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♦ India ranks 108th in WEF gender gap index 2018
- India has been ranked 108th in World Economic Forum (WEF) gender gap index, same as 2017, while recording improvement in wage equality for similar work and fully closing its tertiary education gender gap for the first time.
- As per the WEF’s Global Gender Gap Report 2018, released Tuesday, while India has many challenges as it ranks 142nd out of 149 countries in the economic opportunity and participation subindex, it also has a few achievements.
- Gender gap was measured across four key pillars — economic opportunity, political empowerment, educational attainment, and health and survival.
- “It (India) needs to make improvements across the board, from women’s participation to getting more women into senior and professional roles,” WEF said.
- WEF also noted that India continues to rank third-lowest in the world on health and survival, remaining the world’s least-improved country on this subindex over the past decade. “In fact, India actually widens the gender gap on this subindex this year.”
♦ IIT Bhubaneswar’s IoT innovation for LPG wins award
- An Internet of Things (IoT)-based solution from the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Bhubaneswar that can store, track and analyse data related to consumers’ LPG consumption has won the first edition of ‘The Grand India IoT Innovation Challenge’ by digital infrastructure provider Tata Communications.
- The winner Prajjawala from IIT Bhubaneswar received Rs 5 lakh as the top prize in the 4-month long contest organised in partnership with the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) that received 757 applications from 27 engineering colleges and universities across the country.
- The second winner was the ‘Dominators’ team from the Army Institute of Technology designed an IoT device that can be plugged to a streetlight, creating a heat map of mosquitoes for the municipal authorities to assess and control mosquito breeding.
- “There is a need to build a holistic IoT ecosystem that will enable the use of technology to solve India specific problems,” said VS Shridhar, senior vice president and head, Internet of Things (IoT), Tata Communications.
♦ NPCIL’s Kaiga Unit-1 creates world record for continuous operation
- A 220-MW unit of Nuclear Power Corporation of India’s Kaiga Atomic Power Station has created a world record for continuous operation for 941 days, state-run BHEL, which supplied equipment for the unit, said Monday.
- The previous world record of 940 days held by Heysham 2 Unit-8 of the UK, a BHEL statement said.
- Earlier in October 2018, the unit surpassed the world record of 894 days for continuous operation among all pressurized heavy water reactor.
- The complete steam turbine generator set and all the steam generators for the NPCIL unit have been manufactured and supplied by BHEL.
♦ Yes Bank recommends name of Brahm Dutt for post of Chairman: Sources
- Yes Bank has recommended the name of its board member Brahm Dutt for the post of Chairman to the RBI, according to sources.
- The Chairman post fell vacant after resignation of Ashok Chawla in November following issues related to probity.
- “The bank has sent the name of Dutt to the Reserve Bank for the Chairman post,” a source said Tuesday.
- Since Dutt is already a part of the bank and understands various aspects of the system in a better way, it would be good it would be good to have him as the chairman, sources said.
- The bank’s spokesperson could not be reached for comments.
Dutt, a retired bureaucrat, is currently an independent director on the bank’s board, which has eight members.
♦ Agriculture labourer gets Mangaluru Press Club Award
- Amai Mahalinga Naik, who single-handedly worked to irrigate his two-acre land and succeeded in raising a small plantation has been chosen for the Mangaluru Press Club Award, 2018.
- Mr. Naik, 73, a resident of Amai village near Adyanadka in Bantwal taluk, was chosen by a panel of Balakrishna Gatti, Vasanth Kumar Perla and Nagaveni Manchi for the award, Club General Secretary Ibrahim Adkasthala said in a release. The award would be presented during the Press Club Day to be celebrated on January 5 at Urwa Church Hall.
- An agriculture labourer and expert in climbing areca and coconut palms, Mr. Naik was working in the fields of Amai Mahabala Bhat. Realising his desire to own agricultural land, Mr. Bhat donated him two acres of land four decades ago; but being on hill slopes, it lacked accessibility to water sources.
♦ Transgender Bill passed in Lok Sabha
- The Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Bill, 2016, which aims at defining transgender people and prohibiting discrimination against them, was passed with 27 amendments in the Lok Sabha on Monday.
