Current Affairs, News & Facts of 13 Jan 2016

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  • EPFO bags National Award on e-Governance

     

    EPFO bags National Award on e-Governance

    The Employees’ Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO) has won National Award on e-Governance 2015-16 for launching the Universal Account Number (UAN).The EPFO won the gold award in the ‘innovative use of technology in e-governance’ category and it will also get a cash prize of Rs 2 lakh.

    The award will be presented by the Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions to the EPFO in the 19th National Conference on e-governance to be held in Nagpur on January 22.

    About Universal Account Number (UAN) :

    • Through UAN, active employees are provided a universal number which can be linked to various provident fund account numbers provided to them while working in different organisations.
    • A single account number can be used through all of workers’ employments with various organisations. When a worker changes his job, he is required to inform his UAN to new employer and after the previous and present employments are linked to the number, the transfer process happens on its own.

    Earlier, the worker had to apply for transfer of funds on change of job from one organisation to another but UAN facility enables workers to transfer their provident fund deposits while switching jobs anywhere in India easily.The portal also allows a worker view his provident fund balance on a real-time basis without going through the employer.

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  • Blood banks now to post stock data online

     

    Blood banks now to post stock data online

    All blood banks in the country have been asked to update realtime stock status on the National Health Portal (NHP) website with an aim to introduce transparency in availability and disbursement of blood units. Nearly 200 banks are already doing this. The idea is ensure people have access to credible data.

    In this regard Director-General of the National AIDS Control Organisation (NACO), N.S. Kang, has written to all 2,711 licensed blood banks in India, asking them to put data on the portal.

    National Health Portal (NHP) :

    • National Health Portal (NHP) website gives real- time data about blood and blood components at the State and the district level as it is updated every 48 hours.
    • The e-Blood bank will enable electronic monitoring of blood collection, testing, storage and final use and even disposal. The app also will maintain a database of regular donors, in case of requirement.
    • Now the families looking for blood can use the web-enabled system to see availability of blood instead of tapping into personal sources, social media platforms etc for blood.
    • Currently the availability of whole blood/components from nearly 200 blood banks in Jammu & Kashmir,Gujarat, Rajasthan and Odisha are being shown on the NHP app.

    Since all information will be readily available on the portal it will promote safe blood shifts from the individual to blood banks and it's proper distribution. It will also weed out professional donors and touts.

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  • US researchers develop technique for effective light bulbs

     

    US researchers develop technique for effective light bulbs

    Incandescent lightbulb commercially developed by Thomas Edison in the US in the 1880s create light by using electricity to heat a thin, tungsten wire filament to temperatures of around 2,700C. This causes the filament to glow and produce a broad spectrum, warm white light.

    But lightbulbs of this type are hugely inefficient - they only convert around 2-3 per cent of the energy they use into light - the rest is wasted as heat. This is the reason they have long been a target for green campaigners, concerned about climate change.

    These Incandescent lightbulb has seen the bulbs banned in the European Union, Canada and their manufacture and importation has been phased out in the US. They've been replaced by more expensive compact fluorescent (CFL) and LED bulbs which are significantly more efficient at around 13 per cent.

    About the Research :

    • Scientists at MIT have found a way of recycling the waste energy and focussing it back on the filament where it is re-emitted as visible light. Using nanotechnology, they've built a structure that surrounds the filament of the bulb and captures the leaking infrared radiation, reflecting it back to the filament where it is re-absorbed and then re-emitted as visible light.
    • The structure is made from thin layers of a type of light-controlling crystal. A key aspect though is the way that these layers are stacked, with visible wavelengths allowed to pass through while infrared get reflected back to the filament as if in a mirror.In theory, the crystal structures could boost the efficiency of incandescent bulbs to 40 per cent, making them three times more efficient than the best LED or CFL bulbs on the market.
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  • Centre sets up panel to fix bullet train issues 

     

    Centre sets up panel to fix bullet train issues

    The government has set up a committee headed by Arvind Panagariya to sort out all issues related to implementation of Mumbai-Ahmedabad high-speed rail project with a similar panel constituted by Japan. The panel will interact with the Japanese counterpart for taking the next step in implementation.

    Members of the panel : The panel comprises the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion Secretary, the Foreign Secretary, the Economic Affairs Secretary and the Railway Board Chairman.

    Background :

    • Last year, Union Cabinet chaired by Prime minister Narendra Modi has given its nod for bullet train project on Mumbai-Ahmedabad High-Speed Rail Corridor which wii be built with the help of Japan .
    • The Panagariya panel had favoured Japan over China due to the low-cost funding up to 80 per cent of the cost proposed by Japan International Cooperation Agency, at a 0.1 per cent interest rate (50-year repayment), also commitment for technology transfer and local manufacturing for a specified period.

    Mumbai-Ahmedabad High-Speed Rail Corridor :

    • In India the proposed trains will  run on a standard gauge line, covering 12 stations between the Bandra Kurla Complex in Mumbai and Sabarmati at Ahmedabad.The route stations would be Thane, Virar, Boisar, Vapi, Bilimora, Surat, Bharuch, Vadodara and Anand. The train is described as having a maximum design speed of 350 km per hour.
    • Indian Railways will run the corridor for an initial five years, after which private operators could be allowed. Bullet trains are run by state-owned agencies in France and Germany. The Japanese system was handed to private companies after two decades of operation
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