Tuesday, 03 May 2016 03:52


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03 - MAY - 2016



World Immunization Week 2016 is being organised across the globe. The week’s campaign is ‘Close the Immunization Gap’ and it seeks to achieve global vaccination targets by 2020.

This will be the second year of the Close the Immunization Gap campaign. The 2016 campaign additionally stresses the need for immunization among adolescents and adults - throughout life.

It also seeks to draw the world’s attention to the critical importance of reaching vulnerable people living in conflict situations or in the wake of emergencies.

During World Immunization Week 2016, WHO will highlight the recent gains in immunization coverage, and outlines further steps needed to meet global vaccination targets by 2020 set in WHO’s Global Vaccine Action Plan (GVAP).

The week is organised by the World Health Organisation (WHO) in the last week of April with an aim to promote the use of vaccines to protect people of all ages against disease. Immunization saves millions of lives and is widely recognized as one of the worlds’ most successful and cost-effective health interventions.

WHO Global Vaccine Action Plan (GVAP)

The WHO Global Vaccine Action Plan (GVAP) - endorsed by the 194 Member States of the World Health Assembly in May 2012 - has the ambitious goal of reaching universal coverage with vaccines worldwide by 2020. The GVAP aims to:

• Accelerate control of vaccine-preventable diseases with polio eradication as the first milestone and step up efforts to eliminate measles, rubella and maternal and neonatal tetanus and other diseases

• Strengthen national routine immunization programmes to meet vaccination coverage targets

• Introduce new and improved vaccines

• Spur research and development for the next generation of vaccines and technologies

Effect and recent progress of Immunization

• In the recent past, the process of the Immunization has helped the world in dealing with seceral problems like Polio, Ebola and many more.

• It helped in developing vaccines in record time and control disease like Ebola

• Africa has not had a case of wild poliovirus since August 2014 – an enormous achievement that brings the region closer than ever to being certified polio-free

• India has been declared free of maternal and neonatal tetanus, demonstrating disease elimination is possible even in challenging circumstances

• The Americas became the first region to eliminate rubella and congenital rubella syndrome


The Full Pink Moon was seen in the skies of North America. However, the moon appeared normally white and smaller than usual. The April’s full moon is usually referred as Pink Moon in North America.

The moon appeared to be smaller than usual because it was at its furthest point from the Earth, or apogee. This full moon comes less than one day after reaching lunar apogee, the moon’s farthest point in its monthly orbit. It lies around 50 thousand km farther from Earth than 2016’s closest full moon.

The Pink Moon is also called as mini-moon and micro-moon. The terms mini-moon and micro-moon originate from popular culture. TheNASA Astronomy Photo of the Day calls the year’s smallest full moon as a micro-moon. In many respects, the micro-moon is the antithesis of a Supermoon.

In November 2016, the moon will be full when it is at its closest to the Earth and will be known as a Supermoon.

What is Pink Moon?

The pink moon is the name for April’s full moon, which earns its nickname from a pink flower called wild ground flox (also known as herb moss pink), which is one of the earliest plants to flower in spring.

It was created by the Algonquin tribes native to the New England and Lake Superior regions.

Some coastal American Indian tribes have also referred to it as the Full Fish moon, since it marks a time when shad swim upstream to spawn.

Full Moon names date back to Native Americans. The tribes kept track of the seasons by giving distinctive names to each recurring full moon. It was their way of keeping a calendar as they did not follow the Julian or Gregorian system of tracking time. Their names were applied to the entire month in which each full moon occurred.

When colonial Americans came into contact with these tribes, they would frequently adopt the full moon names that were already in use.


Mairaj Ahmed Khan won silver medal for India in the men's skeet event at ISSF World Cup in Rio de Janeiro.

This will be the first skeet medal for India at a World Cup.

Mairaj lost gold medal to Marcus Svensson of Sweden. Tamarro Casandro of Italy won the bronze.

About Mairaj Ahmed Khan

• He won a team gold medal in the Commonwealth Shooting Championship in 2010 which was his best international performance earlier.

