20th February, 2018-IAS Current Affairs
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‘Wilful defaulter’ (GS3: Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization of resources, growth, development and employment)
Issue: The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has booked Kanpur-based firm Rotomac Global Private Limited and its directors Vikram Kothari, his wife and son in an alleged Rs. 3,695 crore “wilful” loan default case. The Enforcement Directorate is also launching a money laundering probe into fund-diversion charges against the accused.
There have been also other high profile cases such as this in recent past. The most famous one being ‘Vijay Mallya’
Who is a wilful defaulter?
A wilful defaulter is an entity or a person that has not paid the loan back despite the ability to repay it.
As per the RBI regulations, willful default covers several broad areas:
- Deliberate non-payment of the dues despite adequate cash flow and good net worth
- Siphoning off of funds to the detriment of the defaulting unit
- Assets and proceeds have been mis-utilized
- Misrepresentation / falsification of records; Disposal / removal of securities without bank’s knowledge
- Fraudulent transactions by the borrower
‘Kambala’ (GS1: Indian Culture)
Issue: President Ram Nath Kovind has given assent to The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act (Karnataka Amendment) Bill, 2017 that seeks to insulate Kambala, the slush-track buffalo race of Dakshina Kannada, from the purview of the Act.
Kambala is an annual festival celebrated in the Dakshina Kannada district of Karnataka. The festival involves the traditional buffalo race, a popular and unique sport among the farming community of the state. The Kambala festival season starts in November and lasts till March.
The origin of the Kambala celebration can be traced back to more than a thousand years. During the early days of the festival it was known as Karaga celebrations. Later it came to be known as Kambala celebrations.
‘Global Forum on TB’ (GS2: Issues relating to development and management of social sectors to health)
Issue: A clinical trial has provided encouraging new evidence that TB vaccines can prevent sustained infections in high-risk adolescents. The results will be announced on Tuesday at the 5th Global Forum on TB Vaccines in New Delhi.
According to the World Health Organisation, about one-third of the world’s population has latent TB infection, which means people have been infected by TB bacteria but are not (yet) ill with the disease and cannot transmit the disease. People infected with TB bacteria have a lifetime risk of falling ill with TB of 10%. People ill with TB can infect 10-15 other people through close contact over the course of a year. Without proper treatment, 45% of HIV-negative people with TB on average and nearly all HIV-positive people with TB will die.
In March 2017 the Government of India (GoI) announced that the new aim with regard to TB in India was the elimination of TB by 2025.
India accounts for about a quarter of the global TB burden. Worldwide India is the country with the highest burden of both TB and MDR TB. There are an estimated 79,000 multi-drug resistant TB patients among the notified cases of pulmonary TB each year. India is also the country with the second highest number (after South Africa) of estimated HIV associated TB cases
India also has more than a million “missing” cases every year that are not notified and most remain either undiagnosed or unaccountably and inadequately diagnosed and treated in the private sector
Private and public care
TB treatment & care in India is provided in the public sector by the government’s Revised National TB Control Programme (RNTCP) as well as through private sector health providers. The private sector is very large, and it is believed that more than half of all TB patients are cared for in the private sector.
There are many reasons why people in India seek care from the private sector. These include:
- poor knowledge of TB;
- poor knowledge of services available through the national public program;
- the convenience of services in the private sector;
- a desire for confidentiality;
- A desire for personalized care.
Tuberculosis (TB) is caused by a type of bacterium called Mycobacterium tuberculosis.
- Its spread when a person with active TB disease in their lungs coughs or sneezes and someone else inhales the expelled droplets, which contain TB bacteria.
- Although TB is spread in a similar way to a cold or the flu, it isn’t as contagious.
- You would have to spend prolonged periods (several hours) in close contact with an infected person to catch the infection yourself.
- For example, TB infections usually spread between family members who live in the same house. It would be highly unlikely for you to become infected by sitting next to an infected person on a bus or train.
- Not everyone with TB is infectious. Children with TB or people with a TB infection that occurs outside the lungs (extra-pulmonary TB) don’t spread the infection.
‘Fly Ash’ (GS3: Conservation of Environment)
Issue: The National Green Tribunal has directed all States and Union Territories to submit an action plan on the usage of fly ash that is generated from thermal power plants.
Uses of fly ash
Fly ash can be used as prime material in blocks, paving or bricks; however, one the most important applications is PCC pavement. PCC pavements use a large amount of concrete and substituting fly ash provides significant economic benefits. Fly ash has also been used for paving roads and as embankment and mine fills, and it’s gaining acceptance by government
National green tribunal
The National Green Tribunal has been established on 18.10.2010 under the National Green Tribunal Act 2010 for effective and expeditious disposal of cases relating to environmental protection and conservation of forests and other natural resources including enforcement of any legal right relating to environment and giving relief and compensation for damages to persons and property and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto. It is a specialized body equipped with the necessary expertise to handle environmental disputes involving multi-disciplinary issues. 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’s dedicated jurisdiction in environmental matters shall provide speedy environmental justice and help reduce the burden of litigation in the higher courts. 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 and Chennai shall be the other four place of sitting of the Tribunal.
‘Bank Board Bureau (BBB)’ (GS2: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation)
Issue: The term of all the members will come to end on 31 March. The government is yet to communicate if the terms will be extended or a new board will be formed
The BBB was set up under the government’s Indradanush programme to reform public sector banks. It started operations in April 2016.
The BBB was conceived by the PJ Nayak committee and was seen as a step taken towards reforming the boards of public sector banks. The committee, in its report, had recommended that the government should distance itself from the appointment process of top management and board members of PSBs — a function that could be performed by the BBB.
