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National Current Affairs July 3rd Week 2017
Author : Admin
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National Current Affairs July 3rd Week 2017

 1. India plans to invite Leaders of ASEAN countries for 2018 Republic Day celebrations.

 
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India has planned to invite the ten leaders of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) as Chief Guests for 2018 Republic Day celebrations. This Plan has come at a time when India is engaged in a stand-off with China in the Sikkim sector. 

If invited Republic Day 2018 would be the first Republic Day event that will have so many leaders as the chief guests. In the recent past, world leaders like former US President Barack Obama, former French President François Hollande and UAE Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan have been invited as the chief guests for the Republic Day celebrations.

India’s commitment to strengthen its ties with ASEAN countries is reflected by its ‘Look East Policy’ becoming ‘Act East Policy.’ At the India-ASEAN Summit held in Myanmar in 2014, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had declared that India’s ‘Look East Policy’ has become ‘Act East Policy.’ With respect to the focus areas of cooperation with ASEAN, the External Affairs Minister described them in terms of three Cs-Commerce, Connectivity and Culture.

This year also marks the 25 years of dialogue partnership between India and ASEAN, 15 years of summit-level interaction, and five years of strategic partnership. India and ASEAN had upgraded their relationship to a strategic partnership in 2012.
 
2. Walled City of Ahmedabad designated as India’s first World Heritage City.
 
The 600-year-old Walled City of Ahmedabad was declared World Heritage City by the World Heritage Committee (WHC) of UNESCO after it met in Karlow, Poland. It is first Indian city get the honour.

The Walled City of Ahmedabad is located on the eastern banks of Sabarmati river. It presents a rich architectural heritage from the sultanate period, notably the Bhadra citadel, walls and gates of the Fort city and numerous mosques and tombs, as well as important Hindu and Jain temples of later periods. 

It will be third city from the Indian subcontinent to enjoy this status along with Bhaktapur in Nepal and Galle in Sri Lanka.
 
3. Tamil Nadu reports first case of Zika virus.
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Tamil Nadu has reported its first case of Zika virus in a 27-year-old man from a village in Krishnagiri district. RT-PCR test conducted on patient’s blood, urine and throat samples were found to be positive for Zika.

This is second case Zika reported in India. Earlier in May 2017, the World Health Organisation (WHO) confirmed the first cases of Zika in in Ahmedabad, Gujarat after three cases were detected.

Zika virus is vector borne disease transmitted primarily by Aedes aegypti mosquitoes, the same mosquito that transmits dengue. It is also found that, sexual transmission of Zika virus disease is possible.

Threats: The virus is capable of causing serious birth defects i.e. neurological disorders and foetal deformation known as Microcephaly in which infants are born with abnormally smaller heads. Besides a possible link between the virus and Guillain-Barré syndrome (a condition in which the body’s immune system attacks part of the nervous system) is also suspected.

Treatment: There is no specific treatment or vaccine currently available to treat Zika. The best form of prevention is protection against mosquito bites and clearing stagnant water where mosquitoes breed.
 
4. President Pranab Mukherjee inaugurates Ashiana Annexe in Dehradun.
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President Pranab Mukherjee inaugurated the ‘Ashiana Annexe’, comprising of 12 low cost dwelling units in Dehradun, Uttarakhand. It has been constructed to accommodate officers and staff of Rashtrapati Bhavan during Presidential visits to the Retreat at ‘Ashiana’.

These 12 dwelling units at the ‘Ashiana Annexe’ were constructed using the Habitech-NivaraTantra – Onsite Sanitation Integrated Community Housing Technology Innovations developed at the Asian Institute of Technology (AIT). The technology is sustainable, cost effective, green and environment friendly with provision of disaster resilient features.

The dwelling units were constructed using compacted intermeshing blocks, made from local soil. The production of these blocks was on site in entirely green process. These blocks have novel cavities for horizontal and vertical reinforcement using steel bars which eliminates use of the conventional beams, columns and concrete lintel. The cavities also enable natural air curtain against temperature, water penetration and noise pollution.

