Polity & Governance
- All India Citizens Survey of Police Services
Issues related to Health & Education
- Health spending increases in lower-income countries: WHO report
- Conversion of used edible oil into Bio-ATF tested
- Capital Infusion of Rs. 48,239 Crore into 12 State-Run Banks
Defence & Security Issues
- DNS server to be launched soon to protect users from malware
Science & Technology
- EESL to launch Super-Efficient Air Conditioning programme
- Japanese space probe lands on asteroid 300 million km from Earth
- SpaceX Rocket Carrying Israel’s First Lunar Lander Launched From Florida
Key Facts for Prelims
- What is Golden rice?
- 4th India-ASEAN Expo Summit
- India-Saudi Arabia bilateral Meeting
- Velayat 97
- Seoul Peace Prize 2018
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Polity & Governance
All India Citizens Survey of Police Services
Ministry of Home Affairs has commissioned the Bureau of Police Research and Development to conduct a Pan-India survey called “ALL INDIA CITIZENS SURVEY OF POLICE SERVICES”.
Aim of the survey:
- To understand public perceptions about Police
- To gauge the level of non-reporting of crimes or incidents to Police
- To measure the position on ground relating to crime reporting & recording, timeliness and quality of police response
- Better policy formulation and Implementation
- To assess citizens’ perception and experience about women and children’s safety
Who will conduct the survey?
- The survey will be conducted through the National Council of Applied Economic Research, New Delhi.
When the survey will begin?
- The survey will commence in March, 2019 and cover a representative sample of 1.2 lakh households spread over 173 districts based on the National Sample Survey framework.
- The survey will be completed in 9 months.
Need of the survey:
- The outcome of the survey is expected to bring out useful suggestions for stakeholders in formulating appropriate policy responses in the functioning of police.
- It is also important for Improving crime prevention and investigation, transformation in community policing and improvement in the access to the justice.
Issues related to Health & Education
Health spending increases in lower-income countries: WHO report
According to the World Health Organization’s report on global health expenditure, global spending on health increased in low- and middle-income countries by 6 per cent and in high income countries by 4 per cent.
What does Health spending of a country consist of?
- Government expenditure
- Out-of-pocket payments (people paying for their own care)
- Voluntary health insurance,
- Employer-provided health programmes
- Activities by non-profits.
Highlights of the report:
- The overall reliance of people on public funding has increased. In most countries, reliance on out-of-pocket spending is gradually going down and has also been associated with a reduction in the share of domestic government revenues allocated to health.
- While the total amount of aid that middle-income countries receive has increased, aid per capita has fallen.
- According to report, in 2016, lower- and upper middle-income countries still received close to 57 per cent of global aid, and certain middle-income countries still received large amounts of aid in absolute terms. Therefore, there is an inverse relationship between a country’s income levels and the share of external aid as a health funding source.
- The report analyses for the first time, data for a subset of countries not only on the basis of sources of spending but also on how the money was used.
- According to the report, the roles of external and domestic funding are evolving. However, external funding is declining in middle-income countries.
- Governments account for less than 40 per cent of primary health care spending.
- The data indicates that nearly half of donor funds for health and about 20 per cent of public spending on health went to combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis.
- About one-third of domestic public spending went towards injuries and non-communicable diseases, which received comparatively little external funds.
- According to the report, public spending on health is essential for achieving the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) targets for health through sustainably funding common goods.
The Global Health Expenditure Database (GHED):
- The Global Health Expenditure Database (GHED) provides internationally comparable data on health spending for close to 190 countries from 2000 to 2016.
- The database is open access and supports the goal of Universal Health Coverage by helping monitor the availability of resources for health.
- WHO works collaboratively with Members and updates the database annually using available data such as government budgets and health accounts studies.
- To mark Universal Health Coverage Day on 12th December 2018, WHO has released new data and published the report “Public Spending on Health: A Closer Look at Global Trends”. It shows a transformation trajectory for global spending on health, with increasing domestic government funding and declining external financing.
Conversion of used edible oil into Bio-ATF tested
The Dehradun-based Indian Institute of Petroleum has successfully finished a pilot test to convert used cooking oil into bio-aviation turbine fuel (Bio-ATF) which can be blended with conventional ATF and used as aircraft fuel.
