FSSAI notifies standards for honey & its products
Why in news?
The regulator FSSAI has come out with food safety standards for honey and its products, in a bid to curb adulteration.
What are the standards notified by FSSAI?
- As per the FSSAI notification, honey should comply with 18 parameters like that of sucrose content, glucose ratio, pollen count, foreign oligosaccharides among others.
- The FSSAI has fixed maximum 5% limit for sucrose content in the honey, while 10% for carviacallosa and Honeydew honey.
- The moisture percentage should be maximum 20% and pollen count should be 25,000 per gram. With regard to by-products, the FSSAI has fixed standards for ‘Bees wax’ and ‘royal jelly’ also.
- If a product is sold as honey then food ingredient, including food additives should not be added to it. It should not be heated or processed to such an extent that its essential composition is changed and its quality is impaired.
- Honey can be labelled according to floral or plant source, if it comes from any particular source, and has the organoleptic, physicochemical and microscopic properties corresponding with that origin.
About Bees wax
- Bees wax is obtained from the honeycombs of bees of Apidae family after the honey has been removed by draining or centrifuging.
- Beeswax consists of a mixture of esters of fatty acids and fatty alcohols, hydrocarbons and free fatty acids. Minor amounts of free fatty alcohols are also present.
Why in news?
A report on the policy recommendations on Indian Ocean security by four think tanks from the Quad countries has been unveiled.
- Maintain the momentum of high-level consultations among the Quad countries with the aim of “free and open Info-Pacific region” and progressively move it to a political level.
- Australia, Japan, India and the US should work with countries in the IOR to help maintain independent security and economic policies by supporting high-quality alternatives to unilateral Chinese investments and political alignment with Chinese regional objectives.
- The four countries should work to oppose the establishment of permanent Chinese military bases in the IOR. This should include demonstrating to China that its security needs can be met through cooperation and consultation with other nations and without the recourse to a “disruptive unilateral military presence.”
- Naval fleets should evolve increasingly long range operations. This may require consideration in Japan of new options such as nuclear propulsion for its submarines.
- Regional coalition known as the ‘Quad’, the quadrilateral formation includes Japan, India, United States and Australia.
- The idea was first mooted by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in 2007. However, the idea couldn’t move ahead with Australia pulling out of it.
International Buddhist Conclave
Why in news?
With an aim to encourage the prominent Buddhist heritage and pilgrim sites in the state of Maharashtra, Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation in association with Ministry of Tourism recently organized the 6th International Buddhist Conclave 2018 in Aurangabad.
About international Buddhist conclave
- The Conclave will highlight the traditional and historical facets of Buddhism across the world.
- Theme: ‘Buddha Path – The Living Heritage”
- The International Buddhist Conclave is testament of the Ministry of Tourism and Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation towards its commitment to advance the experience of travellers as well as tourists looking to experience the spirit of Buddhist inheritance of our country.
NGT asks for action plan on e-waste in three months
Why in news?
Stating that scientific disposal of e-waste is an important factor for protecting the environment, the National Green Tribunal (NGT) has directed the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) to submit an action plan on e-waste management within three months.
Why this direction came?
The NGT was disposing of a plea against unauthorised “recycling, collection, dismantling, burning, selling” of e-waste and other solid waste on roadsides and riverbanks in violation of E-Waste (Management) Rules, 2016, and Environment (Protection) Act, 1986.
- Electronic waste accounted for 40% of lead and 70% of all heavy metal found in landfills.
- Burning and selling of e-waste and other solid waste resulted in groundwater contamination and air pollution.
- The National Green Tribunal has been established on 18.10.2010 under the National Green Tribunal Act 2010 for effective and expeditious disposal of cases relating to environmental protection and conservation of forests and other natural resources including enforcement of any legal right relating to environment and giving relief and compensation for damages to persons and property and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto.
- It is a specialized body equipped with the necessary expertise to handle environmental disputes involving multi-disciplinary issues.
China responsible for over a third of cyber attacks on official Indian sites, NSCS informed
Why in news?
