Daily Current Affairs

Prelims Prominence - September 20, 2018

Science and Technology

Medical Cyclotron Facility Cyclone-30 Became Operational

What

  • Cyclotrons are used to produce radioisotopes for diagnostic and therapeutic use for cancer care.

Enlighten about Cyclone -30

  • Cyclone-30, the biggest cyclotron in India for medical application became operational this month when 30 MeV beam reached the Faraday Cup for the first time last week.
  • Subsequently, beam from this facility was used to produce 18F (Fluorine-18 isotope) for the preparation of [18 FlFluorodeoxyglucose (FDG), a radio-pharmaceutical used by Board of Radiation & Isotope Technology (BRIT).
  • The facility will start regular production by the middle of the next year after the commissioning of the supporting nuclear systems and regulatory clearances.
  • Cyclone-30 facility at VECC, Kolkata, a Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) unit, will have many unique features, under various stages of implementation, which are first of its kind in many ways.
  • Cyclone-30 commissioning re-emphasises the capability of Indian scientists and engineers to deliver at the highest level of science and technology.

International Organisations

7th UNWTO Global Summit on Urban Tourism

Where

  • It was held recently in Seoul, capital of South Korea

Theme

  • A 2030 Vision for Urban Tourism

Organising partners

  • World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) and Seoul Metropolitan Government and supported by Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism of South Korea Korea Tourism Organization and Seoul Tourism Organization.

Enlighten about UNWTO Global Summit on Urban Tourism

  • The summit provided unique platform to discuss key issues shaping future of urban tourism in the context of the 2030 Urban Agenda.
  • It had brought together high level representatives from National Tourism Administrations, city authorities and related stakeholders, serving as platform to exchange experiences and expertise.
  • Vision on urban tourism that embraces innovation, digital transformation and sustainability.

World Tourism Organization (UNWTO)

  • UNWTO is United Nations agency responsible for promotion of responsible, sustainable and universally accessible tourism.
  • It is leading international organization in the field of tourism, which promotes tourism as driver of economic growth, inclusive development and environmental sustainability.
  • Its headquarters are located in Madrid, Spain.
  • UNWTO offers leadership and support to sector in advancing knowledge and tourism policies worldwide.
  • It serves as global forum for tourism policy issues and practical source of tourism knowledge.
  • It encourages implementation of Global Code of Ethics for Tourism to maximize contribution of tourism to socio-economic development, while minimizing its possible negative impacts.
  • It is committed to promoting tourism as instrument in achieving UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), geared towards eliminating poverty and fostering sustainable development and peace worldwide

Agriculture Sector

India targets slight increase in 2018-19 food grain output

What

  • The Agriculture Ministry has set a foodgrain production target of 285.2 million tonnes for 2018-19, a marginal increase from the previous year’s harvest of 284.8 million tonnes.
  • Rainfall deficit during the current monsoon season is now at 10%, according to the Indian Meteorological Department.
  • The 2018-19 targets for rice, at 113 million tonnes, and wheat, at 100 million tonnes, are marginally higher than last year’s harvest.
  • However, the targets for pulses, coarse cereals and maize are slightly lower.
  • Over the last two years of normal monsoons and record harvests, prices of several commodities have crashed, hurting many farmers.
  • The government has ramped up procurement of pulses and oilseeds in an effort to ensure that more farmers receive the minimum support price (MSP) for these crops even as the market rates fall, but that has led to a shortage of storage capacity.

Report

Every 5 seconds, a child under 15 dies around the world: UN

What

  • An estimated 6.3 million children under 15 years of age died in 2017, or one every five seconds, mostly of preventable causes, according to the new mortality estimates released by UNICEF, the World Health Organization (WHO), the United Nations Population Division and the World Bank Group

Enlighten about the report

  • The report notes that for children everywhere, the most risky period of life is the first month.
  • In 2017, 2.5 million newborns died in their first month while 5.4 million deaths — occur in the first five years of life, with newborns accounting for around half of the deaths.
  • Also, a baby born in sub-Saharan Africa or in South Asia was nine times more likely to die in the first month than a baby born in a high-income country.
  • And progress towards saving newborns has been slower than for children under five years of age since 1990.
  • Most children under five die due to preventable or treatable causes such as complications during birth, pneumonia, diarrhoea, neonatal sepsis and malaria.
  • By comparison, among children between five and 14 years of age, injuries become a more prominent cause of death, especially from drowning and road traffic.
  • The risk of dying for a child from sub-Saharan Africa 15 times higher than in Europe.
  • Under-five mortality rates among children in rural areas are, on average, 50% higher than among children in urban areas.
  • In addition, those born to uneducated mothers are more than twice as likely to die before turning five than those born to mothers with a secondary or higher education.
  • Globally, in 2017, half of all deaths in children under five took place in sub-Saharan Africa, and another 30% in South Asia.
  • Despite these challenges, there is a drop in children dying each year worldwide.

Defence

Exercise Aviaindra-18 Commences at Lipetsk (Russia)

What

  • Exercise Aviaindra is an Air Force level exercise between India and the Russian Federation.
  • First Aviaindra was conducted in 2014 and has been planned as a bi-annual exercise.

