- 6 sites in 3 HP towns found contaminated
- The State Pollution Control Board has been directed to prepare an action plan to remedy a contaminated site in Baddi where traces of zinc, copper, lead, chromium and hexavalent chromium have been detected in soil, air and water. It is one of the 55 such sites listed by the Union Environment Ministry.
- The ministry has identified five more sites in Himachal’s industrial towns of Parwanoo, Kala Amb and Baddi as “probably” contaminated as carcinogenic chemicals like cadmium, asbestos, toluene, pesticides and volatile organic compounds like chloroform, dichloromethane and vinylchloride have been detected there.
- The sites in Parwanoo are located in inhabited areas, along Kaushalaya river at Khadeen village, Kala Amb, and along Markandaya river and an area along Sandholi Nullah in Baddi.
- China to open visa office in Pakistan’s Peshawar
ð China has decided to open a visa office in Peshawar to further boost economic relations with Pakistan.
ð The centre provides people exposure to the Chinese culture, literature, art and history through exhibitions, movie screenings and training.
ð China Window Centre was inaugurated on October 1 last year. However, due to security threats, it was shut down and was re-inaugurated on January 2.
· Centre to launch NEAT AI learning scheme to boost higher education
- The Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) has announced a new National Educational Alliance for Technology (NEAT) Artificial Intelligence (AI) scheme.
- MHRD will start awareness programmes to create awareness of the NEAT solutions to teachers and students. The NEAT AI scheme will be launched and made operationalized in early November 2019.
- The scheme aims to boost better learning outcomes in Higher Education. The scheme will ensure to use Artificial Intelligence which will make learning more personalized and customized as per the requirements of the learner.
- The scheme requires the development of technologies in adaptive learning to address the diversity of learners. MHRD is to take support from a number of start-up companies and bring them under a common platform so that learners can access it easily.
· Google partners with BSNL to bring public WiFi to villages
- The search engine giant Google has signed a partnership agreement with the state-owned operator Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd. (BSNL). The partnership aims to bring public WiFi to villages in states namely Gujarat, Bihar, and Maharashtra. The agreement will focus on villages that had no Wi-Fi connection previously.
- The announcement comes after the 5th edition of Google for India event which took place in New Delhi on 19th September.
- In July 2019 Google collaborated with Cisco for its gStation to provide free and high-speed WiFi at public locations across India.
- Now, government will name and shame fraud hospitals
- Adopting a zero tolerance policy towards fraud and corruption, the government has decided to “name and shame” hospitals involved in malpractices under its flagship health insurance scheme, Ayushman Bharat, which is now clocking as many as 25,000 hospital admissions a day – five times of what it recorded during the initial months.
- During the first three months – after the scheme was kick-started by PM Narendra Modi in September last year – it recorded merely 5000 admissions a day.
- However, the improved coverage has also prompted the government and National Health Authority (NHA) – the agency responsible for implementing and managing the scheme – to be more vigilant against fraud.
- Around 10 crore e-cards have been given out to beneficiaries and a total of 18,073 hospitals have been empanelled with 53% of them from the private sector.
More than 39 lakh people have availed cashless treatment worth over Rs 6,100 crore for serious illnesses since the launch of AB-PMJAY. This has resulted in savings of Rs 12,000 crore to the beneficiary families.
- Malnutrition still a factor in 68% of child deaths: Study
- Malnutrition continues to be the leading risk factor for death in children under five years of age across India causing 68% of mortality in the category, even as the death rate due to malnutrition has dropped by two-third during 1990-2017, according to estimates released by Indian Council of Medical Research.
- Data shows malnutrition is also the leading risk factor for health loss in persons of all ages, accounting for 17% of the total DALYs (disability adjusted life years). The DALY rate attributable to malnutrition in children varies seven-fold between states and is highest in Rajasthan, UP, Bihar and Assam, followed by MP, Chhattisgarh, Odisha, Nagaland and Tripura.
- Among malnutrition indicators, low birth weight is the biggest contributor to child deaths in India, followed by child growth failure which includes stunting, underweight and wasting. The prevalence of low birth weight was 21% in India in 2017, ranging from 9% in Mizoram to 24% in UP.
- The findings also highlight rapidly increasing prevalence of child overweight. This annual rate of increase in child overweight between 1990 and 2017 was pegged at 5% in India, which varied from 7.2% in MP to 2.5% in Mizoram. In 2017, the prevalence of such children was 12%.
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