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Evening News Digest: 18 Oct 2018

Shahi Litchi of Bihar gets GI tag

  • The famous Shahi litchi of North Bihar has got the Geographical Indication (GI) tag.
  • It is the fourth product from the state after Jardalu mango, Katarni rice and Magahi paan to have got the GI tag.
  • Shahi Litchi is mainly cultivated in Muzaffarpur, Samastipur, Vaishali, East Champaran and Begusarai and some parts of adjoining areas in agro-climatic areas of the state.
  • According to agriculture scientists, due to high calcium content in the soil, litchi is better in these areas.
  • What is GI?
    • A geographical indication (GI) is a sign used on products that have a specific geographical origin and possess qualities or a reputation that are due to that origin.
    • In order to function as a GI, a sign must identify a product as originating in a given place.
    • A geographical indication right enables those who have the right to use the indication to prevent its use by a third party whose product does not conform to the applicable standards.
    • India, as a member of the World Trade Organization (WTO), enacted the Geographical Indications of Goods (Registration & Protection) Act, 1999 has come into force with effect from 15th September 2003.
    • Darjeeling Tea was the first Indian product to get the geographical indication tag. In 2004, the famous beverage got the recognition.
    • India has 236 GI products registered so far and over 270 more products have applied for the label.

Russia, Egyptian President Sign 'Strategic' Partnership Treaty

  • Russian President Vladimir Putin and Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi signed a strategic co-operation treaty that is intended to bolster trade and other ties between the two nations.
  • This week’s trip was el-Sissi’s fourth to Russia since he took office in 2014. Putin visited Egypt in 2015 and 2017.
  • Russia is also building a nuclear power plant in Dabaa, Egypt.
  • Egypt and Russia signed a 50-year agreement in Moscow to establish a Russian Industrial Zone (RIZ) in the Suez Canal Economic Zone (SCZone) an ambitious economic development project initially launched by al-Sisi in 2014. 
  • Egypt is a country spanning the northeast corner of Africa and southwest corner of Asia by a land bridge formed by the Sinai Peninsula.
  • Israel, Libya and Sudan are the bordering countries and it is situated in Mediterranean sea.

Prasar Bharti CEO Shashi Shekhar Vempati distributes Rajbhasha awards

  • Prasar Bharti CEO Shashi Shekhar Vempati distributed Rajbhasha awards to Prasar Bharti employees in New Delhi.
  • The awards were given for the various competitions held during Hindi Pakhwada organized by Prashar Bharti Secretariat. 

RBI issues guidelines to facilitate payment among PPIs

  • In a move aimed at promoting digital transactions, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has released operational guidelines to facilitate payments among prepaid instruments (PPI) such as mobile wallets.
  • RBI Guidelines:
  • As per the road-map laid down in 2017, interoperability of all KYC-compliant Prepaid Payment Instruments (PPIs) was to be enabled in three phases:
    • interoperability of PPIs issued in the form of wallets through Unified Payments Interface (UPI),
    • interoperability between wallets and bank accounts through UPI,
    • and interoperability for PPIs issued in the form of cards through card networks.
  • The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) issued consolidated guidelines for enabling all phases "in order to prepare better for implementation of interoperability".
  • What is interoperability?
    • Interoperability is the technical compatibility that enables a payment system to be used in conjunction with other payment systems.
    • Interoperability allows PPI issuers, system providers and system participants in different systems to undertake, clear and settle payment transactions across systems without participating in multiple systems.
  • Mobile Wallets
    • MobiKwik, Oxigen, Paytm, ItzCash, and Ola Money are some of the popular mobile wallets in the country.
    • Currently, a mobile wallet does not allow customers to send or receive money from a wallet run by another company.

OneerTM: Affordable water disinfection system developed by CSIR

  • Council of Scientific and Industrial Research ,Indian Institute of Toxicology Research (CSIR-IITR), Lucknow has developed an innovative technology for “Drinking Water Disinfection System” with Trade name “OneerTM”.
  • What is Water Disinfection?
    • Water disinfection means the removal, deactivation or killing of pathogenic microorganisms.
    • Microorganisms are destroyed or deactivated, resulting in termination of growth and reproduction.
    • When microorganisms are not removed from drinking water, drinking water usage will cause people to fall ill.
    • Some of the chemicals such as chlorine, chlorine dioxide, bromine chloride, etc are used for chemical disinfection.
  • Ultra Violet, Electronic Radiation and Gamma rays are used for physical disinfection in the water.

Niti Aayog launches Guidelines for PPP in Non Communicable Diseases

  • NITI Aayog has launched the model guidelines for Public-Private partnership (PPP) in Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs). 
  • Under the guidelines, the private partner will invest in upgrading, building and deploying human resources.
  • They will be responsible for operational management and service delivery. 
  • PPP Model:
    • Under the PPP model, the private sector would be provided with space for setting up facilities for treatment of cardiac, oncological, and pulmonary diseases by the state governments within the premise of existing district hospitals.
    • Cost of treatment under the PPP model would be the same as specified under the Ayushman Bharat-Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (PMJAY) or states insurance schemes.
  • NCD
    • Non-communicable diseases (NCD) are not passed from person to person.
    • They are typically of a long duration and progress slowly.
    • The most common NCDs include cardiovascular diseases (such as heart attacks and stroke), cancers, chronic respiratory diseases (such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and asthma), and diabetes.
    • NCDs share several common, modifiable risk factors – tobacco use, harmful alcohol use, physical inactivity, and unhealthy diet.
    • Mitigating the effects of these common risk factors is critical to combatting NCDs worldwide.

World's largest unmanned transport drone tested by China

  • China has successfully tested the world's largest unmanned transport drone which can carry a payload of 1.5 tonnes.
  • A large commercial drone Feihong-98 (FH-98) developed and modified by the China Academy of Aerospace Electronics Technology made a successful test flight at Baotou test site in North China's Inner Mongolia autonomous region.
  • What is the future?
    • Although it’s unlikely that the skies will be filled with Feihong-98 transport drones anytime soon, if the technology is taken further, aircraft pilots could potentially be replaced at some point in the next 20 to 30 years.
    • India has already drafted a policy on drones and from Dec 1 2018, it will become legal.
    • The government defines drone as remotely piloted aircraft (RPA).
  • Operators of civil drones will need to get a permit from the DGCA (Director General of Commercial Arispace).
  • The basic operating procedure will restrict drone flights to the daytime only.
  • RPAs cannot be flown within 5km of the perimeters of the airports in Mumbai, Delhi, Chennai, Kolkata, Bengaluru and Hyderabad and within 3km from the perimeter of any other airport. 

LPG set to make Kerala the first smoke-free State

  • Kerala is now set to become the first smoke-free State in the country with public sector oil companies eyeing 100% LPG penetration here.
  • LPG consumption was 933.3 TMT (thousand tonnes) in the State in 2017-18. And IndianOil sold 4.25 lakh tonnes of LPG the previous fiscal.
  • It is estimated that one crore tonnes of emissions, from poisonous gases like firewood cooking, have been contained and 25 lakh trees have been saved with the introduction of LPG in villages.
  • Why it is important?
    • According to a global comparative risk assessment organised by the World Health Organisation (WHO), solid-fuel soot accounted for about 2.6% of illnesses worldwide in 2000.
    • Solid fuels emit substantial amounts of health-damaging pollutants, including particulates, carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides, benzene, formaldehyde, 1,3-butadiene, and polyaromatic compounds.
    • Tuberculosis, stillbirths, low birthweight, heart diseases are also increasingly being connected pollution caused by burning solid fuels.

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