Weekly Current Affairs Prelims (9th to 15th September, 2018)

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Weekly Current Affairs Prelims (9th to 15th September, 2018)

 

Topic: Dairy Processing & Infrastructure Development Fund (DIDF)

Topic in syllabus: GS Paper 3 – Infrastructure

NDDB

Why in news:

Inauguration of Dairy Processing & Infrastructure Development Fund (DIDF).  The first installment of Rs 440 crore being given to the National Dairy Development Board (NDDB) .

What is it?

As a result of the announcement of Union Budget 2017-18, the Department of Animal Husbandry, Dairying and Fisheries (DADF) started the Dairy Processing & Infrastructure Development Fund (DIDF) with an outlay of Rs 10881 crore.

 The project will focus on building an efficient milk procurement system by setting up of chilling infrastructure & installation of electronic milk adulteration testing equipment, creation/modernization/expansion of processing infrastructure and manufacturing faculties for Value Added Products for the Milk Unions/ Milk Producer Companies.

Management of DIDF:

The project will be implemented by National Dairy Development Board (NDDB) and National Dairy Development Cooperation (NCDC) directly through the End Borrowers such as Milk Unions, State Dairy Federations, Multi-state Milk Cooperatives, Milk Producer Companies and NDDB subsidiaries meeting the eligibility criteria under the project. An Implementation and Monitoring Cell (IMC) located at NDDB, Anand, will manage the implementation and monitoring of day-to-day project activities.

The end borrowers will get the loan @ 6.5% per annum. The period of repayment will be 10 years with initial two years moratorium.

The respective State Government will be the guarantor of loan repayment. Also for the project sanctioned if the end user is not able to contribute its share; State Government will contribute the same.

Rs 8004 crore shall be loan from NABARD to NDDB/NCDC, Rs 2001 crore shall be end borrowers contribution, Rs 12 crore would be jointly contributed by NDDB/NCDC and Rs 864 crore shall be contributed by DADF towards interest subvention.

Benefits

  • With this scheme, 95,00,000 farmers in about 50,000 villages will be benefitted.
  • In addition to this, many skilled, semi-skilled and unskilled workers will get employment, directly and indirectly.
  • Additional milk processing capacity of 126 lakh litre per day, milk drying capacity of 210 MT per day, milk chilling capacity of 140 lakh litre per day shall be created.
  • milk cooperatives will be provided financial assistance of Rs 8004 crore in the form of a loan at 6.5% interest, which will be reimbursed over a period of 10 years.
  • The government has also given a provision of interest subsidy on loans. Till now, 15 sub-projects with total approved outlay of Rs 1148.61 crore pertaining to States namely, Karnataka (Rs. 776.39 crore – 5 sub-projects), Punjab (Rs.318.01 crores – 4 sub-projects) and Haryana (Rs. 54.21 crore – 6 sub-projects) have been sanctioned so far.

 

Sample question:

Q. Which of the following is not correct regarding Dairy Processing and Infrastructure Development Fund?

a) The project will be implemented by National Dairy Development Board (NDDB) and National Dairy Development Cooperation (NCDC)

b) The project will focus on building an efficient milk procurement system

c) milk cooperatives will be provided financial assistance in the form of a loan

d) All are correct


 

Topic: HIV/AIDS Act, 2017

Topic in syllabus: GS II- Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.

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Why in news: 

The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has issued a notification for bringing the Human Immunodeficiency Virus and Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (Prevention and Control) Act, 2017 in force from 10th September, 2018.

  • The Act, safeguards the rights of people living with HIV and affected by HIV. The provisions of the Act address HIV-related discrimination, strengthen the existing programme by bringing in legal accountability, and establish formal mechanisms for inquiring into complaints and redressing grievances.

Highlights of the Act:

Provisions related to the role of governments: As per the Act, central and state governments are obliged to provide for anti-retroviral therapy (ART) and management of opportunistic infections (infections that take advantage of weakness in the immune system and occur frequently). It also prohibits specific acts of discrimination by the state, or any other person, against HIV-positive people, or those living with such people.

Provisions related to discrimination: It lays down penal provisions for any discrimination practised against a person with HIV/AIDS and breach of confidentiality. The protection mandated extends to the fields of employment, healthcare services, educational services, public facilities, property rights, holding public office, and insurance. It also provides for confidentiality of HIV-related information and makes it necessary to get informed consent for undertaking HIV tests, medical treatment and research.

