8th May, 2018-IAS Current Affairs
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India gets $200 million loan for nutrition mission
(GS-2: Governance, welfare schemes)
Agreement with the World Bank
India has signed an agreement with the World Bank for a $200 million loan for implementing the National Nutrition Mission across 315 districts of the country
Aim of the mission
1. The mission aims at reaching 10 crore beneficiaries, mainly children upto the age of six years, pregnant women and lactating mothers and adolescent girls
2.The programme will be implemented in three phases between 2017 and 2020 across all districts of the country
3.The mission targets a 2% reduction in both under-nutrition and low birth weight per annum
4.It also aims to bring down anemia among young children, women and adolescent girls by 3% per year until 2020
5.The government will also strive to reduce the prevalence of stunting from the current level of 38.4% (as per the National Family Health Survey 4) to 25% by 2022
1.The National Nutrition Mission has an approved budget of Rs. 9,046.17 crore
2.The total contribution of the Centre will be Rs. 2,849.54 crore and nearly Rs. 1,700 crore will be contributed by the States
3.The remaining will be funded through the government’s tie-up with multilateral agencies such as the World Bank
About World Bank
1. The World Bank is an international financial institution that provides loans to countries of the world for capital projects.
2. The World Bank is a component of the World Bank Group and was created at the 1944 Bretton Woods conference along with IMF
3. It comprises two institutions: the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD), and the International Development Association (IDA)
Ministry of Tribal Affairs to expand Van Dhan Vikas Kendras in Tribal Districts
(GS-2: Governance, welfare schemes)
1.After the launch of the Van Dhan Vikas Kendra atBijapur by the Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi on 14thApril, 2018, the Ministry of Tribal Affairs (MoTA), Government of India proposes to expand Van Dhan Vikas Kendras in Tribal Districts across the country.
2.This initiative is aimed at mainstreaming the tribal community by promoting primary level value addition to Minor Forest Produce (MFP) at grassroots level.
3.As per the plan, TRIFED will facilitate establishment of MFP-led multi-purpose Van Dhan Vikas Kendras, a cluster of 10 Self Help Groups (SHG) comprising of 30 tribal MFP gatherers each , in the tribal areas.
4.The value chain of Non-Timber Forest Produce is expected to rise from the present 20% to around 60%. About 3000 such Van Dhan Kendras are proposed to be set up in two years in the forested Tribal Districts of the country.
5.The scheme will be implemented through Ministry of Tribal Affairs as Nodal Department at the Central Level and TRIFED as Nodal Agency at the National Level.
6.The initiative aims to promote MFPs-centric livelihood development of tribal gatherers, artisans and the primary source of income and livelihood for about 5 crore tribal people in the country.
About Van Dhan Initiative
1.At unit level, aggregation of produce would be done by SHGs having about 30 members each forming Van Dhan Vikas ‘Samuh’. The SHGs would also undertake primary value addition of the MFPs using equipment such as small cutting and sieving tools, decorticator, dryer, packaging tool etc based on MFPs available in the area.
2.A typical Van Dhan Vikas Samuh would have the following facilities:
3.Provision for required building/ infrastructure support to be established in one of the beneficiary’s house/ part of house or Government/ gram panchayat building
4.Equipment/ Tool Kit comprising of equipment such as small cutting and sieving tools, decorticator, dryer, packaging tool etc. based on MFPs available in the area
5.Fully equipped training facilities for a batch of 30 trainees with provision for raw material for training purpose and supply of trainee kits (comprising of bag, scribbing pad, pen, brochures, training manual, booklet etc)
6.Provisioning of working capital for the SHGs through tie up with financial institutions, banks, NSTFDC etc
1.TRIFED is Tribal Cooperative Marketing Development Federation of India Limited (TRIFED).
2.It was established in August 1987 by the then Ministry of Welfare, Government of India, under the Multi State Cooperative Societies Act 1984 (which has now been replaced by the Multi-State Cooperative Societies Act, 2002).
3.The core objective was institutionalizing the trade of Minor Forest Produce (MFP) and Surplus Agriculture Produce (SAP) collected/cultivated by tribals as tribals are heavily dependent on these natural products for their livelihood.
100 additional One Stop Centres(OSCs) approved
(GS-2: Governance, welfare schemes)
1. The Ministry of Women and Child Development today has approved 100 additional One Stop Centres in the States of Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Mizoram, Nagaland, Odisha, Tamil Nadu and Uttar Pradesh.
