Insights Daily Current Affairs, 14 July 2017

 


Insights Daily Current Affairs, 14 July 2017


 

Paper 2 Topic: Important International institutions, agencies and fora, their structure, mandate.

 

DIPP to set up India’s first TISC in Punjab

 

The Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP), Ministry of Commerce & Industry, Government of India, has signed an Institutional agreement with the Punjab State Council of Science and Technology to establish India’s first Technology and Innovation Support Center (TISC) at Patent Information Centre, Punjab, under the World Intellectual Property Organization’s (WIPO) TISC program.

tisc

Key facts:

  • The Cell for IPR Promotion and Management (CIPAM) is designated as the National Focal Point for the TISC national network.
  • As the national focal point, CIPAM shall identify potential host institutions, assess their capacities and support them in joining the TISC program.
  • CIPAM will also act as the main intermediary between WIPO and TISC host institutions and coordinate all the activities of the national TISC network.
  • Over 500 TISCs operate worldwide and establishing TISC in India will give the host institutions an access to the global network.

 

What you need to know about TISC program?

WIPO’s Technology and Innovation Support Center (TISC) program provides innovators in developing countries with access to locally based, high quality technology information and related services, helping them to exploit their innovative potential and to create, protect, and manage their Intellectual Property Rights (IPRs).

The objective of the TISC is to stimulate a dynamic, vibrant and balanced Intellectual Property Rights (IPRs) system in India to foster creativity and innovation, thereby promoting entrepreneurship and enhancing social, economic and cultural development by establishing a network of TISCs in India.

 

Services offered by TISCs include:

  • Access to online patent and non-patent (scientific and technical) resources and IP-related publications.
  • Assistance in searching and retrieving technology information.
  • Training in database search.
  • On-demand searches (novelty, state-of-the-art and infringement).
  • Monitoring technology and competitors.
  • Basic information on industrial property laws, management and strategy, and technology commercialization and marketing.

 

Sources: pib.


 

Paper 2 Topic: Important International institutions, agencies and fora, their structure, mandate.

 

India ranks 116 out of 157 nations on SDG index

 

The SDG index, that assesses the performance of countries towards achieving the ambitious sustainable development goals (SDGs), has been released for the year 2017.

sdg index

Key facts on SDG index:

  • The SDG Index and Dashboards Report produced by the Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN) and the Bertelsmann Stiftung shows that world leaders need to strengthen their joint efforts to realise the 17 global goals.
  • The SDG Index and Dashboard collect available data for 157 countries to assess where each country stands in 2017 with regard to achieving the SDGs.
  • The SDG Index ranks countries based on their performance across the 17 Sustainable Development Goals.

 

Performance of countries:

  • Sweden leads the list, followed by Denmark and Finland. Among the G7 countries, only Germany and France can be found among the top ten performers.
  • The United States ranks 42nd on the Index, while Russia and China rank 62nd and 71st respectively.
  • India is ranked 116th on the index with a score of 58.1, behind countries such as Nepal, Iran, Sri Lanka, Bhutan and China. Pakistan is ranked 122.
  • The countries which are closest to fulfilling the goals are not the biggest economies but comparably small, developed countries.
  • Many of the richest countries in the world are nowhere near achieving the global policy objectives but also deteriorate the implementation process for poorer countries because of negative spillover effects.
  • One of the greatest obstacles to achieving the global goals for high-income countries are poor performances regarding sustainable consumption and production. All countries that score lowest on electronic-waste generation, for example, are high-income countries.
  • Not only does a rising trend of nationalism and protectionism impede the implementation of the goals, but as the report shows, industrialised countries are not serving as role models.

 

SDGs:

The SDGs are a set of 17 goals and 169 targets aimed at resolving global social, economic and environmental problems. SDGs replaced the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) which were adopted in 2000. Aiming to encompass almost every aspect of human life, the main themes of the SDGs are ending poverty, tackling inequality and combating climate change.

 

Sources: the hindu.


 

Paper 2 Topic: Important International institutions, agencies and fora, their structure, mandate.

 

India Give Additional $1 Million To United Nations Partnership Fund

 

India has contributed an additional million dollars to a UN partnership fund launched to support sustainable development projects across the developing world.

  • India had made an initial contribution of a million dollars when the fund was created and the amount was allocated for the implementation of a project benefiting seven Small Island Developing States in the South Pacific.

 

United+Nations+Fund+for+International+Partnership+(UNFIP)

What you need to know about the India-UN Development Partnership Fund:

The India-UN Development Partnership Fund was set up last month as a partnership between India and the United Nations Office for South-South Cooperation (UNOSSC).

  • Managed by UNOSSC, the fund will support Southern-owned and led, demand-driven, and transformational sustainable development projects across the developing world.
  • Focusing on Least Developed Countries (LDCs) and Small Island Developing States, United Nations agencies will implement the Fund’s projects in close collaboration with partnering governments.
  • The fund, launched by Minister of State for External Affairs MJ Akbar during the Oceans Conference at the world body’s headquarters, prioritises reducing poverty and hunger, improving health, education and equality, and expanding access to clean water and energy.
  • The first project under the fund was formulated by India and UNDP in consultation with the Governments of the Cook Islands, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Nauru, the Solomon Islands and the Kingdom of Tonga.
  • It will increase resilience to natural disasters in these seven Pacific island countries and contribute toward a Sustainable Development Goal of climate action.

