Non Resident Indians (NRIs) can now join and subscribe to NPS online through eNPS:-
NRIs have a pivotal role to play in the Indian economy. India has the second-largest Diaspora in the world, with around 29 million people living in over 200 countries and out of these 25% live in the Gulf countries. Most of the Indians going to the Gulf and some other countries go for employment and return to India after having worked abroad for a certain period.
NPS can provide a long term solution to their old age income security. NPS has been available to NRIs for some time through Bank offices and now, to further ease the process of joining, eNPS is being extended to Non-Resident Indian subscribers.
NRIs can now open NPS Accounts online if they have Aadhaar Card or PAN card
Till now, NRIs could open NPS accounts only through paper applications by approaching Bank offices but this has now changed. Through eNPS, a subscriber will be able to open an NPS account from the comfort of his home. All he will need is an internet connection and an Aadhaar/ PanCard.
Further, NRIs will be able to open NPS accounts both on Repatriable and on Non Repatriable basis. On a Repatriable basis, an NRI will have to remit the amount through his/her NRE/FCNR/NRO account.
For Non-Repatriable scheme, NRIs will be able to join NPS through their NRE/FCNR/NRO accounts at the time of maturity or during partial withdrawal, the NPS funds would be deposited only in their NRO accounts.
Both Repatriable and Non-Repatriable schemes will greatly appeal to NRIs who intend to return to India after their employment abroad, in view of their attractive returns, low cost, flexibility and their being regulated by the PFRDA, a Regulator established by the Central Government .
Yellow Fever Vaccination facility inaugurated at Tuticorin
Yellow fever is an acute viral haemorrhagic disease transmitted by infected mosquitoes. The “yellow” in the name refers to the jaundice that affects some patients.
Symptoms of yellow fever include fever, headache, jaundice, muscle pain, nausea, vomiting and fatigue.
A small proportion of patients who contract the virus develop severe symptoms and approximately half of those die within 7 to 10 days.
The virus is endemic in tropical areas of Africa and Central and South America.
Since the launch of the Yellow Fever Initiative in 2006, significant progress in combatting the disease has been made in West Africa and more than 105 million people have been vaccinated in mass campaigns. No outbreaks of yellow fever were reported in West Africa during 2015.
Large epidemics of yellow fever occur when infected people introduce the virus into heavily populated areas with high mosquito density and where most people have little or no immunity, due to lack of vaccination. In these conditions, infected mosquitoes transmit the virus from person to person.
Yellow fever is prevented by an extremely effective vaccine, which is safe and affordable. A single dose of yellow fever vaccine is sufficient to confer sustained immunity and life-long protection against yellow fever disease and a booster dose of the vaccine is not needed. The vaccine provides effective immunity within 30 days for 99% of persons vaccinated.
Good supportive treatment in hospitals improves survival rates. There is currently no specific anti-viral drug for yellow fever.
Signs and symptoms
Once contracted, the yellow fever virus incubates in the body for 3 to 6 days. Many people do not experience symptoms, but when these do occur, the most common are fever, muscle pain with prominent backache, headache, loss of appetite, and nausea or vomiting. In most cases, symptoms disappear after 3 to 4 days.
A small percentage of patients, however, enter a second, more toxic phase within 24 hours of recovering from initial symptoms. High fever returns and several body systems are affected, usually the liver and the kidneys. In this phase people are likely to develop jaundice (yellowing of the skin and eyes, hence the name ‘yellow fever’), dark urine and abdominal pain with vomiting. Bleeding can occur from the mouth, nose, eyes or stomach. Half of the patients who enter the toxic phase die within 7 – 10 days.
Yellow fever is difficult to diagnose, especially during the early stages. More severe disease can be confused with severe malaria, leptospirosis, viral hepatitis (especially fulminant forms), other haemorrhagic fevers, infection with other flaviviruses (e.g. dengue haemorrhagic fever), and poisoning.
Blood tests (RT-PCR) can sometimes detect the virus in the early stages of the disease. In later stages of the disease, testing to identify antibodies is needed (ELISA and PRNT).
