21, July 2017

1.Pradhan Mantri Vaya Vandana Yojana (PMVVY)

Source: PIB

PMVVY is a Pension Scheme announced by the Government of India exclusively for the senior citizens available from 4th May, 2017 to 3rd May, 2018;

The Scheme can be purchased offline as well as online through Life Insurance Corporation of India

The major benefits under the Pradhan Mantri Vaya Vandana Yojana (PMVVY):

  • Scheme provides an assured return of 8% p.a. payable monthly (equivalent to 8.30% p.a. effective) for 10 years.
  • Pension is payable at the end of each period, during the policy term of 10 years, as per the frequency of monthly/ quarterly/ half-yearly/ yearly as chosen by the pensioner at the time of purchase.
  • The scheme is exempted from Service Tax/ GST.
  • On survival of the pensioner to the end of the policy term of 10 years, Purchase price along with final pension installment shall be payable.
  • The scheme also allows for premature exit for the treatment of any critical/ terminal illness of self or spouse. On such premature exit, 98% of the Purchase Price shall be refunded.
  • On death of the pensioner during the policy term of 10 years, the Purchase Price shall be paid to the beneficiary.
  • The ceiling of maximum pension is for a family as a whole, the family will comprise of pensioner, his/her spouse and dependants.
  • The shortfall owing to the difference between the interest guaranteed and the actual interest earned and the expenses relating to administration shall be subsidized by the Government of India and reimbursed to the Corporation.

2.50% of HIV-infected get treatment now: UNAIDS

Source: The Hindu

India’s pharma sector has a major role in helping to meet global target for access to medicines, says report

  • For the first time since the global onset of the HIV/AIDS epidemic, the scales have tipped in favour of patients.
  • The latest UNAIDS report, released, reveals that more than half of all People Living with HIV (PLHIV) now have access to HIV treatment.
  • As of last year, 19.5 million of the 36.7 million HIV+ patients had access to treatment. Deaths caused by AIDS have fallen from 1.9 million in 2005 to 1 million in 2016.

New infections in India: Report

  • The bad news is that the majority of the cases — nearly 95 per cent of the cases in 2016 — were concentrated in just 10 countries, India being one of them. India has 2.1 million people living with HIV, with 80,000 new infections annually, as of 2016. In 2005, the annual incidence was 1,50,000 people.
  • “India is the country where most new HIV infections are occurring in the Asia-Pacific region. While India has made big progress with new infections dropping significantly, the emergence of HIV in some locations that were earlier considered ‘not high-burden’ areas is a cause for concern.
  • While the world seems to be on track to reach the global target of 30 million people on treatment by 2020, access to medicines remains a major barrier and India plays a special role.
  • The report states that “although important progress has been made in improving access to medicines for people living with HIV, insufficient availability and poor affordability of essential medicines in low- and middle-income countries remain major barriers.

Averting market failures

  • Actions focused on the intersections between intellectual property rights, innovation, and public health are vitally important for resolving market failures in medicine development and manufacture, unmet needs for research and development, and pricing.
  • This is especially true in light of the concentration of the generic pharmaceutical industry in India, and the global AIDS response’s continued reliance on the Indian industry, which supplied nearly 90% of antiretroviral medicines in low- and middle-income countries in 2015”.

The report, Ending AIDS: Progress towards the 90–90–90 target, is the annual scorecard for progress.

  • In 2016, 1.8 million people became infected with HIV. While this is a drastic decline from the peak of the epidemic in 1997 when 3.2 million got infected, experts maintain that since 2010, the decline in new infections has only been 16%.
  • Going by this trend, the global target of reducing the figure to 500,000 a year by 2020 — adopted as a global target by UNAIDS in 2013 — seems unattainable.
  • The idea behind the 90-90-90 target is to diagnose 90% of people who are HIV positive; get 90% of the diagnosed HIV+ people on antiretroviral treatment, and 90% of those on antiretrovirals should be virally suppressed. This is attained when an HIV+ patient’s viral load reaches an undetectable level, curbing transmission.

