The HINDU Notes – 10th May 2017(Daily News Paper Analysis)

📰 THE HINDU – CURRENT NOTE 10 May


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⏳ NITI Aayog shelves A.P. port project

What’s in news?

  • NITI Aayog finally shelved a proposal to develop a greenfield port at Dugarajapatnam in Nellore district of Andhra Pradesh as it was found to be technologically and financially unviable.
  • The decision to close the chapter was triggered by the techno-economic feasibility study conducted by American consultant Aecom for the Visakhapatnam Port Trust (VPT), the major equity partner in the project.
  • The development of the greenfield port has been mentioned in the A.P. Bifurcation Act, 2014.
  • UPA-II had obtained the Cabinet’s approval for the project along with another port in Sagar (West Bengal).Sagar project is gaining momentum.

Dugarajapatnam Port

  • No progress on the Dugarajapatnam port ever since it was finalised .
  • It was proposed to be located at Nakkapalli in Visakhapatnam and Ramayapatnam in Prakasam district.
  • One of the main reasons for finding Dugarajapatnam unviable is its proximity to Chennai, Krishnapatnam, Kattupalli and Kamarajar (Ennore) ports. The massive dredging required to handle big size vessels is another deterrent.
  • A port of a large scale is not viable anywhere as the country is witnessing economic slump and most of the ports are not able to ensure capacity utilisation.

Green field

  • It refers to investment in Building new production facilities in a foreign country.
  • It refers to investment in a manufacturing, office, or other physical company-related structure or group of structures in an area where no previous facilities exist.

Brownfield

  • It refers to investment Used for purchasing or leasing existing production facilities to launch a new production activity.

⏳ Kolar welcomes an Amur falcon

  • On May 1, perched on a lookout in Somalia, the Amur falcon named ‘Longleng’ prepared to fly towards India, the midpoint of a nearly 22,000-km journey to Northern Mongolia.
  • The project has provided new evidence on altered flight patterns of the species.
  • After a four-day crossing of the sea – a non-stop flight – it halted near Pune before “surprisingly” heading towards Kolar Gold Fields.
  • “This is the first time one of our tagged birds with satellite tracking has gone south during this season, rather than fly across the Gangetic plains towards Nagaland,” said an official at Wildlife Institute of India (WII), which is tracking three other falcons to better understand their migration routes.
  • Between October and November, Amur falcons go from Nagaland towards Central Peninsular India and then to Somalia before wintering in Southern Africa.
  • On their return, they fly over 5,500 km from Somalia into Northern India and then Southeast Asia.
  • These birds follow rain, and air currents letting them to fly longer with little effort.

Amur falcon

  • The Amur falcon (Falco amurensis) is a small raptor of the falcon family.
  • It breeds in south-eastern Siberia and Northern China before migrating in large flocks across India and over the Arabian Sea to winter in Southern Africa.
  • Their diet consists mainly of insects, such as termites; during migration over the sea, they are thought to feed on migrating dragonflies.

⏳ Tax processed foods: FSSAI panel

  • An 11-member committee of medical experts and nutritionist, tasked by the Food Standards and Safety Authority of India (FSSAI), which is a Union Health Ministry body, has recommended a tax on “highly-processed” foods and sugar-sweetened beverages.
  • It also advocated a ban on advertisements promoting foods high in FSS (fat, salt, sugar) during TV shows and channels aimed at children.
  • “In fact, we should progress towards a total ban, as being done in a few other countries like Chile. Celebrity endorsements of such foods need to be discouraged,” says the report on the FSSAI website.
  • The committee has compiled existing scientific literature on the consumption of fats, sodium and sugar in foods, across socio-economic groups in the country, and endorsed that the proportions of these food constituents not exceed guidelines by the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR).
  • A salient finding was that Low Income Groups (LIG) reportedly consumed more fried snacks and sweets than High Income Groups (HIG) and, the highest consumption of bakery items was in slums, said a study on urban populations cited in the report.
  • The panel also recommended that all packaged food carry detailed labels specifying the energy value in kcal (kilo calories); the amounts of protein, carbohydrates and fat; and the amount of any other nutrient for which a nutrition or health claim is made.

Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI)

  • It is an autonomous body established under the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, Government of India.
  • The FSSAI has been established under the Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006 which is a consolidating statute related to food safety and regulation in India.
  • FSSAI is responsible for protecting and promoting public health through the regulation and supervision of food safety.

Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR)

  • It is the apex body in India for the formulation, coordination and promotion of biomedical research
  • It is one of the oldest and largest medical research bodies in the world.
  • It is funded by the Government of India through the Department of Health Research, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.

⏳ Bishnoi farmers fill troughs of water for deer

  • In a novel initiative, Bishnoi farmers in Sriganganagar and Hanumangarh districts of northern Rajasthan are providing drinking water for a large number of deer and blackbuck facing the intense heat this summer in the plains of the region.
  • The farmers have dug about 70 troughs, many of them in their own agricultural fields, over a 60 sq. km. area, and filled them with water to quench the thirst of the wild ungulates.
  • The Bishnoi community of Rajasthan is known for its beliefs associated with nature worship and wildlife conservation.

Bishnois

  • The Bishnois, a Vaishnavite sect, living in western Rajasthan on the fringe of the Thar desert, have for centuries, been conserving the flora and fauna to the extent of sacrificing their lives to protect the environment.
  • For these nature-loving people, protection of the environment, wildlife, and plants is a part and parcel of their sacred traditions.
  • The basic philosophy of this religion is that all living things have a right to survive and share all resources.
  • In the fifteenth century, Jambhoji, a resident of a village near Jodhpur, had a vision that the cause of the drought that had hit the area and hardship that followed was caused by people’s interference with nature.
  • Thereafter, he became a sanyasi or a holy man and came to be known as Swami Jambeshwar Maharaj.
  • This was the beginning of the Bishnoi sect.
  • He laid down 29 tenets for his followers which included a ban on killing animals, a ban to the felling of trees – especially the khejri – which grows extensively in these areas, and using material other than wood for cremations.
  • Nature protection was given foremost importance in these tenets.

⏳ Disclose foreign funds, MHA tells political parties

What’s in news?

  • The Ministry of Home Affairs issued notices to all political parties, including the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party, to disclose the foreign funds received by them.
  • Notices were sent as per norms prescribed under the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA), 2010, which bars any political party from receiving donations from any “foreign company”.

Changes made in FCRA

  • Last year, government had amended the FCRA through the Finance Bill route
  • Amendment allowed foreign origin companies to fund NGOs
  • Cleared the way for donations to political parties by changing the definition of “foreign companies”.
  • The amendment ensures that “donations made by such (foreign shareholding) companies to entities including political parties will not attract provisions of the FCRA, 2010”.
  • Contributions made by Indian companies with foreign holdings up to the prescribed limit as per the extant Foreign Direct Investment policy will not be treated as foreign contribution.

Representation of People’s Act and foreign funds

  • The Representation of People’s Act bars parties from receiving foreign funds.

The Foreign Contribution (regulation) Act, 2010

“It is a consolidating act whose scope is to regulate the acceptance and utilisation of foreign contribution or foreign hospitality by certain individuals or associations or companies and to prohibit acceptance and utilisation of foreign contribution or foreign hospitality for any activities detrimental to the national interest and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto.”


⏳ ‘Tallest bridge built can withstand blasts’ 

