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Current Affairs for TNPSC Group 2A, Group 4 Services Exam 2017-18 CCSE IV

 


A report on one year of - Pradhan Mantri Awaas Yojana- Gramin 

Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana-Gramin, under which an aim of completing 1 crore new houses by 31st March 2019 was formed, was inaugurated on November 20, 2016 from Agra. Of this aim, 51 lakh houses are to be finished by March 31st, 2018.
To complete the target of 51 lakh houses under Pradhan Mantri Gramin Awaas Yojana by March 2018, the Ministry of Rural Development, in collaboration with the State Governments, has taken various steps, including setting a monthly target for houses finishing.

Steps Taken

·         To construct the quality houses at a desired time, the plan has been helped by paying directly into the beneficiary account via IT-DBT platform.

·         Rural Mason Trainings have been planned to facilitate the availability of trained masons in the rural areas to make surety of good quality of construction.

·         IT platforms and Space technology are being utilized to monitor whole cycle of house construction, right from identification of beneficiary to building stages of houses to accomplishment and each stage is being geo-tagged.

·         States have taken sufficient steps to ensure continuous availability of building material at fair-minded prices so that the speed and quality of construction are not adversely affected.

Work in Progress

·         Under the PMAY-G, the aim for completion of 10 lakh houses by November 2017 has been attained on 29th November 2017, i.e. earlier than the set date for completion of 10 lakh houses.

·         It is believed that the target for completing 1 crore new houses by 31st March 2019 can be attained as next target to build 15 lakh houses will be completed by 31 December 2017; 25 lakh houses by 31st January, 2018; 35 lakh houses by 28th February, 2018 and 51 lakh houses by 31st March, 2018 respectively.

Detailed guidelines on recall of food products issued by - FSSAI

The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India- FSSAI, Food safety regulator, talked to the companies to frame an adequate plan to recall food products from markets if found unsafe. It also told the companies to notify the authority about the same.
The FSSAI delivered the guidelines on recalling of food products. The motive of these guidelines is to help food business operators outline a proper recall plan and impose them when the required.
The food business operators shall present their detailed recall plan to the FSSAI at the time of recall being carried out. FBOs need to set up a recall management group, notify the regulator, identify all products to be recalled, detain and separate products to be recalled which are in the company’s control except verifying the effectiveness of the recall.

Food recalls

·         Food recalls are the accurate method for correcting marketed food products and their labeling that violate the laws administered by the intended authority.

·         Recall of food product is to withdraw or accurate food products from the market during any stage of the food chain, including that possessed by the buyers, which may pose a threat to the public health or food that breach the Act, or the rules or regulations made there-under.

Food recalls Guidelines-

·         The recovered product, via this process, must be placed in an area which is placed away from any other food product. Right records are to be kept about the amount of recuperated product and the batch codes of the product recuperated.

·         After recovery, products may be re-processed before sending to the market if it is fit for human use or the product will be demolished.

·         The action to be taken on the taken-back food product should be allowed by the competent Authority.

·         The companies, which have manufactured or processed unsafe products, should take actions so that the need for such recalls does not happen again in future.

More about FSSAI

·         FSSAI releases science-based standards for food products and control their manufacture, storage, distribution, sale and import to make sure availability of safe and healthy food to 130 crore residents of the Nation.

·         The authority is also accountable for creating an information network across the nation so that the public, users, etc receive quick, trusted and right information about food safety and hygiene and concerned issues.

 

Niti Aayog to set up special cell for women entrepreneurs, declared on - 30th November 2017

Niti Aayog has declared that it would be setting up women's cell to support women entrepreneurs.
The declaration was done by Niti Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant along with Telangana IT Minister K Taraka Ramarao during the finalization of the Global Entrepreneurship Summit in Hyderabad on 30th November 2017. Talking on the occasion, Kant told that the centre will extend help to women start-ups and entrepreneurs.

Key Highlights

·         The cell will be handholding women entrepreneurs on issues such as financing and intellectual properties.

·         It will act as a catalyst and facilitator for women start-ups that are applicable and bankable.

·         It will also minutely work with the Telangana State Government’s T-hub.

·         Atal Tinkering labs will be specially structured at schools that women own to encourage innovation and instill entrepreneurship among women at starting stage under the Atal Innovation Mission.

·         The nominated schools will be provided with robots and 3D printers.

·         Besides this, the Telangana state government also announced a series of measures to encourage women entrepreneurship in the state:

·         The Telangana State government has declared setting up of a separate We-Hub, Women Entrepreneurs Hub, to support their startups on the lines of T-Hub, which is the nation’s largest technology incubator. The Atal Innovation Mission would associate with the state government for the WE-Hub.

·         The state’s government has also declared setting up of a Technology Fund with a corpus of Rs 15 crore especially for women entrepreneurs. The women entrepreneurs would be able to get Rs 25 lakh to Rs 1 crore under the fund.

·         Under the state’s procurement policy, the women entrepreneurs will now get one-fourth part in 20% of total procurements made by the government from the private area, mostly SMEs.

