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September 4, 2018
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September 6, 2018
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05 September Current Affairs

International Women Entrepreneurs Summit

In News:

The International Women Entrepreneurs Summit 2018 is being held in Kathmandu, Nepal.

Details:

It is organised by the South Asian Women Development Forum.

Theme: “Equality begins with Economic Empowerment”.

Objective:

The main objective of the summit is to bring together achievers, women business leaders, professionals, international service providers, resource organisations, experts, government representatives and other stakeholders with a focus on innovative economic transformation through discussions and collaborations.

South Asian Women Development Forum (SAWDF):

  • SAWDF is an autonomous, nonprofit organization based in Kathmandu, Nepal.
  • It was granted the status of SAARC Recognized Body by 36th Session of SAARC Council Ministers at 18th SAARC Summit held in Kathmandu in 2014.
  • It is first SAARC Recognized Body organisation working on women entrepreneurs issues.
  • It represents national women entrepreneurs’ associations or organizations, institutions working towards economic issues of women entrepreneurs in SAARC Region.
  • Its membership is based on organizations with extensive work around women’s entrepreneurship.

Source: The Hindu

Poshan Maah

In News:

The Government is celebrating the month of September, 2018 as the National Nutrition Month under the Poshan Abhiyan.

About Poshan Maah (National Nutrition Month):

  • The primary objective of the celebration of Poshan Maah is to take the messages of POSHAN to the grass root level.
  • The programme- an initiative of WCD Ministry and NITI Aayog is supported by 18 line Ministries/Departments/Government Organizations.
  • It seeks to synergise all efforts by leveraging technology and intends to take nutrition awareness to the level of Jan Andolan or People’s Movement.
  • The programme focuses on 8 themes – Antenatal Care, Optimal Breastfeeding (Early & Exclusive), Complementary Feeding, Anemia, Growth Monitoring, Girls-education, diet, right age of Marriage, Hygiene & Sanitation, Food Fortification.

About POSHAN Abhiyan:

POSHAN Abhiyaan (National Nutrition Mission) was launched on 8th March, 2018.

Objectives: The programme through use of technology, a targeted approach and convergence strives to reduce the level of Stunting, Under-nutrition, Anemia and Low Birth Weight in Children, as also, focus on Adolescent Girls, Pregnant Women & Lactating Mothers, thus holistically addressing malnutrition.

Aim: POSHAN Abhiyaan aims to ensure service delivery and interventions by use of technology, behavioural change through convergence and lays-down specific targets to be achieved across different monitoring parameters over the next few years.

Coverage: To ensure a holistic approach, all 36 States/UTs and 718 districts will be covered in a phased manner by the year 2020.

Source: PIB

Draft charter of Patients’ Rights

In News:

The draft Charter of Patients’ Rights, prepared by the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), has been released. The Ministry plans to implement the Charter of Patients’ Rights through State governments for provision of proper health care by clinical establishments.

Highlights of the draft:

The draft charter includes 17 rights with description, draws upon all relevant provisions, inspired by international charters and guided by national level provisions, with the objective of consolidating these into a single document.

The proposed Charter draws upon all the existing relevant provisions, with the objective of consolidating these into a single document, thereby making them publicly known in a coherent manner.

There is an expectation that this document will act as a guidance document for the Centre and state governments to formulate concrete mechanisms so that patient’s rights are given adequate protection and operational mechanisms are set-up to make these rights functional and enforceable by law.

The charter also prescribes certain responsibilities that the patient must adhere to.

These include: providing all required information to their doctor, without concealing relevant facts, so as to ensure a correct diagnosis and treatment.

Patients are also expected to follow all instructions regarding appointment time, co-operate with hospital staff and fellow patients, avoid creating disturbance to other patients, and maintain cleanliness in the hospital.

Patients should respect the dignity of the doctor and other hospital staff. Whatever the grievance may be, patient or caregivers should not resort to violence in any form.

The patients should also take responsibility for their actions based on choices made regarding treatment options and in case they refuse treatment.

Significance of the charter:

If the draft Charter of Patients’ Rights released by the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare comes into force, patients will not just have the right to emergency medical care and informed consent, but will also have the right to non-discrimination, seek a second opinion and choose alternative treatment options, if available.

