Polity & Governance
- India’s first Medipark to come up in Chengalpattu, Tamil Nadu
- 114 cr worth projects HRIDAY projects approved
- Nearly 69 million new teachers needed to achieve global education goals: UNESCO report
- Finance Ministry sets up debt management cell; to become PDMA in 2 years
- Automation threatens 69% jobs in India: World Bank
Bilateral & International Relations
- India to host first AMCDRR after Sendai Framework
- UN court rejects disarmament case against India
Science & Technology
- GSAT-18, ISRO’s latest communication satellite, launched successfully
- Physics Nobel shared by three, one half by one and the other by two
Key Facts for Prelims
- New UN Secretary-General
Polity & Governance
India’s first Medipark to come up in Chengalpattu, Tamil Nadu
The Union Cabinet has approved setting up of a Medical Devices Manufacturing Park (Medipark) at Chengalpattu, Kanchipuram District, Tamil Nadu through a special purpose Vehicle.
- For this purpose, HLL Lifecare Ltd, a Mini Ratna PSU under Union Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, will sub-lease 330.10 acres of land at Chengalpattu. The shareholding of HLL in the project will be above 50 percent.
- The Medipark aims to produce low-cost diagnostic devices and ensure delivery of affordable healthcare.
- The move, which is in line with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Make in India initiative, is expected to generate direct employment for around 3,000 people once it is fully functional.
- The Medipark is expected to be completed over seven years.
- HLL’s shareholding in the project would be more than 50%, while the government of Tamil Nadu would have an equity participation of up to 10%.
- HLL will develop plug-and-play state-of-the-art infrastructure and industrial plots, and lease them out to investors for setting up manufacturing units.
Why India need Medipark?
In 2015, the demand for medical equipment and devices – 70% of which were imported – was estimated at Rs. 30,000 crore.
India is currently almost completely dependent on imports for high-end items like imaging equipment, pace makers, and breathing and respiration equipment. This is placing a huge financial burden, especially on public healthcare delivery services.
Domestic manufacturing of the devices and equipment would bring down the cost and make healthcare more affordable.[Ref: The Hindu]
Rs.114 cr worth projects HRIDAY projects approved
The Union Ministry of Urban Development has approved projects worth Rs.114 crore under HRIDAY scheme for improving infrastructure facilities around core heritage sites in five cities.
- Projects were selected based on recommendation of inter-Ministerial HRIDAY National Empowered Committee.
These five cities are:
- Varnasi (Uttar Pradesh),
- Amritsar (Punjab),
- Dwaraka (Gujarat),
- Puri (Odisha) and
- Warangal (Andhra Pradesh).
- Heritage Infrastructure Development and Augmentation Yojana (HRIDAY) is a Central Scheme that aims to preserve and rejuvenate the rich cultural heritage of the country.
- The scheme will be completely funded by the Central Government to create infrastructure and provide facilities around the heritage sites to attract more tourists.
- It aims to bring urban planning, economic growth and heritage conservation together for heritage cities.
- It seeks to promote an inclusive, sustainable and integrated development of heritage sites, focusing on maintenance of monuments and advancement of their entire ecosystem.
- The 12 cities selected for the scheme are Ajmer, Amritsar, Amravati, Badami, Dwarka, Gaya, Warangal, Puri, Kanchipuram, Mathura, Varanasi and Velankanni.
All projects under the HRIDAY Scheme would fall under the following two categories:
Objectives of Scheme:
- Bring urban planning, economic growth and heritage conservation together for heritage cities.
- Beautification of heritage cities in an inclusive and integrated manner with prime focus on livelihoods, skills, cleanliness, security, safety, accessibility and faster service delivery.
- Guide conservation, restoration, future use and development of heritage cities.
- Create improved connectivity platform and access to tourists.
