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31 October Current Affairs

Ayurveda Day

In News:

Ministry of AYUSH, Govt. of India celebrated Ayurveda Day on 25th October, 2019 on the day of Dhanvantari Jayanti (Dhanteras). On this occasion, Ministry also facilitated Ayurveda experts with “National Dhanwantari Ayurveda Award.”

National Ayurveda Day:

Objectives of Ayurveda Day: Create a sense of awareness about Ayurvedic principles of healing in society in today’s generation.

Date of Celebration: It is celebrated every year on the occasion of Dhanwantari Jayanti (Dhanteras) since 2016.

Lord Dhanvantari is considered as divine propagator of Ayurveda.

He is conferred with the virtues of granting health and wealth. Therefore, Dhanvantari Jayanti was preferred for celebration of Ayurveda Day.

National Dhanwantari Ayurveda Award:

The award instituted by Ministry of AYUSH is conferred every year on the Ayurveda Day.

It is conferred on Ayurveda experts possessing qualifications included in II, III, IV schedule of IMCC Act, 1970 and having profound contribution to the field of Ayurveda.

A cash prize of Rs. 5 lacs along with citation are given to the awardees.

National Panchayat Awards 2019

In News:

Union Minister for Panchayati Raj conferred the National Panchayat Awards 2019 on the 240 panchayats. He also launched Spatial Planning Application ‘Gram Manchitra.’

National Panchayat Awards 2019 were given under the following categories:

Deen Dayal Upadhyay Panchayat Sashaktikaran Puraskar (DDUPSP): given to best performing Panchayats (District, Intermediate and Gram) in recognition of the good work done for improving delivery of services and public goods such as Sanitation, Social Sector Performance, Disaster Management, Innovation in revenue generation, e-Governance etc.

Nanaji Deshmukh Rashtriya Gaurav Gram Sabha Puraskar (NDRGGSP): Given to Gram Panchayats (GPs) for their outstanding contribution to the socio-economic development by involving Gram Sabhas.

Gram Panchayat Development Plan (GPDP) Award: It is conferred to best performing Gram Panchayats (GPs) across the country which have developed their GPDPs according to the State/UT specific guidelines.

Child-friendly Gram Panchayat Award: This award is given for best performing GPs/Village Councils (VCs) (one in each State/UT) for adopting child-friendly practices.

e-Panchayat Puraskar: The main aim of this award is to incentivize those States/UTs, which have made dedicated efforts in adopting and implementing the e-Panchayat Applications and enabling electronic delivery of services through Panchayats & equivalent rural bodies.

Gram Manchitra:

The Minister also launched a Spatial Planning Application called ‘Gram Manchitra’ which is a Geo Spatial based decision support system for the panchayats.

The panchayats can utilize this App to plan, develop and monitor developmental activities on real time basis.

Large-Scale Study Of The Carbon Dioxide Emissions Of Mountain Streams

In News:

Scientists have reported the findings of the first large-scale study of the carbon dioxide emissions of mountain streams, and their role in global carbon fluxes (the carbon exchanged between various carbon pools on Earth).

Key findings:

The international study led by Switzerland-based research institute École polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) has been published in the journal Nature Communications.

Mountain streams have a higher average carbon dioxide emission rate per square metre than streams at lower altitudes, due in part to the additional turbulence caused as water flows down slopes.

Mountain streams account for 5% in the global surface area of fluvial networks. 10%-30% is the share of mountain streams in carbon dioxide emissions from all fluvial networks.

The findings indicate that the carbon dioxide comes from geological sources. The result shows importance of including mountain streams in assessments of the global carbon cycle.

Melbourne Mercer Global Pension Index (MMGPI) 2019

In News:

According to the Melbourne Mercer Global Pension Index (MMGPI) 2019, India has marginally improved its ranking to 32nd position in terms of providing pension and retirement benefits to citizens compared to last year.

About:

The MMGPI, which covers 37 countries, is based on how they fare on providing pension and retirement benefits to citizens across different income groups.

India stood at 32nd position in 2019 out of 37 countries, while it was ranked at 33rd place in 2018 out of 34 countries in the list. The country’s score in the MMGPI 2019 rose to 45.8 from 44.6 last year. India’s index value increased largely due to the improvement in all three sub-indices of adequacy, sustainability and integrity.