2. Initially it has set up 182 Centres till date under the scheme of One Stop Centres (OSCs) for women affected by violence since April, 2015. Over 1.3 lakhs such women affected by violence have been assisted at these centres till date in 33 States/UTs.
3. The purpose of these OSCs is to facilitate integrated services for women affected with violence such as police assistance, medical aid, psycho-social counseling, legal aid/counseling, temporary stay for 5 days etc.
4. Every OSC is integrated to the Universalization of Women’s Helpline (181) of the Ministry that was also started in April, 2015. The Helpline have assisted over 16.5 lakh women so far.
5. The OSC at Raipur, Chhattisgarh that is functional as the premier constructed building has received the Hon’ble President’s award on 8th March, 2018, International Women’s Day.
NITI Aayog partners with Google to grow India’s artificial intelligence ecosystem
(GS-3: Science & Technology)
Fostering AI Ecosystem in India
1. The government think-tank Niti Aayog said that it will be working with tech giant Google to develop AI-based solutions aimed at improving the overall economic productivity of the nation
2. The move is aimed at fostering growth for India’s nascent AI and machine learning (ML) ecosystem, said Niti Aayog
3. India is embracing future technologies such as machine learning and AI to augment its capacity in health care, improve outcomes in education, develop innovative governance systems for our citizens and improve overall economic productivity of the nation.
4. While announcing the budget, finance minister had said that Niti Aayog will setup a national programme to conduct research and development in frontier technologies such as AI
Committees on AI
1. In February, the IT ministry formed four AI committees on –
*data platforms, skilling, re-skilling and R&D
2. These committees would be headed by IIT director and industry experts from bodies such as Nasscom
3. The ministry will “coordinate” with Niti Aayog on this
Particulars of the programme
1. Niti’s partnership with Google will unlock massive training initiatives, support start-ups and encourage AI research through PhD scholarships, all of which contributes to the larger idea of a technologically-empowered New India
2. Under the aegis of this program, Google will train and incubate Indian AI start-ups in an accelerator program
3. These start-ups will be mentored and coached by Google and its affiliates to enable them to better leverage AI in their respective business models
About Machine Learning
1. Machine learning is the science of getting computers to act without being explicitly programmed.
2. It is an application of artificial intelligence (AI) that provides systems the ability to automatically learn and improve from experience without being explicitly programmed.
3. Machine learning focuses on the development of computer programs that can access data and use it learn for themselves.
4. The process of learning begins with observations or data, such as examples, direct experience, or instruction, in order to look for patterns in data and make better decisions in the future based on the examples that we provide.
5. In the past decade, machine learning has given us self-driving cars, practical speech recognition, effective web search, etc.
Examples: Google Assistant, Google Allo etc.
India to host 15th Asia Media Summit
(GS-3, International Relations)
1.India is going to host 15th Asia Media Summit (AMS-2018) in New Delhi from May 10-12, 2018.
2. The summit is being organized by Asia-Pacific Institute for Broadcasting Development (AIBD) in collaboration with the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, Government of India, jointly with the Indian Institute of Mass Communication (IIMC), New Delhi and Broadcast Engineering Consultants India Limited (BECIL)
3. The theme of the annual summit is “Telling our Stories- Asia and More”. It aims to provide unique opportunity for broadcasters in Asia to share their thoughts on broadcasting and information.
4. In the concluding session, World Television Awards 2018 would be presented by Minister of State for Information & Broadcasting, Youth Affairs & Sports
About Asia-Pacific Institute for Broadcasting Development (AIBD)
1. AIDB is regional inter-governmental organization servicing countries of United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UN-ESCAP) in field of electronic media development.
2. It was established in 1977 under auspices of UNESCO. It is hosted by Government of Malaysia and its secretariat is located in Kuala Lumpur.
3. Currently it has 26 full members (countries), represented by 34 organizations and 67 Affiliate Members (organizations) and over 50 partners in Asia, Pacific, Europe, Africa, Arab States and North America
4. The AIBD is mandated to achieve vibrant and cohesive electronic media environment in Asia-Pacific region through policy and resource development.
Overfishing of hilsa .
(Facts that could be asked in Prelims)
1.Scientists have raised alarm over the exploitation of hilsa, Tenualosa ilisha in West Bengal.
2. The publication by the scientists points out that the annual catch has decreased by 13 % over the past decade.
3. The hilsa fishery in the northern Bay of Bengal is targeting smaller fish, which is unsustainable in the long run.
4. Hilsa or ilish is intrinsically linked to the culture of the west Bengal and makes 11% of the total fish catch of the State.
