October 2019

Daily Current Affairs (20-10-19)

AARDRAM PEOPLE’S CAMPAIGN

Related Topics: Government Schemes & Initiatives, Public Health

News

Aardram Mission, Kerala state government’s flagship programme to transform the public health sector, will be taken up as a popular movement — Aardram People’s Campaign — that will allow people to take the lead in the initiatives taken up under the mission.

Aardram People’s Campaign

  • The focus of the campaign will be ‘Our Health, Our Responsibility’.
  • The year-long campaign is expected to be launched on November 5, 2019.
  • The campaign will address the strengthening of preventive, promotive, curative, rehabilitative and palliative care services in the community.
  • The two major activities of the campaign are strengthening field-level activities to take Aardram Mission goals to the people and encouraging local bodies to prepare the health status report (HSR) of the people.
  • The HSR preparation will also help panchayats to plan their health budget carefully.

Focus Areas

The campaign will focus on five main areas:

  • Preventive and promotive health and improvement in the health-seeking behaviour of people
  • Promotion of healthy food habits
  • Promotion of physical activity
  • Promotion of environmental sanitation
  • Prevention of substance abuse including alcohol

Background

  • In the past three years, health sector of Kerala, especially primary care services have undergone a major transformation in such a way that most primary health centres (PHCs) are now family health centres that offer comprehensive primary care services, right up to early cancer screening and detection.
  • The State has invested heavily in infrastructure and human resource to make these institutions patient-friendly with all amenities and extended OP hours so that the footfall in these FHCs are steadily growing.
  • The Aardram People’s Campaign envisages taking these achievements of the State’s health sector to the people directly and getting the community to lead the State’s movement towards total health.

[Source: The Hindu]

 

DEFINITION OF FOREST

Related Topics: Environment & Biodiversity, Forest Advisory Committee (FAC)

News

The Forest Advisory Committee (FAC) of the Environment Ministry, comprising independent experts and officials in the Centre’s forestry division, has clarified that the States need not take the Centre’s approval to define what constitutes unclassified land as forest.

Legal definition of Forest

  • According to FAC, States having well established forest departments are in a better position, rather than MoEF&CC, to understand their own forests and needs, and should frame criteria for their forests and criteria so finalised by a state need not be subject to approval by MoEF&CC.
  • Since 2014, the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEF&CC) has been considering evolving a legal definition of forest and reportedly prepared drafts in 2016.
  • However, these have never been made public and the FAC’s clarification officially signifies an end to such efforts.

Background

  • The conundrum of defining forests has been around since the 1980s.
  • The freedom to define land as forest, not already classified as forests by the Centre or state records, has been the prerogative of the States since 1996 and stems from a Supreme Court order called the Godavarman judgement.
  • The 1996 Supreme Court judgement expanded the definition of forest to include lands that were already notified by the Centre as forests, that appear in government records as forests as well as those that fell in the “dictionary definition” of forest.
  • The latter clause allows the States to evolve their own criteria and define tracts of land as forest, and these would then be bound by forest conservation laws.

Deemed Forests

  • Forests defined under the criteria evolved by states, constituted about 1% of the country’s forests and once so defined would be known as ‘deemed forests.’
  • An all-encompassing definition of ‘forest’ is not possible for India, because the country has 16 different kinds of forest.
  • A tract of grassland in one State might qualify in one region as forest, but not in another.
  • The onus on the States to define forests is also significant, because the States often claim that they are helpless in preventing encroachment because a patch of land in question hadn’t been notified as forest.
  • A recent instance was the felling of trees in Mumbai’s Aarey Colony, which officially isn’t classified as ‘forest.’
[Source: The Hindu]

 

INCOMBUSTIBLE LITHIUM-ION BATTERY

Related Topics: Science & Technology, Lithium-ion Battery

News

Researchers from Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory have developed a Lithium-ion battery that will not catch fire.

WiS and WiBS

  • The research team has announced the discovery of a new class of “water-in-salt” and “water-in-bisalt” electrolytes—referred to as WiS and WiBS, respectively.
  • This new class of electrolytes, when incorporated in a polymer matrix, reduces water activity and elevates the battery’s energy capabilities and life cycle while ridding it of the flammable, toxic, and highly reactive solvents present in current Li-ion batteries.

