Patratu Super Thermal Power Project: PM Narendra Modi lays foundation stone in Jharkhand
May 26, 2018

Prime Minister Narendra Modi laid foundation stone for first phase (2400MW) of NTPC’s coal based Patratu Super Thermal Power Project in Jharkhand. The project is 74: 26 Joint Venture between Government of Jharkhand (GoJ) and Patratu Vidyut Utpadan Nigam Ltd. (PVUN), a subsidiary company of NTPC. The Engineering, Procurement & Construction (EPC) contract of project is awarded to BHEL.

Patratu Super Thermal Power Project

NTPC’s PVUNL will develop project in two phases viz. 2,400 MW (3x800MW) in Phase-I and 1,600 MW (2×800 MW) in Phase-II later. The first unit is envisaged to be commissioned in 2022 and subsequently other two units each of 800 MW after interval of six months each from the preceding unit.

This project will allocate 85% of power to Jharkhand that will benefit state in the long run and help in economic growth of region. It will ensure providing 24×7 power availability to households in Jharkhand under Pradhan Mantri Sahaj Bijli Har Ghar Yojana (Saubhagya) scheme.
The project also complies with new emission norms with high efficiency ESP, FGD and Nox emission control systems. It has dry ash disposable system (second to NTPC Dadri), zero liquid discharge system, air-cooled condenser technology (only second to North Karanpura STPP) and rail loading facility for transportation of ash.



Nepal becomes first country in South-East Asia to eliminate Trachoma: WHO
May 25, 2018

The World Health Organization (WHO) on May 21, 2018 declared Nepal as free from Trachoma, the world’s leading infectious cause of blindness.

With this, Nepal becomes first country in WHO’s South-East Asia Region to eliminate Trachoma.

What WHO Regional Director for South-East Asia has to say for Nepal’s achievement?

‘Nepal’s achievement is commendable and resulted from strong political commitment, intense community engagement and impressive leadership demonstrated by the civil society, Dr Khetrapal Singh, the WHO Regional Director for South-East Asia.

Nepal’s fight against Trachoma

• Trachoma was the second leading cause of preventable blindness in Nepal in the 1980s.

• In 2002, the Nepal Government augmented its efforts to eliminate the disease by launching the National Trachoma Programme.

• Following the implementation of the programme, the prevalence of active trachoma fell by 40 percent from 2002 to 2005.

• Between 2002 and 2014, eye hospitals and dozens of eye centres and clinics with trained staff were established across Nepal.

• Other factors that boosted control and elimination of Trachoma were funding and excellent coordination among key partners and donors.

• The Nepalese Ministry of Water Supply and Sanitation provided incentives to local communities and districts to build and maintain latrines with an aim to improve sanitation and reduce disease-carrying flies.

• In order to increase awareness, the National Trachoma Programme collaborated with the Nepalese Ministry of Education to include a module on trachoma in the school curriculum.

• Apart from this, the government stepped up the efforts to increase awareness about the disease through education campaigns, brochures, posters, radio announcements in schools and village health centres.

• Around 30000 operations were undertaken to manage trichiasis, and almost 15 million doses of Azithromycin were distributed to cure the disease.

• Azithromycin is donated by the pharmaceutical company Pfizer through the International Trachoma Initiative and was delivered in Nepal by NNJS with support from the United States Agency for International Development-funded ENVISION project, implemented by the RTI International.


Factors that determine that a country has eliminated trachoma as a public health problem

Less than 5 percent of children aged 1–9 years have signs of active trachoma, also known as trachomatous inflammation–follicular, that can be treated with antibiotics in previously-endemic districts.
Only less than 0.2 percent of people aged 15 years and older have trachomatous trichiasis, which requires eyelid surgery, in each previously-endemic district
A health system which can identify and manage new cases of trachomatous trichiasis.

WHO’s efforts to tackle Trachoma

• In 1996, WHO launched the WHO Alliance for the Global Elimination of Trachoma by the year 2020 (GET2020) for the implementation of the Surgery for trichiasis, Antibiotics to clear infection, Facial cleanliness, and Environmental improvement to limit transmission strategy (SAFE).
• In 1998, the World Health Assembly determined to eliminate trachoma as a public health problem worldwide.
• In 2014, the WHO South-East Asia Regional Director Dr Poonam Khetrapal Singh identified elimination of neglected tropical diseases as one of the priority programmes. Since then, countries in the region including Nepal have been making efforts to eliminate these diseases including Trachoma.