3.India, Japan civil nuclear deal comes into force

Source: The Hindu

The landmark India-Japan civil nuclear agreement came into force

  • The India-Japan Agreement for Cooperation in the Peaceful Uses of Nuclear Energy entered into force on July 20, 2017 with the exchange of diplomatic notes between Dr. S. Jaishankar, Foreign Secretary and H.E. Mr. Kenji Hiramatsu, Ambassador of Japan to India,” said a statement from the Ministry of External Affairs.

Key facts:

  • This Agreement is a reflection of the strategic partnership between India and Japan and will pave the way for enhanced cooperation in energy security and clean energy.
  • It seeks to promote full cooperation between the two countries in the development and uses of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes on a stable, reliable and predictable basis,” said the statement.
  • The deal is essential for bringing a network of nuclear energy cooperation for India, especially with the U.S. as prominent American nuclear companies are owned by the Japanese nuclear majors like Toshiba.

Background

  • The India-Japan Agreement for Cooperation in the Peaceful Uses of Nuclear Energy was signed in Tokyo during the visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Japan in November 2016.
  • Subsequently, the Japanese government also got approval from the Diet (Japanese Parliament) for the nuclear deal with India.
  • India is the only non-Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty (NPT) signatory country with which Japan has entered into a civil nuclear deal, giving recognition for India’s impeccable non-proliferation record.
  • Till now, India has also signed civil nuclear deal with 10 other countries viz. Russia, United States, France, South Korea, Mongolia, Namibia, Argentina, Canada, Kazakhstan and Australia.

4.Voyager spacecraft marks 40th anniversary – NASA

Source: The Hindu

Voyagers 1 and 2 were launched in 1977 to take advantage of a favourable alignment of Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune, and are now exploring interstellar space.

Key facts:

  • Voyager 1 and 2 have explored all the giant planets of our outer solar system, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune; 48 of their moons; and the unique system of rings and magnetic fields those planets possess.
  • By the anniversary Voyager 1 will have traveled more than 12 billion miles and Voyager 2 more than 10 billion, with both nuclear-powered spacecraft continuing to send back data.
  • The Voyagers have enough electrical power and thruster fuel to operate at least until 2020, according to NASA. Eventually, they will pass other stars. In about 40,000 years, Voyager 1 will drift within 1.6 light-years (9.3 trillion miles) of AC+79 3888, a star in the constellation of Camelopardalis, which is heading toward the constellation Ophiuchus.

5.Indian Army inks MoU with DRDO to raise MRSAM defence system regiment

Source: The Hindu

The Indian Army has signed MoU with Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) to raise one regiment of the advanced Medium Range Surface to Air Missiles (MRSAM) defence system.

Background

  • The Indian Army is planning to have a total of five regiments of MRSAM defence system, which will be deployed opposite to China and Pakistan.
  • Each regiment consists of four launchers with three missiles each. So five regiments will have total 60 missiles.
  • Earlier the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) headed by PM Narendra Modi had approved proposal for procuring MRSAM system for the army.

MRSAM

  • The MRSAM is an advanced, all weather, mobile, land-based air defence system.
  • It can shoot down enemy ballistic missiles, aircraft, helicopters, drones, surveillance aircraft and AWACS aircraft.
  • It is capable of engaging multiple aerial targets at ranges of more than 50 km.
  • MRSAM is a land-based variant of the long-range surface-to-air missile (LRSAM) or Barak-8 naval air defence system, which is designed to operate from naval vessels.
  • Each MRSAM system comprises a command-and-control system, mobile launchers, tracking radar and missiles.
  • The system will be jointly developed by Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) and DRDO with the involvement of DPSUs and private sectors.
  • It has majority indigenous content, giving boost to the Make-in-India initiative. In July 2016, the IAI and DRDO successfully had conducted three flight tests of the MRSAM at the integrated test range off the Odisha Coast. The missile had successfully intercepted moving aerial targets in all three tests.



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