Gist of The Hindu: January 2020

Gist of The Hindu: January 2020

India aims to completely eradicate AIDS before 2030

  • Health and Family Welfare Minister Dr. Harsh Vardhan has said the government is making all out efforts to completely eradicate HIV AIDS in the country before 2030.
  • He said, India has successfully eliminated polio well before the target eight years-ago. The Minister was speaking at a function to observe the World HIV AIDS day in New Delhi today. He also said, attempts should be made to make the country free from TB before 2025.
  • He said, 18 ministries are working for the elimination of various diseases. Stating that voluntary blood donation is the best tribute to humanity, the Minister asked the people to donate blood saying that regular blood donation can prevent heart diseases. 'Communities make the difference' is the theme of this year's World HIV AIDS day.
  • As per the latest estimate of 2017, there are around 21 lakh 40 thousand people living with HIV in the country. The government is implementing the National AIDS Control Programme (NACP) as a hundred per cent Central Sector Scheme for prevention and control of AIDS.
  • NACP response to HIV epidemic comprise a comprehensive three-pronged strategy of prevention, testing and treatment.The Government has also developed a seven-year National Strategic Plan from 2017 to 2024 to achieve the Sustainable Development Goal of ending AIDS as a public health threat by 2030.

BSF brings in new technology to guard Indo-Pak border

  • Minister of State for Home Affairs Nityanand Rai today said the Government is committed to equipping the forces with the latest equipment and technology. He was addressing the 55th Raising Day event of the force at a BSF camp in New Delhi today.
  • Mr.Rai said that citizens of India feel safe because of the BSF jawans' promptness on the world's most sensitive international borders. He further said that efforts are being made to infiltrate and smuggle, by the country's enemies, but BSF jawans are thwarting the attempts with their promptness.
  • Speaking at the function, BSF, Director General, V K Johri, said the BSF is working on technological solutions to combat the threat of drones along the India-Pakistan International Border.
  • Mr.Johari also said that force has expanded its strategic capabilities by using new technology and intelligence to guard the over 6,386 km long borders with Pakistan and Bangladesh.
  • He said, the Line of Control in Jammu and Kashmir and the International Border along Punjab have become operationally sensitive in recent times. He added that anti-India forces are continuously trying to infiltrate across the border, and the BSF is at all times to thwart these bids.
  • AIR correspondent reports that the BSF is primarily tasked with guarding the India and Pakistan borders, apart from rendering a variety of roles in internal security.

Centre to bring out permanent solution to curb stubble burning

  • The Centre is formulating a scheme to find a permanent solution to the practice stubble burning by farmers and has constituted a committee to come out with a report on the matter in a month or two, Minister of State for Agriculture and Farmers Welfare ParshottamRupala said in RajyaSabha.
  • The MoS said that the new committee will come out with a new scheme within one or two months.He said in some states farmers burn stubble for sowing the next crop and the government is planning to educate them about diversification of crops.
  • Besides, the government has given machines worth Rs 1,151 crore to farmers for managing stubble besides creating awareness.A total of 55,000 machines were provided to three states, he said, and added that Delhi is not managing it well.
  • The Minister said that paddy stubble burning is mainly practised in the Indo-Gangetic plains in Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh to clear the fields for rabi crop sowing.
  • Apart from the loss of nutrients, some soil nutrients, some soil properties like soil temperature, pH, moisture, available phosphorus and soil organic matter, which also govern microbial population of soil, are greatly affected due to stubble burning, he said.

Global companies agree to shift base from China to India

  • Finance Minister NirmalaSitharaman on Saturday said about 12 global companies have evinced interest to shift their base from China to India, taking advantage of the competitive tax rate of 15 per cent announced recently.
  • In a biggest reduction in 28 years, the government in September reduced corporate tax rate by almost 10 percentage points in a bid to give a boost to the sagging economy.
  • Base corporate tax for existing companies has been reduced to 22 percent from 30 per cent, and for new manufacturing firms incorporated after October 1, 2019 and starting operation before March 31, 2023, it was slashed to 15 per cent from 25 per cent.
  • The finance ministry in September set up a task force headed by Economic Affairs Secretary to prepare a road map for the "national infrastructure pipeline" from 2019-20 to 2024-25 under aRs 100 lakh crore infra plan. The task force expected to cover greenfield and brownfield projects costing above Rs 100 crore each.
  • As regards the rationalisation of the taxation, she said, "We are having a good conversation with all the states and want to make sure that those essential items may be put to the lowest if not exempt, but for the rest of them, we are trying to rationalize".

