Friday, 27 February 2015


Which Vitamin is soluble in water ?
B & C

The back surface of eye is called ?

How we can see colours ?
Rode and Cones in our eyes (The retina contains two types of photoreceptors, rods and cones. The rods are more numerous, some 120 million, and are more sensitive than the cones. However, they are not sensitive to color. The 6 to 7 million cones provide the eye's color sensitivity and they are much more concentrated in the central yellow spot known as the macula.)

What is persistence of vision ?
The impression of image is remains on retina for about 1/16th of second is called persistence of vision. 

What is far point and near point of the human eye with normal vision?
It is infinite from the normal eye and 25 cm from the eye 

What are the three defect of eye ?
(1).Myopia or nearsightedness,(2)Hypermetropia or farsightedness,(3)Presbyopia (eyestrain, difficulty seeing in dim light, problems focusing on small objects or fine print.)

What are the different reason of Vision problems ?
Myopia- it occurs when the eyeball is too long,relative to the focusing power of the cornea and lens of the eye.This causes light rays to focus at a point in front of the retina, rather than directly on the surface.
It also can be caused by the cornea and/or lens being too curved for the length of the eyeball.In some cases, myopia is due to a combination of these factors.

                                                 Myopia and Hypermetropia
Hypermetropia -It occurs when light is focused behind the retina. In reality, light cannot actually be focused behind the retina. So, the lens changes its thickness(becomes fatter or more rounded)which aims to bring the light into focus on the retina.

Myopia and Hypermetropia
Presbyopia- It is caused by an age-related process. This differs from astigmatism(it is an optical defect in which vision is blurred due to the inability of the optics of the eye to focus a point object into a sharp focused image on the retina. This may be due to an irregular or toric curvature of the cornea or lens,nearsightedness and farsightedness,which are related to the shape of the eyeball and are cause by genetic and environmental factors,it generally is believed to stem from a gradual thickening and loss of flexibility of the natural lens inside your eye. 

Who developed Braille system ?
Charles Barbier. 

In eye which is responsible for colours ?
cones .

Which part of eye provides most of refraction of the light entering the eye?
Cornea and aqueous humor.

Why birds wake up with sunrise and sleep in the resting place by sun set ?
Their retina has cones in excess,which are sensitive to bright light only.

Which is the most insensitive part of the eye retina ?
Blind spot is the spot on retina,which is insensitive to light.  

Daily News Mail - News of 27/02/2015

Rail Budget - 2015

  • A sober rail budget presented by Rail Minister Suresh Prabhu on 26 February, 2015. No new trains or factories, and instead laying the track for increasing carrying capacity by substantially stepping up investment in infrastructure.
  • He kept passenger fares intact given the fall in diesel prices, which saved him Rs 5,000 crore this year, but hiked freight rates for some commodities, including coal, by 6.3% and cement by 2.7%.
  • To transform the Railways and make it future-ready, Prabhu proposes to invest Rs 1 lakh crore in 2015-16, and over the coming five years Rs 8.5 lakh crore.
  • Of the Rs 1 lakh crore investment planned in 2015-16, the Finance Ministry has contributed Rs 40,000 crore as gross budgetary support, market borrowings through IRFC bring Rs 17,665 crore, Prabhu’s new financing mechanism Extra Budgetary Resources (institutional finance like World Bank) another Rs 17,136 crore, Rs 17,793 crore through internal resources, Rs 5,781 crore through PPPs and Rs 1,645 crore from diesel cess.
  • “Railways will create new vehicles to crowd in investment from long-term institutional investors and other partners. These may include setting up an infrastructure fund, a holding company and a joint venture with an existing NBFC of a PSU with IRFC, for raising long term debt from domestic as well as overseas sources, including multilateral and bilateral financial institutions,” he said in his budget speech.
  • The funds would be used for doubling and tripling lines, gauge conversion and building traffic facilities on congested routes. The money allocated for doubling of lines alone has seen a never-before 357% jump to around Rs 18,000 crore. There is also a 67% jump in the money allocated to passenger services. His proposed thrust areas include cleanliness, ease of securing tickets and berths, and security of women.
  • Decongestion and capacity augmentation were the buzzwords of Prabhu’s budget. “In the past we have been used to seeing Rail Budgets meant for others but not Railways. This Rail Budget is meant for Railways,” he said. “All over the world, railway works are carried out largely with moneys from markets. Instead of relying solely on the Finance Ministry, the idea is to get funds from outside into projects that offer healthy returns. I’m also looking at FDI,” Prabhu told after the budget.
  • The success of Prabhu’s budget next year will depend a lot on his ability to raise funds through other institutional mechanisms. Prabhu has anticipated that his overall Plan size might actually get higher, as these financing options start working out over the next 12 months.
  • The Railways have projected their total earnings to increase by 15% to Rs 1,83,578 crore, with freight accounting for two-thirds and passenger earnings for 27%. Prabhu expects 8% growth in freight and 6%increase in passenger traffic.
  • Against an operating ratio of 91.8% (money spent to earn Rs 100; the lower the more efficient) in 2014-15, Prabhu hopes to better it substantially to 88.5% by the end of next year.
  • Among the new passenger-friendly initiatives, Prabhu has approved the procurement of self-propelled electrical train sets. These will run on popular routes. They do not require locomotives to haul them, and run at better speeds.
  • The Rail Budget is the second in a series of three documents Prabhu has invested in. The first is a White Paper on Railways tabled in Lok Sabha before he presented the budget. The second is the Budget itself, and the third is a “Vision Document for 2030”, which is in the works.(Source - Indian Express)
Some key highlights of Rail Budget - 2015
  •  Railway infrastructure will be modernised so as to increase the number of passengers carried from 21 million to 30 million daily as well as increase the goods movement from 1 billion tonne to 1.5 billion tonne annually.
  • Finance Ministry to provide Budgetary Support of Rs. 40,000 crore for the Railway’s Annual Plan.
  • Financing cell to be created in Railway board to source finances from market.
  • On new trains, Suresh Prabhu said review is being done and new trains will be announced in this Parliament session.
  • Offering some coaches to travel agents.
  • Celebrating the centenary of Gandhiji's return to india - IRCTC to promote this. Kisna yatra - special travel scheme for farmers.
  • Skill development and self employment to be encouraged on Konkan Railway model.
  • Joint ventures with major public sector companies for meeting requirements of new lines.
  • Framework to facilitate private investment has been readied; Mumbai Urban Transport Project-III, joint ventures with states,PSUs.
  • Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu announces Delhi-Kolkata, Delhi-Mumbai overnight journey trains.
  • Unveil IT vision on live information on running trains.
  • ‘Kayakalp’ to help in Technology Upgradation.
  • All India 24-7 helpline number will become operational.
  • Railways to engage private agencies in cleanliness drive. Waste-to-energy conversion plants to be set up.
  • Malaviya Chair at IIT/BHU for Railway technology.
  • Speedier Railway- 9 hi-speed corridors, high speed trains, Make in India opportunities.
  • Meghalaya brought under map in Indian Railways.
  • TRANSLOC – new PSU – end to end logistics solution.
  • 120 days: time for booking tickets.
  • Lifts and escalators at major stations.
  • Newly manufactured coaches brail-enabled for blind.
  • WiFi services will be made available at 400 railway stations.
  • Surveillance cameras on select mainline and ladies compartments.
  • SMS alert on mobile, customer portal promoting Digital India campaign.
  • Increased quota for lower berths for elderly.
  • Lifts and escalators at major stations.
  • Bed linen to be designed by NIFT.
  • SMS on mobile valid proof for travelling.
  • Availability of clean water for passengers.
  • Veg kitchens to be introduced.
  • Train arrival and departure will be messaged, women and senior citizens can get middle berth with ease.
  • 24x7 helpline: 138 for customer complaints.
  • Nirbhaya funds to be utilised for security of women.
  • Working on Swachch Rail Swachch Bharat separate dept for cleanliness.
  • 7,388 bio toilets. 
  • 17,000 thousand toilets to be installed in 6 months: vaccum toilets to be made available.
Green Initiatives:
  • Solar power plant in Khatra station.
  • Will harness solar energy and for water conservation, water recycling plants to be set up.
  • Environment directive for environment protection.
  • 1000 MW solar plants to be set-up by developers on railway/Pvt. Land and on Rly Building at own cost.
  • Full fledged university during 2015-16.
  • Rs. 2,000 crore for Coastal Connectivity Program; Rs. 2,500 crore through BOT/annuity route. Announces 1000 MW solar plant; 100DEMUs to be converted to dual fuel.(Source - Business Line)