Provisions related to ombudsman: It also provides for an ombudsman. An ombudsman shall be appointed by each state government to inquire into complaints related to the violation of the Act and the provision of health care services. The ombudsman shall submit a report to the state government every six months stating the number and nature of complaints received, the actions taken.

Provisions related to guardianship: Provisions related to guardianship are also specified. A person between the age of 12 to 18 years who has sufficient maturity in understanding and managing the affairs of his HIV or AIDS affected family shall be competent to act as a guardian of another sibling below 18 years of age. The guardianship will apply in matters relating to admission to educational establishments, operating bank accounts, managing property, care and treatment, amongst others.

Role of courts: Cases relating to HIV positive persons shall be disposed off by the court on a priority basis. In any legal proceeding, if an HIV infected or affected person is a party, the court may pass orders that the proceedings be conducted (a) by suppressing the identity of the person, (b) in camera, and (c) to restrain any person from publishing information that discloses the identity of the applicant. When passing any order with regard to a maintenance application filed by an HIV infected or affected person, the court shall take into account the medical expenses incurred by the applicant.

Background:

There are approximately 21 lakh persons estimated to be living with HIV in India and the percentage of patients receiving anti-retroviral therapy (ART) treatment currently stands at a mere 25.82% as against the global percentage of 41%, according to the 2015 Global Burden of Diseases (GBD).

 

Sample question:

  1. Q. The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has issued a notification for bringing the Human Immunodeficiency Virus and Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (Prevention and Control) Act, 2017in force from 10th September, 2018. Which of the following is not correct regarding provisions of the Act?

a) central and state governments are obliged to provide for anti-retroviral therapy (ART) and management of opportunistic infections (infections that take advantage of weakness in the immune system and occur frequently).

b) It also provides for an ombudsman. An ombudsman shall be appointed by each state government to inquire into complaints related to the violation of the Act and the provision of health care services.

c) A person between the age of 12 to 18 years who has sufficient maturity in understanding and managing the affairs of his HIV or AIDS affected family shall be competent to act as a guardian of another sibling below 18 years of age.

d) All are correct


 

Topic: e-AarogyaBharati (e-VBAB) Network Project

Topic in syllabus: GS II: Se-governance- applications, models, successes, limitations, and potential.

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Why in news: 

Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) and the Telecommunications Consultants India Ltd (TCIL) have signed an Agreement for the implementation of e-VidyaBharati and e-AarogyaBharati (e-VBAB) Network Project. The project is hailed as a digital bridge of knowledge and health between India and Africa.

 

About e- VBAB Network project:

E-VBAB Network Project is primarily a technological upgrade and extension of the Pan-African e-Network Project (Phase 1) which was implemented in 48 partner countries across Africa from 2009 till 2017. The Phase 1 of the Project successfully imparted tele-education and tele-medicine by linking educational institutions and hospitals in India with those from the participating African countries.

Over the 5 years project duration, e-VBAB Network Project will provide free tele-education courses in various academic disciplines to 4000 students every year from African countries. The Project will also be utilized for providing free Continuing Medical Education (1000 every year) to African doctors/nurses/para-medical staff. Further, Indian doctors, through this project will provide free medical consultancy to those African doctors who seek such consultancy.

In order to operationalise the e-VBAB Network Project, a Data Centre and Disaster Recovery Centre will be established in India along with Learning Centres in various African countries which decide to be part of the Project. There will be two separate platforms for e-VidyaBharati (tele-education) and e-AarogyaBharati (tele-medicine) which will link, through a web-based technology, various educational institutions and hospitals in India and the participating African countries.

The e-VBAB Network Project will be completely funded by the Government of India for its entire duration and will be open for participation to all our partner countries in Africa. The Project will be another important milestone in our development partnership with Africa.

 

Sample question:

Q. (e-VBAB) Network Project- completely funded by India , is to be operationalized in Africa. With which sector/field is it related?

a) Renewable energy

b) Health and education

c) Environment conservation

d) Defence


 

Topic: Pradhan Mantri Mudra Yojana

Topic in syllabus: GS III Inclusive growth and issues arising from it.

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Why in news: 

Former RBI Governor Raghuram Rajan has cautioned that the next crisis in India’s banking sector could come from loans given to the unorganised micro and small businesses, called MUDRA loans, and credit extended through the Kisan credit card.

