CURRENT AFFAIRS


13th Oct, 2020

Asia-Pacific Group (Apg) On Money Laundering retains Pakistan on its ‘Enhanced Follow-Up’ list

Due to Pakistan’s minimal progress in combating money laundering and terror financing, the Asia-Pacific Group (APG) on Money Laundering has retained the country on its ‘Enhanced Follow-Up’ list.

According to APG, Pakistan will remain in the enhanced follow-up list.

It will also have to continue to report back to the APG on progress to strengthen its implementation of comprehensive measures.

Pakistan is desperate to move out of ‘grey list’ because its inclusion in the list has severely impacted its economy and image.

Pakistan was placed in the grey list in June 2018. 

Asia-Pacific Group (APG) on Money Laundering

APG is a regional affiliate of the Paris-based Financial Action Task Force (FATF).

Secretariat: Sydney, Australia. 

Founded in: 1997 in Bangkok, Thailand

It currently consists of 41 member jurisdictions in the Asia-Pacific region.


Tech for Tribals initiative

Tech for Tribals initiative shall be launched on 13th October, 2020.

Launched by: TRIFED under Ministry of Tribal Affairs in collaboration with Chhattisgarh MFP Federation and IIT, Kanpur 

Aim of the initiative: Holistic development of tribals with a focus on entrepreneurship development, soft skills, IT, and business development through SHGs operating through Van Dhan Kendras (VDVKs).

TRIFED has tied up with national institutions such as IIT, Kanpur; Art of Living, Bangalore; TISS, Mumbai; KISS, Bhubaneswar; Vivekananda Kendra, Tamil Nadu and SRIJAN, Rajasthan.

Vandhan-ESDP Training Programs shall be conducted under these institutes.

Tribal Cooperative Marketing Development Federation of India (TRIFED) 

It came into existence in 1987. 

It is a national-level apex organization. 

The basic objective of the TRIFED is to provide good price of the ‘Minor Forest Produce (MFP) collected by the tribes of the country.

It functions under Ministry of Tribal Affairs, Govt. of India.

TRIFED has its Head Office at New Delhi. 

It has a network of 13 Regional Offices located at various places in the country.


Nation- wide campaign to celebrate Kamdhenu Deepawali Abhiyan started

Rashtriya Kamdhenu Aayog (RKA) recently started a nation- wide campaign to celebrate Kamdhenu Deepawali Abhiyan on the occasion of Deepawali festival.

Through this campaign, the RKA is promoting extensive use of cow-dung/ Panchgavya products during this Diwali Festival.

Rashtriya Kamdhenu Aayog (RKA)

It was constituted by Indian Prime Minister for the conservation, protection and development of cows and their progeny and for giving direction to the cattle development programmes.

It is a high powered permanent body to formulate policy and to provide direction to the implementation of schemes related to cattle so as to give more emphasis on livelihood generation.


Sets of measures announced to generate consumption demand 

Union Finance Minister recently announced two sets of measures to generate consumption demand and boost capital spending in the economy.

Leave Travel Concession (LTC) Cash Voucher Scheme: The Government has decided to give cash payment to employees in lieu of one LTC during 2018-21. Full payment on Leave encashment and tax-free payment of LTC fare depending on class of entitlement will be given.

Special Festival Advance Scheme: It was meant for non-gazetted government employees. It is being revived as a one-time measure for gazetted employees too. All central govt. employees can now get interest-free advance of Rs. 10,000, in the form of a prepaid RuPay Card, to be spent by March 31, 2021.

Capital Expenditure Boost for States: A special interest-free 50-year loan to states is being issued. For ₹ 12,000 crore capital expenditure which is to be spent by March 31, 2021:

(1) 200 crore each for 8 North East states;

(2) 450 crore each for Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh;

(3) 7,500 crore for remaining states, as per share of Finance Commission’s devolution


Higher cytotoxicity in human lung cells suggested due to presence of Particulate Matter (PM) 2.5

A recent study – ‘Insights on the biological role of ultrafine particles of size PM<0.25: a prospective study from New Delhi’ was conducted recently.

