Polity & Governance
- Maharashtra tops Internet readiness index: report
- Union Health Ministry launches National Deworming initiative
- Petroleum Ministry releases the Hydrocarbon Vision 2030 for North-East India.
- Gujarat to get India’s first aviation park
Environment & Ecology
- New glowing creatures discovered in Red Sea
- Obama launches cyber-security ‘national action plan’
Polity & Governance
Maharashtra tops Internet readiness index: report
According to the report namely ‘Index of Internet Readiness of Indian States’, Maharashtra has emerged as the top ranking state in terms of the overall Internet readiness index.
- The report was published by the Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI) and Indicus Analytics.
- The purpose of the report was to help business and governments to leverage the strength, and policy measures can also be taken where improvements are required.
- Internet readiness in this study is not limited to how industry-friendly each state is for investment in IT, but aims to give a more holistic picture of the digital ecosphere that presently exists in the states.
- According to the report, Maharashtra has emerged as the top ranking state followed by Karnataka, Gujarat, Telengana and Tamil Nadu in terms of the overall Internet readiness index.
- Among the smaller states, Delhi has emerged as the topmost state in terms of Internet readiness index, followed by Puducherry and Goa.
- Even among the smaller states, those in northeast India do not figure among the top three.
- Among the Union Territories, Chandigarh is ranked at the top in terms of Internet readiness index.
About the Internet readiness index:
The Internet readiness index is a composite index on components like
- E-infrastructure index,
- E-participation index,
- IT services and
- E-governance index.
Union Health Ministry launches National Deworming initiative
Union Ministry for Health and Family Welfare has launched the 2nd National Deworming Day.
- Union Ministry for Health and Family Welfare had first launched National Deworming Day (NDD) in 2015 which was implemented in 11 States/UTs across all Government and Government-aided schools and Anganwadi centres targeting children aged 1 to 19 years.
- The National Deworming Day 2016 is launched to cover the whole country, aiming towards a massive target of 27 crore children in 536 districts of the country.
Apart from the Health Ministry, following bodies are collaborating to implement the National Deworming Day effectively for heightened impact.
- Department of School Education and Literacy under the Ministry of Human Resource Development,
- Ministry of Women and Child Development,
- Ministries of Panchayati Raj,
- Drinking Water and Sanitation
About the initiative:
- The National Deworming Day aims to create mass awareness about the most effective and low-cost Soil Transmitted Helminth (STH) treatment— administering Albendazole tablets.
- Along with Albendazole administration, behaviour change practices in terms of cleanliness, hygiene, use of toilets, wearing shoes/chappals, washing hands etc. is also important to reduce incidents of re-infection.
- At the state and local level, community mobilisation and outreach efforts are underway to engage community-based health workers, like ASHAs, Gram Sabhas and others, to spread awareness and encourage participation in the program.
Alarming situations in India:
- India has the highest burden of parasitic worms in the world.
- Parasitic worms in children interfere with nutrient uptake, and can contribute to anaemia, malnourishment, and impaired mental and physical development.
- According to the 2012 report ‘Children in India’, published by the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation, Government of India, 48% of children under the age of 5 years are stunted and 19.8% are wasted, indicating that half of the country’s children are malnourished.
Significance of the initiative:
- School-based mass deworming program is safe, cost-effective, and can reach millions of children quickly.
- Deworming has been shown to reduce absenteeism in schools; improve health, nutritional, and learning outcomes; and increase the likelihood of higher-wage jobs later in life.
- The National Deworming Day will mobilize health personnel, state governments and other stakeholders to prioritize investment in control of Soil Transmitted Helminth (STH) infections—one of the most common infections.
Petroleum Ministry releases the Hydrocarbon Vision 2030 for North-East India
The Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas has released the Hydrocarbon Vision 2030 for north-east India.
- The states covered include 8 north eastern states i.e. Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Sikkim and Tripura.
- The Vision aims at doubling Oil & Gas production by 2030, making clean fuels accessible, fast tracking projects, generating employment opportunities and promoting cooperation with neighbouring countries.
- The vision statement lays out a detailed roadmap for the entire hydrocarbons value chain, covering upstream, midstream and downstream segments.
- This report includes an action plan – of immediate, medium-term and long-term initiatives – to help achieve the objectives.
Objectives of the plan:
- To leverage the north-east region’s hydrocarbon potential,
- Enhance access to clean fuels,
- Improve availability of petroleum products,
- Facilitate economic development and
- To link common people to the economic activities in the hydrocarbon sector.
The Vision rests on five pillars of 5Ps: People, Policy, Partnership, Projects and Production.
- People: Foresees accessibility of clean fuel to households in this region and also foster skill development and local community involvement.
- Policy: Focus on development of areas including moderation of specific terrain and weather conditions of the region along with fund planning for new projects.