In the overall list, the Netherlands had the highest index value (81.0), while Thailand had the lowest value (39.4).

Sub-index wise, Ireland had the highest score for adequacy (81.5), Denmark for sustainability (82.0) and Finland for integrity (92.3). Thailand scored the lowest for adequacy (35.8), Italy for sustainability (19.0) and Philippines for integrity (34.7).

Wildfires

In News:

Citing data from its Sentinel-3 World Fire Atlas, the European Space Agency (ESA) has announced that compared to August 2018, there were almost five times as many wildfires across the world in August 2019.

About the prototype:

Sentinel-3 is an Earth observation satellite constellation developed by the European Space Agency (ESA) as part of the Copernicus Programme.

The Sentinel-3 World Fires Atlas Prototype product has been developed by ESA over the southern countries of the ESA member states.

It aims to provide continuity to ESA ATSR World Fire Atlas (operating from June 1995 to March 2012) taking on board all the improvements of Sentinel-3 SLSTR instrument.

Key findings:

The ESA’s Copernicus Sentinel-3 mission recorded 79,000 fires in August this year, compared to just over 16,000 fires detected during the same period last year.

The data revealed that 49% of the fires were detected in Asia, around 28% were detected in South America, 16% in Africa, and the remaining were recorded in North America, Europe and Oceania.

Gill-Oxygen Limitation Theory (GOLT)

In News:

In a new research paper, Scientists have explained the biological reasons why fish species will shift towards the poles due to impact of climate change. Scientists have described this with the Gill-Oxygen Limitation Theory (GOLT).

About:

According to Gill-Oxygen Limitation Theory (GOLT), warming waters have less oxygen. Therefore, fish have difficulties breathing in such environments. Additionally, such warming, low-oxygen waters also increase fish’s oxygen demands because their metabolism speeds up.

This is because, as fish grow, their demand for oxygen increases. However, the surface area of the gills (two-dimensional) does not grow at the same pace as the rest of the body (three-dimensional). The larger the fish, the smaller its surface area relative to the volume of its body.

So, the fish move to waters whose temperatures resemble those of their original habitats and that satisfy their oxygen needs.

As the global sea surface temperature has increased by approximately 0.13°C per decade over the past 100 years, “suitable” waters are more and more found towards the poles and at greater depths.

Broad Trends For Employment In India Between 2004 And 2018

In News:

A new study, commissioned by the Economic Advisory Council to the Prime Minister (EAC-PM), and undertaken by Laveesh Bhandari of Indicus Foundation and Amaresh Dubey of Jawaharlal Nehru University, has highlighted the broad trends for employment in India between 2004 and 2018.

About:

A key feature of this study is that instead of focusing on unemployment, it focuses only on the “employment” data.

It does so by looking at three comparable surveys conducted by the National Sample Survey Organisation (NSSO) — the Employment-Unemployment Surveys (EUS) of 2004-05 and 2011-12, and the Periodic Labour Force Survey (PLFS) of 2017-18.

Main findings of the study:

The total employment in the country grew by 4.5 crore in the 13 years between EUS 2004-05 and PLFS 2017-18. This represents a growth of just 0.8 per cent — less than half the rate at which the overall population grew, which was 1.7 per cent.

Of the 4.5 crore increase in employment, 4.2 crore happened in the urban areas while rural employment either contracted (by 0.01 per cent between 2004 and 2011) or was stagnant (grew by 0.18 per cent between 2011 and 2017).

Male employment grew by 6 crore but female employment fell by 1.5 crore.

Youth employment (those between the ages of 15 and 24) has fallen from 8.14 crore in 2004 to 5.34 crore in 2017. However, employment in the 25-59 age group and the 60 years and above group has gone up.

The share of organised sector in the total employed has risen from 8.9 per cent in 2004 to 14 per cent in 2017. The share of unorganised sector in the total employed has gone up from 37.1 per cent in 2004 to 47.7 per cent in 2017.

Both these sectors – Organised and Unorganised – have grown at the expense of the agri-cropping sector, where employment has fallen from 21.9 per cent in 2004 to 17.4 per cent in 2017. In essence, those who are poor, illiterate, and unskilled are increasingly losing out on jobs.