China constitutes the maximum threat to Indian cyberspace with around 35% of cyber attacks emanating from its soil, a recent finding by a department under the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology, and communicated to the National Security Council Secretariat (NSCS) and other security agencies, has revealed.
Recent findings by National Security Council Secretariat (NSCS)
- As per the findings, 35 percent of the cyber attacks that the Indian cyberspace witnessed came from China whereas, with other countries like the US and Russia also forming a major part of the threat. Pakistan is being seen as a threat as it uses Canadian and German cyberspace to get into the Indian cyberspace and attack it.
- This report was prepared in April-June 2018 by the Indian Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-In).
- Threats like cyber security, hacking and phishing are all dealt with by this team as it makes sure any and every malicious factor is eliminated. Reports have revealed that China, the US and Russia are responsible for 67% percent of the total cyber attacks that India faces whereas Pakistan, Canada and Germany amount to 21 percent.
- The report has revealed that the organisations that have been impacted include Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC), Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) and a few banks like the Punjab National Bank, Oriental Bank of Commerce, State Bank of India. Data centres of states like Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh and Karnataka have also been hit.
- Cyberspace threats are regularly being monitored and being dealt with in a proper manner. China happens to be the one with the most intrusions followed by the US and Russia.
- Canadian and German intrusions in the cyberspace are suspected to be from Pakistan as they have regularly used these platforms to attack the Indian cyberspace.
State can stop voluntary retirement of doctors
Why in news?
The State can stop government doctors from taking voluntary retirement in public interest, the Supreme Court has ruled.
- The fundamental right to retire is not above the right to save lives in a country where government hospitals cater to the poorest, a Bench of Justices Arun Mishra and S. Abdul Nazeer said in its judgment.
- “The concept of public interest can also be invoked by the government when voluntary retirement sought by an employee will be against public interest.”
- The court said public health was suffering from a scarcity of doctors. Qualified doctors did not join the public service, and even if they did so, they chose voluntary retirement and went into lucrative private practice.
- It said the poor could not be put in peril by a paucity of specialists in government hospitals. The State governments had an obligation “to make an endeavour under Article 47 to look after the provisions for health and nutrition.”
- The doctors, as citizens, had certain fundamental duties under Article 51(A) towards their fellow citizens. The right to practise a profession under Article 19(1)(g) was subject to the interest of the general public, the court said.
- The ruling is based on an appeal by the Uttar Pradesh government against the Allahabad High Court’s decision to allow Dr. Achal Singh, who was working as Joint Director, Medical, Health and Family Welfare, in Lucknow, to voluntarily retire with effect from March 31, 2017.
e-Filing, e-Pay, and National Service and Tracking of Electronic Processes (NSTEP)
Why in news?
- Justice Dipak Misra, the Chief Justice of India, on August 23, 2018 launched three applications for the benefit of the litigants and lawyers during an event at the Supreme Court of India.
- These applications are – e-Filing, e-Pay, and National Service and Tracking of Electronic Processes (NSTEP). These applications have been created under the eCourts project Phase II and developed under the leadership of Justice MB Lokur, Judge-in-charge of eCommittee, Supreme Court.
- On the same occasion, the Union Minister of Law and Justice, Ravi Shankar Prasad released the brochures to increase awareness about eCourt initiatives and to enable litigants, lawyers and other stake holders to avail the services of all these initiatives.
- The e-Filing application is available at efiling.ecourts.gov.in.
- The application is meant for online registration of lawyers and litigants.
- Through the application, one can file cases from any part of India to any court on registration.
- Portfolio management of cases of litigants and lawyers is provided on the portal and one can get updates from time to time about filed cases, cases under objection or rejected cases.
- The facility of e-Sign is provided on the application for those who cannot afford to purchase token for making digital signatures.
- The ePay application is available at pay.ecourts.gov.in.
- It is a unified portal wherein facility to pay online court fees is provided.
- The platform is user friendly which can be used with very little self help.
- ePayment is a safe and secure, quick and easy way to pay court fees .
- At present, the facility will be made operational in two states – Maharashtra and Haryana.
