- Mission to sequence genes of Indians
- India is planning a major mission to sequence the genes of a “large” group of Indians.
- The project has involved different countries along with India to sequence the genes of a “large” group of Indians akin to projects in the United Kingdom, China, Japan, and Australia.
- This will be used to improve health as well as the buck a global trend of designing ‘personalised medicine.’
- The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare and the Department of Biotechnology would be closely associated with the project.
- India is now one of the six countries to achieve such a feat.
Council of Scientific and Industrial Research
- The Council of Scientific and Industrial Research is an autonomous body established by the Government of India.
- It is the largest research and development organization in India.
- It is mainly funded by the Ministry of Science and Technology and it operates as an autonomous body through the Societies Registration Act, 1860.
- The Council of Scientific and Industrial Research in 2009 announced that it had sequenced the genome of an Indian.
- A gene is a region of DNA that encodes function.
- A chromosome consists of a long strand of DNA containing many genes.
- A human chromosome can have up to 500 million base pairs of DNA with thousands of genes.
Source- The Hindu
- National Environment Survey
- India’s first ever National Environment Survey will be kicked off from 55 districts across 24 states and three Union Territories in January 2019.
- A National Environment Survey is proposed under the ongoing Environmental Information System Scheme of the Environment ministry.
- It provides first-time primary data on all the green heads in the same way that the National Sample Survey (NSS) periodically collects various socioeconomic data.
- The survey will be done through a grid-based approach, using grids measuring 9×9 km.
- It also collects comprehensive data on various environmental parameters such as air, water, soil quality; emission inventory; solid, hazardous and e-waste; forest & wildlife; flora & fauna; wetlands, lakes, rivers, and other water bodies.
- It will also assess carbon sequestration potential of all the districts across the country.
- The NES will rank all the districts on their environmental performance and document their best green practices.
Source- The Hindu
- ISRO to set up center at Jammu University
- ISRO will set up a center, named Satish Dhawan Center for Space Science, at the Central University of Jammu (CUJ) to expand its presence in the northernmost state of India.
- The center will have facilities for geospatial data analysis that will help in for sustainable use of natural resources and planning land-use pattern.
- It will help in ground-based observations for atmospheric studies, the research lab for astrophysics.
- It also provides atmospheric sensing and glacier studies lab for better use of the large quantity of water is stored in the form of seasonal snow, ice and glaciers in the rivers of North India.
- This will help to enhance Jammu and Kashmir economy and human lives which are affected by vegetation cover, forest area, snow, landslides, avalanches, groundwater, cloud cover, which can be monitored from space through remote-sensing.
- India elected to UNHRC securing maximum votes
- India has been elected to the United Nations’ Human Rights Council with the highest vote among all candidates.
- India got 188 votes followed by Fiji with 187 and Bangladesh 178 votes.
- India had previously been elected to the Geneva-based Human Rights Council for the 2011-2014 and 2014-2017.
- The UNHRC was established by the UN General Assembly in 2006 to replace the UN Commission on Human Rights.
- UNHRC mission is to promote and protect human rights around the world.
- The UNHRC has 47 members elected for staggered three-year terms on a regional group basis.
- The headquarters of UNHRC is in Geneva, Switzerland.
- The UNHRC investigates allegations of breaches of human rights in UN member states.
- It also addresses important thematic human rights issues such as freedom of association and assembly, freedom of expression, freedom of belief and religion, women’s rights, LGBT rights, and the rights of racial and ethnic minorities.
- Protection of Human Rights (Amendment) Bill, 2018
- The Protection of Human Rights (Amendment) Bill, 2018 was recently introduced in the Lok Sabha.
- The Bill amends the Protection of Human Rights Act, 1993.
- The Bill provides for the chairperson to be a person who has been Chief Justice of India, or a Judge of the Supreme Court.
- The Act provides for a National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), State Human Rights Commissions (SHRC), as well as Human Rights Courts.
- Composition – Now, the chairperson of NHRC is to be a person who has been a Chief Justice of the Supreme Court.
- Similarly, for SHRC, a person who has been Chief Justice or Judge of a High Court can be the chairperson.
