01 , August 2017

Pakistan’s Petroleum Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi was elected the 18th Prime Minister of Pakistan by the National Assembly. Abbasi, nominee of ruling Pakistan Muslim League (N) secured 221 votes in the House of 342.He will be interim PM of Pakistan. He will vacate the position for Nawaz Sharif’s brother Shahbaz Sharif, Punjab Chief Minister gets elected to the National Assembly.
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It’s Sankalp Parva on August 15

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has urged Indians to celebrate August 15 this year as Sankalp Parva , or Day of Resolve.PM announced this day for doing something constructive for the country, with a deadline of August 2022 as the time of Siddhi (attainment of that ideal).

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Centenary Anniversary of Champaran Satyagrah

The Government has decided to commemorate centenary of Champaran Satyagraha during April 2017 to April 2018. A National Implementation Committee (NIC) has been constituted under the Chairmanship of the Home Minister.

Development of Gandhi Circuit in Bihar is one of the projects identified for development under the Special Package for Bihar announced by the Hon’ble Prime Minister in 2015. A project for “Development of Gandhi Circuit: Bhitiharwa-Chandrahia-Turkaulia under Rural Circuit theme of Swadesh Darshan Scheme” has been sanctioned in Bihar with Central Financial Assistance of Rs. 4465.02 lakh. A sum of Rs. 893.00 lakh, as first instalment, has been released by Ministry of Tourism.

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1.19th RCEP Meeting
Source:PIB

The 19th round of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) Trade Negotiating Committee (TNC) meetings and other related meetings were held in Hyderabad, India.

  • Besides 19th round of TNC meet, Parallel meetings were held by the three main Working Groups on Trade in Goods, Trade in Services and Investment, including their respective Sub-Working Groups. Working Groups in other areas like Intellectual Property, electronic commerce, Legal and Institutional Issues etc. also had their meetings.
  • During the meeting, all RCEP Participating Countries (RPCs) agreed that a good RCEP agreement has immense potential to deliver on new economic opportunities including job creation that are much needed in today’s world of uncertainty.
  • The Meeting expressed shared commitment to work collectively and in a cooperative manner, to progress the negotiations in an accelerated way, and achieve a modern, comprehensive, high-quality and mutually beneficial agreement that addresses and balances the aspirations and sensitivities of participating countries.

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2.ZED Scheme for MSMEs
Source:PIB

The Government has launched a new scheme namely “Financial Support to MSMEs in ZED Certification Scheme”.The objective of the scheme for promotion of Zero Defect and Zero Effect (ZED) manufacturing amongst micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) and ZED Assessment for their certification so as to:

  • Develop an Ecosystem for Zero Defect Manufacturing in MSMEs.
  • Promote adaptation of Quality tools/systems and Energy Efficient manufacturing.
  • Enable MSMEs for manufacturing of quality products.
  • Encourage MSMEs to constantly upgrade their quality standards in products and processes.
  • Drive manufacturing with adoption of Zero Defect production processes and without impacting the environment.
  • Support ‘Make in India’ campaign.
  • Develop professionals in the area of ZED manufacturing and certification.

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3.BSF and NSDC sign MoU on Skill Development
Source:PIB

The Border Security Force (BSF) signed memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC).The MoU will enable NSDC to provide skill training to retired and retiring BSF personnel, as well as to the population residing in the border areas.

The collaboration between BSF and NSDC aims to train and provide gainful employment to retired BSF personnel and their families, school students, youth, differently abled for five years (April 2017 to April 2022). The programme will be appropriately named keeping in view the objectives and will have BSF co-branding with Skill India and NSDC

It will contribute to Skill Development Agenda of the country by ensuring the successful roll out of NSQF (National Skill Qualification Framework) based skill training to the retiring or retired BSF personnel and local population. The skill training will be based NSQF compliant training programm at multi-skill development centres run by BSF. This will help in meeting the aspirations of the stakeholders for training and employment

The skill training project will be of a limited to 5 years period in mission mode. Moreover, the curriculum development and capacity building under the programme will be encouraged to enable the model to be self-sustaining over time

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4. 5 chemicals banned in firecrackers
Source:The Hindu

The Supreme Court prohibited the use of five chemicals, labelled as toxic by the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) ahead of the festive seasons of Dussehra and Deepavali.

  • A Bench of Justices Madan B. Lokur and Deepak Gupta gave the order, that no firecrackers manufactured by the respondents shall contain antimony, lithium, mercury, arsenic and lead in any form whatsoever.
  • The court asked the CPCB to clarify the use of strontium, another chemical branded toxic by the pollution body, in firecrackers. However, Manufacturers denied using strontium.
  • Petroleum and Explosive Safety Organization (PESO) will be responsible to ensure compliance particularly in Sivakasi.