India-Japan expand cooperation,condemn terrorism

  • Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and External Affairs Minister Dr. S. Jaishankar met Japan's Minister of Defence Kono Taro and Foreign Affairs Minister MotegiToshimitsu for the first India-Japan 22 Foreign and Defence Ministerial Meeting in New Delhi on Saturday. In a joint statement, the ministers affirmed that the dialogue will further enhance the strategic depth of bilateral security and defence cooperation.
  • They condemned in the strongest terms the growing threat of terrorism, and acknowledged that it constituted a major threat to peace and security in the region. The Ministers called upon all countries to take resolute action in rooting out terrorist safe havens and infrastructure.
  • They underlined the need for all countries to ensure that all territory under their control is not used to launch terrorist attacks on other countries in any manner.
  • They noted in this context the threat posed to regional security by terrorist networks operating out of Pakistan and called upon it to take resolute and irreversible action against them and fully comply with international commitments including to FATF.
  • Acknowledging emerging security challenges, the Ministers reiterated their commitment to advancing bilateral security cooperation based on the 2008 Joint Declaration on Security Cooperation and the 2009 Action Plan to advance Security Cooperation.

Iraqi legislators accept PM’s resignation amid protests

  • Iraqi protesters set fire to the entrance of a shrine in the southern holy city of Najaf today and security forces fired tear gas to disperse them.
  • The incident took place during one of the bloodiest weeks of Iraq’s anti-government unrest, which erupted last month.
  • Meanwhile, Iraqi legislators have approved Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi's resignation during a parliament session held in capital Baghdad. On Friday, an embattled Abdul Mahdi formally submitted his offer to step down following the killing of around 50 demonstrators by the security forces in Baghdad and Iraq's mainly Shia southern cities of Nazriya and Najaf.
  • Referring to Article 76 of the country's constitution, Speaker Mohammad al-Halbusi today said President Barham Salih will now ask the largest political bloc in parliament to nominate the next prime minister.

India- Srilanka joint military exercise to begin at Pune

  • The seventh edition of exercise MITRA SHAKTI aimed at enhancing interoperability and operational efficiency amongst the armies of India and Sri Lanka commenced today at Aundh Military Station, Pune.
  • Defence Ministry said, the objective of the exercise is to build and promote positive relations between armies of both the countries through focus on sub unit level training on counter-insurgency and counter-terrorism operations in urban and rural environment.
  • The joint training exercise also signifies the strength of India-Sri Lanka relations in the field of military cooperation and engagement.
  • The exercise is designed for incorporating the current dynamics of United Nations peacekeeping operations through practical and comprehensive discussions and tactical exercises.

South Asian games begin at Kathmandu

  • 13th South Asian Games have formally begun in Kathmandu, the capital of Nepal.
  • President of Nepal Bidya Devi Bhandari declared games open in a glittering ceremony at DasarathaRangshala in Kathmandu this evening.
  • Vice President Nanda Bahadur Pun, Chairman of National Assembly Ganesh Timilsina, Deputy Prime Minister IshworPokharel, Ministers from South Asian countries and a large number of other dignitaries also graced the opening ceremony. Over 2700 athletes from seven South Asian Countries participated in the march past.
  • During the 10 days biggest sporting event of South Asia, 2715 athletes compete for 1119 medals including 319 Gold in 26 game categories. India is represented by 487 athletes. The closing ceremony will be held on 10th December.

