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Insights Daily Current Events: 29 May 2015

Insights Daily Current Events: 29 May 2015


Cancer cases on the rise but death rate is falling

An international consortium of researchers led by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington, in its recently released data, has said that the incidence of cancer has grown over the last decade in India although the rate of mortality has fallen. The study is named “The Global Burden of Cancer 2013”.

  • The team analysed 28 cancer groups in 188 countries.
geography of cancer

Important observations made by the Report:

  • Breast cancer is the fastest growing in terms of incidence for women and kills the most, and prostate cancer is the fastest-growing in incidence for men, while lung cancer killed the most men.
  • Globally, the incidence of cancer is rising, but even as it has become the second leading cause of death, mortality is falling with better detection and treatment across countries.
  • India has a lower incidence of cancer than the global average, with just half the number of new cases recorded every year per capita than the global average.
  • However, the incidence has grown from over 700 new cases per million population to nearly 1,000 new cases per million people, the numbers show. Simultaneously, the death rate has declined.
  • The number of new mouth cancer cases in India more than doubled between 1990 and 2013 from 55,480 to 127,168.

In 2013, there were 14.9 million new cases and 8.2 million deaths worldwide. Among men, prostate cancer caused 1.4 million new cases and 293,000 deaths. For women, breast cancer caused 1.8 million new cases and 464,000 deaths.

Sources: The Hindu.


Republican Nebraska bans death penalty

Nebraska has become the first ‘red State’ since 1973 to abolish the death penalty after state legislators banded together to overrule a veto by Governor Pete Ricketts.

  • With this decision, Nebraska becomes the 19th US state to abolish capital punishment.
  • Capital Punishment is still legal in 31 states, but there are about 10 in which a moratorium on executions has been imposed.

nebraska location

The abolition of capital punishment in Nebraska is especially significant given that it is the first conservative state to do so in more than 40 years and it comes at a moment in which the appropriateness of the death penalty is being increasingly questioned.

Nebraska lies in both the Great Plains and the Midwestern United States. Its largest city is Omaha, which is on the Missouri River. The state has more underground water reserves than any other state in the continental U.S.

Sources: The Hindu, Wiki.


New species of frog, fish found in Western Ghats

Researchers have discovered a new fish species and three types of tadpoles in Western Ghats of India.


Newly discovered fish species: Pethiastriata- it was found along the streams of the Tunga in the Kudremukh National Park, Karnataka.

Source: The Hindu
  • Pethiastriata is described as a small fish, with a length of around 4 cm. The male is reddish in colour and the female, greyish.
  • The species thrive in shallow pools of gently flowing water and are found in small groups of around four.
  • The fish differ from existing species on seven characteristics, including dark outer edges of scales that give them a distinct striped pattern.

Species of tadpoles: They belong to the species of Nyctibatrachus (meaning ‘night frog’) — N. kumbara (‘potter frog’), N. kempholeyensis (named after the Kempuhole stream) and N. jog (named after the waterfall).

  • These species of tadpoles were found for the first time in the narrow streams of the Sharavati in Karnataka.

Sources: The Hindu.



Kasturirangan report to be implemented by year-end

Union Minister of State for Environment and Forests Prakash Javadekar recently said that the recommendations made by the Kasturirangan Committee report on eco-sensitive zones in the Western Ghats would be implemented by this year-end.

  • He said that the Union government had asked the State governments concerned to hold consultation with the local population and submit their comments.
  • While Kerala has submitted its comments, Karnataka is yet to do so. Tamil Nadu, Goa, Maharashtra, and Gujarat are expected to submit their reports shortly.

Kasturirangan Report:

The Kasturirangan panel was set up to study the Gadgil committee report on the Western Ghats. The Gadgil panel report had faced unanimous opposition from state governments for recommending that almost three-fourth of the hills, including plantations, cultivated lands and large habitations, be turned into a restricted development zone with an over-arching authority to regulate the region superseding the elected authorities’ role.