• Earlier in 2016, he became India's first ever skeet shooter to win an Olympic quota place.

• He was qualified for his maiden Olympics in September 2015 at the ISSF Shotgun World Cup that was held in Lonato in Italy, finishing in sixth place and thereby becoming the first Indian to qualify in the skeet event at the Olympics.


Operation Sulaimani: An initiative to eradicate poverty by feeding needy in Kozhikode hotels.

The initiative Operation Sulaimani was in news as Kozhikode district is set to implement this project to ensure food for the needy in its jurisdiction.

It was initiated by the Kozhikode district collector N Prasanth with an objective to avoid food wastage in the district.

The project is named after Sulaimani as the Kozhikode is famous for food and ‘Sulaimani’ is one of such iconic items of the district.

Features of Operation Sulaimani

• It is being implemented in association with the state Hotel and Restaurants Association.

• The needy will get food from selected restaurants in the district in each locality. Instead of payment, the customers have to give coupons distributed by the district administration.

• The coupons will be distributed through the counters to be opened in the collectorate, village office and Taluk offices.

• The district administration would maintain a register book to enter the details of people who approach them for the food coupons.

• They make note of the name and address of the people who buys the coupon.

• Necessary steps will be taken to avoid the people who regularly use this coupon despite having proper income.

• The boozers will also be kept away from this project.

• As per the initial plan, through the Operation Sulaimani, around 1000 people will get food per day.

• The price of the food will be covered through sponsorship.


Indian Missile Corvette, INS Karmuk along with a Dornier Maritime Patrol Aircraft participated in the 22nd Indo-Thai Coordinated Patrol (CORPAT) in the Andaman Sea.

India’s indigenously built Missile Corvette is based at the Andaman and Nicobar Command.

The 22nd edition of the CORPAT

India and Thailand have traditionally enjoyed a close and friendly relationship covering a wide spectrum of activities and interactions, which have strengthened over the years.

The 22nd edition of CORPAT would bolster the already strong bilateral relationship between the two nations and contribute significantly to enhancing maritime security in the region.

It would include participation of one warship and one Maritime Patrol Aircraft of India and Thailand with the closing ceremony being held at Port Blair, Headquarters Andaman and Nicobar Command (HQANC) from 25 April -27 April 2016.


• Maritime interaction between India and Thailand has been growing steadily with frequent port visits, participation in multilateral exercises and training exchanges.

• Under the broad ambit of this strong maritime relationship, the two navies have been carrying out CORPATs along the International Maritime Boundary Line (IMBL) twice a year since 2005.

• It was with an aim of keep the vital part of the Indian Ocean Region safe and secure for commercial shipping and international trade.

• The CORPAT has also strengthened understanding and interoperability between the navies and facilitated institution of measures to prevent unlawful activities at sea as well as conduct Search and Rescue (SAR) operations.


The Union Government launched Sahapedia.org, India's first online interactive portal on the cultural heritage of the country.

Sahapedia is a collection of resources on the diverse heritage of India. It is non-profit society, led by former TCS chairman S. Ramadorai, who is the head of the National Skill Development Agency.

The online portal aims at educating the people of India about its various traditions, visual arts, performing arts, literature and languages. The portal is accessible to all and is a strong initiative towards the digitisation and research on the traditional art forms of India and their importance in the modern era.

About Sahapedia

Sahapedia is an open online resource on the arts, cultures and heritage of India.

• Saha, Sanskrit for together with, is an invitation to explore together the richness of India’s cultural landscapes.

The portal consists of information ranging from visual arts, music, literature, cinema, dance, architecture, ecological systems, cuisine, percussion and oral histories among others.

The portal gives users access to various articles, videos, interviews and image galleries.

Most of the articles on the portal are curated in the form of multimedia modules, articles, interviews, photographs, videos of performances, timelines, walkthroughs and bibliographies.


The 11th Indo-Mongolia joint training Exercise, titled ‘Nomadic Elephant - 2016’ commenced in Mongolia. The exercise aims at promoting military associations between India and Mongolia will culminate on 8 May 2016.

