Which country recently banned metal mining and became world’s first country to ban metal mining?
Central America’s smallest nation, El Salvador became first country in the world to ban metal mining nationwide. It has passed a law that bans all mining for gold and other metals. The law imposes broad prohibition on the extraction of minerals to protect the nation’s fragile environment, water reservoirs and reduce social tensions.
India has recently joined which global association as the lone associate member?
International Internet Association (IIA)
International Uranium Association (IUA)
International Solar Association (ISA)
International Energy Association (IAE)
India declared today its “Association” status with the International Energy Agency (IEA). Shri Piyush Goyal, Union Minister of State (IC) for Power, Coal, New & Renewable Energy & Mines handed over the formal letter in this regard to Dr. Fatih Birol, Executive Director, IEA. India attaining an Association status is expected to serve as a bridge and platform for wide ranging and deeper cooperation and collaboration between IEA Member and Association countries. The IEA which covers the entire spectrum of energy globally, will play an important role in India’s energy security context. With enhanced cooperation with the IEA, India would be able to play a more visible and influential role in the future global energy governance landscape. The Minister envisaged a greater partnership with IEA in taking forward the International Solar Alliance framework to other countries in the world. India pursues its key development objectives of energy access, energy security and environmental sustainability. In this context, India has a vision of ensuring 24x7 affordable and environment friendly ‘Power for All’ and deeper engagement with IEA is a component of achieving this vision. The Minister added that this does not cast any additional obligation on India, however gives an opportunity for the country to become the voice of the developing countries. India is world’s 3rd largest consumer of energy, hence a very big market for catering he energy demands of a billion plus people. He added that it is essential to realize mutual benefits for India & IEA in the global energy space. Attaching great importance of this development, Dr. Birol said that today over 70% of world’s energy consumption is under the IEA umbrella which increases its relevance in global energy governance manifold. He added that since India is moving fast to the centre stage of Global Energy landscape, as pointed out by IEA’s India Energy Outlook 2015, IEA would look forward to increasing engagement with India in the areas like renewable energy, energy efficiency, among others. Today, IEA is an important part of global dialogue on energy, providing research, data/statistics, analysis and recommendations on the global energy sector. India’s engagement with the IEA has enhanced over the last two decades and the "Association" status would facilitate it to participate in meetings of the standing groups, committees and working groups that constitute the IEA governance structure. India can also richly gain from IEA’s data gathering processes, survey methodologies and range of energy data, which could enable India in the near future to set up its own robust integrated database agency. India’s participation will enrichen the energy efficiency and renewable sectors of IEA member and other countries. IEA is an inter-governmental organization established in 1974 as per framework of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). It was established in the wake of the 1973 oil crisis after the OPEC cartel had shocked the world with a steep increase in oil prices. Presently it has 29 member countries. India is lone associate member of IAE. IEA Headquarters (Secretariat): Paris, France. IEA Mandate: Its prime focus is on the “3Es” of effectual energy policy: energy security, economic development and environmental protection.
Which is India’s first ‘Green corridor’?
Barmer-Munawab stretch of North Western Railway
Manamadurai– Rameswaram stretch of Southern Railway
Porbandar-Wasjaliya route of Western Railways
Pipad Road-Bilara stretch of North Western Railway
The North Western Railway has declared the Barmer-Munawab and Pipad Road-Bilara rail routes in Rajasthan as Green Corridors. With this total number of green corridors has increased to five. The 114-km-long Manamadurai– Rameswaram stretch of Southern Railway was India’s first ‘Green corridor’. Okha-Kanalus and Porbandar-Wasjaliya railway sections of Gujarat also have been declared green corridors. What is green corridor? The Green Corridor ensures zero toilet discharge on rail tracks as part of its commitment to clean environment under the ‘Swachh Rail-Swachh Bharat’ initiative. Trains in the section have been equipped with bio-toilets to ensure zero discharge of human waste on the rail tracks and preventing corrosion of the tracks. About Bio toilets Indian Railway had developed the environment friendly ‘Bio-toilets’, in association with Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO). Bio-toilets evacuate discharge into a biodigester tank, containing anaerobic bacteria, fitted underneath the train coach in a small space. The bacteria convert human faecal matter into water and small amount of gases (including methane) by process of hydrolysis, acetogenesis, acidogenesis and methanogenesis. Indian railways aims to install human waste discharge free bio-toilets in all its coaches as part of the Swachh Bharat Mission by September 2019.