Populations at risk
Forty seven countries in Africa (34) and Central and South America (13) are either endemic for, or have regions that are endemic for, yellow fever. A modelling study based on African data sources estimated the burden of yellow fever during 2013 was 84 000–170 000 severe cases and 29 000–60 000 deaths.
Occasionally travellers who visit yellow fever endemic countries may bring the disease to countries free from yellow fever. In order to prevent such importation of the disease, many countries require proof of vaccination against yellow fever before they will issue a visa, particularly if travellers come from, or have visited yellow fever endemic areas.
In past centuries (17th to 19th), yellow fever was transported to North America and Europe, causing large outbreaks that disrupted economies, development and in some cases decimated populations.
The yellow fever virus is an arbovirus of the flavivirus genus and is transmitted by mosquitoes, belonging to the Aedes and Haemogogus species. The different mosquito species live in different habitats – some breed around houses (domestic), others in the jungle (wild), and some in both habitats (semi-domestic). There are 3 types of transmission cycles:
Sylvatic (or jungle) yellow fever: In tropical rainforests, monkeys, which are the primary reservoir of yellow fever, are bitten by wild mosquitoes which pass the virus on to other monkeys. Occasionally humans working or travelling in the forest are bitten by infected mosquitoes and develop yellow fever.
Intermediate yellow fever: In this type of transmission, semi-domestic mosquitoes (those that breed both in the wild and around households) infect both monkeys and people. Increased contact between people and infected mosquitoes leads to increased transmission and many separate villages in an area can develop outbreaks at the same time. This is the most common type of outbreak in Africa.
Urban yellow fever: Large epidemics occur when infected people introduce the virus into heavily populated areas with high mosquito density and where most people have little or no immunity, due to lack of vaccination. In these conditions, infected mosquitoes transmit the virus from person to person.
Good and early supportive treatment in hospitals improves survival rates. There is currently no specific anti-viral drug for yellow fever but specific care to treat dehydration, liver and kidney failure, and fever improves outcomes. Associated bacterial infections can be treated with antibiotics.
Vaccination is the most important means of preventing yellow fever. In high-risk areas where vaccination coverage is low, prompt recognition and control of outbreaks using mass immunization is critical for preventing epidemics. It is important to vaccinate most (80 % or more) of the population at risk to prevent transmission in a region with a yellow fever outbreak.
Several vaccination strategies are used to protect against outbreaks: routine infant immunization; mass vaccination campaigns designed to increase coverage in countries at risk; and vaccination of travellers going to yellow fever endemic areas.
The yellow fever vaccine is safe and affordable and a single dose provides life-long protection against yellow fever disease. A booster dose of yellow fever vaccine is not needed.
There have been rare reports of serious side-effects from the yellow fever vaccine. The rates for these severe ‘adverse events following immunization’ (AEFI), when the vaccine provokes an attack on the liver, the kidneys or on the nervous system, leading to hospitalization, are between 0.4 and 0.8 per 100 000 people vaccinated.
The risk is higher for people over 60 years of age and anyone with severe immunodeficiency due to symptomatic HIV/AIDS or other causes, or who have a thymus disorder. People over 60 years of age should be given the vaccine after a careful risk-benefit assessment.
People who are usually excluded from vaccination include:
infants aged less than 9 months, except during an epidemic when infants aged 6-9 months, in areas where the risk of infection is high, should also receive the vaccine;
pregnant women – except during a yellow fever outbreak when the risk of infection is high;
people with severe allergies to egg protein; and
people with severe immunodeficiency due to symptomatic HIV/AIDS or other causes, or who have a thymus disorder.
In accordance with the International Health Regulations (IHR), countries have the right to require travellers to provide a certificate of yellow fever vaccination. If there are medical grounds for not getting vaccinated, this must be certified by the appropriate authorities. The IHR are a legally binding framework to stop the spread of infectious diseases and other health threats. Requiring the certificate of vaccination from travellers is at the discretion of each State Party, and it is not currently required by all countries.
2. Mosquito control
The risk of yellow fever transmission in urban areas can be reduced by eliminating potential mosquito breeding sites by applying larvicides to water storage containers and other places where standing water collects. Insecticide spraying to kill adult mosquitoes during urban epidemics can help reduce the number of mosquitoes, thus reducing potential sources of yellow fever transmission.