- Partnership: Give stress on greater involvement of state governments from this region in planning and implementation and also boosting trade with neighbouring nations.
- Projects: Focus on pipeline connectivity for carrying natural gas, liquefied petroleum gas (LPG), petroleum products, oil and lubricants (POL). It will also include building refineries and import links and development of compressed natural gas (CNG) highways and city gas distribution network.
- Production: Give emphases for technology deployment, production enhancement contracts and fast-track clearance and also development of service provider hubs.
Ministry of Petroleum and Natural gas (MoPNG) has consciously and constantly focused efforts towards making hydrocarbons a tool to enable social and economic development.
Gujarat to get India’s first aviation park
The Gujarat state government has planned to set up the India’s first-ever aviation park to strengthen the aviation sector in the state.
- This integrated park aims to raise the awareness about the potential of the aviation sector among students, professionals, policy makers and business entities.
- This will be a first ever Aviation Park in India. There are barely four such parks in the world.
- Gujarat State Aviation Infrastructure Company Ltd (GUJSAIL) is tasked by the government to carry out the project.
Significance of the aviation park:
The Aviation Park will serve as a one-stop destination in the avenues of aerospace training, research, recreation and manufacturing.
Facilities given by the aviation park:
- In the initial phase, this park will provide platform for educating people about the aviation activities.
- Apart from a theatre and an info—tech area, the park will also have space for conducting air shows and other aviation-related adventure sports.”
- For professionals, the park will have a training complex with a flight simulator, aviation and aerospace management school, an aircrew training school, a helipad and a landing strip for smaller aircrafts.
Environment & Ecology
New glowing creatures discovered in Red Sea
Scientists have discovered a new species of hydroid polyps emitting green fluorescence in the Red Sea.
- These species were found during the study of the biodiversity of coral reefs of the archipelago Farasan (Saudi Arabia, south of the Red Sea).
- The research showed that the localisation of glow in certain parts of the body can help to distinguish different species of organisms that have identical structure.
- But unlike their distant relatives who lead a solitary life in fresh water, the new species from the Red Sea form spreading colonies decorating miniature shells of a sea snail with garlands of green lights.
- Sea hydroids, unlike hydrae, are often found in colonies and can branch off tiny jellyfish.
- The unusual green glow of these hydrozoas (presumably, a new species of the genus Cytaeis) was revealed in the peristomal area of the body.
- The researchers suggested that glow around the mouth of polyps may attract prey.
What is Fluorescence?
Fluorescence is the emission of light by a substance that has absorbed light or other electromagnetic radiation. It is a form of luminescence.
- Fluorescence also occurs frequently in nature in some minerals and in various biological states in many branches of the animal kingdom.
- In most cases, the emitted light has a longer wavelength, and therefore lower energy, than the absorbed radiation.
- The most striking example of fluorescence occurs when the absorbed radiation is in the ultraviolet region of the spectrum, and thus invisible to the human eye, while the emitted light is in the visible region, which gives the fluorescent substance a distinct color that can only be seen when exposed to UV light.
Applications of Fluorescence:
Fluorescence has many practical applications including mineralogy, gemology, chemical sensors (fluorescence spectroscopy), fluorescent labelling, dyes, biological detectors, cosmic-ray detection, and, most commonly, fluorescent lamps.
[Ref: BS, Wiki]
Obama launches cyber-security ‘national action plan’
President Barack Obama has unveiled a cyber security “national action plan”.
- Under this action plan, Obama has asked for $19 billion for cyber security efforts in his budget request, a 35% increase from current levels,
- The action plan has also earmarked $3 billion to help modernise the patchwork of computer systems used in government agencies.
- This cyber security “national action plan” responds to an epidemic of data breaches and cyber attacks on both government and private networks in recent years.
- It passages the last year’s cyber security bill that aims to promote better threat sharing.
- The launch comes after disclosures last year that personal data from some 20 million federal employees, contractors and others had been leaked in a massive breach at the Office of Personnel Management.
- The decision is come as a backdrop of the fear, the US intelligence chief James Clapper has recently underscored. He has feared that wider adoption of connected devices and new systems that rely on artificial intelligence can open up doors to hackers.
- The US president has pointed out that some US computer networks are “archaic” and use systems that date back to the 1960s.
- The US intelligence chief pointed out that “smart” Internet of Things (IoT) devices for autonomous vehicles, household appliances and systems such as electric power grids create new vulnerabilities.
- He has also named Russia, China, Iran and North Korea as “leading threat actors” which pose risks for US security, and said these risks are growing as technology evolves and moves into new devices.
- According to him, Russian cyber actors, who post disinformation on commercial websites, might seek to alter online media as a means to influence public discourse and create confusion.
- He has also apprehensions that Chinese military doctrine outlines the use of cyber deception operations to conceal intentions, modify stored data, transmit false data, manipulate the flow of information, or influence public sentiments.