Next Chief Justice Of India (CJI)

In News:

President of India Ramnath Kovind formally announced that Sharad Arvind Bobde will be India’s next Chief Justice Of India (CJI).

About:

Justice Bobde will be India’s 47th CJI. Justice Bobde will take oath on November 18 after the incumbent CJI Ranjan Gogoi retires from office.

He has been chosen following the rule of seniority and his name was recommended by CJI Gogoi in a letter to the Centre.

His tenure as CJI will last for 17 months and he is due to retire in April 2021.

Appointment of CJI: Article 124 of the Constitution of India provides for the manner of appointing judges to the Supreme Court (SC). But there is no specific provision in the Constitution for appointing the Chief Justice.

CJI should be the senior most judge of the Supreme Court (SC). Law Minister to seek recommendation of the outgoing CJI for appointment of new CJI at an appropriate time.

In case of doubt about the fitness of the senior-most Judge to hold office of CJI consultation with other Judges under Article 124(2) to be made.

Law Minister to put up recommendation to Prime Minister (PM) who will advise the President on appointment.

Seniority at the apex court is determined not by age, but by:

The date a judge was appointed to the SC.

If two judges are elevated to the Supreme Court on the same day, (1) the one who was sworn in first as a judge would trump another; (2) if both were sworn in as judges on the same day, the one with more years of high court service would ‘win’ in the seniority stakes; (3) an appointment from the bench would ‘trump’ in seniority an appointee from the bar.

Tenure:

Once appointed, the Chief Justice remains in office until the age of 65 years.

Article 124(4) of Constitution of India provides that a SC Judge including CJI can be moved only through a process of impeachment by Parliament.

Paramahansa Yogananda

In News:

Finance Minister Releases Commemorative Coin on Paramahansa Yogananda to Mark his 125th Birth Anniversary.

About Paramahansa Yogananda:

Born in 1893, he was an Indian monk, yogi and guruwho introduced millions to the teachings of meditation and Kriya Yoga through his organization Self-Realization Fellowship (SRF) / Yogoda Satsanga Society (YSS) of India.

He is considered as the “Father of Yoga in the West.”

He was the first major Indian teacher to settle in America, and the first prominent Indian to be hosted in the White House.

He published his book Autobiography of a Yogiin 1946.

What is Kriya Yoga?

The “science” of Kriya Yoga is the foundation of Yogananda’s teachings.

Kriya Yoga is “union (yoga) with the Infinite through a certain action or rite (kriya).

The Kriya Yogi mentally directs his life energy to revolve, upward and downward, around the six spinal centers (medullary, cervical, dorsal, lumbar, sacral, and coccygeal plexuses) which correspond to the twelve astral signs of the zodiac, the symbolic Cosmic Man.

One-half minute of revolution of energy around the sensitive spinal cord of man effects subtle progress in his evolution; that half-minute of Kriya equals one year of natural spiritual unfoldment.

National Digital Health Blueprint

In News:

National Digital Health Blueprint report submitted to Health Ministry.

Background:

In August this year, the government released NDHB which aims to create National Digital Health Eco- System.

Highlights of the National Digital Health Blueprint (NDHB):

It lays out the ‘building blocks’ for the implementation of the National Health Stack (NHS), which aims to deploy Artificial Intelligence (AI) in leveraging health records.

Keeping true to the government’s larger agenda, of ‘data as a public good’, the blueprint proposes the linking of multiple databases to generate greater and granular data that can be leveraged by the public as well as private sector – including insurance companies, hospitals, apps and researchers.

The blueprint proposes a National Digital Health Mission “as a purely government organisation with complete functional autonomy adopting some features of some of the existing National Information Utilities like UIDAI and GSTN.”

Concerns:

This National Blueprint illustrates yet another example of the Centre moving forward with a major digitisation program involving the data of millions of citizens without a data protection law in place.

Data security is a prerequisite for any data movement. Currently, data privacy in health is a grey area.

Data researchers and activists have expressed concerns about the development of this policy, which proposes a health data set-up on a foundation of India Stack – a bouquet of privately-owned proprietary software applications.

 

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