Bhabha Atomic Research Centre

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  • The Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC) is India’s premier nuclear research facility headquartered in Trombay, Mumbai, Maharashtra.
  • The Atomic Energy Establishment, Trombay (AEET) was established by the government of India in 1954 to consolidate all the research and development activity for nuclear reactors and technology under the AEET.
  • As a result, all the scientists and engineers engaged in the fields of reactor design and development, instrumentation, metallurgy and material science etc. were transferred with their respective programmes from the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR) to AEET, with TIFR retaining its original focus for fundamental research in the sciences.
  • After the demise of Dr Homi Jehangir Bhabha in 1966, AEET was renamed Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC).
  • Over the years, BARC has emerged as the multi-disciplinary research centre with extensive infrastructure for advanced research and development.
  • Its R&D covers the entire spectrum of nuclear science, engineering and related areas.
  • BARC’s core mandate is to sustain peaceful applications of nuclear energy, primarily for power generation.

Gratuity

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What is Gratuity?
  • Gratuity is the monetary benefit provided by the employer to his/her employee for the services rendered by him during the period of employment.
  • A minimum of five years of service with an organisation is mandatory for availing the benefit of gratuity.
  • The Payment of Gratuity Act 1972 makes it mandatory for the employers to pay their employees gratuity at the time of quitting, provided certain conditions were met.
  • An organisation comes under the purview of the Payment of Gratuity Act 1972 if it has 10 or more employees on any single day in the preceding 12 months.
  • The Payment of Gratuity Act follows the rule of ‘Once Covered, Always Covered’ which implies that that once an organisation comes under the Act, it will always remain covered even if the number of employees falls below 10.
  • The Ministry of Finance has now enhanced the income tax exemption for gratuity under Section 10 (10) (iii) of the Income Tax Act, 1961 to Rs 20 lakhs.

White Label ATMs

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  • Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) set up, owned and operated by non-bank entities are called White Label ATMs.
  • These White Label ATMs provide banking services to the customers of banks on the basis of the cards (debit/credit/prepaid) issued by banks.
  • The non-bank entities which set up, own and operate ATMs are called White Label ATM Operators.
  • Their role is confined to enabling the transactions of all banks customers by establishing technical connectivity with the existing authorized, shared ATM Network Operators or Card Payment Network Operators.
  • These White Label ATM operators are entitled to receive a fee from the banks for the use of ATM resources by the bank’s customers and they are not permitted to charge bank customer directly for the use of WLAs.

Bureau of Energy Efficiency

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  • Bureau of Energy Efficiency is a statutory body set up under the Energy Conservation Act, 2001.
  • The Bureau of Energy Efficiency assists the government in developing policies and strategies with a thrust on self-regulation and market principles with the primary objective of reducing the energy intensity of the Indian economy within the overall framework of the Energy Conservation Act, 2001.

West Nile Virus

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What is West Nile Virus?
  • West Nile Virus is a viral infection which typically spread by mosquitoes and results in neurological disease as well as death in people.
  • The Virus is the member of the flavivirus genus and belongs to the Japanese encephalitis antigenic complex of the family Flaviviridae.
  • It was first detected in a woman in the West Nile district of Uganda in 1937 and was later identified in birds (crows and Columbiformes) in the Nile delta region in 1953.
Spread of Disease
  • The disease spreads through mosquito bites.
  • Mosquitoes are infected when they feed on infected birds.
  • The virus then circulates in blood and multiplies.
  • The virus also travels to salivary glands from where it is injected into humans as well as animals through mosquito bites.
  • There have been no reports of human-to-human transmission through casual contact till date.
  • But a small proportion of human infections have reported through organ transplant, blood transfusions and breast milk while one case of transplacental.
Symptoms
  • People infected with WNV suffer from fever, headache, fatigue, body aches, nausea, vomiting, occasionally with a skin rash (on the trunk of the body) and swollen lymph glands.
  • In case of severe West Nile disease, the patient suffers from headache, high fever, neck stiffness, disorientation, stupor, coma, tremors, convulsions, muscle weakness and paralysis.
  • One in 150 persons infected with the virus will develop a severe form of the disease, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO).
  • There are no vaccines to prevent or medications to treat the infection.

National Productivity week

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National Productivity week :

  • National Productivity Council (NPC) is celebrating National Productivity week.
  • This year, the theme is “Circular Economy for Productivity & Sustainability”.
  • This theme will help NPC to meet its zero waste goal.
  • The above theme is decided by looking into the different national objectives of sustainable growth and commitments with respect to different sectors.

