|131.||ICMR, Health Ministry ink MoU with IVI for vaccine R&D|
The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) and Ministry of Health inked Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the International Vaccine Institute (IVI) to collaborate on vaccine research and development.
The signing of the MoU is a continuation of India’s partnership with IVI to provide safe, effective and affordable vaccines for people around the world. With this partnership, India is committing an annual contribution of US $5,00,000 to IVI.
India is a vaccine industry powerhouse that supplies 60% of the world’s vaccines. India has with a long history of scientific collaboration with IVI. IVI has been partnering with Indian vaccine manufacturers, research institutes, government, and public health agencies on vaccine R&D. One of the most successful collaboration of IVI was with India’s Shantha Biotech on development of Shanchol, world’s first low-cost oral cholera vaccine. The vaccine was licensed in India in 2009 and WHO-prequalified in 2011.
International Vaccine Institute (IVI)
IVI is Seoul (South Korea) based international nonprofit organization devoted to developing and introducing new and improved vaccines to protect the people, especially children, against deadly infectious diseases. It was established in 1997 on the initiatives of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).
Its work is exclusively on vaccine development and introduction specifically for people in developing countries, with a focus on neglected diseases affecting these regions. Currently, IVI has 40 countries and the World Health Organization (WHO) as signatories to its Establishment Agreement. India officially became a signatory to the IVI in 2012.
Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR)
The ICMR is India’s apex scientific body for the formulation, coordination and promotion of biomedical research. It was established in 1911 as Indian Research Fund Association (IRFA) making it one of the oldest and largest medical research bodies in the world. The ICMR functions under the Department of Health Research, Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.
|132.||Swasth Bachche, Swasth Bharat Programme launched|
The Union Ministry of Human Resource Development (HRD) launched ‘Swasth Bachche, Swasth Bharat’ Programme. It was launched by Union HRD Minister Prakash Javdekar in Kochi, Kerala
The programme is an initiative of Kendriya Vidyalaya Sangathan (KVS) to prepare a physical Health and Fitness Profile Card for more than 12 lakhs of Kendriya Vidyalaya students.
About Swasth Bachche, Swasth Bharat programme
The programme aims to provide a comprehensive and inclusive report card for children covering all age groups and children of different abilities. Its main objective is to make students, teachers and parents aware about the importance of good health and fitness and encouraging 60 minutes of play each day.
The programme also intends to imbibe values of Olympics and Paralympics amongst students. The objectives are bringing back the childhood amongst children, make recreational games and physical activity an integral part of learning process, motivating potentially outstanding performers in various games and sports of excellence, using technology for analytics and data capture and giving access to schools, parents and teachers.
|133.||Scientists discover new therapy to prevent sepsis in new born babies|
A team of scientists from US have discovered an inexpensive prevention technique (therapy) against sepsis in new born babies. The team was led by US-based Indian doctor Dr Pinaki Panigrahi.
The therapy has been found to reduce the risk of sepsis infection by 40% in trials and it can be inexpensive – less than one dollar for a course.
Each year globally, more than 600,000 infants die of sepsis most of them in developing countries. In India, more than a quarter of neonatal deaths are due to sepsis. In a significant number of these cases, the infection probably begins in the gut.
New prevention technique
In the new oral prevention technique, infants are fed with good bacteria (probiotic bacteria) that populates in his/her gut and block (kill) harmful bacteria. The probiotic bacterial strain is also aided with a non-absorbable sugar to enhance its ability to effectively colonize the gut.
Researchers call it as probiotic-sugar combination, a symbiotic. The oral therapy starts during day 2-4 of life, as a preventive measure, much like a vaccine. The technique is also found beneficial in reducing lower respiratory tract and other infections and also improving immunity status.
Sepsis is a life-threatening illness primarily caused by bacterial infections that spreads fast through the blood leading to organ failure. It is caused by an immune response triggered by an infection i.e. body’s response to infection causes injury to its own tissues and organs. Sepsis infections are also more common in elderly people and those with a weak immune system.
