Daily Current Affairs

Prelims Prominence - December 15, 2017

Women Empowerment

Two day National Workshop on Role of Sakhi One Stop Centres in Strengthening Multi Sectoral Response to Violence

  • The Minister of Women and Child Development, Smt Maneka Sanjay Gandhi will inaugurate a Two Day National Workshop on Role of Sakhi One Stop Centres in Strengthening Multi Sectoral Response to Violence in New Delhi.
  • The workshop has been organized by the Ministry of Women and Child Development.
  • Around 400 Sakhi- One Stop Centre Functionaries and nodal officials from State Department of Women and Child Development from 33 States/UTs across the country, will participate in the two day workshop.

Enlighten about OSC or SAKHI

  • The Ministry has approved Scheme for setting up One Stop Centre (OSC) to support women affected by violence on 4th March, 2015.
  • Popularly known as Sakhi, the scheme is being implemented since 1stApril 2015.
  • The scheme aims to facilitate access to an integrated range of services including medical aid, police assistance, legal aid/case management, psychosocial counselling, and temporary support services to women affected by violence.
  • Under the scheme, it has been envisaged that OSCs would be set up across the country in a phased manner.
  • In the first phase, one Centre was sanctioned per State/UT. Further, 150 additional Centres are taken up in second phase.
  • 50 additional OSCs have been recently approved by the Ministry.
  • Currently 168 OSCs are operational in 32 States/UTs. So far, around 70,000 cases have been reported at the Centres.
  • The Ministry is also looking forward to improve the quality services at the Centres.
  • This National Workshop is to bring together cross learning from the States/UTs regarding the best practices, first hand experiences of the OSC functionaries and understand the issues and challenges being faced by them, Standard operating procedures and protocols etc. to enhance a strengthened multi sector response at OSCs while improving the quality of services at OSCs.

Health & Family Welfare

India and Morocco sign MoU for enhanced cooperation in healthcare
JIPMER and Marrakech Mohamed VI University Hospital sign MoU for enhanced cooperation in Telemedicine

  • India and Morocco signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for enhanced cooperation in the health sector.
  • Shri J P Nadda, Union Minister of Health & Family Welfare and Dr. Abdelkader Amara, Ministry of Health, Kingdom of Morocco signed the MoU
  • Union health minister highlighted that India is producer of quality generic medicines and drugs that are exported to more than 200 countries and has a strong and robust public health system monitored through National Health Mission.
  • He suggested that through this framework MOU between two countries, both the countries can work together in identified areas of cooperation as both countries have much to offer to each other in the field of health.

The main areas of cooperation

  • Non-communicable diseases, including child cardiovascular diseases and cancer;
  • Drug Regulation and Pharmaceutical quality control;
  • Communicable Diseases;
  • Maternal, child and neonatal health;
  • Hospital twinning for exchange of good practices and
  • Training in administration and management of health services and Hospitals

Another MoU was signed between Jawaharlal Institute of Post Graduate Medical Education and Research (JIPMER), Puducherry and Marrakech Mohamed VI University Hospital, Morocco in the presence of both the Ministers.

  • Under this MoU both the Institutes agreed to collaborate in the field of telemedicine.
  • The focus. areas under this MoU will be Tele-Health Care, Health Education, technical support in controlling epidemics and support in rendering second opinion on various complicated cases

NITI Aayog

NITI Aayog launches ATL Community Day

25 young mentors to interact with over 200 students not enrolled in the formal education sector

  • NITI Aayog’s Atal Innovation Mission will launch the Atal Tinkering Lab’s Community Day in the national capital tomorrow on Friday, 15th December, 2017.
  • The day will mark the Community Drive Initiative in which 25 young Mentors will engage with more than 200 students who are not enrolled in the formal education system.
  • CEO NITI Aayog, Mr. Amitabh Kant will launch the initiative in which these mentors will visit four locations in New Delhi to conduct brief sessions with children from various NGOs, on how innovations can help resolve the problems in the communities.
  • The Atal Tinkering Lab Community Drive Initiative is aimed at maximizing the impact of Atal Tinkering Labs by extending innovation to children in the community who do not have access to formal educational institutions.
  • The purpose of this initiative is to provide these children with the same educational tools as the students in Atal Tinkering Labs to enable them to become problem solvers.
  • The NGOs participating in these interactions include organizations working with disabled children, street and working children, and girls from the weaker sections of society.

