Polity & Governance
- Ethics panel set to form code of conduct for Lok Sabha MPs
Government Schemes & Policies
- Mahila Kisan Sashaktikaran Pariyojana (MKSP)
Issues related to Health & Education
- Vice President launches new Rotavirus vaccine – ROTAVAC-5D®
- World Disability Day 2019
- Punjab to create land banks to boost industrial development
Science & Technology
- IICT test facility clears FDA inspection
- India tests Swedish technology to reduce stubble burning
Key Facts for Prelims
- Curtain Raiser Exercise Hand-in-Hand-2019
- Delhi to enter list of world’s top 10 most popular cities with global tourists
- Guruvayur Kesavan comes alive on a field in Kerala
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Polity & Governance
Ethics panel set to form code of conduct for Lok Sabha MPs
With Pragya Singh Thakur triggering a controversy with her remarks on Nathuram Godse, Ethics Committee is all set to form a code of conduct for MPs in the Lower House.
About Code of conduct for Politicians
- A Code for Union ministers was adopted in 1964.
- A Code of Conduct for members of Rajya Sabha has been in force since 2005, however, there is no such code for Lok Sabha.
Code in Rajya Sabha
- The First Report of the Ethics Committee regarding code of conductwas adopted in 1999. The Fourth Report was adopted by Rajya Sabha in 2005 and a 14-point Code of Conduct for members of the House was formed.
Major provisions of the 14-point code are:
- If Members find that there is a conflict between theirpersonal interests and the public trust which they hold, they should resolve such a conflict in a manner that their private interests are subordinated to the duty of their public office.
- Members should not always see that their private financial interestsand those of the members of their immediate family do not come in conflict with the public interest and if any such conflict ever arises, they should try to resolve such a conflict in a manner that the public interest is not jeopardised.
- Members should never expect or accept any fee or benefit for a vote givenor not given by them on the floor of the House, for introducing a Bill, for moving a resolution or desisting from moving a resolution, putting a question or participating in the deliberations of the House or a Parliamentary Committee.
- It mandated to maintain ‘Register of Member’s Interests’in such form as may be determined by the Ethics Committee which shall be available to members for inspection on request.
Code in Lok Sabha
- A committee, chaired by Vinod Sonkar, was mandated in August 2015 to formulate a code of conduct for Lok Sabha members and suggest amendments to the code from time to time.
Need for Code of Conduct for Politicians
- The politicians representing their constituencies in the Parliament have several times brought ill-repute to the institutionwith their incivility.
- Creating ruckus in the Parliament, making unacceptable remarksand disrupting the House proceedings are some of the major allegations they face.
- Tenure of some of the politicians is also fraught with severe charges of impropriety.
- Although the Parliament Speaker cannot penalize the members on grounds of misconduct, he, under Rule 374 A of the “Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business in Lok Sabha”, can suspend members creating disorder in the House.
- It has been long since a parliamentary panel had recommended a 14-point code of conduct that outlines what’s expected from the politicians.
- Political parties could include such a code in their election manifestosthat would help enable voters to make their judgement before voting.
Government Schemes & Policies
Mahila Kisan Sashaktikaran Pariyojana (MKSP)
Union Minister of Agriculture said that govt is working hard to empower women in agriculture by making systematic investments to enhance their participation and named Mahila Kisan Sashaktikaran Pariyojana (MKSP) as the central agency to do so.
About Mahila Kisan Sashaktikaran Pariyojana
- Launched in 2010-11, Mahila Kisan Sashaktikaran Pariyojana (MKSP) seeks to improve the present status of women in Agriculture, and to enhance the opportunities available to empower them.
- It is a sub component of the Deendayal Antodaya Yojana-NRLM (DAY-NRLM).
- The focus of MKSP is on capacitating smallholders to adopt sustainable climate resilient agro-ecology.
- It focuses mainly on two themes: Sustainable agriculture and enhance livelihood of Non-timber forest producers (NTFP).
- The central to state share in funding is 75:25.
- Its objective is to strengthen smallholder agriculture through promotion of sustainable agriculture practices such as Community Managed Sustainable Agriculture (CMSA), Non-Pesticide Management (NPM), Zero Budget Natural Farming (ZBNF), Pashu-Sakhi model for doorstep animal care services, Sustainable regeneration and harvesting of Non-Timber Forest Produce.
- The program is being implemented by DAY-NRLM in partnership with State Rural Livelihood Missions/ Community Based Organizations (CBOs)/NGOs, as implementing partners (PIAs).
- More than 80% of rural women are engaged in agriculture activities for their livelihoods. About 20 % of farm livelihoods are female headed due to widowhood, desertion, or male emigration.