The Ashiana Annexe also has facilities for scientific treatment of sanitation waste. Treated waste water from the dwelling is safely discharged for irrigation and non-drinking usage which ensure good health and well-being of residents.

The ‘Ashiana’ situated on Rajpur Road of Dehradun. It was built originally as bungalow of the Commandant of the President’s Bodyguard. It was revived recently by the President after long years of disuse. The main building of the renovated ‘Rashtrapati Ashiana’ was inaugurated by the President in September 2016.
 
5. Karnataka Government constitutes committee to study legalities for separate State flag.
 
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Karnataka Government has constituted a nine-member committee to study the possibility of designing a separate state flag and providing it a statutory standing.

It will be headed by Principal Secretary, Department of Kannada and Culture. It shall submit report to the state Government after looking into required possibilities.

The committee was constituted following representation of social activists from the state urged the government to design a separate flag for Kannada ‘naadu’ and accord statutory standing for it.

There is no prohibition in the Constitution for the State to have its own flag. Even there is no separate central or state law dealing with issue. So, legally it can be said that state flag is not unauthorised. Jammu and Kashmir is only state having separate flag of its own due to special status granted by Article 370 of the Constitution.

At present, the national flag code specifically authorises use of other flags subject to the regulation by the court. It does not mention anything about separate state flag. However, it clearly mentions that the manner in which the other flag is hoisted should not dishonour the national flag. It has to be always below the national flag. Thus, if states have separate flag, it should be hoisted in such a way that it does not dishonour the national flag.
 
6. First State to fix minimum education qualification for cooperative body poll.
 
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Rajasthan has become the first State in the country to lay down the minimum educational qualifications for contesting elections to village cooperative societies and various other cooperative bodies. In this regard, state government has amended State Cooperative Societies Rules, 2003. The new rules would benefit about 10,000 cooperative and agricultural credit societies. Moreover, the benefit of education will accrue to the societies as their management will go to expert hands.

The minimum educational qualification will be compulsory for the members of the Directorate of Board of the cooperatives to ensure the management is assigned to skilled hands. The required educational qualifications will range from Class V to Class VIII for election as members of governing boards of various cooperative societies.

The minimum qualifications for the primary committee members will be class VIII, for district-level committees, it will be class X and graduation for the state level committee. The elections to various posts in the societies after a certain level would be conducted through the State Cooperative Election Authority.

Rajasthan will be also the first state in the country to establish Recruitment Board by the Cooperative Committees, which will recruit personnel for the cooperative committees. This move will ensure more employment in the field of cooperatives. It will also ensure competent and talented personnel are selected in a transparent way.
 
7. NGT bans nylon, synthetic manja.
 
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The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has imposed nationwide blanket ban on the use of kite strings (manja), made of nylon or any synthetic material on the grounds that it poses a threat to animals and humans.

The judgement of Tribunal came on a plea filed by animal rights body People for Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) and others.

The petition filed by PETA and others had contended that ‘manja’ poses a grave threat to humans and animals as a number of deaths are caused by it every year. It has also alleged that sometimes these strings coated with sharp metals, traps and kill migratory birds. It also claimed that minor children were engaged by the cottage industry for the manufacture of ‘manja’, which caused respiratory problems as they inhaled harmful substances which were detrimental to their health.

The Tribunal has directed all state governments to prohibit the manufacture, sale, storage, purchase and use of synthetic manja or nylon threads and all other synthetic strings used for flying kites with immediate effect. It also ordered the authorities across the country to ban import of any synthetic manja or nylon thread or other similar threads coated with synthetic substances.

 8. Union Cabinet approves JIN pact between India and Bangladesh.

 
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The Union Cabinet has given its approval for the Joint Interpretative Notes (JIN) on the Agreement between India and Bangladesh for the Promotion and Protection of Investments.

Decision in this regard was taken at the Union Cabinet meeting chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi.

In general, JIN plays an important supplementary role in strengthening the investment treaty regime. Looking at increasing trend in Bilateral Investment Treaty (BIT) disputes, issuance of such statements is likely to have strong persuasive value for resolving disputes before arbitration tribunals. Moreover, such pro-active approach by states also can foster more predictable and coherent reading of treaty terms by tribunals.

