Sarat Chandra IAS Academy

24th October 2019 Current Affairs

1. India signs the Kartarpur Sahib Corridor Agreement with Pakista

India has signed the Agreement with Pakistan today on the modalities for operationalisation of the Kartarpur Sahib Corridor at Zero Point, International Boundary, Dera Baba Nanak. Representatives from the Ministry of External Affairs, Ministry of Defence, and Ministry of Home Affairs along with the representatives from Government of Punjab have been present during the signing ceremony. 

The highlights of the Agreement are: –

  • Indian pilgrims of all faiths and persons of Indian origin can use the corridor;
  • The travel will be Visa Free;
  • Pilgrims need to carry only a valid passport;
  • Persons of Indian Origin need to carry OCI card along with the passport of their country;
  • The Corridor is open from dawn to dusk. Pilgrims travelling in the morning will have to return on the same day;
  • The Corridor will be operational throughout the year, except on notified days, to be informed in advance;
  • Pilgrims will have a choice to visit as individuals or in groups, and also to travel on foot;
  • India will send the list of pilgrims to Pakistan 10 days ahead of travel date. Confirmation will be sent to pilgrims 4 days before the travel date;
  • The Pakistan side has assured India to make sufficient provision for ‘Langar’ and distribution of ‘Prasad’

2. Ease of doing business ranking

  • India has jumped 14 places to take the 63rd position on the World Bank’s ease of doing business ranking released in Washington today.
  • India figures among the top 10 performers on the list for the third time in a row mainly due to the successful implementation of the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code. The country was 77th among 190 countries in the previous ranking.
  • In its ‘Doing Business’ 2020 report, the World Bank commended the reform efforts undertaken by the country given the size of India’s economy.
  • The World Bank, in its report, Make in India’ campaign focused on attracting foreign investment, boosting the private sector, manufacturing in particular, and enhancing the country’s overall competitiveness.
  • New Zealand continues to top the global ranking, with Singapore, Hong Kong right behind. Korea is in fifth place and the US on sixth.

Parameters for EODB

  1. Ease of starting a business.
  2. Dealing with construction permits.
  3. Getting electricity for the same.
  4. Registering your property.
  5. Getting credit for your business.
  6. Protecting minority investors.
  7. Paying taxes.
  8. Trading across borders.
  9. Enforcing contracts.
  10. Resolving insolvency.

3. Snow Leopard Population Assessmen

  • Union Environment Ministry launched the First National Protocol on Snow Leopard Population Assessment in India.
  • It was launched in the Global Snow Leopard & Ecosystem Protection (GSLEP) Program on International Snow Leopard Day.
  • It is the first of its kind, developed in association with the Snow Leopard States/UTs – Ladakh, Jammu & Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh.
  • Snow Leopard is found in 12 countries – India, Nepal, Bhutan, China, Mongolia, Russia, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.
  • It is listed as a ‘vulnerable’ category in the Red List of IUCN.
  • WPA 1972 Schedule 1
  • CITES appendix 1

4. NAM Summitt

  • The 18th Summit of Heads of State and Government of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) is going to be held at Baku, Azerbaijan.
  • The theme is “Upholding the Bandung Principles to ensure concerted and adequate response to the challenges of contemporary world”.
  • NAM was established in 1961 with 29 members. India is one of the founding members.
  • It held its first ministerial in Belgrade (erstwhile Yugoslavia) in 1961 and complete independence of members in their foreign policy was ingrained
  • It was envisioned as a platform which stay away from by the then two superpowers – USSR and USA.
  • NAM 2.0 – There were calls for reengaging the non-alignment concept in 2012 to suit the emerging current realities of an emerging and assertive China Foreign policy.

5. The System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting And Research (SAFAR )

  • The System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting And Research (SAFAR) is a national initiative introduced by the Ministry of Earth Sciences (MoES) 
  • To measure the air quality of a metropolitan city, by measuring the overall pollution level and the location-specific air quality of the city.
  • The system is indigenously developed by the Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology (IITM), Pune and is operationalized by the India Meteorological Department (IMD).
  • The ultimate objective of the project is to increase awareness among the general public regarding the air quality in their city so that appropriate mitigation measures and systematic action can be taken up.
  • SAFAR is an integral part of India’s first Air Quality Early Warning System operational in Delhi.
  • It monitors all weather parameters like temperature, rainfall, humidity, wind speed, and wind direction, UV radiation, and solar radiation.
  • Pollutants monitored: PM2.5, PM10, Ozone, Carbon Monoxide (CO), Nitrogen Oxides (NOx), Sulfur Dioxide (SO2), Benzene, Toluene, Xylene, and Mercury.
  • The World Meteorological Organization has recognized SAFAR as a prototype activity on the basis of the high-quality control and standards maintained in its implementation.

6. Pradhan Mantrai National Dialysis Programme

  • The Health Ministry issued guidelines for establishing peritoneal dialysis services under the Pradhan Mantri National Dialysis Programme.
  • The guidelines are expected to benefit the 2 lakh Indians who develop end-stage kidney failure every year in India.
  • There are two main types of dialysis namely- Hemodialysis, and Peritoneal dialysis.
  • In hemodialysis, treatment needs to be performed at a designated dialysis centre
  • In peritoneal dialysis, people will have access to the treatment option that could be performed at home
  • The peritoneal dialysis avoids the substantial costs of infrastructural set-up, maintenance, and staffing
  • Reduces the demands placed on the healthcare system, and offers patients the autonomy to be at home.
  • The move is also expected to benefit children suffering from kidney failure who need dialysis treatment because of biological and lifestyle reasons.
    This will ensure the delivery of high-quality and cost-effective services and develop a clinically-safe and effective programme.

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