28 ,October 2017

National Institute of Solar Energy (NISE) set up under the administrative control of Ministry of New & Renewable Energy (MNRE) at Gwalpahari Village, Distt. Gurgaon (Haryana).

Indian Railway’s First set of Solar Power Plant of 5MW capacity launched:

  • Indian Railway’s first set of solar plants with total capacity of 5 megawatt peak (MWp) was launched on roof tops of Hazrat Nizamuddin, New Delhi, Anand Vihar and Delhi railway stations.
  • This project was launched under ambitious National Solar Mission in which Indian Railways plans to commission 1000 MWp solar plants across its network.
  • The first set of solar plant will generate 76.5 lakh units of solar power cumulatively per year and will meet about 30% of energy requirement of these  stations.
  • The project was awarded in 2016 to the developer under the Public Private Partnership (PPP) model.The developer will maintain it for 25 years and Railways will only pay energy consumed at Rs 4.14 per unit.

The Infantry Day in observed every year in India on 27 October to commemorate supreme sacrifices made by Indian Army’s infantry against Pakistan in Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) in 1947. It was first infantry action by Indian Army after independence. Observance of the day also commemorates infantry’s exceptional courage and dedicated service to nation.

Burundi on Friday became the First ever nation to leave the International Criminal Court(ICC), the world’s only permanent war crimes tribunal. International Criminal Court, set up in July 2002, headquartered at Hague, Netherlands to prosecute those behind the world’s worst atrocities.

Australian court disqualifies Barnaby Joyce, deputy PM for dual citizenship. Critics have condemned the outdated constitutional ban saying half the people are immigrants or have an overseas-born parent. Critics argued for exemption from the ban because he had not voluntarily acquired or retained citizenship of another country.

1.International Conference on Green Initiatives & Railway Electrification
Source : PIB

Indian Railways shall lead the world by achieving 100 % electrification  with “an incentive cum penalty” framework scheme to transform Indian Railways truly into a world class, safe and modern transporter.

  • Transport sector is the biggest consumer of energy, especially railway as the single largest consumer with share of about 2% of National energy consumption.
  • Rail being the most energy efficient mode of transport is further working to change the energy mix towards greener sources
  • Electrification is a powerful measure to achieve cost effectiveness.
  • It improves mobility by use of high power energy efficient Locomotives, facilitate shift of traffic from road to rail and also to reduce carbon footprints. In addition electrification will also reduce traction energy bill substantially

 Objective:

  • Bring green power project developers and other stakeholders on a common platform for making Indian Railways (IR) an efficient and Greener mode of transport
  • Green initiatives including use of renewable energy, shift towards electric traction, development of new locomotive technology, high speed rail traction system and development in generation of Solar/Wind power as well as use of energy in efficient ways.

Action Plan:

  • Electrification of Railway Tracks
  • Harnessing Renewable Energy on Indian Railways to reduce energy cost and carbon footprints
  • Production of Energy Efficient High Horsepower Locomotives
  • Head On Generation (HOG) – electrical loads of passenger coaches would be fed directly from electric power drawn by locomotive from grid.

About IREE:

Institution of Railways Electrical Engineer (IREE) registered at Nasik in 1995 is a professional body of Railway Electrical Engineers. It is a technical body under the auspices of Ministry of Railways sharing knowledge and experience of various Railway engineers and others connected with Electrical Engineering.

2.India has the second highest unvaccinated children for measles in world
Source :ET

According to a report by the the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the United Nations Foundation, UNICEF and the World Health Organization (WHO), around 20.8 million children across the world are still missing their first measles vaccine dose

More than half these unvaccinated children live in six countries
(1) 
Nigeria (3.3 million), (2) India (2.9 million), (3) Pakistan (2.0 million), (4) Indonesia (1.2 million), (5) Ethiopia (0.9 million), and (6) Democratic Republic of the Congo (0.7 million)

India’s situation

India has the second highest population of children who haven’t been vaccinated against measles.It happened despite the government’s focused campaign to check the highly contagious infection

