Daily Current Affairs

Prelims Prominence - October 12, 2017

Energy Sector

Domestic Gas Trading Hub

Petroleum Ministry to seek Cabinet approval

What -

  • Petroleum ministry is seeking approval from the Union Cabinet’s for a domestic gas trading hub

Why –

  • It help India adopt a better mechanism for price discovery of both domestic as well as imported gas

Petroleum Ministry other plans –

  • Ministry is in the process of creating an internal think-tank to assist in priority areas like
  • foreign investment
  • moving towards gas-based economy
  • financing models
  • using technology and curbing hydrocarbon imports

Determination of natural gas price (current method)

  • Currently, the price of natural gas in the country is determined through a government-mandated formula that links the local price to rates prevailing in gas-surplus nations

Future plans of the government

  • Currently, India imports almost 60 per cent of its petroleum requirements
  • India also plans to double its network of pipelines to transport natural gas to 30,000 km within the next three-four years which will help in shifting to a gas-based economy, reduce greenhouse emissions and cut oil import

Health Care Reforms

Passive Euthanasia Bill

The draft bill

  • The ‘Management of Patients With Terminal Illness — Withdrawal of Medical Life Support Bill’ has been drawn up in keeping with the recommendations of the Law Commission

What is Passive euthanasia and its status in India

  • Passive euthanasia is the law of the land
  • Court findings in the Aruna Shanbaug case have allowed it
  • The Law Commission, under the chairmanship of Justice (retired) P V Reddy, had in its 241st report come out in favour of allowing withdrawal of life support for certain categories of people — like those in persistent vegetative state (PVS), in irreversible coma, or of unsound mind, who lack the mental faculties to take decisions

Enlighten about - Active & Passive Euthanasia

  • Active euthanasia entails the use of lethal substances or forces to kill a person, e.g. a lethal injection given to a patient with terminal cancer who is in terrible agony.
  • Passive euthanasia entails the withholding of medical treatment for continuance of life, e.g., with holding of antibiotics without which a patient is likely to die or remaining the heart lung machine from a patient in coma.
  • Hence, active Euthanasia entails something being done to end patient life where as in passive Euthanasia treatment that would have preserved the patient life is not being done.

Argument in favour of the legalizing of Euthanasia

  • Most experts feel passive euthanasia should be legalized in Some Exceptional cases where patient remains in a permanent vegetative state, after proper legal documentation & consent of special Board.
  • Passive Euthanasia if legalized would reduce huge wastage of country’s scare resource.
  • Passive euthanasia can put an end to suffering of patient in permanent vegetative state & their family members.
  • It provides a means to end their life with dignity.
  • Many countries of the world have already legalized Euthanasia, e.g., Belgium, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Switzerland & United States.

Argument against the legalizing of Euthanasia

  • Euthanasia if legalized can be misused considering the level of legal awareness & Illiteracy in the country.
  • It can be misused for organ harvesting & other financial gains.

State Specific

Telangana launches IoT, e-waste management policy

  • The Telangana government has announced two new policies focussing on Internet of things and e-waste, which are part of the 10 major focus areas of the state’s IT policy launched last year.

Enlighten about E-waste Policy

  • E-Waste generation in India is rising at an alarming annual rate of 25%, with Hyderabad currently recording 25,000 MT per annum, the 6th largest generator in the country.
  • The state’s e-waste policy calls for earmarking industrial space or sheds for dismantling and recycling e-waste in existing and upcoming industrial parks, estates and industrial clusters.
  • The government aims to promote management of e-waste through collaborations with bulk consumers of electronic products, major industry organisations and other stakeholders.
  • The government would also provide incentives to boost refurbishing and recycling centres. A subsidy of Rs 1 crore will be provided for a minimum investment of Rs 5 crore for the first five recyclers and refurbishers.
  • Apart from that, it also plans to give 25% subsidy on lease rentals for every company for the first three years of operation and provide Rs 1,000 as training subsidy per person every month for 1,000 people.
  • With this, the government aims to provide employment for 50,000 people in five years.