Parliament to discuss on crimes against women

  • Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Monday said the government is ready for a discussion in LokSabha on the issue of crime against women and willing to explore stringent provisions in laws to check incidents like the Hyderabad rape and murder case.
  • Responding to a discussion during Zero Hour in the wake of the rape and murder of a veterinarian in Hyderabad, Singh said he was falling short of words to condemn the heinous crime.
  • As soon as the House met for the day, Speaker Om Birla said he would allow members to raise the "serious issue" in Zero Hour.
  • Uttam Kumar Reddy (Cong) raised the issue of the rape and murder of the 26-year-old veterinarian and slammed the Telangana Home Minister for his purported "insensitive" remarks.
  • He also slammed the state police for initially delaying to lodge a case.T R Baalu (DMK) raised the issue of sexual assault of a school girl in Coimbatore.Saugat Roy (TMC) said rape convicts should be hanged.
  • PinakiMisra (BJD) questioned the delay in executing the death sentence awarded to convicts in the "Nirbhaya" gang-rape case.He said laws and establishment on fast track courts will not make a differences till the time the death sentences are not executed.
  • On November 29, four men, aged between 20 and 24, were arrested on charges of raping and killing the young woman veterinarian in Hyderabad

Nationwide vaccination to be conducted under Mission Indradhanush 2.0

  • Centre is launching a nationwide vaccination drive to prevent eight diseases under Intensified Mission Indradhanush 2.0 across the country today.
  • The government's flagship scheme is aimed at immunizing children under the age of 2 years and pregnant women against eight vaccine preventable diseases.
  • The IMI covers vaccines for diphtheria, whooping cough, tetanus, poliomyelitis, tuberculosis, measles, meningitis and Hepatitis B. Vaccines for Japanese encephalitis and haemophilus influenzae are also being provided in selected areas.
  • The IMI 2.0 aims to achieve targets of full immunization coverage in 272 districts spread over 27 States. The IMI 2.0 will be carried out between December 2019 and March 2020.
  • The campaign will be carried out in 260 development blocks of 43 districts of the state including the capital Bhopal and Indore. In addition , the mission will be running in four-phases in the state. Children will be vaccinated under the National Mission Indradhanush in the months of January , February and March next year.
  • Public Health and Family Welfare Minister Tulsiram inaugurated this campaign in Indore district. The Project Officers of the District Urban Development Agency has been made the nodal officer for the successful operation of the mission.

Steel imports have increased over a period of 5 years claims govt.

  • Government today said the import of steel has increased during the last few years.
  • Replying to questions in the LokSabha, Steel Minister DharmendraPradhan, however, said domestic production has consistently increased regardless of such imports. Mr Pradhan said, in the current year, the country is a net exporter.
  • He said, to counter import of cheap steel, anti-dumping duties have been imposed on various grades of steel which were dumped into the country.
  • Mr Pradhan further said, import of steel grades which are not manufactured in adequate quantities in the country is essential for supporting the manufacturing sector.
  • The Minister informed the House that the total number of steel plants in the country is 977. He said, work is currently going on in NMDC steel plant in Nagarnar, Chattisgarh, which is a Greenfield project.
  • In reply to another question, the Minister said, the production of iron ore in the country is sufficient to meet the current demand by the domestic steel industry. Mr Pradhan said, the supply of iron ore during last year 2018-19 was 207 metric tonne against its demand of 189 metric tonne.

Centre plans listing of single-use plastics

  • The Centre is likely to identify as many as eight articles as ‘single-use plastic’ items that will be discontinued on a priority basis, including plastic cutlery, plastic bags and certain Styrofoam items.
  • Defining single-use plastic is the first step in the direction of doing away with such products in India by 2022, as called for by Prime Minister NarendraModi during his Independence Day address.
  • While many states have banned plastic, there are wide variations in implementation and the range of products covered.After consulting stakeholders, the environment ministry is close to announcing a clear and uniform definition of single-use plastic.
  • The idea is to completely phase out single-use plastic where it is replaceable with environment friendly alternatives and to bring in a robust segregation, collection and disposal mechanism for single-use plastic.
  • The ministry wrote to the states in September asking them to curb production of plastic bags, irrespective of thickness and size, and Styrofoam (thermocol) cutlery and to encourage manufacturers and consumers to shift to other environmentally friendly material.
  • Every village will be asked to start waste segregation. They will send plastic waste to block-level units that will convert the aggregated waste into bales, shred them and transport them to aggregators for recycling to build in a sustainable mechanism.

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Courtesy: The Hindu