GS III Topic: Disaster and disaster management.

Asian Ministerial Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction

 The three-day Asian Ministerial Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction (AMCDRR) 2016 came to an end with the adoption of the ‘New Delhi Declaration’ and the ‘Asian Regional Plan for Implementation of the Sendai Framework’. It will be a political commitment by 61 participating governments towards preventing and reducing disaster risk reduction.

  • This is the first AMCDRR after the advent of the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction (SFDRRR), adopted at the third UN World Conference in Sendai, Japan in March, 2015. It will set the direction of Sendai Framework implementation in the region.
  • AMCDRR 2016 will focus on collaboration, consultation and partnership with governments and stakeholders to mainstream DRR in the region’s development narrative.
  • The Conference will adopt the ‘Asian Regional Plan for Implementation of the Sendai Framework’ endorsed by the Asian countries.
  • It will also consolidate the political commitment of governments towards preventing and reducing risk as well as strengthening resilience in the form of a political declaration.

New Delhi Declaration

The ‘New Delhi Declaration’ is a political statement spelling out the commitment of participating governments towards preventing and reducing disaster risk, and strengthening the resilience of communities, nations and the Asian region. Recognising the need to accelerate the implementation of global frameworks, it commits to a people-centred and whole-of-society approach towards DRR. It also emphasises the need to enhance the capacity of communities and ensure participation of all stakeholder groups towards achieving resilience.

Asian Regional Plan

The ‘Asian Regional Plan for Implementation of the Sendai Framework’ focuses on the ‘How to’ reduce disaster risk at national and local levels. It has arrived at a longer term road map of cooperation and collaboration, spanning the 15-year horizon of the Sendai Framework, as well as a two-year action plan to further disaster risk reduction with specific, actionable activities.


Established in 2005, AMCDRR is a biennial conference jointly organized by different Asian countries and the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR). So far, six AMCDRR conferences have been organised. India had also hosted the second AMCDRR in New Delhi in 2007.

About Sendai Framework:

The “Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030” was adopted during the Third UN World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction held in Sendai, Japan in March, 2015.

  • It is the first major agreement of the post-2015 development agenda, with seven targets and four priorities for action.
  • The Framework is for 15-year. It is a voluntary and non-binding agreement which recognizes that the State has the primary role to reduce disaster risk but that responsibility should be shared with other stakeholders including local government, the private sector and other stakeholders.
  • The new Framework is the successor instrument to the Hyogo Framework for Action (HFA) 2005-2015: Building the Resilience of Nations and Communities to Disasters.
  • The implementation of the Sendai Framework involves adopting integrated and inclusive institutional measures so as to work towards preventing vulnerability to disaster, increase preparedness for response and recovery and strengthen resilience.

The Seven Global Targets:

     * Substantially reduce global disaster mortality by 2030, aiming to lower average per 100,000 global mortality rate in the decade 2020-2030 compared to the period 2005-2015.

     * Substantially reduce the number of affected people globally by 2030, aiming to lower average global figure per 100,000 in the decade 2020 -2030 compared to the period 2005-2015.

     * Reduce direct disaster economic loss in relation to global gross domestic product (GDP) by 2030.

     * Substantially reduce disaster damage to critical infrastructure and disruption of basic services, among them health and educational facilities, including through developing their resilience by 2030.

     * Substantially increase the number of countries with national and local disaster risk reduction strategies by 2020.

     * Substantially enhance international cooperation to developing countries through adequate and sustainable support to complement their national actions for implementation of this Framework by 2030.

            * Substantially increase the availability of and access to multi-hazard early warning systems and disaster risk information and assessments to the people by 2030.

GS II Topic: Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources, issues relating to poverty and hunger.

A Step Towards Strengthening the Food Testing Infrastructure in the Country

In the light of the recent observations by Mumbai High Court regarding the urgent need to upgrade Food Testing Laboratories in India The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has rolled out a major scheme for strengthening of Food Testing Infrastructure in the country.

Two proposals, from Chandigarh (Punjab) and Calicut (Kerala), were approved in principle. The other States were requested to revise and resubmit their proposals according to the scheme guidelines with mentorship support from FSSAI.

