Current Affairs, 13 December
Role of women and women’s organization.
“Safe City Surveillance” scheme
Context: Bihar state government
has approved a “Safe City Surveillance” scheme aimed at putting a check on
eve-teasing and other crimes against women at public places across the state
.About the Scheme:
§ The scheme will
bring all major public places under the watch of close-circuit television
(CCTV) cameras and improve the overall crime control in the state.
§ This scheme is
especially being launched for checking crime against women, such as eve-teasing
and molestation, harassment, snatching incidents and roadside scuffles etc. It
will also help in keeping a track of miscreants.
§ The scheme, which
will be launched in a phase-wise manner, will commence from capital Patna.
§ The Bihar home
department will be the nodal agency for implementation of the safe-city
Salient features of the Representation of People’s Act.
SC agrees to examine plea to
bar politicians from contesting from two seats
Context: The Supreme Court has
agreed to adjudicate on whether politicians could be barred from contesting
from more than one seat in an election and has sought assistance from the
Attorney General (AG) to decide the issue.
A petition has been filed in the Supreme Court
challenging Section 33(7) of the Representation of the People Act of 1951 that
allows a person to contest elections to Parliament and state assemblies from
two constituencies and sought an end to the practice.
Section 33(7) of RPA:
Section 33(7) of the Representation of People’s Act
permits a candidate to contest any election (Parliamentary, State Assembly,
Biennial Council, or bye-elections) from up to two constituencies. The
provision was introduced in 1996 prior to which there was no bar on the number
of constituencies from which a candidate could contest.
Why candidates should be barred from contesting from more
than one seat?
One person, one vote & one candidate, one
constituency is the dictum of democracy. However, as per the law, as it stands
today, a person can contest the election for the same office from two
constituencies simultaneously. When a candidate contests from two seats, it is
imperative that he has to vacate one of the two seats if he wins both. This,
apart from the consequent unavoidable financial burden on the public exchequer,
government manpower and other resources for holding bye-election is also an
injustice to the voters of the constituency which the candidate is quitting
Alternative suggested by the Election commission:
The ECI has alternatively suggested that if existing
provisions are retained then the candidate contesting from two seats should
bear the cost of the bye-election to the seat that the contestant decides to
vacate in the event of his/her winning both seats. The amount in such an event
could be Rs 5 lakh for assembly election and Rs 10 lakh for parliament
E-governance- applications, models, successes, limitations, and potential.
Laqshya| Labour Room Quality Improvement Initiative
Context: The government has
launched “LaQshya – Labour Room Quality Improvement Initiative, a Safe Delivery
Mobile Application for health workers who manage normal and complicated
deliveries in the peripheral areas.
What is it? LaQshya is mobile app for health workers who
manage normal and complicated deliveries in the peripheral areas. The goal of
this initiative is to reduce preventable maternal and new-born mortality,
morbidity and stillbirths associated with the care around delivery in Labour
room and Maternity OT and ensure respectful maternity care.
Aim: It aims to improve the quality of care that is being
provided to the pregnant mother in the Labour Room and Maternity Operation
Theatres, thereby preventing the undesirable adverse outcomes associated with
Implementation: This initiative will be implemented in
Government Medical Colleges (MCs) besides District Hospitals (DHs), and high
delivery load Sub- District Hospitals (SDHs) and Community Health Centres
(CHCs). The initiative also plans to conduct quality certification of labour
rooms and also incentivize facilities achieving the targets outlined.
India and its neighbourhood- relations.
ASEAN-India Connectivity Summit (AICS)
Keeping with India’s initiative of connectivity with
southeast Asia under its Act East Policy, New Delhi is hosting an Asean-India
Connectivity Summit (AICS) on the theme “Powering Digital and Physical
Linkages for Asia in the 21st Century”.
Aim: The AICS aims to
accelerate existing connectivity prospects, identify issues of concern, evolve
suitable policy recommendations and develop strategies to enhance economic,
industrial and trade relations between ASEAN and India.
Its focus areas are infrastructure,
roadways, shipping, digital, finance, energy and aviation.
Participants: The AICS would be
bringing together policymakers, senior officials from the government,
investors, industry leaders, representatives of trade associations and
entrepreneurs on the same platform.
