Current Affairs for IAS Exams - 9 September 2018

Current Affairs for IAS Exams - 9 September 2018


New nutrition norms gets NITI aayog clearance

  • The NITI Aayog has approved the supplementary nutrition guidelines, prepared by the Ministry for Women and Child Development, bypassing Minister for Women and Child Development Maneka Gandhi following intervention by the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO), according to a person familiar with the development.
  • The PMO had stepped in to end a more than yearlong stand-off between Ms. Gandhi and the Ministry’s officials in the wake of sharp differences over the proposed norms.
  • While Ms. Gandhi recommended that take-home rations be procured either from self-help groups (SHGs) that have adequate manufacturing facilities or from government or private undertakings, the officials had favoured sourcing food items prepared with locally available ingredients, solely from SHGs.
  • The debate within the Ministry has also included the issue of what constitutes supplementary nutrition at anganwadis. Ms. Gandhi has repeatedly asserted that policy-makers need to “stop thinking of giving food and instead think of giving nutrition,” while officials record in their communication to the NITI Aayog that as per the National Food Security Act “food security is supply of the entitled quantity of food grains and meals.”
  • There is no data systems about the quality of food, how people use it, what people think about it,” said Ms.Menon. “My opinion is that there are a lot of assumptions being made within all quarters, but what we need to do is to look at what is actually happening on the ground.”

World summit on accreditation inaugurated 

  • Union Minister for HRD ShriPrakashJavadekar Inaugurates 4th World Summit on Accreditation (WOSA-2018) at New Delhi today. Speaking on this occasion the Minister said that ‘Ratings and Rankings’ both the quality hallmark for any educational institutions therefore accreditation becomes very important.
  • He further said that we need to cover each and every institution under accreditation but right now the number of accredited institutions is very less. He said that that it may be for two reasons first some institutions do not want to come under accreditation and second we have some restriction in our own accreditation mechanism therefore government wants to increase the strength of NBA and NAAC so that more number of institutions can be accredited.
  • The Minister said that ranking and rating increase competitiveness among institutions for better performance. He gave the example of National Institutional Ranking Framework (NIRF) and said that because of NIRF every institute has constituted an internal committee to improve the ranking. Students also see institutions ranking before taking admission, he added.
  • World Summit on Accreditation (WOSA) is a biennial Summit organised by NBA, which provides platform to stakeholders to share their knowledge and information on accreditation. NBA has already organised three Summits in 2012, 2014 and 2016 with the themes “Achieving Excellence through Accreditation”, “International Recognition of Education Qualifications” and “Quality Assurance through Outcome Based Accreditation” respectively.

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India –U.S LEMAO becomes fully operational

  • The India-U.S. foundational agreement for mutual logistics support, the Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Agreement (LEMOA), has been fully operationalised over the past few months, official sources said.
  • Earlier this week, India concluded the third foundational agreement, Communications Compatibility and Security Agreement (COMCASA), which is meant for secure encrypted communications.
  • India had concluded the LEMOA in August 2016 in a culmination of a decade of negotiations between the two countries.The pact gives both countries access to designated military facilities on either side for the purpose of refuelling and replenishment in primarily four areas — port calls, joint exercises, training and humanitarian assistance and disaster relief.
  • With COMCASA, India has signed three of the four foundational or enabling agreements with the U.S. meant to improve interoperability between the militaries and allow transfer of high-end military platforms.
  • The first one, the General Security Of Military Information Agreement (GSOMIA), which is for information safety, was signed in 2002.COMCASA, which was signed at the 2+2 dialogue on Thursday, is an India-specific version of the Communication and Information on Security Memorandum of Agreement (CISMOA).The last one remaining is the Basic Exchange and Cooperation Agreement for Geo-spatial Cooperation (BECA).

President of India attends a roundtable of Czech Indologists  in Prague

  • The President of India, Shri Ram NathKovind, attended a roundtable discussion of Indologists at Charles University in Prague today (September 8, 2018).  
  • Speaking on the occasion, the President said Indology has a very old tradition in Prague, starting with the establishment of a Chair in Sanskrit at Charles University in 1850. Professor Lesny was among the founding fathers of the Czech school of Indology.
  • Later in the day, the President visited ELI Beamlines International Laser Research Centre in Prague. He received detailed briefings at this cutting-edge institution, one of the world’s centres of laser technology and research. Coinciding with President Kovind’s visit, ELI Beamlines has signed an agreement with the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research in Mumbai.
  • The President said the economies of India and the Czech Republic have significant complementarities. Indian companies have expertise in IT, infrastructure, pharmaceuticals, automobiles and services. India offers a vast market and potential to scale up for Czech companies in heavy engineering, defence, advanced manufacturing, and automotive and energy technologies.  
  • The President said the defence sector has been a vital area of cooperation between India and the Czech Republic. He invited Czech defence companies to invest and manufacture in India. He said from Bata to Skoda, the Indo-Czech partnership has been defined by popular embrace, sustainable practices and business confidence.
  • In the meeting with Prime Minister Babis, the President discussed closer defence and business relations and the scope for Czech manufacturing companies to partner with India.



