Issues related to Health & Education
- President inaugurates 21st World Congress of Mental Health, calls for fighting stigma
- India slips 21 slots on WEF Gender Gap index 2017
- Etikoppaka toys get GI tag, artisans cheer
- Modi inaugurates World Food India 2017
- PowerGrid completes extending grid connectivity to Leh-Ladakh region
Environment, Ecology & Disaster Management
- Blackbuck conservation reserve to come up in U.P.
Bilateral & International Relations
- 7th Asia Ministerial Energy Roundtable (AMER)
Defence & Security Issues
- Indian Army launches software ‘IQMP’ to manage logistics
- India offers to share real-time maritime data
Key Facts for Prelims
- PRABAL DOSTYK 2017
- Agreement between India and Ethiopia
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Issues related to Health & Education
President inaugurates 21st World Congress of Mental Health, calls for fighting stigma
President Ram Nath Kovind while inaugurating the 21st World Congress of Mental Health, called upon the nation to fight mental stigma.
World Congress of Mental Health:
- It has been organised in New Delhi by the World Federation for Mental Health, in partnership with Caring Foundation and other institutions.
- The World Congress of Mental Health is taking place in India for the first time.
Concerns raised by the President:
- Mental health issues are acquiring a serious magnitude in India.
- India’s National Mental Health Survey 2016 found that close to 14 per cent of India’s population required active mental health interventions.
- People living in the metropolitan cities are most vulnerable to mental illnesses.
- There is young crowd in India, with 65 per cent of people below the age of 35, which leaves staring at a possible mental health epidemic.
- The biggest obstacle that mental health patients have to encounter is stigma and denial.
- In the field of mental health, the scarcity is even more acute. There are only about five thousand psychiatrists and less than two thousand clinical psychologists in our country.
- We need to talk about mental health issues and treat ailments such as depression and stress as diseases that can be cured – not as guilty secrets that must be pushed under the carpet.
- To spread awareness, it is important to build partnerships between the public and private sectors and between the government and civil society organisations.
- It would also be valuable to stitch together community support networks.
- The President expressed happiness that the World Congress will have sessions on yoga, meditation and traditional approaches to mental health. He stated that the example of yoga is very instructive. Apart from physiological benefits, yoga has also the mental, psychological, and cognitive benefits.
- Information Technology and telemedicine are also coming of aid. Such technologies are linking doctors and counsellors in cities to mental health patients in rural areas. As Internet penetration expands in our country, this holds much potential.
- India’s National Mental Health Programme is building 22 centres of excellence in the field of mental health. In parallel, the District Mental Health Programme has already covered 517 of the approximately 650 districts in India. It is taking the conversation about mental health to the grassroots of our society.
India slips 21 slots on WEF Gender Gap index 2017
The World Economic Forum (WEF) released the Global Gender Gap Report 2017.
- In this year’s index, India slipped 21 places to 108 – far below the global average and much behind its neighbours China and Bangladesh.
What is gender gap?
- The gender gap is the difference between women and men in social, political, intellectual, cultural, or economic attainments.
About the report:
- The Global Gender Gap Report is released every year by World Economic Forum (WEF) since 2006.
- The index measures gender gap as progress towards parity between men and women in four indicators:
- Educational attainment
- Health and survival
- Economic opportunity and
- Political empowerment
- The index ranks 144 countries on the progress they have made towards gender parity in above four areas.
Highlights of the report:
- At the top of the Global Gender Gap Index is Iceland. The country has closed nearly 88% of its gap. It has been the world’s most gender-equal country for nine years.
- Others in the top 10 include Norway (2nd), Finland (3rd), Rwanda (4) and Sweden (5), Nicaragua (6) and Slovenia (7), Ireland (8), New Zealand (9) and the Philippines (10).
- Globally also for the first time since the WEF began measuring the gap, the global gap has actually widened.
- India’s this year ranking is even lower than its ranking in 2006 when the WEF started measuring the gender gap.
- India has closed 67 per cent of its gender gap, which is less in comparison with other countries and its neighbours such as Bangladesh, which is ranked 47th while China was placed at 100th position.
- On average, over 60 per cent of women’s work in India is unpaid, compared to 12 per cent of men’s.
- India continues to rank fourth-lowest in the world on health and survival, remaining the world’s least-improved country on this sub-index over the past decade.
Reasons for India’s low performance:
- The reason behind this decline in India’s ranking is the less participation of women in the economy, their low wages, poor healthy life expectancy and lack of basic literacy.
Challenges ahead for India:
- India’s greatest challenges lie in the economic participation and opportunity pillar where the country is ranked 139 as well as health and survival pillar where the country is ranked 141.
- Moreover, the scale of India’s gender gap in women’s share among legislators, senior officials and managers as well as professional and technical workers highlights that continued efforts will be needed to achieve parity in economic opportunity and participation.
A positive note for India:
- India succeeded in fully closing its primary and secondary education enrolment gender gaps for the second year running and for the first time has nearly closed its tertiary education gender gap.