The Association of Southeast Asian Nations, or ASEAN, was
established on 8 August 1967 in Bangkok, Thailand, with the signing of the
ASEAN Declaration (Bangkok Declaration) by the Founding Fathers of ASEAN,
namely Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore and Thailand. At present
there are 10 members namely, Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos,
Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Viet Nam.
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.New form of matter ‘excitonium’
Researchers at the University of Illinois have announced
an exciting finding — the discovery of a new form of matter: excitonium. The
existence of this matter has been theorized for 50 years.
It is made up of excitons – unusual particles made up of
an escaped electron and the hole it has left behind in a material. This quirky
quantum-mechanical pairing is possible because, in semiconductors, electrons on
the edge of one energy level in an atom are able, when excited, to jump into
the next energy level, leaving behind a “hole” in the previous level. This hole
acts like a positively charged particle, attracting the negatively charged
electron that escaped.
Scientists used a novel technique called
momentum-resolved electron energy-loss spectroscopy (M-EELS) for the study.
With their new technique, the group was able to measure collective excitations
of the low-energy bosonic particles, the paired electrons and holes.
Now that excitonium has been proven to exist and has been
concretely observed in experimentation, its properties can be further explored
and applied. Most obviously, as a superconductor and superfluid, this material
could be used to further existing technologies.
Additionally, since analyzing quantum phenomena is what
guides and shapes our understanding of quantum mechanics, this research could
help to further de-mystify current quantum puzzles. These applications,
especially those in practical technologies, are purely speculative at this
point, however. It is impossible to exactly predict what the future might hold
for excitonium, but we do know for certain that it has more potential now than
it ever has before.
Basics of cyber
The Centre has unveiled the NIC-CERT centre that would
monitor and help in early detection and mitigation of cyberattacks on
What is it?
It is a dedicated body to detect, prevent and mitigate
the impact of cyber attacks on the National Informatics Centre (NIC).
NIC-CERT will work to ensure early detection and
immediate mitigation of cyber attacks by monitoring data across the NIC
platform, including communication between all the levels of government and
between governments to citizens. NIC-CERT will operate in close coordination
and collaboration with sectoral CERTs and more so with CERT-IN.
NIC, which comes under the IT ministry, has a key role in
e-governance at the national, state and district levels. Almost all
Indian-government websites are developed and managed by NIC.
About CERT- In:
CERT-In is the national nodal agency under the IT
ministry, which deals with cyber security threats such as hacking and phishing.
It is tasked with the collection, analysis and dissemination of information on
cyber incidents and even taking emergency measures for handling cyber security
Universal Health Coverage Day:
Universal Health Coverage Day was commemorated on 12th December,
Why this day?
It is the anniversary of the first unanimous United
Nations resolution calling for countries to provide affordable, quality health
care to every person, everywhere.
Universal Health Coverage (UHC) means everyone can access
the quality health services they need without financial hardship. Universal
health coverage has been included in the new Sustainable Development Goals
adopted by the United Nations.
§ India’s First Ever Mobile Food-Testing Lab:
Goa state government has launched the country’s first
ever mobile food testing laboratory. It is entirely funded by the Centre, which
will also bear the maintenance cost for five years.
What is it for?
The laboratory, mounted on a bus will travel across the
state and check food samples on the spot. This would be the first ever ‘Food
Safety on Wheel’ vehicle in the country. The laboratory will help in the
on-the-spot testing of food items and curb adulteration. Besides this, it will
also educate people about nutrition and importance of safe food.
Government sets up first NIC-CERT centre on - 11th
Make the digital world safer for children stated by
Union WCD Ministry launched logo and tagline contest for
National Nutrition Mission on - 11th December 2017
Ban on movie theatres lifted by - Saudi Arabia
Hindi writer Mamta Kalia selected for Vyas Samman 2017 on
- 8th December 2017
Current Affairs Details
Government sets up first NIC-CERT centre on - 11th
Law and Information Technology Minister Ravi Shankar
Prasad, Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology inaugurated The
first NIC-CERT, a setup of National Informatics Centre on 11th
Explaining the move, the Minister stated that the union
government as a part of its Digital India initiative had introduced
many services online and also easily accessible to citizens, it also
exposed them to threats and vulnerabilities that are an inherent part of the
It is set up to enhance the security posture of NIC and
the government, which will in turn be leading to enhanced trust of the citizens
as the services offered to them would be configured in a framework that is
secured by design.