- The test assumes importance as the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has launched the Repurpose Cooking Oil (RUCO) initiative to collect and convert used cooking oil into bio-fuel.
- The chemical composition of the used cooking oil is identical to other plant-based oils that have been converted to Bio-ATF such as Jatropha oil.
- According to food safety body, by 2020, it is possible to recover about 220 crore litres of used cooking oil for conversion into bio-fuel.
RUCO (Repurpose Used Cooking Oil):
- Repurpose Used Cooking Oil (RUCO), an initiative of The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI), is an ecosystem that will enable the collection and conversion of Used Cooking Oil (UCO) to biodiesel.
- Under this initiative, 64 companies at 101 locations have been identified to enable collection of used cooking oil.
Adverse effects of using Used cooking oil (UCO)
- The consumption of Used Cooking Oil(UCO) poses adverse health effects.
- It is associated with several diseases such as hypertension, atherosclerosis, Alzheimer’s disease, liver diseases. Therefore, it is essential to monitor the quality of vegetable oils during frying.
- In order to safeguard consumer health, FSSAI has fixed a limit for Total Polar Compounds at 25 percent beyond which the vegetable oil shall not be used.
- From 1st July, 2018 onwards, all Food Business Operators (FBOs) are required to monitor the quality of oil during frying by complying with the said regulations.
Total Polar Compounds (TPC):
- In many countries, TPC is used to measure the quality of oil.
- The level of TPC increases every time oil is re-heated. Some of the studies show that TPC accumulation in oil without food is slower than that in oil frying with food.
- During frying process, a wide variety of chemical reactions result in the formation of compounds with high molecular weight and polarity.
- The repeated use of oil at high temperatures result in several oxidative, polymerization and thermal degradation reactions leading to changes properties of oil.
- Determination of total polar compounds (TPC) is one of the most reliable methods for continuous monitoring of the quality changes in oils during the frying process.
- The Total Polar compounds are determined by reference methods such as Association of Official Agricultural Chemists (AOAC) Official Method.
- However, these methods are time consuming for on-site measurements. For this purpose, hand-held devices (cooking oil tester based on the dielectric method which records all polar and non-polar components) are available in market for rapid measurements.
- Higher level of TPC in cooking oil leads to health issues like hypertension, atherosclerosis, Alzheimer’s disease and liver disease. One of the studies also noticed high levels of glucose, creatinine and cholesterol with declined levels of protein and albumin in cooking oil.
About Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI):
- The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) is an agency of the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, Government of India.
- The FSSAI has been established under the Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006 which is a consolidating statute related to food safety and regulation in India.
- The FSSAI is led by a non-executive Chairperson, appointed by the Central Government.
- The Chairperson is in the rank of Secretary to Government of India.
- The agency also has 8 regional offices, 4 referral laboratories and 72 local laboratories located throughout India.
Capital Infusion of Rs. 48,239 Crore into 12 State-Run Banks
The government has approved the capital infusion of Rs. 48,239 Crore into 12 State-Run Banks.
- With this latest capital infusion, the government has now provided Rs 1,00,958 crore out of the Rs 1.06-lakh-crore bank recapitalisation plan.
- The remaining Rs. 5,000 crore capital infusion would be used as a buffer for any contingency or growth capital for Bank of Baroda which is in the process of merging Dena Bank and Vijaya Bank with itself.
Rationale behind the capital infusion:
- The capital inclusion has been undertaken to ensure the lenders are able to maintain regulatory capital requirement and step up lending and boost overall growth.
- The capital infusion has been undertaken to ensure that state-run lenders, which have emerged out of the PCA, remain above the triggers and help others such as Indian Overseas Bank, Central Bank, United Bank and UCO Bank meet minimum regulatory capital requirements.
Defence & Security Issues
DNS server to be launched soon to protect users from malware
The government will soon launch a public domain name system (DNS) server that could protect users from any malware or phishing with enhanced security features as well as faster response time.
Need and Significance of New DNS Server:
- To discourage cyber-attacks and a quicker site loading time in the wake of critical services being delivered online.
How does this system works?
- If a user inadvertently accesses a malicious site, the new public system would immediately open up a page or popup to alert the user of such potential threat so that the suspicious resource could be avoided.
- The new DNS will be placed across India to minimise outage and would be available round the clock. Users can simply use it by typing the IP number into the Internet browser.
