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Question and Answer
Q. 434. MSME Sambandh
A Public Procurement Portal ‘MSME Sambandh’ was launched recently by the Ministry of Micro, Small & Medium Enterprises. The objective of the portal is to monitor the implementation of the Public Procurement from MSEs by Central Public Sector Enterprises.
The Procurement Policy launched in 2012 mandates the Central Government Departments / CPSUs to procure necessarily from MSEs i.e. every Central Ministry / Department / PSU shall set an annual goal for procurement from the MSE sector at the beginning of the year, with the objective of achieving an overall procurement goal of minimum of 20 per cent of the total annual purchases of the products or services produced or rendered by MSEs. By creating an online portal, the Ministries and the CPSEs can assess their performance.
Q. 433. Trachoma
The Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has released the National Trachoma Survey Report (2014-17). According to the report, India is now free from ‘infective trachoma’. Active trachoma infection has been eliminated among children in all the survey districts with overall prevalence of only 0.7%. This is much below the elimination criteria of infective trachoma as defined by the WHO.
Trachoma is a chronic infective disease of the eye and is the leading cause of infective blindness globally. Trachoma is a disease of poor environmental and personal hygiene and inadequate access to water and sanitation. It affects the conjunctiva under the eyelids. Repeated infections cause scarring leading to in-turning ofthe eyelashes and eyelids. This further causes damage to the cornea and blindness. It is found affecting the population in certain pockets of the States of North India like Gujarat, Rajasthan, Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Nicobar Islands. Trachoma infection of the eyes was the most important cause of blindness in India in 1950s and over 50% population was affected in Gujarat, Rajasthan, Punjab, and Uttar Pradesh. It was the most important cause of corneal blindness in India, affecting young children.
The National Trachoma Prevalence Surveys and the Trachoma Rapid Assessment Surveys were conducted by Dr. Rajendra Prasad Centre for Ophthalmic Sciences, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi in collaboration with National Program for Control of Blindness & Visual Impairment, Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare from 2014 to 2017. This was conducted in 27 high-risk districts across 23 states and union territories.
Q. 432. INDICES
The Environmental Performance Index (EPI) is a method of quantifying and numerically marking the environmental performance of a state's policies. This index was developed from the Pilot Environmental Performance Index, first published in 2002, and designed to supplement the environmental targets set forth in the United Nations Millennium Development Goals. The EPI was preceded by the Environmental Sustainability Index (ESI), published between 1999 and 2005. Both indexes were developed by Yale University (Yale Center for Environmental Law and Policy) and Columbia University (Center for International Earth Science Information Network) in collaboration with the World Economic Forum and the Joint Research Centre of the European Commission.
Global Environment Outlook (GEO) is a series of reports on the environment issued periodically by the United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP). The GEO project was initiated in response to the environmental reporting requirements of UN Agenda 21 and to a UNEP Governing Council decision of May 1995 which requested the production of a new comprehensive global state of the environment report.
Since 2010, United Nations Environment (UNEP) has produced annual Emissions Gap Reports based on requests by countries for an independent scientific assessment of how actions and pledges by countries affect the global greenhouse gas emissions trend, and how this compares to emissions trajectories consistent with the long-term goal of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).
State of the World's Forests (SOFO) is presented by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. While agriculture remains the most significant driver of global deforestation, there is an urgent need to promote more positive interactions between agriculture and forestry to build sustainable agricultural systems and improve food security. This is the key message of the FAO's flagship publication The State of the World's Forests (SOFO).
More than 80% of people living in urban areas that monitor air pollution are exposed to air quality levels that exceed the World Health Organization (WHO) limits. While all regions of the world are affected, populations in low-income cities are the most impacted. According to the latest urban air quality database, 98% of cities in low- and middle income countries with more than 100 000 inhabitants do not meet WHO air quality guidelines. However, in high-income countries, that percentage decreases to 56%. In the past two years, the database – now covering 3000 cities in 103 countries – has nearly doubled, with more cities measuring air pollution levels and recognizing the associated health impacts. As urban air quality declines, the risk of stroke, heart disease, lung cancer, and chronic and acute respiratory diseases, including asthma, increases for the people who live in them.
