Daily Current Affairs 22nd March, 2017
2017 healthiest country index
- Bloomberg released it’s 2017 World Health Index. Italy has been named the healthiest country by the index followed by Iceland and Switzerland at the top second and third position respectively.
- The list graded 163 countries based on variables such as life expectancy, causes of death and health risks such as high blood pressure, malnutrition, the availability of clean water and tobacco use.
Rajya Sabha passes bill to ensure rights of HIV/AIDS patients
- A crucial bill to ensure equal rights to people afflicted by HIV and AIDS in getting treatment, admission in educational institutions and jobs, was passed by the Rajya Sabha .
- Once it comes into effect, the legislation will prohibit the authorities of various institutions from forcing people to undergo HIV tests for employment or education.
- The list also includes denial, termination, discontinuation or unfair treatment with regard to employment, educational institutions, healthcare services, sale or renting out of property, contesting for public or private office, and provision of insurance.
- Apart from addressing HIV-related discrimination, the bill seeks to strengthen the existing programme by bringing in legal accountability and establishing formal mechanisms for probing complaints and redressing grievances.
- Besides this, the bill also intends to enhance access to healthcare services by ensuring informed consent and confidentiality for HIV-related testing, treatment and clinical research.
- Once the legislation comes into effect, every HIV-infected or affected person below the age of 18 will have the right to live in a shared household, and enjoy household facilities.
- Those publishing any information or advocating feelings of hatred against such people as well as those living with them will be punished under due provisions of the law.
- The bill also takes guardianship of minors into consideration. A person between the age of 12 and 18 years, who has achieved sufficient maturity in understanding and managing the affairs of his HIV or AIDS-affected family, will be deemed competent to act as a guardian of another sibling below 18 years of age. This is especially applicable in matters pertaining to admission to educational establishments, operating bank accounts, managing property, and providing care and treatment, among others.
- The Bill states that no person shall be compelled to disclose his HIV status except with his informed consent, and if required, by a court order
- It also mandates organisations that maintain records on HIV-positive individuals to adopt data-protection measures to safeguard their rights.
India slips in human development index
- The index was unveiled recently as part of the Human Development Report (HDR) 2016 titled Human Development for Everyone published by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)
- India slipped down one place from 130 to 131 among the 188 countries ranked in terms of human development.
- India’s human development index (HDI) value of 0.624 puts it in the “medium human development” category, alongside countries such as Congo, Namibia and Pakistan. It is ranked third among the SAARC countries, behind Sri Lanka (73) and the Maldives (105), both of which figure in the “high human development” category.
- The world’s top three countries in HDI are Norway (0.949), Australia (0.939) and Switzerland (0.939).
- The HDI is a measure for assessing progress in three basic dimensions of human development: a long and healthy life, access to knowledge, and access to a decent standard of living.
Branches of SBBJ, SBH, SBM, SBP and SBT to operate as branches of SBI from April 1, 2017
- All branches of State Bank of Bikaner and Jaipur (SBBJ), State Bank of Hyderabad (SBH), State Bank of Mysore (SBM), State Bank of Patiala (SBP) and State Bank of Travancore (SBT) will function as branches of State Bank of India from April 1, 2017.
- The Customers, including depositors of all the five Banks will be treated as customers of State Bank of India with effect from April 1, 2017.
NBCC to execute social housing project in Mauritius
- National Building Construction Corporation (NBCC), a Navratna construction major under the Ministry of Urban Development will execute a US $ 20 million (Rs.130 crore) social housing project in Mauritius.
- A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in this regard was signed between NBCC and Mauritius.
ICICI Bank launches new app for rural customers
- ICICI Bank, India’s largest private sector bank by consolidated assets has announced the launch of a mobile banking app ‘Mera iMobile‘ for rural customers.
- This app will allow them to access banking services as well as information on agri-services.
India home to 101 billionaires, Mukesh Ambani tops the list: Forbes
- India is home to world’s fourth highest number of billionaires with Reliance Industries chief Mukesh Ambani (33rd position globally) leading the club of more than 100 super rich Indians.
- The list has been topped by Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates for the fourth year in a row.
Solar Energy Scheme for Small Powerloom Units
- The Government has approved a new scheme to provide financial assistance or capital subsidy to small powerloom units, for installation of Solar Photo Voltaic (SPV) plant, in order to alleviate the problem of power cut and shortages faced by decentralized powerloom units in India.
Under the Solar Energy Scheme, the plants have two options:
- On-Grid Solar Power Plant where power cut/shortage is negligible and power tariff is high.