New E-mail system:
- The government has launched a new email platform for all government employees including those in states and Union Territories.
- The new platform is an upgraded version with enhanced in-built security features compared to the earlier created by the National Informatics Centre (NIC) and has a capability to host as many as 5 million users that can be scaled up further if needed.
- This new system has two-factor authentication, highly secure and user-friendly.
- If a user is permanently located within the India, no foreign IP would be allowed to access the platform.
- The government has put up a server in Delhi, and for disaster recovery, it has deployed another in Hyderabad.
- The new email system has advanced calendar options and can transfer large files, and can also schedule email sending to a later date or time.
What is DNS?
- The Domain Naming System, DNS, is one of the Internet’s most important components.
- The Domain Name System (DNS) is used to resolve human-readable hostnames like iastoppers.com into machine-readable IP addresses like 18.104.22.168
- DNS also provides other information about domain names, such as mail services.
- It pairs the easy-to-remember web addresses with their relevant servers.
- Without DNS, one would only be able to access websites by typing in its IP address, a series of numbers such as “22.214.171.124”.
Why is DNS important?
- DNS is like a phone book for the Internet. If you know a person’s name but don’t know their telephone number, you can simply look it up in a phone book. DNS provides this same service to the Internet.
- When you visit www.iastoppers.com in a browser, your computer uses DNS to retrieve the website’s IP address of 126.96.36.199
- Without DNS, you would only be able to visit our website (or any website) by visiting its IP address directly, such as http://188.8.131.52
How DNS works?
Internet Corporation Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN):
ICANN is the global body that oversees operation and administration of the Internet domain name system.
- It was formed in 1998.
- It is a not-for-profit partnership of people from all over the world dedicated to keeping the Internet secure, stable and interoperable.
- It promotes competition and develops policy on the Internet’s unique identifiers.
- ICANN doesn’t control content on the Internet.
- It cannot stop spam and it doesn’t deal with access to the Internet. But through its coordination role of the Internet’s naming system, it does have an important impact on the expansion and evolution of the Internet.
- It is responsible for coordinating the maintenance and methodologies of several databases, with unique identifiers, related to the namespaces of the Internet – and thereby, ensuring the network’s stable and secure operation.
Who governs ICANN?
- ICANN is governed by an internationally diverse Board of Directors overseeing the policy development process.
- ICANN’s President directs an international staff, working from three continents, who ensure that ICANN meets its operational commitment to the Internet community.
Science & Technology
EESL to launch Super-Efficient Air Conditioning programme
Energy Efficiency Services Limited (EESL) launched its Super-Efficient Air Conditioning Programme for residential and institutional consumers in the Bombay Suburban Electric Supply (BSES) area.
About the Super-Efficient Air Conditioning Programme:
- Under the programme, Super-Efficient Air Conditioners are distributed.
- These Super-Efficient Air Conditioners are 40 percent more efficient than the 3-star ACs currently available in the market (ISEER 3.8).
Significance of Super-Efficient Air Conditioning Programme:
- Besides promoting energy efficiency, the Super-Efficient AC programme will also help to reduce the peak power demand in South and West Delhi by 22MW, enabling the two organisations to harness synergies to promote energy security and sustainability.
- The programme directly addresses the prospect of the nearly four-fold increase in energy consumption from buildings and cooling appliances in India by 2032,
- It also addresses goals of India’s Cooling Action Plan and Hydrochlorofluro carbons Phase Out Management Plan, enabling achievement of India’s targets under the Kigali and Paris Agreements.
Financial and Technological support:
- EESL’s investment in the programme is partially supported by a grant from the Global Environment Facility (GEF).
- Asian Development Bank (ADB) is providing necessary grant support and loan while United Nations Environment (UNEP) is providing technical assistance support to the Super-Efficient AC programme.
Global Environment Facility (GEF):
- The Global Environment Facility was established on the eve of the 1992 Rio Earth Summit to help tackle environmental problems.
- The GEF is an international partnership of 183 countries, international institutions, civil society organizations and the private sector.
- The GEF has a unique governing structure organized around an Assembly, the Council, the Secretariat, 18 Agencies, a Scientific and Technical Advisory Panel (STAP) and the Evaluation Office.