Food Testing Infrastructure

Under this scheme, 45 State/UT Food Testing labs (at least one in each State/UT with a provision of two labs in larger states) and 14 Referral Food Testing labs will be upgraded to enable them to obtain NABL accreditation.

62 Mobile Testing labs will also be established across all States/UTs. There are currently 4 Mobile food Testing labs in Punjab, Gujarat, Kerala and Tamil Nadu, which will serve as a model for these Mobile Testing labs.

Capacity building of the Food Testing labs is also an important component of this scheme. In addition, a School Food and Hygiene Programme has been envisaged under which basic Food Testing labs will be set up in 1500 schools/colleges across the country to promote a culture of safe and wholesome food.

GS III Topic: Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization of resources, growth, development and employment.

Council fixes 4-level GST rate structure

  • In a step towards realising the Goods and Services Tax, the GST council has finalised a 4-tier tax structure of 5, 12, 18 and 28%, with lower rates for essential items and the highest for luxury and de-merits goods. The standard rate of GST has been fixed at 18%.

Other provisions

  • Food grains will have a zero rate to protect people from pressure of inflation.
  • The lowest slab of 5% will be for items of common consumption. The bulk of the goods and services including fast-moving consumer goods will be included in two standard rates of 12% and 18%.
  • Heavy consumer durables like washing machines and refrigerators will be taxed at 28% with riders. These riders have been set because these goods are purchased by lower middle class too. The new tax would also include a separate central “cess” that will be levied on tobacco products, luxury cars and aerated drinks, charged on top of the 28% tax bracket.
  • There has been no decision on a tax rate for gold.
  • Apart from the four fixed GST rates, a cess between 40% and 65% will be imposed on goods like high-end cars, pan masala, aerated drinks and tobacco products.
  • The cess on demerit and sin goods ranging between 40 to 65% will create a revenue pool of Rs 5,000 crore to compensate the states for their revenue loss for the first five years of implementation of the GST.
  • The cess will be lapsable after the first five years.

Important Facts for Prelims


  • It is a 14-day joint military exercise by Bangladesh and India to practise counter-terrorism and disaster-management operations.
  • The exercise will be held at Shaheed Salauddin Cantonment in Bangladesh’s Ghatail, Tangail.
  • The joint exercise will simulate a scenario where both nations are working together in a counter-insurgency and counter-terrorism environment under the U.N. Charter.
  • The first exercise in this series was held at Jorhat in Assam in 2010.

James webb space telescope:

  • The James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) is the largest space telescope ever built and is ready to launch in 2018 after the required testing.
  • It is an international collaboration of about 17 countries including NASA, European Space Agency (ESA) and the Canadian Space Agency (CSA).
  • James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) is a space telescope optimized for observations in the infrared. It is a planned to be launched in 2018 on an Ariane 5 rocket from French Guiana.
  • It is the formal successor to the Hubble Space Telescope and the Spitzer Space Telescope.
  • The telescope is 100 times more potent than its predecessor, Hubble, and three times larger.After its launch it will be the premier observatory of the next decade.
  • WST has been named after James E. Webb, former administrator of NASA. It was formerly known as the Next Generation Space Telescope (NGST).
  • Location: After its launch it will be positioned at the Earth–Sun L2 Lagrange Point (It is point of orbital equilibrium for blocking all its infrared interference).
  • Four instruments of JWST: Cameras and spectrometers that are able to record extremely faint signals. NIRSpec having programmable microshutters for observation up to 100 objects simultaneously. Cryocooler for cooling the mid-infrared detectors.
  • Applications: It will help in broad range of investigations across the fields of astronomy and cosmology. It will help to understand the origins of the universe, evolution of our own Solar System, search for signs of life on faraway planets. It can also analyze the atmospheres of exoplanets that pass in front of their stars
  • The telescope will be used to look back to the first galaxies born in the early universe more than 13.5 billion years ago, and observe the sources of stars, exoplanets, and even the moons and planets of our solar system.


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