·         The recently finished Global Entrepreneurship Summit 2017 gave special emphasis on women entrepreneurs. It also took the problem of inadequate funding for women, after which it was determined to set up the facility to help women start-ups.

 World AIDS day 2017 observed across the world on - 1st December 2017

The World AIDS day was noticed across the world on 1st December 2017 with the theme 'My health, my right'. 
This year, the United Nations also inaugurated a campaign #myrighttohealth with the main objective on the right to health. The crusade along with this year's theme focuses spread awareness about 'Right To Health' of everyone, everywhere. And, right to health is related to a wider set of rights.
AIDS is a severe public health threat and this threat can only be overcome if these rights are situated at the centre of global health to provide quality health to everyone leaving no one.

Global HIV/AIDS Statistics of the year 2016

·         More than 20 million people were accessing Antiretroviral Therapy in the year 2016.

·         30.8 million-42.9 million people globally were residing with HIV.

·         1.8 million People  freshly infected with HIV virus.

·         Millions of people died due to AIDS-related illnesses.

·         The idea to notice World Aids Day was originated in 1987 by James Bunn and Thomas Netter, who are the public information officers for the Global Program on Aids at the World Health Organization.

·         In year 1996, the United Nations Program on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) became working and took over the planning and advertisement of World AIDS Day. The 1st World AIDS Day was organized in 1988 and was the 1st ever global health day. www.unitedacademy.in

·          

Passengers can now book Rail Tickets from counters through UPI/BHIM App Payment System on - 30th November 2017

With an objective to boost cashless transactions and passenger friendly measures, Railways Ministry on 30th November 2017 initiated the facility for booking railway tickets from railway counters through payment systems like UPI and BHIM App.
This provision will allow passengers to book reserved tickets from Passenger Reservation System (PRS) counters and book Season Tickets from Unreserved Ticketing System worktops.
The provision of payment through UPI/BHIM for booking of e-tickets online on IRCTC Website has already been executed earlier. This facility now is increased to the tickets being booked from railway worktops.

Highlights of the new facility

·         Passengers can avail this facility with effect from 1st December 2017.

·         Currently, no transaction charges will be charged for this facility for a period of 3 months from users.

·         It will be executed all over Indian Railways on all PRS counters and UTS counters.

·         This provision is an addition to the digital payment options already accessible to railway passengers.

·         It is safe to use due to no need of sharing bank account or credit/debit card number.

·         It is easy to use and supports payment through different banks on real time basis.

·         It will decrease hassles of cash handling and reconciliation and settlement will be clarified.

Unified Payments Interface (UPI)

·         UPI integrates various bank accounts into a single mobile application by incorporating several banking features, enabling seamless fund routing & merchant payments at one place.

·         It caters to the "Peer to Peer" collect request which can be arranged and paid as per requirement and satisfaction.

·         For satisfaction of the users, a UPI App called BHIM has been formed.

BHIM App

·         Mobile App BHIM has been formed by National Payments Corporation of India, based on the Unified Payment Interface.

·         BHIM is inter-operable with other Unified Payment Interface program and bank accounts.

 USAID announces USD 1 million support for Ending Tuberculosis Epidemic in India on - 29th November 2017

The US Agency for International Development on 29th November 2017 declared USD 1 million aids for Ending Tuberculosis Epidemic in India and to spread TB awareness to help India in its fight against TB. 
Through this aid, the agency projects to hold up to PM Modi's goal of securing a TB-free India by 2025.

Tuberculosis in India

·         India has the world's highest cases of Tuberculosis with 2.8 million cases per year, and accounts for more than a quarter of the global TB burden.

·         India also has the largest liability of Multi-Drug-Resistant TB among all nations with almost 150000 incedents every year.

·         TB takes over 435000 lives in India each year, which places TB among the top 10 reasons of death in the Nation.

·         TB disproportionately affects females as women, identified with TB, report that their families, employers and communities differentiate against them.

USAID/India's TB program

·         USAID has been helping the TB program of the Union Government since 1998.

·         It has spent more than USD 140 million to strengthen the ability of national, State, and District-level TB programs.

·         It launched new tools and approaches to reach, heal, and prevent TB in India successfully.

·         The USAID/India TB program focuses to strengthen the identification and treatment of TB; assist the government in planning evidence-based interventions to get a TB-Free India and improve patient-centered TB facilities.

·         Under USAID/India's TB program, quick diagnostic tool GeneXpert has been formed to diagnose TB in children along with the foundation of bedaquiline, the 1st new drug to treat TB in people over 40 years age.

·         The program has partnered with the 'Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation' and the 'India Knowledge Park' to upgrade obedient treatment in patients.

More about US Agency for International Development (USAID)

·         USAID is a prime United States entity for international TB program.

·         It is the huge bilateral funder of TB efforts worldwide.

