21, January 2017

1.Interaction with Beneficiaries of Up-scaled: Revised 2013 Lean Manufacturing Competitiveness Scheme (LMCS)

Source: PIB

Lean Manufacturing Competitiveness Scheme (LMCS) is a part of National Manufacturing Competitiveness Programme (NMCP) under Ministry of MSME

  • It aims at improving the overall productivity of MSMEs by reduction of wastes with the help of lean manufacturing concepts.
  • This scheme was started in 2009 as a pilot project in 100 clusters and based on its success; this scheme has been up-scaled for 500 more clusters.

Key facts:

National Productivity Council has been associated with this scheme since inception as National Monitoring and Implementation Unit (NMIU).

  • Till-date 200 MSME Clusters have been formed encompassing sectors such as Automobile, Engineering, White Goods, Handicrafts, Diamond Processing, Food Processing, Readymade Garments & Textile Cluster etc.
  • The beneficiary MSMEs has witnessed an average increase in productivity level in the range of 20 to 25%. Besides, depending upon the type of clusters, the average increase in inventory turnover has been reported as 25% and the achievement in respect of reduction in manufacturing lead time in the range of 5 to 30%.
  • National Productivity Council organized a media interface with 10 MSME beneficiaries during which they actively participated to share their achievements accruing from implementing Lean Manufacturing Tools and Techniques.
  • Majority of beneficiary units have reported manifold monetary savings during each stage of the implementation. The other intangible benefits that accrued were safer workplace management, improved quality environment-friendly production capacities, business opportunities and high morale of workforce.
  • The beneficiary units to contribute to Make in India initiative of Govt. of India.
  • The MSMEs has been very encouraging as regards the implementation of the scheme by NPC as well as its effectiveness towards ease of doing business for their sector as a whole.

2.India participates in JITSIC meeting on ‘Panama Papers’

Source: PIB

The government is continuing its efforts to retrieve money stashed away illegally in foreign banks, including those in Panama, even as it hunts black money evaders at home.

India participated in the Joint International Taskforce on Shared Intelligence and Collaboration (JITSIC) meeting held in Paris where 30 Revenue Authorities shared their findings on investigations arising from the Panama Papers;

  • Including the role of tax intermediaries such as financial institutions, advisers etc, who facilitate tax evasion.
  • The meeting included sharing of best practices and information between participating member countries based on legal instruments under the tax treaties and OECD and Council of Europe Multilateral Convention.

What are the Panama Papers?

The files show how Mossack Fonseca clients were able to launder money, dodge sanctions and avoid tax.

In one case, the company offered an American millionaire fake ownership records to hide money from the authorities. This is in direct breach of international regulations designed to stop money laundering and tax evasion.

What do The Panama Papers reveal?

  • Individuals who have set up offshore entities through the Panama law firm.
  • Some of the Indians floated offshore entities at a time when laws did not allow them to do so
  • some have taken a technically convenient view that companies acquired is not the same as companies incorporated
  • some have bunched their annual quota of remittances to subscribe to shares in an offshore entity acquired at an earlier date.
  • Still, some others have received income earned abroad and deposited it in the entity to avoid tax.
  • Some have opened a bank account to keep payoffs in government contracts, or held “proceeds of crime” or property bought with money made illegally in Trusts/ Foundations.

3.Centre sets up a negotiation panel on river Mahanadi and its tributaries

Source: PIB

Seeking to resolve disputes over sharing of river waters among five states including Odisha, the Centre has constitued a negotiation committee to assess availability and utilisation of waters of Mahanadi and its tributaries.

River  Mahanadi and will consider claims of Odisha, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Jharkhand regarding availability and utilisation of waters of these rivers.

Key facts:

  • The committee has been set up with reference to complaint of state of Odisha under section 3 of the Inter-State River Water Dispute (ISRWD) Act, 1956 regarding utilisation of waters of Mahandi basin.
  • The committee will be chaired by Member (WP&P), Central Water Commission and will have 11 other members comprising representatives from the States of Odisha, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Jharkhand, Union Ministries of Agriculture, Environment Forest and Climate Change, Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation, India Meteorological Department and Central Water Commission.

