21th Sep, 2018-IAS Current Affairs
(DOWNLOAD THE PDF AT THE END OF THIS PAGE)
Sex offender’s registry launched with 4.4 lakh entries (GS2: governance, prelims)
First-of-its-kind database has records of convicts from 2005
- The first-of-its-kind national sex offenders’ registry recently launched has names and details of some 4.4 lakh people convicted for various sexual offences across the country.
- The database is for those convicted for sexual offences 2005 onwards.
- It includes name, address, photograph and fingerprint details of the convict.
National Database on Sexual Offenders (NDSO)
- India became the ninth country in the world to have a National Database on Sexual Offenders (NDSO), accessible only to law enforcement agencies for the purpose of “investigation and monitoring”.
- The proposal to set up a registry was mooted by the government after the 2012 Nirbhaya gangrape case in New Delhi.
- The database will be maintained by the National Crime Records Bureau which will also track whether the State police were updating the records on time.
- The database will include offenders convicted under charges of rape, gang rape, Protection of Children from Sexual Offenders Act (POCSO) and eve teasing.
New portal for reporting cyber-crime
- MHA launched another portal, cybercrime.gov.in that will receive complaints from citizens on objectionable online content related to child pornography.
- Objectionable online content will include child sexual abuse material, and sexually explicit material such as rape and gang rape.
- This will not only aid the victims/complainants but also help the civil society organisations and responsible citizens to anonymously report such complaints.
- The complaints registered through this portal will be handled by police authorities of respective State/UTs.
- There are other features, such as a victim or complainant can track his/her report by opting for ‘report and track’ option using his/her mobile number.
Successful Flight Test of Prahar (GS3: science& tech, prelims)
- DRDO successfully flight tested the indigenously developed surface-to-surface tactical missile ‘Prahar’, from Launch Complex-III, ITR, Balasore.
- Prahar (“Strike”) is an Indian solid-fuel road-mobile tactical ballistic missile developed by DRDO.
- Prahar is expected to replace the Prithvi-I short-range ballistic missile in Indian service.
- The missile is equipped with state-of-the-art navigation, guidance and electromechanical actuation systems with advanced on board computer.
- It is a quick-reaction, all-weather, all-terrain, highly accurate battlefield support tactical weapon system.
- The missile fills the short-range tactical battlefield missile role as required by the Indian Army to take out strategic and tactical targets.
- ‘Prahar’ is a contemporary weapon system capable of carrying multiple types of warheads and neutralizing a wide variety of targets.
Health Ministry launches sputum sample transportation through Dept. of post (GS 2: Issues relating to development & management of Social Sector)
- A pilot project for utilising services of Department of Post for transport of sputum specimen for TB Diagnosis was launched by the Health Ministry.
TB Sputum Test
- The sputum test is often the first TB test to be used in countries with a high rate of TB infection.
- Sputum is a thick fluid that is produced in the lungs and the airways leading to the lungs.
- A sample of sputum is usually collected by the person coughing.
- Sputum microscopy is inexpensive and simple, and people can be trained to do it relatively quickly and easily.
- In addition the results are available within hours.
Why postal transportation of Sputum?
- Most of the patients are not diagnosed because the specimen does not reach the laboratory due to non-availability of specimen transport mechanisms.
- Transport of collected specimen also spares the patient’s from travelling to the reference laboratory.
- Prompt transport of specimen followed by efficacious testing will enable appropriate management of the TB patients and reduced disease transmission.
Nikshay Version 2.0
- The web-based application of Revised National Tuberculosis Programme, Nikshay Version 2.0 with better user interface and data structures, was also launched.
- The web-application is also designed to be mobile friendly, enabling data entry also from the mobile browser.
CFLOWS to forecast floods in city (GS3: Environment)
- Tamil Nadu State Disaster Management Authority plans to use ‘CFLOWS,’ a web-based application, that will help in forecasting flooding in a particular location anywhere in the State during the forthcoming northeast monsoon.
- CFLOWS, which would forecast level of waterlogging and vulnerable locations five days ahead, was developed by IIT Madras, Institute of Remote Sensing, Anna University and National Coastal Research Centre along with TNSDMA.
- The web-based GIS application would work as a hydrodynamic model and collate data such as water level in rivers and waterbodies and rainfall to forecast floods.
- A MoU was signed by TNSDMA and NCCR in the presence of Revenue Minister.
- The forecast would be based on Meteorological Department’s weather forecast.
- This would help in reducing flood risk and plan relief activities. CFLOWS would be integrated with TNSMART, a web-based application that would also have a mobile application.
