GS II Topic: Important aspects of governance, transparency and accountability, e-governance- applications, models, successes, limitations, and potential; citizens charters, transparency & accountability and institutional and other measures.
The portal was launched on the occasion of birth anniversary of the father of India’s White Revolution Verghese Kurien and National Milk Day to connect farmers with breeders- State, Central, Co-operative, Milk Federations, and private agencies
- It will provide, certified picture of animals, its parents information, breeding, volume of milk given by bovine animal information.
- Besides, it will provide information related to animal fodder varieties, its volume and price.
- It will have real time authentic certified information on availability of germplasm.
- It will facilitate farmers to purchase advanced breed of bovine animals at a reasonable price as per as their requirements.
- It will act as a single authentic organised market for animals.
- The portal will play important role in increasing income of framers from animal rearing for achieving the goal of doubling farmers’ income by 2022.
- It establishes links between ‘farmer to farmer’ and ‘farmer to institutes’. Thus, it minimises the involvement of middlemen.
- It will create a comparative Farm Network that will facilitate farmers to exchange local knowledge and resources.
India has the largest bovine population in the world. It accounts for 14% of world cattle population, while share for buffalo alone is 53% of which 79% of the cattle are indigenous and 21% are crossbred and exotic varieties. The Indigenous bovine breeds are sturdy and are endowed with quality of heat tolerance, resistance to diseases. They have ability to thrive under extreme climatic conditions and survive with low inputs. However, most of the indigenous are suited for draught animal power as they have low genetic potential for milk production. Rashtriya Gokul Mission’ launched in December 2014 aims at addressing this issue.
Modern RFID Access Control System Introduced at Paradip Port
Paradip Port is the first among all Major Ports to have successfully implemented the RFID Access Control System for controlling and tracking the entry and exit of vehicular as well as human traffic into and out of its prohibited area. The implementation of the system was done as per the directives of the Ministry of Shipping.
- The new RFID system is inherently accompanied with enhanced Maritime Security features.
- Faster and efficient movement of traffic across the gates leading to reduction in congestion, simplified online payment procedure, availability of real-time information on number of different types of vehicles, equipment, port user personnel inside the prohibited area, availability of entry and exit details of a particular person, vehicle inclusive of the gate no. instantly through which the traffic moved, are some of the added advantages of the new system.
- Retrieval of data pertaining to the entire period of time is also another advantage of the system.
What is RFID tagging?
RFID tagging is an ID system that uses small radio frequency identification devices for identification and tracking purposes. An RFID tagging system includes the tag itself, a read/write device, and a host system application for data collection, processing, and transmission.
An RFID tag (sometimes called an RFID transponder) consists of a
- Chip- it hold the information about the physical object to which the chip is attached,
- An antenna- transmits information to reader (e.g. wire house, store shelf etc) through radio waves.
RFID tags that contain their own power source are known as active tags. Those without a power source are known as passive tags. A passive tag is briefly activated by the radio frequency (RF) scan of the reader.
GS II Topic: Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests, Indian diaspora.
WHO settles India, EU medicine dispute issue
The World Health Organisation (WHO) has dropped the term ‘counterfeit’ and retained ‘falsified’ to describe medicines of inferior quality.. It settles longstanding India, EU medicine dispute and battle about labelling of drugs. It is considered as a significant victory for the global access to medicines campaign.
What is the issue?
- The above mentioned terms were used interchangeably to confiscate Indian made cheap generic drugs exported to other countries by showing that they were in violation of Intellectual Property Rights (IPR).
- It was also alleged that big pharmaceutical companies were using term ‘counterfeit’ to describe generic medicines and disrupting trade of generic medicines especially from India.
- Even the European Union Free Trade Agreement (EU FTA) was derailed after affordable, safe-to-use generic drugs made in India were confiscated as ‘illegal’ and ‘counterfeit.’
- Between 2008 and 2009, nearly 20 shipments of generic drugs were detained while in transit from India to several developing countries via Europe.
What were the concerns?
Under the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) — the definition of counterfeit was clearly targeted at one particular area. It clearly mentioned that it is wilful infringement of trademark on a commercial scale. However in reality, campaigns and legislation against counterfeit drugs often have nothing to do with concerns about drug quality. The major European and US pharmaceutical companies used these rules for vested interest by limiting competition from generic drugs. They were using increased enforcement of IP laws as a tool to clamp down on the legitimate trade in high-quality generic medicines between developing countries.
Significance of WHO decision
- The adopted definition will use falsified and drops the word counterfeit. The term falsified is much more in line with public health concerns regarding medicines.
- It makes false claims about what they contain or where they are from, that represent a genuine problem. It clarifies that the term ‘counterfeit’ will now be used by member States with respect to protection of IPR.
- Settles a long-standing battle about labelling of drugs as for far too long, genuine generic medicines have been labelled as counterfeit.
- Removes confusion on the much needed attention from the substandard medicines — which is a bigger public health problem for developing countries.
GS III Topic- Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment.