It has been set up to create a comprehensive framework
that will be integrating world class security components and inbuilt threat
intelligence for detection, prevention and incident response.
The centre will be operating in close coordination and
collaboration with sectoral CERT’s and more so with Cert-in.
Using the tools research teams would be able to correlate
events that would be helping to generate a canvas of the attack surface and
identify the vulnerabilities and possible exploits.
The gathered intelligence assimilated with the knowledge
of the open web would be giving the CERT the ability prevent and predict
Make the digital world safer for children stated by
The United Nations
International Children's Emergency Fund (UNICEF) pointed out on 11th December
2017 that despite massive online presence of children, a very little
is done to protect them from the digital world threats. In its report
titled 'State of the World’s Children 2017: Children in a Digital World', UNICEF
stated that 1 in every 3 internet users worldwide is a child and high level of
efforts should be made in order to ensure that children have access to safe
online content only.
Key Highlights of the State of the World’s Children
It presents UNICEF’s outlook in the different ways in
which digital technology is affecting children’s lives & life chances.
It points out that public or private both the
organisations, have exposed children to new risks and harms of the digital
world including misuse of their private information and access to harmful
It also explores the benefits of the digital technology
to offer to the most disadvantaged children growing up in poverty or affected
by humanitarian emergencies.
Union WCD Ministry launched logo and tagline
contest for National Nutrition Mission on - 11th December 2017
The Ministry of Women &
Child Development launched a contest inviting people to design a logo and
suggest a tagline for prestigious 'National Nutrition Mission' on 11th December
The ministry has also proposed
an award of a prize money of Rs 1 lakh to the winner of the contest.
In case the logo and tagline selected by the jury are from different
participants, then the prize money would be split between them. The last
date to submit entries for the contest on Ministry's mail
More about National Nutrition Mission (NNM)
The Union Cabinet approved the setting up of National
Nutrition Mission (NNM) with a three year budget of Rs 9046.17 crore on 30th
The mission will going to be partly funded by Government
Budgetary Support (50 percent) and the remaining 50 percent by IBRD or other
The mission is planned to be rolled out in three phases
from 2017-18 to 2019-20.
It is aiming to ensure holistic development and adequate
nutrition for pregnant women, mothers and children.
It targets to minimize the level of stunting,anaemia,
under-nutrition and low birth rate.
It will be creating synergy, ensuring better monitoring,
issuing alerts for timely action and encourage the states to perform and
supervise the mission in order to achieve the targeted goals.
There are plenty of schemes to improve the nutritional
status, however, there is a lack of synergy between them.
The National Nutrition Mission through strong convergence
mechanism will be striving to create the synergy at the same time.
Ban on movie theatres lifted by - Saudi Arabia
The kingdom of Saudi Arabia
announced on 11th December 2017 that lifted the decades-old ban to provide
licenses to commercial movie theatres. The decision will be paving a way
for the opening of the country’s first public cinemas after more than 35
years. According to the nation’s Minister of Culture and Information Awwad
bin Saleh Alawwad, the opening of the cinemas will be acting as a catalyst for
economic growth and diversification.
The lifting of the ban will be helping to develop a
broader cultural sector in the kingdom and enrich its entertainment options.
It will also be creating new employment and training
The licensing process for cinema operators would be
starting within 90 days and the first cinemas are expected to open in March
All the films scheduled to be screened at the theatres
will going to be subjected to censorship according to the media policy
standards of the kingdom.
Hindi writer Mamta Kalia selected for Vyas Samman
2017 on - 8th December 2017
Renowned Hindi writer Mamta
Kalia was selected for the Vyas Samman 2017 for her novel "Dukkham
Sukkham" published in 2009 on 8th December 2017. Selection committee
headed by Sahitya Akademi director and author Vishwanath Prasad Tiwari chose
her for this award. She will be receiving Rs 3.5 lakh as the prize money
of Vyas Samman.
Born in 1940 in Vrindavan, She did MA in English from
Delhi University before taking up lecturership at SNDT Women's University in
She headed a degree college in Allahabad since 1973 and
was retired in 2001.
