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Current Events 28 January 2017

 

NEWS 

28 JANUARY 2017 

Sr. No.

Topic

News

1.

GS III : DISASTER MANAGEMENT -RAILWYS

No proof of sabotage, wagon faults may have derailed train, says panel

2.

GS II:  SOCIAL - HEALTH

Govt hospitals to display rules for biomedical waste management

3.

GS II:  SOCIAL - HEALTH

Kofi Annan praises mohalla clinics

4.

GS II : POLITY - JUDICIARY

Farmers’ deaths a human rights issue: Supreme Court

5.

GS II :  SOCIAL - EDUCATION

Chhattisgarh to track teacher attendance using tablet PCs

6.

GS II : POLITY - JUDICIARY

No one law on cattle slaughter: SC

7.

GS III :  INFRASTRUCTURE - ROADS

Karnataka’s taxi policy runs counter to Central guidelines

8.

GS III : DEFENCE

Navy rejects Tejas, begins global search

9.

GS III : ECONOMY

Centre says GAAR effective April 1, industry demurs

10.

GS III : ECONOMY

‘77,000 jobs created in July-Sept.’

11.

GS II : INTERNATIONAL INSTITUTIONS

WTO pact set to lift world trade by $1 tn. in Trump era

12.

GS II: INTERNATIONAL - USA

White House plan seeks to hit IS harder

13.

GS III: S&T - BIOTECHNOLOGY

Scientists take first steps to grow human organs in pigs

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

GS III : DISASTER MANAGEMENT -RAILWAYS

No proof of sabotage, wagon faults may have derailed train, says panel

  • The Commission of Railway Safety (CRS), under the Ministry of Civil 
  • Aviation, has not found any evidence of sabotage in the November 20 derailment of the Indore-Rajendranagar Express.
  • The commission has identified ‘carriage and wagon defects’ as the prime reason for the accident which resulted in the most number of casualties in a train accident in over a decade.
  • “The report holds overaged coaches, carriage and wagon defects, and wheel alignment issues as the primary reasons behind the derailment. The report, however, does not suspect sabotage,” a CRS official said.
  • Four sleeper coaches of the Indore-Rajendranagar Express were badly damaged in the accident near Kanpur.
  • The report mentions that there was a “huge” variation in the wheel gauge of the S1 and S2 coaches causing the derailment, according to the official.
  • The Ministry of Home Affairs had asked the National Investigation Agency (NIA) to probe the accident.
  • Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu had written to Home Minister Rajnath Singh about the possibility of sabotage in six train accidents, including the derailment of the Patna-bound Indore-Rajendranagar Express near Kanpur.

 

GS II:  SOCIAL – HEALTH

Govt. hospitals to display rules for biomedical waste management

  • According to the circular, “As per directions of the Health Minister, the Awareness Generation for Biomedical Waste Management Rules, 2016, are to be displayed on all Delhi government hospital websites and notice boards of Delhi government hospitals/dispensaries of DGHS and all healthcare facilities.”
  • Biomedical waste comprises human and animal anatomical waste, treatment apparatus including needles, syringes and other material used in healthcare facilities.
  • This waste is generated during diagnosis, treatment or immunisation in hospitals, nursing homes, pathological laboratories, blood banks, among others.

 

GS II:  SOCIAL - HEALTH

Kofi Annan praises mohalla clinics

  • Former United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan has lauded the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government’s mohalla clinics initiative for providing free primary healthcare.
  • Mr Annan heads ‘The Elders’, an independent organisation promoting peace, justice and human rights worldwide.
  • In a letter to Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, Mr. Annan said that the initiative was “consistent with the Universal Health Coverage (UHC) goal” of the World Health Organisation.
  • The Delhi government has plans to construct some 1,000 mohalla clinics.
  • Around 108 have already come up in planned and regularised colonies. At these clinics, patients get their tests, medicine and doctor consultation for free.
  • When all the mohalla clinics are built, Delhi will be a saturated model state for healthcare, wrote the former UN Secretary-General.

 

 

GS II : POLITY - JUDICIARY

Farmers’ deaths a human rights issue: Supreme Court

  • The Supreme Court asked the Centre and the States to explain whether there was a lifeline, including a comprehensive insurance plan, for farmers to end the vicious circle plaguing the agriculture sector.
  • It was alarmed that crop failure and natural calamities were driving debt-ridden farmers across the country to take their lives.
  • Widening the scope of a public interest litigation petition filed by an NGO on the farmers of Gujarat, a Bench led by Chief Justice of India J.S. Khehar included all the States, the Centre and the Reserve Bank of India in the litigation in an effort to get a holistic picture of the plight of farmers.
  • Terming the death of farmers due to crop losses a “human rights issue,” the Bench asked why the government had not yet formulated a national policy to protect the lives of the country’s breadwinners.
  • The court was hearing a petition filed by the NGO, Citizens Resource and Action and Initiative, seeking a compensation of Rs 5 lakh each for the families of 692 farmers who committed suicide in Gujarat between January 2003 and October 2012.
  • Their crops had failed and their bank loans began to choke them. The petition also sought financial relief from the government for farmers facing drought.
  • It pleaded for a humane agricultural policy, taking into consideration the probable loss of crops, to help farmers tide over a drought-like situation.