International Organisations

WHO releases guidelines to address overweight and obesity in children

Need for intervention

  • In 2016 an estimated 41 million children under 5 were affected by overweight or obesity.
  • Of this, one half of all children overweight or obese lived in Asia and one quarter lived in Africa.
  • Paradoxically, overweight and obesity is found in populations where undernutrition remains common – the term ‘double-burden of malnutrition’ is sometimes used to describe these settings.

Important guidelines

  • WHO recommends that all infants and children aged less than 5 years presenting to primary health-care facilities should have both weight and height measured in order to determine their weight-for-height and their nutritional status according to WHO child growth standards.
  • Where infants and children are identified as overweight, WHO recommends providing counselling to parents and caregivers on nutrition and physical activity including promotion and support for exclusive breastfeeding in the first 6 months and continued breastfeeding until 24 months or beyond
  • Additionally, moderate wasting and stunting are potential risk factors for children becoming overweight or obese.

India invited to join SCO contact group meeting on Afghanistan

  • India following its rising profile in Afghanistan for the first time ever has been invited to join Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) contact group meeting on Afghanistan to discuss prevailing security situation and economic potential of the landlocked country.
  • The meeting is being is held in Moscow and comes as a feather in the cap for India’s Afghan strategy after successful US backed Indo-Afghan trade and investment show in Delhi.
  • The development is viewed as acknowledgement of India’s stake in the war-torn country.

What it is –

  • The SCO contact group on Afghanistan that became defunct in 2009 has been revived following intervention by Russian President Vladimir Putin from this year.

Economy

IMF lowers India’s growth forecast to 6.7 %

  • The International Monetary Fund (IMF) in its October World Economic Outlook (WEO) has lowered India’s economic growth forecast at 6.7% in 2017 and 7.4% in 2018.
  • It is slower than 0.5 and 0.3 percentage points projected earlier by IMF. In April 2017 forecast, IMF had revised upwards India’s growth performance for 2016 to 7.1% as opposed to 6.8%

Enlighten about the forecast

  • The report has cited impact of demonetisation and implementation of Goods and Services Tax (GST) for expected slowdown during the current and the next year.
  • It also held that India’s slowdown is happening even as the world economy is picking up steam.
  • But it expects revival of growth in future due to structural reform.
  • India will regain fastest growing major economy tag next year when it is forecast to grow 7.4%, slower than earlier estimate of 7.7% but higher than China’s 6.5%.
  • It also expects that the Indian economy to grow 8% in the medium term on the back of reforms undertaken so far.

Space Tech

Japan launches fourth Michibiki satellite for hi-tech GPS

  • The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) successfully launched Michibiki-4 satellite (QZSS-4) onboard of H-IIA rocket from Tanegashima Space Centre.
  • It was fourth satellite in Michibiki series i.e. Quasi-Zenith Satellite System (QZSS), which is a satellite-based high-precision global positioning system similar to US operated GPS. Moreover, it was 36th H-IIA vehicle to be launched so far and fifth launch of an H-IIA rocket in 2017.

QZS-4 (Michibiki-4)

  • Michibiki-4 is third QZSS satellite to be launched in 2017 and once operational it will bring the constellation of QZSS to its operating capacity of four until a planned expansion to 8 satellites occurs around 2023.

Enlighten about Quasi-Zenith Satellite System (QZSS)

  • It is own version of GPS and is dubbed as Michibiki system. Michibiki means guidance in Japanese.
  • It is intended for civilian use, with a claimed positioning accuracy down to mere centimetres.
  • The QZSS constellation of 8 satellites will trace out a figure-8 pattern over Japan, the Western Pacific, and Australia.
  • The Michibiki system can cover the Asia-Oceania region and works with the US-operated GPS to provide higher level of precision than previously possible with fewer satellites in visible range.
  • It will become operation in 2018 with four satellites focusing on country and wider region. It will provide global positioning and timing services across frequencies ranging from 1575.42 MHz to 2 GHz