87th Academy Awards 
  • Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) and The Grand Budapest Hotel won the most awards,tieing with four each.
Award won by Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) (4)
  • Best Picture
  • Best Director: Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu
  • Best original screenplay: Alejandro G. Iñárritu, Nicolás Giacobone, Alexander Dinelaris, Jr. & Armando Bo
  • Best Cinematography: Emmanuel Lubezki
Award won by The Grand Budapest Hotel (4)
  • Best original score: Alexandre Desplat
  • Best Production Design
  • Achievement in makeup and hairstyling: Frances Hannon, Mark Coulier
  • Best costume design: Milena Canonero
Award won by Whiplash (3)
  • Film Editing - Tom Cross.
  • Sound mixing and Sound Editing - Craig Mann, Ben Wilkins, Thomas Curley
  • Best Supporting Actor - J K Simmons
Best Actress - Julianne Moore (Still Alice)

Best Actor - Eddie Redmayne (The Theory of Everything)

Best Animated Film - Big Hero 6 (Feature Film); Feast (Short Film)

Injustice to Andhra Pradesh : Naidu
  • Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu said injustice was done to the State in the rail budget and asserted that it would be taken up with the Centre .
  • Mr. Naidu expressed anguish that a special railway zone for Visakhapatnam, an assurance given in the State Reorganisation Act was not announced.
  • Mr. Naidu hoped that justice would be done to A.P. in the supplementary budget.

Thursday, 26 February 2015

Daily News Mail - News of 25/02/2015

Daily News Mail -News of 25/02/2015
14th Finance commission grants cheer A.P

  • 14th Finance commission increasing the over-all allocation of funds to the state for the next five years in addition to the RS 22,113 crore grants-in-aid to cover the revenue deficit.
  • The commission recommended revenue deficit grant for 11 states, including Andhra Pradesh, which became a revenue deficit state post-bifurcation. The grant of Rs 22,113 crore will be spread over the next five years.
  • Owing to the 10 per cent increase in the devolution of the Central divisible pool of taxes to states from 32 per cent to 42 per cent based on tax growth projections,the share of AP is estimated at Rs 1,69,969 crore during 2015-20 in the total Central divisible pool of Rs. 39,48,096 crore.

States’ share of Central tax kitty to see huge jump

  • The agenda of government "Cooperative federalism",on Tuesday take a run by share of center's net tax receipts would go up by Rs 1,78,000 crore in 2015- 16 .This will be 45 % more up by the current financial year
  • The higher devolution is in line with the recommendations of the 14th Finance Commission(FFC) headed by former RBI Governor Y.V Reddy, for a 42 per cent share to states in the divisible pool of Center's net taxes. The Union Cabinet accepted the recommendations on Sunday.
  • The FFC has made a fundamental shift in the pattern of financing revenue expenditures. There is a shift from scheme and grant-based support from the central government to a devolution-based one.
  • The premise is that total transfers as a percentage of gross tax revenue remain the same

Pachauri steps down as IPCC chair

  • Facing allegation of Sexual Harassment, R.K Pachauri steeped down as the chairperson of Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)
  • He is also proceeded on leave from The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) where he is Director-General 

India to host world bridge team championships

  • For the first time India will play host to the biggest event of bridge event.
  • The 42nd world team championships(WBTC) at ITC grand chola,Chennai from September 26 Oct 10
  • HCL is the Title Sponsor of the tournament,sixty six teams,660 player from 40 countries will via for the prestigious Bermuda Bowl Trophy.
  • The President of World Bridge Federation,Giannarigo Rona is also is in the city .

