Skip to main content

Posts

Showing posts from March 20, 2017

Report finds gaps in data on antibiotic resistance in USA (downtoearth,)

Reiterating the need for more information on antibiotic usage, a report by United States Government Accountability Office (GAO) has said that maintaining records on the use of important drugs in food animals in necessary. The report analysed information collected by other government bodies in USA and found gaps in data.

The GAO is an independent agency that evaluates the activities and functions of US government.

The report finds that Food and Drug Administration (FDA) withdrew its guideline to label antibiotic growth promoters, leaving scope for routine use of antimicrobials for disease prevention. The FDA did not recommend veterinary oversight of antibiotics administered through injections or tablets, as per the report. Another agency, US Department of Agriculture (USDA) should improve data collection on antibiotic use and resistance, it adds.

"FDA and USDA have not gone on the farms to investigate the source of the food-borne illness as of yet. We found that they had limited auth…

For the first time, India has indigenously developed Braille maps (downtoearth,)

Students at the JPM Senior Secondary School for the Blind in New Delhi had some exciting news recently. They now have intricately carved Braille maps that depict a gamut of information provided with the help of legends, dots, bars and symbols.

Earlier, blind children used to learn geography, but they were not exposed to maps. Now thanks to the Kolkata-based National Atlas & Thematic Mapping Organisation (NATMO), India has, for the first time, indigenously developed Braille maps. This breakthrough could change the way 52 million visually impaired people and 0.27 million blind children in India study geography. The atlas is updated till 2011-2012, and was released by the Union Minister of Science & Technology, Harsh Vardhan on February 10.

“Maps are an integral part of geography lessons in school. Realising the lack of efficient maps catering to the visually challenged in India, NATMO, introduced a cost-effective and an indigenous method of producing Braille maps,” says Tapati …

How can we bring disappearing sparrows back to our cities? (downtoearth)

In 2012, the then Chief Minister of Delhi, Sheila Dikshit, declared house sparrow as the state bird of Delhi. Two years prior to that, the Indian Postal Department had released a stamp of the house sparrow along with the rock pigeon. But what was once the most ubiquitous bird is now fast disappearing from our neighbourhood.

Once again, the blame goes to us, humans, who have robbed them of their food and nesting places. Our indifference is pushing them to the edge of extinction.

Sparrows are rendered homeless due to modern "matchbox styled" architecture that makes it difficult for the bird to build nests. These winged companions, who used to build nest in holes, roofs and crevices on traditional houses, are struggling to find a safe corner in glass buildings. It also explains why South Mumbai sees a comparatively larger sparrow population than the western suburbs.

Like sparrows, cavities are important for mynahs and parakeets to make nests.

Blaming the possible extinction of…

Current Affairs MCQ for UPSC Exams – 20 February 2017

Q.1- Which of the following is/are correct regarding farakka barrage?

1. It is situated on the hooghly river
2. It was first started in 1975
A. 1 only
B. 2 only
C. Both
D. None

Q.2- With reference to 3D Printing, consider the following statements

1. It is also called additive manufacturing
2. To perform a print, the machine reads the design from 3D printable file
Which of the statements given above is/are correct?
A. 1 only
B. 2 Only
C. Both
D. None

Q.3- Which of the following discontinuity is present at the intersection of earth's mantle and core?

A. Mohorovicic
B. Guttensburg
C. Conard
D. Lehmann.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.

Answer  1-B,2-C,3-C

Current Affairs MCQ for UPSC Exams – 19 February 2017

Q.1- Which of the following has/have been accorded ‘Geographical Indication’ status

1. Banaras Brocades and Sarees
2. Rajasthani Daal-Bati-Churma
3. Tirupathi Laddu
Select the correct answer using the code given below.
(a) I only
(b) 2 and 3 only
(c) 1 and 3 only
(d) 1, 2 and 3

Q.2- Which of the following is correct regarding Dhanush artillery gun system?

1. It has a maximum firing range of 38 km
2. It is developed in collaboration between Russia and India
A. 1 only
B. 2 only
C. Both
D. None

Q.3- Which of the following statements are correct?

1. National waterway 1 which is in between Allahabad and Haldia is largest waterway in India
2. Buckingham canal is on National Waterway 5
A. 1 only
B. 2 only
C. Both
D. None
 Answer  1-C,2-A,3-A

Current Affairs MCQ for UPSC Exams – 19 March 2017

Q.1- Surya-Kiran exercise is between which of the following countries?

A. India and Bhutan
B. India and Bangladesh
C. India and Nepal
D. Nepal and Bhutan

Q.2- Which of the following is correct regarding GRAPES-3?

1. This experiment is an Indo-Japanese collaboration
2. This experiment is to develop grapes which have great nutritional value
A. 1 only
B. 2 only
C. Both
D. None

Q.3- Which of the following is correct?

1. Zojila pass is a mountain pass between ladakh region and Kashmir valley
2. It is in between Srinagar and Leh on NH-20
A. Only 1
B. Only 2
C. Both
D. None.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.

 Answer  1-C,2-A,3-A

Health spend (Hindu.)

