bharat ias - India, Afghanistan takes a hard line on Taliban at Moscow conference

India, Afghanistan takes a hard line on Taliban at Moscow conference

India, Afghanistan takes a hard line on Taliban at Moscow conference   Context Oppose view of Russia, China, Pakistan to involve Taliban in reconciliation efforts What has happened? India and Afghanistan took a hard line at the six-nation talks in Moscow, opposing the dominant view from Russia, China and Pakistan to involve the Taliban in reconciliation efforts Occasion Russia hosted representatives from six countries for discussions aimed at encouraging the Taliban to negotiate with the Afghan government Officials from Afghanistan, Pakistan, Russia, China, Iran and India took part in the gathering, which came less than two months after a similar meeting between Russia, China and Pakistan. The United States, for the second time in a row, was not invited India’s stance Denying “safe havens or sanctuaries to any terrorist group or individual in countries of our region,” was essential to stabilizing the situation in Afghanistan Reconciliation efforts must be driven by the Afghanistan government and could only be facilitated by “friends and well-wishers of Afghanistan Afghanistan’s stance Referring to Pakistan’s stand on “good/bad Taliban” echoed by officials in Moscow, and the talks between China and Taliban officials last year, Afghanistan’s representative said The key challenge to the process remains a policy selectivity by some to distinguish between good and bad terrorists, even though terrorism is a common threat that confronts the whole region, where if one of us doesn’t stand firm against it, others’ counter-terrorism efforts will not bear the results we all seek Afghanistan also made a strong pitch for the United States to be included as one of its most important partners    ...

Publishes on : 22-Feb-2017 10:58 AM
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bharat ias - Potent malaria vaccine on the anvil

Potent malaria vaccine on the anvil

Potent malaria vaccine on the anvil Context Encouraged by the trials, researchers say the registered vaccine will reached the market in two years What has happened? A malaria vaccine that mimics a mosquito bite yielded encouraging results in human trials, raising hopes for thwarting a parasite that kills a child every two minutes. Name of the drug The candidate drug, called PfSPZ, provided up to 100% protection for 10 weeks in a trial in Germany, although a trial in real life conditions in Mali gave a lower level of defence, they reported in two separate studies PfSPZ is being developed against the Plasmodium falciparum mosquito-borne parasite, by far the deadliest type. Further trials are to follow in Mali, Ghana, the U.S. and Gabon. Working PfSPZ uses a live, immature form of the malaria parasite, called a sporozoite, to stimulate an immune reaction in humans. Two types of vaccine is there, One, in which sporozites are radiated before being injected (Irradiated sporozites). In this case a high dosage of live malaria parasites i.e. sporozites was administered to volunteers. The highest dose conferred up to 100% immunity Second is the one in which Sporozites are not exposed to radiation. These are injected along with Chloroquine. In this case a low dosage was administered to volunteers Observations All the volunteers in the high-dose group enjoyed malaria protection 10 weeks after the last dose, compared to six out of nine in the medium and three out of nine in the low-dose groups Another vaccine   Another vaccine called RTS,S, developed by GlaxoSmithKline, is being tested in children  the most affected population.It is considered the most advanced candidate, but results last year from a Kenyan trial showed it was only about four per cent effective after seven years...

Publishes on : 22-Feb-2017 10:51 AM
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bharat ias - State Funding of Elections in India