What is Circular Economy?

  • Circular Economy is based on the model of Make, Use and Return.
  • It controls the finite stocks and reuses them by recycling and thus balances the resource flow.
  • The key advantages of Circular Economy are as follows:
    1. It will increase productivity.
    2. It will create more jobs.
    3. It will reduce carbon emission thus preserving valuable raw materials.
  • Circular Economy system increases the product life span through improved design and servicing and relocating wastes from the end of the supply chain to the beginning.

Other Initiatives taken by NPC to accomplish the goal of converting linear economy to circular economy are:

  1. New Solid waste management rules to fulfill the Swacch Bharat objectives.
  2. Trained energy professionals in various industrial sectors.
  3. To meet 50% of NDC target, 18640 certified energy auditors have been prepared.
  4. Through 10-15 annual workshops from the last 12 years, 8000 boiler supervisors have been trained who are experts on efficiency and safety issues.

World Government Summit

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World Government Summit

  • The World Government Summit is a neutral, non-profit organization at the intersection of government and innovation.
  • The World Government Summit functions as a knowledge exchange platform for leaders in the public and private sectors to convene and collaborate with world-renowned experts to create a positive impact for citizens worldwide.
  • The World Government Summit is a global platform dedicated to shaping the future of governments worldwide.
  • It sets the agenda each year for the next generation of governments, focusing on how they can harness innovation and technology to solve universal challenges facing humanity.
  • It provides a unique platform to showcase and exchange best practices and smart solutions to the challenges that nations face.
  • The seventh annual World Government Summit is being held in Dubai (UAE).

International Financial Services Centres

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  • IFSCs are set-up to bring back the financial services and transactions that are currently carried out in offshore financial centres by Indian corporate entities and overseas branches or subsidiaries of financial institutions (FIs) to India.
  • The first IFSC in India was set up at GIFT City in Gandhinagar, Gujarat.

Unified Regulator:

  • In order to ensure this, the business and regulatory environment must be comparable to other leading international financial centres in the world like London and Singapore. 
  • Currently, the banking, capital markets and insurance sectors in IFSCs are regulated by multiple regulators like the RBI, SEBI and IRDAI respectively.
  • For IFSCs to attain its objectives there is a need for inter-regulatory coordination.
  • The establishment of a unified financial regulator for IFSCs will result in providing a world-class regulatory environment to market participants from the ease of doing business perspective.
  • For the setting up of a unified regulator, the Union cabinet has approved the International Financial Services Centres Authority Bill, 2019.

Intellectual Property (IP) Index 2019

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  • India ranked 36/50
  • Last year India was ranked 44/50
  • Index prepared by U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Global Innovation Policy Center (GIPC).

The report cites the following factors as responsible for India’s performance:

  • India has taken several noteworthy steps to improve its IP system in 2018 and also performed well on the new indicators included in the Index this year.
  • The Government of India take steps to improve its national IP environment and these efforts continued in 2018 and progress has been made on several important areas measured by the Index.
  • Greater efforts were made to align and incorporate India’s IP environment with the international IP system.
  • India’s accession to the WIPO Internet Treaties and subsequent agreement with the Japanese Patent Office on a pilot PPH both stand out.
  • India also invested considerable energy into decreasing pendency rates for patent and trademark applications by hiring staff and investments in resources for modernising and improving the administrative capacities of the Office of the Controller General of Patents, Designs and Trademarks (CGPDTM).
  • As a result, the application backlog had been reduced from over 200,000 pending applications in March 2017 to just over 155,000 applications by end of June 2018.

Challenges:

  • The weakness of India as highlighted in the report are barriers to licensing and technology transfer, including strict registration norms, limited framework for the protection of biopharmaceutical IP rights, patentability rules outside international standards, lengthy pre-grant opposition proceedings and previously used compulsory licensing for commercial and non-emergency situations as key hurdles.

GSAT-31

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  • GSAT-31 would be placed at Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit.
  • GSAT-31 will augment the Ku-band transponder capacity in Geostationary Orbit.
  • GSAT-31 derives its heritage from ISRO’s earlier INSAT/GSAT satellite series and will provide continuity to operational services on some of the in-orbit satellites.
  • GSAT-31 will provide DTH Television Services, connectivity to VSATs for ATM, Stock-exchange, Digital Satellite News Gathering (DSNG) and e-governance applications.
  • GSAT-31 will also be used for bulk data transfer for a host of emerging telecommunication applications.
  • GSAT-31 was launched from the launch vehicle Ariane 5 VA-247 from French Guinea.