Bare Metal and Drug-eluting types of what medical commodities are recently included in the National List of Essential Medicines (NLEM) by the National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority?
As per the WHO, Essential Medicines are those that satisfy the priority health care needs of the population. The list is made with consideration to disease prevalence, efficacy, safety and comparative cost-effectiveness ofthe medicines. Such medicines are intended to be available in adequate amounts, in appropriate dosage forms and strengths with assured quality. They should be available in such a way that an individual or community can afford. The first country in the world to compose its EML (Essential Medicines List) was Tanzania in 1970. National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA) is an organization of the Government of India which was established on 29 August 1997 to fix/revise the prices of controlled bulk drugs and formulations and to enforce prices and availability of the medicines in the country. It can fund studies regarding pricing of drugs. It also has the task to monitor drug shortages and take appropriate actions to rectify it. It also has to collect and maintain data regarding the import and export of drugs, market shares of pharmaceutical companies and their profits. It also handles legal disputes that arise out of policies created by it. It advices the Government of India in matters of drug policies and pricing. It renders advice to the Central Government on changes/ revisions in the drug policy. It can also cap the prices of a drug and recently it capped the prices of coronary stents. In July 2016, coronary stents were included in the National List of Essential Medicines (NLEM) In February 2017, the NPPA had brought stents under price control and capped ceiling price of coronary stents. NPPA is part of Department of Pharmaceuticals, Ministry of Chemicals and Fertilizers. A coronary stent is a tube-shaped device placed in the arteries that supply blood to the heart. It keeps the arteries open in the treatment of coronary heart diseases. Bare-metal stent: It is a mesh-like tube of thin wire used in cardiac arteries was bare metal often made of 316L stainless steel. More recent stents (‘2nd generation’) use cobalt chromium alloy. Drug-eluting stents: It is a peripheral or coronary stent placed into narrowed, diseased peripheral or coronary arteries that slowly releases a drug to block cell proliferation. Drug-eluting stents are preferred over bare-metal stents because the bare-metal stents carry a higher risk of restenosis, the growth of tissue into the stent resulting in vessel narrowing. Drug price regulator National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA) has recently increased price of stents by around 2% after taking into account wholesale price index. It will increase price of bare metal stents to Rs. 7,400 rupees from Rs. 7,260 and of drug-eluting stent to Rs. 30,180 rupees from Rs. 29,600.
What is the maximum fare for half of the seats in one-hour flights to and from unserved and under-served airports as part of the Regional Connectivity Scheme called 'UDAN' (Ude Desh Ka Aam Naagrik)?
India's regional connectivity scheme fares are capped at Rs 2,500 for half of the seats in one-hour flights. The cap on fares would be reviewed periodically based on Consumer Price Index for Industrial Workers and would also vary in tune with duration of a flight under the Regional Connectivity Scheme (RCS), which has been named 'UDAN'. A "first of its kind" in the world, UDAN (Ude Desh Ka Aam Naagrik) will be based on market mechanism as well as bidding for a minimum of 50 per cent seats in the participating airline's flight and the rest would be market-based pricing. Helicopter services too can be part of the scheme. Under the scheme, mainly aimed at connecting unserved and under-served airports, airfares would be capped at Rs 2,500 for half of the seats in flights travelling a distance of 476-500 kilometre. This translates to around a one-hour journey. As per the government, a participating carrier – which would be extended Viability Gap Funding (VGF) -- has to bid for at least 9 seats and a maximum of 40 seats. In the case of a helicopter, the operator has to bid for a minimum of 5 seats and a maximum of 13 seats. The limit of RCS airfare would vary from Rs 1,420 to Rs 3,500 for fixed-wing aircraft. For helicopters, half-an-hour ride under the scheme would cost Rs 2,500 and for over one-hour duration, the cap would be Rs 5,000. On each RCS route, the minimum frequency of flights would be 3 and a maximum of 7 in a week. In the first round, as many as 128 routes connecting 70 big and small airports across the country were selected and all flights will become active within 4-6 months. Air India has got 15 routes, Spice Jet has got 11, Turbo 18, Air Deccan 34 and Air Odisha has got 50 routes. Apart from the 13 lesser known airports, 43 airports too will be part of this project. Airports Authority of India (AAI) would be the implementing agency for the scheme which would be in place for 10 years and the provisions would be reviewed at least once in three years. The government plans to upgrade 50 unserved and underserved airports in the country, which would further boost air connectivity pan-India. There are 394 unserved and 16 under-served airports.