Insights Daily Current Affairs, 03 February 2017
Insights Daily Current Affairs, 03 February 2017
Paper 2 Topic: Important aspects of governance, transparency and accountability, e-governance- applications, models, successes, limitations, and potential; citizens charters, transparency & accountability and institutional and other measures.
India Innovation Index
To make India an innovation-driven economy, the government has launched a mega initiative “India Innovation Index”.
What is it for?
The index will rank states on Innovations through country’s first online innovation index portal that will capture data on innovation from all Indian states on innovation and regularly update it in real time.
- The index was launched by NITI Aayog, Department of Industrial Policy & Promotion (DIPP) and Confederation of Indian Industry (CII).
- The India Innovation Index Framework will be structured based on the best practices followed in Global Innovation Index (GII) indicators and additionally by adding India-centric parameters those truly reflect the Indian innovation ecosystem.
- This initiative will be the point of reference for all international agencies to collect India’s up to date data points for global indices and analytic.
The Global Innovation Index (GII), co-published by World-Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), Cornell University and INSEAD with CII as a Knowledge Partner since inception, has been ranking world economies including India since 2007 according to their innovation capabilities and outcomes using 82 indicators among a host of other important parameters.
- It has established itself as both a leading reference on innovation and a ‘tool for action’ for policy makers.
- India currently ranks 66th out of 128 countries on the Global innovation Index (GII) 2016.
Paper 3 Topic: Infrastructure: Energy, Ports, Roads, Airports, Railways etc.
NCR Transport Corporation gets a Logo and Tagline
National Capital Region Transport Corporation, mandated with the responsibility of executing the Regional Rapid Transit System (RRTS) in National Capital Region has got a Logo and Tagline highlighting the vision of ‘Gati Se Pragati’ (Progress with Speed).
- The Logo has a fresh and new age look communicating vision and objective of sustainable urban development through rapid mass transport.
NCRTC is responsible for development, implementation and operation of RRTS which is based on suburban public transport system.
RRTS will significantly reduce the travel time between important NCR towns. On completion, RRTS will emerge as the fastest, comfortable and safe mode of transport in NCR.
- RRTS consists of three corridors viz., Delhi-Ghaziabad-Meerut, Delhi-Gurgaon-Alwar and Delhi-Panipat sections with a total length of 380 kms.
- Detailed Project Report of 92 km Delhi-Meerut corridor has already been approved by the NCRTC Board with an estimated cost of Rs.21,902 cr and is to come into operation by January,2023. DPRs of other two corridors are under finalization.
Paper 2 Topic: Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests.
India and Italy Sign an MOU for Technical Cooperation in Rail Sector Especially on Safety Related Subjects
Ministry of Railways and Ferrovie Dello Stato Italiane Group (FS Group) a Government Company of Italy managing the Italian railway sector have signed an MoU for technical cooperation in rail sector especially in the areas safety in train operations.
- The cooperation areas identified in this MoU includes safety audit of Indian Railways and measures required for enhancing safety in train operation, Assessment and certification of advanced technology based safety products and systems to Safety Integrity Level (SIL4), Training and competency development with focus of safety, Modern trends in Maintenance and diagnostic etc.
The MoU comes in the backdrop of emphasis given by Shri Suresh Prabhakar Prabhu Minister of Railways, Govt. of India on safety in railway operation. He has directed Railway Board to collaborate with the international experts on this subject and identify the best practices in this field.
About FS Group:
Ferrovie Dello Stato Italiane Group (FS Group) is a fully owned company of the Italian Government working in the Railway Sector and is under Ministry of Treasure, Itlay.
- The Group, with its technical and managerial railway expertise, widely recognized at international level, is one of the most advanced worldwide player in many field, such as design and realization of High Speed and Conventional Lines, Safety Systems, Certification, Training and Operation and Maintenance.
- The whole group currently employs about 69,000 persons and operates more than 7,000 trains per day, carrying over 600 million/year of passengers and 50 million tons of freight on a railway network of more than 16,700 km.