Measles

  • Measles is a highly contagious infection caused by the measles virus
  • Initial signs and symptoms typically include fever, often greater than 40 °C (104.0 °F), cough, runny nose, and inflamed eyes
  • Two or three days after the start of symptoms, small white spots may form inside the mouth, known as Koplik’s spots.
  • A red, flat rash which usually starts on the face and then spreads to the rest of the body typically begins three to five days after the start of symptoms.
  • Symptoms usually develop 10–12 days after exposure to an infected person and last 7–10 days.[5][6] Complications occur in about 30% and may include diarrhea, blindness, inflammation of the brain, and pneumonia among others
  • Rubella (German measles) and roseola are different diseases.

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3.Scientists link new virus to kala-azar
Source: The Hindu

Researchers have stumbled upon tantalizing evidence of an unknown virus that may be responsible for the persistence of kala-azar or visceral leishmaniasis.

Historically, the parasite Leishmania donovani is believed to be responsible for the dreaded infection. People get infected when bitten by an insect called the sandfly, which harbours the disease-causing parasite.

  • New discovery: a group of scientists from West Bengal and Uttar Pradesh said that another parasite- Leptomonas seymouri may also be involved in the spreads of the disease.
  • The fact is still not clear: Scientists are still not clear how the parasites cause the infection and how they manage to hide within the body.

Endemic to subcontinent

  • Kala-azar is endemic to the Indian subcontinent in 119 districts in four countries (Bangladesh, Bhutan, India and Nepal)
  • India itself accounts for half the global burden of the disease.
  • If untreated, kala-azar can kill within two years of the onset of the ailment, though the availability of a range of drugs has meant that less than one in 1,000 now succumbs to the disease.

About Kala-azar:

  • Visceral leishmaniasis (VL), also known as kala-azar, black fever, and Dumdum fever, is the most severe form of leishmaniasis and, without proper diagnosis and treatment, is associated with high fatality.
  • Leishmaniasis is a disease caused by protozoan parasites of the Leishmania genus.
  • The parasite migrates to the internal organs such as the liver, spleen (hence “visceral”), and bone marrow, and, if left untreated, will almost always result in the death of the host.
  • Signs and symptoms include fever, weight loss, fatigue, anemia, and substantial swelling of the liver and spleen.
  • This disease is the second-largest parasitic killer in the world (after malaria), responsible for an estimated 200,000 to 400,000 infections each year worldwide.

4.Air programme on dangers of Blue Whale game
Source: The Hindu

With alarming cases of suicides because of the recent Blue Whale Game, the Supreme Court has ordered educational programmes about the dangers of the online. It is to be a public broadcasted through Doordarshan.

What is the Blue Whale game or Blue Whale Challenge?

  • The Blue Whale game or Blue Whale Challenge is believed to be a suicide game wherein a group of administrators or a certain curator gives a participant a task to complete daily.
  • It is for a period of 50 days.
  • The final of which is the participant committing suicide.
  • Participants are expected to share photos of the challenges/tasks completed by them.

Consequences of the game:

  • The game leads to complete a series of dark challenges.
  • For example, self-harming, and ultimately goading the youngster to commit suicide.
  • The game leaves vulnerable children vulnerable children at risk of
  • Cyberbullying: Cyberbullying or cyberharassment is a form of bullying or harassment using electronic forms of contact.
  • Online shaming: Online shaming is a form of Internet vigilantism in which targets are publicly humiliated using technology like social and new media.

What is being done?

  • The Supreme Court directed public broadcaster Doordarshan to conceive a cautionary and educational programme about the dangers of the online game which goads players, mostly students, to commit suicide.
  • A Bench gave the public broadcaster a week’s time to prepare the programme and air it on prime time.
  • The idea behind the programme is to make parents and children aware of the dangers of online games like Blue Whale.
  • Many state governments and schools put out a list of guidelines to raise awareness about the twisted game and also urged parents to keep a strict check on their children’s online activities

What are the other measures to be taken?