Way ahead:

Once adopted, the charter will have to be prominently displayed at all hospitals, clinics, pharmacies and diagnostic laboratories. Further, the Centre and state governments need to set-up a grievance redressal mechanism for patients.

This charter is expected to act as a guidance document for the Union Government and State Governments to formulate concrete mechanisms so that Patients’ Rights are given adequate protection and operational mechanisms are set up to make these rights functional and enforceable by law. The onus is now on the States to follow the charter effectively.

Need for a charter on this:

Right to non-discrimination is an important right. Every patient has the right to receive treatment without any discrimination based on his or her illnesses or conditions, including HIV status or other health condition, religion, caste, ethnicity or sexual orientation.

The charter assumes significance as India does not have a dedicated regulator like other countries. Existing regulations in the interest of patients and governing healthcare delivery systems are still on the anvil.

Source: The Hindu

International Aviation Summit

In News:

The International Aviation Summit is being held New Delhi.

Details:

The summit has been jointly organised by the Airports Authority of India, Ministry of Civil Aviation and International Air Transport Association (IATA).

Background:

The Indian Government is preparing for a massive air traffic surge to handle as many as 100 crore passengers in next 15-20 years, much above the 50 crore trips a year as predicted by IATA. According to IATA, India is expected to overtake Germany, Japan, Spain and the UK within the next ten years to become the world’s third largest air passenger market.

Challenges to growth of the sector:

India’s aviation industry is showing contrast as on one hand there are infrastructural and economic issues plaguing the sector while on the other, airline companies are busy buying planes to meet the demand.

With a surge in domestic air travel demand in India, the country’s airlines are gearing up for a rise and have ordered around 1,000 aircraft over the next eight years. But despite traffic growth, the financial outlook for domestic airlines has deteriorated dramatically since January.

Imposing GST on international air tickets is being seen as a violation of international standards. The GST rate is 5% and 12% on economy and business class tickets respectively.

About IATA:

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) is the trade association for the world’s airlines, representing some 280 airlines or 83% of total air traffic. Formed in April 1945, it is the successor to the International Air Traffic Association, which was formed in 1919.

IATA supports airline activity and helps formulate industry policy and standards. It also provides consulting and training services in many areas crucial to aviation.

Headquarters: It is headquartered in Montreal, Quebec, Canada with Executive Offices in Geneva, Switzerland.

Source: The Hindu

Technology Initiatives for Coffee Stakeholders

In News:

The government has launched Coffee Connect – India coffee field force app and Coffee Krishi Tharanga – digital mobile extension services for coffee stakeholders.

Coffee Connect:

The mobile app Coffee Connect has been developed to ease the work of field functionaries and to improve the work efficiency.

This application provides solution by harnessing the power of mobility comprising the latest technology in easing the whole process of the field. This includes activities like digitization of Coffee Growers & Estates with Geo Tagging, collecting the Plantation details.

It will also help in transparency in the activities of the extension officers and officials, transparency in subsidy disbursement and real time report generation.

Coffee Krishi Tharanga:

The Coffee KrishiTharanga services are aimed at providing customized information and services to increase productivity, profitability, and environmental sustainability. NABARD has partly funded the Pilot project.

The solution will help in to reach maximum growers in limited period, efficient, timely, customised advisory, improve the efficiency through digitization and leverage existing mobile reach for wider delivery of improved technology.

Coffee cultivation in India:

Coffee is cultivated in India in about 4.54 lakh hectares by 3.66 lakh coffee farmers and 98% of them are small farmers. Its cultivation is mainly confined to Karnataka (54%), Kerala (19%) and Tamil Nadu (8%) which form traditional coffee tracts.

Indian coffee, grown mostly in southern states under monsoon rainfall conditions, is also termed as “Indian monsooned coffee”.

The two well known species of coffee grown are the Arabica and Robusta. The first variety that was introduced in the Baba Budan Giri hill ranges of Karnataka in the 17th century was marketed over the years under the brand names of Kent and S.795.

Coffee Board of India:

The Coffee Board of India is an organisation managed by the Ministry of Commerce and Industry of the government of India to promote coffee production in India.

  • It was established by an act of Parliament in 1942.
  • Its duties included the promotion of the sale and consumption of coffee in India and abroad, conducting coffee research, financial assistance to establish small coffee growers, safeguarding working conditions for laborers, and managing the surplus pool of unsold coffee.

