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(1) 29th Conference of Indian Society of Organ Transplantation
• The Vice President of India, Shri M. Venkaiah Naidu addressing the 29th annual conference of the Indian Society of Organ Transplantation pointed out that although there was a huge requirement for donated organs in the country, only a miniscule number were getting them.
• There was a huge leap in cadaveric organ donations in the last 4-5 years, the demand-supply remained hugely unmet because of low rates of organ donation at 0.8 per million population when smaller countries like Spain and Croatia were having rates of 36 per million and 32 per million respectively.
• He said “India is known for unity in diversity and altruism in all cultures and we need to increase the donation rates to meet the demand of organs for organ transplantation”.
• Emphasizing that prevention was better than cure, the Vice President said many end stage diseases can be prevented by lifestyle modifications.
• It should be made mandatory for doctors to serve a minimum of 2-3 years in rural areas before giving the first promotion.
(2) GI Tag for Alphonso Mango from Konkan
• Alphonso Mango from Ratnagiri, Sindhudurg and other adjoining areas in Maharashtra, gets a Geographical Indication (GI) Tag.
• The king of mangoes, Alphonso, better known as ‘Hapus’ in Maharashtra has long been one of the world’s most popular fruit and is exported to various countries including Japan, Korea and Europe. New markets such as USA and Australia have recently opened up.
• A Geographical Indication or a GI is a sign used on products that have a specific geographical origin and possess qualities or a reputation that are due to that origin.
• Darjeeling Tea, Mahabaleshwar Strawberry, Blue Pottery of Jaipur, Banarasi Sarees and Tirupati Laddus are some of the GIs.
• GI products can benefit the rural economy in remote areas, by supplementing the incomes of artisans, farmers, weavers and craftsmen.
• Our rural artisans possess unique skills and knowledge of traditional practices and methods, passed down from generation to generation, which need to be protected and promoted.
• Union Minister of Commerce and Industry, Suresh Prabhu launched the logo and tagline for the Geographical Indications (GI) of India and said that the GI will give the rightful share of intellectual property to the artisan and the place of origin of the product.
• The Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion has taken several initiatives and is actively involved in promotion and marketing of GIs with a vision to enhance the horizon both socially and economically for GI producers.
• The first product to get a GI tag in India was the Darjeeling tea in 2004. There are a total of 325 products from India that carry this indication.
(3) World Habitat Day – 2018 with the theme ‘Municipal Solid Waste Management’ (MSWM)
• Shri Hardeep Singh Puri, Minister of State (I/C) of Housing & Urban Affairs, said that from source of generation to segregation and scientific disposal of waste, modern and innovative approaches are needed which are environmentally sound, socially acceptable, technologically feasible and economically viable.
• The Government has considered solid waste management as top priority area of urban development and added that the launch of ‘Swachh Bharat Mission (SBM) – Clean India Mission’ envisages 100 per cent of the urban population to be covered under Solid Waste Management (SWM) services.
He said the theme also remind us of our collective responsibility to implement Sustainable Development Goals.
Related SDG’s are:
• SDG Goal No. 11, ‘to make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable’ along with basic services,
• SDG Goal No. 3 ‘ensuring healthy lives and promoting well-being for all at all ages’,
• SDG Goal No. 12 ‘ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns’,
• SDG Goal No. 13 ‘to take urgent action to combat climate change and impacts’.
• Behavioural change and citizen/community participation in SWM is the key to sustain a project related to management of municipal solid waste and if municipal solid waste management is done through proper planning and management, it would lead to a business case of income generation and provide financial support to ULBs by generating revenue.
(4) Indian Railways enters into MoC & MoU with Government of Russian Federation
Memorandum of Cooperation (MoC):
• A Memorandum of Cooperation was signed between the Ministry of Railways of the Republic of India and the Joint Stock Company ‘Russian Railways’.
• The MoC intends to carry forward the activities taken up under the Memorandum of Understanding signed between the two countries on 24thDecember, 2015.
• The Memorandum of cooperation includes:
• Implementation of speed up gradation project of Nagpur-Secunderabad section;
• Setting up of single traffic control centre for managing mixed traffic at local level;
• Best practices in freight cargo operation;
• Development of multi modal terminals; and
• Exchange of best technologies being practiced by the two countries.
• Training and advanced qualification improvement of Indian railway employees with the involvement of Russian railway-related higher education establishments.
Memorandum of Understanding (MoU):
• A Memorandum of Understanding was signed between Ministry of Railways and Ministry of Transport of Russian Federation for development of cooperation in transport education.
• To provide organizational and methodological support to higher educational institutions implementing joint projects in the field of transport education of both countries.
(5) Task Force for Closing the Skills Gap in India
• Shri Dharmendra Pradhan, Minister of Petroleum and Natural Gas & Skill Development and Entrepreneurship launched a Task Force for Closing the Skills Gap in India, in collaboration with the World Economic Forum.
• The task force will bring together leaders from business, Government, civil society, and the education and training sectors to accelerate the future-proofing of education and training systems in the country.
• Develop an action plan to address skills gaps in India and make the Indian workforce ready for jobs of future.
• This Task Force is the second country-led public-private collaboration of the World Economic Forum’s Closing the Skills Gap Project after South Africa.
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