- The Act provides for two persons having knowledge of human rights to be appointed as members of the NHRC.
- The Bill amends this to allow three members to be appointed, of which at least one will be a woman.
- Also, the chairpersons of various commissions such as the National Commissions for Scheduled Castes, for Scheduled Tribes, and for Women are members of the NHRC.
- The Bill widens this to National Commissions for Backward Classes, for Protection of Child Rights, and the Chief Commissioner for Persons with Disabilities.
- The term of office – Now, the chairperson and members of the NHRC and SHRC are to hold office for 5 years or till the age of 70 years, whichever is earlier.
- The Bill also allows for the reappointment of chairpersons of the NHRC and SHRCs.
- Powers – Now, the Secretary-General of the NHRC and a Secretary of SHRC exercise power as may be delegated to them.
- Union Territories – The Bill provides for the central government to confer on an SHRC the human rights functions being discharged by Union Territories.
Source- The Hindu
- National Policy on Electronics 2018
- Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) has issued draft ‘National Policy on Electronics 2018’ (NPE 2018) for Electronics System Design and Manufacturing (ESDM) Sector of India.
- This policy helps to promote domestic manufacturing in entire value-chain of the ESDM sector for spur economic development in the country.
- It also helps to double the target of mobile phone production from 500 million units in 2019 to 1 billion by 2025 to meet the objective.
- Its target to create $400 billion electronics manufacturing industry by 2025, with mobile phone devices segment accounting for three-fourths of production.
- It replaces existing incentive schemes like Modified Special Incentive Package Scheme (M-SIPS), with schemes that are easier to implement such as interest subsidy and credit default guarantee etc.
- It also takes into consideration interest subsidy and credit default guarantee in order to encourage new units and in the expansion of existing units in the electronics manufacturing sector.
- Tax benefits: It proposes suitable direct tax benefits, including inter-alia investment-linked deduction under Income Tax (IT), Act for electronics manufacturing sector, for setting up of new manufacturing unit or expansion of an existing unit.
- It also proposes cess on select electronic goods resources to promote certain critical sub-sectors of electronic manufacturing such as semiconductor wafer fabrication and display fabrication units.
Source- The Hindu
- India Lost $79.5 Billion Due To Natural Disasters in 20 Years: UN Report
- UN has released a report titled ‘Economic Losses, Poverty and Disasters 1998-2017’
- It was compiled by the UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction.
- India suffered a whopping $79.5 billion economic loss due to climate-related disasters in the last 20 years.
- The report highlights the impact of extreme weather events on the global economy.
- It states that the years between 1998 to 2017 have seen a dramatic rise of 151% in direct economic losses from climate-related disasters.
- In terms of the impact of disasters on the global economy between 1998 and 2017, affected countries reported direct losses of $2.908 trillion, more than twice of what was lost in the previous two decades.
- Storms, floods, and earthquakes place three European countries in the top ten nations for economic losses.
- The report concludes that climate change is increasing the frequency and severity of extreme weather events.
- The disasters will continue to be major impediments to sustainable development so long as the economic incentives to build and develop hazard-prone locations outweigh the perceived disaster risks.
- Measuring economic losses can also motivate Governments to do more to achieve the targets of the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction, which seeks a substantial reduction in disaster losses by 2030.
- Integrating disaster risk reduction into investment decisions is the most cost-effective way to reduce these risks.
About UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction
- It was established in 1999 as dedicated secretariat to facilitate implementation of International Strategy for Disaster Reduction.
- It is an organizational unit of UN Secretariat and is led by the UN Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Disaster Risk Reduction (SRSG).
- It is headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland.
Source- Indian Express
- First India-Israel Innovation Centre Opens in Bengaluru
- The country’s first India-Israel Innovation Centre (IIIC), an entrepreneurial technology hub, was launched in Bengaluru.
- The IIIC is a significant step towards facilitating penetration of Israeli companies in India.
- It aims to forge local partnerships and joint ventures between companies from the two countries.
- It will provide an ecosystem to support entrepreneurship, the partnership with vendors, mentoring and non-formal community development.
- The IIIC also helps to assist the growth of the companies in different verticals and covers business, technology, investors and customers.
Source- Business Standard