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5.Chemical from turmeric treats cancer in children
Source:The Hindu

Scientists from United States have found that curcumin, the bioactive component of turmeric that is widely used in Indian cuisine can treat cancer in children. They have found that nanoparticles loaded with curcumin can target and destroy neuroblastoma tumour cells, which commonly affects children aged five or less.

The study demonstrates cancer treatment method without the toxicity of agressive therapy. It also shows that nanoparticles can be an effective deliver vehicle for cancer drugs. The use of cerium oxide nanoparticles also help to remove curcumin’s low solubility and poor stability which had earlier restricted its use in therapeutic applications.

In their study, scientist had attached curcumin to cerium oxide nanoparticles and tested the formulation in cell lines of a high-risk form of neuroblastoma. It was found that curcumin-cerium formulation induced substantial cell death in neuroblastoma cells while producing no or only minor toxicity in healthy cells

Neuroblastoma (NB)

  • It is a type of cancer that forms in certain types of nerve tissue.
  • It most frequently starts from one of the adrenal glands normally near the kidneys .But it can also develop in the neck, abdomen, chest or spine. Its symptoms may include bone pain, lump in the abdomen, neck or chest, or painless bluish lump under the skin.
  • It is mostly resistant to anti-cancer drugs, and is known to cause health problems, such as hearing loss and disabilities, even after successful treatment.

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6.Core sector growth slows to 0.4% in June
Source:The Hindu

The year-on-year growth of the core sector has slowed to 0.4% in June from 3.6% in May and 6.92% in June 2016 — owing to a decline in output of coal, refinery products, fertilizer and cement. The performance in June is the lowest since the growth of 0.18% in November 2015.

Facts:

  • The Index of Industrial Production (IIP) is an index for India which details out the growth of various sectors in an economy such as mineral mining, electricity and manufacturing.
  • The all India IIP is a composite indicator that measures the short-term changes in the volume of production of a basket of industrial products during a given period with respect to that in a chosen base period.
  • It is compiled and published monthly by the Central Statistical Organisation (CSO) six weeks after the reference month ends.
  • The current base year is 2011-2012
  • Within IIP, following 8 are core industries because they’ve impact on almost all other economic activities: Coal, fertilizer, electricity, crude oil, natural gas, refinery products, steel, and cement.
  • The eight core industries comprise 40.27% of the weight of items included in the Index of Industrial Production (IIP).

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7.Niti Aayog’s Appraisal of the Twelfth Five Year Plan: Low manufacturing growth holds back job creation
Source:The Hindu

According to NITI Aayog’s report, the sector’s growth rate has remained constant for the past 25 years.Whereas countries such as Taiwan and China recorded more than double the rate of expansion in India.In Taiwan and South Korea in the 1960s and 1970s and in China in the 1980s, 1990s and 2000s, manufacturing grew at rates approaching or exceeding 15 per cent.It lead to transformation of these economies from primarily agrarian and rural character to modern urban ones in around three decades

India’s situation

  • The fast-growing sectors in India have been automobile and its parts, two-wheelers, machinery, chemicals, petroleum refining, telecommunications, software and pharmaceuticals
  • None of these sectors employs low-skilled workers in large numbers
  • As a result, the vast majority of Indian workers remain concentrated in agriculture, unorganised industry or low-paying services

Challenges in India

  • To achieve rapid growth in manufacturing sector
  • Ensuring healthy growth in labour-intensive sectors such as clothing, leather manufactures, food processing and electronic assembly
  • Growth in these sectors would help create good jobs for workers with limited skills

Suggestions by the Niti Aayog in its three-year action plan

  • Easing entry barriers and reducing duties on synthetic fibres to make India’s apparel industry competitive in global market
  • Reducing custom duty on gold
  • Increasing investment in skill training
  • Expediting creation of integrated mega food parks and lower duties on key inputs of final electronics products

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8.Methanol a clean, cheaper fuel
Source:The Hindu

The government has asked the think-tank NITI Aayog to study the automobile standards developed in China to use methanol as an alternative fuel. Experts believe that Methanol economy will help India use its vast reserves of coal while driving import substitution.

Methanol is a promising fuel for waterways as it is clean, cheaper than fossil fuels and a good substitute for heavy fuels. India imports methanol from Saudi Arabia and Iran at present. Across the world, methanol is emerging as a clean, sustainable transportation fuel of the future. Methanol can be blended with gasoline in low-quantities and used in existing road vehicles, or it can be used in high-proportion blends such as M85-M100 in flex-fuel or dedicated methanol-fueled vehicles. Technology is also being commercialized to use methanol as a diesel substitute.

  • Methanol is a clean-burning fuel that produces fewer smog-causing emissions — such as sulphur oxides (SOx), nitrogen oxides (NOx) and particulate matter — and can improve air quality and related human health issues.
  • Methanol is most commonly produced on a commercial scale from natural gas. It can also be produced from renewable sources such as biomass and recycled carbon dioxide.
  • As a high-octane vehicle fuel, methanol offers excellent acceleration and power. It also improves vehicle efficiency.

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