DNA aptamer inhibits TB bacteria entry to cells

  • By using a small single-stranded DNA molecule (DNA aptamer) that specifically binds to a single protein (HupB) present in TB bacteria, researchers have been able to achieve 40-55% reduction in the bacteria’s ability to enter into human cells and infect them. Besides facilitating entry into host cells, HupB also helps the TB bacteria survive various stresses encountered inside host cells.
  • The HupB protein was discovered in late 1990s by Prof. H. Krishna Prasad, formerly with AIIMS, while looking at specific TB bacterial antigens that induced immune response in humans. He found the protein was associated with the DNA of the bacteria (Tubercle and Lung Disease journal).
  • Despite being an attractive drug target, designing inhibitors against HupB has been largely unsuccessful as the full length crystal structure of the protein is not known due to the disordered nature of the end portion of the protein (C-terminal). As a result, the classical drug discovery route, which relies on the structure, cannot be used for designing inhibitors against HupB protein.
  • The binding of the aptamers to the cell-surface associated HupB protein was first confirmed using live, disease-causing TB bacteria. The researchers then treated the disease-causing TB bacteria with the aptamers to test the ability of the bacteria to enter human cells.
  • So by targeting the HupB protein using aptamer-based inhibitors can effectively block TB infection and will be effective in both drug-sensitive and drug-resistant TB patients.


Centre emphasises on clean,efficient & affordable mobility system

  • The Union Minister of Petroleum and Natural Gas & Skill Development and Entrepreneurship ShriDharmendraPradhan has emphasized on a clean, efficient and affordable mobility system. In his opening remarks at the Global Mobility Summit 2018 here today, he said that despite changing global trends, consumption of petrol and diesel in India is growing in excess of 5% per annum.
  • Whatever be the scenario of the growth of Electric vehicles, India would still need higher refining capacities. To achieve cleaner emissions, the Minister added, India will leapfrog from BS-IV to BS-VI standards, and the NCT of Delhi has already switched to the better fuel since April this year. ShriPradhan said the Government has already implemented fuel efficiency norms for commercial heavy vehicles.
  •  Talking about the gas based transportation solutions, the Minister said that the use of CNG, LNG and Bio-CNG is being promoted in the sector, and there are plans in place to have about 10,000 CNG stations within a decade, covering over half of the country.
  • He said that 12 bio-refineries are being set up and steps are being taken to achieve 10% ethanol blending. Soon, Bio-ATF and Bio-CNG policies will be formulated. Indian Oil has tied up with the Delhi Government to introduce 50 Hydrogen enriched CNG buses next year.
  • On the issue of Electric Vehicles, ShriPradhan said that there are challenges concerning setting up of infrastructure and economy of converting to EVs, and Inter-ministerial teams are working to put in place a comprehensive policy on the matter.

WAN Connectivity to district and subordinate courts

  • One of the important components of eCourts Mission Mode Project Phase-II (2015-19) is establishment of Wide Area Network (WAN) connecting all District and Subordinate court complexes, spread across the country.
  • The eCourts project has made significant progress under the guidance of e-Committee of Supreme Court of India in computerizing 16,089 district and subordinate courts of the country through installation of case information software, hardware and local area network in courts, thus making judiciary ICT – enabled for efficient and transparent functioning with a positive overall impact on the justice delivery system.
  • The Department of Justice awarded the prestigious eCourts’ WAN project to BSNL at a cost of Rs. 167 crores for establishing Wide Area Network (WAN) connecting 2992 district and subordinate court complexes across the country including 547 court complexes with no connectivity.
  • An online monitoring tool prepared by NIC for tracking real-time progress and monitoring of pan - Indian Wide Area Network (WAN) project against the set baselines was launched on 7th September, 2018.
  • BSNL has completed feasibility studies of 458 hitherto unconnected district and subordinate courts under the eCourts Project. The activities of BSNL with clear phases, tasks, milestones and timelines are monitored regularly by the Department of Justice. The project is expected to be completed by 31st December, 2018.


Indians could not keep up pace in IAAF continental cup athletics

  • A brave attempt on the home stretch helped Asian champion P.U. Chitra finish fourth in the women’s 1500m at the IAAF Continental Cup athletics in Ostrava, Czech Republic, on Saturday evening.
  • Later, Asian Games 1500m champion Jinson Johnson finished seventh in the men’s 800m in 1:48.44s.The race was a slow one too and Kenyan Emmanuel KipkuruiKorir took the gold in 1:46.50s.
  • A few more Indians, including Neeraj Chopra (javelin throw) and Arpinder Singh (triple jump) will be in action on Sunday.

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