Hockey: India defeats Germany

  • Indian women defeated Germany 2-1 in final hockey game of Spain tour 

HIL 2015: Ranchi Rays reigns supreme

  • In Hero- Hockey India League here,  Ranchi Rays won the third edition of the League and emerging a 2-2 (3-2) victor edging Jaypee Punjab Warriors in the tie-breaker. 

Daily News Mail - News of 26/02/2015

Municipal Corporation to form wing for NULM
  • Municipal Corporation will set up a dedicated wing to implement all schemes under National Urban Livelihood Mission (NULM) for BPL families in Chennai.
Poverty Alleviation missions by GoI

National Urban Livelihood Mission (NULM)
  • It is a poverty alleviation programme implemented by Ministry of Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation.
  • The mission aim is to reduce poverty and vulnerability of the urban poor households by enabling them to access gainful self employment and skilled wage employment opportunities,resulting in an appreciable improvement in their livelihoods on a sustainable basis,through building strong grassroots level institutions of the poor.The mission would aim at providing shelters equipped with essential services to the urban homeless in a phased manner.In addition,the mission would also address livelihood concerns of the urban street vendors by facilitating access to suitable spaces,institutional credit,social security and skills to the urban street vendors for accessing emerging market opportunities.
  • The financing of the scheme shared between Center and State in the ratio of 75: 25 and 90:10 for North-eastern states.
Swarnajayanti Gram Swarojgar Yojana(SGSY)
  • It is a poverty alleviation programme implemented by Ministry of Rural Development.
  • Swarnajayanti Gram Swarojgar Yojana (SGSY) is an initiative launched by the Government of India to provide sustainable income to poor people living in rural areas of the country. The scheme was launched on April 1, 1999.
  • The SGSY aims at providing self-employment to villagers through the establishment of self-help groups. Activity clusters are established based on the aptitude and skill of the people which are nurtured to their maximum potential. Funds are provided by NGOs, banks and financial institutions.
  • SGSY is now remodeled to form NRLM (National Rural Livelihood Mission) thereby plugging the shortfalls of SGSY programme. This scheme was launched in 2011 with a budget of $ 5.1 billion and is one of the flagship programmes of Ministry of Rural Development. This is one of the world's largest initiatives to improve the livelihood of poor. This programme is supported by World Bank with a credit of $1 Billion
Cabinet gave approval for establishing BRICS' New Development Bank
  • The Union Cabinet gave approval for establishing New Development Bank (NDB) and BRICS Contingent Reserve Arrangement (CRA).
  • On the sixth summit in Fortaleza in July last year, heads of the five nation BRICS group - Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa - decided to create a development bank as well as a reserve fund to finance infrastructure projects and other sustainable development projects.
  • The $100 billion BRICS CRA would help countries deal with short-term liquidity pressures, provide mutual support and further strengthen financial stability.
  • The agreement will enter into force and the Bank begin operations only after all member-countries deposit their instruments of ratification with Brazil.
  • Presidency of the New Development Bank will be in India for the first six years. The Bank will be based in Shanghai, China’s financial hub.

India is home to 18% of world’s raptors
  • India is home to 106 species of raptors, popularly known as ‘birds of prey,’ says a recent publication by the Zoological Survey of India.
  • The presence of raptors in the wild serves as a barometer for ecological health. They play an important ecological role by keeping the balance, especially by controlling the population of rodents and other small mammals.
  • Among these raptors, the Indian White-backed Vulture, the Long Billed Vulture, the Slender Billed Vulture, the Red headed Vulture and the Forest Owlet are in the ‘critically endangered’ category, and the Egyptian Vulture and the Saker are in the ‘endangered’ list of the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN) ‘Red List.’
Click on image to enlarge it

