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GS Paper II-Governance, Social Justice.

Union Health Ministry, WB Signs MoU To Set Up Transfusion Medicine Centre.

Background

  • To strengthen the blood transfusion services in West Bengal and the surrounding areas, the Union health ministry joined hands with the state government for setting up a centre for transfusion medicine at Kolkata on 10th July, 2017.
  • A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed between the Ministry and the state government, under which Rs 200 crore would allocated by the Centre for equipment, manpower and running costs while state will provide land free of cost, an official statement said.
  • Additional Secretary (Health), R K Vats and Principal Secretary Health in West Bengal government, Anil Verma signed the MoU on behalf of their respective ministries.

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Highlights Of The Development-

  • The MoU is a part of the Metro Blood Bank project of the health ministry under which centres of excellence in transfusion medicine in the four metro cities of Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai and Kolkata would be set up.
  • These centres are high volume blood collection centres where newest technology in transfusion medicine for component separation, processing of blood and quality systems will be used.
  • The National Blood Transfusion Council, under the National AIDS Control Organisation, will be the implementing authority of the Ministry for this project.
  • An MoU for setting up the Metro Blood Bank in Chennai has already been signed on June 14, 2016.
  • India collects about 11 million blood units every year. Nearly 71 per cent of these blood donations are collected through voluntary non-remunerated donors, according to the official statement.
  • A recently concluded assessment of licensed blood banks of India revealed that the average blood donation rate in India is 0.8, which is lower than many high income countries leading to a shortfall in quantum and access to safe blood in select hard-to-reach areas of the country.
  • The statement also noted that rational use of blood also needs to be ensured to enhance utilisation, as one unit of blood can benefit more than one beneficiary through separation into red cells, plasma, platelets.

Sources- India Today.

 

GS Paper III- Economic Development.

India’s CPI Inflation Falls To Record Levels, IIP At Three-Month Low As Of June, 2017.

Background

  • India’s growth in industrial production fell to a three-month low in May, 2017 while consumer price index (CPI)-based inflation declined below a stipulated floor of 2 per cent in June, 2017, providing the Reserve Bank of India leeway to cut the policy interest rate in August, 2017.
  • Pulled down by capital goods, consumer durables and manufacturing, and mining, the index of industrial production expanded 1.7 per cent in May, 2017, lower than the revised 2.8 per cent rate in April, 2017. CPI inflation was down to a record low of 1.5 per cent in June 2017 from 2.2 per cent in the previous month.
  • Food items continued to witness deflation amid farmers distress in various parts of the country. The data came when the kharif sowing season is progressing smoothly with even pulses showing a rise in acreage.

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Highlights Of The Development-

  • Consumer inflation in June cooled to a new record-low of 1.54 per cent, driven by a drop in food and oil prices, government data showed on Wednesday, 12th July, 2017. In May 2017, consumer price inflation stood at 2.18 per cent, which was also a record low. Analysts believe this will intensify pressure on the RBI (Reserve Bank of India) to cut interest rates.
  • A Reuters poll of over 30 economists had expected consumer prices to cool to 1.70 per cent.
  • June’s inflation figure is the lowest since the series began in 2012 and below the RBI’s medium-term target of 4 per cent for an eighth successive month. Core inflation, however, has remained stubbornly above 4 per cent since at least 2015.
  • Food and beverage price index, which accounts for nearly half the consumer price index basket, shrunk 1.17 per cent in June 2017. Vegetables prices fell 16.53 per cent during the reporting month from last year, while price of pulses fell nearly 22 per cent.
  • On the 2nd week of July, 2017, India’s weather office, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said that the nation’s cumulative rainfall between June 1 and July 2 was 6 per cent above the long-run average. Monsoon showers, which deliver about 70 per cent of India’s annual rainfall, help drive higher food and grain production+ , keeping inflation in check.
  • The RBI kept its benchmark interest rate unchanged in June 2017 while softening its hawkish stance following a drop in retail inflation.

Sources- Business-Standard, Times Of India.

GS Paper IV- Ethics, Integrity.

India’s Election Commission’s Silence On Barring Convicted MPs, MLAs For Life Draws SC Ire.

Background

  • The Election Commission on Wednesday, 12th July 2017, faced the flak of the Supreme Court for not taking a clear stand on a plea seeking barring of convicted politicians for life.
  • The top court made it clear that the poll panel cannot remain silent on the matter.
  • A bench comprising Justices Ranjan Gogoi and Navin Sinha came down heavily on the poll panel and also asked whether it was “constrained” to give its views in the matter.

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Key Points Of This Development-

  • The Election Commission drew the Supreme Court’s ire on Wednesday, 12th July, 2017 due to its silence on the critical issue of decriminalisation of politics.
  • The court also wondered whether the EC’s reluctance to give its “free view” was influenced by the Centre’s stand against life ban on convicts from contesting polls.
  • Finding the EC affidavit supporting the “cause espoused by petitioner”, the bench asked EC counsel Mohit Ram whether the commission supported the plea that convicts should be barred for life from contesting elections.
  • Finding EC failing to give a definite answer, the bench asked if the EC could afford to remain silent when a voter comes to the SC and demands elected representatives, upon found convicted, should be barred.
  • The Centre in its affidavit had said the prayer seeking life ban on convicted politicians could not be granted by the court. At present, the Representation of the People Act bars a convict from contesting elections for six years after release from prison.
  • The EC in its affidavit said it had submitted a detailed proposal to the government on electoral reforms covering the fields decriminalisation of politics, making offence of bribery cognisable, amendment in provisions concerning election expenditure, prohibition of advertisements in print media 48 hours before the close of elections and prohibition of paid news.
  • The SC scheduled further hearing for July 18, 2017.

Sources- Times Of India.Page 1