 % respectively.More than half of the world’s countries are malaria-free.
- However,there are over 200 million cases of malaria reported each year, claiming nearly half a million lives.Malaria cases are rising in 55 countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America.
- The report also highlighted the inequity where 29 countries (27 in Africa) accounted for the large majority of new cases and 85% of global deaths in 2017.
- On the other hand,38 countries had incidences of fewer than ten cases per 1,000 population in 2017 and reported just 5% of total malaria deaths.
Recommendations:The report identifies three ways to accelerate the decline in malaria cases which are-
- Improve implementation of malaria control programmes globally.
- Develop and roll out innovative new tools to overcome the biological challenges to eradication.
- Malaria-endemic countries must be provided with the financial investment to fight malaria.
- Malaria is a disease caused by Plasmodium parasites that are transmitted to people through the bite of infected female Anopheles mosquitoes.
- According 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
News:Project Bal Basera or creche has been inaugurated at AIIMS Rishikesh.
About Bal Basera:
- Bal Basera or a Crèche is a project for the welfare of Children of Construction Workers was deployed at AIIMS Rishikesh site.
- The project is supported by Central Public Works Department (CPWD).
- Bal Basera can accommodate about 35 Children and shall be run by CPWD Officers Wives Association(OWA).
- A crèche is a facility which enables parents to leave their children while they are at work and where children are provided stimulating environment for their holistic development.
National Crèche scheme:
- National Crèche Scheme is a Centrally Sponsored Scheme.
- The scheme is being implemented by the Ministry of Women and Child Development.
- The scheme aims to provide day care facilities to children from age group of 6 months to 6 years of working mothers in the community.
- The scheme also provides supplementary nutrition,health care inputs like immunization, polio drops, basic health monitoring, sleeping facilities,pre-school education for children aged between 3-6 yrs.
News:The first ever helicopter summit was held in Dehradun,Uttarakhand.
About the summit:
- The summit was organised jointly by the Ministry of Civil Aviation, Uttarakhand government and Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industries (FICCI).
- The theme of the summit was based on expanding connectivity through helicopters.
- The broad objectives of the summits were to (a)discuss the scope to enhance air connectivity in remote areas and hilly terrain by helicopter (b) encourage Helicopter-based emergency medical services(HEMS) in India (c)give a boost to tourism in the Himalayan states by providing uninterrupted helicopter services to the tourist hotspots and (d) provide an interactive platform to the Private Players to identify business potential in crucial areas.
- The Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) is an association of business organisations in India.
- It is the largest non government and nonprofit based organization.
- It was established in 1927 on the advice of Mahatma Gandhi by GD Birla and Purushottam Das Thakurdas.
News:India has asked the UN Security Council to reform the UN peacekeeping by adopting reforms based on incentivisation, innovation and institutionalisation.
United Nations Peacekeeping:
- United Nations Peacekeeping was created in 1948.United Nations Peacekeeping helps countries torn by conflict create conditions for lasting peace.
- It maintains three basic principles which are (a)Consent of the parties (b) impartiality and non-use of Force except in self-defence and (c)defence of the mandate.
- The UN Peacekeepers are led by the Department of Peacekeeping Operations(DKPO).
- UN Peacekeepers are often referred to as Blue Berets or Blue Helmets.
- The Peacekeeping forces are contributed by the United Nations(UN) member states on a voluntary basis.
- India,Pakistan and Bangladesh are among the largest individual contributors.African nations also contributes nearly half the peacekeeping force.
About United Nations Security Council(UNSC):
- The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) is one of the six principal organs of the United Nations.
- The Security Council consists of fifteen members. Russia, the United Kingdom,France,China and the United States serve as the body’s five permanent members.
- The Security Council also has 10 non-permanent members elected on a regional basis to serve two-year term.
News:The outbreak of African Swine fever in China has lead to massive mass cullings and a subsequent increase in the price of the pork meat.
About African Swine fever:
- African swine fever(ASF) is a highly contagious hemorrhagic viral disease of domestic and wild pigs which is responsible for serious economic and production losses.
- It is caused by a large DNA virus of the Asfarviridae family which also infects ticks of the genus Ornithodoros.
- The signs of ASF and classical swine fever(CSF) may be similar but the ASF virus is unrelated to the CSF virus.
- ASF is transmitted through (a)direct contact by live or dead pigs and pork products and (b)indirect contact through contaminated feed or on contaminated clothing vehicles or as other fomites.
- There is no approved vaccine against African Swine fever.
News:Prime Minister will launch Pradhan Mantri Shram Yogi Mandhan (PM-SYM) scheme and 400 Eklavya Model Residential Schools on September 12,2019.
About Pradhan Mantri Shram Yogi Mandhan(PM-SYM)
- The scheme aims to provide social security to all landholding Small and Marginal Farmers.
- Aim:Under this scheme,a fixed pension of Rs.3,000/- will be provided to all eligible small and marginal farmers.It is a voluntary and contribution based pension scheme.
- Contribution:Farmers will have to contribute an amount between Rs.55 to Rs.200 per month in the Pension Fund till they reach the retirement date i.e. the age of 60 years.
- The Central Government will also make an equal contribution of the same amount in the pension fund.
- Eligibility:Farmers who are of the age of 18 years and above and upto 40 years are eligible to join the scheme.
