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    Daily Current Affair for competitive exams of 16 December 2017

    DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS, 15 DECEMBER 2017

     

    Role of women and women’s organization.

    Sakhi One Stop Centres

     

     

     

                                                               


    Context: A National Workshop on Role of Sakhi One Stop Centres in Strengthening Multi Sectoral Response to Violence is being held in New Delhi. The workshop has been organized by the Ministry of Women and Child Development. Around 400 Sakhi- One Stop Centre Functionaries and nodal officials from State Department of Women and Child Development from 33 States/UTs across the country, are participating in the workshop.

    The conference provides platform to understand, discuss and deliberate on strengthening the multisector response to address violence against women through the Sakhi One Stop Centres across the country.

     

    About the Sakhi scheme:

    Popularly known as Sakhi, the scheme is being implemented since 1st April 2015. The scheme aims to facilitate access to an integrated range of services including medical aid, police assistance, legal aid/case management, psychosocial counselling, and temporary support services to women affected by violence.

    Under the scheme, it has been envisaged that One Stop Centres (OSC) would be set up across the country in a phased manner.

     

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

     

    ATL Community Day

     


                                     


    Context:

    NITI Aayog’s Atal Innovation Mission has decided to celebrate Atal Tinkering Lab’s Community Day on December 15th.


    About the ATL Community Day:

    The Atal Tinkering Lab Community Drive Initiative is aimed at maximizing the impact of Atal Tinkering Labs by extending innovation to children in the community who do not have access to formal educational institutions. The purpose of this initiative is to provide these children with the same educational tools as the students in Atal Tinkering Labs to enable them to become problem solvers.

    The day will mark the Community Drive Initiative in which 25 young Mentors will engage with more than 200 students who are not enrolled in the formal education system. These mentors will visit four locations in New Delhi to conduct brief sessions with children from various NGOs, on how innovations can help resolve the problems in the communities.


    Background:

    NITI Aayog’s Atal Innovation Mission is among one of the flagship programs of the Government of India to promote innovation and entrepreneurship in the country to set up the Atal Tinkering Labs across the country. The Mission has / is in the process of setting up 900+ such labs across India and aims to have 2,000 such labs by end of 2017.

    Atal Tinkering Labs are dedicated works spaces where students learn innovation skills and develop ideas that will go on to transform India. The labs are powered to acquaint students with state-of-the-art equipment such as 3D printers, robotics & electronics development tools, Internet of things & sensors etc.

     

    Development processes and the development industry the role of NGOs, SHGs, various groups and associations, donors, charities, institutional and other stakeholders.

     

    CSR Summit for Pioneering Cochlear Implant Surgery

     



                                                         

     

    Context: CSR Summit for Pioneering Cochlear Implant Surgery under CSR initiative of Airport Authority of India (AAI) through Artificial Limbs Manufacturing Corporation of India (ALIMCO) was recently inaugurated. This major CSR initiative of AAI will help the children to completely overcome their hearing disability, thereby enabling them to hear and speak coherently and making them fully independent to lead a normal and productive life. This effort will not only bring these underprivileged children to the mainstream of life but will also contribute to national economy.

     

    Background:

    An estimate shows that around 35,000 children need Cochlear Implant annually in India. Government of India has made provision to sponsor 500 numbers under the ADIP Scheme which is minuscule in comparison to actual requirement. Till date more than 1000 number of Cochlear Implant Surgeries have been successfully conducted in the country under the ADIP Government of India and CSR funds.

     

    About Cochlear implant:

    Cochlear Implant is an electronic device having two parts (External and Internal). Internal part is surgically implanted in the skull (Cochlear) by ENT surgeons. Post-operative rehabilitation is undertaken by Audiologist and speech language pathologist and special educator of Hearing Impaired. Parent have very important role in stimulating child to learn speech and language at home and maintain the external part (Processor).

     

    The cochlear implant technology may help children who:

    §  Have severe to profound hearing loss in both ears.