·

A report on one year of - Pradhan Mantri Awaas Yojana- Gramin 

Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana-Gramin, under which an aim of completing 1 crore new houses by 31st March 2019 was formed, was inaugurated on November 20, 2016 from Agra. Of this aim, 51 lakh houses are to be finished by March 31st, 2018.To complete the target of 51 lakh houses under Pradhan Mantri Gramin Awaas Yojana by March 2018, the Ministry of Rural Development, in collaboration with the State Governments, has taken various steps, including setting a monthly target for houses finishing.

Steps Taken

  • To construct the quality houses at a desired time, the plan has been helped by paying directly into the beneficiary account via IT-DBT platform.
  • Rural Mason Trainings have been planned to facilitate the availability of trained masons in the rural areas to make surety of good quality of construction.
  • IT platforms and Space technology are being utilized to monitor whole cycle of house construction, right from identification of beneficiary to building stages of houses to accomplishment and each stage is being geo-tagged.
  • States have taken sufficient steps to ensure continuous availability of building material at fair-minded prices so that the speed and quality of construction are not adversely affected.

Work in Progress

  • Under the PMAY-G, the aim for completion of 10 lakh houses by November 2017 has been attained on 29th November 2017, i.e. earlier than the set date for completion of 10 lakh houses.
  • It is believed that the target for completing 1 crore new houses by 31st March 2019 can be attained as next target to build 15 lakh houses will be completed by 31 December 2017; 25 lakh houses by 31st January, 2018; 35 lakh houses by 28th February, 2018 and 51 lakh houses by 31st March, 2018 respectively.

Detailed guidelines on recall of food products issued by - FSSAI

The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India- FSSAI, Food safety regulator, talked to the companies to frame an adequate plan to recall food products from markets if found unsafe. It also told the companies to notify the authority about the same.
The FSSAI delivered the guidelines on recalling of food products. The motive of these guidelines is to help food business operators outline a proper recall plan and impose them when the required.
The food business operators shall present their detailed recall plan to the FSSAI at the time of recall being carried out. FBOs need to set up a recall management group, notify the regulator, identify all products to be recalled, detain and separate products to be recalled which are in the company’s control except verifying the effectiveness of the recall.

Food recalls

  • Food recalls are the accurate method for correcting marketed food products and their labeling that violate the laws administered by the intended authority.
  • Recall of food product is to withdraw or accurate food products from the market during any stage of the food chain, including that possessed by the buyers, which may pose a threat to the public health or food that breach the Act, or the rules or regulations made there-under.

Food recalls Guidelines-

  • The recovered product, via this process, must be placed in an area which is placed away from any other food product. Right records are to be kept about the amount of recuperated product and the batch codes of the product recuperated.
  • After recovery, products may be re-processed before sending to the market if it is fit for human use or the product will be demolished.
  • The action to be taken on the taken-back food product should be allowed by the competent Authority.
  • The companies, which have manufactured or processed unsafe products, should take actions so that the need for such recalls does not happen again in future.

More about FSSAI

  • FSSAI releases science-based standards for food products and control their manufacture, storage, distribution, sale and import to make sure availability of safe and healthy food to 130 crore residents of the Nation.
  • The authority is also accountable for creating an information network across the nation so that the public, users, etc receive quick, trusted and right information about food safety and hygiene and concerned issues.

 

Niti Aayog to set up special cell for women entrepreneurs, declared on - 30th November 2017

Niti Aayog has declared that it would be setting up women's cell to support women entrepreneurs.
The declaration was done by Niti Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant along with Telangana IT Minister K Taraka Ramarao during the finalization of the Global Entrepreneurship Summit in Hyderabad on 30th November 2017. Talking on the occasion, Kant told that the centre will extend help to women start-ups and entrepreneurs.

Key Highlights

  • The cell will be handholding women entrepreneurs on issues such as financing and intellectual properties.
  • It will act as a catalyst and facilitator for women start-ups that are applicable and bankable.
  • It will also minutely work with the Telangana State Government’s T-hub.
  • Atal Tinkering labs will be specially structured at schools that women own to encourage innovation and instill entrepreneurship among women at starting stage under the Atal Innovation Mission.
  • The nominated schools will be provided with robots and 3D printers.
  • Besides this, the Telangana state government also announced a series of measures to encourage women entrepreneurship in the state:
  • The Telangana State government has declared setting up of a separate We-Hub, Women Entrepreneurs Hub, to support their startups on the lines of T-Hub, which is the nation’s largest technology incubator. The Atal Innovation Mission would associate with the state government for the WE-Hub.
  • The state’s government has also declared setting up of a Technology Fund with a corpus of Rs 15 crore especially for women entrepreneurs. The women entrepreneurs would be able to get Rs 25 lakh to Rs 1 crore under the fund.
  • Under the state’s procurement policy, the women entrepreneurs will now get one-fourth part in 20% of total procurements made by the government from the private area, mostly SMEs.
  • The recently finished Global Entrepreneurship Summit 2017 gave special emphasis on women entrepreneurs. It also took the problem of inadequate funding for women, after which it was determined to set up the facility to help women start-ups.