  • Schools as well as police should issue advisories to parents urging them to be vigilant.
  • There must be firewalls against potentially deadly and violent online games.
  • The internet safety organisations across the world should have a strict surveillance over such games which are harmful in any means.
  • The organisations should provide general advice to parents and educators on suicide prevention, mental health awareness, and online safety.

 

5.Arctic sea ice waning faster than predicted, says study
Source: The Hindu

Highlights of the study by University of Calgary, Canada:

  • Arctic sea ice, a key indicator of climate change, could be dwindling faster than predicted.
  • Research undertaken by the Cryosphere Climate Research Group under the Department of Geography at the university has found that satellite measurements over the years have overestimated the thickness of Arctic sea ice by as much as 25% because of the presence of salty snow.

Impacts:

  • Dwindling ice cover hastens the warming of oceans, and has an impact on weather phenomena like the El Nino that influences the Asian monsoon.
  • The thinning ice would make it difficult for animals like polar bears and seals and organisms like phytoplankton to survive

About Cryosphere:

  • There are places on Earth that are so cold that water is frozen solid.
  • These areas of snow or ice, which are subject to temperatures below 32°F for at least part of the year, compose the cryosphere.
  • The term “cryosphere” comes from the Greek word, “krios,” which means cold.
  • Ice and snow on land are one part of the cryosphere. This includes the largest parts of the cryosphere, the continental ice sheets found in Greenland and Antarctica, as well as ice caps, glaciers, and areas of snow and permafrost. When continental ice flows out from land and to the sea surface, we get shelf ice.
  • The other part of the cryosphere is ice that is found in water. This includes frozen parts of the ocean, such as waters surrounding Antarctica and the Arctic. It also includes frozen rivers and lakes, which mainly occur in polar areas.
  • The components of the cryosphere play an important role in the Earth’s climate. Snow and ice reflect heat from the sun, helping to regulate our planet’s temperature. Because polar regions are some of the most sensitive to climate shifts, the cryosphere may be one of the first places where scientists are able to identify global changes in climate.

6.‘Decision on removal of fishing subsidies certain in WTO’s Dec. meet’
Source: The Hindu

WTO’s Ministerial Conference meeting at Buenos Aires (Argentina)to be held in December 2017. Mukhisa Kituyi, Secretary-General, UN Conference on Trade and Development

  • Addressing government incentives that drive unsustainable fisheries practices is not just an environmental imperative.
  • Government subsidies in the fisheries sector can have severe negative social and economic impacts for the most vulnerable countries and communities.
  • Subsidies Weaken The Sustainability Of Global Fisheries While Increasing Inequality Among Fishers
  • Harmful fishing subsidies (globally) that contribute to overfishing are estimated to be as high as $35 billion.

Other issues:

  • Permanent solution to the issue of public stockholding for food security purposes’ would be a part of the outcomes
  • ‘No’ to e-commerce talks as many developing countries are not ready to allow e-commerce to be negotiated. They want to ensure that e-commerce is an enabler for development, without going into rule-making at the WTO

7.Centre keen on having court administrators
Source: The Hindu

The Union Law Minister has written to the Chief Justices of all the High Courts to seek their views on developing a permanent cadre of administrators for court management and administration.

  • The move is aimed at allowing the judiciary to devote more time on judicial work and free them from administrative, managerial and financial work.
  • Tasks assigned: these managers are meant to assist the Registrars in High Courts and Judges in District Courts in administrative tasks.

Present Scenario: Judges overburdened:

  • The situation is particularly bad in lower judiciary where judges are burdened with substantial administrative work.
  • Key Fact: As per the Indian Judiciary Annual Report 2016, pendency of cases across district courts is a staggering 2.81 crores and as many as 5,000 judges’ posts are vacant.
  • Administrative work only added to the workload of existing judges.

13th Finance Commission recommendations: creation of the post of Court Managers in every district court and High Court.