The approval JIN by the Union Cabinet will impart clarity to the interpretation of the existing agreements between India and Bangladesh for the Promotion and Protection of Investments (BIPA). The JIN between India and Bangladesh includes interpretative notes to be jointly adopted for many clauses, including, the definition of investor, investment, exclusion of taxation measures, National Treatment (NT), Fair and Equitable Treatment (FET) and Most Favoured Nation (MFN) treatment, essential security interests, expropriation and Settlement of Disputes between an Investor and Contracting Party.
 
9. Union Cabinet approves establishment of International Rice Research Institute in Varanasi July 12, 2017No comments.
 
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The Union Cabinet has approved establishment of International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) set up a regional centre International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), a global rice research institute. It will be named as IRRI South Asia Regional Centre (ISARC) and will be set up at campus of National Seed Research and Training Centre (NSRTC) in Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh.

For setting up of the Centre, a Memorandum of Agreement (MoA) will be signed between Department of Agriculture, Cooperation and Farmers Welfare (DACFW) and IRRI, Philippines. This Centre will be the first of its kind international Centre in the eastern India.

Centre of Excellence in Rice Value Addition (CERVA) will be also established in Varanasi. It will include a modern and sophisticated laboratory with capacity to determine quality and status of heavy metals in grain and straw. It will also undertake capacity building exercises for stakeholders across rice value chain.

The ISARC will help in utilizing the rich biodiversity of India to develop special rice varieties. It will help India to achieve higher per hectare yields and improved nutritional contents. Further it will help to address India’s food and nutritional security issues.

It will play a major role in harnessing and sustaining rice production in the region. It is also expected to be a boon for food production and skill development in the eastern India and similar ecologies in other South Asian and African countries.

The Centre will support in adopting value chain based production system in the country. Thus, help to reduce wastage, add value to produce and generate higher income for the farmers. The farmers in Eastern India will be main beneficiaries, besides those in South Asian and African countries.
 
10. CCEA approves SASEC Road Connectivity Investment Program – Tranche 2.
The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) has given its approval for upgradation and widening of 65 kms of Imphal-Moreh Section of NH-39 in Manipur.

The Imphal-Moreh Section is a vital link in providing road connectivity up to Thailand and Malaysia. It will boost trade, commerce and tourism in the region.

The project is being developed with Asian Development Bank’s (ADB) loan assistance under the South Asian Sub-Regional Economic Cooperation (SASEC) Road Connectivity Investment Program. It aims at upgradation of road infrastructure in Bangladesh, Bhutan, Nepal and India (BBIN) in order to improve the regional connectivity.

The project corridor is also a part of the Asian Highway No. 01 (AH01).  It will fulfil India’s “Look East” Policy and acts as India’s Gateway to the East. Thus, it will promote and enhance trade link with South East Asia.  The project will also improve connectivity between Imphal with the eastern part of Manipur which is a landlocked state with almost 90% of the area under difficult terrain.

11. Government empowers Army to procure weapons systems for short intense wars.
 
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The Union Government has empowered the Army to directly procure critical weapons systems and military platforms to maintain combat readiness for short duration intense wars. The purpose of this new scheme is to maintain an optimum level to fight short intense wars following critical voids in capabilities of Army.

The Army faces severe shortage in ammunition, mainly for artillery guns, air defence, tanks and certain infantry weapons. This shortage may make it very difficult for Army to fight a short intense war that lasts for 10 to 15 days. To overcome this issue, Army was pressing the government for ensuring speedy procurement of key military platforms citing evolving security challenges.

Under the new scheme, Vice Chief of Army has been given the full financial powers to procure ammunitions. Army has been empowered on a routine basis to review the optimum holding state and maintaining it on a recurring manner.

The new procedure will be part of revenue procurement of the Army for in-service equipment and weapons. As part of it, the Army has been allowed to procure 46 types of ammunition and spares for 10 different types of weapons systems.

