11, February 2017

Mascot for FIFA Under 17 World Cup India 2017- KHELEO

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1.Atlas for Visually Impaired (India)
Source :Pib

The Union Minister for Science & Technology and Earth Sciences the Special Edition of “Atlas for Visually Impaired (India)” in English Braille. This Braille Atlas has been prepared by National Atlas and Thematic Mapping Organisation (NATMO) under Department of Science & Technology.

  • In the Braille Atlas, maps are raised and embossed with simple lines and point symbols to facilitate its users to realize the location and area coverage easily distinguishable in terms of shapes and textures.
  • The legend and reference is placed on the map in Braille script to navigate the map.
  • About 20 maps on different themes of physical, socio-economic and cultural aspects such as river system, natural vegetation, Metropolitan cities, Roads and Railways, Food crops and cash crops have been incorporated in the atlas with write-ups on every map as ready reference.

About NATMO:
National Atlas and Thematic Mapping Organisation (NATMO) is the premier agency of applied Geo-Spatial technology and pioneer in Thematic Mapping and Atlas Cartography under Department of Science & Technology(Ministry of Science & Technology) engaged in preparing different thematic maps and atlases and other documents on national, state, district, block level and many other monograms.

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2.The Cooperative Institution, IFFCO
Source :Pib

The Cooperative Institution, IFFCO in Motihari completed its 50 years of establishment

IFFCO:

  • IFFCO (Indian Farmers Fertilizers Cooperative) is one of the largest cooperative societies of India.
  • Its business is spread over from general insurance to rural telecommunication apart from manufacturing and sale of manure.
  • IFFCO is rendering its services to about 5.5 crores of farmers.
  • IFFCO has extended its international involvement through important memorandum of understanding and agreements for supply of raw materials to many international fertilizer industries.
  • IFFCO is working for the prosperity of the farmers after providing environment friendly and real time reliable, high quality agricultural products and services.
  • IFFCO is implementing several schemes and programmes for their welfare.

Government initiatives:

  • The government has formed NCDC (National Climatic Data Centre) keeping in view of the importance of cooperatives in rural economy.
  • It caters to the several dimensions and necessity of the cooperatives.
  • Cooperatives have provided direct and indirect employment to about 23.86 millions of people.
  • Cooperative societies have provided inputs like credit, fertilizer, seed and have established themselves in many fields of Indian economy such as dairy, banking, sugar, fertilizer, marketing, handloom, fisheries and housing.
  • The Ministry believes that cooperative societies should be made strong democratically.
  • By providing occupational services to the farm labourers, we will have to make the rural people strong.

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3.Govt.’s target to root out TB by 2025 unachievable, say doctors
Source :The Hindu

The government’s plan to eradicate tuberculosis by 2025 seems an unachievable target. This is especially at a time when India is battling a crisis of antibiotic resistance and a few drugs in the pipeline.

  • The mention of TB in Budget has come as a welcome move, but experts say the government will have to look at various initiatives rather than simply focusing on antibiotics.

Fact :

  • An estimated 2.8 million people suffer from TB, which is 217 per one lakh population.
  • A significant number of them are drug resistant mainly due to late diagnosis or a haphazard medication course.
  • The problem is we are focusing on antibiotics which are very limited now.
  • We need to focus on the preventive habits such as coughing, sneezing etiquettes which should be engraved from childhood.
  • A TB patient releases 3,000 to 5,000 TB bacilli in one cough. If we ignore these basics, the TB war is going to be a huge failure.

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4.Intellectual Property index: India remains near bottom
Source :The Hindu

A report by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Global Intellectual Property Center (GIPC).

Top 10: The U.S., the U.K., Germany, Japan, Sweden, France, Switzerland, Singapore, South Korea and Italy.

Among the BRICS: China was ranked 27th, South Africa (33rd), Brazil (32nd) and Russia (23rd).

India:
Remains near the bottom in an international Intellectual Property (IP) index by being ranked 43rd out of 45 countries.

Only two countries were ranked below India – Pakistan (44th) and Venezuela (45th).