Historically, mosquito control campaigns successfully eliminated Aedes aegypti, the urban yellow fever vector, from most of Central and South America. However, Aedes aegypti has re-colonized urban areas in the region, raising a renewed risk of urban yellow fever. Mosquito control programmes targeting wild mosquitoes in forested areas are not practical for preventing jungle (or sylvatic) yellow fever transmission.
3. Epidemic preparedness and response
Prompt detection of yellow fever and rapid response through emergency vaccination campaigns are essential for controlling outbreaks. However, underreporting is a concern – the true number of cases is estimated to be 10 to 250 times what is now being reported.
WHO recommends that every at-risk country have at least one national laboratory where basic yellow fever blood tests can be performed. One laboratory-confirmed case of yellow fever in an unvaccinated population is considered an outbreak. A confirmed case in any context must be fully investigated, particularly in an area where most of the population has been vaccinated. Investigation teams must assess and respond to the outbreak with both emergency measures and longer-term immunization plans.
WHO is the Secretariat for the International Coordinating Group for Yellow Fever Vaccine Provision (ICG). The ICG maintains an emergency stockpile of yellow fever vaccines to ensure rapid response to outbreaks in high risk countries.
In 2006, the Yellow Fever Initiative was launched to secure global vaccine supply and boost population immunity through vaccination. The Initiative, led by WHO and supported by UNICEF and national governments, has a particular focus on high endemic countries in Africa where the disease is most prominent. Since the Initiative was launched, significant progress has been made in West Africa to bring the disease under control. More than 105 million people have been vaccinated and no yellow fever outbreaks were reported in West Africa during 2015.
The Initiative recommends including yellow fever vaccines in routine infant immunizations (starting at age 9 months), implementing mass vaccination campaigns in high-risk areas for all people aged 9 months and older, and maintaining surveillance and outbreak response capacity.
Between 2007 and 2016, 14 countries have completed preventive yellow fever vaccination campaigns. The Yellow Fever Initiative is financially supported by the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization (GAVI Alliance), the European Community Humanitarian Office (ECHO), the Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF), ministries of health, and country-level partners.
India sets sights on gold in ocean
The Union Cabinet has given its approval for signing of a 15-year contract by the Ministry of Earth Sciences with the International Seabed Authority (ISA) for undertaking exploration and other developmental activities related to polymetallic sulphides in the allotted area of 10,000 sq km.
By signing the contract, India’s exclusive rights for exploration of polymetallic sulphides in the allotted area in the Central Indian Ridge, and South West Indian Ridge in Indian Ocean will be formalized.
It will also enhance India’s presence in the Indian Ocean where other players like China, Korea and Germany are active.
The program will be implemented by the Ministry of Earth Sciences with the participation of various national institutes and research laboratories and organisations.
Previously, in 2002, the government was granted permission only to explore ocean regions and prospect for precious metals.
Deep seabed polymetallic sulphides (PMS) containing iron, copper, zinc, silver, gold, platinum in variable constitutions are precipitates of hot fluids from upwelling hot magma from deep interior of the oceanic crust discharged through mineralized chimneys. PMS in the Ocean Ridges have attracted worldwide attention for their long term commercial as well as strategic value.
Initial estimated resource of polymetallic nodules on the site retained by India on the central Indian Ocean basin is 380 million tonnes with 0.55 tonnes of cobalt, 4.7 tonnes of nickel, 4.29 tonnes of copper and 92.59 tonnes of manganese.
The International Seabed Authority (ISA) is an intergovernmental body based in Kingston, Jamaica, that was established to organize, regulate and control all mineral-related activities in the international seabed area beyond the limits of national jurisdiction, an area underlying most of the world’s oceans.
It is an organization established by the 1982 United Nations Law of the Sea Convention. It was established in 1994.ISA governs non-living resources of seabed lying in international waters.
Govt releases draft national wind-solar hybrid policy
The government has released the draft National Wind-Solar Hybrid Policy which aims at providing a framework to promote large grid connected wind-solar PV system for optimal and efficient utilisation of transmission infrastructure among others.
