1.Pro-active Governance and Timely Implementation. (PRAGATI)

Why in News?
  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi recently chaired the 31st interaction through PRAGATI — the ICT based multi-modal platform for Pro-Active Governance and Timely Implementation.
About PRAGATI:
  • It is a Multi-Purpose and Multi-Modal Platform that is aimed at addressing common man’s grievances, and simultaneously monitoring and reviewing important programmes and projects of the Government of India as well as projects flagged by State Governments.
  • Agencies Involved:It has been designed in-house by the PMO team with the help of National Informatics Center (NIC).
Key Features:
  • It is a three-tier system(involving PMO, Union Government Secretaries, and Chief Secretaries of the States);
  • PM will hold a monthly interaction with the Government of India Secretaries and Chief Secretaries through Video-conferencing enabled by data and geo-informatics visuals;
  • Issues to be raised before the PM are picked up from the available database regarding Public Grievances, on-going Programs and pending Projects.

2.Fall Armyworm

Why in News?
  • Proper precaution and timely management by the state agriculture department of Odisha and awareness among farmers have succeeded in thwarting an attack by the Fall Armyworm (FAW) on maize crop in Odisha.
About Fall Armyworm:
  • Also Known as Fall Armyworm, Spodoptera Frugiperda is an invasive and polyphagous (feeding on many foods) pest. It can attack cereals and forage grasses.
  • It is an insect native to tropical and subtropical regions of the Americas.
  • In the African continent, it was first detected in Central and Western Africa in early 2016.
  • In the larval stage, the insect causes damage to crops, feeding on more than 80 plant species.
  • FAW primarily affects maize, but also rice and sorghum as well as cotton and some vegetables.
  • The moth can fly up to 100 km per night.
  • The female moth can lay up to a total of 1000 eggs in her lifetime.

3.BIMSTEC Ports’ Conclave

Why in News?
  • The Minister of State for Shipping, will inaugurate the first ever‘BIMSTEC Ports’ Conclave at Visakhapatnam in Andhra Pradesh.
Objectives:
  • To discuss a mechanism to encourage tourism in the region and develop industrial clusters in close proximity to a Port.
  • To discuss the emerging threats and the safeguards against security threats, as ports are not only of vital commercial interest but also a nation’s strategic assets.
Highlights:
  • The Ports’ First Conclave of BIMSTEC nations is expected to explore the possibility of increasing economic cooperation by furthering EXIM trade and coastal shipping.
  • The Conclave will also discuss various investment opportunities, best practices adopted for productivity and safety at Ports.
  • Senior officials from the Ports Sector from all seven nations as well as from the Trade and various Shipping Associations will be participating in the conclave.
  • The diverse historical and cultural heritage of the BIMSTEC nations make them ideal destinations for tourism.
  • The ports plays a vital role in encouraging cruise tourism.
  • The conclave will provide a platform for discussion on various steps undertaken for improving the ease of doing business also discuss the process, the technologies and solutions available to adopt ‘Green Port Operations’.

4.Feni River

Why in News?
  • Union Cabinet has given ex-post facto approval for the MoU between
  • India and Bangladesh on withdrawal of water from Feni River by India
  • for drinking water supply scheme for Sabroom town in Tripura.
About Feni River:
  • Feni River is a river in southeastern Bangladesh.
  • It is a trans-boundary river with an ongoing dispute about water rights.
  • The Feni River originates in South Tripura district and flows through
  • Sabroom town and then enters Bangladesh.
  • Muhuri River, also called Little Feni, from Noakhali District joins it near
  • its mouth. The river is navigable by small boats as far as Ramgarh,
  • about 80 kilometres upstream.
  • The Feni is closed near the sea by the Feni dam.
  • Between the dam and the Bay of Bengal the river is a tidal river.

5.H-1B Visa

Why in News?
  • Sharp rise in H1B Denial for Indian Firms
About:
What is H1B Visa?
  • The H1B visa is a non-immigrant visa that allows companies to employ foreigners for a period of up to six years.US companies to employ foreign workers in specialty occupations that require theoretical or technical expertise.H1B visa holders are allowed to apply for permanent residency in the US as well as buy or sell property in the country.

6.ICEDASH & ATITHI Initiatives

Why in News?
  • Union Ministry of Finance and Corporate Affairs unveiled two new IT initiatives – ICEDASH and ATITHI.
ICEDASH:
  • ICEDASH is an Ease of Doing Business (EoDB) monitoring dashboard of the Indian Customs helping public see the daily Customs clearance times of import cargo at various ports and Airports.With ICEDASH, Indian Customs has taken a lead globally to provide an effective tool that helps the businesses compare clearance times across ports and plan their logistics accordingly.
  • This dashboard has been developed by CBIC in collaboration with NIC.ICEDASH can be accessed through the CBIC website.
ATITHI:
  • With ATITHI mobile app, CBIC has introduced an easy to use mobile app for international travellers to file the Customs declaration in advance.
  • Passengers can use this app to file declaration of dutiable items and currency with the Indian Customs even before boarding the flight to India.
  • ATITHI would in particular create a tech savvy image of India Customs and would encourage tourism and business travel to India.

7.Khadi gets Separate Unique HS code

Why in News?
  • Khadi has once again come out of its customary veil, marking its presence in the exclusive HS code bracket, issued by the central government to categorize its products in export.
Highlights:
  • Khadi and Village Industries products are eco-friendly and natural and are in great demand in the International Markets.
  • Recognizing its potential to generate exports, the Ministry of Commerce had taken various measures to boost the export of Khadi products.
  • However, in the absence of separate HS code, the export of Khadi products was difficult to categorize and calculate.
  • Allocation of separate HS code for this signature fabric of India will help in making the export of Khadi, exclusively categorized from the general league of textile products.
  • This move will help in keeping a constant eye on khadi export figures and also it will also help in planning khadhi export strategies.
HS Code:
  • HS Stands for Harmonized System and it is a six-digit identification code.
  • It was developed by the WCO (World Customs Organization).
  • Customs officers use HS Code to clear every commodity that enters or crosses any International Border.

8.Shaala Darpan Portal

Why in News?
  • Minister of State for Human Resource Development, launched Shaala Darpan portal, an E-Governance school automation and management system for Navodaya Vidyalaya Samiti (NVS) in New Delhi.
Shaala Darpan Portal:
  • Shaala Darpan is an end to end e-Governance school automation and management system.
  • It is a database management portal, where information about all government schools and education offices is kept online and updated as a continuous process.
  • In this portal, “live data” is compiled in connection with primary and secondary education students, schools and academic and non-academic staff.
  • It has been implemented at Navodaya Vidyalaya Samiti as the first major initiative to enable automation of all activities of the country’s largest residential schooling system through a single umbrella.

9.Vaccine Hesitancy

Why in News?
  • The World Health Organization (WHO) recently declared vaccine hesitancy one of the ten biggest threats to global health in 2019, along with air pollution and climate change.
About:
  • It is defined by WHO as a “delay in acceptance or refusal of vaccines despite availability of vaccination services”
  • Vaccine hesitancy threatens to reverse progress made in tackling
  • vaccine-preventable diseases. Measles, for example, has seen a 30% increase in cases globally in 2018.
  • Vaccination is one of the most cost-effective ways of avoiding disease – it currently prevents 2-3 million deaths a year, and a further 1.5 million could be avoided if global coverage of vaccinations improved.
Some of the Reasons why people choose not to Vaccinate are:
  • Complacency, Inconvenience in accessing vaccines, and lack of confidence are key reasons underlying hesitancy
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