    §  Receive little or no benefit from hearing aids.

    §  No Development Delay or Mental Retardation.

     

    About CSR:

    Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) acknowledges the corporation’s duty that the corporation owes to the community within which it operates. It regards the community as an equal stakeholder.

    As per provision of Company Act 2013 it is now mandatory for all companies to contribute 2% of their 3-year average annual net profit on their CSR activities as mentioned in Schedule VII of the acts with effect from April, 2014. Further added in Scheduled VII there is provision of aids and appliances to Divyangjans under ‘Promoting Health and Care including preventive health care’.

    Activities undertaken by corporates under their CSR obligation could prove a game changer for providing sustainable development in Social Sector. Disability sector is one of the area which needs to be addressed for inclusive growth of the society and CSR provide the huge opportunity to serve the persons with disabilities that fall under vulnerable section of society.

     

    India and its neighbourhood- relations.


    ‘Ekuverin’

     


                                                           



     

    What is it?

    It is a joint military exercise between India and Maldives. The eighth edition of the exercise is being held in Belagavi, Karnataka.

     

    Key facts:

    §  The bilateral annual exercise is a 14-day joint military training between the Indian Army and the Maldives National Defence Force (MNDF), which is held alternatively in India and Maldives since 2009. The seventh edition of the exercise was held at Kadhdhoo, Lammu Atoll, Maldives in December, 2016.

    §  The focus of the exercise is to acquaint both armies with each other’s operating procedures in the backdrop of a counter-insurgency or counter-terrorist operations in an urban or semi-urban environment under the United Nations (UN) Charter, with an overall aim to enhance interoperability between the two armies.

    §  ‘Ekuverin’ means ‘friends’ in the Maldivian language.

     

    Issues related to direct and indirect farm subsidies and minimum support prices.

     

    World Trade Organization conference

     



                                                        


    The Eleventh Ministerial Conference (MC11) of the WTO was held in Buenos Aires, Argentina. The meeting ended in stalemate after U.S. criticism and member country vetoes, raising questions about the body’s ability to govern increasingly disputed global trade. However, the outcome of the conference was a positive one for India as the country was able to secure the interests of its farmers as well food security for the poor.

    India was successful stopping any of the new issues like investment facilitation and micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) from entering the ambit of the WTO. India became the second largest proponent of issues after the EU as it submitted proposals on six issues — public stock-holding, special safeguards mechanism, domestic regulation, domestic support, trade facilitation in services, and eCommerce.


    India Impact:


    What India wanted?

    §  A permanent solution for food security by improving existing peace clause.

    §  Stopping entry of new issues like investment facilitation, e- commerce, MSMEs.

    §  Safeguarding WTO and multilateralism.


    What India got?

    §  No dilution in peace clause that protects MSP programmes for food grain.

    §  No fast- tracking of e- commerce talks.

    §  No commitments to curb fisheries subsidies.

    §  New issues and non trade issues like gender and trade were not taken forward.


    What should India do now?

    §  Get legal backing for permanent solution.

    §  Broaden interests on agriculture and services.

    §  Form coalition to push interests.


    What is peace clause?

    It is an interim mechanism, as per which WTO members had agreed not to challenge developing nations at the WTO Dispute Settlement Mechanism if they breached the cap of the product-specific domestic support (which is 10% of the value of production). The ‘Peace Clause’ is available to developing nations, including India, till a permanent solution is found to public stock holding for food security purposes.

    The limited window offered by the Western powers for the peace clause was seen by India as insufficient assurance. The clause also requires full disclosure of MSPs and annual procurement for food security programmes, which the Government fears would leave India open to questioning by other countries on domestic matters.


    Why is it important?

    The right to food is a basic human right. Therefore, Western misgivings about a country like India − where a third of the 1.3 billion-population lives beneath the poverty line − providing food subsidies seems hypocritical. The developed nations see India as a huge market for foodgrains and other products, but their produce is rendered uncompetitive when the government is willing to subsidise farmers, purchase their produce for a minimum support price and then sell it at a loss through the public distribution system and other channels.

