GA- 09 Jan 2018
Govt to launch new scheme for free treatment of Hepatitis C
- The Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare is set to roll out a National Programme for Control of Viral Hepatitis , a new scheme free treatment of Hepatitis C from the 2018-19 financial year.
- The govt has embarked budget of Rs 600 crore for the next three years.
- Under the new scheme, the focus will be on anti-viral treatment of Hepatitis C which will be provided free at all government health set-ups.
- Hepatitis C is caused by a blood-borne virus which affects the liver.
- It could spread through use of injectable drugs, unsafe injection practises, unsafe health care, and transfusion of unscreened blood and blood products.
- Sofosbuvir is recommended under the new WHO treatment guidelines for Hepatitis C. Punjab started the free treatment of all Hepatitis C patients in June 2016.
Govt notifies the Companies (Amendment) Act, 2017
- The govt has notified the Companies (Amendment) Act 2017, which is set to ease the implementation of the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code 2016.
- The Amendment Act amended some provisions of Companies Act, 2013.
- It aims to help in simplifying procedures, make compliance easy and take stringent action against defaulting companies.
- Currently, Section 53 of the Companies Act 2013 prohibits the issuance of shares at a discount, something the new Act has changed.
- Similarly, Section 197 of the Companies Act 2013 requires the approval of the company in a general meeting for the payment of managerial remuneration in excess of 11% of the net profits.
- Section 247 of the Companies Act 2013 prohibits a registered valuer from undertaking valuation of assets in which he has a direct or indirect interest.
BharatNet covers 1 lakh panchayats
- The Union Govt has completed first phase of BharatNet project after successfully laying optical fibre cables (OFC) in more than 1 lakh gram panchayats.
- BharatNet project is the backbone for the Digital India initiative.
- As on December 31, 2017, 2,54,895 km of OFC has been laid covering 1,09,926 GPs out of which 1,01,370 GPs have been made service ready.
- The second phase of the project was initiated in Nov 2017 for connecting the remaining 1.5 lakh gram panchayats.
- Govt is expecting to preempt second phase’s original target of March 2019 by concluding it ahead of schedule by Dec 2018.
CBDT relaxes norms for MAT on firms facing insolvency
- The Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) is going to relax norms around levy of minimum alternate tax (MAT) for insolvent companies from financial year 2017-18.
- It aims to make the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, 2016 more effective and minimise hardship faced by companies going in for insolvency resolution.
- The objective of the relaxation is to bring Zero Tax Companies” into tax realm who do not pay any tax.
- This exemption facility will be available only for companies against whom application for corporate insolvency resolution process has been admitted by the adjudicating authority.
- It is ruled by provisions enclosed in section 115JB of Income Tax Act, 1961.
- MAT is valid to all companies comprising foreign companies.
- Under MAT, tax obligation of a company will be higher if income tax calculated as per normal provision of income tax and tax calculated at 18.5% on book profit plus surcharge and cess as applicable.
Territorial Army battalion of ex-Armymen to clean Ganga
- The Central govt has sanctioned the raising of a Territorial Army (TA) battalion comprising ex-servicemen of the Army as part of its mission to clean the Ganga by 2020.
- The Territorial Army (TA) battalion will be raised in Allahabad, Uttar Pradesh as a pilot project.
- This is a Composite Ecological Task Force (CETF) battalion of TA for National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG).
- The govt has allocated Rs 167 crore for the battalion under NMCG, the nodal agency for cleaning the Ganga.
- The battalion will work on a book debit system with funding provided from the budget of the Ministry of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation.
- Territorial Army, which comes under the Defence Ministry, is considered a second line of defence after the regular Army.
- Nine Ecological Task Force (ETF) battalions of TA have been raised to execute specific environment-related projects.
Flamingo festival held in Andhra Pradesh
- The three-day annual Flamingo Festival was held at Pulicat lake and Nelapattu Bird Sanctuary in Sullurpet mandal in Andhra Pradesh.
- The festival aims to promote tourism in Pulicat and Nellapattu.
- Pulicat Lake is the second largest brackish water lake or lagoon in India after Chilika Lake.
- Nelapattu Bird Sanctuary is one of the biggest habitats for some hundreds of pelicans and other birds.
Saudi Arabia allows to ferry Haj pilgrims via sea route
- Saudi Arabia has approved the plan of India to revive the option of ferrying Haj pilgrims via sea route to Jeddah.
- Both countries have signed bilateral annual Haj 2018 agreement.
- It was signed by Union Minister for Minority Affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi and Haj and Umrah Minister of Kingdom of Saudi Arabia Mohammad Saleh bin TaherBenten at Makkah.
- India and Saudi Arabia share ideals of global peace, progress and prosperity. Haj pilgrimage is one of strongest pillars of India-Saudi Arabia ties.
- Till now, around 3 lakh 59 thousand application have been received for Haj 2018.
- The Union Govt for the first time had notified that Indian Muslim Women can now go to Haj without male companion (Mehram).
Vulnerable Odisha tribe Mankidia denied habitat in Similipal
- Mankidia, one of the 13 Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups (PVTG) in Odisha, were denied habitat rights inside the Similipal Tiger Reserve (STR) under the historic Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act, 2006.
- State Forest Department had objected their habitat rights on grounds that tribals could be attacked by wild animals, especially tigers.
- Mankidia is a marginalised group that critically depends on making rope with siali fibre that’s richly available in Similipal.
- The Mankidia would have been the first PVTG to have habitat rights.
India’s fastest supercomputer, Pratyush unveiled
- India’s fastest and first multi-petaflops (PF) supercomputer named Pratyush was unveiled at Pune-based Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology (IITM).
- The supercomputer has been named as ‘Pratyush’ meaning Sun.
- Pratyush is the fourth fastest supercomputer in the world dedicated for weather and climate research, and follows machines in Japan, USA and the United Kingdom.
- Pratyush has 6.8 PF computational power installed at two Govt Institutes. 4.0 Peta Flops HPC facility at IITM, Pune and 2.8 Peta Flops facility at NCMRWF, Noida.
- Peta Flops is a measure of a computer’s processing speed.
- One petaflop is a million billion floating point operations per second and is a reflection of the computing capacity of a system.
- It will help India with better forecasts in terms of monsoon, extreme events, cyclones, tsunamis, earthquakes, air quality, lightning, fishing, hot and cold waves, flood and drought among others.