She is known for her excellent works in Englishh and
Hindi including "Beghar", "Janch Abhi Jaari Hai",
"Nirmohi", and "Bolne Wali Aurat".
She has been conferred with various awards for her work
including Yashpal Katha Samman from Uttar Pradesh Hindi Sansthan, Sahitya
Bhushan Samman and Ram Manohar Lohia Samman.
KK Birla Foundation gives this award annually to a Hindi
literary work published in the past 10 years.
The first recipient of the award was eminent literary
critic and poet Ram Vilas Sharma in 1991.
• US President
Donald Trump has directed NASA to send Americans to this extraterrestrial body-
has lifted its 35-year old ban on commercial movie theatres - Saudi Arabia
• The sports ministry has
approved Rs 5 lakh from the National Welfare Fund for Sportspersons for the
heart treatment of this former heavyweight boxer - Kaur Singh
• The World
Telugu Conference is scheduled to organised in this city - Hyderabad
• The rst
NIC-CERT has been set up by the Union government to prevent and predict -
• This Indian
is among the six top diplomats, who were felicitated with the inaugural Diwali
‘Power of One’ award at UN for their contribution towards forming a more secure
world – Lakshmi Puri
writer who has been selected for the Vyaas Samman 2017 - Mamta Kalia
• Father of
Indian DNA ngerprinting who passed away recently - Lalji Singh
• This town
has been included in top 5 global cities list by UNEP to successfully manage
solid waste - Alappuzha
• Giriraj Singh, the Union
Minister of State (Independent Charge) for MSME, launched this Public
Procurement Portal - ‘MSME Sambandh’
• India has
been declared free from Trachoma. Trachoma is a contagious bacterial infection
of - Eyes
• This Railway
station was declared as India's rst 100% energy-ecient station - Kacheguda
Around 38 million Indians rely on health facilities
without electricity. Without access to regular power supply, numerous
life-saving interventions cannot be undertaken.
A study, ‘Powering Primary Healthcare through Solar in
India: Lessons from Chhattisgarh’, highlights the role of solar energy in
bridging the gaps in electricity access in rural healthcare facilities.
Providing solar-powered systems across primary health
centres can improve health outcomes.
Health: The Essential Element of Well-being
Health and well-being play a vital role in development
and poverty reduction. Good health is one of the most valued aspects of
well-being and a critical element in the quality of life. Good health also
represents instrumental values through the enhancement of opportunities to
participate in education, training, and the labour market .
Human Development Index (HDI) and the Multidimensional
Poverty Index (MPI), have some parameters that reflect the status of good
health of a community.
The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), apart from
setting targets for reduction in maternal and child mortality and other health
risks, explicitly state the need for universal health coverage (UHC) as well as
recognise the need for an affordable and robust health delivery system. UHC
includes financial risk protection, access to quality essential healthcare
services, and access to safe, effective, quality, and affordable essential
medicines and vaccines for all.
In India, about 55% of all households depend on the
public health system to meet their healthcare needs. This dependence is higher
in rural areas. For most people, the PHC at the village level serves as the
first point of contact or the first referral unit. Therefore, the effective
functioning of PHCs plays an important role in facilitating UHC.
However, the lack of healthcare infrastructure has been a
limiting factor in the ability of the system to provide timely and quality care
to all those who need it.
Electricity as an enabler of health service
For a long time, the focus of electricity access has been
largely at the household level. It is only recently that access to electricity
is also being recognised as critical for public services like electricity
for health facilities, schools and street lighting. In health facilities,
regular electricity access is necessary for deliveries, storage of
vaccines, provision of emergency services, supply of clean water, and retention
of skilled staff.
A recent publication by the WHO and the World Bank
maintains that besides improving the direct functionality of health facilities,
access to electricity is equally instrumental in attracting and retaining
skilled health workers, especially in rural areas.
In India, Primary Health Centres (PHCs) ensure
last-mile delivery of healthcare services, that is, at the village level.
However, one in every two PHCs in India, and one in every three in
Chhattisgarh, is either un-electrified or suffers from irregular power
supply. This extent of power deficiency across PHCs could hamper the
provision of healthcare services in the country.