World Wildlife Fund, in collaboration with energy consultants at Ecofys, prepare The Energy Report which explores how to power the world entirely by renewable energy by the middle of this century. The Living Planet Report is published every two years by the World Wide Fund for Nature since 1998. It is based on the Living Planet Index and ecological footprint calculations. The Living Planet Report is the world's leading, science-based analysis on the health of our only planet and the impact of human activity.
Q. 431. Integrated Disease Surveillance Project
Integrated Disease Surveillance Project
According to a recent data of Health Ministry Integrated Disease Surveillance Programme (IDSP) has indicated that food poisoning is one of the commonest outbreaks reported in 2017. This is apart from acute diarrhoeal disease (ADD).
According to the recent data, 312 of the 1,649 outbreaks in 2017 were due to ADD and 242 were due to food poisoning. The IDSP has interpreted that the incidence of ADD and food poisoning is high in places where food is cooked in bulk, such as canteens, hostels and wedding venues.
Food poisoning, also called food-borne illness, is caused by eating contaminated food. Infectious organisms including bacteria, viruses and parasites or their toxins are the most common causes.
Integrated Disease Surveillance Project (IDSP) was launched in 2004 for a period upto 2010. The project was restructured and extended 2012. The project continues in the 12th Plan with domestic budget as Integrated Disease Surveillance Programme under National Health Mission for all States.
Objectives Integrated Disease Surveillance Project (IDSP): To strengthen/maintain decentralized laboratory based IT enabled disease surveillance system for epidemic prone diseases to monitor disease trends and to detect and respond to outbreaks in early rising phase through trained Rapid Response Team (RRTs) Programme Components:
i.Integration and decentralization of surveillance activities through establishment of surveillance units at Centre, State and District level.
ii.Human Resource Development – Training of State Surveillance Officers, District Surveillance Officers, Rapid Response Team and other Medical and Paramedical staff on principles of disease surveillance.
iii.Use of Information Communication Technology for collection, collation, compilation, analysis and dissemination of data.
iv.Strengthening of public health laboratories.
v.Inter sectoral Co-ordination for zoonotic diseases
Q. 430. Wassenaar Arrangement
Wassenaar Arrangement (WA) has decided to admit India as its new member. The inclusion which is expected to raise New Delhi’s stature in the field of non-proliferation besides helping it acquire critical technologies.
The Wassenaar Arrangement on Export Controls for Conventional Arms and Dual-Use Goods and Technologies, commonly known as the Wassenaar Arrangement, is a multilateral export control regime (MECR) with 42 participating states including many former Comecon (Warsaw Pact) countries.
Wassenaar is a municipality and town located in the province of South Holland, on the western coast of the Netherlands.
The list of restricted technologies is broken into two parts, the "List of Dual-Use Goods and Technologies" (also known as the Basic List) and the "Munitions List". In order for an item to be placed on the lists, Member States must take into account the following criteria:
Foreign availability outside Participating States
Ability to effectively control the export of the goods
Ability to make a clear and objective specification of the item.
Controlled by another regime, such as the Australia Group, Nuclear Suppliers Group, or Missile Technology Control Regime
Q. 429. Pratyush supercomputer
India has developed its fastest supercomputer yet, Pratyush, which is the fourth fastest supercomputer in the world dedicated for weather and climate research. It follows machines from Japan, USA and the United Kingdom. It can deliver a peak power of 6.8 petaflops (One petaflop is a million billion floating point operations per second and is a reflection of the computing capacity of a system).
The machines will be installed at two government institutes: 4.0 petaflops HPC facility at IITM, Pune; and 2.8 petaflops facility at the National Centre for Medium Range Weather Forecast, Noida.
A key function of the machine’s computing power would be monsoon forecasting using a dynamical model. This requires simulating the weather for a given month — say March — and letting a custom-built model calculate how the actual weather will play out over June, July, August and September. With the new system, it would be possible to map regions in India at a resolution of 3 km and the globe at 12 km.
Q. 428. Online portal 'NARI'
Online portal ‘NARI’
Ministry of Women & Child Development has developed an online portal NARI. The portal will provide women citizens with easy access to information on government schemes and initiatives for women.
In order to make this information more easily accessible in one place, the NARI portal summarizes over 350 government schemes and other important information for the benefit of women, with more being added everyday. It provides links to the Ministries, Departments and autonomous bodies offering these schemes as well as easy access to online applications and grievance redressal.
