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Friday, July 26, 2019

Cabinet approves merger / amalgamation of NIMH with ICMR- NIOH:
Context: Cabinet has approved to dissolve National Institute of Miners’ Health (NIMH) and merge / amalgamate with ICMR-National Institute of Occupational Health (NIOH), Ahmedabad, Ministry of Health & Family Welfare (MoH&FW). NIMH, ICMR, NIOH, MoM and Impact: The merger / amalgamation of NIMH with NIOH will prove beneficial to both the Institutes in term of enhanced expertise in the field of occupational health besides the efficient management of public money. 
NIMH was set up by Government of India in 1990 and registered as a Society under the Karnataka Societies Registration Act, 1960.
It is an autonomous Institute under Ministry of Mines (MoM).

Colistin banned in animal food industry:
Context: Manufacture, sale and distribution of colistin and its formulations for food-producing animals, poultry, aqua farming and animal feed supplements have been prohibited in an order issued by Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.
What is colistin and why has it been banned?
Colistin is a valuable, last-resort antibiotic that saves human lives in critical care units.
Indiscriminate use of colistin has led to rise of anti-microbial resistance in the country.
If the use of colistin as a growth factor in animals is cut down and it is limited to therapeutic usage only, the chances of developing resistance to it goes down.

American pocket shark, or Mollisquama mississippiensis:
What is it? It is a new species of pocket-sized pocket shark found recently in the Gulf of Mexico.
It is only the third out of more than 500 known shark species that may squirt luminous liquid.

Dracaena cambodiana:
Context: A group of researchers has discovered Dracaena cambodianaa dragon tree species in the Dongka Sarpo area of West Karbi Anglong, Assam.
This is for the first time that a dragon tree species has been reported from India.
The Dracaena seeds are usually dispersed by birds. But due to the large fruit size, only a few species of birds are able to swallow the fruits, thus limiting the scope of its natural conservation.
Dracaena cambodiana is an important medicinal plant as well as an ornamental tree.
It is a major source of dragon’s blood, a precious traditional medicine in China.

Fair and Remunerative Prices for Sugarcane

The Union Cabinet has cleared a proposal to create an emergency sugar reserve of 4 million tonne and approved the Fair and Remunerative Prices for sugarcane for the year 2019-20.

Sugar Industry

§  Sugar industry is an important agro-based industry that impacts rural livelihood of about 50 million sugarcane farmers and around 5 lakh workers directly employed in sugar mills.
§  India is the world’s second largest sugar producer after Brazil and also the largest consumer.

Price Determination of Sugarcane

§  Sugarcane prices are determined by:

o    Federal Government
o    State Government
§  The Federal/Central Government announces Fair and Remunerative Prices which are determined on the recommendation of the Commission for Agricultural Costs and Prices (CACP) and are announced by the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs, which is chaired by Prime Minister.
§  The State Advised Prices (SAP) are announced by key sugarcane producing states which are generally higher than FRP.
Commission for Agricultural Costs and Prices (CACP)
§  The Commission for Agricultural Costs and Prices (CACP) is an attached office of the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, Government of India. It came into existence in January 1965.
§  It is an advisory body whose recommendations are not binding on Government.

National Data Quality Forum

The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR)’s National Institute for Medical Statistics (ICMR-NIMS), in partnership with Population council (International non profit NGO that conducts research in biomedicine and social science) has launched the National Data Quality Forum (NDQF).
§  The National Data Quality Forum (NDQF) is an integrated national-level platform that aims to improve the quality ofhealth and demographic data by generating meaningful dialogue around the improvement of data quality in general, and for health and medical research in particular.
§  NDQF will bring all relevant stakeholders, subject matter experts, industry leaders, decision makers, and data scientists/analysts on a common platform for discussing improvements in the quality of data ecosystem in India.
§  NDQF will integrate learnings from scientific and evidence-based initiatives and guide actions through periodic workshops and conferences.
§  NDQF’s activities will help establish protocols and good practices of data collection, storage, use and dissemination that can be applied to health and demographic data, as well as can be replicated across other industries and sectors also.
National Institute for Medical Statistics
§  NIMS is one of the permanent institutes of Institutes of Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), New Delhi.
§  The Institute came into existence in the year 1977 with the mandate to provide technical expertise on research methodology, programme evaluation, mathematical modeling, data analysis etc.
§  It is India’s only institute to coordinate and standardize the collection of medical and health statistics in the country.
Major Achievements of NIMS
§  Establishment of India's first Clinical Trials Registry, in collaboration with the Department of Science and Technology and World Health Organisation (WHO).
§  Integrated Behavioural and Biological Assessment on National Highways (IBBA-NH) among truckers for HIV epidemic in the country.
§  Identified as the National Nodal Agency for the implementation of Integrated Disease Surveillance Project(IDSP)-Non-Communicable Disease ( IDSP- NCD) risk factor survey.