 World AIDS day 2017 observed across the world on - 1st December 2017

The World AIDS day was noticed across the world on 1st December 2017 with the theme 'My health, my right'. 
This year, the United Nations also inaugurated a campaign #myrighttohealth with the main objective on the right to health. The crusade along with this year's theme focuses spread awareness about 'Right To Health' of everyone, everywhere. And, right to health is related to a wider set of rights.
AIDS is a severe public health threat and this threat can only be overcome if these rights are situated at the centre of global health to provide quality health to everyone leaving no one.

Global HIV/AIDS Statistics of the year 2016

  • More than 20 million people were accessing Antiretroviral Therapy in the year 2016.
  • 30.8 million-42.9 million people globally were residing with HIV.
  • 1.8 million People  freshly infected with HIV virus.
  • Millions of people died due to AIDS-related illnesses.
  • The idea to notice World Aids Day was originated in 1987 by James Bunn and Thomas Netter, who are the public information officers for the Global Program on Aids at the World Health Organization.
  • In year 1996, the United Nations Program on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) became working and took over the planning and advertisement of World AIDS Day. The 1st World AIDS Day was organized in 1988 and was the 1st ever global health day. www.unitedacademy.in
  •  

Passengers can now book Rail Tickets from counters through UPI/BHIM App Payment System on - 30th November 2017

With an objective to boost cashless transactions and passenger friendly measures, Railways Ministry on 30th November 2017 initiated the facility for booking railway tickets from railway counters through payment systems like UPI and BHIM App.
This provision will allow passengers to book reserved tickets from Passenger Reservation System (PRS) counters and book Season Tickets from Unreserved Ticketing System worktops.
The provision of payment through UPI/BHIM for booking of e-tickets online on IRCTC Website has already been executed earlier. This facility now is increased to the tickets being booked from railway worktops.

Highlights of the new facility

  • Passengers can avail this facility with effect from 1st December 2017.
  • Currently, no transaction charges will be charged for this facility for a period of 3 months from users.
  • It will be executed all over Indian Railways on all PRS counters and UTS counters.
  • This provision is an addition to the digital payment options already accessible to railway passengers.
  • It is safe to use due to no need of sharing bank account or credit/debit card number.
  • It is easy to use and supports payment through different banks on real time basis.
  • It will decrease hassles of cash handling and reconciliation and settlement will be clarified.

Unified Payments Interface (UPI)

  • UPI integrates various bank accounts into a single mobile application by incorporating several banking features, enabling seamless fund routing & merchant payments at one place.
  • It caters to the "Peer to Peer" collect request which can be arranged and paid as per requirement and satisfaction.
  • For satisfaction of the users, a UPI App called BHIM has been formed.

BHIM App

  • Mobile App BHIM has been formed by National Payments Corporation of India, based on the Unified Payment Interface.
  • BHIM is inter-operable with other Unified Payment Interface program and bank accounts.

 USAID announces USD 1 million support for Ending Tuberculosis Epidemic in India on - 29th November 2017

The US Agency for International Development on 29th November 2017 declared USD 1 million aids for Ending Tuberculosis Epidemic in India and to spread TB awareness to help India in its fight against TB. 
Through this aid, the agency projects to hold up to PM Modi's goal of securing a TB-free India by 2025.

Tuberculosis in India

  • India has the world's highest cases of Tuberculosis with 2.8 million cases per year, and accounts for more than a quarter of the global TB burden.
  • India also has the largest liability of Multi-Drug-Resistant TB among all nations with almost 150000 incedents every year.
  • TB takes over 435000 lives in India each year, which places TB among the top 10 reasons of death in the Nation.
  • TB disproportionately affects females as women, identified with TB, report that their families, employers and communities differentiate against them.

USAID/India's TB program

  • USAID has been helping the TB program of the Union Government since 1998.
  • It has spent more than USD 140 million to strengthen the ability of national, State, and District-level TB programs.
  • It launched new tools and approaches to reach, heal, and prevent TB in India successfully.
  • The USAID/India TB program focuses to strengthen the identification and treatment of TB; assist the government in planning evidence-based interventions to get a TB-Free India and improve patient-centered TB facilities.
  • Under USAID/India's TB program, quick diagnostic tool GeneXpert has been formed to diagnose TB in children along with the foundation of bedaquiline, the 1st new drug to treat TB in people over 40 years age.
  • The program has partnered with the 'Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation' and the 'India Knowledge Park' to upgrade obedient treatment in patients.

More about US Agency for International Development (USAID)

  • USAID is a prime United States entity for international TB program.
  • It is the huge bilateral funder of TB efforts worldwide.
  • It also works to stop new TB infections through a patient-centered approach focused at saving lives.

Setting up of National Nutrition Mission approved by - Union Cabinet 

The Union Cabinet led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on 30th November 2017 passed the setting up of National Nutrition Mission with a 3 year budget of Rs.9046.17 crore starting from 2017-18.
The mission will be initiating in 3 phases from 2017-18 to 2019-20. It mainly focuses to reduce stunting, under-nutrition, anemia among young children, women and adolescent girls and decrease low birth weight. 
To ensure this, it will track, supervise, fix targets and guide the nutrition-related involvement across Ministries.

