27 , March 2018

Surat district in Gujarat become first in country to have 100% solar powered Primary Health Centers (PHCs). All 52 PHCs in the district are now powered by solar system. With this, Surat sets an example for country by developing villages that use sustainable forms of energy at a time when global warming is mounting with each passing day.

1.TRIFED-“E- Tribes”
Source: PIB

The Tribal Cooperative Marketing Development Federation of India, (TRIFED), under the Ministry of Tribal Affairs, has launched “E- Tribes”, TRIFED’s websites. It includes www.tribesindia.com, www.trifed.in and Retail Inventory Software and M-commerce app.

Going Digital will lead to expansion of tribal commerce and the availability of tribal products over large area, reaping greater benefits for tribal artisans. Retail Trade of tribal products would expand all over the country and the world.

About TRIFED:

  • TRIFED is an apex organisation at National Level and functioning under the administrative control of Ministry of Tribal Affairs.
  • TRIFED is serving the interests of Tribals, who are engaged in collection of NTFP and making of Tribal Art & Handicraft Products for their livelihood so as to ensure better remunerative price for their products as well as for the socio-economic betterment through Self Help Groups, Empanelled NGOs, State level Tribal Development Corporations, Forest Development Corporations for undertaking marketing development of the tribal products.
  • It also organizes exhibitions like National Tribal Craft Expo called “Aadi Mahotsav” etc. in which it promotes and markets tribal products.

2.Smart India Hackathon 2018
Source: PIB

All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) under the aegis of Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) is organizing Smart India Hackathon 2018.

  • Smart India Hackathon 2018 is a non-stop digital product development competition, where problems are posed to technology students for innovative solutions. It will harnesses creativity & expertise of students and sparks institute-level hackathons.
  • It builds funnel for ‘Startup India’ campaign and crowdsources solutions for improving governance and quality of life. It also provides opportunity to citizens to provide innovative solutions to India’s daunting problems
  • Smart India Hackathon 2018 would be the second massive scale hackathon initiative in India following Smart India Hackathon 2017.
  • Winners stand to get cash prizes and a chance to be part of the NASSCOM’s 10,000 Startups program.

3.ISA and India sign the Host Country Agreement today – ISA a juridical personality now
Source: PIB

The International Solar Alliance (ISA) and the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA), signed the Host Country Agreement. The Agreement will give ISA a juridical personality and gives it power to contract, to acquire and dispose off movable and immovable properties, to institute and defend legal proceedings.

Under this agreement, ISA shall enjoy such privileges, applicable tax concessions and immunities as are necessary for ISA’s Headquarter to independently discharge its function and programmes. ISA shall be deriving its status, privileges and immunities as per Article 10 of Framework Agreement.

Background:

  • The International Solar Alliance is an initiative jointly launched by the Prime Minister of India and President of France on 30th November 2015 at Paris, in the presence of the Secretary General of the UN, on the side lines of COP21 UN Climate Change Conference.
  • The main objective of ISA is to undertake joint efforts required to reduce the cost of finance and the cost of technology, mobilize more than US $ 1000 billion of investments needed by 2030 for massive deployment of solar energy, and pave the way for future technologies adapted to the needs of 121 countries lying fully or partially between the Tropics.
  • ISA has presently four ongoing programmes: Scaling Solar Applications for Agricultural Use, Affordable Finance at Scale, Scaling Solar Mini Grids and Scaling Solar Rooftop catering to the needs of solar energy in specific areas.
  • The Framework Agreement coming into force on 6th December 2017, the ISA became the first international intergovernmental treaty based organization to be headquartered in India. ISA celebrated its founding day on 11th March, 2018.

4.‘National Conference on Down Syndrome’
Source: PIB

A’ National Conference on Down Syndrome’ was organised by the National Trust under Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment.

