Polity & Governance
- Women in House: India’s rank slips
- Women’s membership at top science academies: Survey
- “Mahila e-Haat”, an online marketing platform for women launched
- Indians could face a higher risk of diabetes-induced lung ailments
Art & Culture
- Fresh evidence of Stone Age cultures in Kerala
Science & Technology
- A ‘meta-skin’ to cloak objects from radars
Also in News
- 8th March: International Women’s Day
Polity & Governance
Women in House: India’s rank slips
India has slipped from a rank of 117 among 188 countries in 2014 to 144 among 191 countries, in terms of the proportion of women in Parliament.
- Surprisingly, the 16th Lok Sabha has the highest number of women that the Lower House has ever had.
- 12% of MPs in the Lok Sabha are women and the figure stands at 12.8% in Rajya Sabha. This is well below the global average of around 22% in both Houses.
- While 62 women were elected to the Lok Sabha in the general elections in May 2014, four more have been added over the last couple of years through by-elections. But while the proportion of women has increased from 11.4% in June 2014 to 12% in February 2016, India’s rank compared to other countries has fallen.
- Countries that currently rank higher than India include several African and Latin American countries, as well as countries that were part of the erstwhile Soviet Bloc.
- Rwanda ranks No 1 with 63.8% women in the lower house of parliament and 38.5% in the upper house.
Women’s membership at top science academies: Survey
India is near the bottom in a ranking of 69 countries based on women’s membership at top science academies.
- This is the first such survey and was recently published in the journal ‘Nature’. The survey was conducted in 2014 and released in February this year by the members of Inter Academy Partnership (IAP).
- The survey reports a drop in the number of women researchers at Indian National Science Academy (INSA) in the past three years. From 15% of all members in 2010, the number fell to 6% in 2013. Of INSA’s 864 members in 2013, only 52 were women. Until 2014, INSA had no woman in its 31-member governing body.
- Other countries have done much better. National Academy of Sciences in the US, and the academies of Switzerland and Sweden, had 47% women members in their governing councils.
- Cuban academies had 40% women, while Canada and Panama had 38% each. Netherlands had 43%, the UK 40%, and Ireland 36%.
“Mahila e-Haat”, an online marketing platform for women launched
The Union government has launched “Mahila e-Haat”, an online marketing platform for women.
About “Mahila e-Haat”:
- Mahila E-Haat is an initiative for meeting aspirations and need of women entrepreneurs which will leverage technology for showcasing products made/manufactured/sold by women entrepreneurs.
- It is an initiative for women across the country as a part of ‘Digital India’ and ‘Stand Up India’ initiatives.
- It is a unique online platform where participants can display their products. It will provide access to markets to thousands of women who make products and are spread all over the country but have little access to markets.
- Participation in e-Haat is open to all Indian women citizens more than 18 years of age and women SHGs desiring for marketing their legal products/services after indemnifying RMK from any or all acts of transaction.
Significance of “Mahila e-Haat”:
- It is web page based and has unlimited reach and can, therefore become catalyst in creating a new generation of business women.
- It will also help women to make financial and economic choices which will enable them to be a part of ‘Make in India’ and ‘Stand Up India’ initiatives.
- This unique e-platform will strengthen the socio-economic empowerment of women as it will mobilize and provide better avenues to them.
- More than 10000 Self Help Groups (SHGs) and 1.25 Lakh women beneficiaries would be benefited from the day of launch of the site itself.
Prospects of “Mahila e-Haat”:
- Going ahead, Mahila E-Haat will be integrated with e-commerce portals to provide a larger platform for selling and buying.
- Further, it will culminate into Women’s Entrepreneurs Council which will help to expand this initiative further and give it an institutional shape.
- The Mahila E-Haat will also help to meet the goal of financial inclusion of women and it is a big step forward for empowerment of women.
Indians could face a higher risk of diabetes-induced lung ailments
Scientists have indicated that diabetes may be impeding the normal functioning of lungs and common medicines that are used to treat insulin resistance may actually be exacerbating conditions such as asthma.
- Notably, Indians have the lowest lung function in the world even after adjusting for our smaller body size.
- The importance of these findings is that it shows for the first time that high levels of insulin are directly damaging the lung structure and function.