- FS Italiane Group, through its controlled companies, has been working in 5 continents, in more than 60 countries.
Paper 2 Topic: Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests.
MoU between MHRD and Focus States for TEQIP-III
The Union HRD Ministry has signed MoU for Technical Education Quality Improvement Programme (Phase- III) with 18 States and 1 UT.
- The Focus States under the MoU are 7 Low Income States (Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh), 3 Hill States (Himachal Pradesh, Jammu & Kashmir and Uttarakhand), 8 North-Eastern States (Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Sikkim and Tripura) and Union Territory of Andaman and Nicobar Islands.
- The project will be implemented as Central Sector Scheme with the facility of Direct Funds Transfer to the accounts of beneficiary institutes. The project will be initiated in April 2017 and will be coterminous with Fourteenth Finance Commission (FFC) i.e. 2019-20.
- The programme is implemented in assistance with World Bank in a sustainable way to improve over all standard and quality of technical institutes.
TEQUIP I and TEQUIP II had a positive impact on the infrastructure and educational standards in the technical institutions where they were taken up. Institutions in the central, eastern and north-eastern region and hill States are at present in need of similar and specific interventions. The initiation and implementation of the project TEQIP-III arises from the need to bridge this gap.
The Technical Education Quality Improvement Programme (TEQIP) commenced in 2003 with World Bank assistance as a long term programme to be implemented in 3 phases.
- The first phase of Technical Education Quality Improvement Programme (TEQIP) commenced in 2003 and ended on March 31st, 2009. TEQIP-II commenced in August 2010 and is scheduled to conclude in March 2017.
- The project will cover all Government / Government aided engineering institutes, affiliating technical universities (ATUs) and CFTIs from Focus States/UT.
Objectives of the programme:
- Better academic standards, through accreditation, filling up faculty positions, training faculty in better teaching methods, improved research outputs in institution in Focus States/UTs
- Better administration of the institutions with improved financial/academic autonomy,
- Better systems for assessment of Student Learning, higher transition rates
- Transparent and expeditious release of funds to institutes by way of Direct Funds Transfer (DFT) System.
Paper 2 Topic: Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources.
Health Ministry Notifies Medical Devices Rules, 2017
The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has notified Medical Devices Rules, 2017. The new Rules have been framed in conformity with Global Harmonisation Task Force (GHTF) framework and conform to best international practices.
- The new Rules seek to remove regulatory bottlenecks to make in India, facilitate ease of doing business while ensuring availability of better medical devices for patient care and safety.
Only 15 categories of medical devices are, at present, regulated as drugs and to that extent, the current regulatory practices in India were not fully geared to meet the requirements of medical devices sector in the country.
New rules include:
- Medical devices will, under the new Rules, be classified as per GHTF practice, based on associated risks, into Class A (low risk), Class B (low moderate risk), Class C (moderate high risk) and Class D (high risk).
- The manufacturers of medical devices will be required to meet risk proportionate regulatory requirements that have been specified in the Rules and are based on best international practices.
- With a view to bring in the highest degree of professionalism in regulation of medical devices, a system of ‘Third Party Conformity Assessment and Certification’ through Notified Bodies is envisaged. The Notified Bodies will be accredited by the National Accreditation Board for Certification Bodies (NABCB).
- The NABCB will, before accrediting Notified Bodies, assess their competence in terms of required human resources and other requirements. These Bodies will undertake verification and assessment of Quality Management System of Medical Device Manufacturers of Class A and Class B category and may, on as required basis, be called upon to render assistance for regulation of Class C and D medical devices also.
- The Rules also seek to evolve a culture of self-compliance by manufacturers of medical devices and, accordingly, the manufacturing licences for Class A medical devices will be granted without prior audit of manufacturing site. However, post approval audit of manufacturing site will be carried out by the Notified Bodies to check conformance with Quality Management System.