The aim of this exercise is to develop synergy and inter operability between the two armies to fight in Counter Insurgency and Counter Terrorism environment under the United Nation mandate.

Key highlights of Nomadic Elephant - 2016 Exercise

• A platoon of the Kumaon Regiment of the Indian Army along with a team of two observers will be taking part in the event.

• From the Mongolian Armed Forces, a total of 60 personnel will take part in the exercise.

• The event will culminate in a 48 hours joint outdoor exercise covering specialised operations in Counter Insurgency and Counter Terrorism environment.

• The Indian contingent will share their practical experiences of Counter Insurgency and Counter Terrorism operations through a series of classroom lectures and outdoor demonstrations.

• Besides, during the military training both the contingents will also share their techniques of unarmed combat, specialised rappelling and participate in various sports events during the two weeks exchange.


  • In a bid to placate the Patidars demanding reservation in jobs and education, the government in Gujarat announced a 10 % quota for those earning Rs. 6 lakh a year or less among the upper castes.
  • “Gujarat government has decided to accord 10% reservation for economically backward in general category,” Chief Minister Anandiben Patel said.
  • She also added that the existing 49% reservation for SC, ST and OBC will remain untouched.
  • But the Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti dismissed the announcement as “lollipop” and demanded specific quota for the Patidars.


  • Attorney general suggested before a Bench led by Justice Anil R. Dave that the NEET on May 1 be scrapped and instead a combined exam be held on July 24.
  • The “majority” of States and private medical colleges had almost completed or were midway through their own entrance tests, Mr. Rohatgi pointed out that States like Tamil Nadu did not even have a legacy of entrance exams.
  • But the court had chosen to go by the assurances given by the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE), the Medical Council of India (MCI) and the Health Ministry that holding NEET was definitely possible this year.
  • NEET, as per the December 21, 2010 Medical Council of India notification brought back to life on April 28, replaces all other exams for medical and dental admissions in the country.
  • The common entrance examination is meant to end rampant corruption in medical admissions.
  • It was quashed by the Supreme Court in 2013 on the ground that it interfered with the administrative powers of government-run and private colleges.
  • A petition on whether NEET is constitutionally valid is listed for fresh hearing on May 3 before a five-judge Bench.


  • The latest instalment of files on the Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose, released by the government, suggest that the Janata Dal government of V.P. Singh was unsure whether it was indeed Bose’s ashes that were being preserved in Japan.
  • This was in variance with the government’s stated position, built over decades and on the basis of two inquiry commissions, that Bose had died in an air crash in Taiwan, and his cremated remains were preserved at Rekonji Temple in Tokyo.
  • Documents show that on August 7, 1990, the then Prime Minister, Singh, got a letter from Shantilal Patel, Member of Parliament, requesting that the government ceremoniously prepare to receive Netaji’s ashes.
  • Mr. Singh replied on the advise of his colleagues in the Prime Minister’s Office, that “in the absence of consensus in our country on whether the ashes, which are preserved in the Renkoji Temple in Japan, are those of Netaji, it is difficult to consider bringing these ashes to India at this stage.”
  • The Indira Gandhi government too had stayed away from attempting to retrieve Netaji’s ashes largely because his brother, Sarath Chandra Bose, disputed the conclusions of the commissions — set up in 1956 and 1970.
  • Both ruled that Bose had died in a air crash, and it was his remains that were being preserved in Japan.
  • The communications of Singh, Shanker and Patel are all part of 25 documents that were uploaded on the Ministry of Culture’s Netaji microsite.
  • Though the Indian mission in Tokyo had taken custody of Netaji’s ashes in the early 50s, it did not send the remains to India and had spend Rs. 52,66,278 between 1967 and 2005 on the upkeep of the remains at Rekonji Temple.