  • He has also cautioned the government to refrain from setting ambitious credit targets or waiving loans. He also flagged the Credit Guarantee Scheme for MSMEs, run by the Small Industries Development Bank of India, calling it “a growing contingent liability” that needs to be examined with urgency.

Background:

A total of ₹6.37 lakh crore has been disbursed under the MUDRA scheme by public and private sector banks, regional rural banks and micro-finance institutions till date, as per data from the Micro Units Development and Refinance Agency (MUDRA) website.

Concerns:

  • His warnings come at a time the Indian banking is reeling under an unprecedented bad loans problem. The NPAs of the 38 listed banks collectively crossed Rs 10.17 lakh crore in the fourth quarter of the last fiscal, with the 21 public sector banks (PSBs) accounting for the bulk of it.
  • Besides, PSBs have collectively written-off over Rs 1,154 crore in NPAs in the last fiscal till December 31, which was a 103% jump from the amount written off in 2016-17.

About the Pradhan Mantri MUDRA Yojana (PMMY) scheme:

The PMMY Scheme was launched in April, 2015. The scheme’s objective is to refinance collateral-free loans given by the lenders to small borrowers.

  • The scheme, which has a corpus of Rs 20,000 crore, can lend betweenRs 50,000 and Rs 10 lakh to small entrepreneurs.
  • Banks and MFIs can draw refinance under the MUDRA Scheme after becoming member-lending institutions of MUDRA.
  • Mudra Loans are available for non-agricultural activities upto Rs. 10 lakh and activities allied to agriculture such as Dairy, Poultry, Bee Keeping etc, are also covered.
  • Mudra’s unique features include a Mudra Card which permits access to Working Capital through ATMs and Card Machines.

There are three types of loans under PMMY:

  1. Shishu (up to Rs.50,000).
  2. Kishore (from Rs.50,001 to Rs.5 lakh).
  3. Tarun (from Rs.500,001 to Rs.10,00,000).

Objectives of the scheme:

Fund the unfunded: Those who have a business plan to generate income from a non-farm activity like manufacturing, processing, trading or service sector but don’t have enough capital to invest can take loans up to Rs 10 lakh.

Micro finance institutions (MFI) monitoring and regulation: With the help of MUDRA bank, the network of microfinance institutions will be monitored. New registration will also be done.

Promote financial inclusion: With the aim to reach Last mile credit delivery to micro businesses taking help of technology solutions, it further adds to the vision of financial inclusion.

Reduce jobless economic growth: Providing micro enterprises with credit facility will help generate employment sources and an overall increase in GDP.

Integration of Informal economy into Formal sector: It will help India also grow its tax base as incomes from the informal sector are non-taxed.

 

Sample question:

Q. Which of the following is not an objective of Pradhan Mantri Mudra Yojna?

a) Those who have a business plan to generate income from a non-farm activity like manufacturing, processing, trading or service sector but don’t have enough capital to invest can take loans up to Rs 50 lakh.

b) With the help of MUDRA bank, the network of microfinance institutions will be monitored. New registration will also be done.

c) With the aim to reach Last mile credit delivery to micro businesses taking help of technology solutions, it further adds to the vision of financial inclusion.

d) Providing micro enterprises with credit facility will help generate employment sources and an overall increase in GDP.


 

Topic: Apsara – U Reactor

 Topic in syllabus: GS III: Science and Technology- developments and their applications and effects in everyday life Achievements of Indians in science & technology; indigenization of technology and developing new technology.

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Why in news: 

THE BHABHA Atomic Research Centre has recommissioned an upgraded version of ‘Apsara’, the country’s oldest research reactor that was decommissioned almost a decade ago. Apsara is now operational as ‘Apsara-U’ on Trombay campus of Maharashtra.

 

About Apsara Nuclear reactor:

  • Apsara is the oldest of India’s research reactors. The reactor was designed by the Bhabha Atomic Research Center (BARC) and built with assistance from the United Kingdom (which also provided the initial fuel supply consisting of 80% enriched uranium).
  • Apsara first went critical on 4 August 1956.
  • Apsara is a light water swimming pool-type reactor with a maximum power output of one megawatt thermal (MWt).
  • The reactor burns enriched uranium in the form of aluminum alloyed curved plates. Fuel for the reactor is supplied under contract from the United Kingdom, provided that the fuel is safeguarded.
  • The Apsara reactor is utilized for various experiments including neutron activation analysis, radiation damage studies, forensic research, neutron radiography, and shielding experiments.
  • The reactor is also used for research and the production of radioisotopes.