 Empowering the states
  • The broad contours of a cooperative federal polity where the Centre and States engage as equal partners in development is now emerging after the government on February 24,2015 accepted the recommendations of the Fourteenth Finance Commission. 
  • The 14th Finance Commission, headed by former RBI Governor Y.V. Reddy, has broken new ground by recommending a move away from scheme and grants-based support to States to a greater devolution of funds from the Centre’s divisible pool of tax revenues. Thus, it has recommended that the Centre share 42 per cent of the divisible pool with the States, which is 10 percentage points higher than what is the case now
  • By accepting the recommendation despite the fact that it would lead to a sharp drop in its own share of revenues at a time of fiscal pressures, the Centre has sent out an unequivocal signal of its commitment to the principle of ‘cooperative federalism’. The phrase was first mentioned by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the context of his decision to replace the Planning Commission with the NITI Aayog. Indeed, the FFC’s report, along with the setting up of the NITI Aayog and the consensus on the implementation of the Goods and Services Tax, are important components of the emerging federal landscape where the Centre confers greater freedom and responsibility on the latter by devolving greater resources to them.
  • Consequent to the higher devolution of funds, the Centre is likely to re-evaluate several schemes that it sponsors for the States. This is a natural consequence as the Centre needs to offset its loss of revenue even as States devise their own spending programmes tailored to their needs.
  •  It is a fact that some States have been weighed down by the need to cough up their share of funds for Centrally sponsored schemes even if such schemes are not relevant to their needs. For example, for a State such as Kerala with its high literacy levels, a scheme to promote primary education is not relevant, just as one promoting power generation is not relevant to a power-surplus State such as Gujarat. The key to the success of this experiment in cooperative federalism lies in how well the States use the higher revenues and the accompanying freedom to frame their development priorities. 
  • Some of the better-developed States such as Tamil Nadu might feel aggrieved at a reduction in their share of devolved funds, ironically because of their better development metrics relative to other States. But this is federalism at work, because the resources freed up thus go to support another State that might be lagging behind on development parameters and per capita income. What is important is whether the FFC has adopted logical and fair measures while designing the allocations - which it indeed has done. (Source - The Hindu)
 In search of quality fiscal adjustment
  • Ever since Reserve Bank of India Governor Raghuram Rajan talked about it, “high-quality fiscal adjustment” has become the buzzword for expectations surrounding the contents of this year’s budget. One can’t argue against high-quality fiscal adjustment. But it isn’t clear what it means. We know it doesn’t mean meeting the deficit target by squeezing expenditures in the last quarter of the fiscal year; running arrears with oil and fertilizer companies; or getting public sector companies to cough up additional year-end dividends. In the last few years, this has been the sad tale of fiscal consolidation. This year, too, the deficit target will likely be met by using some or all of the above tactics despite a massive respite from the oil price collapse, large ad hoc increases in excise tax on petroleum products, and an all-time-high equity market.
  • It is essential to increase capital and lowering social spending (subsidies) as much as possible. Prima facie, the argument sounds fine. Capital (infrastructure) spending is good because it delivers higher and better-quality economic growth. If doing so requires running a higher deficit, it is still not a bad thing because the added expenditure goes into creating productive capacity, rather than being wasted in higher consumption.
  • To get capital spending right, government need to reformulate the medium-term spending and funding plan, and implement the needed structural and regulatory reforms. That’s the right way to recast public infrastructure spending, and not merely as a way to boost near-term growth, especially when there isn’t any compelling reason to do so.
  • The second problem lies with conflating subsidies with social protection. Subsidies hide the true cost of resources. This leads to inefficiencies. Consider the use of fertilizer: If it weren’t subsidised, farmers would use less of it, instead adopting different and perhaps better farming techniques. So, eliminating subsidies can be a good thing. But the government isn’t planning to do so. Instead, it is aiming to reduce the overall subsidy bill by better targeting through direct cash transfers. This is a welcome step, but it doesn’t improve efficiency much. The government needs to eliminate subsidies while simultaneously expanding targeted and demand-driven social and unemployment protection programmes.
  • But economic growth has stalled in India (notwithstanding recent GDP revisions), and at the centre of this slowdown is languishing corporate investment. There are broadly four binding constraints holding back investment that haven’t changed much in the last few years. In no particular order, India’s environmental laws, land acquisition framework, the structure of public-private partnership (PPP) projects and the high indebtedness of infrastructure companies (the counterpart of which lies in the very high and rising stock of restructured and nonperforming loans among PSU banks) appear to be the constraints. India’s pre-2008 growth miracle was driven largely by corporate investment, not public investment. Unsurprisingly, the growth collapse was also caused by plummeting corporate investment. So, in an obvious way, reigniting corporate investment is the key to getting India back on a sustained high-growth path. Of the four binding constraints, the first two are legislative. But the latter two lie in the purview of the government alone. So, instead of boosting infrastructure spending by a few percentage points, the economy would be much better served if budgetary resources were directed to easing the latter two constraints, either by the government’s taking higher direct stakes in already-approved PPP projects or by increasing PSU bank recapitalisation.
  • Doing so is likely to get growth going more quickly than the limited sops the government may have planned for corporates and households by way of modest cuts in taxes here and there or a few percentage points of higher public spending that may or may not materialise.(Source - The Hindu)
Activist Irom Sharmila, who has been on an indefinite fast since November 4, 2000, demanding the repeal of the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, has been conferred with the Sthree Shakti award.

Wednesday, 25 February 2015

General Knowledge

The member of Rajya Sabha are elected by ?
Elected member of Legislative assembly

The name of Laccadive,Minicoy,and Amindivi island was changed to Lakshadweep by an act of parliament in ?

The Parliament of India can make use of residuary power ? 
All the time 

The Pension of High Court judge is charged to the ?
Consolidated fund of India 

The minimum age of voters in India is ?
 18 years

The President addressed both the Houses of Parliament assembled together in?
First session after each general election and the first session of each year

The President can dissolve the Lok Sabha on ?
Advice of the Prime minister 

The President can expend out of the Contingency Fund of India ?
Without the approval of Parliament 

The per capita available of doctors per 1000 people in India is ?
0.7/1000 (the ratio that is define by WHO is 3.6/1000)

Which state has more number of Special Economic Zones in India and what is the total Number of Special Economic Zones in India in February?
Tamil Nadu with 36 has maximum SEZ and in India total number of Special Economic Zones is 196

On which date FERA was replaced by FEMA? 
1st June 2000

The steel plants of Durgapur,Bhilai & Rourkela were set-up under which Five Year Plan ?
2nd Five Year Plan

Once a Budget has been presented in the parliament,the government has to get all the money bills related to the union budget passed within ?
75 days 

The first two state in India which has established Panchayati Raj in 1956 ?
Rajasthan and Andhra Pradesh 

Which Political party of India has an election symbol almost close to the election symbol of Republican party of USA ?
Bahujan Samaj Party 

The battle of plassey was fought in ?

The first security general of UNO was ?
Trygve Lie 

Which day is observed as International Worker's day ?
1st may

English is Official language of which Indian State ?

National Sports day is observed as on ?
29 August (on the birthday of ndian field hockey player, Major Dhyanchand)

Kalinga Prize is given for contribution in the field of ?