- Manufacture of Class A and Class B medical devices will be licenced by State Licensing Authorities concerned after Quality Management System audit by an accredited Notified Body. Manufacture of Class C and Class D medical devices will be regulated by the Central Licensing Authority and, where required, assistance of experts or notified bodies will be taken.
- Import of all medical devices will continue to be regulated by CDSCO.
- A network of NABL accredited laboratories will be set up both, by the Government and by other entities, for testing medical devices.
- Separate provisions for regulation of Clinical Investigation (clinical trials) of investigational medical devices (i.e. new devices) have also been made at par with international practices and, like clinical trials, these will be regulated by CDSCO.
- Conduct of clinical investigations will, while following the international practices, be conducted in a manner that ensures realization of the twin objectives of patient safety and welfare and discovery of new medical devices.
- Medical management and compensation will be provided to the subjects of clinical investigation in accordance with the predefined and objective criteria laid down by the Government.
Significance of the new rules:
- The Rules will provide a conducive environment for fostering India specific innovation and improving accessibility and affordability of medical devices across the globe by leveraging comparative cost advantage of manufacturing in India.
- The objective, transparent and predictable regulatory framework will boost the confidence of investors and, as a consequence, the quality and range of products and services will improve and business burdens will be reduced.
- The new Rules will help in developing a quality standardization framework in India at par with international standards.
- The implementation of these Rules will provide the assurance of the best quality, safety and performance of medical devices.
- These Rules coupled with other measures, taken by the Government in the recent past, are expected to sharpen the competitive edge and provide incentives to firms to become more efficient, innovative, and competitive.
- All this will support entrepreneurship, market entry and economic growth that, in turn, would produce high-paying, high-quality jobs.
Paper 3 Topic: Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment.
World Wetlands Day being celebrated today at Bhoj Wetlands, Bhopal
This year World Wetland Day is being celebrated by centre in collaboration with the Government of Madhya Pradesh at Bhoj Wetlands, Bhopal, which is one of the 26 Ramsar sites that India has designated under the Ramsar Convention.
- Also, all the State Governments have been requested to celebrate the World Wetland Day in their respective States in a befitting manner.
The theme of World Wetlands Day for 2017 is ‘Wetlands for Disaster Risk Reduction’. This theme has been selected to raise awareness on the vital roles of healthy wetlands in reducing the impacts of extreme events on communities and in helping to build resilience.
About World Wetlands Day:
World Wetlands Day is celebrated on February 2 each year to mark the Day the Convention on Wetlands was adopted in the Iranian City of Ramsar in 1971. India is a party to the Convention since 1982 and committed to the Ramsar approach of wise use of wetlands.
About Ramsar convention:
The Ramsar Convention is an international treaty for the conservation and wise use of wetlands. It is named after the Iranian city of Ramsar, on the Caspian Sea, where the treaty was signed on 2 February 1971. Known officially as ‘the Convention on Wetlands of International Importance especially as Waterfowl Habitat’ (or, more recently, just ‘the Convention on Wetlands’), it came into force in 1975.
Montreux Record under the Convention is a register of wetland sites on the List of Wetlands of International Importance where changes in ecological character have occurred, are occurring, or are likely to occur as a result of technological developments, pollution or other human interference.
It is maintained as part of the Ramsar List. The Montreux Record was established by Recommendation of the Conference of the Contracting Parties (1990). Sites may be added to and removed from the Record only with the approval of the Contracting Parties in which they lie.
Paper 3 Topic: Awareness in the fields of IT, Space, Computers, robotics, nano-technology, bio-technology and issues relating to intellectual property rights.
NASA’s Juno spacecraft completes fourth flyby of Jupiter
NASA’s Juno spacecraft recently made its fourth flyby over Jupiter’s mysterious cloud tops. At the time of its closest approach (called perijove), Juno was at about 4,300 km above the planet’s cloud tops.
Juno was launched in 2011 on a mission to study Jupiter’s composition and evolution. It’s the first spacecraft to orbit Jupiter since Galileo. Juno spacecraft successfully entered Jupiter’s orbit recently, after a five year journey.
