Polity & Governance
- ‘DigiYatra’- A New Digital Experience for Air Travellers
- Centre clears kambala Bill
Issues related to Health & Education
- WHO revises antibiotics protocol
- ‘Vatsalya – Maatri Amrit Kosh’
- India among top five consumer markets in Asia: BMI Research
Bilateral & International Relations
- Astana to Host SCO Summit
- Agreement between India and Somalia on transfer of sentenced persons
Key Facts for Prelims
- Oldest Homo sapiens fossils discovered
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Polity & Governance
‘DigiYatra’- A New Digital Experience for Air Travellers
The Ministry of Civil Aviation is adding a Digital experience for Air Travellers through DigiYatra Platform.
- The ‘DigiYatra’ is an industry-led initiative co-ordinated by the Ministry of Civil Aviation aimed at transforming the nation into a digitally empowered society.
- ‘DigiYatra’ initiative aims to bring together entire industry to develop a digital ecosystem that will deliver Indian customers a seamless, consistent and paperless service experience at every touch point of their journey.
- The Digitising data would help the aviation industry gather meaningful insights for continuous improvement and innovation.
Four key pillars:
The platform will be built on 4 key pillars, like Connected Passengers, Connected Airports, Connected Flying and Connected Systems which can make it possible over a period of time for passengers to:
- Plan their trips efficiently by identifying price trends and estimate future airfares at the time of ticket booking,
- Optionally link their Aadhaar to airlines and other ecosystem players at the time of booking for faster airport entry and automated check-ins without requiring any paper-based interventions,
- Walk-through security scanners swiftly owing to advanced biometric security solutions,
- Receive relevant information pertaining to various facilities, protocols, airline timings, queue lengths at airports etc.,
- Engage in customised digital offerings at experience zones,
- Get real time notifications about congestion and delays to have greater visibility on the next step of journey,
- Conveniently navigate through the airport using digital guidance systems, interactive kiosks and augmented reality apps,
- Stay connected during flights and indulge in immersive experiences. Also, book in-flight services and destination based offerings digitally,
- Get a prompt when their luggage reaches the baggage claim belt, and
- Submit grievances, share experiences and provide feedback.
- This initiative has emerged after six months of comprehensive discourse with various ecosystem players.
Centre clears kambala Bill
The Union Ministry of Law and Justice has cleared the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Karnataka Amendment) Bill 2017, and thus legalising kambala.
- The bill will now be sent to the President for getting his assent.
- In November 2016, the Karnataka high court had banned the kambala along with bull-cart race in the state while hearing a case filed by the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) citing animal cruelty.
- The high court had stayed these traditional sports in view of the Supreme Court’s ban on jallikattu, a traditional bull taming sport of Tamil Nadu.
- Following protests by people and kambala organisers, Karnataka Assembly had passed Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Karnataka Amendment) Bill, 2017 on February 13, 2017 to allow kambala, the traditional buffalo race and bullock-cart racing.
- The Bill seeks to exempt kambala and bullock-cart racing from the ambit of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (PCA) Act, 1960.
What is Kambala?
- Kambala is an annual Buffalo Race held traditionally under the auspices of local land lords and households or Patel of village, in coastal Karnataka, India.
- The Kambala season generally starts in November and lasts until March.
- The contest generally takes place between two pairs of buffaloes, each pair raced in wet rice fields, controlled by a whip-lashing farmer.
- The ‘track’ used for Kambala is a paddy field filled with slush and mud.
- The “Kambala Committee” is formed and it usually arranges Kambala in several categories.
- People place massive bets on the buffaloes to win and one can witness more than 20,000 spectators in a well-organised Kambala, egging on and cheering the buffaloes to complete the race.
- In traditional form of Kambala, racing is non-competitive, and buffalo pairs run one by one in paddy fields.
- A ritualistic approach is also there, as some agriculturists race their buffaloes for thanks giving (to god) for protecting their animals from diseases.
- The buffaloes developed for the race are carefully fed and some owners of the buffaloes have even built separate swimming pool for competing buffaloes.
Issues related to Health & Education
WHO revises antibiotics protocol
With an aim to curb antibiotic resistance, the World Health Organization (WHO) has revised the protocol for antibiotics.
- This revision is the biggest such revision of the antibiotics section in the 40-year history of the essential medicines list (EML).
- WHO has divided the drugs into three categories — access, watch and reserve.
- It has also specified which category of drugs are to be used for treating common ailments and which are to be used to treat complicated diseases.
- Commonly used antibiotics will be under the ‘access’ category.
- Antibiotics in this group will be available at all times as treatment for a wide range of common infections.
- This includes amoxicillin, a widely-used antibiotic to treat infections such as pneumonia.
- The second line of antibiotics, slightly more potent, have been categorised under “watch”.
- The ‘watch’ group covers antibiotics that are recommended as first or second choice treatment for a small number of infections.
- Ciprofloxacin, used to treat cystitis (a type of urinary tract infection) and upper respiratory tract infections (like bacterial sinusitis and bacterial bronchitis), falls under this category.
- The WHO has recommended that prescription of these drugs should be dramatically reduced to avoid further development of resistance.
- Potent drugs to be used only as a “last resort” fall under the ‘reserve’ category.
