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Insights Daily Current Events, 26 November 2014

Insights Daily Current Events, 26 November 2014

Swachhta Udyami Yojana

National Safai Karamcharis Finance and Development Corporation (NSKFDC), an Apex Corporation of the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, has launched “Swachhta Udyami Yojana”.


  • to provide concessional loan for viable community toilet projects and sanitation related vehicles to collect the garbage,
  • to consolidate the ongoing efforts for realising the objectives of the ‘Swachh Bharat Abhiyan’ launched by Prime Minister on 2nd October, 2014.


  • Under the Scheme, entrepreneurs among safai karmacharis and identified manual scavengers can avail loan upto defined ceiling at concessional rate of interest @ 4% per annum.
  • In case of women beneficiaries, there is a rebate of 1% in the rate of interest charged.
  • No State/ Union Territory wise budget allocations are made under the Scheme as funds are to be provided to the channelizing agencies on the basis of the proposals received from them.

Sources: PIB.

National Council for Senior Citizens

The Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment has constituted the “National Council of Senior Citizens (NCSrC)” by renaming of the “National Council for Older Persons (NPOP)”.

Mandate: to advise the Central and State Governments on the entire gamut of issues related to the welfare of senior citizens and enhancement of their quality of life, with special reference to the following:-

  • Policies, programmes and legislative measures;
  • Promotion of physical and financial security, health and independent and productive living; and
  • Awareness generation and community mobilization.

The Council is mandated to meet atleast twice a year.

Sources: PIB.


Steps Taken by Govt. to Accelerate Pace of Reduction for MMR to Achieve MDG Goals

Millennium Development Goal 5: Under the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) 5, the target is to reduce Maternal Mortality Ratio (MMR) by three quarters between 1990 & 2015.

Present status: As per the latest report of the Registrar General of India, Sample Registration System (RGI-SRS), Maternal Mortality Ratio (MMR) of India has shown a decline from 212 per 100,000 live births in the period 2007-09 to 178 per 100,000 live births in the period 2010-12.

In future: If the MMR declines at the same pace, India will achieve an MMR of 141 per 100,000 live births which is almost equal to the estimated target of 140 per 100,000 live births under MDG -5 for the MDG.

The key steps taken to accelerate the pace of reduction for Maternal Mortality Ratio (MMR) under the National Health Mission (NHM) for achieving MDG goals are:

  • Promotion of institutional deliveries through Janani Suraksha Yojana.
  • Capacity building of health care providers in basic and comprehensive obstetric care.
  • Operationalization of sub-centres, Primary Health Centres, Community Health Centres and District Hospitals for providing 24×7 basic and comprehensive obstetric care services.
  • Name Based Web enabled Tracking of Pregnant Women to ensure antenatal, intranatal and postnatal care.
  • Mother and Child Protection Card in collaboration with the Ministry of Women and Child Development to monitor service delivery for mothers and children.
  • Antenatal, Intranatal and Postnatal care including Iron and Folic Acid supplementation to pregnant & lactating women for prevention and treatment of anemia.
  • Engagement of more than 8.9 lakhs Accredited Social Health Activists (ASHAs) to generate demand and facilitate accessing of health care services by the community.
  • Village Health and Nutrition Days in rural areas as an outreach activity, for provision of maternal and child health services.
  • Health and nutrition education to promote dietary diversification, inclusion of iron and folate rich food as well as food items that promote iron absorption.
  • Janani Shishu Suraksha Karyakaram (JSSK) has been launched on 1st June, 2011, which entitles all pregnant women delivering in public health institutions to absolutely free and no expense delivery including Caesarean section. The initiative stipulates free drugs, diagnostics, blood and diet, besides free transport from home to institution, between facilities in case of a referral and drop back home. Similar entitlements have been put in place for all sick infants accessing public health institutions for treatment.
  • To sharpen the focus on the low performing districts, 184 High Priority Districts (HPDs) have been prioritized for Reproductive Maternal Newborn Child Health+ Adolescent (RMNCH+A) interventions for achieving improved maternal and child health outcomes.

The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) are the world’s time-bound and quantified targets for addressing extreme poverty in its many dimensions-income poverty, hunger, disease, lack of adequate shelter, and exclusion-while promoting gender equality, education, and environmental sustainability. They are also basic human rights-the rights of each person on the planet to health, education, shelter, and security.
It is a global partnership, adopted at the millennium summit in 2000 by the UN members, to reduce poverty and achieve other time bound targets, with a deadline of 2015.

Sources: PIB.


Avian flu in Kerala to impact Tamil Nadu

The outbreak of Avian flu in three districts of Kerala and the decision of the State government to cull lakhs of poultry birds is likely to have an adverse impact on Tamil Nadu.

Safety measure: Primary Health Centres and Government Hospitals along the border would be put on high alert in order to deal with any contingency.

Avian flu

Avian influenza (AI), commonly called bird flu, is an infectious viral disease of birds often causing no apparent signs of illness.

Spread: AI viruses can sometimes spread to domestic poultry and cause large-scale outbreaks of serious disease. Some of these AI viruses have also been reported to cross the species barrier and cause disease or subclinical infections in humans and other mammals.