  • Down Syndrome is a chromosomal condition associated with intellectual and learning disabilities. Delayed development and behavioural problems are often reported in children with it.
  • On 19th December 2011, the United Nations General Assembly declared to observe 21st March as World Down Syndrome Day (WDSD) and since then every year, this day is officially observed by UN to create awareness about people with Down Syndrome.

The objective of this conference was to provide excellent opportunities to the parents to obtain information about latest development in education and skilling and inclusive living of persons with Down syndrome.

The National Trust is a statutory body set up by an Act of Parliament for the Welfare of Persons with Autism, Cerebral Palsy, Mental Retardation and Multiple Disabilities under the Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities (DEPwD), Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment. Since, the inception, the National Trust has been running various schemes and programmes for the welfare of these persons with disabilities like creating awareness amongst the general public by organizing various workshops, seminars and conferences on these disabilities and the capabilities of such persons.

5.U.S., India hold naval training
Source: The Hindu

Indian Navy’s Talwar class frigate INS Tarkash has carried out a “greeting and training” exercise with the U.S. Navy’s Theodore Roosevelt Carrier Strike Group (TRCSG).The TRCSG was until now involved in operations against the Islamic State in the Arabian Gulf

INS Tarkash sailed information with aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt , guided-missile destroyer USS Preble (DDG 88) and other ships

INS Tarkash:

  • INS Tarkash (F50) is the fifth Talwar-class frigate constructed for the Indian Navy. She is part of the second batch of Talwar-class frigates ordered by the Indian Navy
  • She was built at the Yantar shipyard in Kaliningrad, Russia
  • She was commissioned to Navy service on 9 November 2012 at Kaliningrad and joined the Western Naval Command on 27 December 2012

Talwar-class frigate :

  • The Talwar-class frigates or Project 11356 are a class of guided missile frigates designed and built by Russia for the Indian Navy
  • The Talwar-class guided missile frigates are the improved versions of the Krivak III-class (Project 1135) frigates used by the Russian Coast Guard
  • The design has been further developed as the Admiral Grigorovich-class frigate for the Russian Navy
  • Six ships were built in two batches between 1999 and 2013.

6.U.S. expels 60 Russians, shuts consulate in Seattle
Source: The Hindu

The U.S. on Monday expelled 60 Russian officials and ordered the closure of the consulate in Seattle, as ties between the nuclear powers continue to deteriorate. Of the 60 being asked to leave, 48 are posted at the Russian embassy and 12 are at the Russian mission to the United Nations in New York. U.S. administration officials said the officials and their families have been given seven days to leave the U.S.

  • Expression of solidarity by U.S towards its NATO ally, i.e. UK: In response to Russia’s use of a military-grade chemical weapon on the soil of the United Kingdom against ex-Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter on March 4
  • Consulate’s proximity to base:Due to its proximity to one of U.S submarine bases and Boeing

Russia is required to close the consulate by April 2

7.SC to examine polygamy in Muslim marriage
Source: The Hindu

  • Seven months after it declared instant triple talaq unconstitutional, the Supreme Court decided to look into the constitutional validity of the prevalent practices of polygamy, ‘nikah halala’, ‘nikah mutah’ and ‘nikah misyar’ in the Muslim community.
  • A Bench, headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra, issued notices to the Centre and the Law Ministry on a bunch of petitions that have challenged the practices claiming they degrade women to a position inferior to that of men.
  • The Bench, also comprising Justices A.M. Khanwilkar and D.Y. Chandrachud, agreed to set up a five-judge Constitution Bench that will decide whether certain sections of the Muslim Personal Law (Shariat) Application Act go against the Constitution.
  • In its landmark verdict of August 2017, which had struck down instant triple talaq, the court had kept open the issue of polygamy, ‘nikah halala’, ‘nikah mutah’ and ‘nikah misyar.’
  • The petition said the Muslim Personal Law allows a man to marry up to four wives, which it said “treats women as men’s chattel, and reduces their status to an object of desire to be possessed by men.”