- Off-Grid Solar Power Plant in areas where there is power shortage & on-grid power is not continuously available.
India’s first sign language dictionary to come up soon
- The government is all set to come up with the country’s first-of-its-kind dictionary which aims to bring uniformity in sign languages used by hearing and speech impaired people across the nation.
- The Indian Sign Language (ISL) dictionary is being developed by the Indian Sign Language Research and Training Centre (ISLRTC).
- The dictionary is being developed in both print and video format.
ENVIRONMENT,SCIENCE AND TECH
Majuli all set to become India’s 1st carbon neutral district.
- Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal launched initiatives to develop Majuli, world biggest river island, as India’s first carbon neutral district and as a biodiversity heritage.
- Launching “Forests are Lives” campaign to celebrate the importance of Assam’s rich forest and biodiversity, the Chief Minister urged people of the state to take a pledge to conserve its biodiversity to make a pollution free state.
- Launched by the Assam government as Sustainable Action for Climate-Resilient Development in Majuli (SACReD), this project is part of the French Development Agency-assisted Assam Project on Forest and Biodiversity Conservation to combat climate change and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
- In the absence of electricity, most people in Majuli — much like everywhere else in Assam or the rest of India — resort to use of kerosene lamps. To address this, a 5-10 MW project by the National Hydroelectric Power Corporation (NHPC) will help electrify villages that are now bereft of power. The contribution of solar energy to light up homes in an eco-friendly way has also been taken into accout.
ISRO commissions world’s third-largest hypersonic wind tunnel
- The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) created history by commissioning the world’s third-largest hypersonic wind tunnel at Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre (VSSC) in Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala.
- In this regard, ISRO chairman A S Kiran Kumar commissioned two facilities – a 1-m Hypersonic Wind Tunnel and a 1-m Shock Tunnel.
- These facilities are the third largest in terms of size and simulation capability in the world next only to the ones in the United States (US) and Russia. They have been indigenously designed, developed and made in India with the support of Indian Industries. Few critical technologies of these tunnels which are under embargo were also indigenously developed.
- Applications: These wind tunnels will be used to study the effects of air flowing past a solid object and in ISRO’s case, space vehicles. These new facilities will help aerodynamic characterisation of advanced space transportation systems in a hypersonic environment. Significance: Such facilities will provide adequate data for design and development of current and future space transportation systems in the country.
WORLD FORESTRY DAY
- World Forestry Day or International Day of Forests is celebrated worldwide every year on 21st of March at the international level in order to increase the public awareness among communities about the values, significance and contributions of the forests to balance the life cycle on the earth.
- The theme for World Forestry Day 2017 is “Forests & Energy”.
March 22: World Water Day
- The World Water Day (WWD) is observed every year on 22 March to spread message of preservation and rationaal consumption of water.
- The day focuses attention on the importance of universal access to clean water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) facilities in developing countries.
- It also advocates for sustainable management of freshwater resources.
- The theme for 2017 is “Why Waste water?” in support of SDG 6.3 on improving water quality and reducing, treating and reusing wastewater.
- Globally, the vast majority of all the wastewater from our homes, cities, industry and agriculture flows back to nature without being treated or reused – polluting drinking and bathing and irrigation and losing valuable nutrients and other recoverable materials.
- Reducing and safely treating and reusing wastewater, for example in agriculture and aquaculture, protects worker, farmers and consumers promotes food security, health and wellbeing.
About World Water Day
- The WWD was first formally proposed in Agenda 21 of United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in 1992.
- Later, the UN General Assembly (UNGA) accepted the recommendation of UNCED and instituted this day by adopting a resolution A/RES/47/193 in December 1992. The first World Water Day was celebrated on 22 March 1993.
- Since then, it is observed annually to draw attention on the importance of freshwater and advocating for the sustainable management of fresh water resources.
PERSONS IN NEWS
Canadian wins $1m Global Teacher Prize
- A Canadian school teacher Maggie MacDonnell was awarded the annual Global Teacher Prize and won a $1-million prize during a ceremony in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.
Tamil Nadu wins Vijay Hazare Trophy
- Tamil Nadu won the 2017 Vijay Hazare Trophy of cricket for record fifth time defeating Bengal. Earlier Tamil Nadu has won the trophy in 2002–03, 2004-05, 2008–09 and 2009–10 seasons.
About Vijay Hazare Trophy
- It is annual limited-overs cricket domestic competition started in 2002–03.
- It is played among state teams from the Ranji Trophy plates.
- It is also known as the Ranji One Day Trophy, named after the famous Indian cricketer Vijay Hazare.