- The Bill was introduced in the House two years ago.
- The amendments moved by the government and those by some Opposition members were considered.
- Kakoli Ghosh Dastidar of the Trinamool Congress said the Bill was hastily drafted and the different clauses in it were inconclusive. “First we have to define what transgender means….This Bill has to be returned,” she said.
♠Vocabulary (The Hindu)♣
- GIGANTIC (ADJECTIVE):very large
Synonyms: enormous, giant
Antonyms: miniscule, miniature
Example: A series of scams disturbed the gigantic scheme.
- SEISMIC (ADJECTIVE):quaky
Synonyms: quivering, tremulous
Antonyms: fixed, solid
Example: The relation of the volcanic phenomena and of the seismic is clearly to be seen.
- RENDER (VERB):deliver
Synonyms: give, provide
Antonyms: hold, keep
Example: Funds will be used to render food to the homeless.
- RELENTLESS (ADJECTIVE): determined
Synonyms: rigorous, dogged
Antonyms: flexible, irresolute
Example: Sania is a relentless player.
- TENUOUS (ADJECTIVE): weak
Synonyms: delicate, shaky
Antonyms: strong, healthy
Example: Don’t you dare consider yourself a tenuous person.
- 6. DRAB (ADJECTIVE): Dull, monotonous
Synonyms: dreary, colorless
Antonyms: cheerful, bright
Example: The darb winter scene made Keisha long for the vibrant colors of spring.
- EMBELLISH (VERB): To decorate
Synonyms: adorn, garnish
Antonyms: disfigure, spoil
Example: Sari embellished the plain curtains with satin ribbons and tassels.
- GRUFF (ADJECTIVE): Rough or stern in manner or speech
Synonyms: surly, brusque
Antonyms: tactful, polite
Example: Heidi’s grandfather was gruff, barking stern orders and hardly smiling.
Right prescription: lifting the ban on oxytocin
In a crucial development that exposes the flaws in health policy-making in the country, the Delhi High Court quashed a government ban on the retail sale and private manufacture of oxytocin. Notified by the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare in April, the ban referred to a 2016 Himachal Pradesh High Court judgment, which discussed oxytocin’s misuse in dairy cattle, fruits and vegetables. However, soon after the order was issued, health experts pointed to the absurdity of it. Oxytocin is a life-saving drug used to stem post-partum bleeding among new mothers. Because of this it had been listed by both the World Health Organization and the Health Ministry as an essential medicine. Around 45,000 women die from post-partum complications in India each year, and in 38% of the cases the reason is haemorrhaging. Without the easy availability of inexpensive oxytocin, efforts to stem the maternal mortality epidemic could have suffered a costly setback. These worries led to the All India Drug Action Network (AIDAN), a patient-rights group, to challenge the order in the Delhi High Court.
In its judgment on December 14, in response to AIDAN’s and drug manufacturers’ petitions, the court struck down the ban, calling it “unreasonable and arbitrary”. The court found that the government had failed to weigh the danger the ban posed to thousands of young mothers. What is more, it had failed to show that the drug was widely misused for veterinary purposes, the purported reason behind the order. Several bits of evidence cited in the judgment support this analysis. Even though the Centre claims to have made 25 illegal drug seizures across India in a three-year period, 12 of them didn’t actually find oxytocin. Among those that did, none involved licensed drugmakers. Karnataka Antibiotics & Pharmaceuticals Limited, the only authorised oxytocin producer after the ban, did not have the capability to manufacture it until mid-2017. It is mystifying why the Centre clamped down on licensed manufacturers with a proven track record, while roping in a state firm with no real experience. The most damning observation in the judgment is that the Centre focussed on the health of milch animals, without considering the well-being of women. This was despite the fact that all statutory bodies, including the Drugs Technical Advisory Board, had advised against a ban. This episode ought to compel policy-makers to reflect on the process that led to the ill-conceived order. Several questions must be answered. On what basis did the Centre overrule the advice of multiple statutory bodies? What led to its acceptance of sporadic reports of the drug’s misuse, without clinching proof? It is time for a post-mortem of how health policy is made, because that is the only way to safeguard the right to health of Indian citizens.
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