 

GS II :  SOCIAL - EDUCATION

Chhattisgarh to track teacher attendance using tablet PCs

  • In a bid to use technology to better monitor the quality of schooling, the Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) will supply tablet computers to schools across Chhattisgarh so that teachers can use them to record details like daily attendance and midday meals.
  • Each tablet would cost just under Rs. 10,000. A central server would store all the details, enabling better and regular assessment of the strengths and weaknesses of schools.
  • Authorities could then work efficiently to improve educational standards. The scheme is likely to be implemented between July and September 2017, and if successful, could be replicated across the country.

 

GS II : POLITY - JUDICIARY

No one law on cattle slaughter: SC

  • The Supreme Court declined a plea to direct States to frame a uniform policy banning cattle slaughter and prevent the illegal inter-State transportation of cattle.
  • Arguing before a Bench led by Chief Justice of India J.S. Khehar, PIL petitioner and Delhi resident Vineet Sahai said inconsistencies in various State laws on slaughter and transportation of cattle had ensured that cattle smuggling continued unabated.
  • Mr. Sahai pointed to the case of how cattle were transported from Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh, where the law was stringent, to neighbouring Kerala, which allowed slaughter.
  • The petition contended that prohibition of cow slaughter was part of the Directive Principles of State Policy under the Constitution.

 

GS III :  INFRASTRUCTURE - ROADS

Karnataka’s taxi policy runs counter to Central guidelines

  • Karnataka’s rationale is that permits for taxis are only for point-to-point rides, and not for shared rides.
  • Karnataka’s approach runs counter to the Union Ministry of Road Transport and Highways committee report on ‘Taxi Policy Guideline to Promote Urban Mobility’ issued in December 2016, which the Ministry has accepted.
  • Internationally, research points to wider social benefits of shared urban mobility.
  • To decongest cities, UITP (The International Association of Public Transport, known as UITP,) says the ideal policy is CoMo, or Combined Mobility.

1.     Strengthen the backbone, such as Bengaluru’s BMTC/ Metro and similar networks in New Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Hyderabad, and make regulatory changes to plug in shared taxis, bicycles and shared bikes, car pools and ride sharing.

2.     Use Real Time Passenger Information and adopt open data policies to create apps that link buses, trains and shared taxis.

 

GS III : DEFENCE

Navy rejects Tejas, begins global search

  • After declaring the naval version of the indigenous Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas unfit for operating from aircraft carriers in its “present form,” the Indian Navy has launched a global hunt for a carrier-based multi-role fighter aircraft.
  • “The Defence Ministry intends to procure approximately 57 Multi-Role Carrier- Borne Fighters [MRCBF] for the Navy,” the Navy stated in the Request for Information (RFI) dated January 17.
  • The Navy currently operates Russian Mig-29K twin engine fighters from the aircraft carrier INS Vikramaditya.
  • These will also fly from the first Indigenous Aircraft Carrier (IAC) Vikrant once it enters service.
  • The IAC-II which is currently at the design stage can handle twin engine, heavy aircraft, greatly extending the area of operations.
  • The Navy has procured 45 Mig-29Ks in two batches. The Navy does not intend to procure more Mig-29s given its troubled history.
  • The RFI says the aircraft are “intended as day-and night capable, all-weather, multi-role, deck-based combat aircraft which can be used for air defence, air-to-surface operations, Buddy refuelling, reconnaissance etc from IN aircraft carriers.”
  • This narrows down the selection to two aircraft now available in the global market — Boeing’s F-18 Super Hornet and Dassault Rafale, 36 of which the Indian Air Force has contracted. The F-35 fifth generation aircraft of the U.S. is also an option.

 

GS III : ECONOMY

Centre says GAAR effective April 1, industry demurs

  • The Centre has reiterated that the General Anti Avoidance Rules – aimed at curbing tax avoidance – will come into force on April 1, ignoring industry’s suggestion to defer the rules on account of uncertainty over their applicability and to provide adequate time to prepare for the new regime.
  • The government’s resolve to stick to the rollout date for the GAAR regime announced in the 2016 Budget was reflected in clarifications issued by the Finance Ministry on 27 January 2017.
  • The Finance Ministry, as part of the clarifications, made clear its rules regarding several issues that the industry had demanded greater clarity on, including the specific cases in which GAAR would apply to Foreign Portfolio Investments (FPI), the treatment of Limitation of Benefits (LOB) clauses and the precedence given to court rulings in such situations.
  • It has been clarified that if the limitation of benefits (LOB) clause sufficiently addresses tax avoidance, then GAAR will not apply.
  • The LOB clause in the India-Singapore and Mauritius treaties now is relevant only for availing the 50% tax rate for two years.
  • The official clarification also said that, if at the time of sanctioning an arrangement, the court had explicitly and adequately considered the tax implications, then GAAR would not apply to such an arrangement.
  • It has also been clarified that GAAR would not apply if an arrangement was permitted by the Authority for Advance Rulings.