State Funding of Elections in India

State Funding of Elections in India Issue: ·       State funding of elections has been suggested in the past in response to the high cost of elections and as a measure against corruption in the electoral process. ·       Many of the government panels on electoral reforms have expressed their ideas on the issue What is state funding of elections: ·       This means that government gives funds to political parties or candidates for contesting elections. Purpose ·       to make it unnecessary for contestants to take money from powerful moneyed interests so that they can remain clean What is the status in India?   ·       While the political parties, on Commission and various body Election Commission and various bodies remain committed to state funding of elections, there has been little progress on this. ·       Current state funding measures include provision of free time on public broadcasters for national parties in general elections and for registered state parties in state legislature elections. ·       Besides this, national parties are provided some benefits like security, office space, utility subsidies etc. ·       Another form of indirect state funding available in India is that registered political parties do not have to pay income tax, as laid down in S.13A of the Income Tax Act.   The key reports on state funding of elections are as follows: ·       Indrajit Gupta Committee on State Funding of Elections (1998) Law Commission Report on Reform of the Electoral Laws (1999) National Commission to Review the Working of the Constitution (2001) Second Administrative Reforms Commission (2008) Law Commission of India Report on Electoral Reforms (2015) Key Issues and Arguments Indrajit Gupta Committee on State Funding of Elections (1998) ·       This committee endorsed Partial state funding of elections with some limitations given below. ·       State funds should be given only to national and state parties allotted a symbol and not to independent candidates. ·       In the short-term state funding should only be given in kind, in the form of certain facilities to the recognised political parties and their candidates. ·        The state funding depends upon the economic condition of the country. ·        At the time of report (1998) the economic situation of the country only suited partial and not full state funding of elections. Thus, as per this committee, only partial state funding was possible given the economic conditions of the country at that time. ·       The Indrajit Gupta Committee had envisaged a phased introduction of public funding, given the economic conditions of the country in 1998, beginning with in-kind state subsidies (and no cash) such as rent-free office space, free telephone facilities, electoral rolls’ copies, loudspeakers, specified quantities of fuel, food packets, and airtime (both on state and private media). ·       Gradually, the Committee envisioned a transition to full state funding, along with monetary provision via the creation of a central-governed Election Fund, whose funding would be provided by the Centre and the states together. ·        However, the Committee excluded independent candidates from the benefits of state funding and required parties to submit audited accounts and tax returns to avail the benefits. Law Commission Report on Reform of the Electoral Laws (1999) ·       Total state funding of elections is “desirable” so long as political parties are prohibited from taking funds from other sources. ·       The Commission concurred with the Indrajit Gupta Committee’s stand on partial funding. ·        Appropriate regulatory framework be put in place with regard to political parties (provisions ensuring internal democracy, internal structures and maintenance of accounts, their auditing and submission to Election Commission) before state funding of elections is attempted   Arguments Arguments for public funding §  Public funding is a natural and necessary cost of democracy §  Public funding can limit the influence of interested money and thereby help curb corruption §  With public funding the State can encourage or demand changes in for example how many women candidates a party fields §  If parties and candidates are financed with only private funds, economical inequalities in the society might translate into political inequalities in government Against: ·       State funding may succeed only when it is total and not partial, because there is no guarantee that even after it was introduced, rich parties and candidates would not pump black money into campaigns to boost their chances of victory. ·       Partial funding leaves scope for the party to use its funds for campaigns of individual candidates would fail to prevent the use of black money. ·       Without favorable economy and without key reforms in other areas such as decriminalization of politics; introduction of inner party democracy; electoral finance reform; transparency and audit mechanisms; and stricter implementation of anti-corruption laws, there is no point moving towards state funding of elections. ·       It would even encourage the mushrooming growth of parties as such grants would be a great incentive for even non-serious and frivolous organizations to call themselves as political outfits. ·       It would mount expenditure on the Central and State Governments, State funding would be an additional financial burden on them. International Experience Some countries like Finland, Italy, Israel, Norway, Canada, the US, Japan, Australia and South Korea implemented the concept with mixed results. Italy, Israel and Finland, for instance, did not see any significant reduction in state expenditures due to public funding, despite the many checks and balances. In most of these countries, the argument against state intervention has been that political parties, being a free association of citizens, are independent entities, and that they cannot be bound by financial strictures. It’s an argument that can well be applied to India by anti-state interventionists What is needed: ·       According to Tarkunde committee certain facilities be made available to every constituency at government expense like giving printed cards with the registered number of voters and the polling booths where they may cast their vote, making available school rooms and halls for meetings, sending one communication to each voter free of postage and so on. ·       State Funding and Inner Party Democracy State funding of elections makes little sense as long as inner-party democracy is missing in key political parties. ·        A strong Lokpal has to be in place to ensure that corruption is reported and redressed. This will instil fear among prospective candidates who will no longer see their election as a money-making opportunity.    ...

Publishes on : 21-Feb-2017 12:50 PM
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bharat ias - Maharashtra Government approves cloud seeding project for 2017

Maharashtra Government approves cloud seeding project for 2017

Maharashtra Government approves cloud seeding project for 2017 Issue: ·       Maharashtra Government has approved Cloud Seeding Programme during 2017 monsoon season to produce sufficient rain. ·       Under this programme, weather scientists using aircrafts will spray chemicals (silver iodide) over clouds clouds hovering above Solapur district, a rain shadow region of Western Ghats in the state. Information: ·       This will be the first controlled experiment to quantify the extent to which clouds form water drops large enough to make rain. ·       This programme, coordinated by the Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology, will be the first controlled experiment to quantify the extent to which clouds form water drops large enough to make rain. ·       In this experiment, scientists will fly two aircraft and spray silver iodide and dry ice on 100 clouds and compare them with 100 unseeded clouds.   ·       Ground radar will be used to track the clouds and verify which ones contributed rain.


Publishes on : 21-Feb-2017 12:42 PM
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bharat ias - ISRO successfully tests largest cryogenic engine for GSLV Mark III rocket

ISRO successfully tests largest cryogenic engine for GSLV Mark III rocket

ISRO successfully tests largest cryogenic engine for GSLV Mark III rocket ·       Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has successfully ground tested India’s largest indigenously developed Cryogenic Upper Stage engine for GSLV Mark III. ·        It was tested for full 10 minutes at ISRO’s Liquid Propulsion Complex (ILPC) at Mahendragiri in Tirunelveli district of Tamil Nadu. Information: ·       The C25 stage is the most powerful upper stage so far developed by ISRO. ·        It uses Liquid Oxygen and Liquid Hydrogen propellant combination stored at minus 253 degrees centigrade ·       . The development of C25 cryogenic stage will provide ISRO capability to launch 4 ton class satellites in Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit (GTO), an altitude where satellites revolve in sync with Earth’s rotation. ·       So far, the cryogenic engine consisting very complex technology has been developed only by Russia, US, France, China, Japan and India.  Significance ·       This was last test in the series before going for actual GSLV Mark III rocket launch in April 2017 where engine will be put into actual use   ·        The GSLV Mark III rocket will be a successor to the GSLV Mark II which was first launched in 2001 and can carry a heavier payload than the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle or PSLV.


Publishes on : 21-Feb-2017 12:35 PM
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