A study, ‘Powering Primary Healthcare through Solar in
India: Lessons from Chhattisgarh’, published recently by the Council on Energy,
Environment and Water (CEEW) and supported by Oxfam India, evaluated 147
primary healthcare centres (PHCs) across 15 districts in Chhattisgarh.
It highlights the role of solar energy in bridging the
gaps in electricity access in rural healthcare facilities. In rural India, PHCs
provide the last-mile delivery of healthcare services.
The Rural Health Statistics 2016 data find that
India has around 25,000 PHCs, and of the functional PHCs, 6% are not
electrified implying that over 38 million rural households depend on
health facilities that have no electricity.
Further, the fourth round of District Level
Household and Facility Survey data indicates that one in every two
PHCs in rural India is either not electrified or suffers from irregular power
supply. This also results in health facilities having to rely on expensive
backup options like diesel generators that have significant cost implications.
The use of renewable energy sources such as solar could
help PHCs augment or even substitute traditional grid-based power systems. This
would also help the transition towards a low-carbon, climate-smart healthcare
system. Moreover, solar systems can facilitate reliable and uninterrupted
electricity supply critical for 24/7 emergency services, deliveries and
neonatal care, as well as inpatient and outpatient services.
Chhattisgarh: State of Healthcare and Health
Chhattisgarh, as a state with a predominantly rural
population, Chhattisgarh faces the challenges of inadequately skilled human
resources, poor physical infrastructure, and other supply-side gaps with
respect to the delivery of quality healthcare.
In order to augment electricity supply across PHCs in
power-surplus Chhattisgarh, the Chhattisgarh Renewable Energy Development
Agency (CREDA), between 2012 and 2016, installed off-grid solar
photovoltaic (PV) systems of 2kW each in 570 PHCs.
Electricity Access and Its Impact on Healthcare Services
in PHCs in Chhattisgarh:
Districts in Chhattisgarh with a higher share of
power-deficit PHCs (with less than 20 hours of electricity supply per day
from the grid), showed a higher infant mortality rate, a higher under-five
mortality rate, and a lower proportion of fully immunised children.
The CEEW study found that the solar-powered PHCs in
Chhattisgarh admitted over 50% more patients and conducted almost twice the
number of child deliveries in a month compared to the power-deficit PHCs
without a solar system.
The ability of solar-powered PHCs to maintain cold chains
to store vaccines and drugs and operate new-born care equipment has
Almost one-fourth of the power-deficit PHCs in
Chhattisgarh relied exclusively on solar as a backup to run cold chain
Continuous electricity supply must be ensured to cold
chains at PHCs, especially in rural Chhattisgarh, which has an infant mortality
rate that is higher than the average for rural India. Further, patients showed
more willingness to get admitted for treatment at the solar-powered PHCs due to
facilities like running fans.
Also, 90% of PHCs with solar systems reported cost
savings due to lower electricity bills or reduced expenditure on diesel.
Key Lessons for Electricity Access and Intervention
The role of electricity as an enabler of the
cost-effective and targeted delivery of health services is being recognised
across the world.
Scaling-up solar-powered systems across PHCs in rural
India is dependent on various factors.
The first is to recognise the critical nature of
electricity access in the entire health system infrastructure.
§ The Indian Public
Health Standards has set minimum service-level benchmarks for all activities of
PHCs, indicating that every PHC should have power supply with a back-up option
with the aim of providing a minimum service level of healthcare to all citizens
across the country.
The National Health Policy 2017 reiterates the commitment
to improve primary healthcare by strengthening infrastructure.
The ability to adapt solar systems around the local
needs and considerations of PHCs including the burden of disease, weather,
terrain, and power availability.
§ For example,
disaster-prone areas that need blood storage units and other health services
could invest in higher capacity systems or greater storage capacity.
§ There must be a
focus on making ‘Solar for Health’ a national priority.
§ Scaling solar
systems (5kW) across PHCs to power healthcare services could contribute to
about 160 MW of decentralised energy capacity.
Augment electricity supply with solar systems and give
priority to power-deficit health facilities.
There are significant opportunities to simultaneously
address the goals of energy access, energy security, resource management, and
health outcomes. Solar for health is one such opportunity to achieve this goal.
Chhattisgarh provides evidence for scaling this intervention to meet the
national goals for both health and energy.
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