Insights Daily Current Events, 21 May 2016
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.
Centre sets up panel to relook defence spend
The government has appointed a committee of experts to recommend measures to enhance the combat capabilities of the over 13-lakh strong armed forces and “re-balance” the overall defence expenditure in view of the escalating salary and pension bills.
- The 11-member committee is led by Lt Gen D B Shekatkar (retd). It includes several other top military officers as well as civilian experts.
- It has been given three months to chalk out an action plan.
- The overall aim of the committee is to ensure India’s combat capabilities and potential are enhanced, with a better teeth-to-tail combat ratio, within budgetary constraints.
- This move is aimed at ensuring leaner, meaner and cost-effective fighting forces.
Why this is necessary?
At present, the revenue component (day-to-day costs/salaries) in the defence budget by far outstrips the capital outlay every year, leaving very little for new modernisation projects for the armed forces.
The Army has followed a policy of `save and raise’ since the 1999 Kargil conflict to improve combat capabilities without manpower increases. With modernisation and induction of cutting-edge technologies, some more scope for manpower optimisation can be created.
What is tooth-to-tail ratio?
The tooth-to-tail ratio, referred to as T3R in the Army, is the ratio of fighting arms, which wage the actual battle such as infantry and armoured wings, to support services, such as logistics, signals and ordnance.
Paper 2 Topic: Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests.
Signing NPT not needed for Nuclear Suppliers Group membership: India
India has rejected China’s contention that it must sign the NPT to get membership of the Nuclear Suppliers Group, saying France was included in the elite group without signing the Non-Proliferation Treaty.
The NSG is an ad hoc export control regime and France, which was not an NPT member for some time, was a member of the NSG since it respected NSG’s objectives.
China has opposed India’s bid to get NSG membership on the ground that it was yet to sign the NPT. It had said all the multilateral non-proliferation export control regime including the NSG have regarded NPT as an important standard for the expansion of the NSG. And hence, members of the Nuclear Suppliers Group should be party to NPT.
Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) is a multinational body concerned with reducing nuclear proliferation by controlling the export and re-transfer of materials that may be applicable to nuclear weapon development and by improving safeguards and protection on existing materials.
- Interestingly, the NSG was set up in 1974 as a reaction to India’s nuclear tests to stop what it called the misuse of nuclear material meant for peaceful purposes.
- Currently, it has 48 members.
Once admitted, an NSG member state:
- Gets timely information on nuclear matters.
- Contributes by way of information.
- Has confirmed credentials.
- Can act as an instrument of harmonization and coordination.
- Is part of a very transparent process.
Paper 2 Topic: Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources.
WCD Ministry and Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation sign MoC
The Ministry of Women and Child Development and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation have signed a Memorandum of Cooperation (MoC) to provide technical support at the National and State level for strengthening the delivery of nutrition goals, especially during pre-conception, pregnancy and first two years of life.
- As per the MoC, the Gates’ Foundation will support an enhanced framework of collaboration in Information and Communication Technology enabled Real Time Monitoring (ICT-RTM) of Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) and technical support on nutrition.
- This collaboration will strengthen the government’s restructured ICDS Systems Strengthening and Nutrition Improvement Project (ISSNIP) and National Nutrition Mission, with a focus on technological innovation, sharing best practices and use of data and evidence to enhance performance at the national and state level.
The four priority areas of work as part of this MoC would include:
- Development and deployment of ICT solutions for improving and strengthening ICDS Service Delivery System.
- Support Ministry of Women & Child Development in developing a shared national communications campaign for maternal and child nutrition among target populations.
- Provision of technical support for the National Nutrition Mission, Restructured ICDS Systems Strengthening and Nutrition Improvement Project (ISSNIP) and Restructured ICDS through a Technical Support Unit at the national and state level for strengthening their capacities to deliver nutrition especially during pre- conception, pregnancy and first two years of life.
- Technical support and Knowledge management support to strengthen human resource capabilities at various levels in order to deliver effective nutrition interventions.
Paper 3 Topic: Science and Technology- developments and their applications and effects in everyday life Achievements of Indians in science & technology.
Indigenously developed fecal incontinence management system ‘Qora’ launched
The government has launched an indigenously developed “affordable” faecal incontinence management system ‘Qora’. This system was developed by M/s. Consure Medical.
What is Fecal incontinence?
Fecal incontinence (FI) is a medical condition marked by inability to control one’s bowel movements, causing stool (feces) to leak unexpectedly from the rectum. It affects nearly 100 million bed ridden patients worldwide.
- Furthermore, about 50% of the psychiatric ward patients have FI due to long-term neurological diseases.
- At present, absorbent pads and fecal drainage catheters are the only available solutions for this condition.
Significance of this system:
The technology ‘Fecal Incontinence Management System-Qora’ has been developed to address the clinical and economical implications of fecal incontinence by expanding indications for use, reducing skill level required to use a device, and introducing a new level of care for patients outside the ICU.
It should also be noted here that the QoraTM Stool Management Kit is the world’s first FDA 510(k) approved indwelling fecal drainage device for the management of fecal incontinence that can be used across a continuum of care facilities from ICUs to nursing homes.
Paper 3 Topic: infrastructure.
Gadkari moots financing arm for road, shipping sectors
Union Minister for Roads, Transport & Shipping Nitin Gadkari has proposed to set up a financing corporation for the road and shipping sectors, and push the bureaucracy to take quick decisions on the funding of these projects.
- A proposal for setting up the financing corporation for the two sectors will shortly be placed before the Union Cabinet for its approval.
- The proposed financing corporation will be in addition to the role of the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI), which too raises finance for the road sector projects.
- The proposed financing company would be able to tap into both domestic as well as foreign funds for the funding of the projects.
- It will give a sense of security to banks to deal with projects from these sectors.
- It will also revive investments in the infrastructure sector, which has decelerated badly in the past few years.
- Also, the country needs a financing company, as the funding for road projects have dried up, especially from the banking sector.
Sources: the hindu.
Facts for Prelims:
- Facing pressure from the State governments, the Union Cabinet has cleared an ordinance bypassing the Supreme Court’s decision on the National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test (NEET), a common test for admission to medical and dental courses. The ordinance, once it comes into effect, will override the apex court’s May 9 order and allow the State boards to hold their own entrance tests this year. Article 123 bestows a power on President to promulgate ordinances during parliamentary recess.
- According to the UN Environment report- Global Environmental Outlook (GEO-6): Regional Assessments- nearly 40 million Indians will be at risk from rising sea levels by 2050, with people in Mumbai and Kolkata having the maximum exposure to coastal flooding in future due to rapid urbanisation and economic growth. According to the report, the worst impacts of climate change are projected to occur in the Pacific and South and Southeast Asia. India tops the chart with nearly 40 million people in the country projected to be at risk from rising sea levels, followed by more than 25 million in Bangladesh, over 20 million in China and nearly 15 million in the Philippines.