Australia’s Great Barrief Reef sees largest coral die-off ever
As per a recently conducted study, a mass bleaching event on the Great Barrier Reef this year killed more corals than ever before. The 2,300-kilometre Great barrier reef in Australia is the world’s biggest.
- Most of the losses in 2016 have occurred in the northern, most-pristine part of the Great Barrier Reef.
- The reef suffered its most severe bleaching in recorded history, due to warming sea temperatures during March and April, with the northern third bearing the brunt.
- Environmentalists have called for Australia to abandon coal mining to help prevent further bleaching disasters.
- Scientists estimate the northern region, which teems with marine life, will take at least 10-15 years to regain lost corals.
About the Great Barrier Reef
- It is the biggest coral reef system in the world composed of over 2,900 individual reefs. It is roughly equal to the size of Italy, Japan.
- It was recorded as a World Heritage site in 1981.
- The reef is located in the Coral Sea, north east of Australia and covers an area of approximately 348,000 sq km.
- It is credited as the world’s biggest single structure made by living organisms and is visible from the outer space
GS III Topic: Disaster and disaster management.
ISRO drones help map disasters in north-east
The Shillong-based North-Eastern Space Applications Centre (NE-SAC) of the Indian Space Research Organisation has tested unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) to assess several regional problems, ranging from measuring diseased paddy fields to damage caused by frequent landslides in the north eastern region of the country.
- NE-SAC has taken the initiative for design and assembling of UAVs for various applications. UAVs can perform efficient surveys for disaster-prone or physically inaccessible areas, quick damage assessment of landslides, floods and earthquakes and enable timely relief measures.
- NE-SAC mapped the area affected by landslides along Meghalaya’s life line, NH40. It gave the extent of damage caused to pest-infested paddy fields in Naramari village of Assam.
- Drone-based studies are new and currently confined to few north-eastern States. Data from ISRO’s remote sensing satellites are generally combined with ground-based details. Use of drones cuts much leg work that ground surveyors must take up.
NE-SAC, located at Umiam (near Shillong), Meghalaya, is a joint initiative of DOS and North Eastern Council to provide developmental support to the North Eastern region using space science and technology.
- The NE centre was started in the year 2000 to provide Space technology-based communication and technology support to the region.
- The centre has the mandate to develop high technology infrastructure support to enable NE states to adopt space technology inputs for their development.
- At present, NE-SAC is providing developmental support by undertaking specific application projects using remote sensing, GIS, satellite communication and conducting space science research
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.
Son has no legal right in parents’ house, can stay at their mercy: HC
In a significant move, the Delhi High Court has ruled that a son cannot claim a right to live in the self-acquired house of his parents and can do so only at their mercy.
Important observations made by the court:
- A son can reside in a self-acquired property of his parents so long as they desire and cannot claim a legal right to stay there, irrespective of his marital status.
- Merely because the parents have allowed him to live in the house when their relations were cordial does not mean they have to bear his burden throughout life.
The High Court was hearing an appeal against a lower court’s order asking a man and his wife to vacate the first floor of his parents’ property in Delhi.
GS II Topic: Structure, organization and functioning of the Executive and the Judiciary Ministries and Departments of the Government; pressure groups and formal/informal associations and their role in the Polity.
Even nil vacancies won’t cut backlog: Report
A study ordered by the Supreme Court shows that more judges in the High Courts, or even filling all the vacancies in them, does not necessarily end pendency. The study was conducted by the National Court Management Systems Committee (NCMSC).
The two-year study was commissioned by the court through an order dated August 20, 2014 while hearing Imtiyaz Ahmad versus State of Uttar Pradesh.
- The court had directed the committee to study the recommendations made by the Law Commission of India on pendency and the relation between backlog and judges’ strength.
Highlights of the study:
- The study notes that not a single High Court has been able to eliminate backlog even when vacancies are non-existent or very low (say zero to 20%).
- The study also questions Chief Justice Thakur’s recent observation that 70,000 judges are required to clear pendency.
- The committee says blindly increasing judicial strength with the sole aim to hike the rate of disposal of cases and avoid backlog was skewed logic. In fact, it said, avoiding backlog seems to be the “central and sole objective” of having more judges in the High Courts.
- According to the study, the current method of calculating judges’ strength in High Courts is not scientific or robust, nor has it produced desired results of pendency resolution.
- The report calls for a long-term scientific method to assess the number of judges required in a court. It said judges’ strength should be augmented after calculating the judicial hours required to hear and dispose of cases on the basis of their individual nature and complexity.
Effective judicial strength has not expanded adequately to meet the rising inflow of cases in the country. In the last five years, the number of new cases filed in the High Courts of India has increased by 24% and pendency by 32%. Yet, effective judge strength has increased only by 8.5%.
Only 49 judges have been added to the effective strength of High Courts in five years in the whole country to deal with 3.72 lakh additional new cases — this means an average of 7,591 cases per new judge — and 7.2 lakh additional pendency at the rate of 14,693 cases per new judge.