  • The world’s tallest railway arch bridge over the Chenab river in Jammu, providing rail connectivity to Kashmir, will be capable of handling high intensity blasts and resisting the worst possible natural disaster.
  • “This is for the first time globally that a bridge is designed to handle high level trinitrotoluene (TNT) blast load. We consulted the Defence Research and Development Organisation to ensure safety of the bridge architecture,” said Rajendra Kumar, Project Director atKonkan Railway Corporation Limited which is executing the Rs. 1,200-crore Chenab rail bridge project.
  • The 1.3 km long bridge over the Chenab at a height of 359 metres will be 35m taller than the Eiffel Tower in Paris and five times the height of the Qutab Minar in Delhi.
  • The bridge will be a crucial link in the 111-km stretch between Katra (Jammu) and Banihal (Kashmir) which is part of the Udhampur-Srinagar- Baramulla section of the railway project aimed at linking Kashmir through rail with the rest of the country.
  • The project site located barely 60 km from the Pakistan border – has faced several delays since its inception.
  • The construction work of the Chenab Bridge – declared as a national project – was awarded in August 2004 with a completion target of April 2007.
  • However, the project has since missed several deadlines as the Railways was in the process of addressing bridge alignment and safety issues.

⏳ Supply of HIV drugs for children hit

  • Despite having run out of child-friendly HIV drugs, the Indian drug controller’s Subject Expert Committee (SEC) has rejected fast track registration of the Lopinavir and Ritonavir pellets.
  • The drugs are currently not registered in India and therefore, not available in the national HIV Programme.
  • Meanwhile, the National AIDS Control Organisation (NACO) programme is running out of the substitute for oral pellets currently available in India – Lopinavir syrup.
  • It has been reported that India had run out of paediatric formulations of the syrup after Cipla Pharmaceutical, Lopinavir syrup’s sole manufacturer, stopped production over non-payment of dues .
  • NACO had placed an emergency order for Lopinavir and written to the Drugs Controller General, requesting that Lopinavir and Ritonavir be registered soon.

⏳ India to replace Maitri station in Antarctica

  • India has decided to replace the Maitri research station in Antarctica with a new one in the next three or four years Ministry of Earth Sciences Secretary said.
  • The country is poised to expand its research activity there and is procuring a ship with ice-cutting capacity, he added.

Indian Antarctic Program:

  • The Indian Antarctic Program is a multi-disciplinary, multi-institutional program under the control of National Centre for Antarctic and Ocean Research (NCAOR), Ministry of Earth Sciences, Government of India.
  • It was initiated in 1981 with the first Indian expedition to Antarctica.
  • The program gained global acceptance with India’s signing of the Antarctic Treaty and subsequent construction of the Dakshin Gangotri Antarctic research base in 1983,superseded by the Maitri base from 1990.
  • The newest base commissioned in 2015 is Bharati, constructed out of 134 shipping containers.
  • Under the program, atmospheric, biological, earth, chemical, and medical sciences are studied by India, which has carried out more than 30 scientific expeditions to the Antarctic.

⏳ Now, turn any surface into a touch screen

  • Scientists have developed a new technology that can turn any surface – including walls, furniture and steering wheels – into a touch screen using tools as simple as a can of spray paint.
  • The “trick” is to apply electrically conductive coatings or materials to objects or surfaces, or to craft objects using conductive materials, researchers said.
  • By attaching a series of electrodes to the conductive materials, researchers from Carnegie Mellon University in the U.S. showed they could use a well-known technique called electric field tomography to sense the position of a finger touch.
  • With the new technology dubbed Electrick, conductive touch surfaces can be created by applying conductive paints, bulk plastics or carbon-loaded film.
  • Like many touchscreens, Electrick relies on the shunting effect – when a finger touches the touchpad, it shunts a bit of electric current to ground.

⏳ ‘Primitive hominids lived alongside modern humans’

What’s in news?

New research observations :

  • Primitive hominids may have lived in Africa at the same time as humans
  • New findings that could change the understanding of human evolution.
  • Fossils found deep in South Africa’s Rising Star cave complex in 2013 have been dated by several expert teams with their findings suggesting the hominids, called Homo naledi, may have lived alongside Homo sapiens.
  • It had earlier been thought that the hominids were millions of years old.
  • Homo naledi is found to be aged between 2,36,000 and 3,35,000-years-old — the beginning of the rise of modern human behavior.


Press Information Bureau (PIB)- 16th April to 22nd April, 2017 (PIB Weekly Compilation)

Press Information Bureau(PIB) COMPILATION for IAS UPSC Exam-2017

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