NARI will provide information to women on issues affecting their lives. There are tips on good nutrition, suggestions for health check ups, information on major diseases, tips for job search and interview, investment and savings advice, information on crimes and against women and reporting procedures, contacts of legal aid cells, simplified adoption procedures and much more. It will endow women with the power of information to build their life skills and facilitates them in taking full advantage of the services provided by the Government for them.
Q. 427. Ganga Gram Project
Ganga Gram Project
The Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation (MDWS) has launched ‘Ganga Gram’ – a project for sanitation based integrated development of all 4470 villages along the River Ganga. Funds will be generated from NRIs to support the various Ganga projects.
Ganga Gram vision is an integrated approach for holistic development of villages situated on the banks of River Ganga with active participation of the villagers. After achieving ODF target in Ganga Villages, implementation of solid and liquid waste management and other integrated activities are remaining tasks. Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation is the nodal agency for implementation of the Ganga Gram Project.
Q. 426. SAMPRITI
SAMPRITI is a joint Indo-Bangladesh training Exercise. The exercise has begun in the state of Mizoram at Counter Insurgency & Jungle Warfare School. It was conducted in a progressive manner wherein the participants initially familiarised themselves with each other’s organisational structure and tactical drills. Subsequently, the training advanced to various joint tactical exercises by the two Armies.
It is the seventh such exercise in the SAMPRITI series. The exercise commenced with a validation exercise. The exercise is aimed to strengthen and broaden the aspects of interoperability and cooperation between the Indian and Bangladesh Armies.
Q. 425. e-Samvad Portal
Ministry of Women & Child Development has developed e-Samvad portal. Through e-Samvad portal, NGOs and civil society can provide their feedback, suggestions, put up grievances, share best practices etc. Senior Officers within MWCD will be able to view the inputs/suggestions received for their concerned subject areas and appropriately respond to NGOs. This will help in formulation of effective policies and measures for welfare of women and children.
Empowerment and welfare of women and children is top priority of the government, e-Samvad portal is an initiatives in this direction.
Q. 424. Buenos Aires Declaration
Buenos Aires Declaration
WTO members and observers have endorsed a collective initiative to increase the participation of women in trade, for the first time in the history of the World Trade Organization. In order to help women, reach their full potential in the world economy, 118 WTO members and observers agreed to support the Buenos Aires Declaration on Women and Trade, which seeks to remove barriers to, and foster, women’s economic empowerment.
Actions outlined in the Declaration will ultimately boost economic growth worldwide and provide more and better paid jobs for women. These actions will also contribute to UN Global Development Goals, including the Sustainable Development Goal to achieve gender equality through the empowerment of women and girls (SDG 5).
Supporting WTO members and observers have specifically agreed to explore and find ways to best tackle barriers to trade, lack of access to trade financing and sub-optimal participation of women in public procurement markets. Within the WTO context, members will scrutinize their own policies through a gender lens and find ways to work together to increase women’s participation in the world economy. They will also seek to ensure that trade-related development assistance pays better attention to its focus and impact on women. Progress will be reported in 2019.
Currently, many women worldwide stand on the sidelines of the economy. While women comprise about half of the global population, they generate only 37% of gross domestic product (GDP) and run only about a third of small and medium-sized enterprises. In some developing countries, female business ownership can dip as low as 3-6%. An International Trade Centre survey in 20 countries found that just one in five exporting companies is owned by women. No country has managed to close the gender gap on economic participation and opportunity; progress is so slow it would take, at the current rate, 170 years to reach gender equality. It is also apparent that international trade and trade agreements affect women and men differently.
The Buenos Aires Women and Trade Declaration was spearheaded by the governments of Iceland and Sierra Leone, as well as the International Trade Centre.
Q. 423. Plastic Ban and National Green Tribunal
Plastic Ban and National Green Tribunal
The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has imposed a complete ban on plastic items like carry bags, plates and cutlery in towns located on the banks of the River Ganga like Haridwar and Rishikesh. The Green Tribunal also imposed Rs 5,000 fine on those violating the order and said action will be taken against erring officials too.
National Green Tribunal Act, 2010 (NGT) is an Act of the Parliament of India which enables creation of a special tribunal to handle the expeditious disposal of the cases pertaining to environmental issues. It draws inspiration from the India's constitutional provision of Article 21, which assures the citizens of India the right to a healthy environment.
