12 , April 2017

The Union Ministry of Power has launched URJA MITRA app for empowering citizens by real time information sharing on power supply. The app is a first of its kind which provides a central platform, web-portal (www.urjamitra.com) as well as mobile app for state power Distribution utilities to disseminate power outage information to rural/ urban power consumers through SMS/ push/email notifications across the country.

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Banning online pre-natal sex determination content dangerous

The Supreme Court observed that a general prohibition on all online content about pre-natal sex determination will curtail the fundamental right to know of a genuine information-seeker who is driven by curiosity.

Will be curtailing the right to know under Article 19 (1) (a) of the Constitution.

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1.SAMPADA scheme for food processing
Source: PIB

The Union Ministry of Food Processing is going to launch Scheme for Agro-Marine Produce Processing and Development of Agro-Processing Clusters (SAMPADA) for food processing sector. The scheme will integrate current and new schemes aimed at reducing food wastage and doubling farmers’ income by 2022. It will help to create infrastructure for linkage of entire supply chain.

  • SAMPADA is an umbrella scheme that will include ongoing schemes like mega food parks and cold chain projects and new schemes. It has an outlay of Rs. 6000 crore and will be implemented by 2019-20.
  • The ministry will also launch three new schemes to create infrastructure for improving the entire food supply chain. These three schemes are ‘Creation/ Expansion of Food Processing and Preservation Capacities’, ‘New Agro-Processing Clusters‘ and ‘Backward and Forward Linkages’.
  • Moreover, government is taking steps to boost food processing sector to bring down post-harvest losses preferably to zero level, provide quality food to consumers at cheaper price and double of farmers’ income.

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2.Parliament passes HIV and AIDS (Prevention and Control) Bill, 2017
Source: PIB
Parliament has passed the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) and Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) (Prevention and Control) Bill, 2017. It is the first national HIV law in South Asia. The Bill seeks to safeguard the rights of people living with HIV and affected by HIV. It aims to prevent social stigma and discrimination against people living with HIV (PLHIV).

  • Privacy of PLHIV: No person will be compelled to disclose his HIV status except with his informed consent, and if required by a court order.
  • Establishments keeping records of information of PLHIV must adopt data protection measures.
  • Prohibits any individual from publishing information or advocating feelings of hatred against HIV positive persons and PLHIV.
  • Safeguarding Rights: Obligations on establishments to safeguard rights of persons living with HIV arid create mechanisms for redressing complaints.
  • Strengthen legal accountability and establish formal mechanisms for inquiring into complaints and redressing grievances to probe discrimination complaints against those who discriminate against PLHIV.
  • It ensures that no HIV test, medical treatment or research is conducted on a person without his informed consent.
  • Grounds of discrimination: Lists various grounds on which discrimination against HIV-positive persons and those living with them is prohibited.
  • These include the denial, discontinuation, termination or unfair treatment with regard to employment, educational establishments, health care services, renting property etc.
  • Bans unfair treatment of people living with and affected by HIV with regard to accessing public facilities, such as shops, hotels, restaurants, public entertainment venues, public facilities and burial grounds.
  • Pre-requisite HIV testing: Prohibits, requirement for HIV testing as a pre-requisite for obtaining employment or accessing health care or education.

There are approximately 21 lakh persons estimated to be living with HIV in India. The prevalence of HIV in India is decreasing since last decade but percentage of PLHIV receiving Anti-Retroviral therapy (ART) treatment is merely 28.82% against global percentage of 41%. The Bill will provide essential support to National AIDS Control Programme (NACP) in arresting new spread of HIV infections and thereby achieving the target of “Ending the epidemic by 2030” to meet goal Sustainable Development Goals.

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3.Global collaboration project Belle-II moves a step forward
Source: The Hindu

Particle detector integrated with powerful accelerator.

The High Energy Accelerator Research Organisation (KEK) completed the much-awaited ‘rolling-in’ of the Belle-II experiment in Tsukuba, Japan.

This experiment is designed to study violations of the Standard Model of particle physics.

About Belle-II experiment:

  • Belle II experiment consists of an upgraded detector to record the enormous numbers of particle processes that are produced by the SuperKEKB accelerator.
  • The detector precisely measures elementary particle interactions artificially created with the upgraded SuperKEKB accelerator.
  • In the Belle II experiment, various elementary particles generated from high energy electron-positron collisions will be observed using the 8-meter tall Belle II detector consisting of seven types of subdetectors.
  • The detector will provide measurements of direction and momenta of newly produced particles.
  • Compared to previous Belle experiment, Belle Ⅱ will allow collection of much larger data samples with much improved measurement precision.