  • Emissions from all sources, including vehicles, appear to have been lower this month compared to April 2015, but levels of harmful fine particulate matter have been about the same or more during the corresponding period last year.
  • An analysis of air quality data from eight stations in Delhi by the Union Ministry of Earth Science’s SAFAR has found that the level of the dangerous ozone gas has been less this April compared to 2015.
  • Ozone does not exist at the surface level on its own; it is formed when volatile hydrocarbons and other gases emitted by combustion sources like vehicles react in the air.
  • Ozone becomes a bigger concern in the summer as the hot weather lends itself to its formation.
  • The level of ozone from April 1 to 28 this year has been less than the corresponding daily figure for 2015.
  • Despite favourable weather conditions, ozone has been less than last year. This is not much to do with the odd-even scheme as the level was less during April 1 to 15 as well.
  • Delhi has seen several measures in the past year that could have contributed to the reduction, including the Supreme Court-ordered imposition of ‘green tax’ on commercial vehicles entering the city.
  • According to the Environment Pollution Control Authority, which was tasked with monitoring the implementation of the tax, the number of commercial vehicles entering Delhi has decreased by 50 to 60 per cent.
  • Though the ozone levels have been less, the level of PM2.5, which is harmful for health, on April 26, 27 and 28 was more than the same dates last year.


  • India is looking to explore and develop Papua New Guinea’s vast oil and gas resources through joint ventures and investments from both the Indian private and public sectors in ongoing and new projects.
  • The Pacific island country agreed that oil and gas exploration and development could be a new avenue of cooperation between the two countries, keeping in view India’s desire to achieve energy security.
  • Indian companies are looking at projects coming up in Papua New Guinea after natural gas was discovered in the country’ s Southern Highland Province.
  • Gas discoveries elsewhere in the country have evoked interest among Indian companies that believe they could participate in associated projects as well as in some gas blocks.
  • Papua New Guinea is estimated to have 35 trillion cubic feet of natural gas as recoverable reserves.
  • India agreed to provide a line of credit of $100 million to Papua New Guinea for infrastructure projects and signed a pact to set up a ‘Centre of Excellence’ in information technology.
  • The request for the line of credit had been made by Papua New Guinea Prime Minister during a meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the sidelines of a summit of the Forum for India-Pacific Islands Cooperation.
  • Four memorandums of understanding were signed on the second and final day of President Mukherjee’s visit, the first state visit by an Indian head of state to the island nation.
  • Papua New Guinea gave support for India’s claim for permanent membership in the UN Security Council and agreed to expedite a proposed Bilateral Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement to facilitate investments.
  • Mr. Mukherjee announced that India would provide anti-retroviral drugs and equipment to benefit 20,000 HIV positive patients in Papua New Guinea, a figure that would help at least half the number of those suffering from the disease.
  • UNAIDS estimates say that between 37,000 and 41,000 people were living with HIV in 2014 in the country, which has a population of about eight million.


  • India and the EU should consider a less-ambitious free trade agreement if necessary, vice chair of the Delegation for Relations with India, said.
  • “Yes I would prefer a watered down agreement, it’s better to take small steps and move on than moving for a very high goal that is not achievable in the near future,” she said.
  • The India EU summit of March 30 failed to breathe life back into the stalled Broadbased Trade and Investment Agreement (BTIA).
  • There have been gaps in the offers and demand of both sides in the trade in services, automobiles and wine and spirit sectors.


  • Former bureaucrat and parliamentarian N. K. Singh will receive one of Japan’s highest civilian honours for promoting economic, educational and cultural ties between India and Japan.
  • Mr. Singh, who is a former Member of the Planning Commission, will receive the ‘Order of the Rising Sun, Gold and Silver’ and is among 91 foreign recipients to be honoured during the 2016 Spring Imperial Decoration of Japan.
  • The Orders of the Rising Sun are conferred in recognition of distinguished accomplishments of an individual.
  • The statement from the Embassy of Japan acknowledged Mr. Singh’s contribution to enhance Japan-India educational ties through his association with the Nalanda University.


