- Act against Devadasi system, SC tells States
- Is Spirituality The Exclusive Domain Of Men, Asks SC
- Minister for Telecom & IT to Launch Electronics Development Fund (EDF)
- Madhya Pradesh Gets its First Mega Food Park
Environment & Ecology
- Himalayan griffon spotted in Goa
- Private companies must buy compost from municipal waste: Urban Development Ministry
Science & Technology
- Neem extract can stop the growth of pancreatic cancer: Study
Act against Devadasi system, SC tells States
The Supreme Court has described the practice of Devadasi as an “evil” done to women, who were later even subjected to sexual exploitation and pushed into prostitution.
- Taking a stern view, the Supreme Court has directed all States and Union Territories, especially Karnataka, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, to strictly enforce the Centre’s to check “undesired and unhealthy” practice of forcing young girls to serve as Devadasis.
The court also allowed any incidents regarding the system of Devadasi prevailing in “Beriya” and “Nat” communities to be brought to the notice of the State authorities concerned.
- The Union government has issued advisory to all States and UTs to stop illegal activities of subjecting young girls into the Devadasi system.
- However, neither was the police enforcing the law nor were the State governments properly utilising funds allocated for the rehabilitation of girls who were pushed into the Devadasi system.
Efforts so far:
- State-level legislation such as the Karnataka Devadasis Prohibition of Dedication Act, 1982, and Maharashtra Devadasis Abolition Act, 2006, had completely abolished such practices.
- Besides, Section 372 of the IPC, which prohibits selling minors for purposes of prostitution, and the Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act, 1956, also makes prostitution an offence in or in the vicinity of public places.
Is Spirituality the Exclusive Domain of Men, Asks SC
The Supreme Court has asked the Sabarimala temple (in Kerala) authorities whether, according to them, spirituality is the exclusive domain of men, and women are incapable of attaining the spiritual self.
- The Supreme Court has asked whether the Vedas, Upanishads and scriptures discriminate between men and women.
- Religion is distinct from cult culture. Cult culture has a core group. Entry is restricted to others considered outsiders. Religion is holistic — Sanatan Dharma — and includes one and all without discrimination of sex, caste and gender.
- Celibacy is not the exclusive privilege of men. Article 25 of our Constitution says ‘throw open’ the doors of public religious spaces to all human race.
- A temple is a public religious phenomenon and its functions should come within the constitutional parameters.
Minister for Telecom & IT to Launch Electronics Development Fund (EDF)
Department of Electronics & Information Technology and Canbank Venture Capital Fund Ltd will Launch Electronics Development Fund (EDF).
- The Electronics Development Fund Policy was launched by Prime Minister of India, Shri Narendra Modi, during the inauguration of Digital India Week on 1stJuly 2015.
- In this context, Government of India has appointed CANBANK Venture Capital Fund Pvt. Ltd. (CVCFL) to house Electronics Development Fund (EDF).
About Electronics Development Fund (EDF):
- Electronics Development Fund (EDF) an initiative of IT Department is formulated as a “Fund of Funds” to participate in “Daughter Funds”.
- The target beneficiaries of the EDF will be Daughter Funds registered in India and abiding by the relevant rules and regulations including the SEBI regulations on Venture Funds.
- EDF therefore enables creation of an ecosystem for providing risk capital to both industry and academia to undertake research and development in these technology areas.
- It will, in the process, enrich the intellectual property in the country and encourage more entrepreneurs towards product and technology development.
It should be noted here that the EDF is different from Rs.10,000 crore micro, small and medium enterprises (MSME) fund which was announced in budget 2014 and the recently announced Rs.10,000 crore start-up fund.
- The idea is that the EDF will put in 20% of the capital in daughter funds and the rest 80% will be invested by VCs. The daughter funds will then invest in companies, primarily start-ups.
What is Daughter Fund?
- Daughter Fund is the fund set up to achieve the objectives of the EDF policy.
- The “Daughter Funds” will provide risk capital to companies developing new technologies in the area of electronics, nano-electronics and Information Technology (IT).
- The corpus of a Daughter Fund will be determined by market requirements and the capacity of its fund manager to cater to the requirements of the fund.
- The Daughter Fund will also support acquisition of foreign companies and technologies for products imported in India in large volume.
- The Daughter Funds supported will create a resource pool of IP within the country in the specified fields.
[Ref: PIB, LM]
Madhya Pradesh Gets its First Mega Food Park
Union Ministry of Food Processing Industries has recently inaugurated Mega Food Park in Madhya Pradesh.