India’s ignored mental health challenge (GS2: social issues relating to health and education)
Mental health situation in India
- India is facing a possible “mental health epidemic”
- India’s contribution to global suicide deaths increased from 25·3% in 1990 to 36·6% in 2016 among women, and from 18·7% to 24·3% among men
- The jump far outstrips the approximately 1.4 percentage point increase in India’s share of global population in that period
- Suicide is the largest killer of India’s 15-29 and 15-39 age cohorts
Demography of suicides
- Suicide makes up a higher percentage of deaths in the more developed states of the south and western and central states have mid-level SDRs
- The northwest and less developed north have low SDRs, while the east and northeast have mixed rates
- The variations across states are due to the different levels of urbanization, the proportion of the literate population, and the difference in literacy attainment
The gender gap in suicides
- Indian women’s SDRs are almost three times higher than the rates expected globally for countries at similar levels of sociodemographic development
- This is because women are struggling with disproportionate socio-economic burdens
- Their high SDRs relative to men are rooted in factors as varied as the difference in socially acceptable methods of dealing with stress and conflict for women and men, domestic violence and the different ways in which poverty affects the genders
- A particularly important detail is that married women form the biggest victim group of suicide deaths among women in general
- This group becomes more vulnerable due to arranged and early marriage, young motherhood and economic dependence
Migration also a factor
- The past few decades have witnessed economic, labour and social changes on a scale rarely seen before
- Such rapid change with the economic dislocation and change in social and community links it brings can be destabilizing
- There is a cost to the loss of social links for the men who migrate, as well as for their families that stay behind
- The parlous state of agriculture doesn’t help
Fewer facilities and doctors
- The state capabilities for addressing mental health issues are close to non-existent
- The expenditure on mental health accounts for a tiny fraction of total public health spending
- The country has about 5,000 psychiatrists and less than 2,000 clinical psychologists
- This is minuscule, given population size
Cabinet approves enhancement of various initiatives under ICDS scheme (GS3: Welfare scheme, prelims)
- The CCEA has approved enhancement of honorarium to Anganwadi Workers/Anganwadi Helpers (AWWs/AWHs)and performance linked incentive to AWHs [Umbrella Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) Scheme].
- Nearly 27 lakh AWWs/AWHs will be benefitted by the approval.
Details of the approval
- The proposals approved consist of the following:
|Name of Functionary||
Old Rates p.m.
Revised Rates p.m.
Anganwadi Worker at Mini-AWC
- In addition, monthly performance linked incentive of Rs.250/- has also been approved for Anganwadi Helpers for facilitating proper functioning of Anganwadi Centres (AWCs).
- The programme through targeted interventions will strive to reduce the level of malnutrition, anemia and low birth weight babies.
- It will ensure empowerment of adolescent girls, provide protection to the children who are in conflict with law, provide safe place for day-care to children of working mothers, create synergy.
- It will further ensure better monitoring, encourage States/UTs to perform, guide and supervise line Ministries and States/UTs to achieve the targeted goals and bring more transparency.
Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS)
- Launched in 1975, ICDS is an programme which provides food, preschool education, and primary healthcare to children under 6 years of age and their mothers.
- These services are provided from Anganwadi centres established mainly in rural areas and staffed with frontline workers.
- In addition to fighting malnutrition and ill health, the programme is also intended to combat gender inequality by providing girls the same resources as boys.
ITU South Asia area office and tech innovation center to be set up in Delhi (GS2: IR, Prelims)
- The global telecom body International Telecommunication Union will set up its local area office for South Asia in the national capital.
Implications for India
- The establishment of this ITU local area office will be an important milestone for India.
- It signifies global recognition of the progress India has made in the field of ICT.
- It also places on the responsibility to work with our neighbouring countries to take the benefits of the rapid developments in this technology-driven industry to our people in the South Asia region.
- The ITU South Asia Office will serve nine countries – Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Iran, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka, in addition to the host country.
- This local area office will play a key role ITU’s development programs with focus on Least Developed Countries (LDCs), Land-Locked Developed Countries (LLDCs), Small Island Developing States (SIDS) and other similarly placed nations in the region.
International Telecommunication Union
- ITU is a United Nations specialised agency for Information and Communication Technologies, with membership of 193 countries and nearly 800 private sector entities and academic institutions.
- The body freezes international standards on telecom technologies that are to be used globally.
- ITU, based in Geneva, Switzerland, is a member of the United Nations Development Group and has 12 regional and area offices in the world.
- The ITU coordinates the shared global use of the radio spectrum, promotes international cooperation in assigning satellite orbits, works to improve telecommunication infrastructure in the developing world.
- The ITU is active in areas including broadband Internet, latest-generation wireless technologies, aeronautical and maritime navigation, radio astronomy, satellite-based meteorology, convergence in fixed-mobile phone, Internet access, data, voice, TV broadcasting, and next-generation networks.
- India has been member of ITU since 1869 and has also been a regular member of the ITU Council since 1952.
100% railway electrification to double power demand by 2022 (GS3: Economy, prelims)
- The CCEA has approved the proposal for electrification of balance un-electrified broad gauge routes of Indian Railways (IR) covering 13,675 route kilometers (16,540 track kilometers) likely to be completed by 2021-22.
- The proposed electrification, which is mainly for missing links and last mile connectivity will increase the operational efficiency, enhance the line capacity and improve the average speed of trains.
Benefits of Electrification
- Capacity & Speed
- 100% electrification will provide seamless train operation by eliminating detention of trains due to change in traction from diesel to electric and vice versa.
- It will help Railways in enhancing line capacity due to higher speed & higher haulage capacity of electric locomotives
- Energy Security
- In line with the new Auto Fuel Policy of the Government, total shift to electric traction will reduce fossil fuel consumption of about 2.83 billion liters per annum
- Reduced dependence on imported petroleum based fuels will ensure energy security to the nation
- Energy bill savings
- Overall savings in fuel bill to the extent of Rs. 13,510 cr per annum. Electrification of sections covered under this decision will result in net savings of Rs. 3,793 cr per annum
- Regeneration facility of electric locomotives will save 15-20% energy
- Reduced overall requirement of electric loco due to higher horse power
- Reduced carbon footprint as environmental cost per Tonne Km for Electric Traction is 1.5 Paisa and for Diesel Traction 5.1 paisa
- In line with commitment made by India in COP21, total shift to electric traction will reduce CO2 emission of Railways by 24% till 2027-28
- Green house gas emission for electric traction will fall below diesel traction by 2019-20 making it environmentally friendly option.
- Employment Generation
Direct employment during construction phase for about 20.4 crore Man days.