Current Affairs – 22nd February 2017

Hello Readers, We bring you another issue of current affairs that covers the important news in Current Affairs Today Section.
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Indian Affairs

WHO congratulates India on successful assessment of India’s National Regulatory Authority 
The successful outcome of the WHO conducted assessment of the National Regulatory Authority (NRA) of India is a big boost to the Government’s efforts towards quality healthcare, for which the Government is committed to”.
This was stated by Union Minister for Health & Family Welfare Shri J P Nadda, here today, as WHO congratulated him and the Ministry for successful assessment of the country’s National Regulatory Authority (NRA).
WHO, in its letter to the Minister, has applauded the country’s NRA being declared “functional’ with a maturity level of 4, i.e., the highest level as per currently evolved definitions in respect of 5 functions, and maturity level 3 in respect of 4 functions.
Impacts

  • In view of India being one of the main global suppliers of drug and biological medicinal products including vaccines, medical devices, and traditional medicines, and as it is supplying several vaccines to UN agencies, the ‘successful assessment will go a long way in strengthening global confidence in medical products from India’.
  • WHO also notes that this shall ‘give an impetus to the “Make in India” mantra.
  • A fully functional NRA is a pre-requisite for WHO prequalification of vaccines.

Ministry of Road Transport’s New Format for Reporting Accidents 

An  expert committee was constituted by Ministry of Road  Transport and Highways to review the format for reporting of road  accidents. At present reports are collected from police stations and State Governments send their report to the Centre. The new format would fill in gaps in reporting of accidents by minimizing subjectivity.
Present scenario

  • The recording of accident data is done in FIRs at police stations.
  • These records are liable to be subjective as the police personnel fill it up according to their understanding and assign reasons for accidents as per their  interpretation.
  • There are apprehensions that due to limited technical understanding, the police persons recording the data are not able to recognize the role of road engineering defects, the nature of impacting vehicles and other such technical details that may have caused the accident.
  • As a result, these aspects that are so vital for ensuring road safety but remain unreported or under reported.

Now

  • The committee has developed a uniform accident Recording Format to be adopted by the police in all states and UTs.
  • The accident Recording Form has five sections designed to capture all relevant information like accident identification/location, road condition, vehicles involved and victim details.
  • Section A contains accident identification details like location, vehicle type etc
  • Section B captures road conditions and features like culvert, gradient, pothole etc.
  • Section C would capture details about vehicle – both motorized and non motorized, overloading etc.
  • Section D would capture traffic violations by drivers
  • Section E would capture details about persons other than drivers involved in the accident.
  • The form is simple and would be easy for the police persons at thana levels to understand and fill up. It also minimizes subjective elements.
  • In addition to the above, the committee has also developed  a set of corresponding annual road accident data Reporting Format consisting of 17 forms in which the states/ UTs would be required to furnish the annual road accident data to TRW of the Ministry within one month of the completion of a calendar year.

 Relavance

  • This development is important as the data forms the basis for analyzing the cause of accidents, identifying black spots  and taking corrective steps to eliminate the same.
  • This is also the data that gets compiled by the Transport Research Wing of the Ministry in its annual publication Road Accidents in India.
  • Over a period of time the data will reveal patterns which will provide solutions and enable action to be taken.

CCEA approves 40,000-mw solar park scheme
The Union Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) okayed revised norms for the Scheme for Development of Solar Parks and Ultra Mega Solar Power Projects with the production target enhancement to 40,000 MW from the present 20,000 MW.

  1. The enhanced target capacity would ensure development of at least 50 solar parks each with a capacity of 500 MW and above in various parts of the country.
  2. In the recent development smaller parks in Himalayan and other hilly States where contiguous land may be difficult to acquire in view of the difficult terrain, will also be considered under the scheme.

Government approves 800 crore for coastal security surveillance
Union Defence Ministry has approved 38 additional coastal radar stations with the cost of Rs 800 croreto enhance coastal surveillance on India’ over 7500 km long line.

  • The Defence Acquisition Council led by Defence minister Manohar Parrikar approved the acceptance of the necessity of 38 radar stations aimed to give gap less electronic surveillance of Indian coastline.
  • Besides the deciding body also gave it nod to set up an integrated engine repair facility for Naval Mig-29K fighter jets at naval aircraft yard in Goa.
  • With this approval the phase two of the project which will have Bangalore-based Bharat Electronics Limited as a lead integrator that will add the 46 existing such coastal surveillance stations.