Conventions served financially by GEF:
- CBD Convention on Biological Diversity
- United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC)
- UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD)
- Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs)
- Minamata Convention on Mercury
Areas of work:
- Climate Change
- International Waters
- Land Degradation
- Sustainable forest management
- Ozone Depletion
Energy Efficiency Services Limited (EESL):
- EESL was set up under Ministry of Power (India) to facilitate implementation of energy efficiency projects.
- EESL is a joint venture of NTPC Limited, Power Finance Corporation, Rural Electrification Corporation and POWERGRID.
- EESL is an energy service company (ESCO) that seeks to unlock the energy efficiency market in India, estimated to be at US$12 billion. This can potentially result in energy savings of up to 20 per cent of current consumption, by way of innovative business and implementation models.
- EESL is the implementing agency of the UJALA scheme meant for ensuring widespread distribution of energy efficient appliances across the country.
Japanese space probe lands on asteroid 300 million km from Earth
Japanese space probe named after a falcon, Hayabusa 2, has touched down on an asteroid more than 300 million km from Earth
- The aim of the Hayabusa is to seek clues about the origins of life by landing on Ryugu asteroid.
When was it launched?
- It was launched in December 2014 and is scheduled to return to Earth at the end of 2020.
- Hayabusa, formerly known as known as Muses-C, was a Japanese spacecraft that brought back a sample of asteroid material to Earth in 2010, after a mission riddled with technical glitches.
- The spacecraft was originally intended to launch in July 2002. However, a July 2000 failure of Japan’s M-5 rocket forced the delay.
- The spacecraft touched down on a small near-Earth asteroid called Itokawa and safely brought back minute rocky particles for analysis.
- Hayabusa carried a tiny mini-lander named “MINERVA” which never landed on asteroid due to technical glitches.
Finding of Hyabusa:
- Finding of minerals such as olivine and pyroxene, which are common on Earth and have been found on the moon and Mars.
- Finding of sub-micrometer craters on the surface of the particles
- Hayabusa2, an asteroid sample-return mission, follows on from Hayabusa mission.
- Hayabusa2 was launched in December 2014 and rendezvoused with near-Earth asteroid Ryugu in June 2018.
- Hayabusa2 carries four small rovers to investigate the asteroid surface. MINERVA-II-1 is a container that deployed two rovers, Rover-1A (HIBOU) and Rover-1B (OWL) and Rover-2 carreid by MINERVA-II-2.
- The fourth rover called ‘Mobile Asteroid Surface Scout’ (MASCOT) was developed by the German Aerospace Center in cooperation with the French space agency.
- The function of MASCOT is to collect data on the surface structure and mineralogical composition, the thermal behaviour and the magnetic properties of the asteroid.
The scientific objectives of Hayabusa2 mission:
- To characterize the asteroid from remote sensing observations (with multispectral cameras, near-infrared spectrometer, thermal infrared imager, laser altimeter) on a macroscopic scale
- To analyse the samples returned from the asteroid on a microscopic scale.
- To accomplish context science to complement the remote sensing observations from Hayabusa2,
- To provide ground truth information down to the microscopic scale for the sample analyses,
- To accomplish stand-alone science that only a lander can provide e.g. geophysics investigations,
- To serve as a “scouting” vehicle to guide the sampling site selection of the main spacecraft.
- Ryugu is a C-type asteroid – a relic from the early days of the Solar System.
- Scientists think that C-type asteroids contain both organic matter, and trapped water, and might have been responsible for bringing both to Earth, thereby providing the planet with the materials necessary for life to originate.
SpaceX Rocket Carrying Israel’s First Lunar Lander Launched From Florida
A SpaceX rocket lifted off from Florida carrying Israel’s first lunar lander on a mission that if successful will make the Israel the fourth nation to achieve a controlled touchdown on the moon’s surface.
What is Beresheet?
- Beresheet is Israel’s first lunar aircraft launched by SpaceX ‘Falcon 9’ rocket.
- It is slated to reach its destination on the near-side of the moon in mid-April following a two-month journey through space.
- Beresheet would mark the first non-government lunar landing.
- It was built by Israeli non-profit space venture SpaceIL and state-owned defence contractor Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI).