Tributaries: Seonath River: The Seonath River is the longest tributary of Mahanadi

Left: Seonath, Mand, Ib, Hasdeo

Right: Ong, Jonk, Telen

Bhargavi, Bhramani, Daya, Devi, Hasdeo, Ib, Jonk, Kuakhai, Kushabhadra, Mand, Ong, Pairi, Shivnath, Sondur, Surubalijora, Tel, Telen river.

The major tributaries of River Mahanadi are Hadso and Tel rivers, The Tel River flows in Sonpur District of Orissa. Tel is the second largest river of Orissa. The Hadso river is an important tributary of Mahanadi River, flowing in Madhya Pradesh.

Mahanadi water dispute between Odisha and Chhattisgarh

  • The 850km length of the Mahanadi river is divided almost equally between Chhattisgarh, where it born, and downstream Odisha. Last year Odisha government opposed barrages that Chhattisgarh has been constructing.
  • Odisha government alleges that these barrages are meant to feed industrial projects and will block the flow of water into Odisha whose dependence on the river is greater. Chhattisgarh has denied this allegation pointing out that much of the river in Odisha flows untapped and straight into the sea.

4.Centre clears Tamil Nadu’s Ordinance on Jallikattu

Source: The Hindu

The state government will amend the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act.

The State government will amend a Central act on Prevention of Cruelty to Animals to allow conduct of jallikattu and requested the environment ministry to de-notify bulls from the prohibited category.

The Union Government has Tamil Nadu government’s proposal to promulgate an ordinance to hold Jallikattu, a traditional bull taming sport.

The Union Ministries of Home, Law and Environment has vetted the state’s draft ordinance and cleared the amendment. Now, Tamil Nadu Governor can promulgate ordinance as per Article 213 of the constitution.

Key Facts:

  • It was mandatory for Tamil Nadu government to get a nod from the Centre as subject in this regard was falling in the Concurrent list of the Constitution.
  • The ordinance will denotify the bull from the list of performing animals. This will ensure that provisions of Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act (PCA), 1960 will not apply to the bull.
  • It will circumvent Supreme Court imposed ban on Jallikattu in May 2014. The apex court had banned use of bull as performing animals including traditional events like Jallikattu, bullock-cart races.
  • Jallikattu is bull-taming sport and an age-old annual event celebrated during Pongal (Harvest festival) in Tamil Nadu. It is one of the oldest living ancient traditions practiced in the modern era.

Article 213 of Constitution: It gives legislative power to Governor i.e. state executive.

  • Governor can promulgate ordinances when legislative assembly (incase of unicameral legislature) is not in session i.e. recess or both houses of state legislature (incase of bicameral legislature) if there is urgent need to have a law on some urgent public matter.
  • The promulgated ordinance has similar effect to a law enacted by the state legislature. However, every ordinance must be laid and approved state legislature (or legislative assembly) within 6 weeks from the reassembling. If not placed and approved by both houses of the state legislature ( or legislative assembly) after reassembling it lapses or becomes invalid.

Issue:

  • The Supreme Court had banned Jallikattu in May 2014 and held that bulls could not be used as performing animals.
  • It ordered to completely stop use of bulls for Jallikattu events or bullock-cart races across the country.
  • The ban was imposed by SC as it violated provisions of The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960
  • The Court further categorised bulls as not being performing animals, anatomically not designed for that, but are forced to perform, inflicting pain and suffering, in total violation of Sections 3 and Section 11(1) of Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (PCA) Act.
  • Fundamental duty Article 51A (g): compassion towards animal; Article 21 (Right to Life), which prohibits any disturbance to the environment, including animals as it is considered essential for human life.
  • However, in January 2016, the Union Government through notification lifted this ban and allowed use of bulls for Jallikattu events or bullock-cart races in Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra. But, the apex court put on hold of the Union Government’s notification.

What is Jallikattu?

  • Jallikaatu could be referred to as bull taming event typically practiced in Tamil Nadu as a part of Pongal celebrations on Mattu Pongal day, third day of the four-day Pongal festival.
  • The term ‘jallikattu’ is derived from the tamil words ‘jalli’ and ‘kattu’. Jalli refers to gold or silver coins. Kattu means ‘tied’.
  • Therefore, combined together it refers to coins being tied to the bulls’ horns, which is considered the prize for whoever tames the bull. The bull that wins is used to service numerous cows preserving the native breed. It is renowned as an ancient ‘sport’, believed to have been practised some 2500 years ago. It is controversial because the sport often results in major injuries and even deaths.