The new revenue route for procurement of in-service equipment will not require going through numerous procurement stages which often cause inordinate delays. Earlier it was necessary to take permission from Defence Acquisition Council (headed by defence minister) or the Cabinet Committee on Security (headed by Prime Minister), for procuring such critical equipment. Thus, new scheme will ensure that the time taken in procuring such equipment is reduced.
 
12. Indian Railways launches RailCloud to optimise server management, resources.
 
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The Indian Railways has launched RailCloud, a virtual server with an inbuilt security system that will enable faster connectivity at a reduced cost.  Rail Cloud works on popular Cloud Computing system. Cloud computing is an emerging technology for faster and on demand commensurate deployment of server resources which results in reduced cost.

RailCloud has been developed by rail PSU RailTel as part of Railways strategic IT initiative, IR—OneICT. It is aimed at optimising server the resources and its management. Its technology enables maximising the usage of available server and storage. It can accommodate bigger data and more applications within same server space.

RailCloud technology will pave the way for swifter deployment of application. Moreover, cloud hardware and environment can provide rigorous testing of the new applications. It subsumes existing infrastructure and resources available with railway for ensuring that expenditure is minimized in acquiring new resources.

RailCloud technology allows server and storage space to scale up and down as per the demand. This makes the system suitable to meet the higher demand at peak hours with less expenditure. It is also equipped with security features as per the latest Government guidelines. Moreover, these features can be updated in one go for all the applications hosted on the cloud.

RailCloud server resources are constantly scaled up or down as per the number of users logged on to the system and it ensures a better user experience. It covers all management related and other services like human resources, signal assets, freight and logistics, health and hospital and energy among others.
 
13. NGT declares 100m from edge of Ganga as No-development Zone.
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The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has passed a slew of directions, measures, fines, and strict deadlines to rejuvenate River Ganga. It declared ‘No-Development Zone’ along an area of 100 metres from the edge of the river in the stretch between Haridwar in Uttarakhand and Unnao in Uttar Pradesh. This zone must be turned into green belts.

The NGT has banned dumping of waste of any kind within 500 metres from the edge of River Ganga.  Rs. 50,000 environment compensation will be imposed on anyone who dumps waste in the river. The apex environment regulator also directed all authorities concerned to complete various projects including setting up of a sewage treatment plant and cleaning drains within two years.

The NGT also directed Uttarakhand and Uttar Pradesh governments to formulate guidelines for regulating religious activities on the ghats of Ganga River or its tributaries. It also ordered to stop indiscriminate extraction of groundwater from all industrial units falling in the catchment area of Ganga River.

The NGT also directed Uttar Pradesh government to be duty-bound to shift tanneries within six weeks, from Jajmau in Kanpur to leather parks in Unnao or any other appropriate place.

It also appointed a supervisory committee, headed by the secretary of the Union Water Resources Ministry and comprising IIT professors and officials from UP government to oversee implementation of the directions passed in its verdict. It also asked the committee to submit reports at regular intervals.
 
14. DIPP to set up India’s first TISC in Punjab.
 
The Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP) will establish India’s first Technology and Innovation Support Center (TISC) at Patent Information Centre, Punjab. In this regard, DIPP has signed an Institutional agreement with the Punjab State Council of Science and Technology. The TISC will be set up under the World Intellectual Property Organization’s (WIPO) TISC program.

Objective of TISC: Stimulate a dynamic, vibrant and balanced Intellectual Property Rights (IPRs) system in India to foster creativity and innovation. It will play an important role in promoting entrepreneurship and enhancing social, economic and cultural development by establishing a network of TISCs in India.

National Focal Point (NFP): The Cell for IPR Promotion and Management (CIPAM) has been designated as the NFP for the TISC national network. CIPAM will identify potential host institutions, assess their capacities and support them in joining the TISC program. It will also act as the main intermediary between WIPO and TISC host institutions and coordinate all the activities of the national TISC network.

Services offered by TISC will include: Access to online patent and non-patent (scientific and technical) resources and IP-related publications; Training in database search; On-demand searches (state-of-the-art, novelty and infringement); Assistance in searching and retrieving technology information; Monitoring technology and competitors; technology commercialization and marketing, and basic information on industrial property laws, management and strategy.

 

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