The Tribunal's dedicated jurisdiction in environmental matters shall provide speedy environmental justice and help reduce the burden of litigation in the higher courts. The Tribunal shall not be bound by the procedure laid down under the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908, but shall be guided by principles of natural justice. The tribunal is mandated to make and endeavour for disposal of applications or appeals finally within 6 months of filing of the same.Initially, the NGT is proposed to be set up at five places of sittings and will follow circuit procedure for making itself more accessible; New Delhi is the Principal Place of Sitting of the Tribunal and Bhopal, Pune, Kolkata, Allahabad and Chennai shall be the other place of sitting of the Tribunal.
Q. 422. Indian language support in phones
Indian language support in phones
Government has mandated support for Indian languages in all mobile phones to be sold in the country from July 1, 2017 onward. The government has included the Indian language support for mobile phone as per IS 16333 to the schedule of ‘Electronics and Information Technology Goods (Requirement for compulsory Registration) Order, 2012. The new standard mandates mobile phone companies to provide message typing facility in English, Hindi and a regional language of their users choice. The notification mandates both smartphones and feature phones to provide language support.
It will pave way for connecting next 1 billion people most of whom will be non-English speaking.
The order is in line with Digital India vision of bridging digital divide.
The support for Indian language has potential to grow e-governance transactions, e-commerce business etc multifold, once non-English speaking people are able to access mobile platform in their own language.
Q. 421. Peri-Urban Agriculture
Peri-urban agriculture is generally defined as agriculture undertaken in places on the fringes of urban areas. There is no universally agreed definition, and usage of the term generally depends on context and operational variables. The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations defines peri-urban agriculture as "agriculture practices within and around cities which compete for resources (land, water, energy, labour) that could also serve other purposes to satisfy the requirements of the urban population.
The term “peri-urban” is used to describe agriculture, while difficult to define in terms of geography, population density, percentage of labor force in agriculture, or any other variable, often serves the purpose of indicating areas along the urban-rural continuum. These are places with dynamic landscape and social change and are often invoked in conversations about growth of cities.
Indian agriculture has seen rapid growth in fruit, vegetable, dairy and fishery production. The Ministry of Agriculture & Farmers Welfare is hoping to double farmer's incomes by 2022 by continuing to increase production, but to also implement proper processing techniques and infrastructure for market expansion. It is hoped that by creating attractive employment options, less agricultural land located near cities and towns will be swallowed up by land conversion.
Mission for Integrated Development of Horticulture (MIDH) has helped in production and productivity, post-harvest management and marketing by providing assistance in the production of quality seeds, protected agriculture, vegetable and organic farming.
Due to rapid urbanization in the past years, demand for vegetables, fruits and flowers is constantly increasing in urban areas and Peri-Urban Agriculture can contribute to price stabilization through the development of important local food production centres of the diversified food system. This will reduce the burden on transport, and help in reducing greenhouse gas emissions from cold storage.
Q. 420. Sagol Kangjei (Polo)
Sagol Kangjei (Polo)
Sagol Kangjei is the name of the game of polo played in Manipur. Sagol means pony or horse; kang means a ball or round object, and jei is a stick used for hitting. Polo has, for time immemorial, been a game patronised by the royalty and the upper crust of society, not only in India but abroad. However in the state of Manipur, it has always been a game for the common man.
According to Kangjeiron Purana, which is really the history of hockey in the state, polo was first played in Manipur, and therefore, it got the name Sagol Kangjei - sagol (horse) and kangjei (hockey). Manipuri polo symbolises the immense cultural heritage of the state, and great efforts have been put to raise the standard of this popular game.
Q. 419. Bir Tikendrajit
Manipur’s cultural traditions, its social, religious and ethnic mosaic, and its history of courage and resilience are an inspiration for everybody in India. The war of 1891 saw the brave people of Manipur resisting the colonial powers in a manner that has few parallels. The martyrs of 1891 are heroes and the great Bir Tikendrajitand his comrades are cherished icons.
Tikendrajit Singh also known as Bir Tikendrajit and Koireng was a prince of the independent Kingdom of Manipur. He was the commander of the Manipuri army and engineered a palace revolution that led to the events known as the Anglo-Manipur War of 1891 or the 'Manipur Expedition'.
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