Bilateral Relations

First 2 +2 dialogue

Between – India & Australia

Where – New Delhi

Why – Highlighted need to maintain Asia-Pacific region as a “free” and “open” zone.

  • The 2+2 dialogue model between both countries included foreign and defence secretaries.

Enlighten about the 2+2 dialogue

  • India and Australia share warm bilateral relations based on shared democratic values and pluralism.
  • There is a growing convergence of strategic perspectives between the two countries.
  • It was first meeting of this level since the two sides participated in quadrilateral discussion between India, United States, Australia and Japan in Manila in November 2017 for new strategic partnership targeting the Asia-Pacific region.
  • In the 2+2 dialogue, all aspects of bilateral relations with focus on strategic and defence relations between two countries were reviewed.
  • Both countries agreed that free, open, prosperous and inclusive Indo-Pacific region serves the long-term interests of all countries in the region and of the world at large.
  • The dialogue indicated that focus remains on freedom of navigation in South China Sea, where China has been reclaiming land for infrastructure, boosting its maritime influence.


International Ground Water Conference (IGWC – 2017)

Edition – 7th
Where – New Delhi
When – 11 to 13 December 2017
Theme - “Ground water Vision 2030- Water Security,
Challenges and Climate Change Adaptation”.
Organised by - National Institute of Hydrology (NIH), Roorkee and Central Ground Water Board (CGWB) under aegis of Union Ministry of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation.

Enlighten about IGWC – 2017

  • The delegates from 15 countries participated in the conference and 250 research papers were presented, including 32 Keynote papers.
  • The conference took stock of present status and challenges of Groundwater management in the country under the changing water use and climatic scenarios.
  • It took place at time when water scenario in India, especially the ground water scenario, is getting worse day by day.
  • The conference discussed these burning issues in 10 focal themes spread.
  • It looked into synergistic policy options between various sectors linked with water resources in country and drawed roadmap to address these challenges for sustainable development goals of 2030.

Depleting groundwater in India

  • During the past decades, groundwater usage in India has grown many folds and at present 80% of rural domestic needs and 65% of irrigation water requirement and 50% of industrial and urban water needs are sourced from scarce ground water resources.

Infrastructure Development

India’s first Electronic Manufacturing Cluster to be set up in Andhra Pradesh

  • India’s first Electronic Manufacturing Cluster (EMC) will be coming to Andhra Pradesh.
  • EMC has been designed and developed for providing facilities and amenities for manufacturing mobiles and allied products.
  • The Union Government, through Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeiTY) in 2012 had announced about setting up EMC in India, with grant-in-aid for establishing such clusters.

Enlighten about EMC

  • In 2015, Andhra Pradesh Government had announced first exclusive mobile and electronic manufacturing cluster in the new capital city Amaravati.
  • State Government had allotted 113.27 acres of land for new cluster, through Andhra Pradesh Industrial Infrastructure Corporation (APIIC).
  • For this purpose, a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) called Sri Venkateswara Mobiles and Electronics Manufacturing Hub Private Limited was formed.
  • The foundation stone was laid by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2015.
  • The SPV Company has applied for final approval of project to Union Government. Three major Indian mobile manufacturers – Celkon, Karbonn and Lava have come forward to establish their units in EMC.
  • Besides, an anchor unit has been formed in name of Seven Hills Digital Park Private Limited (SHDPPL) for three companies.
  • It will be involved in manufacturing of accessories to mobile phones and other related electronic equipment.
  • The EMC will generate around 50,000 jobs every year.

Judicial Reforms

Special courts to Prosecute politicians charged with criminal cases

  • The Centre has decided to set up special courts to deal exclusively with cases against 1,581 MPs and MLAs with the aim of disposing of them in a year.
  • This decision has been conveyed by the centre to the Supreme Court.

Enlighten about centres decisions –

  • Initially, 12 courts would be constituted.
  • Two special courts would handle cases against 228 MPs and the other 10 would be set up in 10 states — Andhra, Bihar, Karnataka, Kerala, MP, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Telangana, UP and Bengal—where the number of MLAs booked for criminal acts is more than 65.
  • Disposing of 1,581criminal cases involving political persons within a time frame of one year as directed by the SC is the aim as well as the objective of the scheme.

