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Insights Daily Current Events, 15 January 2016

Insights Daily Current Events, 15 January 2016


Paper 3 Topic: Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization of resources, growth, development and employment.

SBI starts advisory services for startups

State Bank of India (SBI) has unveiled a dedicated advisory services branch for startups. The branch, named branch InCube, was recently inaugurated in Bengaluru.


  • InCube’s relationship managers will provide personalised advice to startup founders on investments, taxation and forex transactions , and solutions to optimise the cash conversion cycle.
  • It will be a one-stop advisory services facility for entrepreneurs. However, it will not offer loans to startups for now.
  • SBI is planning to expand this initiative to other parts of the country soon.

sources: the hindu.


Topic: general awareness.

SBI Exclusif

State Bank of India has also become the first public sector lender to launch wealth management service for high networth individuals (HNIs) in India.

  • The wealth management service, Exclusif, will offer many firsts in wealth banking like the first ‘e-Wealth Center’ that can deliver quality relationship management services remotely for extended hours.
  • Its customers will be able to transact and invest on digital channels such as internet and mobile.
  • The customers will have access to a dedicated relationship manager to take care of all their banking and investment needs.

sources: the hindu.


Paper 2 Topic: Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources.

WHO declares end to Ebola epidemic

A two-year Ebola epidemic that killed 11,000 and triggered a global health alert has been declared over by the WHO, with Liberia the last country given the all-clear.

  • The World Health Organisation has declared an end to the deadliest Ebola outbreak ever after no new cases emerged in Liberia.
  • However, health officials have warned that it will be several more months before the world is considered free of the disease.
  • Liberia, which along with Sierra Leone and Guinea was an epicentre of the latest outbreak, was first declared free of the disease last May, but new cases emerged two times forcing officials there to restart the clock. WHO declared Sierra Leone Ebola-free in November 2015.


  • Ebola virus disease (EVD), formerly known as Ebola haemorrhagic fever, is a severe, often fatal illness in humans. It is a disease of humans and other primates caused by an ebolavirus.
  • Symptoms start two days to three weeks after contracting the virus, with a fever, sore throat, muscle pain and headaches.
  • The virus may be acquired upon contact with blood or bodily fluids of an infected animal.
  • Fruit bats are believed to be a carrier and may spread the virus without being affected. Once human infection occurs, the disease may spread between people, as well.
  • In order to reduce the spread, the World Health Organization recommends raising community awareness of the risk factors for Ebola infection and the protective measures individuals can take. These include avoiding contact with infected people and regular hand washing using soap and water. Traditional burial rituals, especially those requiring washing or embalming of bodies, should be discouraged or modified.

sources: the hindu.


Paper 2 Topic: Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources.

U.S. pumps in $8 million to map drug-resistant infections in India

The U.S. government’s Global Health Security Agenda (GHSA), launched two years ago to contain the spread of new and emergent infections following the Ebola outbreak, has pumped in a whopping $ 8 million to map the rising anti-microbial resistance in India and build capacities to tackle it better.


  • The new project is titled ‘Capacity Building and strengthening of hospital infection control to detect and prevent anti-microbial resistance in India’.
  • This project aims to create a national network where hospitals will pool in their data on infection rates, which would then be in the public domain for patients to make an informed choice when they have to select a hospital to undergo treatment. Indian hospitals often shy away from reporting drug-resistant infection cases fearing loss of business.
  • This project’s larger goal is containing the spread of infections given the huge volume of traffic between India and the U.S.
  • The project will be jointly executed by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) and the India office of Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
  • The project will start with surveillance, followed by data analysis. Systems will then be put in place to first check infections and eventually bring down resistance rates.
  • The project will map surveillance of bloodstream infections, ventilator acquired pneumonia and other hospital-acquired infections. This project will build upon this network, before it is expanded to around 15 more hospitals in the country.
  • Initially, work related this project will start with six major hospitals — PGI in Chandigarh, JIPMER in Pondicherry, AIIMS in Delhi, CMC in Vellore, Hinduja in Mumbai and Assam Medical College in Dibrugarh — handpicked for their robust infection control mechanisms.

Benefits for India:

  • Enhanced infection prevention.
  • Strengthened surveillance.
  • Uninterrupted access to essential antibiotics.
  • Regulation and promotion of rational use of antibiotics.
  • Support to existing initiatives to foster innovation in Science and Technology.

The rising anti-microbial resistance is a serious health concern in India, and also figured in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s meeting with U.S. President Barack Obama in September last year.

sources: the hindu.


Paper 2 Topic: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.

Loan agreement for Neeranchal National Watershed Project

The Government of India and the World Bank have signed a US$ 178.50 million credit for the Neeranchal National Watershed Project to improve watershed management in rural rain fed areas.

  • The project builds on a longstanding partnership between the World Bank and Government of India around watershed management.
  • The credit will support the watershed activities of the Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayee Yojana (PMKSY) in selected sites in the states of Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Odisha and Rajasthan.
  • It will cover about 400 sub-watersheds of about 5,000 ha each and reach approximately 482,000 farmer households and two million people.
  • The credit is from the International Development Association (IDA) – the World Bank’s concessionary lending arm with a maturity of 25 years, including a 5 year grace period.

About Neerachal Project:

  • The Neeranchal Project will support PMKSY to improve watershed management practices and demonstrate measurable results in selected sub-watersheds.
  • It will introduce new hydrological approaches and innovative tools for community participation with a more integrated watershed planning process, pilot new field practices that will improve conservation outcomes, water availability, agricultural yields and climate resilience, and scale up a more effective monitoring and evaluation system to track performance.
  • The project will be implemented by the Ministry of Rural Development over a six-year period (2016-21).
  • The project was approved by the cabinet in October last year with a total budget outlay of Rs.2142 crore with the Government share of Rs.1071 crore and the rest 50% by the World Bank.

Neeranchal is primarily designed to address the following concerns:

  • Bring about institutional changes in watershed and rainfed agricultural management practices in India,
  • Build systems that ensure watershed programmes and rainfed irrigation management practices are better focussed, and more coordinated, and have quantifiable results,
  • Devise   strategies   for   the   sustainability   of   improved   watershed. management practices in programme areas, even after the withdrawal of project support,
  • Through   the watershed   plus   approach,   support   improved   equity, livelihoods, and incomes through forward linkages, on a platform of inclusiveness and local participation.

sources: the hindu, pib.


Paper 2 Topic: Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests.

Environment Ministry Holds First National Stakeholder Consultation on the Biodiversity Finance Initiative

The Environment Ministry recently held a two-day National Stakeholder Consultation Meeting on Biodiversity Finance Initiative to conserve India’s biodiversity. This National Stakeholder meeting was organized to understand the BIOFIN project and to seek professional inputs from experts of various fields in strengthening the biodiversity conservation efforts in the country.

  • The meeting also assessed the expenditure being made by different organizations for activities related to biodiversity conservation.
  • A global high level panel set up by the Convention on Biological Diversity has estimated that USD 150-440 billion need to be invested annually in biodiversity for effective implementation of Aichi global biodiversity targets.
  • The Ministry has partnered with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in a global project on Biodiversity Finance Initiative (BIOFIN).

About BIOFIN project:

  • The Biodiversity Finance Initiative (BIOFIN) is a global partnership that helps government’s cost, plan and pay for action on biodiversity conservation and its sustainable use. It was launched in 2012.
  • The BIOFIN methodology is being used by 19 countries to analyze, calculate and develop strategies to generate the funds they need to meet national biodiversity targets.
  • The initiative is run by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) with support from the Governments of Germany, Switzerland and the European Union.

sources: pib.