Insights Daily Current Affairs, 02 May 2017
Paper 2 Topic: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.
One IP- Two Dispensaries scheme
“One IP- Two Dispensaries” scheme was launched by the government on the occasion of International Labour Day.
What is it for?
Under this scheme, ESIC has given an option to an Insured Person (IP) to choose two dispensaries, one for self and another for family through an employer.
Significance of this scheme:
Because of non-availability of option of second dispensary, the dependant members of family are often deprived of medical benefits. By introducing the concept of ‘One IP- Two Dispensaries’, IP as well as their family members would now be able to get treatment from either of the dispensaries and in case of emergency from any ESI Institution. This will benefit all IPs, especially migrant workers who are working in other than home State, while their families are living in their native States.
As of now, around 3 crores IPs are covered under ESIC and total number of beneficiaries i.e. IPs and their family members is over 12 crores.
Paper 2 Topic: Role of civil services in a democracy.
First-ever Induction Training Programme for new recruits of Central Health Services (CHS)
The first-ever induction training programme for the newly appointed General Duty Medical Officers (GDMOs) of the Central Health Service Cadre was recently inaugurated. This is the first time such a foundation training programme is being undertaken.
- The nine week course especially designed for the new recruits will enable the medical officers to broaden their knowledge base, confidence level and experience in public health facilities.
Need for training:
On an average, every year around 400 to 600 doctors are recruited through UPSC. Incidentally, throughout the under-graduate and post-graduate education and thereafter, these doctors are not been trained in the areas of management, supervision, leadership, communication, conduction of office procedures, etc. The training module is designed to fill this gap so that they can look after the administration of the organization and implementation of various national health programmes for which they have very limited exposure.
What you need to know about CHS?
Central Health Service (CHS) Cadre is a cadre governed by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare and its doctors are working all over the country providing health care services to a large number of people.
CHS has four sub-cadres, namely, GDMOs, Teaching, Non-Teaching Specialists and Public Health, with a sanctioned strength of more than 4000 of which the GDMOs constitute the largest chunk, more than 2000.
Paper 3 Topic: Science and Technology- developments and their applications and effects in everyday life Achievements of Indians in science & technology; indigenization of technology and developing new technology.
3D printed cartilage to treat osteoarthritis
Researchers have successfully generated cartilage tissue using a 3D bioprinter, an advance that could lead to new treatments for osteoarthritis. The advance represents a giant step forward in the ability to generate new, endogenous cartilage tissue.
How was it developed?
- The team used cartilage cells harvested from patients who underwent knee surgery, and these cells were then manipulated in a laboratory, causing them to rejuvenate and revert into “pluripotent” stem cells — cells that have the potential to develop into many different types of cells.
- The stem cells were then expanded and encapsulated in a composition of nanofibrillated cellulose and printed into a structure using a 3D bioprinter.
- Following printing, the stem cells were treated with growth factors that caused them to differentiate correctly, so that they formed cartilage tissue.
- Each individual stem cell is encased in nanocellulose, which allows it to survive the process of being printed into a 3D structure.
This bioprinted tissue can be used to repair cartilage damage, or to treat osteoarthritis, in which joint cartilage degenerates and breaks down.
Sources: the hindu.
Paper 3 Topic: Food processing and related industries in India- scope and significance, location, upstream and downstream requirements, supply chain management.
Fortified foods to tackle malnutrition
To tackle the issue of malnutrition, the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) released a set of standards and a logo last year. Since then, a number of enterprises have begun adding premixes of micronutrients to launch fortified foods.
Various efforts in this regard:
- Milk cooperatives in Haryana, Punjab, Rajasthan, Assam and Maharashtra are fortifying their products.
- Targeting children, the Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh governments have begun using fortified oil for their mid-day meal schemes.
- West Bengal and Andaman and Nicobar Islands are now distributing fortified wheat flour through the public distribution system, and the Maharashtra government has started a pilot project.
- The FSSAI is also working with small local suppliers, for instance local flour grinding mills, to get them to add premixed micronutrients.
What is food fortification?