- Now, Madhya Pradesh has got it’s the first Mega Food Park promoted by Indus mega Food Part Pvt. Ltd.
- A second Mega Food Park has also been sanctioned by the Ministry for the state, which will be ready in the next 24 to 30 months.
Ministry of Food Processing Industries has been implementing the Mega Food Park Scheme in the country.
- This Food Park will have various facilities including Cold Storage, Dry Warehouse, Instant Quick Freeze, modern Quality Control lab and other processing facilities for fruits and vegetables.
- The Mega Food Park is expected to provide direct and indirect employment to about 6000 people and benefit about 25,000 to 30,000 farmers in its catchment area.
- This Mega Food Park provides a modern infrastructure for arresting post-harvest losses of horticultural and non-horticultural produce and provides impetus to the growth of food processing sector in Madhya Pradesh.
- It will also help in providing better prices to farmers, reduce wastage of perishables, add value to agricultural produce and create huge opportunities for entrepreneurship and employment for the youth of the State.
Environment & Ecology
Himalayan griffon spotted in Goa
Birdwatchers in south Goa have reported spotting the rare Himalayan griffon, also known as Himalayan vulture.
- The Himalayan griffon was previously believed to belong to the upper Himalayas and was presumed to stray till the Gangetic plains at the most.
- But, in recent years the bird has been spotted even in southern states including Kerala, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh.
About the Himalayan griffon:
- The Himalayan vultureor Himalayan griffon vulture is closely related to the European griffon vulture and once considered a subspecies of it.
- It is one of the two largest Old World vultures and true raptors.
- The species has been listed as Near Threatened by the IUCN.
- Himalayan griffons do not breed in the first three years, and hence juvenile birds of the species do not remain in breeding grounds to avoid competition.
- The species is found mainly in the higher regions of the Himalayas, the Pamirs, Kazakhstan,Burma, Singapore and Cambodia,Afghanistan, Bhutan,Thailand, and on the Tibetan Plateau (technically in China).
[Ref: Hindu, Wiki]
Private companies must buy compost from municipal waste: Urban Development Ministry
To boost the Union government’s flagship Swachh Bharat Mission, the Ministry of Urban Development has made it “mandatory” for private companies to buy compost that is extracted from municipal solid waste.
- Since solid waste management is a key feature of Swachh Bharat Mission, the Ministry is finding creative ways to turn mounting waste into a national asset.
- It will help farmers to nourish their soil with organic fertilizers and reduce their dependence on chemical urea which destroys the fertility of their lands and causes serious damage to groundwater.
Recently, the Urban Development Ministry arrived at an agreement with the Ministry of Chemicals and Fertilizers that private companies must promote the municipal compost and slowly reduce the market size of urea. Otherwise, serious fines would be imposed on them.
- About 45 compost producing plants across the country were almost “defunct” because the private firms were not interested in marketing their products.
- The 45 plants had a capacity of generating 10 lakh tonnes of organic fertilizers, but they were producing only 1.5 tonnes due to the market monopoly of urea producing companies.
The government is also weighing whether to offer a deal where subsidy would be granted if one bag of municipal compost is bought with every two bags of chemically rich urea.
Science & Technology
Neem extract can stop the growth of pancreatic cancer: Study
A team of researchers including Indian-origin scientists has found out that a natural extract derived from Neem tree could potentially be used to treat the highly lethal pancreatic cancer.
- The results revealed that nimbolide, an active molecule isolated from Neem tree (Azadirachta indica), can stop pancreatic cancer’s growth and spread without harming normal, healthy cells.
- The researchers have observed that nimbolide was able to reduce the migration and invasion capabilities of pancreatic cancer cells by 70 percent — meaning the cancerous cells did not become aggressive and spread.
- In humans, this migration and invasion — or metastasis — of pancreatic cancer to other regions of the body is the chief cause of mortality.
- Nimbolide treatments also induced cancer cell death, causing the size and number of pancreatic cancer cell colonies to drop by 80 percent.
- The Neem compound did not harm healthy cells in both the in vitro and in vivo experiments.
The researchers have suggested that using nimbolide for pancreatic cancer will not cause adverse effects like chemotherapy and radiation typically do.
About Pancreatic cancer:
- Pancreatic cancerarises when cells in the pancreas, a glandular organ behind the stomach, begin to multiply out of control and form a mass. These cancerous cells have the ability to invade other parts of the body.
- Pancreatic cancer has the highest mortality rate of all cancers with 94 percent of patients dying within five years of diagnosis.
- The cancer grows quickly and there are currently no effective treatments available.
[Ref: IE, Wiki]