Effects on Humans:

  • Most avian influenza viruses do not infect humans; however some, such as A(H5N1) and A(H7N9), have caused serious infections in people.
  • The majority of human cases of A(H5N1) and A(H7N9) infection have been associated with direct or indirect contact with infected live or dead poultry. There is no evidence that the disease can be spread to people through properly cooked food.
  • Controlling the disease in animals is the first step in decreasing risks to humans.
  • Initial symptoms include high fever, usually with a temperature higher than 38°C, and other influenza-like symptoms (cough or sore throat). Diarrhea, vomiting, abdominal pain, chest pain, and bleeding from the nose and gums have also been reported as early symptoms in some patients.


  • Evidence suggests that some antiviral drugs, notably oseltamivir, can reduce the duration of viral replication and improve prospects of survival.
  • In cases of severe infection with the A(H5N1) or A(H7N9) virus, clinicians may consider increasing the recommended daily dose or/and the duration of treatment.


The A(H5N1) virus subtype, a highly pathogenic AI virus, first infected humans in 1997 during a poultry outbreak in Hong Kong SAR, China. Since its widespread re-emergence in 2003 and 2004, this avian virus has spread from Asia to Europe and Africa and has become entrenched in poultry in some countries, resulting in millions of poultry infections, several hundred human cases, and many human deaths. Outbreaks in poultry have seriously impacted livelihoods, the economy and international trade in affected countries.

India had declared itself free from H5N1 Avian Influenza (bird flu) as there had been no occurrence of the disease for three months.

Measures taken earlier by India to control:

  • The entire infected poultry population and its eggs, feed, litter and other infected material was stamped out within a radius of one km.
  • Restrictions on the movement of poultry was imposed, the affected area was cleaned up and disinfected. Consequently, a post-operation surveillance plan was adopted as per international norms.
  • Regular surveillance was maintained, especially in vulnerable areas bordering infected countries and in areas visited by migratory birds.

Impact on TN:

  • The outbreak of avian flu in Kerala is expected to have an impact on the poultry sector in Tamil Nadu.
  • Kerala is almost self-sufficient in broiler production now and broiler sales from Tamil Nadu to that State has reduced.
  • Tamil Nadu produces as many as 75 lakh broiler birds a week and just about 10 per cent of it is sold in Kerala now. With confirmation of outbreak of avian flu in Kerala, consumption of broiler is likely to come down there.
  • Sale of at least five per cent of the broiler birds sent from TN to Kerala will be affected and this will create a stress on prices in Tamil Nadu.

Sources: The Hindu,

RS passes Bill amending labour Laws

The Rajya Sabha has passed by voice vote the Labour Laws (Exemption from Furnishing Returns and Maintaining Registers by Certain Establishments) Amendment Bill, 2011.

The Labour Laws (Exemption from Furnishing Returns and Maintaining Registers by Certain Establishments) Amendment and Miscellaneous Provisions Bill, 2011 was introduced in the Rajya Sabha on March 23, 2011.

Main features of the Bill:

  • The Bill amends the Labour Laws (Exemption from Furnishing Returns and Maintaining Registers by Certain Establishments) Amendment and Miscellaneous Provisions Act, 1988 (Principal Act).
  • The Principal Act defines “small establishments” as any place which employs between 10 and 19 people on any day of the preceding 12 months. A “very small establishment” is a place that employs nine or less people. The Bill amends the definition of “small establishment” to cover establishments that employ between 10 and 40 people.
  • Under the Principal Act, these establishments are exempted from furnishing returns and maintaining registers under certain labour laws. Small establishments are also exempted from furnishing returns and maintaining registers under certain laws such as the Payment of Wages Act, 1936; the Weekly Holidays Act, 1942; Minimum Wages Act, 1948; the Factories Act, 1948; and the Plantations Labour Act, 1951. Instead, they are required to furnish returns and maintain registers in a specified format.
  • The Bill seeks to widen the ambit of the Act to more establishments and adds more laws from which these establishments are to be exempted.
  • The Principal Act states that an employer has to file returns and maintain registers at the work spot in the specified format. The employer also has to issue wage slips, amount of work done slips and file returns related to accidents. The Bill adds that the employer may maintain the returns filed and the registers on a computer, computer disk or other electronic media. Printouts of these records shall have to be made available to the Inspector on demand. The information may also be furnished to the Inspector by electronic mail.
  • The Bill amends the list of Acts which exempts small establishments from maintaining registers and filing returns.
  • It allows an establishment operating in four or more States to be regulated by the Central government so that those establishments may no longer have to approach various State governments for employing apprentices.

For further reference:,%202011.pdf.

Sources: The Hindu,

Sulawesi bird named after Indian-origin scientist

A new bird species discovered more than 15 years after it was first seen on the Indonesian island of Sulawesi has been named after late ecologist and ornithologist Navjot Sodhi.

  • A mottled throat and short wings distinguish Muscicapa sodhii , the newly named Sulawesi streaked flycatcher.

Insights Daily Current Events

  • Compared with similar flycatchers, the bird has shorter wings, a more strongly hooked bill and a shorter tail. The bird has a plainer face and streaked throat.

Several animal species have been named after Prof Sodhi, including a snail, a fish and a new genus and species of crab.

Sources: The Hindu,