- States praised West Bengal govt’s official emblem
- States praised the West Bengal government official emblem, conceptualized and designed by chief minister Mamata Banerjee.
- The state emblem – the “Biswa Bangla” logo with Ashoka Pillar of the national emblem – would be used in all the official works and documents of the Bengal government from now on.
- Some states already have their own emblem but no one here thought about it before.
- The state cabinet have already cleared a proposal to name the state of West Bengal as ‘Bangla’ in September last year.
- WEF launches Global Centre for Cybersecurity
- In a bid to safeguard the world from hackers and growing data breaches — especially from nation-states — the World Economic Forum (WEF) announced a new Global Centre for Cybersecurity.
- Headquartered in Geneva, the centre will become operational from March.
- Cyber breaches recorded by businesses are on the rise. In the last five years, these have almost doubled to an average of 130 breaches per business in 2017.
- As a borderless problem, urgent action is needed to create a safe operating environment for new technologies like Artificial Intelligence, robotics, drones, self-driving cars and the Internet of Things (IoT).
- The global centre will be an excellent opportunity to safeguard verticals like automotive and health care where wireless connectivity is the key.
· First India-designed vaccine passes WHO test
- For the first time, a vaccine conceived and developed from scratch in India has been “pre-qualified” by the World Health Organisation.
- The Rotavac vaccine, developed by the Hyderabad-based Bharat Biotech Limited last year, was included in India’s national immunisation programme. To be “pre-qualified” means that the vaccine can be sold internationally to several countries in Africa and South America.
- While several vaccines from India have been pre-qualified, this is the first that was entirely developed locally and, according to experts, is a sign that there is a credible industrial, scientific and regulatory process in place to develop vaccines in India.
- The Rotavac vaccine protects against childhood diarrhoea caused by the rotavirus and was built on strain of the virus isolated at the the All India Institute of Medical Sciences here over 30 years ago.
- India included the Rotavac in its national immunisation in 2016, with about 35 million doses delivered till date. A dose costs between ₹55-60, according to the company.
- Rotavirus is responsible for an estimated 36% of hospitalisations for childhood diarrhoea around the world and for an estimated 200,000 deaths in low- and middle-income countries.
- AICTE releases new model curriculum
- The All-India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) formally released its new model curriculum for engineering and technical courses reducing the credits to be earned for an undergraduate degree from 220 to 160.
- The time freed would be utilised for practical and creative activities, including hackathons.
- The top technical education regulator had also decided to make internships mandatory for the award of degrees, as part of the exercise.
- The internship would have a minimum of 14 credits. Each credit means 40-45 hours of work.
- Multiple chief guests, a first for Republic Day
- From a single leader gracing Republic Day, India has pulled off a diplomatic coup of sorts by having as many as 10 leaders from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), for January 26 this year.
- Just as the presence of U.S. President Barack Obama as the chief guest at Republic Day in 2015 sent a signal to the rest of the world, the ASEAN leaders’ participation has a resonance of its own.
- An important aspect of the R-Day parade this year is the focus on showcasing indigenously developed military platforms for the visiting heads of state. This is significant as India is now trying to significantly beef up its military sales as part of its defence diplomacy and wants to showcase these platforms to ASEAN countries.
- List of Padma awardees 2018
- This year 85 recipients have been selected for the prestigious awards including two duo cases. This includes 3 Padma Vibhushan, 9 Padma Bhushan and 73 Padma Shri awards. Fourteen of the awardees are women, while 16 persons are foreigners and three are being awarded posthumous.
Padma Vibhushan –
Ghulam Mustafa Khan
Padma Bhushan –
Philipose Mar Chrysostom
Mahendra Singh Dhoni
Alexander Kadakin (Foreigner/Posthumous)
Ved Prakash Nanda (Overseas Citizen of India)
Padma Shri –
Abhay and Rani Bang
Damodar Ganesh Bapat
Prafulla Govinda Baruah
Mohan Swaroop Bhatia
Saikhom Mirabai Chanu
Pandit Shyamlal Chaturvedi
Jose Ma Joey Concepcion III (Foreigner) & 65 others.
Gk bit– Padma Awards
- Padma Awards were instituted in the year 1954. Except for brief interruptions during the years 1977 to 1980 and 1993 to 1997, these awards have been announced every year on Republic Day. The award is given in three categories, viz. Padma Vibhushan, Padma Bhushan and Padma Shri, in the decreasing order of importance.
- Padma Vibhushan for “exceptional and distinguished service”. Padma Vibhushan is second highest civilian award in India.
- Padma Bhushan for “distinguished service of a high order”. Padma Bhushan is third highest civilian award in India .
- Padma Shri is awarded for “distinguished service”. Padma Shri is last and fourth highest civilian award in India.
- The Padma award is just an honour. No cash allowance or any facility/benefit in terms of concession etc.
- The Padma Awards are given on the recommendations done by the Padma Awards Committee, which is created by the Prime Minister Annually.
- The award Committee is supervised by the Cabinet Secretary and comprises of Secretary to the President, Home Secretary, and 4-6 distinguished individuals as members.
- The awardees are given a medallion and a Sanad signed by the President of India.
- The total number of awards to be given in a year should not be more than 120 (not including posthumous awards and to foreigners/ NRI/OCIs).
- No Padma awards were given in the year of 1978, 1979, 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996 and 1997 due to the change of government.
- Microsoft AI to enhance translations of Indian languages
- Microsoft will use Deep Neural Networks to enable high-quality Indian language translations.
- It recognizes speech to convert into text, eliminates errors in the data, translates it to the target language, and synthesizes the text-based translation into speech.
- It also puts every word within the context of other words in the sentence to better the translation.
- UDAN Phase-II: 325 routes awarded; 40% for North East hills
- The Union Ministry of Civil Aviation awarded 325 air routes under the second phase of government’s flagship UDAN (Ude Desh ka Aam naagrik) regional.
- Around 40% or 129 of 325 air routes were awarded to the newly created category of ‘priority areas’ that include Jammu and Kashmir, Northeastern and hill states.
- The routes under phase-II were awarded to 15 airlines and helicopter operators after bidding process.
- The airports to be connected under phase-II: Total 78 airports i.e. 36 served airports, 13 underserved airports and 29 unserved airports.