Daily News Mail - News of 24/02/2015

Greece presents list of proposed reforms
  • Greece’s new anti-austerity(sternness or severity of manner or attitude) government submitted a preliminary list of reform proposals to Brussels on February 23 in a bid to secure a four-month extension to its lifeline debt bailout, a European source said.
  • If the measures fail to win the approval of Greece’s EU creditors, the country’s safety net will collapse on Saturday leaving the government at risk of running out of cash, a run on banks and even a eurozone exit.
  • But hard-left Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, whose Syriza party swept to power in elections last month, could also face a voter backlash if he fails to deliver on promises to ease the pain of ordinary Greeks after years of swingeing(severe or otherwise extreme) government spending cuts.
  • In the latest in a series of dramatic showdowns over Greece’s €240-billion-euro ($270-billion) bailout(an act of giving financial assistance to a failing business or economy to save it from collapse), flamboyant((of a person or their behavior) tending to attract attention because of their exuberance, confidence, and stylishness) new Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis secured the extension from his 18 fellow eurozone partners in Brussels on Friday.
  • The eurozone, officially called the euro area is a monetary union of 19 European Union (EU) member states that have adopted the euro (€) as their common currency and sole legal tender.
  • The eurozone consists of Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, and Spain. Other EU states (except for Denmark and the United Kingdom) are obliged to join once they meet the criteria to do so.No state has left, and there are no provisions to do so or to be expelled.

Tuesday, 24 February 2015

Word Meaning

inextricably - Inextricably is an adverb that means in a manner that is impossible to unravel or separate from something else.
mite - a minute arachnid that has four pairs of legs when adult, related to the ticks. Many kinds live in the soil and a number are parasitic on plants or animals.
Ex- The pre-Aryans, the Indo Aryans, the Greeks, the Scythians, the Hunas the Turks, etc. made India their home. Each ethnic group contributed its mite to the evolution of Indian social system, art and architecture, and literature. All these peoples and their cultural traits mixed up so inextricably with one another that at present none of them can be clearly identified in their original form.

clamour -  a loud and confused noise, especially that of people shouting vehemently.
vehement - marked by forceful energy : powerful.
Ex- some people clamour for the restoration of ancient culture and civilization.

encumber - restrict or burden (someone or something) in such a way that free action or movement is difficult.
Ex- We cannot ignore the fact that the ancient Indian society was marked by social injustice. The lower orders, particularly the shudras and untouchables, were encumbered with disabilities which are shocking to the modern mind.

Vestige - a trace of something that is disappearing or no longer exists.
Ex- India cannot develop speedily unless such vestiges of the past are removed from its society.

vicious - deliberately cruel or violent.
Ex- The caste system was considered to be the most vicious form of social discrimination.

antagonism - active hostility or opposition.
Ex- The British in India had always held aloof from the Indians believing that social distance from Indians had to be maintained to preserve authority over them. They also felt themselves to be racially superior. This is the case of 'Racial Antagonism'.

repudiate - deny the truth or validity of.
Ex- The Brahmo Samaj made effort to reform Hindu religion by removing abuses and by basing it on the worship of one God and on the teachings of the Vedas and Upanishads even though it repudiated the doctrine of the infalliability of the Vedas.

penchant - a strong or habitual liking for something or tendency to do something.
Ex- Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who has a penchant for selfies, on Friday clicked one with his Chinese counterpart Li Keqiang in what could be termed as a power- packed selfie with premiers of two big nations in one frame.

Daily News Mail - News of 23/02/2015

States climate action plan to be approved soon

  • The Union Environment Ministry will soon approve plans from various States to tackle climate change and an additional Rs.150 crore has been sought in this budget for the National Adaptation Fund.
  • Of the 31 States and Union Territories that had submitted plans, 23 were approved and the rest would be passed shortly. However, the Centre does not propose to fund any of these State action plans and it is basically an articulation of their vision. These will be linked to national climate change missions on adaptation and funds could also come from the Green Climate Fund. It’s more a wish list of the States’ intentions.
  • There are eight missions under the National Action Plan for Climate Change launched in 2008, but most of the missions got off the ground only in 2014 due to financial issues. It will be a while before there is some visible impact, the Environment Ministry officials said.
  • Puducherry has, however, submitted its State action plan for funding to the World Bank. Some States, including Uttar Pradesh which is already affected by changing weather patterns, have not submitted their plans yet. Uttar Pradesh is working on the plan and recently had consultations with Central officials.
  • The government is considering dovetailing(join together by dovetail; joint; fit together) the State action plans with some of the national missions and some funds can be given to the States from the National Adaptation Fund. The fund is in the process of being approved by the Ministry of Finance and after that the States can apply for finance for climate action.
National Action Plan on Climate Change(NAPCC)

Climate change is one of the most critical global challenges of our times. Recent events have emphatically demonstrated our growing vulnerability to climate change. Climate change impacts will range from affecting agriculture – further endangering food security – to sea-level rise and the accelerated erosion of coastal zones, increasing intensity of natural disasters, species extinction, and the spread of vector-borne diseases. India released its much-awaited National Action Plan on Climate Change (NAPCC) to mitigate and adapt to climate change on June 30, 2008, almost a year after it was announced. The NAPCC runs through 2017 and directs ministries to submit detailed implementation plans to the Prime Minister's Council on Climate Change by December 2008.