- The primary goals of the $1.1 billion mission are to find out whether Jupiter has a solid core, and whether there is water in the planet’s atmosphere — something that may not only provide vital clues to how the planet formed and evolved, but also to how the solar system we live in came into existence.
- At the end of its mission, Juno will dive into Jupiter’s atmosphere and burn up — a “deorbit” maneuver that is necessary to ensure that it does not crash into and contaminate the Jovian moons Europa, Ganymede and Callisto.
- The Juno spacecraft – named after the Roman goddess and wife of Jupiter – is packed with nine instruments capable of peering into the planet’s heart.
- It will fly 2,600 miles above the cloud tops – 3,000 miles closer to the surface than any other mission has ever achieved.
- Juno became the first spacecraft to cruise this far out into the solar system powered solely by the sun, beating Europe’s Rosetta spacecraft. A trio of massive solar wings sticks out from Juno like blades from a windmill, generating 500 watts of power to run its nine instruments.
- Juno, built by Lockheed Martin, is an armored spacecraft – its computer and electronics are locked in a titanium vault to shield them from harmful radiation. Even so, Juno is expected to get blasted with radiation equal to more than 100 million dental X-rays during the mission.
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.
Scientists confirm ‘lost continent’ beneath Mauritius
Scientists have made a startling discovery of an age old “Lost Continent” that has been found beneath the Indian Ocean Island of Mauritius.
How was it discovered?
The traces of zircon – disgorged during the volcanic eruptions – that was discovered on the rocks, signal the existence of an age old continent of Mauritia, which is believed to be lying somewhere underneath the islands in the Indian Ocean.
Zircons occur primarily in granites and form a part of the continent plates. These minerals also have traces of lead, uranium and thorium. Since the mineral has managed to survive the geological changes over a period of time, it is representative of the processes that have occurred and, therefore, could be “dated extremely accurately.”
This lost continent is believed to be the outcome of the super continent Gondwana breaking up, which is almost 200 million years old! The discovery of the crust created quite a ripple and is believed to be the part of the ancient continent that broke off during the formation of the Indian Ocean. Scientists are researching more on process which led to the breaking up of this lost continent so as to comprehend the planet’s geological history more vividly.
Paper 2 Topic: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.
Andhra Pradesh working on system to DNA-tag convicts
The Andhra Pradesh government plans to bring in legislation that will allow the State police and investigating agencies to collect and store DNA samples in a centralised database.
- The move has come in for close scrutiny, as the Centre first prepared a draft bill on the issue in 2012, but the legislation ran into severe opposition from activists on the ground that it violated privacy. It has since been on hold.
The Centre’s Human DNA Profiling Bill, 2015, was prepared by the Department of Biotechnology and the Hyderabad-based Centre for DNA-Fingerprinting and Diagnostics but is yet to be cleared by the Union Cabinet. Several organisations and individuals, however, raised concerns that the bill gave sweeping powers to government to mine the database and use it for purposes beyond just solving crime.
Highlights of the Human DNA Profiling Bill:
- The bill proposes to allow collection of samples from private parts of human body for DNA profiling and data preservation with the approval of a regulatory body.
- It suggests that a National DNA Profiling Board and a National DNA Bank be set up in Hyderabad, with every state having a regional DNA data bank. The DNA Data Bank would maintain records of samples found at crime scenes, or from suspects, offenders, missing persons, volunteers, etc.
- The bill also makes it clear that no DNA Laboratory shall undertake DNA profiling without the prior approval of the DNA Board.
- If a foreign country requests DNA profiling, the DNA Bank will coordinate through CBI or a concerned department.
- The bill mandates that the DNA profiles or samples be kept confidential, and they should be used only for establishing identity of a person and nothing else.
- Government investigation agencies and judiciary, among others, can seek information from Data Banks. For unauthorized use of data, a stringent punishment is provided.
Sources: the hindu.