Portals to strengthen Women Safety launched
The government has launched two portals to strengthen Women Safety:
- Cyber Crime Prevention against Women and Children (CCPWC) portal to check objectionable online content.
- National Database on Sexual Offenders (NDSO) to aid in monitoring & investigation of sexual crimes.
Cyber Crime Prevention against Women and Children (CCPWC) portal:
The portal will receive complaints from citizens on objectionable online content related to child pornography, child sexual abuse material, sexually explicit material such as rape and gang rape.
The portal is convenient and user friendly that will enable complainants in reporting cases without disclosing their identity. This will not only aid the victims/complainants but also help the civil society organizations and responsible citizens to anonymously report complaints pertaining to child pornography, child sexual abuse material or sexually explicit material such as rape and gang rape.
Complainants can also upload the objectionable content and URL to assist in the investigation by the State Police. The complaints registered through this portal will be handled by police authorities of respective State/UTs. There are other features such as a victim or complainant can track his/her report by opting for “report and track” option using his/her mobile number.
The National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) will proactively identify such objectionable content and take up with intermediaries for its removal. For this NCRB has already been notified as the Government of India agency to issue notices under Section 79(3)b of IT Act.
National Database on Sexual Offenders (NDSO):
The National Database on Sexual Offenders (NDSO), which is accessible only to law enforcement agencies, will assist in effectively tracking and investigating cases of sexual offences.
It is a central database of “sexual offenders” in the country which will be maintained by the NCRB for regular monitoring and tracking by the State Police. The database is accessible only to the law enforcement agencies for investigation and monitoring purpose.
The database will include offenders convicted under charges of rape, gang rape, POCSO and eve teasing. At present the database contains 4.4 lakh entries.
The State Police have been requested to regularly update the database from 2005 onwards. The database includes name, address, and photograph and fingerprint details for each entry. However, the database will not compromise any individual’s privacy.
The two portals launched are part of efforts in the direction of strengthening security of women and children. However, the field level challenges have to be overcome by the Police at the ground level to ensure speedy justice to the victims. The security agencies should fully utilize potential of the two portals and update the database regularly for greater effectiveness.
There is also need for time bound completion of investigation in sexual crimes to instill deterrence among potential offenders.
Aspirational Districts Program
In a bid to understand and address the challenges faced by the district administrations in implementing skill programs and help develop capacities, the government has approved a plan for visits of the senior officers of the Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurships to the ‘Aspirational Districts’ between October 2, 2018 and January 26, 2019.
The visit of officers of the Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurships will begin with a meeting with Districts Collector / CEO-Zila Parishad and other State level officers implementing the programs.
The team will also have interactions with Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Kendras, training providers, ITIs, Polytechnics and JSS administrations.
The team would also have conversation with students and industry present in these districts. This will enable a stock taking of the available skill ecosystem vis-à-vis the available data and provide good understanding of challenges to be addressed at the district level to make youth employable.
About Aspirational Districts Programme:
Launched in January this year, the ‘Transformation of Aspirational Districts’ programme aims to quickly and effectively transform some of the most underdeveloped districts of the country.
The broad contours of the programme are Convergence (of Central & State Schemes), Collaboration (of Central, State level ‘Prabhari’ Officers & District Collectors), and Competition among districts driven by a Mass Movement or a Jan Andolan.
With States as the main drivers, this program will focus on the strength of each district, identify low-hanging fruits for immediate improvement, measure progress, and rank districts.
Focus of the programme:
To enable optimum utilization of their potential, this program focuses closely on improving people’s ability to participate fully in the burgeoning economy. Health & Nutrition, Education, Agriculture & Water Resources, Financial Inclusion & Skill Development, and Basic Infrastructure are this programme’s core areas of focus.
Significance of the scheme:
If these districts are transformed, there would be tremendous improvement in the internal security environment of the country. If Prabhari officers can bring convergence in the development efforts of different Ministries and state Governments and the schemes specially launched by Home Ministry in these districts, it would serve as a great opportunity to ensure rapid development in the country.
Atal Bimit Vyakti Kalyan Yojna
The Employee’s State Insurance (ESI) has approved a scheme named ‘Atal Bimit Vyakti Kalyan Yojna’ for Insured Persons (IP) covered under the Employees’ State Insurance Act, 1948.
About Atal Bimit Vyakti Kalyan Yojna:
Aim: It aims to financially support those who lost their jobs or rendered jobless for whatsoever reasons due to changing employment pattern.
Its beneficiaries will be insured persons covered under Employees’ State Insurance Act, 1948 for period of two years continuously.
