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Set procedure to vet NRC claims
The Supreme Court directed authorities not to initiate any ‘action’ against 40 lakh persons left out of the draft Assam National Register of Citizens (NRC) published on July 30.
· The court ordered the central government, in consultation with State NRC Coordinator to frame a ‘fair’ standard operating procedure (SOP) to deal with the claims and objections of those who did not find their names in the draft NRC.
The govt said that no coercive action would be taken against persons who have not figured in the draft NRC.
The final draft of the NRC shows 2.9 crore names, out of the total 3.29 crore who applied in Assam.
· The names of 40.07 lakh applicants were not included in the historic document, considered proof of Assamese identity
· . The first draft NRC was published in Jan, 2018 showed the names of 1.9 crore people.
India has welcomed the decision of the U.S. government to grant it the status of a trading partner equivalent to its closest allies in the NATO.
· The U.S. Government’s decision to move India into Tier-1 of the Department of Commerce’s Strategic Trade Authorisation license exception, is a logical culmination to India’s designation as a Major Defence Partner of the U.S.
· In 2016, the U.S. had recognised India as a “Major Defence Partner” but the STA-1 status will open an entire array of high-tech weaponries that are available to the countries whose security interests are closely linked with American security priorities.
· Apart from India, other Asian countries in the STA-1 list are Japan and South Korea.
· This step will further facilitate trade and technology collaboration in defence and high technology areas.
Key Words: STA 1 Status, Indo-U.S defence cooperation
IMF should not help Pakistan pay off Chinese lenders, warns Pompeo
Why in News?
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo warned that any potential International Monetary Fund (IMF) bailout for Pakistan’s new government should not provide funds to pay off Chinese lenders.
· Mr. Pompeo said that the U.S. looked forward to engagement with the government of Pakistan’s expected new Prime Minister, Imran Khan, but said there was “no rationale” for a bailout that pays off Chinese loans to Pakistan.
· Pakistan is struggling to avert a currency crisis that has presented the new government with its biggest challenge.
· The country, which already has around $5 billion in loans from China and its banks to fund major infrastructure projects, had sought another $1 billion in loans to stabilise its plummeting foreign currency reserves.
Key Words – Pakistan, USA, China, IMF, bailouts.
Centre imposes 25% safeguard duty on import of solar cells
Why in News?
The Centre issued a notification putting into effect a safeguard duty of 25% on import of solar cells from China and Malaysia between July 30, 2018, and July 29, 2019.
· The duty reduces to 20% for six months from July 30, 2019, and further to 15% in the subsequent half year.
· The decision by the government follows a long deliberation by the Directorate General of Trade Remedies, which recommended the safeguard duty structure after considering an application by Indian solar cell manufacturers.
· While the move is aimed at helping the domestic solar cell manufacturing sector, it could affect existing projects dependent on cheap imports.
₹3 per unit
· The solar bid tariffs largely remained below ₹3 per unit in calendar year 2018 varying between ₹2.44 per unit and ₹2.75 per unit, with expectation of favourable price movement in PV modules following the policy changes in China.
· The imposition of safeguard duty is likely to increase the bid tariffs to ₹2.9-3.1 per unit for the upcoming bids.
Key Words – safeguard duty, solar cells, China, Malaysia, import duties.
Crime against women
According to ‘Telangana Social Development Report-2018: Gender, Access and Well Being’ brought out by the Council for Social Development (CSD), Southern Chapter.
· Incidence of crime, of which declining sex ratio is also an indicator, is the highest in Hyderabad and Ranga Reddy, the most urbanised and most literate districts.
· The crime against women in families far exceeds other forms of violence.
· The report provides baseline information drawn from official data on a wide range of themes with special focus on gender to “enable the Telangana government to arrive at evidence-based policies to address several issues raised under each of the themes”.
· The report highlights the “deep-rooted bias” against women and children that was revealed through adverse sex ratio at birth, disproportionately large number of widows, declining female work participation, and a large number of women into domestic duties.
· The report mentions a pronounced gap between boys and girls in higher education and that a large number of girls, ST girls in particular, walk to school, and that dropouts are high when distance is more.
· In fact, there is greater proportion of non-literate women working and most literate women in non-working category!
There is also a sharp decline in female labour-force between the age group of 15 and 24 between 2004-05 and 2011-12 when compared to the all-India level indicating a complex array of changing nature of agriculture, reducing their employment prospects.
Key Words: Telangana Social Development Report 2018, Women
B-Hub at Genome Valley
Telangana government, plans to set up B-Hub for biotech and biopharma sector in Genome Valley.
· B-Hub will be the first-of-its-kind initiative in the country, aimed at providing much needed support to the biopharma research and development activities featuring a scale-up manufacturing facility along with a turnkey incubator, labspace module at GLP grade within a built-up area of 40,000 sq ft.
· Establishment of such an end-to-end biopharma scale-up manufacturing facility would give domestic firms the required impetus to compete with Korean, Chinese and French companies who had taken lead in biopharma innovation.
· Companies that are in early stage clinical development but lacked the requisite expertise and resources to navigate the complexities associated with business planning, cell line development, process development, technology, and/or regulatory and risk assessment, would leverage B-Hub facility to help break down roadblocks and improve the likelihood of commercial success.
The estimated project cost of B-Hub is Rs. 60 crore and the facility is to be set up through public-private partnership in Genome Valley, which is the country’s first organised cluster for life sciences R&D and clean manufacturing activities.
.Key Words: B-Hub, Telangana
YSR horticulture university
Why in News?
Dr. Y.S.R. Horticulture University of Andhra Pradesh has been ranked the best horticulture university by the Indian Council for Agricultural Research (ICAR).
· The ranking places the university above all the other horticultural universities in the country.
· The top rank has been accorded to the University based on its infrastructure, extension and research and development.
· While it was given the overall 11th rank, the University of Horticulture Sciences, Bagalkot, has been given the 20th rank. The Dr Yaswant Singh Parmar University of Horticulture and Forestry, Solan, has been given the 38th rank by the ICAR.
· The research programmes of the university were very friendly to farmers and the extension work was also very good, the University’s Vice Chancellor said.
· From the 26th rank a couple of years ago, its ranking improved tremendously in just a short time.
Strong in research
· The 17 research stations made the university very strong in infrastructure and the areas of research like germplasm collection, evaluation and conservation, dry land horticulture, etc were all targeted at making horticulture more profitable.
Key Words – ICAR rankings, YSR horticulture university, Andhra Pradesh.
Mid-day meal in govt. junior colleges
Why in News?
The implementation of the mid-day meal scheme for students in government junior colleges will start from 01 August, 2018, according to the HRD Ministry.
The objective of the programme was to reduce drop-out rate in junior colleges and provide students access to nutritious food.
The scheme will be implemented in 450 colleges across the State covering 1,74,683 students. Funds to the tune of ₹56.53 crore have been allocated for the purpose.
The food served to each student would have 966 calories and 27.85 protein content as per the standards of the National Institute of Nutrition and students would be given eggs five days in a week.
The Commissioner of Intermediate Education would review the scheme at regular intervals.
Key Words – mid-day meals, Govt junior colleges, Andhra Pradesh.