With 32 UNESCO recognized natural and cultural heritage sites, ranking second in Asia and fifth in the world, the tourism potential of the country is still to be fully harnessed and this scheme will help in this regard.[Ref: PIB]
Nearly 69 million new teachers needed to achieve global education goals: UNESCO report
The United Nations Education, Science and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has released a report stating that nearly 69 million new teachers are needed to provide quality universal primary and secondary education by 2030, the deadline of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
- The report was prepared by UNESCO Institute for Statistics (UIS).
- It was released on the occasion of World Teacher’s Day, held under the theme Valuing Teachers, Improving their Status.
Highlights of the Report:
- According to the UIS data, sub-Saharan Africa has the largest teacher gap and the region will need about 17 million primary and secondary teachers by 2030.
- More than 70 percent of the countries of sub-Saharan Africa region face acute shortages of primary school teachers, 90 percent of them face serious shortages in secondary education.
- Southern Asia has the second-largest teacher gap, especially at the secondary level. Only 65 percent of youth across the region are enrolled in secondary education.
- The pupil-teacher ratio of Southern Asia is estimated at 29:1 (based on 2014 estimates), far higher than the global average of 18:1. The region needs another 15 million teachers by 2030.
- In Western Asia, persistent armed conflicts in a number of countries, including the Syrian Arab Republic and Iraq, are causing chaos. Large parts of entire education systems have been destroyed.
- Number of pre-primary, primary and secondary schools in Syrian Arab Republic fell from 23000 to 15000 between 2012 and 2016, and the number of students from 5.6 million to 4.1 million.
- In Northern Africa, 0.2 million teachers are needed to fill new positions to achieve universal primary education by 2030.
- The countries facing the biggest teacher shortages in the region are: Algeria (0.2 million) for primary education and Egypt (1.1 million) for secondary education.
India needs to recruit at least three million primary teachers and over eight million secondary teachers in next 14 years to ensure that every child is in school and learning well.
Improving education quality requires far more than just having enough teachers in the education system: teachers need to be trained, supported through professional development.
- Unfortunately, in many developing countries, reliable information on teacher qualifications and teacher training is hard to come by.
- Many teachers have been recruited where primary education systems have expanded rapidly, but they do not always meet national minimum qualifications and training standards.
Finance Ministry sets up debt management cell; to become PDMA in 2 years
Union Finance Ministry has set up a Public Debt Management Cell (PDMC) with a view to streamline government borrowings and better cash management with the overall objective of deepening bond markets.
- As an interim arrangement, the PDMC will be housed at the RBI’s Delhi office. In about two years, the PDMC will be upgraded to a statutory Public Debt Management Agency (PDMA).
- The interim arrangement will allow separation of debt management functions from RBI to PDMA in a gradual and seamless manner, without causing market disruptions.
Composition of the PDMC:
- The Joint Secretary (Budget), Department of Economic Affairs, Ministry of Finance would be the overall in-charge of the ODMC.
- The PDMC would be staffed by 15 debt managers from Budget Division, RBI, current Middle Office and other government units.
Functions of the PDMC:
- PDMC will have only advisory functions to avoid any conflict with the statutory functions of RBI.
- It has been tasked to plan government borrowings, including market borrowings and other borrowings, like Sovereign Gold Bond issuance.
- It will also advise government on matters related to investment, capital market operations, administration of interest rates on small savings among others.
- In his February 2015 Budget speech, Finance Minister Arun Jaitly had proposed to set up a PDMA to deepen Indian Bond market.
- The middle office of the Budget Division will be subsumed into PDMC with immediate effect.
- The transition process from PDMC to PDMA would be implemented by a Joint Implementation Committee (JIC), which will be chaired by Joint Secretary (Budget). Other members of the JIC will be from Government and RBI.
Automation threatens 69% jobs in India: World Bank
According to a World Bank research, automation threatens 69% of the jobs in India, while 77% in China.
Highlights of the research:
- Technology could fundamentally disrupt the pattern of traditional economic path in developing countries.
- Technology has and will continue to fundamentally reshape the world. But the traditional economic path from increasing productivity of agriculture to light manufacturing and then to full-scale industrialisation may not be possible for all developing countries.