Kasturirangan Panel Vs Gadgil report

Recommendations made by the Kasturirangan panel:

  • Around 60,000 sq km of Western Ghats, spread across six states, should be turned into a no-go area for commercial activities like mining, thermal power plants, polluting industries and large housing plans.
  • It has suggested that 90% of the natural forests left in the Western Ghats complex – adding upto 60,000 sq km and constituting 37% of the entire hilly belt — be conserved under the Ecologically Sensitive Area (ESA) provisions of the green law. The forest area falling within the ESA would also cover 4,156 villages across the six states. The villages falling under ESA will be involved in decision making on the future projects. All projects will require prior-informed consent and no-objection from the gram sabha (village council) of the village.
  • The panel has recommended that there should be a complete ban on mining activity in this zone and current mining activities should be phased out within five years, or at the time of expiry of the mining lease.
  • It has banned development of any township or construction over the size of 20,000 sq m in the ESA zone. It has not recommended a ban on hydroelectric projects in the zone, but put a regime of stricter clearances for dams and other projects.
  • The report suggests doing away with the complete moratorium on industrial and mining activity in the two Maharashtra districts of Sindhudurg and Ratnagiri. It has suggested persisting with the ban only on the area of the two districts falling within the ESA and a strict regulation in the rest.
  • The report has steered clear from demanding a strict ecological control over the Western Ghat complex requiring changes and regulations on agricultural practices the way Gadgil committee report had suggested.

Sources: The Hindu, PIB, Wiki.



Digital Locker – 1,00,000 Mark in 100 Days

After Digital Locker trial version was launched in Feb, 2015 over 1,00,000 Digital Lockers have been opened by the Citizens, within 100 days of its launch.

Digital Locker:

It is dedicated personal storage space, linked to each resident’s Aadhaar number. DigiLocker can be used to securely store e-documents as well as store Uniform Resource Identifier (URI) link of e-documents issued by various issuer departments. The e-Sign facility provided as part of DigiLocker system can be used to digitally sign e-documents.

  • The initiative was launched by the Department of Electronics and Information Technology, under the Ministry of Communications and IT.
  • Here, the users can store their documents such as insurance, medical reports, PAN card, passport, marriage certificate, school certificate and other documents in the digital format.
  • With this, the government is trying to create an electronic version of documents, which can be easily verified and stored in printable format.
  • At present, the digital locker gives 10MB of free space for individuals to store documents and links of government department or agency-issued e-documents. The government is also planning to subsequently increase the storage space to 1 GB.

digital locker


  • It will minimize the use of physical documents and will provide authenticity of the e-documents.
  • It will provide secure access to Govt. issued documents.
  • It will also reduce administrative overhead of Govt. departments and agencies and make it easy for the residents to receive services.

Digital Locker is one of the key initiatives under the Digital India vision, which is aimed at eliminating the usage of physical documents. Digital Locker will allow various agencies to push the documents into the Digital Locker of citizens mapped to their Aadhaar Number.

Sources: The Hindu, PIB,



Mega Food Park Inaugurated at Nalbari, Assam

A Mega Food Park was inaugurated at Nalbari, Assam recently by the Chief Minister of Assam. It Park has been set up in 50 acre of land at the cost of Rs. 76 crore.This project is having facilities of fully operational industrial sheds for SMEs, developed industrial plots for lease to food processing units, Dry Warehouse of 10000 MT, Cold Storages of 3000 MT, Common Effluent Treatment plant, Quality Control Labs etc.

  • The Park also has a common administrative building for office and other uses by the entrepreneurs.
  • 6 Primary Processing Centres (PPCs) are also proposed to be set up at Nagaon, Badarpur, Tinsukia, Barapani, Krishnai and Kajalgaon which will provide facilities for primary processing and storage near the farms.