 

Know about UNOSSC:

The United Nations Office for South-South Cooperation (UNOSSC) was established to promote, coordinate and support South-South and triangular cooperation globally and within the United Nations system.

UNOSSC, hosted by UNDP since 1974, was established by the UN General Assembly with a mandate to advocate for and coordinate South-South and triangular cooperation on a global and UN system-wide basis. UNOSSC receives policy directives and guidance from the General Assembly and through its subsidiary body, the High-level Committee on South-South Cooperation. UNOSSC submits its strategic planning frameworks to the UNDP, UNFPA and UNOPS Executive Board for approval and funding. The Director reports to the UNDP Administrator and has also been appointed Envoy of the Secretary-General on South-South Cooperation.

 

Sources: the hindu.


 

Paper 3 Topic: Awareness in the fields of IT, Space, Computers, robotics, nano-technology, bio-technology and issues relating to intellectual property rights.

 

When DNA is the new hard drive

 

Scientists have successfully encoded a movie in the DNA of a living cell, where it can be retrieved at will and multiplied indefinitely as the host divides and grows. It is the latest and perhaps most astonishing example of the genome’s potential as a vast storage device.

dna storage

How was the movie encoded in the cell?

  • The geneticists ended up with a sequence of DNA molecules that represented the entirety of the film. Then they used a powerful new gene editing technique, Crispr, to slip this sequence into the genome of a common gut bacteria, E. coli.
  • Despite the modification, the bacteria thrived and multiplied. The film stored in the genome was preserved intact with each new generation of progeny.

 

What is CRISPR?

CRISPR, short for clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats, was named “2015 Breakthrough of the Year” by the U.S. journal Science.

  • It allows scientists to selectively edit genome parts and replace them with new DNA stretches.
  • Cas9 is an enzyme that can edit DNA, allowing the alteration of genetic patterns by genome modification.
  • CRISPR is a collection of DNA sequences that direct Cas9 where to cut and paste.

 

Sources: the hindu.


 

Paper 3 Topic: Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment.

 

Tribunal prohibits dumping of waste near Ganga banks

 

An area of 100 metres from the edge of the Ganga between Haridwar and Unnao has been declared a ‘No Development Zone,’ with the National Green Tribunal (NGT) recently prohibiting dumping of waste within 500 metres of the river. An environment compensation of Rs. 50,000 will be imposed on anyone dumping waste in the river.

 

ganga

Key facts:

  • The NGT also directed the Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand governments to formulate guidelines for religious activities on the ghats of the Ganga and its tributaries.
  • It also directed the authorities concerned to complete projects, including a sewage treatment plant and cleaning of drains, within two years.
  • The court also appointed a supervisory committee, headed by the Secretary of the Water Resources Ministry and comprising IIT professors and officials of the Uttar Pradesh government, to oversee implementation of the directions passed in its verdict. The committee is to submit reports at regular intervals.

 

About the National Green Tribunal (NGT):

NGT has been established under the National Green Tribunal Act 2010 for effective and expeditious disposal of cases relating to environmental protection and conservation of forests and other natural resources.

  • The tribunal deals with matters relating to the enforcement of any legal right relating to environment and giving relief and compensation for damages to persons and property.
  • The Tribunal is not bound by the procedure laid down under the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908, but shall be guided by principles of natural justice.
  • The Tribunal’s dedicated jurisdiction in environmental matters shall provide speedy environmental justice and help reduce the burden of litigation in the higher courts.
  • The Tribunal is mandated to make and endeavour for disposal of applications or appeals finally within 6 months of filing of the same.

 

Members:

  • Sanctioned strength: currently, 10 expert members and 10 judicial members (although the act allows for up to 20 of each).
  • Chairman: is the administrative head of the tribunal, also serves as a judicial member and is required to be a serving or retired Chief Justice of a High Court or a judge of the Supreme Court of India.
  • Selection: Members are chosen by a selection committee (headed by a sitting judge of the Supreme Court of India) that reviews their applications and conducts interviews.
  • The Judicial members are chosen from applicants who are serving or retired judges of High Courts.
  • Expert members are chosen from applicants who are either serving or retired bureaucrats not below the rank of an Additional Secretary to the Government of India (not below the rank of Principal Secretary if serving under a state government) with a minimum administrative experience of five years in dealing with environmental matters. Or, the expert members must have a doctorate in a related field.

 

Sources: the hindu.


Facts for Prelims:

 

Saraswati, a supercluster of galaxies:

A team of Indian scientists have discovered a previously unknown ‘supercluster’ of galaxies, some four billion light years away from Earth, and named it Saraswati. This is one of the largest known structures in the neighbourhood of the universe, 4,000 million light-years away from Earth and roughly more than 10 billion years old. Its mass extends over the scale of 600 million light years.

Superclusters, a group of clusters of galaxies, are the largest structures of stars, planets and other heavenly bodies in the universe, and very few of them are known. A cluster could roughly have galaxies ranging from 1000 to 10,000. A supercluster could have clusters ranging from 40 to 43.