- In large parts of Africa, it is likely that technology could fundamentally disrupt this pattern.
Developing countries are going to lose many jobs due to technological development. Therefore, it is necessary to understand what paths to economic growth will be available for these countries and then adapt our approach to infrastructure accordingly.[Ref: The Hindu]
Bilateral & International Relations
India to host first AMCDRR after Sendai Framework
India is hosting the 2016 Asian Ministerial Conference for Disaster Risk Reduction (AMCDRR) next month in New Delhi.
- This will be second time India hosting AMCDRR.
- The conference will be hosted by Union Government in collaboration with the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR).
- It will be first AMCDRR after advent of Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction (SFDRRR) which was adopted at 3rd UN World Conference in Sendai, Japan in March, 2015.
- India by hosting AMCDRR re-affirms its commitment to the cause of Disaster Risk Reduction. It will also set the direction of Sendai Framework implementation in the region.
- The aim of the conference is to transform the commitments of governments and stakeholders during the Sendai Conference into national and local action.
- AMCDRR 2016 will focus on consultation, collaboration and partnership with governments and stakeholders to mainstream Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) in the region.
- It will adopt the ‘Asian Regional Plan for Implementation of the Sendai Framework’ endorsed by the Asian countries.
- In this conference, senior-level delegations from Asian countries, representatives of UN bodies and Disaster Management experts will participate.
- AMCDRR is a biennial conference jointly organized by different Asian countries and the UNISDR.
- It was established in 2005.
- So far, 6 AMCDRR conferences have been organised.
- For the first time India had also hosted the second AMCDRR in 2007 in New Delhi.
About Sendai Framework:
The Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction (2015-2030) is an international Treaty which was adopted during the Third UN World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction (WCDRR) held in Sendai, Japan in March, 2015.
- It is the successor agreement to the Hyogo Framework for Action (2005–2015), which had been the most encompassing international accord to date on disaster risk reduction.
- It is the first major agreement of the post-2015 development agenda, with seven targets and four priorities for action.
- The Framework is for 15-year.
- It is a voluntary and non-binding agreement which recognizes that the State has the primary role to reduce disaster risk but that responsibility should be shared with other stakeholders including local government, the private sector and other stakeholders.
- The implementation of the Sendai Framework involves adopting integrated and inclusive institutional measures so as to work towards preventing vulnerability to disaster, increase preparedness for response and recovery and strengthen resilience.
Priorities for action:
The Sendai Framework sets four specific priorities for action:
- Understanding disaster risk;
- Strengthening disaster risk governance to manage disaster risk;
- Investing in disaster risk reduction for resilience;
- Enhancing disaster preparedness for effective response, and to “Build Back Better” in recovery, rehabilitation and reconstruction.
The Seven Global Targets:
To support the assessment of global progress in achieving the outcome and goal of the Sendai Framework, seven global targets have been agreed:
- Substantially reduce global disaster mortality by 2030, aiming to lower average per 100,000 global mortality rate in the decade 2020-2030 compared to the period 2005-2015.
- Substantially reduce the number of affected people globally by 2030, aiming to lower average global figure per 100,000 in the decade 2020 -2030 compared to the period 2005-2015.
- Reduce direct disaster economic loss in relation to global gross domestic product (GDP) by 2030.
- Substantially reduce disaster damage to critical infrastructure and disruption of basic services, among them health and educational facilities, including through developing their resilience by 2030.
- Substantially increase the number of countries with national and local disaster risk reduction strategies by 2020.
- Substantially enhance international cooperation to developing countries through adequate and sustainable support to complement their national actions for implementation of this Framework by 2030.
- Substantially increase the availability of and access to multi-hazard early warning systems and disaster risk information and assessments to the people by 2030.
UN court rejects disarmament case against India
The United Nations’ highest court has rejected nuclear disarmament cases filed by the Pacific nation of the Marshall Islands against Britain, India and Pakistan, saying it did not have jurisdiction.
