National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) has launched a mobile App called ‘Harit Path’ to monitor location, growth, species details, maintenance activities, targets and achievements of each of its field units for each and every plant under all plantation projects.
- In order to track the growth and health of the plants, photographs along with data of the plants captured using Harit Path shall be uploaded every 3 months on NHAI’s AI powered Big Data Analytics platform – Data Lake.
- Highway contractors shall be accountable for proper upkeep and maintenance of the plantation and liable to replace the missing/dead plants. Performance and growth of the plants shall be linked to the payment to the contractors for this work.
- NHAI has identified the NH stretches and is creating a data base of all the plantations already done and to be done on these stretches. The launch of ‘Harit Path’, mobile app will further facilitate creation of Green Highways across the country.
Harit Bharat Sankalp –
- To commemorate 25 years of its service to the nation, NHAI also undertook ‘Harit Bharat Sankalp’, a nation-wide plantation drive which is in line with its commitment to promote environment protection and sustainability.
- Under this initiative, NHAI planted over 25 lakh plants in 25 days along the stretches of the National Highways between 21st July to 15th August 2020. The drive takes the total cumulative number of plantations done during the current year to 35.22 lakh.
Kerala Government’s programme of teaching tribal children in their mother tongue has become a runaway hit amongst them.
- The programme, implemented by the Samagra Siksha Kerala (SSK), has succeeded in retaining hundreds of tribal children in their online classes by making them feel at home with the language of instruction.
- The SSK has distributed some 50 laptops exclusively for Namath Basai. Prerecorded classes are offered through a YouTube channel.
- Classes are being offered in three tribal languages in Attappady. While the Irula language has the largest number of takers, the Muduka and Kurumba language do not have as many.
Parliamentary Standing Committees
The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Information Technology has summoned Facebook to discuss the alleged misuse of social media platforms in the wake of claims that the US firm did not apply hate speech rules to certain politicians.
About Parliamentary Committees –
- Broadly, Parliamentary Committees are of two kinds – Standing Committees and ad hoc Committees. The former are elected or appointed every year or periodically and their work goes on, more or less, on a continuous basis. The latter are appointed on an ad hoc basis as the need arises and they cease to exist as soon as they complete the task assigned to them.
- Their appointment, terms of office, functions and procedure of conducting business are also more or less similar and are regulated as per rules made by the two Houses under Article 118(1) of the Constitution.
- Parliamentary Standing Committees are further divided into financial committees and departmentally-related standing committees (DRSCs).
- Finance committees are considered to be particularly powerful. The three financial committees are the Public Accounts Committee, the Estimates Committee and the Committee on Public Undertakings.
- ‘Select’ committees formed for a specific purpose, for instance, to deliberate on a particular bill. Once the Bill is disposed of, that select committee ceases to exist.
Science and Technology Indicators (STI), 2018
According to the data in the Science and Technology Indicators (STI), 2018, a periodic compendium of the state of scientific research in India, India’s private sector research companies appear to employ a larger proportion of women in core research and development activities than government-funded major scientific agencies do.
What does the report say?
- Of the women involved in the R&D domain, the share of involvement was three-fourth in private R&D companies and less than half in case of government-funded major scientific agencies.
- Male scientists account for a higher proportion of the total scientists in India’s R&D establishments. The ratio of women to men scientists is the range 1:6 to 1:4. This indicates the inadequate representation of women scientists in the R&D domain.
- There has been a trend of a large drop in the number of women between the doctoral and professional stages due to social pressure on women to have a family that is seen as incompatible with a professional career.
- There are also patriarchal attitudes in hiring practices that might be leading to lower women hiring.
- Data from the STI report notes that India’s private sector research companies employ a larger proportion of women in core research and development activities than government-funded major scientific agencies.
- Private sector companies seem to have a greater commitment to ensuring that women scientists are fairly represented in recruitment, promotions and appraisal processes than in many scientific organisations.
About Science and Technology Indicators (STI), 2018 –
The STI is prepared by a division of the Department of Science and Technology, the National Science and Technology Management Information System, and is based on data provided by a range of scientific establishments across the country.
National Strategy for Financial Education
The National Strategy for Financial Education (NSFE): 2020-2025 document released by the Reserve Bank of India has recommended a ‘5C’ approach for dissemination of financial education in the country.
These include emphasis on development of relevant content in curriculum in schools, colleges and training establishments, developing capacity among intermediaries involved in providing financial services, leveraging the positive effect of community-led model for financial literacy through appropriate communication strategy, and, enhancing collaboration among various stakeholders.
What is NSFE?
NSFE for the period 2020-2025, the second one after the 2013-18 NSFE, has been prepared by the National Centre for Financial Education (NCFE) in consultation with all the Financial Sector Regulators (RBI, SEBI, IRDAI and PFRDA), DFS and other Ministries of Govt. of India and other stakeholders (DFIs, SROs, IBA, NPCI) under the aegis of the Technical Group on Financial Inclusion and Financial Literacy under the Chairmanship of Deputy Governor, RBI.
Objective of NSFE –
- The NSFE: 2020-2025 intends to support the vision of the Government of India and the Financial Sector Regulators by empowering various sections of the population to develop adequate knowledge, skills, attitudes and behaviour which are needed to manage their money better and to plan for the future. The strategy recommends adoption of a multi-stakeholder approach to achieve financial well-being of Indians.
- To achieve the vision of creating a financially aware and empowered India, certain strategic objectives have been laid down including inculcating financial literacy concepts among various sections of the population through financial education to make it an important life skill, encouraging active savings behaviour and developing credit discipline.
- Improving usage of digital financial services in a safe and secure manner, and bringing awareness about rights, duties and avenues for grievance redressal are also objectives.
Scientists from the Institute of Nano Science & Technology (INST), Mohali have developed an oral nanomedicine for combating visceral leishmaniasis (Kala Azar).
What is ‘Kala Azar’?
- It is a neglected tropical disease affecting almost 100 countries including India. Neglected tropical diseases are a diverse group of communicable diseases that prevail in tropical and subtropical conditions in 149 countries.
- It is caused by a parasite called Leishmania, which is transmitted through the bite of sand flies.
- There are three types of leishmaniasis –
- Visceral leishmaniasis, which affects multiple organs and is the most serious form of the disease.
- Cutaneous leishmaniasis, which causes skin sores and is the most common form.
- Mucocutaneous leishmaniasis, which causes skin and mucosal lesions.
- Visceral leishmaniasis, which is commonly known as Kala-azar in India, is fatal in over 95% of the cases, if left untreated.