Problems associated with creation of separate posts: Recruitment on contract basis, low remuneration package, reluctance on the part of the judiciary to accept Court Managers to participate in the judicial process have been identified as some of the reasons for failure to attract suitable candidates.

8.Spain sacks Catalonia’s government
Source: The Hindu

The Catalan parliament had voted to make a unilateral declaration of independence

  • The Madrid government sacked Catalonia’s President and dismissed its parliament on October 27, hours after the region declared itself an independent nation.
  • Central government ministries will take over the Catalan administration.
  • A new regional election will be held in Catalonia on December 21.
  • Several European countries, including France and Germany, and the United States also rejected the independence declaration and said they supported Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy’s efforts to preserve Spain’s unity.

Catalonia is one of Spain’s most prosperous regions and already has a high degree of autonomy. But it has a series of historic grievances, exacerbated during the 1939-1975 Franco dictatorship, when its culture and politics were suppressed.

Catalonia held an Independent referendum on Oct. 1, 2017 which was declared illegal by Madrid and marred by heavy-handed national police tactics to stop it.

9.SC questions Centre on judicial posts
Source: The Hindu

SC questions:

  • Judicial appointments to the Supreme Court and the high courts.
  • Six of the 24 high courts have been without regular Chief Justices for months.
  • Key Fact: Judicial vacancies continue to be a formidable problem across the 24 high courts. Out of an approved total strength of 1079 high court judges, there are 387 vacancies as of October 1, 2017.

Background Information:

  • The Constitution Bench’s historic decision, in October 2015: strike down the government’s National Judicial Appointments Commission (NJAC) law. The NJAC law had given politicians an equal say in judicial appointments to constitutional courts.
  • December 2015: five-judge Constitution Bench, tasked the Centre with the drafting and finalisation of the MoP (Memorandum of Procedure).
  • Decisions taken: Over a year and 10 months after a Constitution Bench placed its faith in the government to iron out the dos and don’ts of judicial appointments to the Supreme Court and the high courts, the Centre is yet to deliver.

The Supreme Court wants to know the reasons :

  • The Supreme Court issued notice to the Attorney-General of India, to explain why the finalisation of the Memorandum of Procedure (MoP) for appointment of judges to the Supreme Court and the high courts continues to “linger”.
  • The Supreme Court also wants Attorney General, to address it on the delay in appointment of “regular” Chief Justices to various high courts.
  • The apex court underlined that the “arrangement” of Acting Chief Justices in high courts should not continue for more than a month.

Amicus curiae: An amicus curiae (literally, “friend of the court”) is someone who is not a party to a case and is not solicited by a party, but who assists a court by offering information that bears on the case. The decision on whether to admit the information lies at the discretion of the court.


10.Centre can now shift troops from Bengal
Source: The Hindu

The Union Government had appealed to the Supreme Court against a recent Calcutta High Court order restraining it from withdrawing troops deployed in the two districts (Darjeeling and Kalimpong) of West Bengal.

Supreme Court observation:

  • “Law and order is your problem,” the Supreme Court told the Mamata government.
  • It allowed the Centre to withdraw seven companies of the Central police forces stationed in the restive Darjeeling and Kalimpong districts of West Bengal for deployment in poll-bound States.
  • Himachal Pradesh and Gujarat go to the polls in November and December.
  • The Supreme Court ordered to withdraw seven companies of the Central police forces from the two districts, while eight of the total 15 deployed there stay back.
  • Why troops were deployed? The districts of Darjeeling and Kalimpong, had witnessed a spate of violence following the resurgence of the Gorkhaland movement.

Calcutta High Court orders:

  • Calcutta High Court had ordered Center not to withdraw troops deployed in the two districts.

Centers argument:

  • If all 24 High Courts start dictating to us where and where not to deploy troops, there will be utter confusion. Deployment of troops is the executive’s exclusive domain.