Cash assistance: Under the scheme, relief will be payable in cash directly to bank account of insured persons in case of unemployment. This financial assistance will be given to insured persons even while they search for new engagement. Beneficiary insured workers will be paid money, from their own contribution towards ESI scheme, in cash through bank account transfer.
Under this scheme, workers will be able to draw 47% of their total contributions towards ESIC after remaining unemployed for at least three months from date of leaving their previous jobs. They can choose to receive the cash at one go or in instalments. It will be applicable to all factories and establishments employing at least 10 workers.
- ESI is self-financing social security and health insurance scheme for Indian workers.
- It is autonomous corporation by statutory creation under Ministry of Labour and Employment, Government of India.
- It is managed by Employees’ State Insurance Corporation (ESIC) according to rules and regulations stipulated there in the ESI Act 1948.
Source: The Hindu
‘Sputum sample transportation’ Project
A pilot project for utilising services of Department of Post for transport of sputum specimen for TB Diagnosis was launched by the Health Ministry.
Sputum is a thick fluid that is produced in the lungs and the airways leading to the lungs. A sample of sputum is usually collected by the person coughing.
TB Sputum Test:
The sputum test is often the first TB test to be used in countries with a high rate of TB infection.
Sputum microscopy is inexpensive and simple, and people can be trained to do it relatively quickly and easily.
Need for and significance of postal transportation of Sputum:
Most of the patients are not diagnosed because the specimen does not reach the laboratory due to non-availability of specimen transport mechanisms.
Transport of collected specimen also spares the patient’s from travelling to the reference laboratory. Prompt transport of specimen followed by efficacious testing will enable appropriate management of the TB patients and reduced disease transmission.
Source: The Hindu
China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC)
Pakistan has invited Saudi Arabia to join the CPEC as the third “strategic partner”. Saudi participation in this mega project will ensure huge investment in Pakistan through this platform.
Saudi Arabia has a history of bailing out Pakistan financially. In 2014, six months after Pakistan obtained its last IMF bailout, Saudi Arabia loaned it $1.5 billion that the government used to strengthen its rupee currency.
The CPEC is the flagship project of the multi-billion dollar Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), a pet project of Chinese President Xi Jinping, aimed at enhancing Beijing’s influence around the world through China-funded infrastructure projects.
The 3,000 km-long China–Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) consisting of highways, railways, and pipelines is the latest irritant in the India–China relationship.
CPEC eventually aims at linking the city of Gwadar in South Western Pakistan to China’s North Western region Xinjiang through a vast network of highways and railways.
The proposed project will be financed by heavily-subsidised loans, that will be disbursed to the Government of Pakistan by Chinese banking giants such as Exim Bank of China, China Development Bank, and the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China.
But, why is India concerned?
Many experts are not in favour of India supporting CPEC. This is so because any Indian participation would inextricably be linked to the country’s legitimate claims on PoK.
CPEC rests on a Chinese plan to secure and shorten its supply lines through Gwadar with an enhanced presence in the Indian Ocean. Hence, it is widely believed that upon CPEC’s fruition, an extensive Chinese presence will undermine India’s influence in the Indian Ocean.
It is also being contended that if CPEC were to successfully transform the Pakistan economy that could be a “red rag” for India which will remain at the receiving end of a wealthier and stronger Pakistan.
Besides, India shares a great deal of trust deficit with China and Pakistan and has a history of conflict with both. As a result, even though suggestions to re-approach the project pragmatically have been made, no advocate has overruled the principle strands of contention that continue to mar India’s equations with China and Pakistan.
Only by respecting the sovereignty of countries involved, can regional connectivity corridors fulfil their promise and avoid differences and discord. China is a country which is very sensitive on matters concerning its sovereignty. So it is expected that they would have some understanding of other people’s sensitivity about their sovereignty. Meanwhile, India must uphold its specific reservations on the project and draft a strategy to revert suitably in case CPEC is offered formally through official channels.
Source: The Hindu
India has decided to place four more reactors under the IAEA safeguards. Accordingly, two Russian-designed Pressurised Light Water Reactors and two Pressurised Heavy Reactors being built with Indian technology will be covered.
With this, a total of 26 Indian nuclear facilities will be under the international nuclear energy watchdog.
Safeguards are a set of technical measures applied by the IAEA on nuclear material and activities, through which the Agency seeks to independently verify that nuclear facilities are not misused and nuclear material not diverted from peaceful uses. States accept these measures through the conclusion of safeguards agreements.
