01 August Current Affairs
August 1, 2019
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August 3, 2019
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02 August Current Affairs

National Medical Commission Bill, 2019

In News:

The Rajya Sabha cleared the NMC Bill with a crucial amendment to increase representation of the State Medical Council from 5 members to 9 and State University representation 6 six to 10 in the new body. The Lok Sabha cleared the proposed law on July 29.

Salient Features of the bill:

The Bill seeks to repeal the Indian Medical Council Act, 1956.

National Medical Commission (NMC): The Bill sets up the NMC which will replace the Medical Council of India (MCI). It will consist of 25 members, appointed by the central government.

Functions of the NMC include:

  • framing policies for regulating medical institutions and medical professionals,
  • assessing the requirements of healthcare related human resources and infrastructure,
  • ensuring compliance by the State Medical Councils of the regulations, and
  • framing guidelines for determination of fees for up to 50% of the seats in private medical institutions and deemed universities which are regulated under the Bill.

State Medical Councils: Within three years of the passage of the Bill, state governments will establish State Medical Councils at the state level.

Medical Advisory Council: The central government will constitute a Medical Advisory Council which will be the primary platform through which the states/union territories can put forth their concerns before the NMC. It will also advise the NMC on measures to determine and maintain minimum standards of medical education.

Autonomous boards: The Bill sets up autonomous boards under the supervision of the NMC. Each board will consist of a President and four members, appointed by the central government.  These boards are –

The Under-Graduate Medical Education Board (UGMEB) and the Post-Graduate Medical Education Board (PGMEB)

The Medical Assessment and Rating Board (MARB)

The Ethics and Medical Registration Board

Community health providers: The NMC may grant a limited license to certain mid-level practitioners connected with the modern medical profession to practice medicine.

NEET: There will be a uniform National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test (NEET) for admission to under-graduate and post-graduate super-speciality medical education in all medical institutions regulated under the Bill.

NEXT: There will be a common final year undergraduate examination called the National Exit Test (NEXT) for the students graduating from medical institutions to obtain the license for practice. This test will also serve as the basis for admission into post-graduate courses at medical institutions under this Bill.

Xenotransplantation

In News:

Scientists in Japan will begin trying to grow human organs in animals after receiving government permission for the first study of its kind in the country.

About: 

The research involves implanting modified animal embryos with human “induced pluripotent stem” (iPS) cells that can be coaxed into forming the building blocks of any part of the body.

The research involves generating animal embryos — mice, rats or pigs — that lack a particular organ such as a pancreas.

The modified embryos are then implanted with human iPS cells that can grow into the missing pancreas. The embryos would be transplanted into wombs where they could theoretically be carried to term with a functioning human pancreas.

It is the first step towards a future where human organs for transplant could be grown inside animals.

Xenotransplantation? :

Meaning: Xenotransplantation or heterologous transplant is the transplantation of living cells, tissues or organs from one species to another.

Potential benefits: Human xenotransplantation offers a potential treatment for end-stage organ failure.

Concerns: However, it also raises many medical, legal and ethical issues.

Many animals, such as pigs, have a shorter lifespan than humans, meaning that their tissues age at a quicker rate.

Disease transmission (xenozoonosis) and permanent alteration to the genetic code of animals are also causes for concern.

Indus Script

In News:

A recent research paper published in Palgrave Communications, a Nature group journal, has claimed that a majority of the Indus Valley inscriptions were written logographically (by using word signs) and not by using phonograms (speech sounds units).

About:

Name of the paper: Interrogating Indus inscription to unravel their mechanism of meaning conveyance.

Objective: This article mainly focuses on understanding how Indus inscriptions conveyed meanings, rather than on deciphering what they conveyed.

Key findings:

Majority of the Indus Valley inscriptions were written logographically (by using word signs) and not by using phonograms (speech sounds units).

The inscriptions can be compared to the structured messages found on stamps, coupons, tokens and currency coins of modern times.

The popular hypothesis that the seals were inscribed with Proto-Dravidian or Proto-Indo-European names of the seal-owners does not hold ground.

These inscriptions can be compared to the messages found on stamps, coupons, tokens and currency coins of modern times.

Way ahead: This study could serve as a basis in future for the deciphering of the script.

The Indus inscriptions have not been deciphered due to the absence of bilingual texts, extreme brevity of the inscriptions, and ignorance about the language(s) encoded by Indus script.

Pashmina Testing Centre

In News:

Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) announced that it would set up a Pashmina testing centre in Leh, in partnership with the lab of Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council (LAHDC), Leh to check the quality of pashmina collected.

Pashmina: 

Pashmina is a fine type of Kashmiri wool which comes from 4 distinct breeds of the Cashmere goat namely:

  • Changthangi (or Kashmir Pashmina goat) from the Changthang Plateau in Kashmir region,
  • Malra from Kargil area in Kashmir region,
  • Chegu from Himachal Pradesh
  • Chyangara (or Nepalese Pashmina goat) from Nepal.

Pashmina (also known as ‘cashmere’ in the West) literally translates to “Soft Gold” in Kashmiri.

It is used to make shawl, scarf and wrap/stole.

Kashmir Pashmina has been assigned Geographical indication (GI) tag under the Geographical Indications of Goods (Registration and Protection) Act, 1999.

Controller General Of Accounts (CGA)

In News:

Girraj Prasad Gupta has been appointed as the Controller General of Accounts (CGA) with effect from August 1, 2019.

About: 

Parent agency: Department of Expenditure, Ministry of Finance.