Common signs and symptoms include fever, increased heart rate, increased breathing rate, and confusion. There also may be symptoms related to a specific infection, such as pneumonia, kidney infection blood infection and abdominal infection. Currently, no efficient means of prevention is available.
|134.||Karnataka Government launches clouding seeding Project Varshadhari|
Karnataka Government has launched clouding seeding Project Varshadhari in Bengaluru under which an aircraft will spray chemicals to induce rainfall.
The cloud seeding project is an experimental project that will cover Bengaluru, Gadag and Yadgir districts of the state.
The experimental project aims to condense small water particles by clouds (size less than 10 microns) to droplets of 50 microns, which can constitute rains. The flight for cloud seeding – BQ-100 Beechcraft will spray Silver Iodide, Sodium Chloride and Potassium Chloride to condense the water particles. A committee, comprising meteorologists, experts in cloud physics and hydrologists, will monitor the process.
Cloud seeding (also known as weather modification technique) is an artificial way to induce moisture in the clouds so as to cause a rainfall. In this process, either silver iodide, potassium iodide or dry ice (solid carbon dioxide) are spread onto the clouds causing rainfall. These iodide particles rise into the clouds, cause moisture to freeze. These particles act as a base for water vapours to settle on that later crystallises and falls as rain or snow.
This method can be used to bring significant amount of rainfall over a specified area especially in location where rain is badly needed. Several experiments conducted earlier across India were not very effective and gave mixed results. It is not fool proof as seeded clouds may actually travel to another location and do not cause precipitation on the intended location. Moreover there are environmental consequences of spreading of harmful chemicals in atmosphere. It is also very expensive technique. If it is not controlled properly, it may result in undesirable weather conditions like flooding, hail, storms, etc.
|135.||Government announces National Sports Awards 2017|
The Union Government bestows National Sports Awards every year to recognize and reward excellence in sports in India.
These awards include Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award, Dronacharya Award, Arjuna Award, Dhyan Chand Award, Maulana Abul Kalam Azad (MAKA) Trophy and Rashtriya Khel Protsahan Puruskar .
2017 Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award
It is India’s highest sporting award given for the spectacular and most outstanding performance in the field of sports by a sportsperson over a period of four years.
Recipients are: Devendra (Para Athletics), Sardar Singh (Hockey).
2017 Dronacharya Award
It bestowed upon coaches for producing medal winners at prestigious international sports events.
Recipients are: Dr. R. Gandhi (Athletics), Heera Nand Kataria (Kabaddi), G.S.S.V. Prasad (Badminton), Brij Bhushan Mohanty (Boxing), P.A. Raphel (Hockey), Sanjoy Chakraverthy (Shooting) and Roshan Lal (Wrestling).
2017 Arjuna Award
It is India’s second highest sporting award bestowed upon sportsperson for consistently outstanding performance for four years.
Recipients are: V.J. Surekha (Archery), Khushbir Kaur (Athletics), Arokia Rajiv (Athletics), Prasanthi Singh (Basketball), LaishramDebendro Singh (Boxing), Cheteshwar Pujara (Cricket), Harmanpreet Kaur (Cricket), OinamBembem Devi (Football), S.S.P. Chawrasia (Golf), S.V. Sunil (Hockey), Jasvir Singh (Kabaddi), P. N. Prakash (Shooting), A. Amalraj (Table Tennis), Saketh Myneni (Tennis), SatyawartKadian (Wrestling), Mariyappan (Para-Athletics) and Varun Singh Bhati (Para-Athletics).
2017 Dhyan Chand Award
It is bestowed upon sportspersons for life time contribution to sports development.
Recipients are: Bhupender Singh (Athletics), Syed Shahid Hakim (Football), Sumarai Tete (Hockey).
|136.||17th meeting of FSDC held in New Delhi|
The seventeenth Meeting of the Financial Stability and Development Council (FSDC) was held in New Delhi under the Chairmanship of the Union Minister of Finance Arun Jaitley.
The meeting was attended by RBI Governor Dr. Urjit R. Patel, SEBI chairman, IRDAI Chairman along with heads and other senior officers of the Government and financial sector regulators.
