|181.||CSIR-IGIB and NCDC Researchers develop DNA sensor for quick pathogen detection|
Researchers form CSIR-Institute of Genomics and Integrative Biology (CSIR-IGIB) and National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) have developed an ultrasensitive DNA chip based sensor for quick pathogen detection.
The senor can detect S. pyogenes, a bacterium which causes a wide range of diseases in about 30 minutes. The conventional method takes 18-24 hours identification of the S. pyogenes.
The DNA chip based sensor consists of a carbon electrode embedded with gold nanoparticles. By means of a bioinformatics study, researchers were able to design probes which are specific for S. pyogenes. The working electrode surface of the sensor is attached with several small-sized, single-stranded DNA probe specific to the pathogen.
When patients’ DNA, isolated from throat swabs are placed on the surface of the sensor, they bind to the complementary single-stranded DNA on the device leading to electrochemical change. This is measured using a differential pulse voltammetry.
Significance: The sensor is highly sensitive and could detect even 60-65 bacteria in a 6 microlitre sample. It could identify the pathogen even at very low concentrations of DNA.The sensor was found to be stable for 12 months with only 10% loss in initial current peak on storage at 4 degree C.
S. pyogenes infections
S. pyogenes cause diseases ranging from mild skin and throat infections to life-threatening toxic shock syndrome. If not treated during early stages of the infection, it can even lead to rheumatic heart disease (heart valves damage). It affects 700 million people every year.
|182.||Indian Coast Guard Ship Shaurya commissioned in Goa|
Indian Coast Guard Ship (ICGS) Shaurya was commission in Vasco, Goa. ICGS Shaurya is an offshore patrol vessel designed and built indigenously by Goa Shipyard Ltd (GSL).
It will be based at Chennai under administrative and operational control of Commander Coast Guard Region (East).
About ICGS Shaurya
ICGS Shaurya is fifth of a series of six OPVs designed in-house and built by GSL. It is 105-metre long and capable of cruising at a speed of 23 knots. It has a range of 6000 nautical miles.
It is powered by twin diesel engines and carries four boats for boarding party operations. It is fitted with state-of-the-art advanced navigation and communication equipment. Its weaponry package has one 30 mm gun and two 12.7 mm guns associated with fire control system.
The ship has capacity to carry twin engine light helicopter and five high speed boats including quick response interceptor boats for quick boarding operations, search and rescue, law enforcement and maritime patrol. It is also capable of carrying pollution response equipment to combat oil spill contamination.
|183.||Government launches nationwide campaign Gaj Yatra to protect elephants|
The Union Ministry of Environment and Forest has launched a nationwide campaign Gaj Yatra to protect elephants. It was launched on the occasion of World Elephant Day observed on August 12.
The ministry also released the All India Census 2017 Report on elephants and Agreed Points of Action on Trans-Boundary Conservation of Elephants by India and Bangladesh.
Gaj Yatra Campaign
The campaign is planned to cover 12 elephant range states across the country. It is 15 months campaign the will be led by the Wildlife Trust of India (WTI). The ‘Gaju’ mascot, which was released by the Ministry in 2012, will be helm of the campaign.
The campaign aims create awareness about elephant corridors to encourage free movement in their habitat. During the period of the campaign, artists and craftsmen will create life-size works on the theme of elephants in places along the route of the roadshow using local art and craft. Specially fabricated vehicles will be also deployed to display these on pre-determined routes with campaigners.
World Elephant Day
The World Elephant Day is observed every year on August 12 to support various stakeholders involved in supporting various conservation policies to protect elephants. It also seeks to support stakeholders involved in improving enforcement policies to prevent illegal poaching and trade in ivory, conserving elephant habitats, providing better treatment for captive elephants and reintroducing captive elephants into sanctuaries.
The World Elephant Day was conceived in 2011 by Canadian filmmakers Patricia Sims and Michael Clark of Canazwest Pictures and Sivaporn Dardarananda, Secretary-General of Elephant Reintroduction Foundation of Thailand. Now it is supported by over 65 wildlife organisations and many individuals in several countries across the globe.
As per the available population estimates, there are about 400,000 African elephants and 40,000 Asian elephants across the globe. Asian elephants are listed as “endangered” and African elephants are listed as “vulnerable” in the IUCN Red List of threatened species.
|184.||Economic Survey proposes Transparency of Rules Act|
The Second volume of Economic Survey 2016-17 has proposed Transparency of Rules Act (TORA), a progressive legislation to end any asymmetry of information regarding rules and regulations faced by an average citizen.