The goal of the policy is to reach wind-solar hybrid capacity of 10 GW by 2022. The main objective of the policy is to provide a framework for promotion of large grid connected wind-solar PV system for optimal and efficient utilisation of transmission infrastructure and land, reducing the variability in renewable power generation, thus, achieving better grid stability.
Broadly, the draft policy proposes hybridisation of existing solar photovoltaic (PV) and wind power plants as well as providing a guideline towards setting up of new hybrid wind-solar PV power plants.
The draft policy proposes to provide fiscal and financial incentives for hybridisation of existing plants as well as setting up of new hybrid wind-solar PV plants. Low cost financing for hybrid projects may be made available through IREDA and other financial institutions like multilateral banks.
If existing plants want to hybridize, they will have to ensure that the power injected into the grid is not more than the existing capacity sanctioned for the plant. Further, the additional power generated from the hybrid project may be used for captive purpose or sold either to the distribution utility at a price determined by the state regulator or lowest bid price discovered by any government agency, whichever is lower.
For new hybrid wind-solar projects, the draft policy proposes to provide the developer with the option of using the hybrid power for captive use, third party sale or sale to state electricity distribution utilities at prices determined by the state electricity regulatory commissions for the project. The hybrid power so purchased by the distribution company may be used to offset both solar and non-solar renewable purchase obligations.
Darknet, also known as dark web or darknet market, refers to the part of the internet that is not indexed or accessible through traditional search engines. It is a network of private and encrypted websites that cannot be accessed through regular web browsers and requires special software and configuration to access.
The darknet is often associated with illegal activities such as drug trafficking, weapon sales, and hacking services, although not all sites on the darknet are illegal.
Examples of darknet markets include Silk Road, AlphaBay, and Dream Market, which were all shut down by law enforcement agencies in recent years.
These marketplaces operate similarly to e-commerce websites, with vendors selling various illegal goods and services, such as drugs, counterfeit documents, and hacking tools, and buyers paying with cryptocurrency for their purchases.
Anonymity: Darknet allows users to communicate and transact with each other anonymously. Users can maintain their privacy and avoid being tracked by law enforcement agencies or other entities.
Access to Information: The darknet provides access to information and resources that may be otherwise unavailable or censored on the regular internet. This can include political or sensitive information that is not allowed to be disseminated through other channels.
Freedom of Speech: The darknet can be a platform for free speech, as users are able to express their opinions and ideas without fear of censorship or retribution.
Secure Communication: Darknet sites are encrypted, which means that communication between users is secure and cannot be intercepted by third parties.
Illegal Activities: Many darknet sites are associated with illegal activities, such as drug trafficking, weapon sales, and hacking services. Such activities can attract criminals and expose users to serious legal risks.
Scams: The darknet is a hotbed for scams, with many fake vendors and websites that aim to steal users’ personal information and cryptocurrency. The lack of regulation and oversight on the darknet means that users must be cautious when conducting transactions.
Security Risks: The use of the darknet can expose users to malware and other security risks, as many sites are not properly secured or monitored. Users may also be vulnerable to hacking or phishing attacks.
Stigma: The association of the darknet with illegal activities has created a stigma that may deter some users from using it for legitimate purposes.
AI, or artificial intelligence, refers to the development of computer systems that can perform tasks that would normally require human intelligence, such as recognizing speech, making decisions, and understanding natural language.
Virtual assistants: Siri, Alexa, and Google Assistant are examples of virtual assistants that use natural language processing to understand and respond to users’ queries.
Recommendation systems: Companies like Netflix and Amazon use AI to recommend movies and products to their users based on their browsing and purchase history.
Efficiency: AI systems can work continuously without getting tired or making errors, which can save time and resources.
Personalization: AI can help provide personalized recommendations and experiences for users.
Automation: AI can automate repetitive and tedious tasks, freeing up time for humans to focus on more complex tasks.
Job loss: AI has the potential to automate jobs previously performed by humans, leading to job loss and economic disruption.
Bias: AI systems can be biased due to the data they are trained on, leading to unfair or discriminatory outcomes.
Safety and privacy concerns: AI systems can pose safety risks if they malfunction or are used maliciously, and can also raise privacy concerns if they collect and use personal data without consent.