Key Highlights of Meeting
Macro-economic stability: FSDC held that India has macro-economic stability on the back of improvements in its macro-economic fundamentals, structural reforms, action taken to address the Twin Balance Sheet (TBS) challenge, extraordinary financial market confidence and long-term positive consequences of demonetization.
Challenges facing the Indian economy: It also discussed the issues and challenges facing the Indian economy and members agreed on the need to keep constant vigil and be prepared of managing any external and internal vulnerabilities.
Progress of Financial Sector Assessment Program for India: It is jointly conducted by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank. It directed that the assessment report should be finalized by end of this calendar year.
CERT-Fin and FDMC: It took note of the developments and progress made in setting up of Computer Emergency Response Team in the Financial Sector (CERT-Fin) and Financial Data Management Centre. It also discussed measures for time bound implementation of the institution building initiative.
Central KYC Registry (CKYCR) system: It also discussed on the CKYCR system and took note of the initiatives taken in this regard by the members and discussed the issues in respect of its operationalization.
Regulation of CRAs: It also deliberated on strengthening the regulation of Credit Rating Agencies (CRAs).
About Financial Stability and Development Council (FSDC)
FSDC is super regulatory body for regulating financial sector which is a vital for bringing healthy and efficient financial system in the economy. The idea to create it was first mooted by the Raghuram Rajan Committee on Financial Sector Reforms in 2008.
The FSDC envisages to strengthen and institutionalise mechanism of (i) maintaining financial stability, (ii) Financial sector development, (iii) inter-regulatory coordination along with monitoring macro-prudential regulation of economy.
Composition of FSDC: The Union Finance Minister is its chairman. Besides, heads of the financial sector regulatory authorities (i.e, RBI, SEBI, IRDA, PFRDA), Finance Secretary and/or Secretary, Department of Economic Affairs (Union Finance Ministry), Secretary, Department of Financial Services, and Chief Economic Adviser are its members
Two Core functions: (i) Act as an apex level forum to strengthen and institutionalize the mechanism for maintaining financial stability. (ii) Enhance inter-regulatory coordination and promoting financial sector development in the country.
Other functions: (i) Focus on financial literacy and financial inclusion. (ii) Monitor macro-prudential supervision of the economy. (iii) Assess the functioning of the large financial conglomerates.
|137.||India’s first calf born to surrogate cow in Pune|
India’s first calf delivered by a surrogate or recipient cow through In Vitro Fertilisation (IVF) technology carried out in a mobile laboratory was born in Indapur, Pune (Maharashtra). It has been named as Vijay.
This is for first time IVF procedure was successfully implemented at farm level with the help of mobile laboratory. Earlier similar experiment was carried out by the National Dairy Research Institute (NDRI) at the lab-level.
The purpose of producing surrogate calf was to protect indigenous cow breeds in its original form which have been destroyed due to cross-breeding. The experiment was successfully under taken by the JK Trust, an organisation which works at improving cattle breed.
In Vijay’s case, the donor cow belonged to the indigenous Gir breed, whose population across the country is around one lakh (unevenly spread across Gujarat, Rajasthan and Maharashtra).
In this experiment, the oocytes collected from the mother cow were kept in a special incubator. Using the IVF technology, these oocytes were fertilised inside the incubator with semen was collected from a Gir bull. After the oocytes developed into an embryo, they were transferred to the recipient cow.
In Vitro Fertilisation (IVF) technology
IVF or assisted reproductive technology (ART) is a process of fertilisation. In it, an egg is combined with sperm outside the body, in vitro (in glass or laboratory dish) to produce embryo. The embryo is then transferred to the uterus with the intention of establishing a successful pregnancy.
|138.||Defence Ministry approves delegation of powers to BRO|
The Union Defence Ministry has approved delegation of administrative and financial powers to the Border Roads Organisation (BRO).