International Affairs

Cabinet approves MoU between India and Australia for promotion and development of cooperation in civil aviation security
The Union Cabinet has given its approval for signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) betweenIndia and Australia for promotion and development of cooperation in civil aviation security.

  • The MoU will provide an opportunity to Indian aviation security authorities to share the expertise of their Australian counterparts and enhance the overall aviation security environment in India.
  • This MoU will additionally enhance the compliance of international obligation and promotion in the area of security cooperation between the sides.

Cabinet approves signing of Air Services Agreement between India and Greece
Union Cabinet has approved the signing of Air Services Agreement (ASA) between India and Greecewhich has the potential to spur greater trade, investment, tourism and cultural exchange also in line government’s developments in the civil aviation sector.
Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has approved the signing of Air Services Agreement (ASA) between India and Greece.
The Agreement has the potential to spur greater trade, investment, tourism and cultural exchange between the two countries bringing it in tune with the developments in the civil aviation sector. It will provide enabling environment for enhanced and seamless connectivity while providing commercial opportunities to the carriers of both the sides ensuring greater safety and security.
The essential features of the ASA are as follows:
i. Both countries shall be entitled to designate one or more airline.
ii. The designated airlines of either country shall have the right to establish offices in the territory of the other country for the promotion end sale of air services.
iii. The designated airlines of the two countries shall have fair and equal opportunity to operate the agreed services on specified routes.
iv. The designated Airline of each party can enter into cooperative marketing arrangements with the designated carriers of same party, other party and third country,
v. As per the Route Schedule, the Indian carriers can operate to Athens, Thessaloniki, HerakIion and any 3 points to be specified later in Greece from points in India, whereas the carriers of Hellenic Republic can establish direct operation to 6 metros viz. New Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru, Kolkata, Hyderabad and Chennal. Any points shall be available as intermediate and beyond point for the designated carriers of India as well as the designated carriers of Greece.
Cabinet approves signing of an Agreement between India and Poland on cooperation in the field of agriculture and allied sectors 
The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has given its approval for signing of an Agreement between India and Poland on cooperation in the field of agriculture and allied sectors.
The agreement covers various activities in the field of agriculture and allied sector including exchange of information on the current situation in agriculture, the phytosanitary conditions of crops, threats posed by harmful organisms and the threats posed by animal infectious diseases.  It also covers the participation in fairs, exhibitions, seminars and conferences related to agriculture and agri-food processing; undertaking and developing joint economic initiatives including the support or agrifood trade between the states of the Contracting Parties.
The Agreement provides for constitution of a Joint Working Group (JWG) comprising of representatives from both countries.  The JWG will prepare plans of cooperation and to provide solutions to the problems arising during the implementation of the Agreement.

Banking and Finance

Awards and Recognition

Appointments & Resigns

Acquisitions & Mergers

Business

Environment

Tiny natural ponds can speed up global warming

Tiny natural ponds pose an overlooked danger for speeding up global warming, according to a study published on Monday in the journal Nature Climate Change. The new findings matter because small ponds play an outsized role in the planet’s carbon cycles — the balance between input and output of greenhouse gases.

Science and Technology

Four new tiny frog species found in Western Ghats

Night-Frog-N-pulivijayani
Night-Frog-N-pulivijayani

Scientists exploring the forests of the Western Ghats have come across four new species of tiny frogs no bigger than a human thumbnail, which make a distinctive chirping sound comparable to that of a cricket.These species are among the seven new ‘Night Frogs’ discovered by a team of researchers from the University of Delhi and the Kerala Forest Department, who spent five years surveying the global biodiversity hotspot. The Athirappilly Night Frog was found close to the Athirappilly waterfalls, the proposed site of a hydroelectric project, while the Sabarimala Night Frog was discovered near the hill shrine which receives lakhs of pilgrims every year.
Night Frogs

  • Night Frogs belong to the Nyctibatrachusgenus endemic to the Western Ghats and represent an ancient group of frogs that diversified on the Indian landmass approximately 70 to 80 million years ago.
  • The discovery has taken the total number of known Nyctibatrachusspecies to 35, of which 20% are diminutive in size (less than 18 mm).
  • As many as 103 new amphibian species have been described from biodiversity- rich Western Ghats region between 2006 and 2015.

Sports

Obituary

 

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