Source: PIB

Japan to test mini ‘space elevator’

In News:

A Japanese team has developed a space elevator and will conduct a first trial this month, blasting off a miniature version on satellites to test the technology.

Key facts:

  • The test equipment will hitch a ride on an H-2B rocket being launched by Japan’s space agency.
  • The test involves a miniature elevator stand-in a box just 6 cm long, 3 cm wide, and 3 cm high. The mini-elevator will travel along the cable from a container in one of the satellites.
  • If all goes well, it will provide proof of concept by moving along a 10-metre cable suspended in space between two mini satellites that will keep it taut.

Background:

The idea was first proposed in 1895 by Russian scientist Konstantin Tsiolkovsky after he saw the Eiffel Tower in Paris, and was revisited nearly a century later in a novel by Arthur C. Clarke. But technical barriers have always kept plans stuck at the conceptual stage.

Source: The Hindu

Plan to save Himalayan springs

In News:

A NITI Aayog constituted group of experts has urged the government to set up a dedicated mission to salvage and revive spring water systems in the country’s Himalayan States.

Details:

In this context, it has released a report titled ‘Inventory and Revival of Springs in the Himalayas for Water Security.’

Significance of spring water systems for the region:

Himalayan spring water systems are important as a source of water for both drinking and irrigation for the region’s inhabitants. Spanning States across the country’s north and northeast and home to about 50 million people, the Indian Himalayan Region (IHR) has been heavily reliant on these natural groundwater sources.

Also, with almost 64% of the cultivable area in the Himalayas fed by natural springs, they are often the only source of irrigation in the region.

Concerns:

Almost half of the perennial springs have already dried up or have become seasonal and tens of thousands of villages are currently facing acute water shortage for drinking and other domestic purposes.

Almost 60% of low-discharge springs that provided water to small habitations in the Himalayan region have reported clear decline during the last couple of decades.

The extent of the crisis plaguing the mountainous region was recently evident when more than half a dozen districts of Himachal Pradesh and the State capital Shimla faced a severe drinking water crisis this May after major water sources either went fully or partially dry.

Threats:

These water sources today are under increasing threat from the urbanisation caused by a constant push for development and climate change.

There are also multiple sources of pollution in springs and these were due to both geogenic, or ‘natural’ causes and anthropogenic, or man-made, ones.

Microbial content, sulphates and nitrates were primarily because of anthropogenic reasons and contamination from fluoride, arsenic and iron was mainly derived from geogenic sources.

Distribution of springs:

Meghalaya with 3,810 villages with springs has the highest number of these water sources in the Eastern Himalayan States.

Sikkim has the greatest density with 94% of its villages having a spring.

In the Western Himalayas, Jammu & Kashmir had both the highest number of villages with springs at 3,313 and the greatest density of 50.6%.

What needs to be done?

A multidisciplinary, collaborative approach of managing springs that will involve building upon the existing body of work on spring water management is needed. The programme could be designed on the concept of an action-research programme as part of a hydrogeology-based, community-support system on spring water management.

A long- term plan:

The task force moots an 8-year programme to overhaul spring water management. This includes: preparing a digital atlas of the country’s springsheds, training ‘para-hydrogeologists’ who could lead grassroots conservation and introduction of a ‘Spring Health Card.’

Source: The Hindu

‘IOWave18’

In News:

Indian Ocean Wave Exercise 2018 (IOWave18) is being held in the Indian Ocean.

Key facts:

India along with 23 other nations is participating in this major Indian ocean-wide tsunami mock drill which involves evacuation of thousands of people from coastal areas in over half a dozen coastal states.

This tsunami warning exercise is being organised by the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) of UNESCO. It was the IOC that coordinated the setting up of the Indian Ocean Tsunami Warning and Mitigation System (IOTWMS) in the aftermath of December 2004 tsunami.

Objective:

Besides testing the standard operating procedure (SOP) and communication links at all levels of the warning chain, a primary objective of IOWave18 exercise is to enhance tsunami preparedness at community level.

The purpose of exercise is to increase tsunami preparedness, evaluate response capabilities in each state and improve coordination throughout the region.