On what basis the case has been rejected?
- The International Court of Justice ruled that the Marshall Islands had failed to prove that a legal dispute over disarmament existed between it and the three nuclear powers before the case was filed in 2014, and that “consequently the court lacks jurisdiction.”
What’s the issue?
- In 2014, the Marshall Islands – a Pacific Ocean territory with 55,000 people – accused nine countries of “not fulfilling their obligations with respect to the cessation of the nuclear arms race at an early date and to nuclear disarmament”.
- They included China, Britain, France, India, Israel, North Korea, Pakistan, Russia and the United States.
- Eight of the nine countries originally targeted in the lawsuits have officially admitted to possessing a nuclear weapon. Israel has never acknowledged having one, though observers believe it is the sole nuclear-armed nation in the Middle East.
- The government, based in the Marshall Islands capital of Majuro, said by not stopping the nuclear arms race, the countries continued to breach their obligations under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) – even if the treaty has not been signed by countries such as India and Pakistan.
- The Marshall Islands government says it had decided to sue the world’s nuclear heavyweights as it has a particular awareness of the dire consequences of nuclear weapons. Between 1946 and 1958 the United States conducted repeated nuclear tests in the Marshall Islands.
In March 2014 the Marshall Islands marked 60 years since the devastating hydrogen bomb test at Bikini Atoll that laid waste on the island and exposed thousands in the surrounding area to radioactive fallout. The 15-megatonne test on 1 March, 1954 was part of the intense cold war nuclear arms race and 1,000 times more powerful than the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima.
Where is Marshall Islands?
[Ref: The Hindu]
Science & Technology
GSAT-18, ISRO’s latest communication satellite, launched successfully
India has successfully launched the communication satellite GSAT-18. The satellite was launched by a heavy duty rocket of Arianespace from the spaceport of Kourou in French Guiana.
- It was successfully injected into a Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit (GTO).
- GSAT-18 is the 20th satellite from ISRO to be launched by the European space agency and the mission is the 280th for Arianespace launcher family.
GSAT-18- Key facts:
- GSAT-18 is indigenously built by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO).
- It weighs around 3,404 kgs at lift-off. It has a mission life of about 15 years.
- It carries 48 communication transponders including Ku-band beacon for accurately pointing ground antennas towards the satellite.
- These transponders will provide services in Upper Extended C-band, Normal C-band and Ku-bands of the frequency spectrum.
- GSAT-18 will provide services like television, telecommunication, VSAT and digital satellite news gathering.
- The satellite will play important role in strengthening ISRO’s current fleet of 14 operational telecommunication satellites.
- It will also enable continuity of vital communication services by replacing ageing satellites of ISRO. Master Control Facility (MCF) of ISRO at Hassan, Karnataka will control the satellite.
Physics Nobel shared by three, one half by one and the other by two
British trio of physicists David Thouless, F Duncan M Haldane and Michael Kosterlitz have won the 2016 Nobel Prize in Physics.
- The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences has selected them for their individual researches on theoretical discoveries of topological phase transitions and topological phases of matter.
- Their work explains the behavior of superconductors and superfluids by connecting these systems to topology, the mathematical study of spatial properties including surfaces.
What is topology?
- Topology is a branch of math that studies what properties are preserved when objects are stretched, twisted, or deformed.
Significance of the researches:
- The discoveries have paved the way for designing new materials with all sorts of novel properties that have significant potential revolutionize advances in electronics and future quantum computers.
Key Facts for Prelims
New UN Secretary-General
Former Portuguese Prime Minister Antonio Guterres on 5 October 2016 was unanimously selected by the UN Security Council as the next UN Secretary-General.
Guterres will succeed Ban Ki-moon on 1 January 2017.
The Secretary-General of the United Nations is the head of the United Nations Secretariat.
The Secretary-General also acts as the de facto spokesperson and leader of the United Nations.