Weaknesses of Indian IP regime (according to the report):

  • The overall, National IPR Policy does not address fundamental weaknesses in India’s IP framework
  • There is limited framework for protection of life sciences IP, patentability requirements being outside international standards, lengthy pre-grant opposition proceedings in place.
  • Intensive industries continued to face challenges in the Indian market with regard to the scope of patentability for computer-implemented inventions.
  • Section 3(d) of the Indian Patent Act (that prevents ever-greening of patents).
  • Also the 2016 High Court ruling on copyright infringement in the University of Delhi copy-shop case continuing to weaken the enforcement environment for rights holders.
  • India had previously used compulsory licensing for commercial and non-emergency situations
  • India’s limited participation in international IP treaties.

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5. Govt set up inter – departmental task force to crack down on benami firms
Source :The Hindu

A task force comprising members of various regulatory Ministries and enforcement agencies has been set up on Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s directions.

Purpose:

  • For a major crackdown on shell companies, which are used for large-scale money laundering and tax evasion.
  • The task force has been constituted under the co-chairmanship of the Revenue Secretary and the Corporate Affairs Secretary to monitor the actions taken by various agencies.
  • About 560 beneficiaries, who laundered Rs 3,900 crore, and 54 chartered accountants, who were involved in the racket, have already been identified.

Action agenda:

  • The agencies will invoke the stringent Benami Transactions (Prohibition) Amendment Act against the shell companies, freeze their accounts and strike off the names of dormant companies.
  • Disciplinary action will be initiated against professionals abetting the companies and entry operators, who are used to launder unaccounted-for incomes into the banking system for projecting them as white money.

Fact :

  • There are about 15 lakh registered companies in India and only 6 lakh of them file their annual returns, raising suspicion that a large number of these companies are indulging in financial irregularities.

Background:

  • The move comes days after the government, during a small sample analysis of shell companies, found that Rs 1,238 crore in cash was deposited in these entities during the November-December period, after demonetisation.
  • The Serious Fraud Investigation Office filed criminal prosecutions for cheating the national exchequer after a probe against the entry operators running a group of 49 shell companies and other proprietorship concerns.

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6. A shot in the Arm for defence acquisition
Source :The Hindu

The government plans to set up a Defence Procurement Organisation (DPO). To integrate and streamline the long and arduous process of defence acquisitions.

  • The aim is not to create another bureaucracy. The DPO will be a vertical under the Defence Ministry and the philosophy is to integrate the processes.

Background:

  • The Defence Procurement Process, which applies to all defence capital procurements, has been modified several times to bring in transparency and speed up acquisitions but it continues to be lengthy and complicated.
  • The main motive of the procurement process should be to create an engine of growth.
  • But in the present system the focus on development is low key while production process is mostly with the Defence Public Sector Undertakings (DPSU). There is no match between the capabilities of the two.

More power to defence

  • In a related move to shorten the procurement cycle, the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS), chaired by the Prime Minister, has increased the financial powers of the Defence Minister.

Changes:

  • In the past, the Defence Minister was entitled to clear deals up to  Rs 500 crore, which has now gone up to Rs 2,000 crore.
  • Jointly, the Finance Minister, the Defence Minister can approve projects up to Rs 3,000 crore, up from the earlier Rs 1,000 crore.
  • The Defence Secretary too has now been given financial powers upto Rs 500 crore to clear deals
  • This ensures that a major chunk of the procurements are approved within the Ministries.
  • About 70% of the deals by number are below Rs 3,000 crore. So now only deals of Rs 3,000 crore and above would go to the CCS for approval.

7.Interceptor missile successfully test-fired
Source :The Hindu

  • India successfully test-fired its interceptor missile from Abdul Kalam Island (Wheeler Island) of Integrated Test Range off the Odisha coast.
  • This is a significant milestone in the direction of developing a two-layered Ballistic Missile Defence system.
  • It has been developed by DRDO.
  • This mission, termed as PDV mission, is for engaging the targets in the exo-atmosphere region at an altitude above 50 km of earth’s atmosphere.

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8.litchi mystery disease
Source :The Hindu

Evidence has emerged that as late as March 2014, researchers from Delhi’s National Centre for Disease Control, India (NCDC) and Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta (CDC).

Scientists from the NCDC and the CDC had published a paper on January 30th  in the journal Lancet Global Health where they state that consumption of litchi, which has the methylenecyclopropylglycine (MCPG) toxin, and skipping the evening meal, result in very low blood glucose levels (less than 70 mg/dL) and acute encephalopathy and causes death in many cases.

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