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    Free GK and Current Affairs Notes from The Hindu

    Current Affairs, 13 December 2017

    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 surveillance scheme.

    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.

    Background:

    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 from.

    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 election.

    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.

    About LaQshya:

    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 childbirth.

    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”.

    About AICS:

    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.

    About ASEAN:

    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’



    Context:

    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.

    About “excitonium”:

    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.

    Background:

    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.

    Way ahead:

    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 security.

    NIC CERT



    Context:

    The Centre has unveiled the NIC-CERT centre that would monitor and help in early detection and mitigation of cyberattacks on government networks.

    About NIC-CERT:

    What is it?

    It is a dedicated body to detect, prevent and mitigate the impact of cyber attacks on the National Informatics Centre (NIC).

    Role:

    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.

    About NIC:

    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 incidents.

    Universal Health Coverage Day:

    Universal Health Coverage Day was commemorated on 12th December, 2017.

    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.

    Background:

    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.

    Important Points

    · Government sets up first NIC-CERT centre on - 11th December 2017

    · Make the digital world safer for children stated by - UNICEF

    · 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 December 2017

    · 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 December 2017.

    · 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 cyberspace.

    Important Points

    · 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 attacks.

    Make the digital world safer for children stated by - UNICEF

    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 2017 Report

    · 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 content.

    · 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 2017.

    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 November 2017.

    · The mission will going to be partly funded by Government Budgetary Support (50 percent) and the remaining 50 percent by IBRD or other MDB.

    · 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.

    Important Highlights

    · 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 opportunities.

    · The licensing process for cinema operators would be starting within 90 days and the first cinemas are expected to open in March 2018.

    · 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.

    More about Mamta Kalia

    · Born in 1940 in Vrindavan, She did MA in English from Delhi University before taking up lecturership at SNDT Women's University in Mumbai.

    · 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.

    More about Vyas 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.

    One Liners

    US President Donald Trump has directed NASA to send Americans to this extraterrestrial body- Moon

    This nation 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 - Cyber Attacks

    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

    Hindi 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 Railway Station

    Editorial

    Context:

    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 delivery

    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.

    Ground report

    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 Infrastructure

    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 significantly improved.

    § Almost one-fourth of the power-deficit PHCs in Chhattisgarh relied exclusively on solar as a backup to run cold chain equipment.

    § 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 Designs

    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.

    Conclusion

    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.

    Group A Services

    1. Indian Administrative Service
    2. Indian Foreign Service
    3. Indian Police Service
    4. Indian P & T Accounts & Finance Service
    5. Indian Audit and Accounts Service
    6. Indian Revenue Service (Customs and Central Excise)
    7. Indian Defence Accounts Service
    8. Indian Revenue Service (I.T.)
    9. Indian Ordnance Factories Service (Assistant Works Manager, Administration)
    10. Indian Postal Service
    11. Indian Civil Accounts Service
    12. Indian Railway Traffic Service
    13. Indian Railway Accounts Service
    14. Indian Railway Personnel Service
    15. Indian Railway Protection Force (Assistant Security Commissioner)
    16. Indian Defence Estates Service
    17. Indian Information Service (Junior Grade)
    18. Indian Trade Service, Group 'A' (Gr. III)
    19. Indian Corporate Law Service

    Group - B Services

    Armed Forces Headquarters Civil Service (Section Officer's Grade)

    Delhi, Andaman & Nicobar Islands, Lakshadweep, Daman & Diu and Dadra & Nagar Haveli Civil Service

    Delhi, Andaman & Nicobar Islands, Lakshadweep, Daman & Diu and Dadra & Nagar Haveli Police Service

    Pondicherry Civil Service

    Pondicherry Police Service

















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