 

Apsara- Upgraded:

  • “Apsara-upgraded”, made indigenously, uses plate type dispersion fuel elements made of Low Enriched Uranium (LEU).
  • By virtue of higher neutron flux, this reactor will increase indigenous production or radio-isotopes for medical application by about fifty percent and would also be extensively used for research in nuclear physics, material science and radiation shielding.
  • This development has re-emphasised the capability of Indian scientists and Engineers to build, complex facilities for health care, science education and research.

 

Sample question:

Q. Consider the following statements regarding Apsara nuclear reactor:

  1. Apsara is the oldest of India’s research reactors. The reactor was designed by the Bhabha Atomic Research Center (BARC) and built with assistance from the United Kingdom
  2. The Apsara reactor is utilized for various experiments including neutron activation analysis, radiation damage studies, forensic research, neutron radiography, and shielding experiments.

Which of the above is/are not correct?

a) 1 only

b) 2 only

c) Both

d) none


 

Topic: India’s first indigenous anti-nuclear medical kit

Topic in syllabus: GS III: indigenization of technology and developing new technology.

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Context: 

In a major shot in the arm for paramilitary and police forces, scientists at Institute of Nuclear Medicine and Allied Sciences (INMAS) claim to have developed India’s first indigenous medical kit that may ensure protection from serious injuries and faster healing of wounds resulting from nuclear warfare or radioactive leakage.

  • The kit has been developed for the armed, paramilitary and police forces only as they are the first ones likely to get exposed to radiation — be it during nuclear, chemical and biomedical (NCB) warfare or a rescue operation after a nuclear accident.

About the kit and its components:

  • The kit has over 25 items, including radio-protectors that provide 80-90% protection against radiation and nerve gas agents, bandages that absorb radiation as well as tablets and ointments.
  • Developed in India for the first time, it’s a potent alternative to similar kits that were till now being procured from strategically advanced nations such as the US and Russia at much higher prices.

The contents:

The contents include an advanced form of Prussian blue tablets, highly effective in incorporating Radio Cesium (Cs-137) and Radio Thallium, among the most feared radioisotopes in nuclear bombs that destroy human body cells.

  • The kit also has an Ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid (EDTA) injectionthat traps uranium in the guts and blood of victims during a nuclear accident or warfare. When EDTA is injected into the veins, it “grabs” heavy metals and minerals and removes them from the body.
  • The kit also has Ca-EDTA Respiratory Fluid, which is the inhalation formula for chelation, or grabbing, of heavy metals and radioactive elements deposited in lungs through inhalation at nuclear accident sites.
  • The kit also has a radioactive urine/biofluid collectorwhich is cost-effective, easy to store and can safely dispose of the urine of a person affected by radiation. The collector has silk at its base, more than enough to jellify 500 millilitre of urine, which could be disposed of safely.
  • The kit has anti-gamma ray skin ointmentthat protects and heals the radiation damage on the skin.
  • Also part of the kit is the amifostine injection, a US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved conventional radiopharmaceutical that limits damage from gamma radiation.
  • Another medicine in the form of a tablet is Indranil 150 mg. It is being introduced as a reserve emergency drug for services, rescue workers and places where high acute exposures are expected and lives will be at stake.

Significance of the kit:

During radioactive accidents thousands of patients may be rushed to hospitals. In several cases, if not most, they will also have traumatic, orthopaedic, surgical injuries or burns. The blood of such patients will have radioactive elements and will require wound dressing with significantly higher absorption capacity so that nothing leaks and infects others. Such highly absorptive dressings and gauze also make it safer for the medical staff to handle radioactive patients as the chance of their own contamination is reduced.

The kit is a potential alternative to those being procured from nations such as the US and Russia at much higher prices. Such medicines will help everyone and not just soldiers. This will also help the victims affected in terrorist attacks.

 

Sample question:

Q. Which of the following is not correct regarding recently launched India’s first anti-nuclear medicine kit?

a) The kit has over 25 items, including radio-protectors that provide 80-90% protection against radiation and nerve gas agents, bandages that absorb radiation as well as tablets and ointments.

b) Developed in India for the first time, it’s a potent alternative to similar kits that were till now being procured from strategically advanced nations such as the US and Russia at much higher prices.

c) Scientists at Institute of Nuclear Medicine and Allied Sciences (INMAS) have developed the kit

d) All the above are correct