PM launches ‘Saubhagya’ plan for household electrification
- It is Rs. 16,000 crore scheme, Saubhagya, under which households across the country that have no access to electricity, will be given power connections free of cost.
- Under the PM Sahaj Bijli Har Ghar Yojana (Saubhagya), every household in the country, whether it is in a village or a city or in a far-flung area, will be given an electricity connection.
- No price will be charged for the poor to get an electricity connection, and the government will go to their houses to give them the connection.
SC refuses more time for medical admissions
- The Supreme Court has refused to extend the deadline for filling up vacant seats in medical super-speciality, post-graduate and MBBS courses.
- A Bench led by Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra refused to extend the September 14 time limit, especially in the case of super-speciality courses.
- In a four-page order on September 22, the Bench referred to the apprehensions raised in the various pleas that many seats remained vacant and there was a need to extend the date for admissions.
- Court dismissed the pleas, saying the concern voiced in them “travels from rational sphere to emotional sphere.”
- It acknowledged the Medical Council of India’s (MCI) stand that discipline was essential in academic admission matters and any extension would result in chaos.
- Ineligible students would benefit from such confusion, leaving the worthy ones in dire straits.
Who were behind this?
- Among the applications was one by 23 doctors from various parts of the country seeking an extended round of counselling for the candidates who had qualified in the NEET-SS examination to fill up vacant seats available in government and private medical colleges.
What is NEET SS?
- NEET-SS is an eligibility-cum-ranking examination prescribed as the single entrance examination to various DM/M.Ch. courses under the Indian Medical Council (Amendment) Act, 2016.
India, S. Korea to upgrade FTA at ‘earliest’
- Even as the India-South Korea Free Trade Agreement (FTA) will be expanded soon to boost bilateral trade and investment, New Delhi has voiced concerns about the low utilisation of the FTA by India due to the ‘complicated’ provisions in the pact as well as South Korea’s regulations.
- The recent bilateral talks in Seoul saw India cite the difficulties being faced by its English teachers in getting permission to teach in South Korea.
- Indian English language teachers should be getting opportunities to teach in primary and secondary schools in South Korea, this is not being implemented effectively in practice.
- This is because the ‘English Program in Korea’ (EPIK) stipulates that those eligible to teach English in South Korea must “be a citizen of a country where English is the primary language.”
Solving food challenges with more research
- According to estimates, the global population is likely to exceed 9 billion by 2050, with 5 billion people in Asia alone.
- The capacity to produce enough quality food is falling behind human numbers.
- Food production in the region must keep pace, even as environment sustainability and economic development are ensured.
Solutions for these scenario:
- The answer to these challenges lies in research for sustainable development.
- As the second goal of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals says: “End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition, and promote sustainable agriculture.”
- India’s fivefold increase in grain production over the past 50 years is largely the result of strong scientific research that has focussed on high-yielding crop varieties, better agronomic practices, and pro-farmer policies.
However, India continues to face challenges such as food insecurity and malnutrition, particularly in rural areas.
Snow leopard downgraded from endangered to vulnerable
- The elusive and charismatic snow leopard has lost its endangered status in the Red List of the International Union for Conservation of Nature, causing genuine worry among wildlife biologists, who believe this sends out the wrong signal to those working to protect it.
- If the argument for a downgrade to vulnerable status from endangered is that conservation actions have reduced the threat to the cat in its remote habitat in the alpine zones of the Himalayas and trans-Himalayas.
- India has worked to protect these animals, and even launched a programme on the lines of Project Tiger for its conservation, covering 128,757 sq. km of habitat in Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh.
- An insurance programme in which residents of a part of Spiti Valley in Himachal Pradesh participated also worked well.
- There is also an upcoming international collaborative effort, the Global Snow Leopard and Ecosystem Protection Program, involving the countries that make up the range of this graceful animal.
It is vital that this momentum should not be lost merely on account of the technicality that the estimated numbers have crossed the threshold for an ‘endangered’ classification, which is 2,500.
- It would be a disservice to conservation if governments shift their focus away from the big challenges to the snow leopard’s future: trafficking in live animals in Central Asia, and hostility from communities because of its attacks on livestock.
- New research indicates that even when wild prey is available, the attacks on livestock by snow leopards have cumulatively been on the rise.
- A more fundamental worry is over the likely loss of habitat owing to changing climate patterns.
its recommended to go through various IUCN List & animals from india in those categories. We will provide a detailed article regarding this at the earliest.
Removing toxic metals from tannery waste
- Removing hexavalent chromium from industrial effluents, particularly untreated tannery waste, will become easier and more efficient by the work of a team of researchers from the Indian Institute of Chemical Biology (CSIR-IICB), Kolkata.
- The heat-dried fungal biomass converts Cr(VI) — which is neurotoxic, genotoxic and a carcinogen — to a non-toxic trivalent form of chromium, thus eliminating the problems of disposing Cr(VI)-containing waste.
- Cr(VI) is found in very high concentration in tannery waste.
- In experiments carried out in the lab using potassium dichromate solution, the adsorption capacity of the biomass was found to be as high as over 100 mg per gram of dry weight.
- In the case of untreated tannery waste, the fungal biomass was able to remove over 70% of Cr(VI).
- It can also remove other toxic metals such as lead and arsenic, which are normally found in tannery waste.