The action plan outlines a number of steps to simultaneously advance India's development and climate change-related objectives. The National Action Plan on Climate Change (NAPCC) encompasses a range of measures. It focuses on eight missions, which are as follows:
  1. National Solar Mission: The NAPCC aims to promote the development and use of solar energy for power generation and other uses, with the ultimate objective of making solar competitive with fossil-based energy options. It also includes the establishment of a solar research center, increased international collaboration on technology development, strengthening of domestic manufacturing capacity, and increased government funding and international support.
  2. National Mission for Enhanced Energy Efficiency: The NAPCC recommends mandating specific energy consumption decreases in large energy-consuming industries, with a system for companies to trade energy-saving certificates, financing for public–private partnerships to reduce energy consumption through demand-side management programs in the municipal, buildings, and agricultural sectors, and energy incentives, including reduced taxes on energy-efficient appliances.
  3. National Mission on Sustainable Habitat: The NAPCC also aims at promoting energy efficiency as a core component of urban planning by extending the existing Energy Conservation Building Code, strengthening the enforcement of automotive fuel economy standards, and using pricing measures to encourage the purchase of efficient vehicles and incentives for the use of public transportation. The NAPCC also emphasizes on waste management and recycling.
  4. National Water Mission: The NAPCC sets a goal of a 20% improvement in water use efficiency through pricing and other measures to deal with water scarcity as a result of climate change.
  5. National Mission for Sustaining the Himalayan Ecosystem: This particular mission sets the goal to prevent melting of the Himalayan glaciers and to protect biodiversity in the Himalayan region.
  6. Green India Mission: The NAPCC also aims at afforestation of 6 million hectares of degraded forest lands and expanding forest cover from 23 to 33% of India's territory.
  7. National Mission for Sustainable Agriculture: The NAPCC aims to support climate adaptation in agriculture through the development of climate-resilient crops, expansion of weather insurance mechanisms, and agricultural practices.
  8. National Mission on Strategic Knowledge for Climate Change: To gain a better understanding of climate science, impacts, and challenges, the plan envisions a new Climate Science Research Fund, improved climate modeling, and increased international collaboration. It also encourages private sector initiatives to develop adaptation and mitigation technologies through venture capital funds.

Green Climate Fund
  • The Green Climate Fund (GCF) is a fund within the framework of the UNFCCC founded as a mechanism to redistribute money from the developed to the developing world, in order to assist the developing countries in adaptation and mitigation practices to counter climate change. The GCF is based in the new Songdo district of Incheon, South Korea. It is governed by a Board of 24 members and initially supported by an Interim Secretariat.
  • The Green Climate Fund has only crossed $10 billionDeveloped countries should say how much finances they would put forward, but that was not happening and they needed to raise $100 billion by 2020 and that figure seemed very remote now.
Eight missions of National Action Plan on Climate Change

The lawlessness of humour
  • As the storm gathering against the ‘All India Bakchod roast’, which has now culminated in a Bombay magistrate’s court ordering an FIR to being filed against the organisers and participants of the show, it is time to examine the facts dispassionately, because all of a sudden, humour has become deadly serious business.
  • In law, there is no general right to take offence at the contents of another person’s speech in a private environment. It is only when the speech is in a public place, or causes annoyance to others in a public place that criminal law is attracted, as in Section 294 of the Indian Penal Code
  • If a joke is specifically defamatory of one’s personal reputation, that person alone could go to a civil court to collect damages. If the speech was deliberately aimed at insulting a religion, it may be criminally actionable under Section 295-A. If a joke is aimed at sexual harassment, it may be actionable by the victim alone under the newly created Section 354A of the IPC.

Daily News Mail - News of 22/02/2015

Mamata relents on Teesta deal and Land Boundary Agreement

  • West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has told Bangladesh that breakthroughs will be achieved in the Teesta water-sharing deal and the Land Boundary Agreement, which have been hanging fire since she blocked them four years ago.
  • The Chief Minister visited Dhaka with 39 people, mostly from West Bengal’s cultural fraternity and including two Ministers and big businessmen.
Issue of Teesta water sharing
Land Boundary Agreement

China protested Modi's visit to Arunachal Pradesh
  • For the second successive day, China has protested Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Arunachal Pradesh on February 20, calling the journey a breach of consensus that had been reached between the two countries on the boundary issue.
  • The Xinhua report said that Mr. Modi visited a “disputed zone in the eastern part of China-India borders” to participate in activities marking the founding of the so-called “Arunachal Pradesh,” a State that Indian authorities “illegally and unilaterally declared in 1987.”
  • “The Chinese government has never recognised the so-called ‘Arunachal Pradesh’," Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying said. She said China’s stance on the “disputed area on the eastern part of the China-India border is consistent and clear.” According to Xinhua, the “so-called ‘Arunachal Pradesh’ was established largely on the three areas of China’s Tibet — Monyul, Loyul and Lower Tsayul — currently under Indian illegal occupation. These three areas, located between the illegal “Mcmahon Line” and the traditional customary boundary between China and India, have always been Chinese territory.
  • In 1914, the colonialists secretly contrived the illegal “Mcmahon Line” in an attempt to incorporate into India the above-mentioned three areas of Chinese territory. None of the successive Chinese governments have ever recognised this line. In February 1987, Indian authorities declared the founding of the so-called ‘Arunachal Pradesh.’”