- The OTP authentication provides secure way to financial transactions and one can get instant acknowledgement through SMS and print receipt.
- The application is beneficial for the judicial administration since verification of court fees becomes more easy, secure and transparent and accurate figures of court fees collected can be generated for any court, district or State.
National Service and Tracking of Electronic Processes (NSTEP)
- NSTEP is another innovative application launched as part of the eCourts Project.
- It is a transparent and secure system for transmission of process from one location to another and will address delays in process.
- NSTEP will lead to secured auto generation of processes with unique QR Code through CIS, publishing processes on portal and transmission of processes to other court complexes.
- It offers facility to send electronic processes directly to registered mail of the addressee by secured mechanism; enables uploading of documents associated with process; and facilities like tracking GPS, obtaining photograph and on screen signature.
- The service will empower litigants with real time information relating to status of service of process and will entail litigants to take immediate follow up action which will reduce delays.
- eCourts Project is a collaboration between Case Information Software (CIS), Web portal and Mobile Application.
- The eCourts Mission Mode Project Phase I was implemented during 2011 – 2015; wherein Rs 639.41 crore was released for computerisation of district and subordinate courts.
- The eCourts project Phase II is being implemented by the Department of Justice during 2015-19 under the guidance of eCommittee of the Supreme Court of India for Information and communication technology (ICT) enablement of all district and subordinate courts in the country.
‘India Banking Conclave’
Why in news?
Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR) and the government Think Tank NITI Aayog organised two-day ‘India Banking Conclave’ (IBC) in New Delhi between August 23 and August 24, 2018.
- IBC 2018, CEPR’s brainchild is an important platform for varied stakeholders connected to India’s banking and financial sectors.
- Over the years, CEPR has regularly been engaging with corporates, law and policy makers of the country, academicians and professionals to make all stakeholders share their views on all impending issues including bad debts and non-performing assets (NPAs) that have accumulated in the system, in an unbiased manner by bringing them to one platform.
- IBC 2018 is poised to be an effective platform that acts as a bridge between the government and the key stakeholders and help them synergize to re-invigorate India’s banking and financial sectors as many believe that a healthy, effectively running banking system can only revive India’s investment cycle and support the country’s growth story.
About Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)
- CEPR is network of over 1100 researchers who are based mainly in universities throughout Europe and collaborate in research and its dissemination.
- It aims to enhance quality of economic policy-making within Europe and beyond.
Why in news?
The Health Ministry has lifted the ban and allowed all private retail stores to sell Oxytocin, life-saving hormone, from 1st September. It has already banned the import of oxytocin and its formulation.
- Earlier, the Ministry said that the sale of Oxytocin through private retail chemists will be banned from 1st July and the State-owned Karnataka Antibiotics Pvt. Ltd. (KAPL) will be the only company to manufacture and distribute oxytocin.
- It would be sold only in government hospitals and clinics.
Why it banned?
- Oxytocin has been misused in the dairy industry where livestock is injected with oxytocin to make them release milk at a time convenient to farmers.
- The hormone is also used to increase the size of vegetables such as pumpkins, watermelons, brinjals, gourds and cucumbers.
Oxytocin is a naturally occurring hormone that causes uterine contractions during labour and helps new mothers lactate.
Fabless Chip Design Incubator (FabCI)
Why in news?
It offers facilities like free software tools with leading technology partners in Electronic Design Automation (EDA).
About Fabless Chip Design Incubator (FabCI)
- The main aim to incubate a minimum of 50 ‘Make-in-India’ chip design companies that can compete globally and generate Intellectual Property Rights (IPRs).
- The Indian Institute of Technology Hyderabad (IITH) has launched an exclusive Incubator to boost the chip design sector.
- The Fabless Chip Design Incubator (FabCI) a first of its kind in India will focus on creating an ecosystem for grooming startups in chip design.
- It will provide a bouquet of offerings including free software tools with leading technology partners in Electronic Design Automation (EDA), a characterization facility for testing the chips and equipment for performing DC and RF characterization.
- Already three start ups are registered to kick start activity. A technical event was held at IIT Hyderabad campus recently.