Enlighten about the exercise

  • Exercise Aviaindra 18 is being conducted at Lipetsk, Russia from 17 Sep to 28 Sep 18 and will be conducted in Jodhpur, India from 10 Dec to 22 Dec 18.
  • The Indian contingent for Ex Aviaindra departed for Russia on 15 Sep 18.
  • The contingent comprises of 30 officers from different branches and streams of IAF including four women officers of Flying, Admin and Medical Branch.
  • The aircraft that would participate in the exercise include Su-30 SM, Mig-29, Su-25, Mi-8 and An-26.
  • The aim of the exercise is focused towards anti-terrorist operations in a bi-lateral scenario.
  • The exercise would further enhance the co-operation and understanding each other’s Concept of Operations.

Bilateral agreements

India and Morocco sign Air Services Agreement

What

  • India and Morocco signed the revised Air Services Agreement between the two countries enabling greater connectivity through a modernized agreement.
  • The two sides cleared the legal and technical difficulties and agreed to a modern new text for the Air Services Agreement.
  • This milestone is enabler for greater air connectivity between India and Morocco and will enable the airlines of each side to enter into code share with airlines of other party, as well as provide greater freedom in mounting direct flights.
  • These developments in the Civil Aviation sector will enable the people of each country to travel to the other country leading to better economic and cultural ties.

Health and Family Welfare

Health Ministry launches sputum sample transportation Through Dept of Post

What

  • A pilot for utilising services of Department of Post for transport of sputum specimen for TB Diagnosis was launched by the Health Ministry

Why

  • A significant proportion of patients are not tested because the specimen does not reach the laboratory due to non-availability of specimen transport mechanisms.

Enlighten about the initiative

  • Transport of collected specimen also spares the patient’s from travelling to the reference laboratory.
  • Prompt transport of specimen followed by efficacious testing will enable appropriate management of the TB patients and reduced disease transmission.
  • The learning from Delhi Pilot experience will be useful for adaptation of specimen transport mechanism through the Postal Department across the country.
  • The web-based application of RNTCP, Nikshay Version 2.0 with better user interface and data structures, was also launched during the event.
  • Mobile app for all major functions on Nikshay,is available on Google Play for download. The web-application is also designed to be mobile friendly, enabling data entry also from the mobile browser.

Disaster Management

NDMA holds workshop on application of GIS in disaster management

What

  • The National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) is conducting a two-day training-cum-workshop programme on ‘Application of GIS (Geographic Information System) in Disaster Management’
  • The training programme aims to help participants develop skills for effectively utilising the geo-information tools for disaster management.

Enlighten about the workshop

  • A total of 19 representatives from 12 States, UTs and National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) are participating in the training programme which will enable them to understand the need, role and scope of web-based GIS service for management of disasters more efficiently and effectively through an integrated platform.
  • Experts from NDMA, Indian Institute of Remote Sensing (IIRS), National Spatial Data Infrastructure (NSDI), Teri University and ESRI will train the participants on various aspects of geo-information tools.

Geo-spatial tools to reduce disaster losses

  • This workshop would serve as the first step towards integrating and sharing of GIS database on one platform by different stakeholders.
  • In a post-disaster situation, critical decision-making depends on quality geospatial information and there is a need to make it authoritative so that all stakeholders are able to use the same information and ensure a unified response to any given situation.
  • NDMA is working towards integrating geospatial data for research, mitigation and post disaster management.
  • This system will help the Centre as well as State Governments, local bodies, civil societies and other stakeholders to handle the complete disaster cycle in an effective and efficient manner.

Social Justice

ATAL BIMIT VYAKTI KALYAN

What

  • The ESI Corporation has approved a Scheme named “ATAL BIMIT VYAKTI KALYAN YOJNA” for Insured Persons (IP) covered under the Employees’ State Insurance Act, 1948.

Enlighten about the scheme

  • This scheme is a relief payable in cash directly to their Bank Account in case of unemployment and while they search for new engagement.
  • Detailed instructions including eligibility conditions, application format, etc. will be issued separately.
  • ESI Corporation has approved the proposal for reimbursement of Rs. 10/- per person to the employers to encourage the seeding of Aadhar (UID) in ESIC database of their workers and their family members.
  • It will curtail the multiple registrations of same Insured Persons and thus enable them to avail the benefits requiring longer contributory conditions.

REFORMS

Triple talaq is criminal offence

What

  • The Union Cabinet cleared an ordinance that makes talaq-e-biddat, or instant triple talaq, a criminal offence that will attract a maximum jail term of three years.

Enlighten about the ordinance

  • The new law, however, incorporates safeguards, including a provision for bail to an accused before the start of the trial.
  • While instant triple talaq will continue to be a “non-bailable” offence — the police cannot grant bail at the police station — the accused can approach a magistrate for bail even before trial.
  • There was an overpowering urgency and a compelling necessity to bring the ordinance as the practice continued unabated despite the Supreme Court’s order last year

Enlighten about the statics

  • 201 cases had been reported from across the country after the Supreme Court banned triple talaq in August 2017.
  • Since January 2017, 430 cases had been reported until September 13 this year.
  • The practice of triple talaq continues in spite of the Supreme Court having annulled it and the Lok Sabha having passed a Bill that is pending in the Rajya Sabha.

Sources – The Hindu , PIB , IndianExpress