The objective of TORA is to help citizens overcome an opaque mesh of complicated rules that often leads to corruption and endless litigation.
At present due to opaque mesh of regulations prevalent in India make life of ordinary citizens (as well as businesses) difficult as it is not easy for ordinary citizens for them to navigate the multitude of rules, regulations, forms, taxes and procedures imposed by various tiers of government. Moreover, these rules frequently change and sometimes contradict each other. Even government officials struggle to keep up with ‘the latest version’ of complicated rules. They also act as a magnet for corruption and endless litigation.
Key Features of TORA
TORA will require all government departments to mandatorily place all citizen-friendly rules on their website. Government Officials will not be able to impose any rule not mentioned beforehand. It will make mandatory for updating all existing laws by the department.
Government websites will also have to notify the date and time of each change made. TORA will normally be applicable after a specified time after the rule has been posted. “TORA compliant” departments will ensure that citizens get authentic and updated information.
India will benefit enormously if the average citizen could easily access the latest rules and regulations in a comprehensible format. Transparency of Rules Act (TORA) will be a possible solution for this.
|185.||Economic Survey 2016-17 Volume II: Agriculture and Food Management Reforms Measures|
The Economic Survey 2016-17 Volume II released recently has taken into consideration various challenges faced by the Agriculture sector in India. It has suggested multi-dimensional Agricultural and Food Management Reforms Measures.
Small Operational Land Holdings: The average farm size in India is small and declining since 1970-71. It is a major limitation to reap the benefits of economies of scale in agriculture operations.
Credit: The predominance of informal sources of credit for farmers is a concern. Moreover, there is regional disparity in the distribution of agricultural credit.
Post- harvest losses: The horticulture sector in India faces problems like post-harvest losses, availability of quality planting material and lack of market access for horticultural produce of small farmers.
Price risks in agriculture and allied sectors: Strengthening and building marketing infrastructure along the entire value chain.
Production risks: The share of irrigated area should be expanded by increasing the coverage of water saving irrigation systems like micro irrigation systems.
Increase productivity of crops: Standards should be set and enforced for better quality, pest and disease resistant seeds.
Trade and domestic policy changes: It should be announced well before sowing and should stay till arrivals and procurement is over.
Enhance women’s involvement in the dairy projects: Funds should be earmarked through appropriate mechanisms.
Formal and institutional credit: It should be provided in timely and affordable manner to the small and marginal farmers is the key to inclusive growth. Regime based on timely interventions needs to be adopted.
|186.||IIP output contracts 0.1% in June 2017|
India’s factory output, measured by the Index of Industrial Production (IIP) has registered negative 0.1% growth in June 2017. It was mainly due to a fall in output of the manufacturing and capital goods sectors.
According to data released by the Central Statistics Office (CSO) it is the first negative fall since June 2013. In June 2016, it had grown 8%.
About Index of Industrial Production (IIP)
The IIP is a composite indicator that measures the short-term changes in the volume of production of a basket of industrial products during a given period with respect to chosen base period. It is compiled and published monthly by the Central Statistical Organization (CSO), Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation.
Base year: The CSO had revised the base year of the IIP from 2004-05 to 2011-12 in May 2017 to capture structural changes in the economy and improves the quality and representativeness of the indices. The revised IIP (2011-12) reflects the changes in the industrial sector and also aligns it with the base year of other macroeconomic indicators like the Wholesale Price Index (WPI) and Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
Sector wise items and weightages: It covers 407 item groups. Sector wise, the items included falls into 3 categories viz. Manufacturing (405 items), Mining (1 items) & Electricity (1 item). The weights of the three sectors are 77.63%, 14.37%, 7.9% respectively. The revised eight core Industries have a combined weightage of 40.27% in the IIP. Decreasing order of weightage of core industries is Electricity> Steel> Refinery Products> Crude> Coal> Cement> Natural Gas> Fertilizers.
|187.||Prasoon Joshi appointed as new chairman of CBFC|
The Union Information and Broadcasting Ministry has appointed Prasoon Joshi as the new Chairman of Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC). He will replace Pahlaj Nihalani and shall have tenure of three years.