 

 

GS III : ECONOMY

‘77,000 jobs created in July-Sept.’

  • About 77,000 jobs were created in July-September 2016, compared with the previous quarter, with the key sectors of manufacturing, construction and information technology showing a dip in job creation, data released by the Labour Bureau as part of a revamped survey process showed.
  • “At the all-India level, the estimated change in employment in 8 selected sectors stood at 77,000,” the Labour Bureau’s Quarterly Report on Employment Scenario released on 27 January 2017 said.
  • The survey showed that services sectors such as trade, transport, accommodation, education and health saw an overall increase in employment by 1.28 lakh.
  • The education sector saw the highest increase of 51,000, followed by health, trade and transport.
  • However, in July-September last year, the IT-BPO sector saw a dip of 16,000 jobs compared with the previous quarter.
  • While the construction sector lost 23,000 jobs, analysts were surprised by a dip in manufacturing jobs by 12,000.
  • The previous survey, released in March 2016, had shown 1.35 lakh jobs were created in 2015 – the lowest in seven years.

 

GS II : INTERNATIONAL INSTITUTIONS

WTO pact set to lift world trade by $1 tn. in Trump era

  • The Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA) that will boost global exports by $1 trillion should come into force within two weeks, the head of the World Trade Organization said, just as the rhetoric of U.S. President Donald Trump clouds the outlook for global trade.
  • This will have a major impact on poorer countries, because it standardises and simplifies customs procedures, slashing the time, cost and complexity of taking goods over borders.
  • The United States, European Union, China and Japan were among the early adopters, although big and rich countries have less to gain since their customs procedures are already at high levels.

GS III : SECURITY

White House plan seeks to hit IS harder

  • The White House is drafting a presidential directive that calls on Defense Secretary James N. Mattis to devise plans to more aggressively strike the Islamic State, which could include U.S. artillery on the ground in Syria and Army attack helicopters to support an assault on the group’s capital, Raqqa, officials said.
  • During the presidential campaign, Mr. Trump repeatedly said he had a secret plan to defeat the Islamic State, but he also said he would give his commanders a month to come up with other options.
  • The White House is expected to press for a review of the U.S. nuclear posture — one that retains all three legs of the nuclear arsenal, with weapons aboard bombers and submarines and in underground missile silos — as well as a review of how to achieve the President’s goal of fielding a “state of the art” anti-missile system.

 

 

GS III: S&T - BIOTECHNOLOGY

Scientists take first steps to grow human organs in pigs

  • For the first time, biologists have succeeded in growing human stem cells in pig embryos, shifting from science fiction to the realm of the possible the idea of developing human organs in animals for later transplant.
  • The approach involves generating stem cells from a patient’s skin, growing the desired new organ in a large animal like a pig, and then harvesting it for transplant into the patient’s body.
  • Since the organ would be made of a patient’s own cells, there would be little risk of immune rejection.
  • The human-organ-growing pigs would be examples of chimeras, animals composed of two different genomes.
  • They would be generated by implanting human stem cells into an early pig embryo, resulting in an animal composed of mixed pig and human cells.
  • One team of biologists, led by Jun Wu and Juan Carlos Izpisua Belmonte at the Salk Institute, has shown for the first time that human stem cells can contribute to forming the tissues of a pig, despite the 90 million years of evolution between the two species.
  • Mr. Belmonte’s team has now shown that human stem cells do survive in pig embryos and help form their organs, although not very efficiently.
  • Another group, headed by Tomoyuki Yamaguchi and Hideyuki Sato of the University of Tokyo, and Hiromitsu Nakauchi of Stanford, has reversed diabetes in mice by inserting pancreas glands composed of mouse cells that were grown in a rat.
  • Mr. Nakauchi has disabled the master gene in rats for making a pancreas so that when mouse stem cells are injected into the early embryo of such a rat, the growing embryo has no choice but to construct its pancreas of pure mouse cells, instead of the usual mixture of rat and mouse cells.
  • The next step is to repeat the experiment in pigs, which produce organs of a more suitable size for use in humans.
  • The two reports together establish the feasibility of trying to grow replacement human organs in animals, though such a goal is still far off.
  • Many technical and ethical barriers have yet to be overcome, but the research is advancing alongside the acute need for organs; some 76,000 people in the U.S. alone are awaiting transplants.
  • Both Izpisua Belmonte and Nakauchi said there was a long way to go before human organs could successfully be grown in animals like pigs.
  • Chimeras will be more immediately useful in studying human embryogenesis, testing drugs and following the progress of disease.
  • Both scientists expressed confidence that ethical concerns about chimera research could be addressed.
  • Chimeras are typically mosaics in which each organ is a mixture of the host and donor cells. But new techniques like the Crispr-Cas gene editing system should allow the human cells in a pig embryo both to be channelled into organs of interest and to be excluded from tissues of concern like the brain and reproductive tissues.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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