What is it? It is the Principal Accounting Adviser to Government of India and is responsible for establishing and maintaining a technically sound Management Accounting System.

Functions: 

The Office of CGA prepares monthly and annual analysis of expenditure, revenues, borrowings and various fiscal indicators for the Union Government.

Under Article 150 of the Constitution, the Annual Appropriation Accounts (Civil) and Union Finance Accounts are submitted to Parliament on the advice of Comptroller and Auditor General of India.

Along with these documents, an M.I.S Report titled ‘Accounts at a Glance’ is prepared and circulated to Hon’ble Members of Parliament.

It is is also responsible for coordination and monitoring the progress of submission of corrective/remedial action taken notes (ATNs) on the recommendations contained in Public Accounts Committee’s (PAC) reports as well as the Comptroller & Auditor General (CAG) reports through its web based Audit Para Monitoring System (APMS).

Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Bill 2019

In News:

Rajya Sabha passed the Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Bill 2019 to provide an Efficient, Safe and Corruption Free Transport System in the Country.

About:

The Rajya Sabha passed the Motor Vehicles (Amendment), Bill, 2019. It will be again sent to the Lok Sabha for approval as it was passed with some Amendments.

The bill seeks to amend the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988 to provide for road safety. Around 1.50 lakh people die and 5 lakh people injured annually in road accidents.

Salient features of the Bill:

Provisions related to increasing penalties of traffic violations, addressing issues on third-party insurance, regulation of cab aggregators and road safety are proposed in the amendment.

It proposes a scheme to allow cashless treatment of victims in a road accident during the golden hour.

It proposes to increase the minimum compensation for hit and run cases. In case of the death, the compensation has been raised from 25,000 to 2 lakh rupees, and in case of grievous injury, it will be from 12,500 to 50,000 rupees.

The government will open motor driving training schools to impart skill trainings to drivers. The government will also give one crore rupees grant to those who want to open such training schools.

The golden hour is defined as the time period of up to one hour following a traumatic injury, during which the likelihood of preventing death through prompt medical care is the highest.

While passing the bill, Union minister appreciated the measures taken by Tamil Nadu Government in reducing the number of accidents by 29 % in the last 2 years and the Centre will adopt the Tamil Nadu model in reducing the accidents across the country.

Global coalition to protect pollinators

In News:

Nigeria becomes fourth African nation to join global coalition to protect pollinators.

Details:

While Morroco became a member of this group in May this year, Ethiopia was the first African nation to be part of this global coalition in 2017.  Burundi was the second African country to join this global group.

About the Global Coalition of the Willing on Pollinators:

The organisation was formed three years ago, to follow up on the findings of IPBES Assessment on Pollinators, Pollination and Food Production, which found that many of the world’s pollinator species are on the decline.

The initiative to form a coalition was taken by the Netherlands on December 12, 2016 at the Conference of the Parties–Convention of Biological Diversity held in Mexico.

Members: The coalition now has 28 signatories including 17 European countries, five from Latin America and the Caribbean and four from Africa.

Need:

About 16.5 per cent of vertebrate pollinators are threatened with global extinction, say the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List assessments.

The assessment highlights that 75 per cent of food crops in the world and nearly 90 per cent of wild flowering plants depend, at least to some extent, on animal pollination.

Pollinator-dependent species include several fruits, vegetables, seeds, nuts and oil crops, which are major sources of micronutrients, vitamins and minerals to humans.

Joining the coalition means adopting the following measures:

Taking action to protect pollinators and their habitats by developing and implementing national pollinator strategies.

Sharing experience and lessons learnt in developing and implementing national pollinator strategies, especially knowledge on new approaches, innovations and best practices.

Reaching out to seek collaboration with a broad spectrum of stakeholders—countries as well as businesses, NGOs, farmers and local communities.

Developing research on pollinator conservation.

Supporting and collaborating with each other—and those parties that are willing to join the coalition.

What is the importance of pollinators?

Plants depend on pollination.

Globally nearly 90% of wild flowering plant species depend on animal pollination.

More than 75% of leading global crop types benefit from animal pollination in production, yield and quality.

Around 5-8% of current global crop production is directly ascribed to animal pollination, which equates to somewhere between 235 and 577 billion American dollars worldwide.

PRAGATI

In News:

The PM chaired his 30th  interaction through PRAGATI recently.

Details:

It is a multi-purpose, multi-modal platform for “Pro-Active Governance And Timely Implementation” (PRAGATI).

It is a unique integrating and interactive platform aimed at addressing common man’s grievances, also monitors and reviews important programmes and projects of both central and state governments.

It is incorporated with three latest technologies-

  1. Digital data management,
  2. Video-conferencing and
  3. Geo-spatial technology.

It is a three-tier system – PMO, Union Government Secretaries, and Chief Secretaries of the States, PM will hold a monthly interaction with the Government Secretaries and Chief Secretaries through Video-conferencing.

The system has been designed in-house by the PMO with the help of National Informatics Center (NIC), also a robust system for bringing e-transparency and e-accountability among the key stakeholders.

In the recent interaction, PM reviews progress of flagship schemes like Ayushman Bharat and Sugamya Bharat Abhiyan, PM AwasYojana (Urban) etc.

IPBES

The Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) is an independent intergovernmental body.

The objective is to strengthen the science-policy interface for biodiversity and ecosystem services for the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity.

Currently has over 130 member States.

A large number of NGOs, civil society groupings, individual stakeholders, also participate in the meet.

It found that many of the world’s pollinator species are on the decline.

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