‘Delhi Mumbai Industrial Corridor’ (GS3: Infrastructure)
Issue: he Delhi Mumbai Industrial Corridor (DMIC), a mega infrastructure project with an estimated investment of $100 billion, has attracted interest from companies based out of Canada, the U.S., Singapore and Taiwan.
Delhi – Mumbai Industrial Corridor (DMIC) is India’s most ambitious infrastructure programme aiming to develop new industrial cities as “Smart Cities” and converging next generation technologies across infrastructure sectors.
The objective is to expand India’s Manufacturing & Services base and develop DMIC as a “Global Manufacturing and Trading Hub”. The programme will provide a major impetus to planned urbanization in India with manufacturing as the key driver. In addition to new Industrial Cities, the programme envisages development of infrastructure linkages like power plants, assured water supply, high capacity transportation and logistics facilities as well as softer interventions like skill development programme for employment of the local populace. In the first phase eight new industrial cities are being developed. The programme has been conceptualized in partnership and collaboration with Government of Japan.
‘World Environment Day 2018: Plastic Pollution’ (GS3: Conservation of Environment)
Issue: Terming plastic a serious menace, Union Minister for Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Dr. Harsh Vardhan has emphasised that the Ministry itself must take the lead in discouraging the use of plastic. “It is the beginning of the end of plastic menace,” Dr Vardhan declared. Speaking at an event to mark the announcement of India as Global Host of World Environment Day 2018
‘Global Digital Health Partnership summit at Australia’ (Facts important for Prelims)
Information and Communication Technology (ICT) has great potential towards improvement of delivery of healthcare services. India is committed to reforms in health service delivery using ICTunder Digital India Program of Government of India.” This was stated by Shri J P Nadda, Union Minister for Health and Family Welfare during his address at Global Digital Health Partnership Summit, at Canberra, Australia. The Union Health Minister spoke on the topic: Making Digital Health Services a Priority in Healthcare Reform.
‘Reserve Bank Of India’ (GS2: Role of Regulatory Bodies)
Issue: The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has set up a panel under board member Y.H. Malegam, a former president of Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI), to look into the factors leading to increasing incidents of bank frauds.
The move comes a week after Punjab National Bank said it has fallen victim to a Rs11,400 crore fraud, at the centre of which is billionaire jeweller Nirav Modi.
The Maelgam panel will also look into reasons for high divergence in NPA classification and provisioning by banks.
‘Kerala’s new medical policy’ (GS3: Issues related to health)
Issue: The Kerala cabinet approved a draft Medical Policy on Tuesday. According to the draft Medical Policy, it is necessary for all students seeking admission to produce a vaccination card.
‘Mono Sodium Glutamete’ (GS3: Issues related to Health)
Issue: A new study has found that eliminating monosodium glutamate (MSG) can reduce discomfort drastically
MSG is mostly used in stock cubes, crisps and ready-made meals. It has been found to over stimulate receptors in the brain that leads to cell death, which has been linked to chronic pain.
‘Google’s New Artificial Intelligence’ (GS3: Science and Technology)
Issue: Researchers at Google have developed a new artificial intelligence system that can accurately predict the risk of heart diseases by scanning images of peoples’ retina. The discovery may point to more ways to diagnose health issues from retinal images
‘Supernova’ (GS3: Science)
Issue: Scientists have confirmed the discovery of the most distant supernova ever detected – a huge cosmic explosion that took place 10.5 billion years ago, or three-quarters the age of the universe. A supernova is the explosion of a massive star at the end of its life cycle.
Some more information on this supernova
The exploding star, named DES16C2nm, was detected by the Dark Energy Survey (DES), an international collaboration to map several hundred million galaxies in order to find out more about dark energy – the mysterious force believed to be causing the accelerated expansion of the universe. As detailed in the study published in The Astrophysical Journal, light from the event has taken 10.5 billion years to reach Earth, making it the oldest supernova ever discovered and studied.
‘India becomes the 12th riskiest country for newborns according to UNICEF report’ (GS3: Issues related to Health)
Issue: According to a recent report released by UNICEF on Tuesday, February 20, 2018, India is amongst the riskiest countries for newborns.
According to UNICEF, newborn survival is closely linked to a country’s income level. Globally, in low-income countries, the average newborn mortality rate (NMR) is 27, while in high-income countries the figure is only three.
Highlights of the report
- According to the report, India is not on track to meet the Sustainable Development Goal target for neonatal mortality of 12 by 2030. In order to meet the goal, the country will have to reduce its neonatal deaths by half in the next 12 years.
- On the list of “lower middle-income countries” that pose risk for newborns, India stands at rank 12 among the 52 countries
- The neonatal mortality rate of India is 25.4 deaths per 1,000 live births
- India is the only major country in the world to have a higher mortality for girls than boys
- Neonatal mortality rates for Goa and Kerala is 10 per 1,000 live births
- Uttarakhand and Bihar have the neonatal mortality rate of 44 per 1,000 live births
- Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan account for 46% of all births and 57% of India’s neonatal death
Ways to improve the situation
More than 80 per cent of newborn deaths can be saved with:
- Access to well-trained midwives
- Provide clean water, disinfectants,
- Breastfeeding within the first hour
- Skin-to-skin contact
- Good nutrition
- Invest money in a smart way to improve health care
Problems in implementation
- Shortage of properly trained health workers and midwives
- Babies born to the poorest families are 40 per cent more likely to die than those who are born to the least poor
- Babies born to mothers with no education face nearly twice the risk of early death as babies whose mothers have at least a secondary education