Indian Contribution:

  • A grand collaboration of 700 scientists from 23 countries, Belle-II has a significant Indian participation both on experimental and theoretical sides.
  • The fourth layer of the six-layer, highly sensitive particle detector, which is at the heart of Belle-II, has been built by Indian scientists who are with the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR)
  • Scientists from the Indian Institutes of Technology in Bhubaneswar, Chennai, Guwahati and Hyderabad; the Institute of Mathematical Sciences, Chennai; Panjab University; Punjab Agricultural University; Malaviya National Institute of Technology, Jaipur; Indian Institute of Science Education and Research, Mohali; and Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, Mumbai, are participating in this research

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4. G20  Digital Ministerial Meeting on Digital Economy held in Germany
Source: The Hindu

The G20 Digital Ministerial Meeting on Digital Economy was held in Dusseldorf, Germany. Ministers responsible for the digital economy from G20 countries had participated in it. It concluded with adaptation of declaration on ‘Shaping Digitalisation for an Interconnected World’.

  • It talks about the need for greater availability of affordable broadband connectivity, broader adoption of digital technologies and services improved digital skills and literacy, greater digital entrepreneurship for the digital economy to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.
  • It includes three annex papers on ‘Digital skills in vocational education and training’, ‘A Roadmap for Digitalisation: Policies for a Digital Future’ and ‘G20 Priorities on Digital Trade’.
  • It calls for collaboration between the countries and all stakeholders, including academia and private sector and sharing of best practices forms.
  • It calls for greater support for the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) which might be constrained by their scale in adoption of digital technologies.

The ministerial conference was held according to the G20 Task Force on the digital economy established in G20 summit held in Hangzhou, China in 2016. The G20 leaders summit held at Hangzhou had proposed to collectively leverage the opportunities and address challenges of an increasingly digital world, in order to enable a dynamic and thriving digital economy to drive inclusive global growth that benefits all.

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5.‘Inter- Ministerial Monitoring-cum-Coordination Committee’ to monitor the UDAN (Ude Desh Ka Aam Naagrik) scheme.
Source: The Hindu

The Union Government has set up an ‘Inter- Ministerial Monitoring-cum-Coordination Committee’ to monitor the UDAN (Ude Desh Ka Aam Naagrik) scheme. UDAN is regional air connectivity scheme (RCS) which seeks to make flying affordable by connecting unserved and under-served airports.

  • The committee will be responsible for coordination among stakeholders, including state governments for “time-bound” implementation of the scheme.
  • It will also monitor schemes of promotion of regional connectivity by way of revival of unserved and under-served airports/airstrips and UDAN.
  • It will be chaired by Civil Aviation Secretary and will have representations from the ministries of Finance, Defence, Home as well as Petroleum and Natural Gas.
  • Airports Authority of India (AAI) Chairman, representatives from the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), BCAS (Bureau of Civil Aviation Security), officials of airlines and states concerned will be also its part.

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6.GSTN data will be totally secure
Source: The Hindu

 All information to be encrypted

  • Goods and Services Tax Network (GSTN), a company set up to provide IT infrastructure and services to the Central and State Governments, tax payers and other stakeholders for implementation of the GST, will have a completely foolproof data security protection and tax-related information
  • Limited access: Only the tax payer and concerned assessing officer would have access to information submitted to GSTN portal by tax payers post GST.
  • The system will have total stability and a backup facility

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7.Railways supply chain goes digital
Source: The Hindu

A system of digitisation of railways’ supply chain across all zones, to ensure greater transparency and ease of doing business, launched by Railway Minister

The system digitises processes like bill submission, inspection, dispatches, receipt, bill passing, payments and warranty monitoring. Enables use of analytics for increasing supply chain efficiencies in real time

With 100% e-tenders and e-auctions already assimilated into the system, railways is taking these initiatives to achieve seamless flow of material, finances and information

What’s the Need?

  • Railways has a vast supply chain to maintain, sustain and build its huge asset base, to run the system and provide transportation service which is safe, secure and efficient
  • Supply chain integration into digitisation system is a very important issue and railways has embarked on the most ambitious project of making it transparent and more efficient
  • Supply chain digitisation will go a long way to meet railways’ target of greater transparency and ease of doing buisness

Significance:

The digital era is round the corner. All organisations that are not digitally compliant will become obsolete over a period of time and those who embrace it would be the real winner in the emerging situation

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