Sex Ratio at Birth at decline in India: CRS data
According new data from Civil Registration System ( CRS) released by the Office of the Registrar General of India, Sex Ratio at Birth (SRB) continues to worsen in India. The SRB has declined to 887 in 2014 from 898 in 2013. The ratio has been declining since 2011 when the figure was 909.
- Highest SRB has been reported in Lakshadweep (1043), followed by Andaman and Nicobar Islands (1031) and Arunachal Pradesh (993).
- Lowest SRB has been reported in Manipur (684), Rajasthan (799) and Tamil Nadu (834).
- BIRTH REGISTRATION-The level of registration of births with CRS has been improving. In 2014, it is estimated that 88.8% births were registered, up from 85.6 % in 2013. 16 States/UTs recorded all births. 14 out of 20 major States crossed the 90% level of registration of births in 2014. The new date show that the majority of births in 2014 occurred in an institution i.e. government or private hospital.
- Institutional delivery accounted for 72% of all births. Another 14.1% births were attended by physicians/nurse/midwife. However, around 3.8% of the cases were still attended by an untrained midwife. While 38.7% of the total registered deaths had occurred in institution, 23.3% did not receive any medical attention at the time of death. Only about 8.0% of the deceased received medical attention from qualified allopathic professional.
Facts for Prelims
India hosts golden jubilee celebrations of UNCITRAL in New Delhi
India hosted the golden jubilee (50th anniversary) celebrations of United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) in New Delhi.
- UNCITRAL was established by the UN General Assembly (UNGA) in 1966 to promote the progressive unification and harmonisation of international trade law.
- It is the core legal body of the UN system in the field of international trade law. It specialises in reforms in commercial law worldwide for a period of over 40 years.
- India is a founding member of UNCITRAL. India is only one of eight countries which have been a member of UNCITRAL since its inception.
- IT has a membership of 60 States selected from among States Members of the UN. In 2015, India was re-elected for a term of six years (2016-2022).
- Out of total 60 members, 14 are Asian states, 14 are African, 10 Latin American & Caribbean states, 8 Eastern European and 14 Western European and other States.
- These member states are selected to ensure the representation of various geographic, principal economic and legal systems of the world.
National Milk Day:
- November 26 was observed as National Milk Day across the country Day to mark the birth anniversary of Father of the White Revolution Dr. Verghese Kurien.
- The first NMD was observed on 26 November 2014 by all Indian diary sector majors including National Dairy Development Board, Indian Dairy Association along with state level milk federations.
- Verghese Kurien had dedicated his entire life for a cooperative movement which boosted the production of milk in India. Dr Kurien was an Indian social entrepreneur known as the ‘Father of the White Revolution’ for launching Operation flood — the world’s largest agricultural development programme.
- Known as the ‘milkman of India’, Dr Kurien was the founder-Chairman of the National Dairy Development Board (NDDB) from 1965 to 1998, Gujarat Co-operative Milk Marketing Federation Ltd (GCMMF) from 1973 to 2006 and the Institute of Rural Management (IRMA) from 1979 to 2006, which are owned and managed by farmers and run by professionals.
- India ranks first in milk production, accounting for 18.5 % of world production, achieving an annual output of 146.3 million tonnes during 2014-15
- The per capita availability of milk in India has increased from 176 grams per day in 1990-91 to 322 grams per day by 2014-15. It is more than the world average of 294 grams per day during 2013.
PM Narendra Modi launches Indian Police at Your Call mobile app
Minister Narendra Modi recently had launched the ‘Indian Police at Your Call’ mobile app at a national police conference held in Hyderabad. The app is a GIS Map based interface for the citizens to locate police stations near to their current location so that they can easily reach the police station in case of emergency.
- The app was developed by Nation Information Centre (NIC).
- It was launched as part of the Digital India initiative aimed at the safety and security of the citizen anytime anywhere.
- The app provides the names of the police stations, distance from the place where you are and how much time it will take to reach police station one wants to go to.
- It provides the police station number, number of control room and also the SP office number. However, no mobile phones numbers are provided.
- It also promotes facility to “Tap to Call” any of these police stations and know the route and road distance to reach there.
Akodara becomes India’s first Digital Village
- Akodara village in Sabarkantha district of Gujarat has earned the coveted tag of becoming India’s first digital village in India.
- All transactions in the village are carried out through digital modes like SMS, net-banking or debit cards.
- The village was adopted by ICICI Bank under its Digital Village Project in 2015 and made cashless by adopting digital technology.
- All households in village have savings account in local ICICI Bank branch.
- The bank has provided training to villagers to embrace digital technology to reduce dependence on cash. The village has almost 100% financial literacy rate and all mobile banking is done in Hindi, English and Gujarati languages.
- The villagers’ most important transactions selling agri-produce at the local market or mandi or selling milk at the co-operative society have been made cashless.
- It has primary, secondary and higher secondary schools equipped with smart boards, computers and tablets.