- Further,the Spouses of the Small and Marginal farmers are also eligible to join the scheme separately and they will also get separate pension of Rs.3000 when they reach the age of 60 years.
About Eklavya Model Residential School(EMRS)
- EMRS scheme was introduced in the year 1997-98 by the Ministry of Tribal Affairs,Government of India.
- The scheme aims to setup model residential school for Scheduled Tribes across India.
- The objectives of EMRS are to (a)Provide quality middle and high-level education to Scheduled Tribe (ST) students in remote areas (b)Enable them to avail of reservation in high and professional educational courses and in jobs in government and public and private sectors and (c)Construction of infrastructure that provides education, physical, environmental and cultural needs of student life.
- The EMRSs are set up in States/UTs with grants under Article 275(1) of the Constitution of India.
- As per the budget 2018-19,every block with more than 50% Scheduled tribe population and at least 20,000 tribal persons will have an Eklavya Model Residential School by the year 2022.
News:The national survey to measure the coverage of iodized salt has been released.
- The survey was conducted by Nutrition International in collaboration with the AIIMS and the Indian Coalition for the Control of Iodine Deficiency Disorders(ICCIDD).
- The survey tested the iodine content in samples of cooking salt from households to estimate the coverage of iodised salt in 29 States and 7 Union Territories in India.
Findings of the survey:
- The survey has found that the national average for household coverage is 76.3% which means 76.3% of Indian households consumed adequately iodised salt which is salt with at least 15 parts per million of iodine.
- The five worst performers were Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Rajasthan, Odisha and Jharkhand.
- The north-eastern States are doing very well with respect to iodised salt consumption at the household level because of the distance they have from the three salt producing states.
- Further, Gujarat produces 71% of salt in the country followed by Rajasthan at 17% and Tamil Nadu at 11%.The rest of the country accounts for a mere 1% of salt produced.
- The survey also revealed that 13 out of 36 States have already achieved Universal Salt Iodisation or have 90% of households with access to adequately iodised salt.
- The study has recommended to sustain the momentum so that iodine coverage does not fall below current levels.
- It has also recommended that the States and the Centre need to work together to address the current gaps and look into issues that vary from one state to another, in order to produce adequately iodized salt.
- Iodine is a vital micro-nutrient for optimal mental and physical development of human beings.
- The deficiency of iodine can result in a range of disabilities and disorders such as goitre, hypothyroidism, cretinism, abortion, still births, mental retardation and psychomotor defects.
- India made fortification of salt with iodine mandatory for direct human consumption in 1992. This was relaxed in 2000 and then reimposed in 2005.
- In 2011, the Supreme Court too had mandated universal iodisation for the control of iodine deficiencies.
News:NAFED will be directly buying apples from apple growers in Jammu and Kashmir under the Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) scheme that offers direct transfer subsidies to the bank account of individuals.
- National Agricultural Cooperative Marketing Federation of India(NAFED) was established in 1958.It is registered under the Multi State Co-operative Societies Act.
- NAFED was set up to promote cooperative marketing of agricultural produce to benefit farmers.
- The objectives of the NAFED are (a)To organize, promote and develop marketing, processing and storage of agricultural, horticultural and forest produce (b)To distribute agricultural machinery, implements and other inputs (c)To undertake inter-state,import and export trade, wholesale or retail and (d)To act and assist for technical advice in agricultural production.
- Agricultural farmers are the main members of NAFED who have the authority to say in the form of members of the General Body in the working of NAFED.
News:President of India has greeted the citizens of the country on the eve of Onam festival.
About the Onam festival:
- Onam is the biggest and the most important festival of the state of Kerala.
- It is a harvest festival and is celebrated in the beginning of the month of Chingam,the first month of Malayalam Calendar (Kollavarsham).This corresponds with the month of August-September according to Gregorian Calendar.
- According to a popular legend,the festival is celebrated to welcome King Mahabali whose spirit is said to visit Kerala at the time of Onam.
- The most important part of the festival is Onasadya.It is considered to be the most elaborate and grand meal prepared by any civilisation or cultures in the world.
- Another key feature is Vallamkali, the Snake Boat Race.The event is promoted as a major tourist attraction of the state of Kerala and draws a large number of domestic and international tourists.
News:The 15th Finance Commission has assured the Rajasthan government’s demand for additional funds on the basis of factors such as difficult geography, heterogeneous society, limited resources and future needs.
About Finance commission:
- The Finance Commission is constituted by the President under Article 280 of the Constitution mainly to give its recommendations on distribution of tax revenues between the Union and the States and amongst the States themselves.
- The Commission is appointed every five years.It consists of a Chairman and four other members.
- The First Finance Commission was constituted in 1951 under the chairmanship of Shri K.C. Neogi.
Functions of Finance Commission
- The Commission makes recommendations to the President of India on the distribution of tax proceeds between the Union and the States and the share of each state.
- The Commission also decides the principles that govern the payment of grants-in-aid to states from the Consolidated Fund of India.
- The President of India can also refer any other matter to the Finance Commission in the interest of building a sound financial system.
The 15th Finance Commission
- The 15th Finance Commission was constituted by the President of India under the chairmanship of NK Singh.
- This Commission is expected to submit its report by October 2019.Its recommendations will cover a period of five years from April 2020 to March 2025.