Today's Headlines

Today's Headlines - 09 January 2023

Aspirational Block Programme launched

GS Paper - 2 (Polity)

Prime Minister launched the Aspirational Block Programme on the lines of a similar exercise aimed at developing backward districts and asserted that India is focussing on the four pillars of infrastructure, investment, innovation and inclusion to be a developed country.

What

  1. Chairing the second national conference on chief secretaries from states, the PM said the entire world is looking to India to bring stability to the global supply chain and asked them to take steps for making the MSME sector "global champions" and a part of the global value chain.
  2. The country can take full advantage of this only if states take lead by maintaining focus on quality and making decisions with an "India-first" approach.
  3. The prime minister also called upon the chief secretaries to focus on ending "mindless compliances" and outdated laws and rules.
  4. The prime minister also spoke about the development of both physical and social infrastructure along with a focus on the enhancement of cyber security.
  5. Strengthening our MSME (Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises) sector is important for the country to become self-reliant and to boost economic growth, PM said, adding that equally important is to popularise local products.
  6. The prime minister also discussed the significance of 2023 being the International Year of Millets and steps to enhance the popularity of their products.
  7. The prime minister recalled the development "milestones" since the last conference in June 2022, citing India getting the presidency of G20, becoming the fifth biggest global economy, rapid registration of new startups, foray of private players in the space sector, launch of National Logistics Policy and the approval of National Green Hydrogen Mission.
  8. To make MSMEs globally competitive, they should have access to finance, technology, market and for skilling.

 

Indian developing treatment for DMD

GS Paper - 3 (Health and Diseases)

Researchers in India are working on developing an affordable treatment for a rare and incurable genetic disorder called Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy with over 5 lakh cases in the country. Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy (DMD) is the most common and fatal type of muscular dystrophy, marked by progressive muscle degeneration and weakness due to alterations of a protein called "dystrophin" that helps keep muscle cells intact. The condition is predominantly seen in boys, but in rare cases, it can also affect girls.

More about DMD

  1. The current therapeutic options available to treat DMD are minimal and highly expensive treatment with costs shooting up to Rs 2-3 crore per child a year and are mostly imported from abroad, accelerating dosing costs and putting them out of reach for most families.
  2. The Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Jodhpur has established a research centre for DMD in collaboration with Dystrophy Annihilation Research Trust (DART), Bengaluru and the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) Jodhpur.
  3. The centre aims to develop affordable therapeutics for this rare and incurable genetic disorder.
  4. According to IIT Jodhpur, DMD is an X-linked recessive muscular dystrophy affecting roughly one in 3,500 boys, which causes gradual loss of muscle tissue and function eventually leading to wheelchair dependency at approximately the age of 12 years, requirement for assisted ventilation at approximately the age of 20 years and eventually premature death.
  5. Currently, there is no cure for DMD, but improvements in integrative treatment can slow down the disease progression and thereby, extend the life expectancy of DMD patients.
  6. According to scientists, muscle weakness is the principal symptom of DMD. It can begin as early as age 2 or 3, first affecting the proximal muscles (those close to the core of the body) and later affecting the distal limb muscles (those close to the extremities).
  7. Usually, the lower external muscles are affected before the upper external muscles. The affected child might have difficulty jumping, running, and walking.
  8. Other symptoms include enlargement of calves, a waddling gait, and lumbar lordosis (an inward curve of the spine).
  9. Later on, heart and respiratory muscles are affected as well. Progressive weakness and scoliosis result in impaired pulmonary function, which can eventually cause acute respiratory failure.
  10. The researchers are working on affordable therapeutics for DMD and enhance the efficacy of Antisense Oligonucleotide (AON)-based therapeutics.

 

Country's first fully digital banking state

GS Paper - 3 (Technology)

Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan declared Kerala as the first state in the country to go fully digital in its banking service and said this recognition would boost the state economy. This achievement was possible due to social interventions through local self-government institutions along with infrastructure development and technological advances in the banking sector.

What

  1. The Chief Minister also said the ambitious Kerala Fibre Optic Network (K-FON) project of the state government, which was almost 90 per cent completed, will reduce the digital divide.
  2. The K-FON will ensure internet facility to everyone in the state and 17,155 km-long optic fibre cable network has been laid.
  3. Once the project gets completed, the internet will be available to everyone in the state either for a cheaper price or for free-of-cost.
  4. Technological advances also underscored the need to be vigilant against cybercrimes in the banking sector.
  5. The government had created the Economic Offences Wing in the State police to tackle such offences. But preventing them through public awareness and cooperation of the banking sector was paramount.
  6. The government had undertaken, through local bodies, a programme to raise digital literacy.
  7. That Kerala had won three awards at the recent Digital India Awards instituted by the Department of Electronics and Information Technology, Government of India, showed the State’s commitment to implementing efficient digital mechanisms.

 

Clear collegium recommendations

GS Paper -2 (Judiciary)

The Attorney Generalhas told the Supreme Court that the Centre will adhere to the timeline and assured the bench at least 44 names shall be cleared by tomorrow itself.

More about the news:

  1. The Supreme Court said that no system is a perfect system; it is ultimately run by humans. But the concern is thatthe government is creating an environment where meritorious people are withdrawing their consent to become judges.
  2. While expressing concern over delays in appointment of judges, it said legislature can bring in new laws if it so wishes, but till the law holds, it must be followed.``
  3. The AG reassured the bench and said he is personally looking into the 104 recommendations from High Court collegiums pending with the Centre. And 44 of them will be cleared soon.
  4. The bench further enquired about the status of 10 recommendations by the Supreme Court collegium, pending with the Centre. It pointed out that two of those recommendations have been pending since October 2021.

Present issue:

  1. The apex court was considering a 2021 contempt petition filed by the Advocates Association Bengaluru against the Centre not approving 11 names reiterated by the SC collegium.
  2. The petition contended that the Centre's conduct violates SC's directions in PLR Projects Ltd v. Mahanadi Coalfields Pvt Ltd which says that names reiterated by the Collegium must be cleared by the Centre within 3 to 4 weeks.
  3. The Supreme Court on November 28 had expressed dismay over the comments made by the Law Minister against the collegium system.
  4. The court had expressed serious concern for the delay in appointments and said it "frustrates the whole system."

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