- However, Agriculture support system in India encourages the exclusion of women from their entitlements as agriculture workers and cultivators. As agricultural workers, women are paid lower wage than men.
Issues related to Health & Education
Vice President launches new Rotavirus vaccine – ROTAVAC-5D®
The first generation, Rotavirus vaccine, ROTAVAC developed under a Public-Private Partnership with the Department of Biotechnology, Govt. of India, has put India on the global map for setting new standards in pharmaceutical.
- Rotavirus is the most common cause of severe vomiting and diarrhoea among infants and young children less than five years of age.
- It is a genus of double-stranded RNA virus in the Reoviridae family.
- Nearly every child in the world has been infected with rotavirus at least once by the age of five.
- It is responsible for around 10% of total child mortality every year.
- There are eight species of this virus, referred to as A, B, C, D, E, F, G and H. Rotavirus A, the most common species, causes more than 90% of rotavirus infections in humans.
- Rotavirus is a contagious disease — it spreads easily from child to child. The virus is transmittedby the faecal-oral route. It infects and damages the cells that line the small intestine and causes gastroenteritis (which is often called “stomach flu” despite having no relation to influenza).
- Four WHO qualified rotavirus vaccines: Rotarix, RotaTeq, Rotavac and RotaSiil are available internationally.
Rotavirus in India
- In India, every year, 37 out of every 1,000 children born dies at the age of 5 due to diarrhoeal deaths as one of the major reasons.
- Out of all the causes of diarrhoea, Rotavirus is a leading cause of diarrhoeain children less than 5 years of age.
- It is estimated that Rotavirus cause 8,72,000 hospitalisations; 32,70,000 outpatient visits and estimated 78,000 deaths annually in India.
- Rotavirus vaccine was introduced in India in 2016 in a phased manner, beginning with 4 States initially and later expanded to 7 more States.
- Currently, it is available in 28 States/Union Territories and is expected to be available in all 36 States/Union Territories by September 2019.
World Disability Day 2019
The International Day of People with Disability is held on December 3 every year. It is a UN recognized day, which is observed all throughout the world.
- For 2019, the theme is ‘Promoting the participation of persons with disabilities and their leadership: taking action on the 2030 Development Agenda’.
About International Day of People with Disability
- It is being celebrated on December 3 every year since 1992 by United Nation.
- The day aims to promote the rights and well-being of persons with disabilities in all spheres of society and development.
- The United Nations General Assembly notified 1981 as the International Year of Disabled Persons.
Punjab to create land banks to boost industrial development
With an aim to create land banks in rural areas to boost industrial development, the Punjab Cabinet gave in-principle approval to amend the law for transfer of common village land in rural areas to the state’s industry department.
Which law did Punjab government amend?
- The Punjab government amended Punjab Village Common Land (Regulation) Rules, 1964 by adding Rule 12-B to provide special provision for transfer of Shamlat land (village common land) for development of industrial infrastructure projects, to be implemented by Industry Department and Punjab Small Industries & Export Corporation (PSIEC).
- The objective of this amendment is to facilitate gram panchayats to promote development of villages by unlocking the value of Shamlat land.
- With this amendment, a gram panchayat could transfer the ‘Shamlat land’ vested in it to industries department or PSIEC.
- The Punjab government has proposed to develop a global manufacturing and knowledge park at Rajpura in Patiala district, to be considered as an Integrated Manufacturing Cluster (IMC) under the Amritsar-Kolkata Industrial Corridor (AKIC) project. In this context, the state government has identified about 1,000 acres’ panchayat land in five villages.
What is Shamlat land?
- Shamlat land does not come under habitation and cultivation and is considered as consolidated land holdings for common use.
Science & Technology
IICT test facility clears FDA inspection
CSIR-Indian Institute of Chemical Technology (CSIR-IICT), under the Ministry of Science and Technology, announced that its Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) test facility has successfully passed the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (USFDA) inspection with “no observations”.
- The USFDA inspected the NMR facility during August 21-22 and found the facility in an acceptable state of compliance with regard to Current Good Manufacturing Practice (CGMP). Accordingly, it classified the facility as “no action initiated (NAI)”.
What is Nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR)?
- Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) spectroscopy is an analytical chemistry technique used in quality control and research for determining the content and purity of a sample as well as its molecular structure.
- It is an important technique for structural characterisation of pharmaceutical and other chemical molecules.
Principle behind NMR
- When a nucleus (center of an atom) that possesses a magnetic moment (magnetic strength and orientation of a magnet) is placed in a strong magnetic field, it will begin to precess, like a spinning top.