5. The hilsa fishery in the northern Bay of Bengal is “being unsustainably exploited” and the over fishing about 38% over the past few years (2012-16) has been noticed after comparing the fishing mortality.
Green City Concept .
(Facts that could be asked in Prelims)
1.Maharashtra’s Forest Minister called for the implementation of the green city concept along with the smart city programme to increase tree cover in the State.
2. Green city actually means a new way of enhancing the sustainability of urbanized areas.
3. Ecosystem services lie at the core of the concept.
4. Green or eco cities can be pre-existing cities that feature management directed towards
o reducing the inputs of energy, water and food and
o reducing the outputs of heat, water and air pollution
5. In a nutshell is a city built from the principles of living within environment means.
Microbeads in soaps, gels flow into water bodies
(GS-2: Environment, Pollution)
1.The age-old Indian obsession with fair skin is having its dark impact on the environment.
2. Liquid soaps and shower gels containing microbeads, or plastic beads smaller than 0.2 mm which help peel away dead skin, are finding their way into water bodies.
3. In May 2017, the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) classified microbeads as unsafe for use in cosmetic products and added the clause to its specification for household detergents: “The material shall not contain any microbeads or other synthetic abrasive material.”
4. While the law exists on paper, soap, creams and gels containing microbeads are available off the shelf and online.
5 This is the only known study of microplastic waste in India and the researchers used a ‘neuston net’ to trap and analyze the plastic debris.
6. “We were surprised by the presence of primary microplastics which are more dangerous than secondary microplastics which is the debris of plastic waste,” said a researcher involved.
7. These are dangerous as they are ingested by small creatures which can find their way into the food chain.
A RAT that spies on computers
(GS-3: Cyber Security)
1. GravityRAT, a malware allegedly designed by Pakistani hackers, has recently been updated further and equipped with anti-malware evasion capabilities, Maharashtra cybercrime officials said.
2. The RAT was first detected by Indian Computer Emergency Response Team, CERT-In, on various computers in 2017.
3. It is designed to infiltrate computers, steal the data of users, and relay it to command and control centres in other countries.
4. The ‘RAT’ in its name stands for Remote Access Trojan, which is a program capable of being controlled remotely and thus difficult to trace.
5. GravityRAT functions as an Advanced Persistent Threat (APT). Once it infiltrates a system, silently evolves and does long-term damage.
6. According to latest inputs, GravityRAT has now become self aware and is capable of evading several commonly used malware detection techniques,” an officer of the cybercrime unit said.
7. One such technique is ‘sandboxing’, to isolate malware from critical programs on infected devices and provide an extra layer of security.
8. “The problem, however, is that malware needs to be detected before it can be sandboxed, and GravityRAT now has the ability to mask its presence. Typically, malware activity is detected by the ‘noise’ it causes inside the Central Processing Unit, but GravityRAT is able to work silently. It can also gauge the temperature of the CPU and ascertain if the device is carrying out high intensity activity, like a malware search, and act to evade detection,” an officer said.
9. Officials said that GravityRAT infiltrates a system in the form of an innocuous looking email attachment, which can be in any format, including MS Word, MS Excel, MS Powerpoint, Adobe Acrobat or even audio and video files.
First record of invasive aphid in Kashmir Valley
(GS-3 and prelims perspective)
1. It’s bad news for Kashmir Valley, the fruit bowl of India.
2. The brown peach aphid – an insect that attacks temperate fruit trees – has been recorded here for the first time.
3. The spread of the aphid could affect the local economy which is dependent on fruit trees to a large extent, say scientists.
4. Aphids feed on the saps of plants, attacking plant tissues that transport food to all different plant parts.
5. The brown peach aphid Pterochloroides persicae is a notorious pest of peach and almond trees in the Mediterranean regions.
6. In India, the aphid was recorded for the first time in the 1970s from Himachal Pradesh and Punjab.
7. Now, almost 40 years later, it has resurfaced in the Kashmir Valley.
8.The pest could have come with plants imported from other countries.
9. Several combinations and concentrations of natural chemicals including neem plant extracts and lavender oil can help control aphid numbers.
10. The scientists also note that while the blood-red ant extracted honey dew from the aphid for food, wasps and several other parasites also preyed on the aphids.
11. The scientists are taking steps to ensure that the aphids do not spread along with the saplings they supply to several Indian states.