Its other duties include:

  • Mapping of various Schemes helping towards describing malnutrition
  • Initiation a very robust convergence mechanism
  • ICT based Real Time Tracking system
  • Incentivizing States/UTs for completing the targets
  • Initiate measurement of height of children at the Anganwadi Centers
  • Managing Social Audits.
  • Building Nutrition Resource Centers involve masses through Jan Andolan for their involvement on nutrition through different activities.

Important Highlights

  • The program through its targets will strive to decrease the level of stunting, under-nutrition, anemia and low birth weight children.
    It will form synergy, ensure better monitoring, issue alerts for time-bound action and encourage the states/ UTs to perform, guide and supervise the line of Ministries to complete the targeted goals.
    Benefits
  • More than 10 crore people will be profited from this program.
  • It will take all the states and districts in a periodic manner, for instance, 315 districts in 2017-18, 235 districts in 2018-19 and remaining districts in 2019-20.

Funding-

  • The budget of the program has been allocate at Rs 9046.17 crore for a period of 3 years.
  • Some part will be aided by Government Budgetary Support (50%) and the remaining 50% by IBRD or other MDB.
  • The ratio of the government budget support would be 60:40 between Centre and States/UTs in routine cases, 90: 10 in case of North-eastern and Himalayan regions and 100% for UTs that do not have a legislature.

 

India awarded for its effort to combat illegal wildlife trade on - 30th November 2017

India on 30th November 2017 was awarded with the Certificate of Commendation for its ideal enforcement action in its regional and global effort to fight against illegal wildlife trade.
The award was granted to the Wildlife Crime Control Bureau by the Secretary General of Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora at the 69 Standing Committee conference of CITES at Geneva, Switzerland.
India was the alone recipient of the Certificate of Commendation at the esteemed conference. The convention currently has 183 countries from across the world as its signatories.
The news was shared by Union Minister of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Harsh Vardhan, who declared that the award has been given to WCCB under the Ministry for its efforts in managing and coordinating a species particular wildlife enforcement Operation, codenamed ‘Operation Save Kurma’.

Important Highlights on Operation Save Kurma

  • It was organized by the WCCB to fight against the growing illegal trade in live turtles and their parts from India to other destinations abroad.
  • The operation was also focused at inviting attention of the enforcement agencies for such illegal trade.
  • The operation was inaugurated on 15th December 2016 till 30th January 2017.
  • Under the operation, roughly 16, 000 live turtles were grabbed and released back into the wild and approximately 55 suspects included in the illegal trade were detained.
  • The WCCB had worked in close coordination with regional law enforcement agencies including State Police and Forest Department, West Bengal Criminal Investigation Department, Karnataka Forest and Police departments, the Special Task Force of Uttar Pradesh Police, and Maharashtra and Rajasthan Forest Departments.

International Storytellers Festival inaugurated in New Delhi on - 1st December 2017

The 7th edition of the 3-day ‘Kathakar: International Storytellers Festival’ was initiated by Minister of State for Home Affairs Kiren Rijiju at the Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts, New Delhi on 1st December 2017.
Kathakar is the only verbal storytelling festival in India and is a part of Ghummakkad Narain- the Travelling Literature Festival which was initiated under the aegis of UNESCO in 2010. The festival is an attempt to not just protect the art form but also produce new audiences for the same.
The associates for this year’s festival are IGNCA of Union Ministry of Culture in Delhi, Heritage Transport Museum, Gurugram and National Centre for the Performing Arts, Mumbai.

Key Highlights

  • The festival will have a circus play for the 1st time, performed by children from the slums taught by Swedish Circus master Andreo.
  • There will also be stories of Deendayal Upadhyay and Nanaji Deshmukh, admired by the Government of India.
  • The festival will also witness Vishal Bharadwaj and Mohit Chauhan comes together for the 1st time to share folk stories via music.
  • It will also have 2 puppeteers from Italy and Andhra Pradesh, who are not just experts of their work but also the last ones encouraging and executing the art form.
  • The highlight of the initiated session was the release of the book 'Curious Tales from the Himalayas' co-authored by Shaguna Gahilote and Prarthana Gahilote.

More on Kathakar Festival

  • Kathakar is an exceptional initiative, to promote the verbal storytelling tradition which has lived across the world.
  • It is only verbal storytelling festival in India. It not only focuses to protect the art form but also produce new audiences for same.
  • Though performance storytelling has seen an improvement in Europe, in India, only few attempts have been made to contemporize the art form.
  • The festival this year will be organized by the cities of Delhi, Gurugram, Noida and Mumbai.

International Day of Persons with Disabilities 2017 observed across the globe on - 3rd December 2017

The International Day of Persons with Disabilities was observed across the world on 3rd December 2017 with the theme ' Transformation towards sustainable and resilient society for all'.