What happens when magnetic field is passed through nucleus?
- If an external magnetic field (waves) is applied, the energy of nucleus can be changed from lower to higher only at specific frequency of magnetic wave.
- As nucleus gets more energized, it come back to lower energy levels at a specific frequency. During such transition, energy is emitted.
- The signal from such energy that matches this transfer is measured processed in order to yield an NMR spectrum for the nucleus concerned. i.e., NMR occurs due to the absorbance of radio frequency radiation to cause the flipping of nuclear spins from low to high energy spin states.
What information can be extracted from NMR spectra?
- Information about the composition of atomic groups within the molecule.
- Information about adjacent atoms.
- Information on molecular dynamics.
- Quantitative information, e.g. atomic ratios within a molecule that can be helpful in determining the molecular structure, and proportions of different compounds in a mixture.
[Ref: The Hindu]
India tests Swedish technology to reduce stubble burning
The Office of the Principal Scientific Advisor (PSA) to Government of India has funded a pilot project in Punjab to evaluate the feasibility of the Biomass Torrefaction technology. Bioendev, a Swedish company, has set up a pilot plant at the National Agri-Food Biotechnology Institute in Mohali.
About Biomass Torrefaction technology
- Torrefaction is a process in which biomass is heated to 250-350°C. This changes the elements of the biomass into coal-like pellets.These pellets can be used for combustion along with coal for industrial applications like steel and cement production
- Using this technology, about 65% of the biomass could be converted to energy.
What is Biomass torrefaction?
- Biomass torrefaction is a thermal process used to produce high-grade solid biofuels from various streams of woody biomass or agro residues.
How it works?
- Biomass torrefaction involves heating the biomass to temperatures between 250 and 300 degrees Celsius in a low-oxygen atmosphere.
- When biomass is heated at such temperatures, the moisture evaporates and various low-calorific components (volatiles) contained in the biomass are driven out.
- During this process the hemi-cellulose in the biomass decomposes, which transforms the biomass from a fibrous low quality fuel into a product with excellent fuel characteristics.
Advantages of Torrefied pellets
- Higher calorific value
- More homogeneous product
- Higher bulk density
- Excellent grindability
- Higher durability
- Hydrophobic nature/water resistance
- No biological activity
Why torrefied pellets is ideal for coal replacement?
- Lower feedstock costs
- Lower shipping and transport costs
- Minimal de-rating of the power plant
- Provides non-intermittent renewable energy
- Lower sulfur and ash content (compared with coal)
Key Facts for Prelims
Curtain Raiser Exercise Hand-in-Hand-2019
The 8th India-China joint training exercise ‘HAND-IN-HAND 2019’ is scheduled to be conduct at Umroi, Meghalaya from 07 to 20 December 2019.
About ‘Hand-In-Hand’ exercise
- It is a military exercise between India and China.
- The aim of the exercise is to practice joint planning and conduct of counter terrorist operations in semi urban terrain.
- Two tactical exercises are scheduled during the training; one on counter terrorism scenario and the other on Humanitarian and Disaster Relief (HADR) operations.
Delhi to enter list of world’s top 10 most popular cities with global tourists
According to a report by UK-based global market research company Euromonitor International states, seven Indian cities have featured on the list of top 100 city destinations rankings in 2019.
Highlights of ‘Top 100 City Destinations: 2019’ by Euromonitor International
First: Hong Kong
- New York City is the most popular American destination.
- Currently, Delhi ranks at the 11th position in the list of world’s top 100 destinations and is forecast to be hold the 8th place in 2019.
- Asia posted fastest growth in the number of international arrivals globally. There are 43 cities from the Asia in the “top 100 City Destination” ranking.
Guruvayur Kesavan comes alive on a field in Kerala
Praseed Kumar, a farmer, is using rice paddy art, a 3D art form, to depict the celebrated Guruvayur temple elephant that died in 1976, in Kerala’s Wayanad district.
- He used violet-coloured Krishna Kamod (a Basmati rice variety) and Karuvachi (an indigenous rice variety of Wayanad) to give shape to the image.
- He also used Gandhakasala and Jeerakasala, two rice varieties of the Wayanad known for their aroma.
What is Rice paddy art or Tanbo Art?
- Rice paddy art is an art form originating in Japan where people plant rice of various types and colors to create images in a paddy field.
- The main purpose behind the creation was to take advantage of the tradition of manual work in rice cultivation to give people an opportunity to learn more about rice farming and agriculture.
- This art was started in Inakadate village of Japan when rice paddy was used to make a picture of Mt. Iwaki along with letters on rice paddies.