- Rajasthan launches ‘Nidaan’ software for disease monitoring
- A new software, ‘Nidaan’, has been launched in Rajasthan for presumptive diagnosis and monitoring of seasonal and non-communicable diseases as well as the trends of ailments found in specific areas.
- It is expected to help in the formulation of specific action plans for control of diseases.
- The new arrangement would also help strengthen telemedicine services in the government hospitals.
- “Nidaan” will facilitate online entries of as many as 46 diseases and healthcare services available for their treatment in different institutions.
Source: The Hindu
- Rising Crude Oil Prices
Why are crude oil prices going up?
- Brent, the international benchmark for oil prices, crossed $80 a barrel this week, touching the highest level since November 2014.
- The current price is almost three times the cost in early 2016 when it was $29 a barrel.
- The trend may continue in the coming weeks and months.
What is the trigger?
- The major trigger that sent crude prices north was U.S. President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw the country from the Iran nuclear deal on May 8.
- A second factor that is setting crude prices on fire is political and economic instability in Venezuela, another major petroleum exporting country.
- Further aggravating the situation, the Trump administration is threatening Venezuela with new sanctions that could come as early as next week.
- The heightened instability in West Asia in the form of Saudi Arabia-Iran rivalry and the looming possibility of new military conflicts add to this.
How will it affect us?
- The full impact of re-imposition of US sanctions on Iran will take effect only in six months.
- French oil company Total has announced that it will halt a natural gas development project in Iran unless it receives a waiver from the U.S. government.
- China will continue to buy from Iran and so will India, even if in reduced quantities.
- India imports significant quantities of oil from Venezuela and Iran.
- Rising oil prices could cause significant inflation, dampen economic growth and alter geopolitics in multiple ways this year.
- Brent Crude is a major trading classification of sweet light crude oil that serves as a major benchmark price for purchases of oil worldwide.
Source: The Hindu
- GST Council asks Centre, states to quickly set up appellate authorities
- The GST Council has asked the Centre and states to expedite setting up of appellate authorities for aggrieved entities to appeal against orders of the Authority for Advance Rulings (AAR).
- So far only 12 states, including West Bengal, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu and Uttar Pradesh, have issued notifications for setting up AAARs.
- However, these have not become operational as the members have not yet been appointed.
Appellate authority for advance ruling (AAAR):
- As per the State GST law, the appellate authority will have two members – the Chief Commissioner of Central tax as designated by CBIC and the Commissioner of State tax.
- The appellate authority has been mandated to pass an order within 90 days of the filing of the appeal.
- As per the law, all states are required to set up at least one AAR for seeking advance ruling over GST levy and one appellate authority to hear appeals against the AAR order.
Authority for advance ruling (AAR):
- The Authority for advance ruling has been constituted under the provisions of State Goods and Services Tax Act and shall be deemed to be the Authority for advance ruling in respect of that State under the CGST Act, 2017.
The broad objectives for setting up a mechanism of Advance Ruling are:
- Provide certainty in tax liability in advance in relation to an activity proposed to be undertaken by the applicant.
- Attract Foreign Direct Investment (FDI).
- Reduce litigation.
Source: Financial Express
- Permanent Residency Status scheme
- Two years after it was launched by the Union government, the Permanent Residency Status (PRS) scheme is yet to find a single applicant.
- The Union Cabinet had cleared the PRS in 2016 to boost its “Make in India” policy.
- Except for Pakistani citizens or third-country nationals of Pakistani origin, the scheme is open for citizens of every country.
- Most European Union countries, the U.S., Canada and others offer permanent residency to foreign investors.
- The U.S. offers the EB-5 visa programme where foreigners could apply for permanent residency if they created employment opportunities for 10 people with a minimum investment of ₹6.5 crore.
Source: The Hindu
- Shortage of Mountain Climbing Sherpa
- The Everest industry is suffering from a dangerous shortage of its most important resource: experienced Sherpa guides.
- The number of Everest climbers has more than doubled in two decades, however, the Sherpa supply has not kept pace.
- Many experienced Sherpas who started working are retiring.
Who are the Sherpas?
- Sherpa is a Tibetic ethnic group native to the most mountainous regions of Nepal, as well as certain areas of China, Bhutan and India, the Himalayas.
- Ethnic Sherpas from the valleys around Everest are known for high altitude climbing.
- They have a unique ability to work in a low-oxygen, high altitude atmosphere.
- Their unique physiology, adapted over thousands of years of living at high altitudes, has made them essential. Sherpas use oxygen more efficiently than lowlanders.
- Sherpas have been helping Everest climbers since the first British teams set their sights on the summit in the 1920s.
Source: The Hindu + Wikipedia
- New device to detect and remove arsenic in water
- ADO Additives and the Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER), Kolkata, have devised a solution to detect the level of arsenic in water and also to remove it.
- The ADO Muktadhara, “Arsenic Sensor and Removal Media” promises to provide an effective sensing of the level of arsenic in water in a simple and cost-effective manner.
- The product will be initially available in West Bengal.
- And based on its success, it will be rolled out pan-India.
- West Bengal has the highest number of arsenic-affected people in the country.
- As per a recent report, there are 83 blocks in eight districts where the groundwater is arsenic contaminated.
- Concerns have been rising of diseases due to exposure to high concentration of arsenic in groundwater even at deep levels.
What has the government done in this regard?
- The government is tapping alternate safe aquifers, for the supply of arsenic-free groundwater in many areas on a local scale.
- Under the National Aquifer mapping programme (NAQUIM) of CGWB special attention has been given to this aspect and water wells have been constructed tapping arsenic free aquifers using state of the art technology in parts of Ballia and Ghazipur districts of Uttar Pradesh.
Source: The Hindu
- China launches relay satellite to explore the far side of the moon
- China launched a relay satellite as part of a groundbreaking programme to be the first to land a spacecraft on the far side of the moon later this year.
- The satellite, lofted into space aboard a Long March-4C rocket, will facilitate communication between controllers on Earth and the Chang’e 4 mission.
- Moon’s far side is also known as the dark side because it faces away from the earth and is comparatively unknown.
- The satellite, named Queqiao, or “Magpie Bridge,” after an ancient Chinese folk tale, was launched from the Xichang Satellite Launch Centre in the south-western province of Sichuan, the space administration said.
- China conducted its first crewed space mission in 2003, making it only the third country after Russia and the U.S. to do so and has put a pair of space stations into orbit.
Source: The Hindu