8.India, China plan FTA breakthrough
Source: The Hindu

Commerce Minister Suresh Prabhu and his Chinese counterpart, Zhong Shan, met for the first high-level contact between both sides that decided to “reset” their ties this year in the run-up to a Xi-Modi summit meeting in China at the 11th meeting of the India-China Joint Group on Economic Relations, Trade, Science and Technology (JEG)

Growth in bilateral trade:In 2017, the bilateral trade reached $84.4 billion, registering a growth of 20.3% from the year before and a record high

Import with China increased:China’s import from India soared by 40%, helping ease the bilateral trade imbalance

Consensus Reached in the meeting:

  • Mutual co-operation on OBOR and Indian development initiatives: The two sides would jointly promote the synergy between China’s Belt and Road initiative and India’s development strategies, including the “15-year Development Agenda”, “Make in India” and “Digital India” to deepen mutually-beneficial cooperation and share development experience
  • Promotion of Indian exports to China: The two sides would promote India’s exports to China so as to address the trade imbalance between the two countries
  • Special Working Group: The two sides agreed to set up a special working group to draw a road map for developing two-way trade
  • RCEP agreement:Both sides would demonstrate flexibility to reach at an early date a modern, comprehensive and mutually beneficial RCEP agreement of high standards.

9.Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS)
Source: The Hindu

NASA has partnered with private space launching company SpaceX to launch Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) to search for exoplanets using the transit method.

TESS is designed to carry out first spaceborne all-sky transiting exoplanet survey. It is equipped with four wide-angle telescopes and associated charge-coupled device (CCD) detectors.

It is planned to be launched in April 2018 on board of SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket from the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.

 Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS):

  • The primary mission objective of TESS is to survey stars near Earth for transiting exoplanets over two-year period. It will use array of wide-field cameras to perform all-sky survey.
  • It will create catalog of thousands of exoplanet candidates using transit photometry method. It will provide prime targets for further characterization by James Webb Space Telescope, as well as other large ground-based and space-based telescopes of the future.
  • With TESS, it will be possible to study mass, size,density and orbit of large cohort of small planets, including sample of rocky worlds in habitable zones (goldilocks zone) of their host stars. This will reveal whether planets are rocky (like Earth), gas or jovian giants (like Jupiter) or something even more unusual.

10.India-based Neutrino Observatory receives nod from environmental ministry
Source: The Hindu

In a letter addressed to INO project director VM Datar, the director of MoEF&CC Kushal Vashist said that as per the EAC recommendations, the ministry hereby accords environmental clearance to the neutrino project at Pottipuram village in Uthamapalayam taluk in Theni district promoted by the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, under the provisions of the EIA Notification, 2006 and amendments/circulars issued thereon.

Neutrino:

  • It is an electrically neutral, weakly interacting elementary subatomic particle with half-integer spin. It belongs to the lepton family.
  • There are three types of neutrinos: electron neutrinos (ve), muon neutrinos(vu) and tau neutrinos(vT)differing in terms of mass.

India-based Neutrino Observatory (INO) project:

  • It is an underground project, jointly supported by the Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) and the Department of Science and Technology (DST).
  • It will comprise a complex of caverns – the main cavern, which will house detector which is 130 metre long, 26 metres wide and 30 metre high.
  • Along with main cavern, there will be two smaller caverns that will be used for setting up experiments for neutrino double detector and dark matters. This underground complex will be approached by a 2-kms long tunnel.
  • It will host experiments such as the the neutrino-less double beta decay and the search for dark matter.
  • It also involves Inter-Institutional Centre for High Energy Physics (IICHEP) and Iron Calorimeter Detector (ICAL).
  • Along with project, government has also approved the construction of a 50,000 tonne magnetised iron calorimeter detector (ICAL). It will study the properties of the neutrino, in particular the mass hierarchy among different types of neutrino.



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