Current Affairs for IAS Exams - 22 DECEMBER 2018

Current Affairs for IAS Exams - 22 DECEMBER 2018


Vice president urges pharmaceutical industry to make India capital of generic medicines

  •  The Vice President of India, Shri M. Venkaiah Naidu has called up on the pharmaceutical industry to work towards making India an International Capital of Generic Medicines.
  •  Shri Naidu said that India becoming the largest provider of generic drugs globally with the Indian generics accounting for 20 % of global exports in terms of volume was an eloquent testimony to the competence of the Indian pharma sector in terms of quality and pricing.
  •  The Vice President said that apart from being the world leader in generic medicines, India should promote Indian systems of Medicine. He asked young researchers to work towards standardizing and benchmarking Indian systems of medicine and establish the efficiency, validity and efficacy of these traditional medicines, using globally established experimental protocols.
  •  The Vice President asked Pharma companies to go above and beyond their CSR mandates to provide life saving and other essential drugs to those who cannot afford them. He said that it was essential for a country like India to provide healthcare and medicines at affordable prices. In developing countries, India is rendering yeoman service by providing access to life saving medicines at affordable prices, he added.
  •  Given the significance of highly educated and specialized scientists in the sector, skill development is crucial, he said. He asked for a constant coordination between government and Industry to remove disconnect between demand and supply of skilled manpower in pharmacy sector.
    Nutritional rehabilitiation centres established across the country
  •  Under National Health Mission (NHM) 1151 NRCs have been established all across the country to provide facility based care for children with Severe Acute Malnutrition (SAM) and medical complications. As per National Family Health Survey (NFHS 4, 2015-16), 7.5% of under five children are severely wasted and 35.8% of children are underweight.
  •  Children with Severe Acute Malnutrition (SAM) along with medical complications are referred from villages by frontline workers such ASHA and Anganwadi workers and admitted to NRCs as per the defined admission criteria.
  •  In order to improve their health condition, medical and nutritional therapeutic care is provided during NRC stay.
  •  As per report received from States/ UTs, 1.86 lakhs under five children were admitted in the NRCs in the year of 2017-18, out of which 1.17 lakhs children were discharged with target weight gain.
  •  Regular and periodic review of NRC functionality is carried out under child health programme by central and State Government teams including through Common Review Mission visits.
  •  Accordingly, specific recommendations are provided for improvement of NRC functionality and quality of service delivery.


NITI Ayog releases SDG India Index

  •  NITI Aayog Vice-Chairman Rajiv Kumar, CEO Amitabh Kant and UN Resident Coordinator Yuri Afanasiev will release the Sustainable Development Goal, SDG India Index: Baseline Report 2018 in New Delhi on Friday.
  •  The SDGs, which came into being in September 2015, are in the Third year of global implementation.
  •  The SDGs are ambitious global aspirations on development that address key aspects of universal well-being, across different socio-economic, cultural, geographical divisions as well as the interconnectedness among the economic, social and environmental dimensions of development.
  •  NITI Aayog has the twin mandate to oversee the implementation of SDGs in the country and promote Competitive and Cooperative Federalism among States and Union Territories.
  •  In exercise of these roles, NITI Aayog has developed the SDG India Index, a comprehensive Index to measure the progress of States and Union Territories, through a single measurable Index and the First Baseline Report for 2018, prepared with the support of Global Green Growth Institute and UN in India.

RBI announces caps for funds via ECB’s

  •  The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) on Thursday has announced a cap for funds raised via external commercial borrowing (ECB) at 6.5% of the country’s GDP.
  •  Based on GDP figures for March 31, 2018, ‘the soft limit works out to $160 billion,’ the central bank said in a statement.
  •  “It has been decided, in consultation with the Government of India, to have a rule-based dynamic limit for outstanding stock of external commercial borrowings (ECB) at 6.5% of GDP at current market prices,” the RBI said. The outstanding stock of ECB as on September 30, 2018 was $126.29 billion.
  •  ECBs refer to commercial loans in the form of bank loans, securitised instruments buyers’ credit, suppliers’ credit availed of from non-resident lenders with a minimum average maturity of three years.

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India’s national accreditation body Secures Recognition in Asia- Pacific Region

  •  The National Accreditation Board for Certification Bodies (NABCB), India’s national accreditation body, has secured equivalence for its accreditation programme for Occupational Health and Safety Management Systems (OHSMS) Certification Bodies in Asia- Pacific region.
  •  It has signed the Multilateral Recognition Arrangement (MLA) of the Pacific Accreditation Cooperation (PAC) on 19 December 2018.
  •  Any industry carrying ISO 45001 certificate with NABCB logo will be recognized in the Asia Pacific region. The immediate beneficiary of this equivalence is the Indian Industry which is exporting products to various countries specially in the Asia Pacific region.
  •  NABCB, a constituent Board of the Quality Council of India, is responsible for accreditation of certification/inspection bodies as per applicable international standards under an international system of equivalence.
  •  NABCB is the third accreditation body in the Asia Pacific Region to become internationally equivalent in the region, the other two being the accreditation bodies of Hong Kong and Mexico.
  •  Accreditation has become an essential tool for getting acceptance of inspection, testing and certification done in India internationally and it is referenced in many bilateral Free Trade Agreements like the India – Singapore Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement in which NABCB accreditation is a requirement for certification of electrical/electronic and telecom products.

UAE extends economic cooperation with Pakistan

  •  The United Arab Emirates said on Friday it will soon deposit $3 billion in the central bank of Pakistan to help “enhance liquidity” as the country struggles with a balance of payments crisis.
  •  The transfer of 11 billion dirhams by the government-owned Abu Dhabi Fund for Development (ADFD) is expected to be carried out in the “coming days”, the WAM news agency said. Quoting a statement from the ADFD, the state news agency said the amount is meant “to support the financial and monetary policy of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan”. It will “enhance liquidity and monetary reserves of foreign currency” at the central bank, it added.
  •  Pakistan is facing a deteriorating balance of payments crisis. The rupee plunged almost 5% to a record low at the end of November, after what appeared to be a sixth devaluation by the central bank in the past year.
  •  The UAE announcement came days after Pakistan attended talks in Abu Dhabi between the United States and Taliban officials from Afghanistan.
  •  Islamabad has also received billions of dollars in Chinese loans to finance infrastructure projects


Researcher’s discover new exotic planet

  •  Researchers have discovered a new exotic planet outside our solar system in the constellation Cassiopeia.
  •  Located 21 light years away from us, this planet, dubbed HD219134 b, has a mass almost five times that of Earth, which is considered a so-called “super-Earth”.
  •  Unlike the Earth, however, it most likely does not have a massive core of iron, but is rich in calcium and aluminium alongside magnesium and silicon And because the inner structure is so different, their cooling behaviour and atmospheres will also differ from those of normal super-Earths.
  •  HD219134 b is one of three candidates likely to belong to a new exotic class of exoplanets, say the researchers, according to the study published in the journal Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society: Letters.
  •  The other two exoplanets studied, 55 Cancri e and WASP-47 e, orbit their star so closely that their surface temperature is almost 3000 degree.


Belgium football team becomes No.1 in FIFA global rankings

  •  Belgium will end the year as No. 1 ahead of world champions France in the global rankings released by FIFA yesterday.
  •  Belgium, beaten by France in the World Cup semi-finals, edge Didier Deschamps' team by one ranking point. Belgium have 1,727 points by FIFA's calculations to 1,726 for France. Brazil are third on 1,676.

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