In a nascent effort to look beyond toilets and kick off its
ODF+ phase — that is, Open Defecation Free Plus — focussing on solid and
liquid waste management, the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan (SBA) has included the
prevalence of plastic litter and water-logging in villages as indicators of
cleanliness in its 2019 rural survey.
For the last five years, ever since the SBA was launched on
Gandhi Jayanti in 2014, its main focus has been on eliminating open defecation
by constructing toilets and promoting their usage through widespread behaviour
With the October 2, 2019 deadline looming near, and the original
goal almost achieved according to government data, the mission is moving on to
its next phase.
A senior official explained that the protocol for plastic waste
would call for bans on single use plastic, as well as the collection and sorting
of waste at the Block level. If possible, plastic waste would be sent for
recycling, or baled and shredded.
The survey aims to cover 18,000 sample villages — approximately
30 per rural district — and take feedback from over 2.5 crore villagers. In
fact, citizen feedback will account for 35% of the ranking of districts.The
survey will be conducted from August 14 to September 2.
The Finance Ministry has initiated a comprehensive
consultative process with public sector banks (PSBs) to find out the reasons
for the sharp rise in bad loans in the previous five years, apart from
outlining national priorities with which these banks have to align
Touted as a ‘bottom-up consultative process,’ the Ministry will
review the performance of these entities in the last five years.
This will be the first comprehensive review of PSBs after
NirmalaSitharaman took charge of the Finance Ministry in May, that will also
provide a direction to the PSBs for the next five years.
The government also wants to know the reasons for the decline in
credit flow in the last five years. In particular, the Ministry wants to know if
credit to manufacturing has dropped, and if so, why it had, as the IIP has risen
from 2.8% in 2014-15 to 4.6% in 2017-18.
Banks also have to dwell on the number of loan applications they
received between April 2014 and March 2019 and as to how many were accepted and
The consultative process will start from branch level upwards to
the State-level and then to the national level.
Some of the thematic papers on which the consultation will take
place are — increasing digital payments, corporate governance, credit to MSMEs
and farm loans among others.
US President Donald Trump has said that India and China are
no longer developing nations and both are taking advantage of developing
nations tag from the World Trade Organization.
Addressing a gathering at Pennsylvania, Trump said India and
China, the two economic giants from Asia, are no longer developing nations and
they cannot take benefits from WTO. However, they are taking the advantage of a
developing nation tag from the WTO, putting the US to disadvantage.
Trump, championing his America First policy, has been a vocal
critic of India for levying allegedly high duties on US products. The US and
China are currently engaged in a bruising trade war after Trump imposed punitive
tariffs on Chinese goods. Beijing retaliated in the same manner by imposing
tariffs on the American goods.
Earlier in July, Trump asked WTO to define how it designates
developing country status, a move apparently aimed at singling out countries
like China, Turkey and India which are getting lenient treatment under the
global trade rules.
Researchers from the Indian Institute of
Technology-Hyderabad (IIT-H) and Dr. B.R. Ambedkar National Institute of
Technology, Jalandhar, have developed a process by which bone implant
materials can be synthesised from eggshells.
The research seeks to produce bone substitute materials such as
tricalcium phosphate, a commonly-used bone substitute material, from natural
sources. Eggshells are made of largely of minerals (95.1%) along with small
amounts of proteins and water. Calcium is the main mineral component.
In modern medicine, damaged and missing bones are replaced with
bone from either the patient or a donor or by using artificial materials
containing calcium, such as Plaster of Paris, and more recently, phosphate
compounds like hydroxyapatite and calcium phosphate.
For their study, researchers synthesised pure and thermally
stable tricalcium phosphate nanopowder — powder a hundred thousand times smaller
than the width of a single human hair — from eggshells. They used a milling
process called ‘ball milling’ to produce these activated calcium phosphate
Results showed that eggshell waste is promising enough to
replace the commercially available tricalcium phosphate (produced by using
harmful chemicals) and has the capability to develop implantable biomaterial for
tissue regeneration, according to the research paper published in Ceramics