- Beresheet is designed to spend just two to three days using on-board instruments to photograph its landing site and measure the moon’s magnetic field. Data will be relayed via the US space agency NASA’s Deep Space Network to SpaceIL’s Israel-based ground station Yehud.
- At the end of its brief mission, mission controllers plan to simply shut down the spacecraft.
Which other countries have managed to achieve controlled landing on moon?
- United States
- The former Soviet Union
- Spacecraft from several countries, including India’s Moon Impact Probe, Japan’s SELENE orbiter and a European Space Agency orbital probe called SMART 1, have intentionally crashed on the lunar surface.
- China made history in January with its Chang’e 4, a lunar exploration mission, to be the first one to touch down on the dark side of the moon.
Key Facts for Prelims
What is Golden rice?
- Golden rice is a variety of rice (Oryza sativa) produced through genetic engineering to biosynthesize beta-carotene, a precursor of vitamin A, in the edible parts of rice.
- In 1999, a group of European scientists led by Dr Ingo Potrykus tried to change traditional rice by developing genetically-engineered rice that contains beta-carotene — by inserting bacteria and daffodil and maize genes into it. This is the golden rice, called so because of the golden colour of its grains.
- The golden rice was introduced in 2000 and argued to be the panacea for world’s malnutrition problem. It was claimed that the rice is bio-fortified, and is supposedly high in Vitamin A, Iron and Zinc.
- It was considered as a significant breakthrough in biotechnology, with its first field trials conducted by the agriculture centre of Louisiana State University in 2004. Later, it has been claimed that field trials were conducted in the Philippines, Taiwan and Bangladesh.
Why in news?
- Bangladesh farmers and environment groups are angry over the government’s decision to allow commercial cultivation of the controversial genetically modified (GM) rice, popularly called as the golden rice.
4th India-ASEAN Expo Summit
- Recently, the 4th India-ASEAN Expo Summit was inaugurated.
- The summit aims to provide a platform for the policy makers, industry captains and business leaders to come together and forge a common vision for India and ASEAN’s mutual growth and progress.
- It was organised with FICCI to carry forward the momentum and to further strengthen India-ASEAN relations under the Act-East Policy.
India-Saudi Arabia bilateral Meeting
- Recently, Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman visited India.
- During his visit, both the nations held a bilateral meeting.
Location of Saudi Arabia:
- Saudi Arabia is a country in Western Asia constituting the bulk of the Arabian Peninsula.
- It is the largest sovereign state in the Middle East and the second-largest in the Arab world after Algeria.
- It is bordered by Jordan and Iraq to the north, Kuwait to the northeast, Qatar, Bahrain, and the United Arab Emirates to the east, Oman to the southeast and Yemen to the south.
- It is separated from Israel and Egypt by the Gulf of Aqaba.
- It is the only nation with both a Red Sea coast and a Persian Gulf coast, and most of its terrain consists of arid desert, lowland and mountains.
- It is a navy drill being conducted by Iran.
- It aims to evaluate the navy’s equipment, practice launching weapons and enable the troops to gain readiness for a real battle.
- It would be held in the waters of Strait of Hormuz, Makran coast, Oman Sea and the north of the Indian Ocean.
Location of Strait of Hormuz:
- The Strait of Hormuz is a narrow, strategically important strait between the Gulf of Oman in the southeast and the Persian Gulf.
- On the north coast is Iran and on the south coast is the United Arab Emirates and Musandam, an exclave of Oman.
Seoul Peace Prize 2018
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has received the prestigious Seoul Peace Prize for 2018 for his contribution to international cooperation and fostering global economic growth.
- PM Modi is the 14th recipient of the award.
- Past winners of the Seoul Peace Prize include former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and international relief organisations like Doctors Without Borders and Oxfam.
About the Seoul Peace Prize:
- The Seoul Peace Prize is sponsored by the Seoul Peace Prize Foundation.
- The Seoul Peace Prize was established in 1990 to commemorate the success of the 24th Olympic Games held in Seoul.
- The Seoul Peace Prize reflects the wishes of the Korean people and to crystallize their desire for everlasting peace on earth.
- The awardee receives a diploma, a plaque and honorarium of US$200,000.
- The Seoul Peace Prize is awarded to Individuals or institutions which have made great contributions to the harmony of mankind and world peace in each field of endeavour around the world regardless of nation, race, religion, or ideology.