Lithium-ion battery

  • It is a rechargeable battery that uses lithium ions as the primary component of its electrolyte
  • They have emerged as the energy storage vehicle of choice for portable electronics, electric vehicles, and grid storage.

Significance of the discovery

  • Li-ion batteries are vulnerable to fire and explosion, which often happens without warning.
  • This is because they are built with flammable and combustible materials.
  • These safety advancements mark a significant step forward in transforming the way Li-ion batteries are manufactured and used in electronic devices.

[Source: Indian Express]

 

TASMANIAN TIGER

Related Topics: Environment & Biodiversity, Wildlife Conservation

News

Tasmania’s Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Water and Environment released a document that mentions sightings of the Tasmanian tigers from September 2016 to September 19, 2019.

Why the recent sightings of the animal are important?

  • The Tasmanian tiger or thylacine (a dog headed pouched dog) was an exclusively carnivorous marsupial that is considered to be extinct.
  • The last known thylacine died in captivity over 80 years ago, in Tasmania’s Hobart Zoo in 1936.
  • It may also be the only mammal to have become extinct in Tasmania since the European settlement.

How they became extinct?

  • According to the Australian Museum, the thylacine was widespread over continental Australia, extending North to New Guinea and south to Tasmania.
  • It was confined to Tasmania in recent times and disappeared from mainland Australia over 2000 years ago, mainly because of over-hunting by humans, diseases and competition from the Dingo (Canis lupus), a wild dog native to Australia.
  • It was persecuted because it was believed to be a threat to sheep.
  • It was also hunted for the purposes of collection by museums and zoos.

About the Species

  • The thylacine, also known as the Tasmanian wolf, bears some resemblance to a dog, with its distinguishing features being the dark stripes beginning at the rear of its body and extending into its tail, its stiff tail and abdominal pouch.
  • It was native to Tasmania, New Guinea, and the Australian mainland.
[Source: Indian Express]

 

FACTS OF THE DAY

INTERPOL GENERAL ASSEMBLY

India will host the 91st Interpol General Assembly in 2022 after a proposal in this regard was cleared with “overwhelming support” from member countries. The biggest congregation of law enforcement officers will coincide with country’s 75th Independence anniversary celebrations. India will get a chance to host the General Assembly of International Criminal Police Organisation (Interpol) after 25 years since 1997. The general assembly of Interpol is an annual exercise hosted by member countries. All major decisions affecting general policy, the resources needed for international cooperation, working methods and finances are deliberated and discussed by representatives. Interpol is an international police cooperation organisation with 194 member states. It is headquartered in Lyon, France.

APPOINTMENT OF CHIEF JUSTICE OF SUPREME COURT

Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi has recommended Justice Sharad Arvind Bobde as his successor and the 47th Chief Justice of India in keeping with convention and the seniority norm. Chief Justice Gogoi, who is scheduled to retire on November 17, 2019 has sent his recommendation in writing to the government. The written communication from the incumbent Chief Justice is the first step in the appointment process of the next CJI. The Memorandum of Procedure for appointment of judges to the Supreme Court prescribes that the “appointment to the office of the Chief Justice of India should be of the senior-most judge of the Supreme Court considered fit to hold the office”. Under this process, after receiving the CJI’s recommendation, the Law Minister puts it before the Prime Minister who advises the President on the matter.

SRI LANKA REMOVED FROM FATF’S GREY LIST

Sri Lanka has been removed from ‘Grey List’ of Financial Action Task Force (FATF) following the new measures taken by the country on financial security. Sri Lanka was first included in the blacklist in 2011. By 2012, Sri Lanka was listed in the list as a dangerous country with no commitment to the financial security plan. Government of Sri Lanka together with the Central Bank and other financial institutions has taken several measures since 2016 to ensure the financial security of the country. As a result, Sri Lanka has declared a cooperating state in 2016 and the FATF put Sri Lanka on a grey list from November 2017. Sri Lanka set out a sound framework to bring the commitment of all the stakeholders to enhance the Anti-Money Laundering and Countering the Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT) standards in order to improve its compliance and the country rating. The FATF is an inter-governmental body established in 1989 to combat money laundering, terrorist financing and other related threats to the integrity of the international financial system.

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