  • In a major breakthrough, a team of researchers, including an Indian origin scientist, has transformed skin cells into heart cells and brain cells using a combination of chemicals.
  • The team used chemical cocktails to gradually coax skin cells to change into organ-specific stem cell-like cells and, ultimately, into heart or brain cells.
  • Reprogramming a patient’s own cells could provide the safest and most efficient way to regenerate dying or diseased heart muscle.
  • The research lays the groundwork for one day being able to regenerate lost or damaged cells with pharmaceutical drugs.
  • The researchers used genes to convert scar-forming cells in the heart of animals into new muscle that improved the function of the heart, using a chemical reprogramming approach.
  • The team conducted two studies using a cocktail of nine chemicals to change human skin cells into beating heart cells and brain cells.
  • They began the process by changing the cells into a state resembling multi-potent stem cells, which can turn into many different types of cells in a particular organ.
  • With this method, more than 97 per cent of the cells began beating and they also responded appropriately to hormones, and molecularly, they resembled heart muscle cells, not skin cells.
  • When the cells were transplanted into a mouse heart early in the process, they developed into healthy-looking heart muscle cells within the organ.


  • The Finance Ministry backtracked from its attempt to lower the payout on Employees’ Provident Fund (EPF) savings for 2015-16 to 8.70 per cent, after a tussle with the Labour Ministry, which had announced 8.80 per cent returns.
  • This marks the third time, in little over 50 days, that the government has rolled back contentious policy decisions pertaining to retirement savings of the working class.
  • The labour ministry will “immediately” notify 8.80 per cent interest rate to EPF subscribers.
  • The Finance Ministry had asked the EPFO to keep a surplus of over Rs 1,000 crore to give interest to inoperative EPF accounts that were not getting interest credits since 2011.


  • India on Friday resumed publishing its income tax data, which was suspended in 2000 owing to staffing and technical issues.
  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi said that it is a big step towards transparency and informed policy-making was expected to assist researchers and analysts.
  • The decision comes three months after French economist Thomas Piketty remarked in a lecture that India could be vastly under-estimating inequality levels in the country in the absence of this data.
  • In the absence of data, he said, it was not possible to show the evolution of wealth in India as a result of which “we could be vastly underestimating inequality.”
  • India had first started publishing its income tax statistics in 1961. The driving force behind the revival of this practice is Chief Economic Advisor (CEA) Arvind Subramanian.
  • He demonstrated the usefulness of the data in the Economic Survey in a chapter titled “Fiscal Capacity for the 21st Century”.
  • Conclusions based on analyses of the data were reported in the chapter, the crux of which was that just four per cent of India’s voters are taxpayers, though it should be closer to 23 per cent, and 85 per cent of the net national income falling outside the tax net.
  • On Friday, the Income Tax Department put up income tax data from the year 2000, on its website. Along with it, the department also released the State-wise breakup from 2008-09.


  • The precipitous drop in the growth rate of direct tax collections was accompanied by an equally dire slowdown in the growth of corporate tax.
  • Corporate tax grew at an average annual rate of 7.1 per cent between assessment years 2011-12 and 2015-16, down from the heady 15.6 per cent seen in the previous five years.
  • The personal income tax data on the other hand, barely witnessed a change in growth rates in this period, growing at an annual average of 9.1 per cent between 2011 and 2015.
  • Interestingly, the data shows that there were 13.3 lakh individuals declaring an income of more than Rs 10 lakh a year — the section of people the government has excluded from the LPG subsidy.
  • Among the states, Gujarat saw the fastest growth in its direct tax collections, growing 185 per cent in FY2014-15 to Rs 12,577 crore compared to its level in FY2008-09.
  • Tamil Nadu saw the next-fastest growth in the period, with its direct tax collections growing 116 per cent to Rs 20,651 crore in FY2014-15.
  • Maharashtra (112 per cent) and West Bengal (105 per cent) were the other states seeing rapid growth in their direct tax collections.
  • The State-wise data also revealed some anomalies. For example, Mizoram recorded Rs 39.8 crore of direct tax collections in FY2014-15, which is more than double what it collected in the previous year.




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Last Updated on Wednesday, 04 May 2016 04:53