    Accepting a temporary peace clause would be tantamount to admitting that the subsidy programmes in India and other developing nations violate global trade norms, leaving the nation a sitting duck if a complaint was to be raised in the WTO or other international forums later. This would also result in India losing its biggest bargaining chip in future WTO meetings.

     

    Nano-technology.

    Plants that can glow

     

     

                                                     

     

    Context:

    MIT scientists have found a way to induce plants to give off dim light by embedding specialised nanoparticles into their leaves, a major step towards using plants to illuminate the workspace. This technology could also be used to provide low- intensity indoor lighting, or to transform trees into self- powered streetlights.


    Background:

    To create the glowing plants, scientists relied on luciferase, the enzyme that gives fireflies their glow. Luciferase acts on a molecule called luciferin, causing it to emit light. Another molecule called co-enzyme A helps the process along by removing a reaction byproduct that can inhibit luciferase activity.

    Researchers packaged each of these three components into a different type of nanoparticle carrier.

    The nanoparticles, which are all made of materials that the US Food and Drug Administration classifies as “generally regarded as safe,” help each component get to the right part of the plant. They also prevent the components from reaching concentrations that could be toxic to the plants.

     

    How plants were made to glow?

    To get the particles into plant leaves, the researchers first suspended the particles in a solution. Plants were immersed in the solution and then exposed to high pressure, allowing the particles to enter the leaves through tiny pores called stomata.

    Particles releasing luciferin and coenzyme A were designed to accumulate in the extracellular space of the mesophyll, an inner layer of the leaf, while the smaller particles carrying luciferase enter the cells that make up the mesophyll.

    The particles gradually release luciferin, which then enters the plant cells, where luciferase performs the chemical reaction that makes luciferin glow.

     

    Conservation.

    ECO-NIWAS



                                                                


    Context:

    On the Energy Conservation Day celebrated on December 14th, the government unveiled the interactive online portal, ECO-NIWAS (Energy Conservation – New Indian Way for Affordable & Sustainable homes) for increasing awareness to build sustainable and energy efficient homes in the country.


    About the Energy Conservation Day:

    The Energy Conservation Day is organized on 14th December each year by Bureau of Energy Efficiency (BEE), under Ministry of Power, with an aim to demonstrate India’s achievements in energy efficiency and conservation, while working for its ambition of holistic development as part of the nation’s overall effort towards climate change mitigation.

    As part of its awareness outreach, BEE recognizes and encourages endeavours of industries in reducing energy consumption by felicitating them with National Energy Conservation Awards. BEE also awards prizes to the national winners of the annual National Painting Competition on Energy Conservation.

     

     

    Panel to review Flexi-fare system formed by - Railway Board

     

    The Railway Board has initiated the reviewing process also called the Flexi-fare system in premium trains by evaluating the prices with that of other transport modes in the same sectors. 
    The move came after months of deliberations and negotiations.

    The Railway Board has formed a 6-member committee to review the system and submit a report in one month in order to initiate this process.


    Panel's members

    This panel consists of railway board officials along with Adviser, NITI Ayog,Ravinder Goyal, S Sriram, Professor of transport economics and Iti Mani, Director, Revenue, Le Meridien, Delhi and Meenakshi Malik, Executive Director, Air India, Revenue Management.


    Important Highlights


    ·         The purpose of this panel will be to inspect all options and suggest the best option keeping in mind railway's and passengers interest.

    ·         The panel would be measuring the effect of flexi-fare implementation in its present form with respect to the revenue generated for railways, impact on passengers psychology in terms of their choice of the railways as a means of transport with its increased fare.

    ·         The panel would also be looking at ways to offer adds-on to passengers like deferred benefits or loyalty benefits for the better patronage of the scheme.

