IASToppers-Current-Affairs-Analysis-8th-April-2016
Current Affairs Analysis

8th April 2016 Current Affairs Analysis

By IT's Current Affairs Analysis Team
April 08, 2016

Contents

Polity & Governance

  • Make GM mustard data public: CIC
  • HRD ministry launches ISBN Portal

Social Issues

  • On World Health Day, Health Ministry launches new health initiatives and Mobile APPS

Economy

  • Govt. launches two new energy efficiency schemes

Defence & Security Issues

  • World military spending up in 2015, India in sixth position

Also in News

  • Hindu New Year celebrations begins

 

Polity & Governance

Make GM mustard data public: CIC

In an order intended to make the decision-making process on transgenic food crops in India more transparent, the Central Information Commission (CIC) has directed the Genetic Engineering Appraisal Committee (GEAC) — the apex regulatory body for GMOs (genetically modified organisms) — to make public the non-confidential biosafety dossier of GM mustard and other GMOs by April 30.

CIC’s views:

CIC has viewed that People should know how and why GM mustard is being permitted or denied because they have to consume that food or feed and face the consequences. It is a policy decision by the public authority which needs to be revealed to the public in general as mandated because they are going to be affected if GM mustard is marketed.

Background:

  • The order has been issued on the application of an environment activist who sought information on field trials of GM mustard, arguing that biosafety data could not be confidential since it pertained to results of testing of a GMO for public safety assessment.
  • The GEAC, which comes under the environment ministry, had previously refused to part with the information saying sharing of data would breach the commercial confidence of the Centre for Genetic Manipulation of Crop Plants of Delhi University that had approached the regulator for clearing commercial release of the GM mustard (DMH11). But the Central Information Commission rejected the central regulator’s argument.
  • The decision to release GM mustard for commercial cultivation is currently pending with the central regulator.

Now under the CIC order, the GEAC is expected to put out all the biosafety details in public domain after separating confidential information.

Which GM crops are allowed in India?

  • At present, only GM cotton is allowed for commercial cultivation in India. Although the central regulator has given its nod for scientific field trials of many transgenic varieties of food crops including rice, wheat and maize among others, it has so far not cleared any GM food crop for commercial release.

[Ref: ToI]

HRD ministry launches ISBN Portal

The Union Minstry of Human Resource Development has launched a portal for registration and allotment of International Standard Book Number (ISBN).  

What is ISBN?

ISBN is a unique number used to identify monographic publications.

  • Displayed in barcodeformat, ISBN is a 13-character identification allotted by the International ISBN Agency based in Britain through the National ISBN Agency.
  • It provides access to bibliographic data bases used by the book industry and libraries to provide information.

About the ISBN portal:

  • The ISBN portal is a part of central government’s e-governance initiativefor streamlining the process of registration for publishers and authors which will make the process user friendly.
  • The portal has been created to facilitate publishers and authors to register for ISBN number. ISBN gives an identity to a book without which the bookshops will not sell it.
  • The ISBN portal seeks to completely automate the process of seeking application, their examination and allotment of ISBNs. The developed software has several modules including users’ registration and online application submission.
  • The automation process also seeks to maintain inventory as well as process the data that will be provided by the users. There will be doing away with receipt of hard copy of any document unless considered appropriate for establishing the identity of the applicant and for confirming the book publishing activity.

Aim of the portal:

  • This initiative is aimed at ensuring ease of registration, enhanced accessibility, wider transparency, trust and credibility and greater efficiency for the book writing fraternity in the country.

[Ref: PIB] 

 

Social Issues

On World Health Day, Health Ministry launches new health initiatives and Mobile APPS

Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has launched several new e-Health and m-Health initiatives to mark the World Health Day (April 7th).

ANM Online application-ANMOL:

  • ANMOL is a tablet-based application that allows ANMs (Auxiliary Nurse Midwife) to enter and updated data for beneficiaries of their jurisdiction.
  • This will ensure more prompt entry and updation of data as well as improve the data quality since the data will be entered “at source” by providers of health services themselves.
  • Since the Application is Aadhaar-enabled, it will help in authentication of the records of field workers and beneficiaries.

E-RaktKosh initiative:

  • It is an integrated Blood Bank Management Information System that has been conceptualized and developed after multiple consultations with all stakeholders. This web-based mechanism interconnects all the Blood Banks of the State into a single network.
  • The Integrated Blood Bank MIS refers the acquisition, validation, storage and circulation of various live data and information electronically regarding blood donation and transfusion service.
  • Such system is able to assemble heterogeneous data into legible reports to support decision making from effective donor screening to optimal blood dissemination in the field.
  • This initiative will be of great use to persons and families in need of blood transfusion.
  • The Application will enable not only information of the nearest blood bank on a mobile but also of the availability of the particular blood group in a given radius.