Etikoppaka toys get GI tag, artisans cheer
Etikoppaka toys from Andhra Pradesh finally received Geographical Indication by the Registration of Geographical Indication, categorised in class 20 of the toys category.
- The Etikoppaka toys, popularly known as Lakkapidathalu in the local parlance, are not only popular in Andhra Pradesh but also gained their popularity all over the country and abroad over the years.
About Etikoppaka toys
- These traditional toys are made by artisans in Etikoppaka village located on banks of river Varaha in Visakhapatnam district of the state.
- The art is more than 400 years old and it has been traditionally handed over to them by their ancestors through generations. The art of this toy making is also known as turned wood Lacquer craft.
- The toys are made of wood (from ‘Ankudi Karra’ or Wrightia tinctorial tree that is soft in nature) and painted with natural dyes (not have heavy metal or toxic content in it).
- This art form suffered a setback in the last decade.
- The exports to the US and Europe, which were to the tune of Rs 50 to 80 lakh per annum, were stopped in 2007 when the artisans are yet to get GI certification and heavy metal analysis certificate for exporting to the US and European countries.
- It also faces a new threat from dumping of identical Chinese wooden toys into the markets.
- Getting little help from the government, the artisans are now looking for online trading agencies to sell their products.
What is Geographical Indication?
- Geographical Indication (GI) is sign or insignia used on products that have specific geographical origin and possess qualities or reputation that are due to that origin.
- Such name, sign or insignia conveys assurance of quality and distinctiveness which is essentially attributable to its origin in that defined geographical locality.
- The status to products marks its authenticity and ensures that only registered authorised users are allowed to use popular product name.
- Darjeeling Tea, Blue Pottery of Jaipur, Mahabaleshwar Strawberry, Banarasi Sarees and Tirupati Laddus are some of examples for products having GIs.
[Ref: The Hans India, Wiki]
Modi inaugurates World Food India 2017
Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated a mega-event World Food India 2017 in the New Delhi.
About World Food India 2017:
- The event is organised by Food Processing Industries (FPI) ministry.
- The event will have Germany, Japan and Denmark as the Partner Countries, in addition to Italy and Netherlands as the Focus Countries.
- World Food India aims to transform food economy and realize the vision of doubling of famers’ income by establishing India as a preferred investment destination and sourcing hub for the global food processing industry.
- The event aims to facilitate participation between domestic and international businesses.
- World Food India platform will strengthen India’s position as a global food factory and is a positive step towards making the country food secure.
- Over 800 kg khichdi, a traditional Indian dish relished by both rich and poor, will be prepared live on November 4 at the World Food India event in a bid to create world record and popularise it as brand India food globally.
- India is expected to attract an investment of $10 billion in food processing sector and generate 1 million jobs in the next 3 years.
PowerGrid completes extending grid connectivity to Leh-Ladakh region
State-run Power Grid Corporation of India Limited (POWERGRID) has successfully completed Leh transmission line.
- This is the first time in the country that any 220kV voltage level substation is built at such a high altitude of over 11,500 feet.
- The foundation of this strategically important project was laid by the Prime Minister in August 2014.
- This is a prestigious project of Indian government to extend grid connectivity to difficult geographical areas of Leh- Ladhakh Region in Jammu and Kashmir.
- Implementation of Srinagar-Leh Transmission System has been entrusted to Power Grid Corporation of India Limited.
- The commissioning of these elements will facilitate delivery of power from the Nimmo Bazgo Hydro-electric power stations in Leh/Ladhakh Region, with reliability.
The Power Grid Corporation of India Limited (POWERGRID) is:
- A “Navaratna” Central Public Sector Enterprise
- Headquartered in Gurugram, India
- Central Transmission Utility (CTU) of India
- India’s largest Electric Power Transmission Utility
- Listed Company since 2007
POWERGRID transmits about 50% of the total power generated in India on its transmission network.[Ref: PIB, powergridindia]
Environment, Ecology & Disaster Management
Blackbuck conservation reserve to come up in U.P.
Uttar Pradesh cabinet decided to make India’s first conservation reserve for black buck in the trans-Yamuna region of Allahabad in Uttar Pradesh.
- The State cabinet has approved a Blackbuck Conservation Reserve in the Meja forest division that is known for its rocky, undulating and arid terrain.
Significance of the decision:
- The decision taken for protection of black deer will help in conservation of blackbuck in effective way.
- It will also create awareness about biodiversity conservation and provide opportunities for people’s participation.
- It will also encourage eco-tourism and locals will get opportunities for employment.
About Black bucks:
The blackbuck also known as the Indian antelope, is an antelope found in India.
- The blackbuck is a diurnal antelope (active mainly during the day).
- The blackbuck inhabits grassy plains and slightly forested areas. Due to their regular need of water, they prefer areas where water is perennially available.
- The black buck generally inhabits grassy plains; thinly forested areas and scrublands are good source of forage. They also like hot and humid conditions that persist in such areas for more than 8 months in the year.
- It is found in Central- Western India (MP, Rajasthan, Gujarat, Punjab, Haryana, Maharashtra and Odisha) and Southern India (Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, and Tamil Nadu).