    ·         The panel shall also be suggesting if any revision or modifications can be brought to the flexi-fare system to offer passengers flexibility of rates during peak season, lean season or during weekdays or weekends or during festivals even.

    ·         The panel has also been asked to examine the fares of the Humsafar Express launched in previous year.


    Flexi-fare system

    ·         The Flexi-fare system was launched in September 2016, led to up to 50 percent increase in its fares. Under the flexi-fare system formula, base fares of tickets increased from 10% to 50% with every 10% of berths booked.

    ·         But due to increase in the revenue amount, the railways lost passengers as several berths remained vacant.

     

    MoU for cooperation in Water Resources, Road and Marine Sectors signed between India and  - Morocco

     

    India on 14th December 2017 signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Morocco for collaboration in Water Resources, Road and Marine areas. The accordance was signed between Union Transport and Water Resources Minister Nitin Gadkari and his Moroccan equivalent, Abdelkader Amara, who presently is on a visit to India with his high-level delegacy of the Moroccan government.
    During the high-profile delegacy meet, the both sides considered matters relating to India-Morocco bilateral cooperation in road transport, water resources and the marine area.

    Following is the list of MoUs signed and exchanged between the two nations:

     

    • MoU in collaboration with the field of Water Resources.
    • MoU to establish collaboration between Indian Maritime University and Higher Institute of
    • Maritime Studies of Morocco.
    • Framework Accordance for Cooperation in Training between the National Ports Agency of Morocco and the Indian Maritime University.
    • Collaboration Framework Accordance between the Institute of Training in Engines and Road Maintenance of Morocco and Indian Academy of Highway Engineers.
    • Talking on the occasion, Union Minister Gadkari explained that he looked forward to utilizing the immense scope for cooperation between the 2 nations in the road transport, water resources and marine areas.

     

    Narinder Batra elected as new President of Indian Olympic Association on - 14th December 2017

     

    The chief of International Hockey Federation, Narinder Batra was chosen as the President of Indian Olympic Association at their Annual General Meeting organized in New Delhi on 14th December 2017.
    The 60-year- old Batra got 143 votes out of total 160, success the polls with an overwhelming majority. His challenger Anil Khanna on the other side just got 13 votes.
    The voting was organized under the supervision of a 3-member Election Commission incorporate retired High Court justices. S K Mendiratta, a legal advisor to the Election Commission of India, was the returning administrator.
    With this victory, Batra would hold the position for a period of 4 years from 2018 till 2022. He would be
    succeeding Narayana Ramachandran, who worked at the position from 9th February 2014 to 14th December 2017.

    Did you know?

    ·          

    ·         Batra’s victory was more or less certain as his contender Khanna, the late President of All India Tennis Association, had declared his withdrawal from the polls on 7th December.

    ·         However, the elections were still managed for the Presidential position as Khanna sent the withdrawal letter to the IOA-appointed Election Commission after the specified last date, which was 3rd December.

    ·         Other Appointments Handball Federation of India's Anandeshwar Pandey was chosen as the treasurer of the IOA, after he beat Rakesh Gupta by 113 to 37 votes.

    ·         The organization's present Secretary General Rajeev Mehta was re-elected for a 2nd term without any contest as he was the only candidate for the position.

    ·         RK Anand was chosen as the Senior Vice President of the organization, after beating his opponent - Kabaddi federation's Janardhan Gahlot, by 96 votes to 35.

    ·         After his victory, Batra explained that he would take a scheme to the government to hold the 2032 Olympics, 2030 Asian Games and 2026 Commonwealth Games. He told that the final conclusion on holding the games, however, will depend on the government, as they will dispense the funds. He also added that the IOA desires to work with the government in a conducive environment.

     

    Sri Lanka becomes 163rd nation to accede to landmine -  ban treaty

     

    Sri Lanka has turned the 163 Country to assent to the anti-personnel mine block convention. Sri Lanka had pledged previous year to join the mine block convention and help the international community to aid the landmine clearance program.
    Now, it has accepted to Accession to the Convention of the barring of the utilization, production, stockpiling and shift of anti-personnel mines.