The objective of IAEA Safeguards is to deter the spread of nuclear weapons by the early detection of the misuse of nuclear material or technology. This provides credible assurances that States are honouring their legal obligations that nuclear material is being used only for peaceful purposes.
Need and implementation: IAEA safeguards are an essential component of the international security system. The Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) is the centrepiece of global efforts to prevent the further spread of nuclear weapons. Under the Treaty’s Article 3, each Non-Nuclear Weapon State is required to conclude a safeguards agreement with the IAEA.
Significance: Within the world’s nuclear non-proliferation regime, the IAEA’s safeguards system functions as a confidence-building measure, an early warning mechanism, and the trigger that sets in motion other responses by the international community if and when the need arises. Over the past decade, IAEA safeguards have been strengthened in key areas.
The IAEA is the world’s centre for cooperation in the nuclear field. It was set up as the world’s “Atoms for Peace” organization in 1957 within the United Nations family. The Agency works with its Member States and multiple partners worldwide to promote the safe, secure and peaceful use of nuclear technologies.
It seeks to promote the peaceful use of nuclear energy, and to inhibit its use for any military purpose, including nuclear weapons.
IAEA reports to both the United Nations General Assembly and Security Council.
The IAEA has its headquarters in Vienna, Austria.
The IAEA serves as an intergovernmental forum for scientific and technical cooperation in the peaceful use of nuclear technology and nuclear power worldwide.
Source: The Hindu
Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) successfully flight tested the indigenously developed surface-to-surface tactical missile ‘Prahar’, from Launch Complex-III, ITR, Balasore.
‘Prahar’, developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), is capable of filling the gap between the multi-barrel rocket system ‘Pinaka’ and medium-range ballistic missile ‘Prithvi’. It can also engage multiple targets in different directions.
It has length of 7.3 meter, diameter of 420 mm and weighs 1,280 kg. It has operational range of 150 km and flight altitude of 35 km.
It is a solid-fuelled short-range missile fitted with inertial navigation system.
The missile is equipped with state-of-the-art navigation, guidance and electromechanical actuation systems with advanced on board computer.
It is a quick-reaction, all-weather, all-terrain, highly accurate battlefield support tactical weapon system.
National Sports Awards
National Sports Awards 2018 have been announced.
- National Sports Awards are given every year to recognize and reward excellence in sports.
- Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award is given for the spectacular and most outstanding performance in the field of sports by a sportsperson over a period of four year.
- Arjuna Award is given for consistency outstanding performance for four years.
- Dronacharya Award for coaches for producing medal winners at prestigious International sports events.
- Dhyan Chand Award for life time contribution to sports development.
- Rashtriya Khel Protsahan Puruskar is given to the corporate entities (both in private and public sector) and individuals who have played a visible role in the area of sports promotion and development.
MAKA Trophy: Overall top performing university in inter-university tournaments is given Maulana Abul Kalam Azad (MAKA) Trophy.
National Database on Sex Offenders (NDSO)
- India became the ninth country in the world to have a National Database on Sexual Offenders (NDSO).
- It is accessible only to law enforcement agencies for the purpose of “investigation and monitoring”.
- The database is for those convicted for sexual offences 2005 onwards.
- It includes name, address, photograph and fingerprint details of the convict.
- The database will be maintained by the National Crime Records Bureau, that will also track whether the State police were updating the records on time.
- The database will include offenders convicted under charges of rape, gang rape, Protection of Children from Sexual Offenders Act (POCSO) and eve teasing.
Flightless Bird Research Centre
- The Kerala Veterinary and Animal Sciences University (KVASU) has set up a flightless bird research centre.
- The centre has been setup on the university campus at Pookode in Wayanad district.
- The centre envisages to carry out research on adaptation and comparative physiological studies of flightless birds such as the ostrich, rhea, and emu, and artificial incubation of their eggs.
NASA Balloon Mission
- NASA has launched a balloon mission to improve weather forecasting.
- The NASA long-duration balloon mission will observe clouds over the course of five days in the mesosphere.
- The images of a thin group of seasonal electric blue clouds on the cusp of our atmosphere captured by a new NASA balloon mission may lead to improved weather forecasting.
- Data from these clouds, known as noctilucent clouds or polar mesospheric clouds (PMCs), may help scientists better understand turbulence in the atmosphere, as well as in oceans, lakes and other planetary atmospheres.
- An International Convention and Expo Centre (IICC) is about to be setup at Dwarka, New Delhi.
- IICC will reflect India’s economic progress, rich cultural heritage and its consciousness towards protection of the environment.
- IICC will give a new identity to India in the sphere of meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions (MICE) which is a multibillion business.