Why need for special courts –

  • There are several high-profile cases against leaders from almost all political parties—regional and national where investigations have dragged on for years and those facing trial have evaded prison.

Implications of this move-

  • The Centre’s decision could be a setback to politicians who, despite facing serious charges, have remained members of Parliament and state assemblies due to time consumed in trials.
  • Such cases will fall in the purview of special courts and their fate will be decided expeditiously.


Legatum Prosperity Index 2017

India’s ranks -100th

  • India was ranked 100th among 149 countries on the list of prosperous countries released as part of The Legatum Prosperity Index 2017.
  • The index offers an insight into how prosperity is forming and changing across the world.

Legatum Prosperity Index

  • Legatum Prosperity Index is an annual ranking developed by the London-based Legatum Institute.
  • It is world’s leading global measure of economic and social wellbeing that studies 104 indicators under these categories: Economic Quality, Governance, Business Environment, Personal Freedom, Safety and Security, Social Capital, Education, Health and Natural Environment.

Highlights of 2017 Legatum Prosperity Index

  • The Asia-Pacific region, which includes China and India, has registered greatest improvement in business environment and worst performance towards natural environment.
  • The gap between China and India’s prosperity has narrowed by four ranks since 2016 and to quarter of what it was in 2012.
  • China has lost out economically as people perceived greater barriers to trade and less encouragement of competition; and educationally through a falling primary school completion rate.
  • The rising trend in India’s prosperity is significant in view of fact that India registered lower economic growth following demonetisation and implementation of goods and services tax (GST) reform in 2017.
  • India’s performance on each front: Economic Quality- 56th rank, Business Environment- 65th, Governance- 41st, Education- 99th, Health- 109th, Safety & Security- 134th, Personal Freedom- 100th, Social Capital- 82nd and Natural Environment- 139th.


ABD lowers India’s GDP forecast to 6.7% for 2017-18

India’s ranks -100th

  • The Asian Development Bank (ADB) in its Asian Development Outlook Supplement has lowered India’s economic growth forecast for current fiscal i.e. FY 2017-18 by 0.3% to 6.7% from earlier 7%.
  • The reasons cited for this downward revision of growth forecast of largest economy South Asia are lingering effect of demonetisation, transitory challenges to Goods and Services Tax (GST) and weather-related risks to agriculture.

Enlighten about ABD’s forecast

  • ADB has also revised downwards India’s gross domestic product (GDP) outlook for next fiscal beginning from March 2018 to 7.3% from 7.4% mainly due to rising global crude oil prices and soft growth in private sector investment.
  • However, it expects growth to pick up in remaining two quarters of FY 2017-18 as Government is implementing measures to ease compliance with new GST as well as bank recapitalisation.
  • Inflation in India has remained subdued in first seven months of 2017-18, averaging 2.7%, with low food prices and demand still not out of woods because of demonetisation.
  • However, inflation had picked up since July 2017 on price uptick for food, especially pulses and vegetables. Fuel prices also inched up in response to rising global crude oil prices.
  • It has now projected inflation to average 3.7% in 2017-18, somewhat below the 4% earlier forecast.
  • Earlier Forecasts Prior to ADB, World Bank had reduced India’s GDP growth forecast to 7% for 2017- 18, from 7.2% estimated earlier, blaming disruptions caused by demonetisation and implementation of GST and it will grow at 7.4% by 2019-20.
  • The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) has also cut its growth projections for India to 6.7% for 2017-18.
  • Fitch Ratings in its September Global Economic Outlook (GEO) also had lowered its forecast for India’s growth for FY 2017-18 to 6.7% from the earlier projected 6.9%, citing rebound was weaker than expected.
  • It also cut GDP growth forecast for 2018-19 to 7.3% from 7.4% predicted Moody’s also had projected India’s real GDP growth to moderate to 6.7% in the current fiscal 2017-18, down from 7.1%.
  • According to it, GST and demonetisation have undermined growth over near term, but real GDP growth will rise to 7.5% in 2018-19 as disruption fades.
  • Standard & Poor’s had held that India’s growth is among fastest of all investment-grade sovereigns and projected real GDP expansion to average 7.6% over 2017-20