October 2019

Daily Current Affairs (06-10-19)

ARMY BATTLE CASUALTIES WELFARE FUND (ABCWF)

Related Topics: Defence Sector, Welfare Schemes

News

  • Raksha Mantri Rajnath Singh has given in principle approval to enhancement of monetary assistance to Next of Kin (NoK) of all categories of Battle Casualty (BC) from Rs 2 lakh to Rs 8 lakh.
  • The amount will be granted under Army Battle Casualties Welfare Fund (ABCWF).

Earlier Financial Assistance

  • Earlier, there was a provision of financial assistance of Rs 2 lakh to the Battle casualties which are fatal, 60 per cent & above disability, battle casualties invalided out due to disability and Rs 1 lakh to disability less than 60 per cent.
  • It was in addition to liberalised family pension, financial assistance from Army Group Insurance, Army Welfare Fund and ex-gratia amount.

About Army Battle Casualties Welfare Fund (ABCWF)

  • It has been set up under Department of Ex-Servicemen Welfare (ESW), Ministry of Defence after a large number of people offered to provide monetary assistance to the families of battle casualties following an incident in February 2016 at Siachen, wherein 10 soldiers were buried in an avalanche.
  • It was instituted in July 2017 and was implemented retrospectively with effect from April 2016.
  • The fund was created under the Charitable Endowments Act, 1890.
  • This fund is in addition to the various existing schemes for the welfare of NoK and children of battle casualties in form of additional ex gratia.
[Source: PIB]

 

OCTOBER 7: WORLD COTTON DAY

Related Topics: Agriculture, Cotton Technical Assistance Programme

News

The Ministry of Textiles, Government of India, is participating in the World Cotton Day being observed from 7th October to 11th October 2019 in Geneva.

World Cotton Day

  • It is organized by World Trade Organisation (WTO) in collaboration with the Secretariats of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), the International Trade Centre (ITC) and the International Cotton Advisory Committee (ICAC).
  • WTO is hosting the event at the request of the Cotton – 4 countries, Benin, Burkina Faso, Chad and Mali.
  • The day will celebrate the many advantages of cotton, from its qualities as a natural fibre, to the benefits people obtain from its production, transformation, trade and consumption.
  • It will also serve to shed light on the challenges faced by cotton economies around the world because cotton is important to least developed, developing and developed economies worldwide.

Objectives

  • To give exposure and recognition to cotton and all its stakeholders in production, transformation and trade.
  • To engage donors and beneficiaries and strengthen development assistance for cotton
  • Seek new collaborations with the private sector and investors for the cotton related industries and production in developing countries
  • Promote technological advances, as well as further research and development on cotton.

Significance

  • Cotton is a global commodity that is produced all over the world and a single tonne of cotton provides year-round employment for five people on average.
  • It is a drought – resistant crop ideal for arid climates.
  • It occupies just 2.1 % of the world’s arable land, yet it meets 27% of the world’s textiles need.
  • In addition to use in textiles and apparel, food products are also derived from cotton like edible oil and animal feed from the seed.

Cotton Technical Assistance Programme (Cotton TAP-I)

  • Between 2011 and 2018, India implemented Cotton Technical Assistance Programme (Cotton TAP-I) of about USD 2.85 million for seven African countries namely Benin, Burkina Faso, Mali, Chad, Uganda, Malawi and Nigeria.
  • The technical assistance focused on improving the competitiveness of the cotton and cotton-based textiles and apparel industry in these countries through a series of interventions which had significant outcomes leading to a demand for a follow on project.

[Source: PIB]

 

ACCEPTANCE DEVELOPMENT FUND (ADF)

Related Topics: Indian Economy, Payment Systems Vision 2021

News

In an effort to promote widespread use of card payments in the country, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has proposed to set up an ‘Acceptance Development Fund’.

What is Acceptance Development Fund (ADF)?

  • The Fund will be used to ensure growth of card acceptance infrastructure such as swipe machines across the country particularly in Tier III and Tier VI cities.
  • This means that using credit and debit cards in smaller towns and cities will become easier once the infrastructure expands as planned.
  • The government and the banking regulator have been taking several steps to increase digital payments and reduce the dependence of cash, a move that is aimed at making payments transactions transparent.
  • RBI’s Payment System Vision, 2021 report released on May 2019, had suggested creation of an ADF to ensure acceptance more PoS (point of sales) or card acceptance infrastructure in tier III to tier VI centers.
  • This would to help facilitating innovation and reducing cost of such transactions.
  • Setting up ADF framework was also recommended by Nandan Nilekani headed panel on Deepening of Digital Payments.
  • The framework will be operationalised by December 2019.

Need for the Fund

  • Currently, while card acceptance infrastructure is well set up in large cities, it has not penetrated as much into smaller, Tier IV towns.
  • Consequently, people living there and those travelling to those towns find it difficult to use cards for their transactions.
  • Once infrastructure to accept and enable card payments (i.e., digital payments) becomes widely available even in smaller towns, it will become easier for individuals to adopt cards/digital methods as their main means of payment.

[Source: Livemint, Economic Times]

 

FACTS OF THE DAY

GREEN CRACKERS

The Government has launched green firecrackers, in a bid to resolve the crisis of air pollution. Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) labs have been successful in developing various environment-friendly fireworks such as sound emitting crackers, flowerpots, pencils, chakkar and sparklers. The emissions testing facilities for the new fire crackers have been set up at CSIR-NEERI as well as their approved National Accreditation Board for Testing and Calibration (NABL) facilities. A Raw Materials Compositional Analysis (RACE) facility has been launched in Sivakasi to facilitate manufacturers for testing their raw materials and chemicals. Eight labs participated in the efforts to develop reduced emission/green fireworks, with CSIR NEERI coordinating the entire exercise. A green logo as well as a Quick Response (QR) coding system has been developed for differentiation of green crackers from conventional crackers. QR code is a novel feature incorporated on the fire crackers to avoid manufacture and sale of counterfeit products. This will also help the consumers to track the cracker using smart phones and other devices.

INCOME THRESHOLD TO AVAIL MICROFINANCE INCREASED

Reserve Bank of India has decided to raise the household income limit of borrowers to ₹2 lakh for urban and semi urban areas from ₹1.6 lakh. For rural areas, the limit has been increased from ₹1 lakh to ₹1.25 lakh. Loans by MFIs to such borrowers are uncollateralised. This will mean that all the borrowers having a household income of ₹2 lakh in urban/semi urban areas and ₹1.25 lakh in rural areas will be eligible for loans from MFIs, which are uncollateralised. The lending limit per borrower has also been hiked from ₹1 lakh to ₹1.25 lakh. The decision was taken after taking into consideration; the important role played by MFIs in delivering credit to those at the bottom of the economic pyramid and enables them to play their assigned role in a growing economy.

SR9009 – A POTENTIAL DRUG TO TREAT HEART ATTACK

The researchers have developed a potential drug to treat heart attack and prevent heart failure — for which no cure currently exists. When people suffer heart attacks, the resulting scarring of the heart tissue often leads to chronic heart failure. Researchers at the University of Guelph In Canada have discovered a drug that they believe can prevent that scarring and the progression to chronic heart failure. The drug, SR9009, works by capitalizing on the circadian clock inside the heart—the genes that turn on and off at specific times to regulate heart rate, blood pressure and other functions. The drug works by disrupting genes that would normally activate immune responses after a heart attack. In mice, it tamped down the production of the NLRP3 inflammasome, a protein complex that promotes scarring.

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