Current Affairs, News & Facts of 03 Jul 2015

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  • Cuba becomes the first country to officially eliminate mother-to-child HIV transmission
    • World Health Organisation has announced that  Cuba has become the first country to eliminate the transmission of HIV and syphilis from mother to baby
    • Approximately 14,100 individuals (0.2 percent of the population) in Cuba are living with HIV/AIDS   the virus is transmitted via commercial sex work, and it's linked to cultural and behavioral patterns and a lack of access to protective measures.
    • The act of eliminating mother-to-child transmissions of HIV and syphilis means more than improved outcomes for the children of infected parties, but it means hope for a cure.
    • In 2013, only two babies were born with HIV in Cuba, and only five born with congenital syphilis.
    • Scientists have said eradicating Aids is feasible if HIV prevention continues to grow, even if there is no cure.The reduction in infection rates in Cuba is seen as a major breakthrough in the campaign to rid the world of the virus.
    • The number children born annually with HIV was 400,000 in 2009.By 2013, the number was down to 240,000 in 2013.But intense effort is needed to meet the global target of less than 40,000 new child infections per year by 2015
    • Globally, more than 35 million adults and children are living with HIV but the infection rate has slowed significantly, with 2.1 million becoming HIV positive in 2013, down from 2.9 million in 2005
    • "It shows that ending the AIDS epidemic is possible and we expect Cuba to be the first of many countries coming forward to seek validation that they have ended their epidemics among children" said Michel Sidibe, executive director of the United Nations AIDS agency.
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  •  According to World Bank report India is now a $2-trillion economy  
    • According to a World Bank report, India's GDP crossed the $2-trillion mark in 2014. In 2013, it was a $1.88 trillion economy
    • After taking 60 years to reach the $1-trillion mark, India added the next trillion in just seven years.
    • The World Bank data also show that India’s gross national income per person rose to $1,610 (around Rs. 1 lakh) a year during 2014 from $1,560 the previous year
    • An International Monetary Fund study said India's GDP would cross the milestone of $3 trillion after five years in 2019. Going by the IMF report, United States would remain the world's largest economy with a size of $17.42 trillion, followed by China at $10.35 trillion.
    • India’s growth rate, at 7.4 per cent in 2014, makes it the fastest growing major economy along with China’s, which has a economy of  $10.4 trillion in size

    However, while Bangladesh, Kenya, Myanmar, and Tajikistan have moved up from 'low income' to '‘middle income' nations, India continues to be in the 'lower middle income' group.It would take India a little more than a decade to rise from its current ‘lower middle income’ category to the ‘upper middle income’ level.

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  • Union Government hiked national floor-level minimum wage to 160 rupees per day
    • The Union Government in June 2015 increased the national floor-level minimum wage (NFLMW) to 160 rupees per day from 137 rupees per day. The new rate will be effective from 1 July 2015.
    • If states revise their minimum wages as per the new NFLMW, the decision is expected to benefit millions of workers in the scheduled employments in the respective state jurisdictions.
    • It was implemented for the first time in 1996 on the basis of the recommendations of the National Commission on Rural Labour (NCRL) under the Minimum Wages Act, 1948.
    •  It is a non-statutory measure and after every revision, the State Governments are persuaded to fix minimum wages such that in none of the scheduled employments, the minimum wage is less than NFLMW.
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  •  Indian-American teacher receives US Presidential Award
    • The Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching is awarded annually to outstanding K-12 (kindergarten through 12th grades) science and mathematics teachers from across the country.108 teachers across the country have been named for this prestigious Presidential Award 
    • Darshan Jain, an Indian-American teacher from Illinois, has been named by US President Barack Obama for prestigious Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching
    • Darshan Jain teaches mathematics at Adlai E. Stevenson High School in Lincolnshire, Illinois for eight years, he currently serves as the director of mathematics there
    • winners will receive a $10,000 award each from the National Science Foundation.The educators will receive their awards at a Washington, DC, event later this summer.
    • Obama is strengthening education in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) fields in order to fully harness the promise to American students. 
    • President Obama launched the 'Educate to Innovate' campaign, which has garnered more than USD 1 billion in financial and in-kind support for STEM programs.
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  • Dr Anup K Pujari joins as Secretary, MSME
    • Dr Anup K Pujari IAS (KN 80) joined as Secretary Ministry of Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) . He succeeds Shri Madhav Lal who superannuated on June, 30 2015. Before joining the Ministry of MSME, Dr. Pujari was holding the charge of Secretary, Mines. 
    • Born in 1956, Pujari is a post-graduate from the University of Boston, and a Doctorate in Economics. Shri Pujari has served the Central and Karnataka Govt. in various capacities.

    Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME)  :-     ( Source : Ministry of Micro, Small & Medium Enterprises )

    • Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) contribute nearly 8 percent of the country’s GDP, 45 percent of the manufacturing output and 40 percent of the exports. They provide the largest share of employment after agriculture. They are the nurseries for entrepreneurship and innovation. They are widely dispersed across the country and produce a diverse range of products and services to meet the needs of the local markets, the global market and the national and international value chains.
    • The Ministry has a number of programmes to help and assist entrepreneurs and small businesses. If you are planning to set up business, you may contact National Institute for Entrepreneurship and Small Business Development (NIESBUD ), National Institute for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (NI-MSME), Indian Institute of Entrepreneurship (IIE) or the Development Commissioner (DCMSME) for details about their programmes.
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  •  Fazle Hasan Abed wins 2015 World Food prize for reducing poverty
    • Sir Fazle Hasan Abed, the founder of Brac, the largest non-governmental organisation in the world by the number of employees and the number of people it has helped has been awarded the 2015 World Food prize for his incredible work on reducing poverty in Bangladesh and 10 other countries.
    • BRAC that was originally known as Bangladesh Rural Advancement Committee was started as a temporary relief organisation to help the country recover from the 1970 typhoon that killed about 500,000 people and the subsequent war fought in 1971 to win independence from Pakistan. 
    • In the later phase organisation’s focused switched  to finding new ways to tackle poverty and empower women socially and economically and grew  into one of the world's largest nongovernmental organisations which is  estimated to have helped more than 150 million people out of poverty in Africa and Asia and is expanding efforts to 10 additional countries
    • Today, it has a staff of 110,000 and works in 11 countries: Bangladesh, Afghanistan, Pakistan, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, Liberia, Sierra Leone, South Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda and Haiti. Fazle Hasan Abed was knighted in London in February 2010
    • The World Food Prize was created by Nobel laureate Norman Borlaug in 1986 to recognize scientists and others who have improved the quality and availability of food. The foundation that awards the $250,000 prize is based in Des Moines, Iowa.
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  • Cost of Printing A One Rupee Note is Rs 1.14 
    • Do you know how much the government spends on printing a one-rupee note? The cost of printing one rupee note, which was recently re-introduced after a gap of 20 years, is Rs 1.14, more than its value
    • The Security Printing and Minting Corporation of India (SPMCIL), under the central government, said in the RTI response that the cost is subject to audit, which is in progress, for financial year 2014-15.
    • An application was filed by activist Subhash Chandra Agrawal fore which The Security Printing and Minting Corporation of India (SPMCIL), under the central government,replied that "The cost of one rupee note is Rs 1.14 (provisionally and unaudited) as determined in accordance with the principle of costing and costing module"
    • The printing of one-rupee notes was discontinued in 1994 because of high printing cost as compared to their lives  the notes of two-rupee and five-rupee denominations were subsequently discontinued for the same reason these denominations have been coinised.
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  • Union Government launches App to know gram panchayats assets
    • An App to know gram panchayats  has been launched by the government.  The app was launched by Rural Development and Panchayati Raj Minister Ch Birender Singh
    • This mobile App can be used by citizens to capture photographs and geographical coordinates (latitude, longitude) of various assets available at Gram Panchayat level, so that these can be seen on a map and will be useful for planning by the Panchayats and the Government
    • The app is not only helpful in providing  information to the general public but  the App will also be useful for planning by the Panchayat and State government
    • The App launch is part of the Digital India Week, which has been     inaugurated by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Digital India week seeks to inform, educate and engage citizens about the ongoing initiatives of the government in the area of e-governance. 
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  • Prof. Sanjeev Galande selected for G D Birla Award for Scientific Research 2014
    • Prof. Sanjeev Galande has been selected for the prestigious G D Birla award for Scientific Research 2014. He has been selected for his significant contribution and his pioneering research in the field of Epigenetics and Molecular Cell Biology.
    • Presently, he is a professor at the Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER), Pune and also leading a team of scientists in studying various aspects of gene
    • Galande had obtained doctorate in biochemistry from Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bangalore in 1996. He is also a postdoctoral fellow at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in the US. He is pioneer for establishing the Centre of Excellence in Epigenetics at IISER.
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