Significance:

Exercise IOWave18 will simulate Indian Ocean countries being put in a tsunami warning situation and require the respective National Tsunami Warning Centres and the Disaster Management Offices in each country to implement their Standard Operating Procedures.

IOWave18 will also provide an opportunity for Member States to test the indicators of Indian Ocean Tsunami Ready (IOTR) programme in pilot communities. IOTR is a community performance-based programme that facilitates a structural and systematic approach in building tsunami preparedness.

About the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC):

UNESCO’s Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) promotes international cooperation and coordinates programmes in marine research, services, observation systems, hazard mitigation, and capacity development to understand and manage the resources of the ocean and coastal areas.

The Commission aims to improve the governance, management, institutional capacity, and decision-making processes of its Member States with respect to marine resources and climate variability.

IOC coordinates ocean observation and monitoring through the Global Ocean Observing System (GOOS) which aims to develop a unified network providing information on the oceans.

IOC also coordinates and fosters the establishment of regional intergovernmental tsunami warning and mitigation systems in the Pacific and Indian Oceans, in the North East Atlantic, Mediterranean and Caribbean seas.

Source: The Hindu

KAZIND 2018

In News:

The 2018 edition will be held in Otar region, Kazakhstan.

Details:

It is a joint military exercise between India and Kazakhstan. The aim of the exercise is to build and promote bilateral Army to Army relations and exchange skills and experiences between Kazakhstan Army and the Indian Army. The exercise will also serve as a platform for exchange of drills and procedures.

Background:

This is the third joint military exercise between the two countries which have a history of extensive cooperation in the defence arena. The second edition of the exercise was held in India last year.

Source: PIB

Permanent Indus Commission

  • As per the Indus Water Treaty between India and Pakistan, Permanent Indus Commission should meet atleast once in a year.
  • The commission has experts who look into issues and disputes on the ground over the utilisation of the waters of six rivers of the Indus system.
  • Under the treaty, India has full use of the three “eastern” rivers (Beas, Ravi, Sutlej).
  • Pakistan has control over the three “western” rivers (Indus, Chenab, Jhelum), although India is given rights to use these partially as well for certain purposes.
  • The recent meeting was held in Lahore.
  • It was agreed in the meeting that Pakistan will allow India to inspect the Kotri barrage in the lower Indus.
  • New Delhi has agreed to Islamabad’s request for a special inspection of the hydroelectric projects in the Jhelum river basin, including the Kishanganga scheme.

Spring Water System

  • The word “Spring” means to leap from the ground.
  • Natural springs are points on the earth surface through which ground water emerges and flows.
  • Water from confined aquifers is forced out through a cave to make artesian wells.
  • Sometimes springs are formed due to pressure from an underground water source which are usually called as “Hot Springs”.
  • Natural springs acts as a source of water for both drinking and irrigation.
  • A NITI Aayog constituted group of experts has urged the government to set up a dedicated mission to revive spring water systems in the Himalayan States.
  • Springs are often the only source of irrigation in the Himalayan region with 64% of the total cultivable area fed by springs.
  • In the Eastern Himalayas, Meghalaya has the highest number of villages having spring sources and Sikkim has the greatest density.
  • In the Western Himalayas, Jammu & Kashmir had both the highest number of villages with springsand the greatest density.
  • The task force also mooted an idea of introducing a “Spring Health Card”, preparing a digital atlas of the country’s springsheds, training ‘para-hydrogeologists’ who could lead grassroots conservation.

Indian Roofed Turtle

  • It is a species of turtle, protected under Schedule 1 of Wildlife Protection Act, 1972.
  • It is found in India, Bangladesh, Nepal and Pakistan.
  • In India, it is found in Ganges, Brahmaputra and Indus River drainages.
  • It is listed on CITES Appendix I.
  • It is listed as “Least Concern” in the IUCN list of threatened species.
  • The protected areas in Jalpaiguri is known for protecting this species.
  • In addition to it, it is also found in Lota devi temple located on the basin of River Karala in Jalpaiguri.
  • Society for Protecting Ophiofauna& Animal Rights (SPOAR), an NGO and the Wildlife Trust of India (WTI) has led an initiative to save the species from severe pollution in the river.
  • They have installed the Kurma avatar (form of turtle) of Lord Vishnu on the outskirts of river to reduce pollution and to encompass the religious belief.

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