Daily News Mail - News of 21/02/2015

Health Ministry seeks Rs. 50,000 crore allocation
  • The Union Health and Family Welfare Ministry has pitched for an increase in its budgetary allocation, citing plans to strengthen the delivery of existing schemes and roll out ambitious programmes such as the universal health assurance mission to provide a certain quantum of drugs and diagnostics free.
  • The Ministry has sought Rs. 50,000 crore as budgetary allocation, saying its record of spending funds has improved over the years and there is demand for expanding the bouquet of its services. Though the government is being pressured to increase the allocation from just over one per cent of the GDP, a big jump is unlikely.
  • The 12th Five Year Plan proposed Rs. 1.9 lakh crore for the health sector, but in the first three years, the sector received only Rs. 55,000 crore. Ministry officials said they needed at least a 10-15 per cent increase from last year’s Budget estimate of Rs. 30,000 crore to strengthen schemes such as the National Rural Health Mission, the Janani-Shishu Suraksha Karyakram and the Rashtriya Bal Swasthya Karyakram, strengthen district hospitals and distribute drugs and diagnostics free.
  • Ruling out a separate fund for the Universal Health Assurance Mission, the official said the Ministry was looking at rolling it out in phases and the allocation sought is sufficient to cover some components of the scheme.
Universal Health Assurance Mission
  • The proposed UHAM will make 348 essential drugs besides Ayurveda, Unani, Siddha, and Homoeopathy (AYUSH) drugs available free of cost to everyone. It will provide free diagnostics at primary, sub-centre and district levels while continuing with existing schemes such as Janani Suraksha Yojana. It will expand Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana (RSBY), the existing insurance scheme for BPL families, from Rs. 30,000 to Rs. 50,000 and include select tertiary care. "Population other than poor would be included on the basis of prepayment of part or full premium based on income-levels, or on basis of co-payment of a share of an approved sharing package," says the draft outline. A National Health Assurance Agency and similar agencies at the state level will be set up to decide on purchase of care and costing, among other features.
  • The focus is to shift from care during sickness to wellness care, or preventative care, by making screening facilities more accessible. In some cases, service providers may be allowed to provide facilities at government campuses. The RSBY insurance coverage will be subsumed and expanded under UHAM.
  • At present, under RSBY 17 private insurers provide insurance cover to 3.75 crore BPL households in 24 states. Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh offer secondary and tertiary care to beneficiaries using models other than RSBY. Even Kerala with its robust public health system is not able to provide all services to its entire population. Governments will find it difficult to reimburse private hospitals directly, and need intermediaries such as private insurers, or a Trust. The draft needs to define clearly and monitor the pathways for treatment of different conditions so that there is no over-prescription or unnecessary hospitalisation.
  • UHAM is expected to have a budget of Rs. 1,20, 932 crores over five years, to be shared 75: 25 between the Centre and the States, in addition to the existing health budget. It is scheduled to be launched in 72 districts in the next financial year, and extended to 268, 469, and later, all 670 districts.
  • There should be expanded role for the public sector in primary and secondary health care. Private care providers would play a limited role, in tertiary care - which is institutional care for acute conditions and surgeries.
  • At present, 60 to 70 percent of all primary and secondary care is given through the private providers. It is not clear how this will move to public health systems. However, many have questioned the capacity of the public sector to deliver expanded secondary care.
Rashtriya Swastha Bima Yojana
  • RSBY has been launched by Ministry of Labour and Employment, Government of India to provide health insurance coverage for Below Poverty Line (BPL) families
  • The objective of RSBY is to provide protection to BPL households from financial liabilities arising out of health shocks that involve hospitalization. Beneficiaries under RSBY are entitled to hospitalization coverage up to Rs. 30,000/- for most of the diseases that require hospitalization. Government has even fixed the package rates for the hospitals for a large number of interventions. Pre-existing conditions are covered from day one and there is no age limit
  • Coverage extends to five members of the family which includes the head of household, spouse and up to three dependents. Beneficiaries need to pay only Rs. 30/- as registration fee while Central and State Government pays the premium to the insurer selected by the State Government on the basis of a competitive bidding.
  • RSBY is a Government sponsored scheme for the BPL population of India. Center-State ratio for financing the scheme is 75:25. Government of India’s contribution is 90% in case of North-eastern states and Jammu and Kashmir and respective state Governments need to pay only 10% of the premium.
  • State governments engage in a competitive public bidding process and select a public or private insurance company licensed to provide health insurance by the Insurance Regulatory Development Authority (IRDA) or enabled by a Central legislation
  • By paying only a maximum sum up to Rs. 750/- per family per year, the Government is able to provide access to quality health care to the below poverty line population.

National Rural Health Mission
  • The National Rural Health mission (NRHM) was launched by the Hon’ble Prime Minister on 12th April 2005, to provide accessible, affordable and quality health care to the rural population, especially the vulnerable groups.
  • The key features in order to achieve the goals of the Mission include making the public health delivery system fully functional and accountable to the community, human resources management, community involvement, decentralization, rigorous monitoring & evaluation against standards, convergence of health and related programmes form village level upwards, innovations and flexible financing and also interventions for improving the health indictors.
  • As per the 12th Plan document of the Planning Commission, the flagship programme of NRHM will be strengthened under the umbrella of National Health Mission. The focus on covering rural areas and rural population will continue along with up scaling of NRHM to include non-communicable diseases and expanding health coverage to urban areas. Accordingly, the Union Cabinet, in May 2013, has approved the launch of National Urban Health Mission (NUHM) as a sub-mission of an overarching National Health Mission (NHM), with National Rural Health Mission (NRHM) being the other sub-mission of the National Health Mission.

Janani Suraksha Yojana
  • JSY aims to reduce maternal mortality among pregnant women by encouraging them to deliver in government health facilities. Under the scheme cash assistance is provided to eligible pregnant women for giving birth in a government health facility. Large scale demand side financing under the Janani Suraksha Yojana (JSY) has brought poor households to public sector health facilities on a scale never witnessed before. Target set by MDG for MMR is 109, which seems not achievable in the deadline year of 2015.
Janani Shishu Suraksha Karyakaram (JSSK)
  • In view of the difficulty being faced by the pregnant women and parents of sick new- born along-with high expenditure on delivery and treatment of sick- new-born, Ministry of health and Family Welfare (MoHFW) has taken a major initiative to ensure better facilities for women and child health services. It is an initiative  to provide completely free and cashless services to pregnant women including normal deliveries and caesarean operations and sick new born(up to 30 days after birth) in Government health institutions in both rural & urban areas.
  • Government of India has launched Janani Shishu Suraksha Karyakaram (JSSK) on 1st June, 2011.
Rashtriya Bal Swastha Karyakaram
  • A Child Health Screening and Early Intervention Services has been launched in February 2013 to screen diseases specific to childhood, developmental delays, disabilities, birth defects and deficiencies. The initiative will cover about 27 crore children between 0–18 years of age and also provide free treatment including surgery for health problems diagnosed under this initiative.
Total expenditure on health(Private + Public) in terms of GDP:
India - 4.1%
China - 5.4%
South Africa - 8.8%