The Day is aiming to promote the people's rights with disabilities in all spheres of society and development and to boost awareness of the situation of persons with disabilities in every aspect of life, be it political, social, economic or cultural.

Important Highlights

  • Out of 7 billion world population, more than 1 billion people in the world have some form of disability. It's like 1 in every 7 people is disabled.
  • Over 100 million disabled persons are children and they are four times more likely to experience violence than non-disabled children.
  • 80 percent of disable people live in the developing countries.
  • 50 percent of the disabled persons cannot afford health care

300 fossilised pterosaur eggs discovered by - A team of Paleontologists

A team of Paleontologists have discovered hundreds of fossilised eggs laid by Pterosaurs, a group of extinct winged dinosaurs.
The discovery has unveiled as many as 300 fossilised eggs and skeletons of pterosaurs. Many of the eggs were found to be in a quite well-preserved condition. Some of the eggs contain the most detailed pterosaur embryos ever found.
The discovery was presented by Brazilian and Chinese dinosaur experts at a press conference, after they jointly  analysed the fossils on 30th November 2017. The study findings have been published in the recent issue of Science magazine.
Important Highlights

  • The molds and casts of the eggs and the bones found by the team will be putting on display in China’s National Museum
  • The fossils were discovered in the northeastern Chinese region of Hami by the Chinese Academy of Sciences back in 2015-2016.
  • Some of the embryos found are to be preserved with the bones in a 3-D condition.
  • Although scientists have studied pterosaurs for over two centuries, no eggs were discovered until the early 21st century and in the subsequent years, even less than 12 eggs were found.

Did you know?

Pterosaurs were a group of extinct winged dinosaurs that were the first known vertebrates to be able to flyon earth.

 

46th Navy Day observed across India on - 4th December 2017

The 46th Indian Navy Day was greatly admired on 4th December 2017. The day is celebrated every year to observe the achievements and role of the naval force in the Nation.
To celebrate the day, 20 innovations were finalized from for central evaluation. These innovations vary from innovative repairs to multiplex system modules to development of new economical techniques, time and manpower.
Innovations by Indian Naval Ships 'Kuthar' and 'Vikramaditya' were nominated as the winner and runner-up respectively in the 'Operational Units' group. 
However, innovations by the Weapons Electronic Systems Engineering Establishment and Naval Aircraft Yard, Kochi were nominated the winner and runner-up respectively in the 'Shore Establishments' group.

Did you know?
The Navy day is observed every year to commemorate the victory of Operation Trident of Indian Navy on Karachi Harbor during the 1971 Indo-Pak war.
Under Operation Trident, the Indian Navy sank 3 vessels near the largest Pakistani port of Karachi. Operation Trident evolved as the 1st use of anti-ship missiles in the region. www.unitedacademy.in

US, South Korea launch largest aerial drill amidst North Korean threat on - 4th December 2017

The USA and South Korea inaugurated their biggest-ever common aerial drill called ‘Vigilant Ace’ on 4th December 2017. It would conclude on 8th December 2017.
Around 12,000 US service members, along with members of the Marines and Navy, would be meeting the South Korean troops on the occasion.

Key Highlights

  • The annual drill would witness participation from 6 F-22 Raptor stealth fighters and approximately 230 aircrafts.
  • F-35 fighters will also join the drill along with the huge number of 5th generation fighters.
  • The conjoining aircrafts will be take-off from 8 US and South Korean military installations.
  • The combine drill has been designed to increase readiness and operational capability of the both the sides.
  • It also focuses to ensure peace and safety on the Korean peninsula.
  • The joint action comes a week after North Korea committed that it had successfully trialed its most advanced intercontinental ballistic missile as a part of its illegal weapons program that has created global issues.
  • The outline north has condemned the action and called it an act of provocation.
  • North Korea’s Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of the Nation explained that the drill would “push the already acute condition on the Korean peninsula to the point of nuclear war”.

US pulls out of  - UN’s migrant and refugee pact

The United States has removed itself from a United Nations pact to upgrade the handling of migrant and refugee situations considered it ‘inconsistent’ with its policies.
The report was made by the US Mission to the UNs in a statement, in which it enlightened the UN Secretary-General about US’s intention of finishing its participation in the Global Compact on Migration.
The statement stated that the United Nation's New York declaration consists of many provisions that are inconsistent with the Trump Administration's immigration theory.
Talking on the occasion, US Ambassador to UN Nikki Haley told that the US would continue its indulgence in supporting migrants and refugees across the world. However, she stated that its conclusions on immigration policies must always be prepared by Americans and Americans only.
Did you know?