About Trachoma

• Trachoma is an eye disease that is caused by infection with the bacterium Chlamydia trachomatis.
• The disease gets spread through contact with infective eye or nose discharges. 
• The infection in eye or nose is particularly common in young children.
• Visual or nasal discharge can spread directly from person to person or can be transmitted by flies which have been in contact with the eyes and noses of infected people.
• Trachoma transmission is associated with poor sanitation and hygiene.
• Trachoma puts more than 190 million people at risk of blindness in 41 countries and is responsible for the blindness of around 1.9 million people worldwide.
• Elimination of trachoma is inexpensive, simple and highly cost-effective.
 



US disinvites China from major military exercise
May 25, 2018

The United States on May 23, 2018 uninvited China from one of the world's largest international maritime warfare exercises.

An official statement from Pentagon read that “China's behaviour is inconsistent with the principles and purposes of the RIMPAC exercise and so, it has disinvited the People's Liberation Army (PLA) Navy from the 2018 Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) Exercise.”

The exercise, held in every two years in Hawaii, involves more than 20 countries from across the world including India, Australia, Japan and the UK.

Why was the invitation to China withdrawn?

The decision to withdraw the invitation was made mainly due to China’s continued militarisation of the South China Sea, which was further boosted by Beijing's recent deployment of missile systems and the first landing of a Chinese bomber on an island in the South China Sea.

Over the weekend China’s air force landed bombers on disputed islands and reefs in the South China Sea as part of a training exercise in the region, triggering concern from Vietnam and the Philippines.

China has also reportedly deployed anti-ship missiles, surface-to-air missiles and electronic jammers on disputed islands.Important Links

Where does it take US and China’s relations?

On May 20, 2018, it was confirmed that both US and China had agreed to back off from imposing tariffs on each other. The move followed the visit of Chinese delegation led by Vice Premier Liu He to the United States.
The two sides had reached a consensus and agreed not to fight a trade war by increasing tariffs on each other. The small truce followed months of increasing tensions that had set the markets on edge over fears of a damaging trade war.
Despite the concern and tension between the two nations, US President Donald Trump had praised China in recent months for its help in putting pressure on North Korea.k
However, with the current, the relationship between the two nations looks to be veering toward increasingly intense competition.
The United States has dispatched warships to disputed areas of the South China Sea in a bid to challenge China’s extensive sovereignty claims in the territory, which is subject to various claims by China, Vietnam, the Philippines, Taiwan, Brunei and Malaysia.

Background

 US disinvites China from major military exercise

Last week, China said that it landed long-range bombers for the first time on an island in the South China Sea. The move is the latest in a series of maneuvers that puts China at odds with its neighbours in the region and the US.

The bombers were deployed on Woody Island, an artificial land mass built by the Chinese government in the Paracel Islands, which are claimed by Vietnam, Taiwan and China.

The People's Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) claimed the mission was a part of China's aim to achieve a broader regional reach, quicker mobilization and greater strike capabilities.

About RIMPAC

• RIMPAC is the world's largest international maritime warfare exercise.

• It is hosted and administered by the United States Navy's Pacific Fleet, headquartered at Pearl Harbor, in collaboration with the Marine Corps, the Coast Guard and Hawaii National Guard forces under the control of the Governor of Hawaii.

US disinvites China from major military exercise

• The US invites military forces from the Pacific Rim and beyond to participate.

• The first RIMPAC, held in 1971, involved forces from Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the United Kingdom (UK), and the United States (US). Australia, Canada and the US have participated in every RIMPAC since then.

• India participated in RIMPAC 2016, which had witnessed participation from around 45 ships, 200 aircraft and more than 25,000 people from 26 nations across the world.

• China was also invited to RIMPAC 2016 despite the tension in the South China Sea. China had sent five vessels to take part in the exercises. It was only the second time that China had taken part in the exercises.

• The Obama administration had allowed China to participate in the 2016 RIMPAC exercises after a promise from Chinese President Xi Jinping that the artificial islands in the South China Sea would not be militarised.




Prakash Javadekar launches Samagra Shiksha scheme for school education
May 25, 2018

The Union Human Resource Development Minister Prakash Javadekar on May 24, 2018 launched Samagra Shiksha scheme for school education from pre-school to senior secondary levels.

Objective

The scheme will mainly focus on improving quality of education, enhancing the learning outcomes and using technology to empower children and teachers.

The scheme will be focused on digital education and it will enhance use of digital technology in education through smart classroom and digital boards.

Significance

The scheme will provide holistic education for holistic development.
It would help improve the quality of education by focusing on teachers and technology.

An annual grant of Rs 5000- 20,000 will be provided for strengthening of libraries in the schools.

About Samagra Shiksha scheme

*
It is an integrated scheme for school education from pre-school to senior secondary levels.
* The scheme is an integration of three already existing schemes--Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA), Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan (RMSA) and Teacher Education (TE).
* While states would have the flexibility to prioritise their interventions under the scheme, learning outcomes and steps taken for quality improvement would be the basis for allocation of grants under the scheme.



 
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