- In India, there are a few national parks and sanctuaries inhabited by blackbuck, like the Velavadar Wildlife Sanctuary in Gujarat and the Ranibennur Blackbuck Sanctuary in Karnataka. However, there are not many conservation reserves exclusively dedicated to the antelope.
- The International Union for the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN) lists the blackbuck as least concerned.
- In India, hunting of blackbuck is prohibited under Schedule I of the Wildlife Protection Act of 1972.
- The Bishnoi community of Rajasthan is known worldwide for their conservation efforts to blackbuck and Chinkara.
- The blackbuck has significance in Hinduism; Indian and Nepali villagers do not harm the antelope.
Bilateral & International Relations
7th Asia Ministerial Energy Roundtable (AMER)
India’s Minister of Petroleum & Natural Gas Dharmendra Pradhan participated in the 7th Asian Energy Ministers’ Round Table organised by International Energy Forum (IEF).
Highlights of the meeting:
- The importance of overcoming market and policy hurdles
- Move to a flexible, transparent and non-discriminatory global LNG trading regime which would expedite ushering in the golden age of gas.
- Efforts of the government to move to a gas based economy and the avenues for FDI in building infrastructure for gas including LNG terminals, pipelines, CGD etc.
- The unprecedented leap of 30 places made by India in the ease of doing business and also how PM Ujjwala Scheme can be a model to be adopted in developing countries of Asia and Africa.
- India is the current Chair of the IEF.
- It is noteworthy that India will host the next (8th) IEF Ministerial Meeting in New Delhi schedule during April 2018.
- The last edition (6th) of Asian Ministerial Energy Roundtable was held at Doha in 2015.
About International Energy Forum (IEF)
The International Energy Forum (IEF) is the world’s largest recurring gathering of energy ministers.
- It is unique in that participants not only include IEA and OPEC countries, but also key international actors such as Brazil, China, India, Mexico, Russia, and South Africa. 18 of the G20 countries are members of IEF.
- The IEF countries account for more than 90 percent of global oil and gas supply and demand.
- The IEF is promoted by a permanent Secretariat based in the Diplomatic Quarter of Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
- The Forum’s biennial Ministerial Meetings are the world’s largest gathering of Energy Ministers.
- This is the only organization where there are no entry barriers for any country to join.
Defence & Security Issues
Indian Army launches software ‘IQMP’ to manage logistics
Indian Army has launched a software application ‘Integrated Quarter Master Package’ (IQMP) for automating various logistics related functions of an Army Unit.
Key Features of the IQMP software:
- IQMP is web based software developed by Army Software Development Centre in association with TCS Ltd.
- It will replace numerous legacy applications such as ‘Vastra’ and ‘Quarter Master Package’.
- The IQMP software package comprises thirteen modules to automate all logistics functions of Indian Army at unit level.
- It can be dynamically configured to meet specific requirements of various types of Army units.
- It is capable of sharing information and data with other software applications in domain of logistics management.
Advantages of the IQMP software:
- The IQMP software has been developed with aim of bringing speed, accuracy and transparency in handing logistics aspects in unit.
- It will help in effective logistics management and decision making, thereby assisting Indian Army units to be battle ready all time.
- It will also play an important role in achieving automation of Indian Army and play important role towards ‘Digital Army’ in consonance with Government’s ‘Digital India initiative’.
India offers to share real-time maritime data
India has made an offer to share intelligence of maritime movements in the Indian Ocean in real-time with 10 Indian Ocean littoral States.
- It was announced at the Goa Maritime Conclave (GMC).
- This comes even as India gears up to counter China’s increased presence in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR).
- The information to be shared includes movement of commercial traffic as well as intelligence.
- The information sharing is not so much for conventional military purposes but to deal with non-traditional threats arising at sea.
- India already has co-operative arrangements with several countries in the region and this initiative would see that expanding further. For instance, white shipping agreements to share commercial shipping data have been signed with 12 countries and more are in the works.
Goa Maritime Conclave (GMC):
- Indian Navy is hosting Navy and Maritime Chiefs of 10 countries of IOR at the first GMC to identify common threats in the region and evolve a mechanism on how to tackle them.
- The conclave is aimed at establishing academic excellence, sharing of ideas and finding collective solutions to maritime issues of interest in the Indian Ocean Region.
Key Facts for Prelims
PRABAL DOSTYK 2017
- A joint training exercise ‘PRABAL DOSTYK 2017’ between the Indian Army and the Kazakhstan Army commenced at Bakloh, Himachal Pradesh.
- The exercise is aimed at enhancing the military ties between the two countries as also at achieving interoperability between the two armies.
- This is second joint military exercise between the two countries. The first edition of “Prabal Dostyk” was held in Kazakhstan in 2016.
Agreement between India and Ethiopia
- The Union Cabinet has approved trade Agreement between India and Ethiopia for strengthening and promoting trade and economic co-operation.
- The agreement will replace existing trade Agreement signed between both countries in 1982.
- It will also provide for all necessary measures to encourage trade, economic cooperation, investment and technical co-operation.
Location of Ethiopia: