01 , September 2017

PSLV-C39 Flight Carrying IRNSS-1H Navigation Satellite Unsuccessful

The forty first flight of India’s Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV-C39), conducted today (August 31, 2017) evening from Satish Dhawan Space Centre SHAR, Sriharikota, was unsuccessful. PSLV-C39 had a normal lift-off and all the flight events took place exactly as planned, except heat shield separation. This resulted in satellite separation occurring within the heat shield. The satellite is inside the heat shield resulting in the unsuccessful mission.

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The National Nutrition Week will be observed throughout the country from 1st to 7th September. The theme of the National Nutrition Week for 2017 is “Optimal Infant & Young Child Feeding Practices: Better Child Health”. The basic objective of this annual event is to intensify awareness generation on the importance of nutrition for health which has an impact on development, productivity, economic growth and ultimately National development.

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1.‘Trade-distorting farm subsidies must go’
Source: PIB

India and China jointly submitted a proposal to the World Trade Organization (WTO) calling for the exclusion of the most trade-distorting form of farm subsidies by the developed countries. The proposal is a prerequisite for consideration of other reforms in domestic support negotiations.

  • This is an important in the view of the ongoing negotiations for the upcoming 11th Ministerial Conference (MC) of the WTO to be held in Buenos Aires in December 2017.
  • It counters the efforts by some countries to target the subsidies of the developing countries while letting the developed countries retain their huge farm subsidies.

What is the proposal?

  • Proposal called for the develelimination — by developed countries — of the most trade-distorting form of farm subsidies, as a prerequisite for consideration of other reforms in domestic support negotiations.
  • Contention: Developed countries, including the US, the EU and Canada, have been consistently providing trade-distorting subsidies to their farmers at levels much higher than the ceiling applicable to developing countries.

Aggregate Measurement of Support (AMS) and developing countries:

  • Aggregate Measurement of Support (AMS) or ‘Amber Box’ support: The most trade-distorting form of farm subsidies
  • Developed countries have more than 90% of global AMS entitlements amounting to nearly $160 billion.
  • Most of the developing countries, including India and China, do not have AMS entitlements.
  • China and India says: Elimination of AMS should be the starting point of reforms rather than seeking reduction of subsidies by developing countries.

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2.India, U.S. eye states to boost trade ties
Source: The Hindu

India and the U.S. are working on establishing a state-level engagement mechanism to widen and deepen bilateral trade and investment ties. The U.S.-India Business Council (USIBC), will unveil a ‘State Engagement Task force’ (SET) to ensure American and Indian companies align their interests with the priorities of the State governments of both the countries

Priorities of the Bilateral Trade and Investment

  •  Priority sectors will be defence and energy
  •  While the focus in defence would include Lockheed Martin’s proposal to make F-16 fighter jets in India
  • The proposed sale of General Atomics Aeronautical Systems Inc. or GA-ASI’s ‘Guardian Remotely Piloted Aircraft’ to India
  • Energy ties would cover exports of U.S. natural gas, transfer of U.S. technology on oil and gas refining
  • Also, the conclusion of pacts between Nuclear Power Corp. and Westinghouse Electric for six nuclear reactors in India and related project financing
  • Other priority areas would be: smart cities (including Ajmer, Allahabad and Visakhapatnam),regional airport development in India through public private partnership, e-commerce, digital payments, and medical devices.

Current status of India – US trade partnership

  • According to the American Enterprise Institute, China was the ‘top import country’ for 23 U.S. States in 2016, followed by Canada (14)
  • India was neither a ‘top import country’ nor a ‘top export country’ for any U.S. State

 Other issues

  • Issues like the U.S. concern over its trade deficit and India’s worries on U.S. visa ‘curbs’ would be solved after the more important issue related to bilateral trade
  • Once the two countries explore ways to solve the ‘larger issue’ of increasing bilateral goods and services trade to $500 billion, from $115 billion in 2016, both countries will talk about the other issues

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3.BUSINESS & CLIMATE SUMMIT 2017
Source: PIB

BUSINESS & CLIMATE SUMMIT 2017 is being held in New Delhi. Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) is organizing the third edition of BCS.

About BUSINESS & CLIMATE SUMMIT 2017

The Business & Climate Summit is the leading annual forum for businesses, investors and policymakers on climate action. It is where business and governments come together to agree on a roadmap for reaching net zero emissions over the next half century.

  • It demonstrates how low carbon strategies are good for business and good for growth – and builds the partnerships needed to scale up and accelerate the low carbon transition.
  • The underlying theme of BCS is that the businesses hold the key to meeting global carbon reduction targets; and collaboration between business and government is critical to success.
  • The Business & Climate Summit would be attended by Ministers, Senior Government Officials, Business Leaders, International Agencies, Banks & Financial Institutions, Senior Business Executives and Media from different parts of the world.

BCS 2017 – Objectives

  • Express business belief that accelerated reduction in GHG emissions to limit global warming to +2°C maximum is compatible with the pursuit of human, social and economic development, and their commitment to engage in this direction.
  • Increase awareness of international policy makers about the wealth of solutions developed by companies and the conditions for deployment of these solutions.
  • Debate and present the priority policies required to allow the accelerated deployment of these solutions in the world and ensure that climate change is taken into account in all policy decisions
  • Showcase business leadership in addressing climate change, highlight how businesses can provide solutions to help governments achieve climate change objectives.

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4.FarmerZone at the Smart Agriculture Conclave
Source: PIB

The Department of Biotechnology (DBT), under the Ministry of Science and Technology, had recently convened the Smart Agriculture Conclave on August 29th -31st ,2017  in New Delhi, in partnership with the UK’s Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) and Research Councils UK (RCUK) India. The objective of this conclave was to set the stage for “FarmerZone”.

What you need to know about FarmerZone?

It is a collective open-source data platform for smart agriculture which will use biological research and data to improve the lives of small and marginal farmers.

  • FarmerZone has been envisioned by the DBT and aligns with the Indian Prime Minister, Mr. Narendra Modi’s call for effective decision-making in agriculture that integrates science, technology, innovation and the farm ecosystem.
  • It is envisaged that “FarmerZone” will help cater to all needs of the farmer, from dealing with climate change, weather predictions and soil, water, and seed requirements to providing market intelligence.
  • The FarmerZone platform will connect farmers and scientists, government officials, thought leaders in agriculture, economists and representatives from global companies who work in the big-data and e-commerce space to bring about technology-based localised agri-solutions.
  • The platform will work on getting relevant quality data related to agriculture into the cloud, develop sentinel sites to help link with farmers and evolve PPP based enterprises for data delivery.

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5.Nationwide programme to test all TB patients
Source: The Hindu

Health authorities plan to commence a nationwide programme to test every tuberculosis (TB) patient for signs of resistance to first-line drugs.This new plan could reveal a large number of hidden tuberculosis patients, as well greater numbers of those with multiple infections of TB and HIV (human immunodeficiency virus).

WTO estimates: as many as a million Indians with TB could be outside government scrutiny.

  • In 2015, nine million Indians were tested for suspected tuberculosis and about 900,000 were confirmed to be ailing from it.
  • Nearly 3% of new TB cases and 18% of prevalent cases are believed to be drug resistant.
  • The WHO’s TB statistics for India for 2015, gives an estimated incidence figure of 2 million cases of TB for India out of a global incidence of 9.6 million.

Universal Drug Sensitivity Test:

  • The new policy, called the Universal Drug Sensitivity Test, will be implemented using a molecular diagnostic test called
  • GeneXpert is a US-developed technology tool being used worldwide since 2010. It can detect the TB bacterium as well check for resistance to rifampicin, one of the standard key TB drugs, within 90 minutes.
  • Conventional tests take at least a day or more and require well-trained personnel for similar results.

Why are we unable to eliminate TB?

  • Inability to rapidly diagnose multi-drug resistant tuberculosis has long been identified as among the chinks in India’s strategy to eliminate tuberculosis.
  • Lack of logistics: There are only around 600 GeneXpert devices now in use — roughly one for each district — and this posed a stumbling block to deploying the WHO-recommended kits earlier.

Alternative for GeneXpert:

  • GeneXpert kits is very expensive.It requires air-conditioned settings and reliable electricity access for optimal output.
  • The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) is in the process of testing a cheaper alternative to GeneXpert called Truenat MTB, which is reportedly more portable, battery-operated, and performs as well at lower costs.

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6.Odisha rated as low-growth State
Source: The Hindu

The NITI Aayog’s ‘Ease of Doing Business Report: An Enterprise Survey of Indian States’

  • It points at issues in setting up new businesses in Odisha compared to other States
  • The 15-high growth States include Bihar, Uttarakhand, Tripura, Sikkim and Meghalaya
  • Basis of the report: The NITI Aayog and IDFC Institute, its knowledge partner, have classified States on the basis of their average annual real growth rate
  • By using State GDP from 2004-05 to 2013-14

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7. Parents are behind child marriages: SC
Source: The Hindu

Supreme Court observed that It was unfortunate to note that parents drive their minor children into marriage. At least one in three marriages in rural areas involves girl children below the age of 18.

  • Contention: Petition challenges the Exception 2 to Section 375 (rape) of the Indian Penal Code, which permits “intrusive sexual intercourse with a girl child aged between 15 and 18 only on the ground that she is married.”
  • The Exception is part of the Criminal Law (Amendment) Act of 2013 and is contrary to the anti-child sex abuse law, Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act of 2012 (POCSO).

Key stats: As per the Fourth National Family Health Survey of 2015-16, there are 26.8% of brides in the country who were married below the age of 18.

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8.U.S. approves first gene therapy for cancer
Source: The Hindu

The United States approved the first gene therapy in the nation— a treatment that uses a patient’s own immune cells to fight childhood leukaemia.The treatment is made by Novartis and is called Kymriah (tisagenlecleucel).This type of immunotherapy, known as a CAR-T cell therapy.

It was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for children and young adult patients up to age 25 with a form of acute lymphoblastic leukaemia.

How the treatment works?

  • It uses a patient’s own immune cells, called T-cells, along with white blood cells.
  • These cells are removed from a patient, sent to a lab, and encoded with a viral vector, reprogrammed, and returned to the patient.

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