Besides, the ministry by exercising its powers conferred by sub-section (1) of section 3 of the Cinematograph Act, 1952 and the Cinematograph (Certification) Rules, 1983 also reconstituted the existing CBFC Board for a period of three years or until further orders, whichever is earlier. The new board will be headed by Prasoon Joshi.
Prasoon Joshi is renowned songwriter-poet known for his contribution to various films and for designing successful ad campaigns. He has been honoured with Padma Shri. He has penned the theme song for Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Swachh Bharat Abhiyan and other campaigns.
About Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC)
The CBFC also known as “Censor Board” is a statutory body under Union Ministry of Information and Broadcasting. It grants certificate to regulate the public exhibition of films in India under the provisions of the Cinematograph Act 1952.
The mandate of CBFC is to promote recreation, education, good and healthy entertainment to public according to the provisions of the Cinematograph Act, 1952, and Cinematograph (Certification) Rules, 1983. Films can be publicly exhibited in India only after they are certified by the CBFC.
The CBFC board is headed by central government appointed chairperson and 12-45 non-official members. The members are eminent persons from social science, education, law, arts or films background appointed. Its headquarters are in Mumbai, Maharashtra.
|188.||Odisha government and Facebook launches ‘SheMeansBusiness’ programme|
Odisha government and social networking giant Facebook has launched ‘SheMeansBusiness’ programme to train women entrepreneurs in the state.
It was launched in partnership between Odisha’s MSME (micro, small and medium enterprises) department and Project Mission Shakti.
Under this initiative, 25, 000 women entrepreneurs and self-help group (SHG) members from the state will be given training on digital marketing skills within by the end of 2018. Facebook will monitor the growth of the MSMEs in Odisha after imparting training to them in next one year.
It will also prepare a data base of the MSMEs through registrations in which they will take the email ids and mobile numbers of entrepreneurs in all the workshops.
The programme has been launched in 16 countries around the world including India. It is designed to reach out to aspiring and established women entrepreneurs to help them build and grow their business online.
|189.||MCX gets SEBI approval to launch India’s first gold options contract|
Commodity derivatives bourse Multi Commodity Exchange Ltd (MCX) has received markets regulator Securities and Exchange Board of India’s (SEBI) approval to launch India’s first gold options contract.
The gold futures contract will have bi-monthly duration. The option will also have the existing gold kilo futures contract as its underlier.
The launch of gold options is one of the major reforms SEBI has taken for the commodity derivatives market. Earlier in June 2017, SEBI had allowed options trading in commodities to deepen the market but permitted each exchange to launch options on futures of only one commodity initially.
SEBI is going to put strict eligibility criteria and options could be launched on futures contract of only those commodities that are among the top five in terms of total trading turnover value of previous 12 months. It also has stipulated necessary guidelines with regard to the product design and risk management framework to be adopted for trading in options on commodity futures.
About Multi Commodity Exchange Ltd (MCX)
The MCX is the country’s largest metals and energy commodity bourse. It is country’s first listed commodity futures exchange that facilitates online trading, and clearing and settlement of commodity futures transactions, thereby providing a platform for risk management.
It began functioning in November 2003 and operates within the regulatory framework of the Forward Contracts Regulation Act, 1952 (FCRA, 1952). It offers futures trading in bullion, ferrous and non-ferrous metals, energy, and a number of agricultural commodities (mentha oil, cardamom, potatoes, palm oil and others). Globally, MCX ranks no. 1 in silver, no. 2 in natural gas, no. 3 in crude oil and gold in futures trading.
|190.||12 August: International Youth Day|
The International Youth Day is observed across the world on 12 August to draw attention to a given set of cultural and legal issues surrounding youth.
The theme for this year is ‘Youth Building Peace‘. It aims at celebrating young people’s contributions in preventing conflicts and bringing about transformations along with social justice, inclusion and sustainable peace. It also reaffirms the important role youth can play in deterring and resolving conflicts, and are key constituents in ensuring the success of both peacekeeping and peacebuilding efforts
The International Youth Day (IYD) was instituted by the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) by passing resolution 54/120 in December 1999. It was first observed on 12 August, 2000.
The day was instituted by UNHA on the recommendation made by the World Conference of Ministers Responsible for Youth held in Lisbon (Portugal) from 8 to 12 August 1998.