30, September 2016

1.What is a surgical strike?

Source: The Hindu

Surgical strike is a pre-emptive attack on a specific target with an aim to neutralize the enemy with minimum collateral damage.

The Indian Army’s surgical strikes against terrorists in Pakistan’s territory mark a definitive shift to deal with threats targeting “launch pads” for terrorists across the Line of Control (LoC).

key facts:

  • The operations were focused to ensure that these terrorists do not succeed in endangering lives of citizens in our country.
  • During the counter-terrorist operations, significant casualties have been caused to the terrorists and those who were trying to support them. The operations have since ceased.
  • The government has said that the Indian armed forces are fully prepared to deal with any contingency which may arise.

The “surgical strikes” could force militants across the LoC to shift their sanctuaries further back into Pakistani territory, bolstering the image of Indian forces as a capable striking power.

Significance of surgical strikes:

Surgical strikes gain importance in India’s case as Pakistan has repeatedly shown its intention to use tactical nuclear weapons on Indian Forces, even risking the collateral damage to its own troops, to stop Indian military operations. Therefore, the covert surgical strikes are a powerful weapon for the Indian armed forces to carry out the necessary dirty work while ensuring the status-quo between the opposing armies on the LoC.

  1. Trilateral Meet between India, Afghanistan and Iran (Ministry of Road Transport & Highways)

Source: PIB

Trilateral Agreement on Establishment of International Transport and Transit Corridor i.e. Chabahar Agreement.

Chabar port:

It is located on the Makran coast, Chabahar in southeastern Iran. Its location lies in the Gulf of Oman. This coast is a relatively underdeveloped free trade and industrial zone, especially when compared to the sprawling port of Bandar Abbas further west. Also, it is the only Iranian port with direct access to the ocean.

Objectives:

  • Chabahar as a hub for regional connectivity and their commitment to work towards
  • The project will open a new gateway for development of India, Iran and Afghanistan by boosting regional connectivity and trade.
  • Development of Ports, Road and Rail connectivity will open up new opportunities leading to new jobs and prosperity in all three countries.
  • Trade is recognized as driving economic growth and development, the implementation of the Agreement would provide the eco-system for the private sector to seize the business opportunities emerging due to substantial reduction of logistic costs for trade among the three countries.

3.Vayoshreshtha Samman (Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment)

Source: PIB

National Awards are intended to show case the Government’s concern for senior citizens and its commitment towards them with the aim of strengthening their legitimate place in the society.

It is also intended to provide an opportunity to the younger generation to understand the contribution of the elderly in building of the society and the nation.

 The awards are intended to be conferred on eminent senior citizens and institutions involved in rendering distinguished services for the cause of elderly persons especially indigent senior citizens.

4.Making books accessible to all

Source: The Hindu

India, leading the way

The Marrakesh Treaty represents a significant step towards making books available to everyone, by easing the creation and transfer across national boundaries of texts in accessible formats such as Braille, audio, or large print.

With access to information and educational materials, blindness need no longer be a barrier to learning, employment and full participation in society.

Accessible India Campaign:

 ‘Accessible India Campaign’ has provided a nationwide flagship campaign for universal access for people with disabilities.

And India has begun implementation of the Marrakesh Treaty through a multi-stakeholder approach, which includes collaboration among key players such as government ministries, local champions like the DAISY Forum of India, and the private sector.

 This led to the India’s largest collection of online accessible books called “Sugamya Pustakalaya”, which counts 2,00,000 volumes.

Building an accessible book bank

The World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO), a United Nations organisation based in Geneva, administers the Marrakesh Treaty and leads an alliance of private and public partners known as the Accessible Books Consortium (ABC), which was established in June 2014 to support the goals of the treaty.

WIPO looks forward to many more countries implementing the Marrakesh Treaty so that print-disabled people around the world can benefit from the new avenues to access now available to Indians.

5.IMF to disburse $102 million to Pakistan

Source: The Hindu

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) Executive Board has completed the twelfth and final review of Pakistan’s three-year economic reform program supported by an Extended Fund Facility (EFF) arrangement.

The Board’s decision enables the immediate disbursement of the final tranche in an amount equivalent to the SDR 73 million in the IMF currency or about $102.1 million.

The go-ahead follows the approval on September 4, 2013, by the Executive Board of the 36-month extended arrangement under the EFF in the amount of SDR 4.393 billion (about $6.15 billion, or 216% of Pakistan’s current quota at the IMF).

What is Extended Fund Facility (EFF) arrangement?

It is an IMF lending facility to help members with balance of payments problems that need an adjustment period longer than that provided for under a standby arrangement.

A country requesting an extended fund facility outlines its objectives and policies for the period of the arrangement, usually about three years, and each year presents a detailed statement of the measures it plans over the next 12 months.

What is the EFF designed for?

The EFF was established to provide assistance to countries:

  • Experiencing serious payments imbalances because of structural impediments; or
  • characterized by slow growth and an inherently weak balance of payments position.

The EFF provides assistance in support of comprehensive programs that include policies of the scope and character required to correct structural imbalances over an extended period.

6.India’s TB burden- statistics

Source: The Hindu

  • According to the WHO, India shoulders 71,000 multi-drug resistant tuberculosis patients
  • Nearly 10 per cent of all MDR-TB patients have extensive or XDR-TB
  • XDR-TB: Resistant to any fluoroquinolone, and at least one of three second-line injectable drugs (capreomycin, kanamycin and amikacin), in addition to multidrug resistance
  • India has about 2,300 XDR-TB patients & only 36 are currently on the Govt’s access programme.

Bedaquiline:

  • Considered to be the most effective treatment for multi-drug resistant tuberculosis
  • Used exclusively to treat patients who have failed to respond to second-line anti-TB medicines
  • India had received a donation of 300 doses from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), with another batch of 300 doses to be donated next year
  • The drug was to be introduced in six hospitals in Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Ahmedabad and Guwahati and later be introduced in 104 districts in five States.

 



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