Proceedings stayed in Calcutta High Court:

  • The Supreme Court stayed the proceedings in the Calcutta High Court and recorded that the Supreme Court would comprehensively hear the issue.
  • The Supreme Court would decide on two issues: whether courts can intervene in the placement of troops; and whether courts can intervene with the government in the placement of forces in order to protect the lives of citizens.

11.Tokyo for quadrilateral talks
Source: The Hindu

Japanese Foreign Minister declared that Tokyo would call for a quadrilateral dialogue with Australia, India and the U.S.

The Japanese Foreign Ministry’s reaction to the quadrilateral came days after the re-election of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, indicating that the new government is expected to push for overhauling of the post-World War strategic doctrine of Japan.

India’s viewpoint

  • The External Affairs Ministry said India is open to working with like-minded countries on issues that advance our interests and promote our viewpoint. For example, India did the trilateral meeting with Russia and China on the topic of Asia-Pacific last year and India-Sri Lanka-Maldives trilateral on security matter.
  • It also indicated that such regional partnerships will have to suit Indian interests and as far as she was concerned it has an open mind to cooperate with countries with convergence but obviously on an agenda which is relevant to it.
  • The government said that it was not alarmed about the regional situation especially in the context of reports about continued Chinese military build-up in the Doklam region.
  • And also, it reiterated that there are no new developments at the face-off site and its vicinity since the August 28 disengagement.
  • India was willing to work with Japan and USA.
  • According to the Indian Foreign Secretary, U.S. investments in the power sector of Nepal will be in Indian interest and it will lead to regionalism growing to higher comfort levels. Having Japanese or the Americans in room will be more helpful.

Indications of regional partnership between India and Japan came also during the earlier visit of Japanese PM, with both sides indicating willingness to manage the maritime domain from Indian Ocean and the Asia-Pacific zone.

12.Seven shortlisted companies given ‘Letters of Intent’ for 14 monuments under ‘Adopt a Heritage Scheme’ of Ministry of Tourism
Source: PIB

Seven shortlisted companies were given ‘Letters of Intent’ for fourteen monuments under ‘Adopt a Heritage Scheme’ of Ministry of Tourism at the closing ceremony of ‘Paryatan Parv’ at Rajpath Lawns, New Delhi yesterday. These companies will be the future ‘Monument Mitras’ who would associate pride with their CSR activities.

Adopt a Heritage Scheme (Apni Dharohar Apni Pehchan Project):

The ‘Adopt a Heritage Scheme’ of Ministry of Tourism was launched on World Tourism Day i.e. 27th September, 2017 by the President of India.  Thereafter, Ministry of Tourism invited Private Sector Companies, Public Sector Companies and Corporate individuals to adopt the sites and to take up the responsibility for making our heritage and tourism more sustainable through conservation and development.

This scheme is a unique endeavour of Ministry of Tourism in close collaboration with Ministry of Culture and Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) which envisages developing monuments, heritage and tourist sites across India and making them tourist friendly to enhance their tourism potential and cultural importance, in a planned and phased manner.

Significance:

The project primarily focuses on development and maintenance of world-class tourist infrastructure and amenities which includes basic civic amenities and advanced amenities like Cleanliness, Public Conveniences, Ease of access, secure environment, illumination and night viewing facilities for an overall inclusive tourist experience that will result in more footfall from both domestic and foreign tourists.

Adopted Monuments are:

  • Jantar Mantar, Delhi.
  • Sun Temple, Konark
  • Raja Rani Temple, Bhubaneshwar
  • Ratnagiri Monuments, Jajpur, Odisha
  • Hampi, Karnataka
  • Leh Palace, Jammu & Kashmir
  • Qutub Minar, Delhi
  • Ajanta Caves, Maharashtra
  • Mattancherry Palace Museum, Kochi
  • Safdarjung Tomb, Delhi
  • Gangotri Temple Area and Trail to Gaumukh
  • Mt. StokKangri, Laddakh, Jammu and Kashmir
  • Agrasen ki Baoli, Delhi
  • Purana Quila, Delhi.

 



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