Proportion of Ultrafine Particles

Particulate matter of below 0.25 micrometres constituted the highest share in the composition of PM2.5 around the year as compared to particles of other sizes.

Exposure to ultrafine particles of below 0.25 micrometres was also associated with over two-fold higher cytotoxicity as compared to exposure to other sizes.

Reasons

Celebration of Diwali.

Stubble burning in neighbouring states of Punjab and Haryana.

Secondary formation of particles due to favourable meteorological conditions.

The low temperature and high humidity during winter nights enhance the fog-smog-fog cycle and result in 2-3-fold increase in PM concentration compared to pre-monsoon and South-West monsoon season.

Health Impacts

  • Stroke
  • Lung cancer
  • Other heart and lung related problems

Blocking Factor D Protein may reduce inflammatory reactions associated with Covid-19

A new study by Johns Hopkins Medicine researchers suggests that blocking a human protein factor D may reduce the deadly inflammatory reactions that many patients have due to COVID-19.

Team focused on two proteins, factor H and factor D.

These are known as “complement” proteins.

They help the immune system clear pathogens from the body.

The researchers discovered that Covid-19’s spike protein causes factor D to overstimulate the immune response, which in turn prevents factor H from mediating that response.

When SARS-CoV-2 attacks the ACE2 receptors to proliferate and infect more cells in the human body, it also prevents Factor H from using the sugar molecule to bind with cells.

The team found that by blocking factor D, they were able to stop the destructive chain of events triggered by SARS-CoV-2.


Status of Bharatmala Pariyojana

A total of 322 projects in a length of 12,413 km have been awarded and 2921 km has been constructed under Bharatmala Pariyojana till August 2020.

Phase-I of Bharatmala Pariyojana: Implementation of 34,800 km of national highways in 5 years (from 2017 to 2022) has been approved (Rs. 5,35,000 crore).

Phase-II: Around 48,000 km of road network across India by 2024.

Bharatmala Pariyojana

It is an umbrella program for the highways sector.

Initiated by: Ministry of Road Transport and Highways.

Objectives:

(1) To optimise the efficiency of freight and passenger movement across India by bridging critical infrastructure gaps through effective interventions;

(2) To generate a large number of direct and indirect employment opportunities in the construction and infrastructure sector;

(3) To connect 550 districts in the country through national highway linkages.

Effective measures: Development of economic corridors, inter corridors and feeder routes, national corridor efficiency improvement, border and international connectivity roads, coastal and port connectivity roads and Greenfield expressways. 

Features:

(1) Improvement in the efficiency of existing corridors through the development of Multimodal Logistics Parks and elimination of chokepoint;

(2) Improving connectivity in North East and increasing harmony with Inland Waterways;

(3) Emphasis on the use of scientific and technological planning;

(4) Satellite mapping of corridor;

(5) Delegation of powers for successful completion of Phase I by 2022.

Economic Corridors: These are integrated networks of infrastructure within a geographical area designed to stimulate economic development.

Greenfield Projects: They lack constraints imposed by prior work on the site. Typically, it entails development on a completely vacant site and architects start completely from scratch.

Brownfield Projects: They carry constraints related to the current state of the site and might be contaminated or have existing structures that architects have to tear down or modify in some way before the project can move forward.

Multimodal Logistics Parks: These are a key policy initiative of the Government of India to improve the country’s logistics sector by lowering overall freight costs, reducing vehicular pollution and congestion, and cutting warehousing costs.

Chokepoint: It is a single point through which all incoming and outgoing network traffic is funnelled and hence, leads to congestion and traffic.


Nechiphu Tunnel

Nechiphu Tunnel shall be constructed on the Balipara-Charduar-Tawang (BCT) road in West Kameng district of Arunachal Pradesh.

Constructed by: Border Roads Organization (BRO).


 






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