- Scientists suspect a link between diabetes — a condition characterised by the hormone insulin failing to regulate blood sugar in the body — and impaired lung function that makes Indians particularly vulnerable to respiratory diseases.
- Recently, there have been a number of studies showing that when adjusted for body size, Indians have among the smallest lungs in the world or nearly a third smaller than a white European of similar size. This means a reduced efficiency to filter oxygen from ingested air, an accelerated decline in lung function with age as well as an increased propensity to contract respiratory diseases.
- It has also been found that most medicines to treat diabetes attempt to control the excess blood sugar by pumping in ever-increasing quantities of insulin into the body. That only makes matters worse. There’s no solution to this other than exercise and a diet that strikes a balance between protein and carbohydrates.
Diabetes in India:
- Diabetes has emerged as a serious disease burden for India over the past two decades. While diabetes rate has increased by around 45% globally, it jumped 123% in India between 1990 and 2013.
- The International Diabetes Federation showed that nearly 6.9 crore people in India were suffering from diabetes in 2015 and their ranks are expected to swell to 12.5 crore by 2040.
Art & Culture
Fresh evidence of Stone Age cultures in Kerala
Archaeologists have recently discovered many Palaeolithic, Mesolithic, Megalithic, and Neolithic tools and several Megalithic sites in north Kerala.
- Findings include the typical Palaeolithic hand-axe from Vanimel river basin (Kozhikode) and pointed choppers and side scrapers from Anakkayam and Cheerkkayam river basin of Chandragiri (Kasaragod).
- These are some of the first-time evidence of Palaeolithic implements in these districts.
- These discoveries also indicate that hand-axe fabrication technique in quartz was also familiar among the prehistoric settlements in the area.
- The well-polished symmetrical shaped Stone Adzes made of quartz showed the high expertise in quartz fabrication of Neolithic people in Kozhikode.
Science & Technology
A ‘meta-skin’ to cloak objects from radars
Scientists have developed a new flexible, stretchable and tunable “meta-skin”.
- It can protect objects from radar detection, and may help develop next generation of stealth aircraft or even invisibility cloaks.
What is “Meta-skin”?
- The meta-skin takes its name from metamaterials, which are composites that have properties not found in nature and that can manipulate electromagnetic waves.
- By stretching and flexing the polymer meta-skin, it can be tuned to reduce the reflection of a wide range of radar frequencies.
- The stretchable polymer skin doesn’t visually hide objects, but makes them invisible to radar. Rows of small, liquid-metal devices effectively trap radar waves, rendering the cloak and the cloaked undetectable.
- The devices are split ring resonators, which have been lined up and sandwiched in layers of silicone sheeting. Inside the resonators is a liquid metal alloy called galinstan.
- Working in conjunction, the inductors and capacitors trap radar waves within a certain frequency. Because the meta-skin is stretchable, it can be pulled tight to augment the range of radar frequencies trapped by the resonators.
Applications of Meta Skin:
- The technology will find many applications in electromagnetic frequency tuning, shielding and scattering suppression.
- With this, the researchers have proved that electromagnetic waves can be suppressed with flexible, tunable liquid-metal technologies.
- Tests showed radar suppression was about 75% in frequency range of 8 to 10 gigahertz. When objects are wrapped in the meta-skin, the radar waves are suppressed in all incident directions and observation angles.
- The technology is different from traditional stealth technologies that often only reduce the backscattering, i.e. the power reflected back to a probing radar.
Also in News
8th March: International Women’s Day
International Women’s Day (IWD), originally called International Working Women’s Day, is celebrated on March 8 every year.
- The theme of the year 2016 declared by United Nations is “Planet 50-50 by 2030: Step It Up for Gender Equality”.
- It reflects acceleration of the 2030 Agenda, building momentum for the effective implementation of the new Sustainable Development Goals.
- The theme also equally focuses on new commitments under UN Women’s Step It Up initiative, and other existing commitments on gender equality, women’s empowerment and women’s human rights.
- Some people celebrate the day by wearing purple ribbons.
- International Women’s Day was first observed as a popular event after 1977 after the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) has proclaimed to observe March 8 as the UN Day for Women’s Rights and World Peace.