Food fortification or enrichment is the process of adding micronutrients (essential trace elements and vitamins) to food. Food fortification is a proven and effective strategy to meet the nutritional needs of a large number of people across various sections of the society, including the poor and underprivileged as well as the vulnerable, such as pregnant women and young children.
What you need to know about food fortification?
- Fortification requires neither changes in existing food patterns, habits nor individual compliance. It is socio-culturally acceptable and does not alter the characteristics of the food. It can be introduced quickly and can produce nutritional benefits for populations in a short period of time. It is safe and cost effective, especially if advantage is taken of the existing technology and delivery platforms.
- Food fortification reinforces and supports existing nutrition improvement programmes and is part of a broader, integrated approach to prevent micronutrient deficiencies, thereby complementing other approaches to improve health and nutrition.
Sources: the hindu.
Paper 3 Topic: Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization of resources, growth, development and employment.
Employment under PMEGP falls 9.5%
A study by ASSOCHAM has found that job opportunities under the Prime Minister’s Employment Generation Programme (PMEGP) fell over 9.5% year-on-year to 3.2 lakh in FY16 from more than 3.5 lakh in FY15.
Highlights of the study:
- The number of projects set up under the PMEGP have reduced from over 48,100 in FY15 to about 44,300.
- Uttar Pradesh topped with over 43,000 jobs generated under the PMEGP in FY16, but the number of jobs reduced from more than 48,600 that was generated in FY15 thereby registering a year-on-year decline of more than 11%.
- While the number of credit proposals approved under the Credit Guarantee Fund Trust for Micro and Small Enterprises (CGTMSE) increased significantly from just over four lakh to over 5.1 lakh between 2014-15 and 2015-16, the approved amount under this scheme fell 6% from ₹21,200 crore in FY15 to more than ₹19,900 crore in FY16.
- The number of MSMEs which benefited from the Marketing Assistance and Technology Upgradation programme also fell from 359 in FY15 to 303 in FY16.
- The number of trainees under the Entrepreneur Development Programmes Scheme fell significantly from more than 1.4 lakh in FY15 to just over 66,000 in FY16.
- The number of new ideas approved as part of Entrepreneurial Development of SMEs through Incubators rose marginally from 143 in FY15 to 145 in FY16, according to ASSOCHAM.
The PMEGP is an effective scheme aimed at reducing unemployment and generating sustainable employment opportunities in rural and urban India. This is credit linked Scheme of Govt. of India by merging erstwhile REGP and PMRY scheme. KVIC is the Nodal Agency at National Level.
Key features of the scheme:
- The Scheme is implemented through KVIC and State/UT Khadi & V.I. Boards in Rural areas and through District Industries Centres in Urban and Rural areas in ratio of 30:30:40 between KVIC / KVIB / DIC respectively.
- No income ceiling for setting up of projects.
- Assistance under the Scheme is available only to new units to be established.
- Existing units or units already availed any Govt. Subsidy either under State/Central Govt. Schemes are not eligible.
- Any industry including Coir Based projects excluding those mentioned in the negative list.
- Per capita investment should not exceed Rs. 1.00 lakhs in plain areas and Rs. 1.50 lakhs in Hilly areas.
- Maximum project cost of Rs. 25.00 lakhs in manufacturing sector and Rs. 10.00 lakhs in Service Sector.
Sources: the hindu.
Paper 1 Topic: Important Geophysical phenomena such as earthquakes, Tsunami, Volcanic activity, cyclone etc., geographical features and their location- changes in critical geographical features (including water-bodies and ice-caps) and in flora and fauna and the effects of such changes.
Curious case of dip, rise in Indian seas
A team of scientists have found decadal variations in temperatures of North Indian Ocean waters.
- The NIO consists of the Arabian Sea, the Bay of Bengal and part of the Indian Ocean up till the 5°S latitude.
Highlights of the study:
- From 1993 to 2003 — the first decade when satellites started to consistently track the rise and fall of ocean heights and global temperatures soared — the North Indian Ocean (NIO) sea levels fell.
- After 2004, sea levels began an unprecedented, accelerated spike till 2014.
- This rise and fall was even as global temperatures steadily climbed and registered their largest two-decadal jump in more than a century.