     

     More about Mine Ban Treaty or Ottawa Treaty

     

    ·         The Mine Ban treaty came into force on March 1st, 1999. This agreement bans the use, manufacturing, stockpiling, and shifting of antipersonnel mines.

     

    ·         Austria will manage and host over the 16th conference of the state’s parties to the agreement in Vienna during the period of December 18-21st, 2017.

     

    ·         According the report by International Campaign to prohibit Landmines- a Nobel Prize-winning campaign, previous year 8,605 mine or explosive remnants of war casualties were detailed, in which minimum 2,089 people were murdered.

     

    Disney acquired 21st Century Fox assets for USD 52.4 Billion in stock on - 14th December 2017

     

    Disney reached a deal to acquire certain assets of 21st Century Fox (FOXA), the parent company of FOX Business on 14th December 2017 for approximately USD 52.4 billion in its stock. The total transaction is valued for USD 66.1 billion, including debt of 21st Century Fox.

     

    Important Highlights

     

    ·         This deal is including 21st Century Fox assets- 20th Century Fox Film and Television studios, along with cable and international TV businesses such as Star India.

     

    ·         Before this acquisition, Fox will be separating the Fox Business Network, FS1, Fox Broadcasting network and stations, Fox News Channel, FS2 and Big Ten Network into a newly listed company.

     

    ·         Disney's Robert Iger will also be continuing to serve as the Chairman and CEO of Disney through 2021.

     

    8th planet Kepler-90i spotted by – NASA

     

    NASA has recently discovered an 8th planet circling Kepler-90 which is a Sun-like star and is 2545 light-years away from Earth. NASA made this announcement of discovery on 14th December 2017.

    Kepler-90i was discovered in data from NASA’s Kepler Space Telescope using Machine Learning from Google. Machine learning is an approach towards artificial intelligence for machin's learning.
    computers learned to identify planets by finding the instances in the Kepler data where the telescope recorded its signals from the exoplanets.

     

    More about Kepler-90i

    ·         It is a hot rocky planet orbiting its star once every 14.4 days.

     

    ·         Kepler-90i is that close to its star where its average surface temperature is more than 800 degrees Fahrenheit, at par with Mercury and it is approximately 30 percent larger than Earth.

     

    ·         Its outermost planet, Kepler-90h, orbits at the similar distance to its star as Earth does to the Sun.

     

    ·    The planet discovery was made after researchers Christopher Shallue and Andrew Vanderburg trained a computer to learn how to identify exoplanets in the  light readings recorded by star Kepler. The light readings were the tiny changes in brightness captured whenever a planet passes in front of its star.

     

     

    ONE LINERS

     

    Supreme Court approved setting up this many special courts to exclusively deal with cases against lawmakers - 12


    • This state government approved the bill to check land maa and ght organised crime - Uttar Pradesh


    • This boxer was named as youth boxer of year by Asian Boxing Confederation - Sachin Siwach


    • This state recently increased non-creamy layer limit for OBCs to Rs 8 lakh - Maharashtra


    • Person elected as BARC India Chairman recently - Nakul Chopra  


    • Political gure Prem Singh, who passed away recently, belonged to - Indian National Congress


    • He has been elected as the new President of Indian Olympic Association - Narinder Batra


    • This online retailer is going to enter India’s beauty market with a chain of brick-and-mortar stores - Myntra


    • This airport when completed will be India’s biggest airport - Jewar 


    • Google X has signed a MoU with this Indian state to set up its rst development centre outside USA - Andhra Pradesh


    • The World Conference on Vedas was inaugurated by Vice President M. Venkaiah Naidu in this city - New Delhi


    • This state government is going to adopt the Clinical establishment (Registration and Regulation) Act – Maharashtra

     

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