Dialysis Centre in a PPP Mode:

  • The Health Ministry has also released the Guidelines for Dialysis Centre in a PPP Mode.
  • Soon every district in the country will have the facility of a Dialysis Centre operated under the PPP mode to leverage the potential of the private sector.
  • These expanded facilities will help the renal disorder patients and reduce the out-of-pocket expenditure incurred on dialysis, the Health Minister stated. 

India Fights Dengue:

  • This application will find wide use. As the fight against Vector Borne Diseases, especially Dengue, can be won only with effective community participation, this App empowers the community members how to contribute towards prevention of Dengue.

 [Ref: PIB] 

 

Economy

Govt. launches two new energy efficiency schemes

The Centre has launched two new energy efficiency schemes:

  • National Energy Efficient Agriculture Pumps Programme.
  • National Energy Efficient Fan Programme.
  • These schemes will be implemented by Energy Efficiency Services Limited (EESL), a joint venture of public sector undertakings (PSUs) under the Ministry of Power.

National Energy Efficient Agriculture Pumps Programme:

  • Under the National Energy Efficient Agriculture Pumps Programme, farmers can replace their inefficient pumps free of cost with the new BEE star rated energy efficient agricultural pump-sets.
  • These pumps will come enabled with smart control panel and a SIM card, giving farmers the flexibility to remotely control these pumps from their mobile phones and from the comfort of their homes, an official press release said.
  • EESL will distribute 200,000 BEE star rated pump-sets to the farmers under this programme, which will lead to 30% of energy savings by 2019. This translates into an annual savings of approximately Rs 20,000 crore on agricultural subsidies or a saving of 50 billion units of energy every year.

National Energy Efficient Fan Programme:

  • With the usage of the 50 Watts BEE 5 Star rated ceiling fans, to be distributed under the National Energy Efficient Fan Programme, it is estimated that consumer’s electricity bills will come down by about Rs. 700-730 per year. Thus, the cost recovery of purchasing these fans would be less than two years.
  • These fans are 30% more energy efficient as compared to conventional fans, which range from 75-80 watts. At present, two energy efficient fans will be provided to each consumer at Rs 60 a month per fan on EMI basis. The EMI amount will be added to the consumers’ electricity bills for two years.
  • This scheme will be available to the consumer on providing a copy of latest electricity bill along with a copy of residence proof at the designated distribution centre. The consumer can also purchase the fan by paying Rs. 1250 upfront.

[Ref: PIB]

 

Defence & Security Issues

World military spending up in 2015, India in sixth position

India is the sixth largest military spender in 2015 having spent $51.3 billion, as per the latest report from the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI).

Global Scenario:

  • World military expenditure rose by 1% in 2015. It stood at $1,676 billion in 2015. The report noted said it reflects continuing growth in Asia and Oceania, Central and Eastern Europe, and some Middle Eastern states.
  •  The U.S. remained by far the world’s largest spender in 2015 despite its defence expenditure falling by 2.4% to $596 billion followed by China, Saudi Arabia, Russia and U.K.
  • China’s expenditure rose by 7.4% to $215 billion.

India’s position:

  • India moved one rank up from last year accounting for 3.1% of global military expenditure. Over a ten-year period from 2006-15 this represents a 43% jump.
  • India is also ahead of countries like France, Germany and Israel who happen to be among its top arms suppliers.

Concerns:

  • According to the report, the military spending in 2015 presents contrasting trends. On the one hand, spending trends reflect the escalating conflict and tension in many parts of the world; on the other hand, they show a clear break from the oil-fuelled surge in military spending of the past decade.

[Ref: Hindu]

 

Also in News

Hindu New Year celebrations begins

Hindu New Year is being welcomed in different parts of the country with traditional festivities and celebrations.

  • The Chaitra Sukladi, Ugadi, Gudi Padava, Navareh, Navroz and Chetti Chand are the same festivals in different names, marking the occasion.

States

New year names

Andhra Pradesh and Telangana

Ugadi

Karnataka

Yugadi /Ugadi

Maharashtra

Gudi Padwa

Sindhis

Cheti Chand

Marwari of Rajasthan

Thapna

Manipuris

Sajibu Nongma Panba

Hindus of Kashmir

Navreh

Hindus of Bali and Indonesia

Nyepi

[Ref: PIB]

 

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