World Braille Day: 4 January
World Braille Day is annually celebrated on January 4, the birthday of Braille inventor, Louis Braille.
The day recognizes the contributions of Louis Braille in helping blind and visually impaired people to read and write.
In November 2018, the General Assembly decided to proclaim 4 January as World Braille Day.
World Braille Day, celebrated since 2019, is observed to raise awareness of the importance of Braille as a means of communication in the full realization of the human rights for blind and partially sighted people.
NPCI launched the Vajra Platform for a fast and secure platform
The National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) launched the Vajra Platform to make payments fast and secure. The platform is based on blockchain technology.
The main objective of the Vajra Platform is to provide automated clearing and settlement of payments and drastically reduce the need for manual reconciliation.
Vajra Platform uses distributed ledger technology (DLT)
The platform uses a permissions model in order to ensure that only approved parties are a part of the network.
CISF to observe 2020 as the Year of mobility
The Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) has announced that it is to observe 2020 as the Year of mobility. This year will have a special focus on the creation of more residential units and the implementation of various welfare measures for the troops.
The observation of the year was announced by the CISF Director General (DG) Rajesh Ranjan on the occasion of the new year. The observation will take all measures for the welfare of troops and their families. CISF in 2020 will focus to create infrastructure and logistics like housing, acquire new land and procuring modern equipment, train with a focus on physical fitness and sports and leverage modern gadgetry and technology on duty.
ISRO proposes to set up Human Space Flight Centre in Challakere
The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has proposed a Rs.2,700 crore master plan to create a top infrastructure that will house its young Human Space Flight Centre (HSFC). The HSFC was formally announced in January 2019. It currently works from a temporary place at the ISRO headquarters, Bengaluru, Karnataka.
After establishing the centre, everything connected with events and planning of the Human Spaceflight Programme (HSP) will be moved to the Challakere campus. It is expected that the 400-acre ISRO land at Challakere will be the single-stop consolidating infrastructure and activities related to space travellers.
India is currently paying a huge sum to Russia for the training of the first set of four astronaut candidates for the first Gaganyaan mission of 2022. Also, HSP work is split across various centres like Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre in Thiruvananthapuram and the U.R. Rao Satellite Centre in Bengaluru.
Madhavpur Mela to be held in 2020 April
The Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Development of North Eastern Region (DoNER), Dr. Jitendra Singh chaired a high-level meeting with senior officials of the Gujarat Government to review preparations for the mega festival of Madhavpur Mela in New Delhi on 8 January 2020. The Madhavpur Mela of Gujarat due to be held in the first week of April 2020. The 8 States of the Northern Eastern Region will participate in the festival.
The Madhavpur Mela of Gujarat shares its connection to the Mishmi Tribe of Arunachal Pradesh.
Madhavpur Mela will witness magnificent folk cultural performances from the North-East, especially Arunachal Pradesh and Manipur.
Troupes from Assam will perform Rukmini-Haran, a popular folk theatre of the region.
The musical troupe from Manipur will sing songs related to Rukmini in the Khullong Ishei and Nat genŕe.
40% of girls aged 15-18 not attending school: Report
Ten years after the Right to Education (RTE) Act came into being, nearly 40% of adolescent girls in the age group of 15-18 years are not attending school while 30% of girls from poorest families have never set foot in a classroom, according to status report.
According to the report by Right to Education Forum and Centre for Budget Policy Studies with support of the World Bank and UNICEF, poor compliance of RTE —12.7% across India— has been primarily due to the downward trend in financing school education which has come down from 4.14% in 2014-15 to 3.40% in 2019-20.
RTE Act of 2019 mandates compulsory education for children between the age of 6-14 years under Article 21A of the Constitution.
The report also cited that education and empowerment index are directly related to per-child expenditure. Kerala tops the index with a spending of Rs 11,574 per child per year with Bihar at the bottom with a spending of just Rs 2,869. Himachal Pradesh, with a spending of Rs 17,921 per child per year, features second among 17 large states.
As per the report, studies have shown strong correlation between public investment in education and child development and empowerment. The report said each additional year of schooling raises earning by 8%-10% (with larger increase for women), meaning that education not only helps to grow the economy but also fight poverty.
Cess is an emergency and variable source of government funding meant to aid and cushion expenditure sources from tax revenue/ budgetary support. Since 2015, with the decline of budgetary support for education expenditure, cess funded 70% of the total education expenditure.