The report, “Health spending to be 2.5% of GDP” (March 17), on the National Health Policy 2017, should instead have looked at the neglect of the poor rural population and those in backward, hilly and remote regions who are deprived of basic health infrastructure and personnel. Doctors are unwilling to serve in these areas, leading to the neglect of India’s rural health care. The poor state of crowded government hospitals, their unhygienic environment, inadequate medical personnel, outdated and non-functional medical and other infrastructure reveals the virtual collapse of health care under the public sector. The high cost of health services and the high prices of essential drugs have also made health care unaffordable for the poor. Medical research on drugs and vaccines for tropical diseases is another neglected area, unattractive for multinational pharmaceutical companies due to their low profitability. Moreover, the budgetary support and encouragement for the development of afforda…

No country for baby girls (Hindu.)

The village of Mhaisal on the Maharashtra-Karnataka border hit the headlines recently when 19 foetuses were found buried near a homeopath’s clinic. Jyoti Shelar reports on the trail of rapacious doctors and touts who tapped into the desperation for a male child

On the morning of May 19, 2016, two medical officers came calling at the Bharti Hospital in Mhaisal, a tiny village on the banks of the Krishna river in Sangli district. Perched on the edge of Maharashtra and bordering Karnataka, rumours of sex-selective abortions at the hospital had brought it under the lens of the authorities. Barely a km away, at the government-run Primary Health Centre (PHC), colourful posters on protecting the girl child aimed at changing mindsets. ‘Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao’ (educate the girl child, protect the girl child), the posters exhorted villagers.

Armed with an anonymous complaint received by the Collector, Dr. Vijay Jadhav and Dr. Ashok Mohite, both government medical officers, examined the two-s…

Spare me the pseudo-patriotic surround sound (hehidu)

How Virat Kohli and Co reignited my interest in Test cricket, but some things don’t change


I used to be a supporter of the Indian cricket team, but over the last few years my fandom has lost its mojo. A bit like a glutton who no longer enjoys stuffing himself, this happened not overnight but gradually. One obvious reason was the passing into retirement of the golden generation of Dravid, Tendulkar, Laxman, Srinath, Kumble and Sehwag. For none of them did retirement feel like a premature decision, such is the implacably usurious nature of sporting time as it collects back the great abilities it has lent you. In consonance, perhaps it was also time for many of us to retire as cricket fans, or so I told myself.

It’s not cricket

Despite fading interest there was definitely huge pleasure in watching us lift the 2011 World Cup, but after that, the game, so to speak, was definitely up. Being world champions didn’t make up for us getting slammed 0-4 twice, in Test series in England and Australia…

Talent, not tokenism ( hindu.)

Despite an abundance of artists in the performing arts space in India, celebrities occupy that slot at international events

What have we reduced International Women’s Day to? It’s nothing short of a jamboree. Events aplenty are organised around March 8 to demonstrate our admiration for ‘womanhood’, which clearly most of us don’t seem to understand. Otherwise, how on earth could anybody choose to screen Quentin Tarantino’s Kill Bill as the most befitting representation, like a performance space in my city did? Art exhibitions are the easiest to organise. Invite seven women artists, hang their paintings on the wall, and bingo! You have a show! So what if the art on display is divergent to the extent of endangering dialogue amongst/with the paintings on display?

An obsession with celebrities

To add to this, my social media feed went berserk with the news of director, author and now dancer Aishwaryaa R. Dhanush being invited to perform a Bharatanatyam recital at the United Nations on Mar…

The making of a Sultan: the rise of Erdogan (Hindu)

The rise of Turkey’s Erdogan to absolute power is a classic example of the crisis democracies face today

Turkey’s political system will undergo drastic changes if its President, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, manages to get the support of a majority of the electorate for his constitutional amendment plans in the April 16 referendum.

The proposal, already approved by Turkish Parliament — which is dominated by his AK Party — seeks to turn the country’s parliamentary model into an executive presidency. The President, in this case Mr. Erdogan, would be the head of the government, the state and the ruling party. He will have the powers to appoint cabinet ministers and senior officials without Parliament’s nod. The post of the Prime Minister, currently the most powerful government position in theory, will be abolished. He could also appoint more than half the members of the nation’s highest judicial body, dissolve the national assembly and impose a state of emergency. The amendments will also guara…

Last gasp tasks: GST bills and rate fitment process (Hindu)

After the agreement on all GST bills, the rate fitment process needs to be addressed

At its twelfth meeting last Friday, the Goods and Services Tax (GST) Council cleared all the requisite State and Central-level legislative measures to implement the indirect tax regime. The State and Union Territories’ GST bills were approved along with necessary corrections to the three other GST Bills the Council had cleared previously — for Central GST, Integrated GST and compensation to States through a cess. This paves the way for State Assemblies and Parliament to ratify these laws quickly in order to meet the proposed July 1 rollout date for the system. Finance Minister Arun Jaitley has said the Union Cabinet will soon take up the four laws that the Centre has to steer through Parliament, while the respective State governments will take up the State GST law. Separately, officers from the States and the Centre are expected to finalise, by this weekend, drafts for four pending regulations out of…