Who approached the court?

Jallikattu faced its first hurdle in 2004 when PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) and AWBI (Animal Welfare Board of India) came together against it. On November 27, 2010, the Supreme Court allowed the sport to be played for a period of five months in a year under controlled conditions and in accordance with the Tamil Nadu Regulation of Jallikattu Act passed in 2009. Five years later it was completely banned by a judgment delivered by a two-judge bench of the Supreme Court.

5.Kerala’s avian diversity gets richer

Source: The Hindu

The avian species diversity of Kerala got a boost in the last days of 2016 with BirdLife International dividing a species in two.

  • BirdLife International, an organisation which assesses the conservation status of birds globally, has split the group of montane laughingthrushes, which are endemic to the Western Ghats, and recognised them as two new species.
  • The newly accepted species are Banasura laughingthrush (Trochalopteron jerdoni), which has a very restricted distribution in Wayanad district and Travancore laughingthrush (Trochalopteron merdionale) found in Thiruvananthapuram district.
    • While the conservation status of the Banasura species was assessed as endangered, the Travancore variety was considered vulnerable, considering the risk the species were facing.
  • The two original species of the family were Nilgiri laughingthrush and Palani laughingthrush.
    • The Nilgiri species, assessed as an endangered one, is found in Silent Valley National Park and Siruvani hills of Kerala. The near-threatened Palani laughingthrush is found mainly in Munnar hills and the mountains of Periyar Tiger Reserve apart from Grass Hills and Palani hills in Tamil Nadu.

Note: Laughingthrushes are found only in the peaks of Western Ghats, popularly known as sky islands. These mountain peaks are separated from the others so well that the birds from one sky island find difficult to move to the next sky island. This has resulted in the creation of four closely related species, each of them occupying a series of mountain tops across the entire range of southern Western Ghats.

6.How ISRO plans to launch 103 satellites in one go

Source: The Hindu

They will be injected into orbit at different locations at different angles, at different times and different orientations

The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) will set a record when it launches 103 satellites in one go on a single rocket in the first week of February

The separation angle and time of separation will be such that one satellite will not collide with another.

Different velocities

  • The satellite separated from the launch vehicle will have a relative velocity of one metre per second. So, after 1,000 seconds the distance between a satellite and the rocket will be 1,000 metres.
  • The satellite that gets launched first will move at a relatively faster velocity than the next satellite that is launched. Due to different relative velocities, the distance between the satellites will increase continuously but the orbit will be the same.
  • At an orbital altitude of around 500 km, it would take the vehicle 90 minutes to complete one orbit.

Single mission

  • In 2016, ISRO launched 20 satellites in one go. It took about 26 minutes to launch all the 20 satellites.
  • In 2008, ISRO launched 10 satellites in a single mission.
  • The highest number of satellites launched in a single mission so far has been 37 by Russia in 2014; NASA launched 29 satellites in one go in 2013.
  • ISRO’s workhorse PSLV-C37 with 103 satellites will be launched from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota in Andhra Pradesh. Except for three satellites, the remaining are from other countries. The 100 satellites are micro-small satellites. The weight of the payload will be 1,350 kg, of which 500-600 kg will be the satellite’s weight.

New wasp species discovered

A new species of wasp has been discovered from the Western Ghats, one of the biodiversity hotspots of the country.

  • This wasp belonged to the sub-family of Eumeninae of the family Vespidae.
  • A new species of wasp of genus ‘Parascistrocerus’ discovered from the Western Ghats.

Indian pepper may be a cancer fighter

The Indian long pepper, widely popular for spicing up food, may soon be used as a potential cancer treatment drug, according to a new study.

The Indian long pepper contains a chemical that could stop your body from producing an enzyme that is commonly found in tumours in large numbers.

The secret lies in a chemical called Piperlongumine (PL), which has shown activity against many cancers including prostate, breast, lung, colon, lymphoma, leukaemia, primary brain tumours and gastric cancer.

Detoxification enzyme

PL converts to hPL, an active drug that silences a gene called GSTP1.

The GSTP1 gene produces a detoxification enzyme that is often overly abundant in tumours.

The glutathione S-transferase pi gene (GSTP1) is a polymorphic gene encoding active, functionally different GSTP1 variant proteins that are thought to function in xenobiotic metabolism and play a role in susceptibility to cancer, and other diseases.



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