- Scientists associated with the study said that such a “decadal swing” in the North Indian Ocean was unique and never observed in either the Pacific or Atlantic oceans.
- Scientists say wind flows, which welled warm water on the Indian Ocean surface, changed directions every decade and probably influenced sea level patterns. It could be that coming decades — in spite of rapid, rising temperatures — will see a fall in sea levels but that’s still hypothetical.
Reasons for rise in sea level temperatures in NIO:
Sea levels primarily rise due to water expanding from atmospheric heat and, more water being added from, for instance, melting ice sheets and glaciers. In this case, 70% of the NIO’s warming could be explained by expansion.
Unlike the Pacific and Atlantic, the NIO is hemmed in all sides, except for an outlet on the southern side. This influenced the rate at which heat was absorbed and flushed out from within the system.
Significance of these findings:
This inter-decadal trend is an extremely important factor and underlines why we need to plan coastal management better.
Sources: the hindu.
Facts for Prelims:
The Armoured Corps Celebrates ‘79th Armour Day’:
- The Armoured Corps celebrated its ‘79th ARMOUR DAY’ on 01 May 17. The event commemorates the mechanization of the erstwhile Indian Cavalry on 01 May 1938, when the SCINDE HORSE became the first Indian Cavalry Regiment to stable its horses and convert to the Vickers Light Tank and Chevrolet Armoured Cars.
- Organized, equipped and trained to effectively accomplish assigned mission in all types of conventional operations in varied terrain, the Armoured Corps also contributes substantially to the Army’s counter insurgency effort with a large representation in the Rashtriya Rifles and Assam Rifles.
- It has a standing Contingent in the UN Peace Keeping Mission in Lebanon as its representatives amidst the blue beret fraternity.
Places in news- Bhitarkanika National Park:
- Bhitarkanika National Park authorities have imposed restrictions on entry of tourists into the park for three months to provide undisturbed environment for breeding by estuarine crocodiles.
- Bhitarkanika is one of the largest sanctuaries of crocodiles in the region with 1,671 reptiles.
Places in news- Buxa tiger reserve:
- Six tigers would be relocated to Buxa Tiger Reserve (BTR) in north Bengal from neighbouring Assam as part of a plan for augmentation of tiger population in the reserve which was approved by the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA).
- The forest department had taken up tiger augmentation plan in Buxa-Jaldapara for which detailed project report was prepared in consultation with Wildlife Institute of India and Global Tiger Forum.
- Location: Northern boundary of Buxa Tiger Reserve runs along the international border with Bhutan. The Sinchula hill range lies all along the northern side of BTR and the eastern boundary touches that of the Assam state.
- It is the eastern most extension of extreme bio-diverse North-East India and represents highly endemic Indo-Malayan region.
- The fragile “Terai Eco-System” constitutes a part of this reserve.
- The Phipsu Wildlife Sanctuary of Bhutan is contiguous to the north of BTR.
- Manas National Park lies on east of BTR. BTR, thus, serves as international corridor for Asian elephant migration between India and Bhutan.
Chennai Snake Park gets green iguanas:
- A pair of American green iguanas have been procured by the Chennai Snake Park.
- The gigantic lizard is native to the Amazon forests of South America.
AEROTROPOLIS TO COME UP IN ASSAM:
- The Union Ministry of Civil Aviation has proposed to build an aerotropolis in Assam, which would bring huge benefits to the region in terms of civil aviation and air connectivity.
- What is aerotropolis? an aerotropolis is an airport centric metropolitan hub where infrastructure and economy are all based on the access to the airport which serves as a commercial point like any traditional metropolis which contains a central city commercial core area and commuter-linked suburbs.
Stamp on Ramanujacharya’s 1,000th birth anniversary:
- A commemorative stamp has been released on the 1,000th birth anniversary of Saint Ramanujacharya.
- Ramanuja was a Hindu theologian, philosopher, and one of the most important exponents of the Sri Vaishnavism tradition within Hinduism.
- He is famous as the chief proponent of Vishishtadvaita subschool of Vedānta.
- He wrote influential texts, such as bhāsya on the Brahma Sutras and the Bhagavad Gita, all in Sanskrit.