Milky Way's Violent Birth Decoded

Based on the Gaia space observatory data, Scientist has observed that the Milky Way, home to our sun and billions of other stars, merged with another smaller galaxy in a cosmic collision roughly 10 billion years ago.
Gaia Space Observatory
§  Gaia is a mission to chart a three-dimensional map of our Galaxy, the Milky Way, in the process revealing the composition, formation and evolution of the Galaxy.
§  Gaia will provide unprecedented positional and radial velocity measurements with the accuracy needed to produce a census of about one billion stars in our Galaxy.
§  According to scientists, the union of the Milky Way and the so-called dwarf galaxy Gaia-Enceladus increased our galaxy’s mass by about a quarter and triggered a period of accelerated star formation lasting about 2 to 4 billion years.
§  Galaxies of all types, including the Milky Way, began to form relatively soon after the Big Bang explosion that marked the beginning of the universe some 13.8 billion years ago, but were generally smaller than those seen today and were forming stars at a rapid rate. Subsequent galactic mergers were instrumental in configuring galaxies existing now.
§  Certain stars with higher content of elements other than hydrogen or helium arose in the Milky Way and others with lower such content originated in Gaia-Enceladus, owing to its smaller mass.

Blood-oozing Tree

A trio of researchers led by Assam forest officer Jatindra Sarma has discovered Dracaena cambodiana, a dragon tree species in the Dongka Sarpo area of West Karbi Anglong. This is for the first time that a dragon tree species has been reported from India.


§  It is a plant that yields dragon’s blood — a bright red resin (a precious traditional medicine in China) used since ancient times as medicine, body oil, varnish, incense and dye.
§  Several antifungal and antibacterial compounds, antioxidants, flavonoids, etc.have been extracted from various parts of the plant.


§  In India, the Dracaena genus belonging to the family Asparagaceae is represented by nine species and two varieties in the Himalayan region, the northeast and Andaman and Nicobar Islands. But Dracaena cambodiana is the only true dragon tree species, the study said.


§  Recent overexploitation to meet the increasing demand for dragon’s blood has resulted in rapid depletion of the plant. For this reason, the species is already listed in the inventory of Rare and Endangered Plants of China.
§  The population size of the dragon tree species in Assam was estimated to be fewer than 50 mature individuals. The habitat of the plant is severely fragmented due to open excavation of a stone quarry and there is continuing decrease in its area of occupancy and number of mature individuals.
§  The Dracaena seeds are usually dispersed by birds. But due to the large fruit size, only a few species of birds are able to swallow the fruits, thus limiting the scope of its natural conservation.

National Institute of Miners Health

The Union Cabinet has approved the merger of National Institute of Miners Health with Indian Council of Medical Research-National Institute of Occupational Health.


§  Expenditure Management Commission established by the Government of India to review the working and performance of autonomous institutes, recommended the merger of organisations with similar objectives.

Impact of Merger

§  Enhance expertise in the field of occupational health.
§  Efficient management of public resources

National Institute of Miners Health

§  It was set up by the Government of India in 1990 and was registered as a Society under the Karnataka Societies Registration Act, 1960.
§  It is an autonomous Institute under Ministry of Mines and located at Kolar Gold Fields, Karnataka and the Central Laboratory in Nagpur.
§  It conducts applied research in occupational health and hygiene and specializes in providing technical support services to mining and mineral based industry with special reference to metalliferous sector.
§  It has the state-of-art infrastructural facilities and expertise for conducting Airborne Respirable Dust, Heat Stress, Vibrations, Noise Monitoring & Mapping, Illumination, ergonomic, etc. surveys in underground and opencast mines and routine & specialized health surveillance of persons employed in mines.

National Institute of Occupational Health

§  It was established in 1966 as Occupational Health Research Institute (OHRI) at Ahmedabad and later renamed as National Institute of Occupational Health (NIOH) in 1970.
§  It works under the administrative control of Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.
§  Its primary responsibility is to support the national policy makers for adopting an appropriate policy in the field of occupational health which includes occupational medicine and occupational hygiene.
§  It has two regional office at Kolkata and Bangalore.

Cuban Revolution

Aleida Guevara’s (Daughter of Ernesto "Che" Guevara ) visit to India coincides with 60 years of the Cuban revolution that was carried out by Fiedel castro and Ernesto "Che" Guevara.
§  America had been highly influential in Cuba since the early 1900s. Much of Cuba's industry was owned by United States business and its main export, sugar, was controlled by the USA.
§  In the 1950s, Cuba was being led under the corrupt and oppressive military dictatorship of Fulgencio Batista. However he supported US interests on the island and hence, Washington supported him.
§  The Batista regime was extremely unpopular with the Cuban people.
§  In 1956, Fidel Castro and Che Guevara gathered a force of guerrilla fighters and started a revolutionary war against government forces.
§  By 1958, the revolution had spread throughout Cuba, culminating in the fall of Havana in early 1959. Batista fled the country in 1959 and Castro formed a liberal nationalist government by liberating Cuba from US influence.

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