Mega Food Parks Scheme:

The Scheme of Mega Food Park aims at providing a mechanism to link agricultural production to the market by bringing together farmers, processors and retailers so as to ensure maximizing value addition, minimizing wastages, increasing farmers’ income and creating employment opportunities particularly in rural sector.

Aim of the Scheme: The Scheme is aimed at providing modern infrastructure facilities along the value chain from farm gate to the market with strong backward and forward linkages.

What these food parks provide?

  • They facilitate the efforts to increase the level of processing of agricultural and horticultural produce, with particular focus on perishables, in the country and thereby to check the wastage.
  • The Scheme has a cluster based approach based on a hub and spokes model. It includes creation of infrastructure for primary processing and storage near the farm in the form of Primary Processing Centres (PPCs) and Collection Centres (CCs) and common facilities and enabling infrastructure at Central Processing Centre (CPC).
  • The PPCs are meant for functioning as a link between the producers and processors for supply of raw material to the Central Processing Centres.
  • CPC has need based core processing facilities and basic enabling infrastructure to be used by the food processing units setup at the CPC. The minimum area required for a CPC is 50 acres.
  • The scheme is demand-driven and would facilitate food processing units to meet environmental, safety and social standards.

Implementation and financial assistance:

  • Mega Food Park project is implemented by a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) which is a Body Corporate registered under the Companies Act. State Government/State Government entities/Cooperatives applying for setting up a project under the scheme are not required to form a separate SPV.
  • The financial assistance for Mega Food Park is provided in the form of grant-in-aid at 50% of eligible project cost in general areas and at 75% of eligible project cost in NE Region and difficult areas (Hilly States and ITDP areas) subject to maximum of Rs. 50 crore per project.


  • Reducing post harvest losses.
  • Maintainance of the supply chain in sustainable manner.
  • Additional income generation for the farmers.
  • Shifting the farmers to more market driven and profitable farming activities.
  • It will be a one stop shop where everything will be available at a single location.
  • As per experts, it will directly employ 10,000 people.
  • This integrated food park will help reduce supply chain costs.
  • It will also reduce wastage across the food value chain in India and improve quality and hygiene to create food products in the country.

Difficulties in implementation:

  • Major challenges being faced by the Special Purpose Vehicles (SPVs) in implementation of the Mega Food Park projects, include acquiring contiguous land of 50 acres or more in the name of SPV, obtaining term loan from the Banks, difficulties in obtaining various statutory clearances from the State Government Departments/Agencies, timely contribution of equity by the promoters, lack of cohesiveness amongst the promoters etc.

Sources: PIB, The Hindu.



India tops world hunger list with 194 million people

According to United Nations annual hunger report, India is home to the highest number of hungry people in the world, at 194 million, surpassing China. The Report is titled ‘The State of Food Insecurity in the World 2015.’

The Report says:

  • At the global level, the corresponding figure dropped to 795 million in 2014-15, from 1 billion in 1990-92, with East Asia led by China accounting for most of the reductions.
  • India too saw a reduction between 1990 and 2015. In 1990-92, those who were starved of food in India numbered 210.1 million, which came down to 194.6 million in 2014-15.
  • India has made great strides in reducing the proportion of food insecure persons in the overall population, but according to FAO, it still has over 194 million hungry persons. India’s numerous social programmes are expected to continue to fight hunger and poverty.
  • However, China stood out as the reduction in the number of hungry people was much higher than in India, which came down to 133.8 million in 2014-15 from 289 million in 1990-92.
  • A majority — 72 out of 129 — of the countries monitored by FAO have achieved the Millennium Development Goal target of halving the prevalence of undernourishment by 2015, with developing regions as a whole missing the target by a small margin.

Talking of noticeable progress, the report made a specific mention of Latin America and the Caribbean, southeast and central Asia as well as some parts of Africa. The overall analysis suggested that inclusive economic growth, agricultural investments and social protection, along with political stability, can eradicate hunger.

Sources: The Hindu.

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