  • In 2016, the UN General assembly had without any opposition took the New York declaration for refugees and migrants.
  • Under Trump and his America First strategies, the United States has removed itself from several global commitments made under the management of President Barack Obama, including the Paris climate agreement.
  • Recently, the USA pulled out of UN’s Paris-based culture and education organization, UNESCO, accusing it of harboring an anti-Israel bias.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani inaugurates first phase of Chabahar port on - 3rd December 2017

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on 3rd December 2017 launched the 1st phase of the Chabahar port on the Gulf of Oman. Pon Radhakrishnan, Minister of State for Shipping, from India attended the launching function of the Phase 1 of the Shahid Beheshti Port at Chabahar.
Chabahar port is the new strategic pathway that connects Iran, India and Afghanistan bypassing Pakistan. The port in the Sistan-Balochistan region on the southern coast of Iran is easily approachable from India's western coast.
The port is supposed as a gateway for trade by India, Iran and Afghanistan with central Asian Nations besides ramping up trade among these 3 Nations. The Chabahar port is taken as a response to Pakistan's Gwadar Port, which is under development with Chinese investment and is situated at distance of around 80 kms from Chabahar.

India's role in development of Chabahar port

  • India has been closely associated with Afghanistan and Iran to make alternative, reliable approachable ways for trade.
  • India and Iran on 23rd May 2016 signed 12 MoUs and agreements, in which the most important was the trilateral transit accordance between India, Iran and Afghanistan on Establishment of International Transport and Transit Corridor.
  • In the accordance, India proposed to develop the Port of Chabahar in Iran to allow Indian products to be exported to Iran.
  • As per the MoU, India will be operating 2 berths in Chabahar Port Phase-I with money investment of USD 85.21 million and yearly revenue expenditure of USD 22.95 million on a 10-year agreement.
  • Earlier in October 2017, India had sent its first shipment of wheat to Afghanistan by sea via Chabahar port, that opened the new transit ways.

 

Veteran Bollywood actor Shashi Kapoor dies on - 4th December 2017

Evergreen 70s bollywood actor Shashi Kapoor passed away on 4th December 2015 due a prolonged illness at the Kokilaben Dhirubhai Ambani Hospital in Mumbai. He was 79 years old. 
Shashi Kapoor was reknown for his dialogue 'Mere Paas Maa Hai'.

Important Highlights

  • He was born on 18th March 1938 into film actor Prithviraj Kapoor’s family, Shashi Kapoor started the theatre at the age of 4. He acted in various plays directed and produced by his father.
  • He started his acting profession as a child artiste in Raj Kapoor's films ‘Aag’ and ‘Awara’ in the late '40s.
  • As a leading actor, Kapoor made his debut in 1961 in Yash Chopra’s movie 'Dharamputra', a film that remains live till date with its portrayal of the Partition and communalism.
  • Few of his memorable movies are "Deewar", Waqt, Jab Jab Phool Khile, Kanyadaan, Sharmilee, Kabhie Kabhie, "Namak Halal", Satyam Shivam Sundaram and many others.
  • He also acted in various offbeat films like ‘Chaar Diwari’ and ‘Prem Patra’.
  • During his theatre days he met his wife Jennifer Kendal, an English actress.
  • He was among the one to act earliest in international movies including The Householder and Shakespeare Wallah, Bombay Talkie in 1970 and Heat and Dust in 1982, Siddhartha in1972, Sammy and Rosie Get Laid in 1987 and The Deceivers in 1988.
  • Shashi Kapoor also performed the lead part in the British film 'A Matter of Innocence'.
  • In totally, he acted in more than 175 films including some international projects also.
  • He was honored with Padma Bhushan in 2011 and Dada Saheb Phalke award in year 2015.

 World Social Protection Report 2017-2019 released by - ILO

The International Labour Organization issued the World Social Protection Report 2017-2019 in November 2017. The World Social Protection Report informs that only 45% of the global population is effectively covered by minimum 1 social benefit, while the remaining 55% that is 4 billion people are remained unprotected.

Highlights of World Social Protection Report 2017-2019-

  • Only 29% of the population enjoys access to social protection, while the remaining 71% population is not or relatively protected.
  • It recommends a rise of public disbursements on social protection to expand social protection coverage, mainly in Africa, Asia and the Arab States.
  • It highlights that universal social security contributes to eradicating poverty, decreasing inequality, encouraging economic growth and attaining the Sustainable Development Goals.
  • Only 35% of children around the world enjoy effective access to social security. Around 1.3 billion children that is two thirds of children globally are not protected and many of them live in Africa and Asia.
  • Only 1.1% of GDP is utilized on child and family benefits for children under 0-14.
    Cash shifts for children have increased in low- and middle-income nations over the past decades.
  • However, coverage and enjoyment levels still are insufficient.
  • Only 21.8% of non-working employees are covered by unemployment advantages, while 152 million unemployed workers left without coverage.
  • 27.8% of persons with various disabilities worldwide receive a disability advantage.
    68% of people more than retirement age receive old-age pension, which is related with the expansion of both non-contributory and contributory pensions in many nations.
  • Long-term health care still debars more than 48% of the world’s population, with women in small comparison affected.
  • Only 5.6% of the population resides in Nations that provide long-term care coverage based on national legislation.