Kumble inducted into ICCs Hall of Fame

  • Legendary leg-spinner Anil Kumble inducted into the International Cricket Council’s (ICC) Cricket Hall of Fame during the World Cup match between India and South Africa in Melbourne 
  • Kumble will be the 77th member and the fourth Indian cricketer to be inducted into the Hall of Fame after fellow former captains Bishen Bedi, Kapil Dev and Sunil Gavaskar. The legendary trio was inducted into the list in 2009.

Sunday, 22 February 2015

Daily News Mail - News of 20/02/2015

Band-aid solutions for health problems
  • The Ministry of Health and Family welfare has recently released the Draft National Health Policy of 2015.
  • National health policies, strategies, and plans play an essential role in defining a country's vision, priorities, budgetary decisions and course of action for improving and maintaining the health of its people. 
  • The latest health policy speaks about a wide variety of issues that plague our health-care system - low public health expenditure, inequity in access, and poor quality of care. It also suggests a variety of ways to address them, mainly focussed around increasing government spending on health and expanding the public delivery system.
  • However, the health policy fails to tackle head-on the core problem of the Indian health system - its management, administration and overall governance structure, without which the measures it suggests are merely symptomatic(serving as a symptom or sign, especially of something undesirable) treatments, akin to putting a “Band-aid on a corpse(a dead body, especially of a human being rather than an animal).”
  • Russia and South Africa both spend a significantly higher amount on public health than India. In fact their spending is even higher than the target set by the draft health policy, yet they have life expectancies that are worse, as in the case of South Africa, or only marginally better, as in the case of Russia. On the contrary, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh are both countries that actually spend less on their healthcare (as a percentage of GDP) than India, yet both have better outcomes. Within India too, the draft policy notes that States with better capacity have utilised the National Rural Health Mission (NRHM) funds more effectively, while States with poorer initial conditions have been left with worse outcomes. The fundamental difference lies in management and governance structures.
  • Criticality of administration: Study find that the effectiveness of public health spending in reducing child mortality depends on the level of perceived corruption. It is found that higher integrity is associated with reduced child mortality.
Governance structures:
  • If we our health outcomes to be improved then the Indian health policy needs to focus on how its health system is governed and managed. The weight of evidences clearly suggest it.
  •  While our people are among the best and brightest, long years of neglect and misgovernment have vitiated(spoil or impair the quality or efficiency of) our public management systems with perverse(showing a deliberate and obstinate desire to behave in a way that is unreasonable or unacceptable; awkward; contrary) incentives. It is easier and more sensible for people within the system to subvert their jobs - through chronic absenteeism, endemic corruption and private practice - than to actually do them. The draft policy mentions band-aids for a few of these problems, but it needs to prioritise and lay far greater focus on the critical issue of governance and management of the Indian health system.
  • Governance structures need to balance responsibility, flexibility and accountability in order to carry out their functions. It is clear that our systems today, at best, fix responsibility, but do not provide flexibility and accountability - managers/bureaucrats need to do their jobs. A useful, and not entirely radical, model to consider would be the one pioneered in India by the Tamil Nadu Medical Services Corporation. It is a registered corporation set up by the Tamil Nadu government to procure drugs for the public health system. It is accountable to an independent board of directors which includes the health secretary. The corporation has an IAS officer as its managing director, and professionals and academics are hired or taken on deputation as deemed necessary. The model has proved so successful in improving drug supply in Tamil Nadu that several other States, including Kerala, have adopted it as the basis of their own governance structure.
  • Whether or not this specific type of model is adopted for healthcare delivery in India, the more fundamental point is that governance and management of any health system is a core determinant of its effectiveness. The National Health Policy of the Narendra Modi government should make it a prominent focus of reforms, thereby announcing a tectonic shift in India’s healthcare system.(Source - The Hindu)
Tanzania must halt violence against person with albinism : UN rights body
  • The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights harshly condemned on 19th February the murder and mutilation(the act of inflicting damage on) of a toddler(a young child who is just beginning to walk) with albinism in Tanzania, demanding that authorities protect persons with albinism whose body parts are used for witchcraft in the country.
  • Albinism The word “albinism” refers to a group of inherited conditions. People with albinism have little or no pigment in their eyes, skin, or hair. They have inherited altered genes that do not make the usual amounts of a pigment called melanin. Albinism affects people from all races. Most children with albinism are born to parents who have normal hair and eye color for their ethnic backgrounds. Sometimes people do not recognize that they have albinism. A common myth is that people with albinism have red eyes. In fact there are different types of albinism and the amount of pigment in the eyes varies. Although some individuals with albinism have reddish or violet eyes, most have blue eyes. Some have hazel or brown eyes. However, all forms of albinism are associated with vision problems.

An albino boy
Germany rejects Greek loan extension request
  • Germany rejected a request by Athens on 19th February for a six-month extension to its European Union (EU) loan programme, hitting hopes that Europe and Greece can find a solution to a bitter debt row.
  • Greece said the request would satisfy the demands of its European partners, while also keeping a promise to end the hated austerity(difficult economic conditions created by government measures to reduce public expenditure) conditions in the bailout(an act of giving financial assistance to a failing business or economy to save it from collapse) which it says has destroyed the economy and punished the poor.