- This group includes antibiotics such as colistin and some cephalosporins that should be considered last-resort options, and used only in the most severe circumstances when all other alternatives have failed, such as for life-threatening infections due to multidrug-resistant bacteria.
Significance of this protocol:
- The new WHO list should help health system planners and prescribers ensure that people who need antibiotics have access to them, and ensure they get the right one, so that the problem of resistance doesn’t get worse.
- The new categorisation will further guide countries in ensuring access to appropriate antibacterial agents and support antimicrobial stewardship effort.
‘Vatsalya – Maatri Amrit Kosh’
The ‘Vatsalya – Maatri Amrit Kosh’, a National Human Milk Bank and Lactation Counselling Centre was recently inaugurated at the Lady Hardinge Medical College (LHMC).
About the centre:
- “Vatsalya – Maatri Amrit Kosh” is established in collaboration with the Norwegian government, Oslo University and Norway India Partnership Initiative (NIPI).
- It is a national human milk bank and lactation counseling centre that will collect, pasteurize, test and safely store milk that has been donated by lactating mothers and make it available for infants in need.
- In addition, this facility will protect, promote and support breastfeeding of their own healthy mothers by providing lactation support to mothers through dedicated lactation counsellors.
- This project will not only act as a dedicated centre to support breastfeeding and improve infant survival but also act as the teaching, training and demonstration site for other milk banks to be established under the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India.
India among top five consumer markets in Asia: BMI Research
According to the latest report of BMI Research, India features in the top 5 consumer markets in Asia.
- BMI Research was founded in 1984 Business Monitor International and later in 2014 was acquired by Fitch Group.
- The firm performs industry and financial market analysis in 24 industries and 200 global markets.
Highlights of the report:
- China, Sri Lanka, Vietnam, India and Indonesia are the five favourite consumer markets in Asia.
- As per the report, India is among the top five consumer markets in Asia offering retailers consumer spending growth of an average of 6.1 per cent over the next five years.
- Consumer spending in India will maintain strong levels of growth through to 2021, as the country’s positive economic outlook continues.
- The real consumer spending growth is expected to be 6.2% in 2017.
- India has a thriving e-commerce segment, with online retail sales expected to continue growing at double-digit rates over our forecast period
- Due to limitations on the activity that overseas retailers are allowed to undertake, e-commerce has so far been dominated by local firms such as Flipkart and Snapdeal.
- However, Amazon is making a real push into the market and recently announced USD 500 million investment to roll-out online food retailing in India. Bricks-and-mortar retailers are also beginning to enter the e/m-commerce segment, due to the high mobile penetration in the country.
Major factors responsible for increase in consumer spending:
- Some of the key factors responsible for increase in consumer spending include increasing access to consumer credit, lower inflation, and a more favourable regulatory environment for foreign-owned retailers.
All the above mentioned factors will prove good for India’s consumer sectors over the coming years.[Ref: Economic Times]
Bilateral & International Relations
Astana to Host SCO Summit
The two-day summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) has recently held at Astana, the Kazakh capital.
- The 2017 summit would gather the leaders of China, India, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.
- It would be the first one with Islamabad and New Delhi as full-fledged members of the international organization.
- The next summit of the organization would take place in 2018 in China.
- The SCO is a Eurasian political, economic and military organisation which was founded in 2001 in Shanghai by the leaders of China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan.
- At the 2016 summit held in Uzbekistan, the SCO leaders signed memorandums on the accession of India and Pakistan to the organization.
Agreement between India and Somalia on transfer of sentenced persons
The Union Cabinet has given its approval for signing and subsequent ratification of the Agreement on Transfer of sentenced persons between India and Somalia.
What does it mean?
- Signing the Agreement with Somalia shall facilitate the Indian prisoners imprisoned in Somalia or vice-versa to be near to their families, for serving remaining part of their sentence and shall facilitate their social rehabilitation.
This type of agreement with other countries:
- The Government of India has signed bilateral Agreements on Transfer of Sentenced Persons with United Kingdom, Mauritius, Bulgaria, France, Egypt, Sri Lanka, Cambodia, South Korea, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Bangladesh, Brazil, Israel, Bosnia & Herzegovina, UAE, Italy, Turkey, Maldives, Thailand, Russian Federation, Kuwait, Vietnam, Australia, Hong Kong, Qatar, Mongolia, Kazakhstan, Bahrain and Estonia.
- Prior to 2004, there was no domestic legislation under which foreign prisoners could be transferred to the country of their origin to serve the remaining part of their sentence, nor was there a provision for the transfer of prisoners of Indian origin convicted by a foreign court to serve their sentence in India.
- The transfer of such prisoners to their own native countries shall facilitate their social rehabilitation.
- Hence the Repatriation of Prisoners Act, 2003 was enacted for achieving the above purpose.
- For achieving the objectives of the Act, a treaty/agreement is required to be signed with countries having mutual interest with us on this matter.
Key Facts for Prelims
Oldest Homo sapiens fossils discovered
- The oldest fossil remains of Homo sapiens, dating back to 300,000 years, have been found at a site in Jebel Irhoud, Morocco.
- This is 100,000 years older than previously discovered fossils of Homo sapiens that have been securely dated.
- This marks the first discovery of such fossils in north Africa, and widens the “cradle of mankind” to encompass all of Africa.