The purpose of delegation of powers is to improve the functioning of the BRO and speed up works to avoid delays in projects and to achieve the desired outcomes according to the requirement of the Armed Force
The BRO is engaged in road construction to provide connectivity to difficult and inaccessible regions in the border areas of the country. On various occasions, Comptroller and Auditor-General (CAG) and the Parliamentary Standing Committee has highlighted delay in the completion of strategic border roads. In pursuance of this, Defence Ministry had intended to bring transformational changes in the BRO in order to improve the pace of execution of works.
Departmental and Contractual works: Defence Ministry has now approved that for both departmental and contractual mode of execution of projects. Moreover, Chief Engineer of BRO can accord administrative approval upto Rs. 50 crore and ADGBR upto Rs. 75 crore and DGBR upto Rs. 100 crore.
In the earlier scheme of delegation of powers, Chief Engineer was able to give administrative approval of works only upto Rs. 10 crore, that too only for departmental works. The ADGBR had powers to accord administrative approval only upto Rs. 20 crore. In case of contractual works, all administrative approvals were given by DGBR, who had powers only upto Rs.50 crore.
Speeding up the tendering process: Defence Ministry also has enhanced the powers of Chief Engineer for acceptance of bids in tendering process with cost of contract upto Rs. 100 crore and upto Rs. 300 crore of ADGBR. Even the entire tendering process including acceptance of bids will be now completed at the level of Chief Engineer/ADGBR for a majority of the contracts.
Fast procurement of latest construction machinery and equipment: Defence Ministry has enhanced the delegation of powers upto Rs. 100 crore to DGBR for procurement of both indigenous and imported equipment. Even, DGBR power hiring of construction equipment has been enhanced upto three years and for Chief Engineers’ (Project) hiring power has been enhanced from 6 months to one year.
About Border Roads Organisation (BRO)
BRO develops and maintains road networks in India’s border areas and friendly neighbouring countries. It functions under the Defence Ministry. It plays pivotal role in construction, maintenance and upgradation of strategic infrastructure, in remote and far flung border areas
Officers from Border Roads Engineering Service (BRES) and personnel from General Reserve Engineer Force (GREF) form parent cadre of BRO. It is also staffed by officers and troops drawn from Indian Army’s Corps of Engineers, Army Service Corps, Electrical and Mechanical Engineers and army personnel on extra regimental employment.
|139.||China launches first cyber court in e-commerce hub of Hangzhou|
China launched its first cyber (internet) court specialising in handling internet-related cases in the e-commerce hub of Hangzhou, amid a spike in the number of online disputes.
The cyber court will handle cases such as online trade disputes and copyright lawsuits. These cases handled by the court will be tried online.
According latest report of China Internet Network Information Center, China had about 751 million netizens and 724 million mobile Internet users as of the end of June 2017. With high internet penetration, Chinese people have increasingly turn to online shopping and payment.
The Hangzhou Internet Court will be located in Hangzhou, capital of east China’s Zhejiang Province. It will provide a judicial guarantee for maintaining cyber security, resolving online disputes and promoting the integration of the Internet with society and the economy.
Hangzhou municipal legislature appointed the president, vice presidents and judges of the court. The province is home to many Internet companies, including e-commerce giant Alibaba.
|140.||Government launches digital police portal under CCTNS|
The Union Ministry of Home Affairs launched digital police portal under Crime and Criminal Tracking Network and Systems Project (CCTNS).
The portal is a smart policing initiative of the Government to provide services to citizens and aid efficient police investigation. It will help in realising Government’s dream of ‘Minimum Government Maximum Governance’.
Digital police portal
The police portal is a platform for citizens to file online crime related complaints and also request for antecedent verification. It will also provide 11 searches and 46 reports from the national database for state police and central investigation agencies. Central investigating and research agencies also have been provided logins to the portal to access crime statistics.
About Crime and Criminal Tracking Network and Systems Project (CCTNS)
The CCTNS project was initiated in 2009 as part of police modernisation programme under the national e-governance project. It was conceived to bring all 16,000 police stations in India under a single network to counter terror challenges.
The core objective of CCTNS is to connect all the police stations so that any of the police stations can contact any other police station; thereby facilitate collection, storage, retrieval, analysis and transfer the information among police stations, state headquarters and central police organizations.