 US Supreme Court allows full enforcement of President Trump's travel ban on - 4th December 2017

The US Supreme Court governed  on 4th December 2017 that the travel ban imposed on 6 Muslim Nations by President Donald Trump can now go completely into effect. 
Out of total bench of 9 justices, 7 justices raised the ban imposed by lower courts on the policy. Only Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Sonia Sotomayor declared that the President's order should remain effective.
However, the directive against travelers from Chad, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Syria and Yemen still faces legal problems. The new restriction also bars travelers from North Korea and Venezuela, but they were not suffered by the injunctions.
The justices of the US Supreme Court proceed just after the American Civil Liberties Union, which is prime one of the lawsuits, sent a letter to the court raising their point to anti-Muslim videos that were tweeted by Donald Trump.

Did you know?
The recent travel ban released by President Donald bars different people from 8 countries- Syria, Libya, Iran, Yemen, Chad, Somalia, North Korea and Venezuela. 6 of the nations have Muslim populations.
However, Federal Judges in Maryland and Hawaii closed the implementation of this ban for foreign nationals who have a credible claim of a bona fide relationship with people in the US such as grandparents, aunts, uncles, grandchildren, brothers-in-law, sisters-in-law, nieces, nephews and cousins.

UAE, Saudi Arabia to form new cooperation group on - 5th December 2017

The UAE on 5th December 2017 declared that it has designed a new economic and partnership group with Saudi Arabia. The new class would be separate from the Gulf Cooperation Council.
The statement was made by Emirati Foreign Ministry, just hours before of a GCC meeting in Kuwait. The new ‘joint cooperation committee’ has got approval from UAE’s ruler and president, Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan.
As per the Emirati ministry, the new committee is allocated to cooperate and coordinate between the UAE and Saudi Arabia in all military, political, economic, trade and cultural areas, as well as others, in the interest of the 2 Nations.'
Did you know?

  • The UAE and Saudi Arabia have formed even-closer ties in previous years.
  • Emirati troops are majorly involved in the Saudi-led war in Yemen.
  • Abu Dhabi's powerful crown prince, Mohammad bin Zayed Al Nahyan is also assumed to have a close relationship with Saudi Arabia's young Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

Jupiter’s Moon may have similar plate tectonics as Earth - As per new Discovery

As per the new discovery, the icy shell of Jupiter’s moon Europa may have plate tectonics same to those on Earth, which could have chief implications for the possibility of life in the ocean thought to exist under the moon's exterior.
The study utilized computer modeling to show that subduction, when a tectonic plate sips underneath other and sinks deep into a planet's inside, is physically feasible in Europa's ice shell as well. The study was issued in the Journal of Geophysical Research: Planets.
The discovery support earlier studies of Europa's surface geology that found areas where the moon's ice shell was well-known to be expanding in a same way to the mid-ocean spreading ridges on Earth.
Talking on the development, the author of the study, Brandon Johnson informed that they have evidence of this extension and unroll, which lifts a question on where does the matter go.
He further informed that on Earth, the answer is subduction areas. So going by the similar reasoning, subduction could be going on Europa as well.
"If indeed there's life in that sea, subduction offers a way to provide the nutrients it would require," Johnson said.

 

ISA to become a treaty-based International Intergovernmental organization - 6th December 2017

India’s global scheme, the International Solar Alliance-ISA will become a treaty-based international intergovernmental organization on 6th December 2017, after formal consent by Guinea, which will be the 15th country to do so.
The ISA is a scheme that was cooperatively launched by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the then President of France Francois Hollande on 30th November 2015 in Paris, on the sidelines of UN Climate Meeting.
Based in India, the Alliance focuses at addressing barriers in the deployment of solar energy through better harmonization and aggregation of demand from solar rich nations lying fully or partially in-between the Tropic of Cancer and Tropic of Capricorn.

Ratifying Countries
India, France, Australia, Malawi, Mali, Mauritius, Nauru, Niger, Peru, Seychelles, Somalia, Bangladesh, Comoros, Cuba, Fiji, Guinea, Ghana, South Sudan, and Tuvalu

Key Details

  • The ISA internal Secretariat has been operational as a de-facto company since 25th January 2016.
  • Three programs- Scaling Solar Applications for Agriculture Usage, reasonable Finance at Scale, and Scaling Solar Mini-grids - have been initiated.
  • The programs focus to help in achieving the complete goal of growing solar energy deployment in the ISA member nations for achieving universal energy access and accelerating economic development.
  • ISA has launched plans to initiate 2 more programs: Scaling Solar Rooftops and Scaling Solar E-mobility and Storage.
  • The ISA has also been enlarging a common risk mitigating process for de-risking and decreasing the financial cost of solar projects in ISA member nations.
  • The process is expected to support diversify and pool risks on mutual public resources and opening significant investments. An international trained group has been working on the outlines of the mechanism and it will be rolled out by December 2018.
  • Another major proposal is establishment of Digital Infopedia, which will work as a platform to enable policy makers, Ministers and corporate heads from ISA nations to interact, connect, communicate and cooperate with each another.