Current Affairs – October 2016

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Saina Nehwal appointed member of IOC’s Athletes’ Commission

Ace Indian shuttler Saina Nehwal has been appointed as a member of the International Olympic Committee’s (IOC) Athletes’ Commission. It is rare honour for an Indian sportsperson.

In this regard, Saina has received a letter to the effect from the IOC President Thomas Bach mentioning that she has been appointed in consultation with Chair of Athletes’ Commission.

The Athletes’ Commission of IOC is chaired by Angela Ruggiero. It comprises nine vice presidents and 10 other members.

About Saina Nehwal

  • She is the first Indian to win Olympics medal in Badminton and had achieved this feat by winning the Bronze medal at the London Olympics 2012.
  • She is the first Indian to win the World Junior Badminton Championships and was also the first Indian to win a Super Series tournament, by winning Indonesia Open in 2009.
  • Awards: Government of India has awarded her with Arjuna Award (2009), Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna (2009–2010), Padma Shri (2010) and Padma Bhushan (2016).

What is International Olympic Committee’s (IOC) Athletes’ Commission?

  • The IOC Athletes’ Commission is a body of sportspersons maintained by the IOC for the purpose of representing athletes.
  • It was established in 1981 and its creation was codified by the IOC in Rule 21 of the Olympic Charter.
  • The athletes commission works as a consultative body and act as link between active athletes and the IOC.
  • It makes recommendations to the IOC’s executive bodies. Its chair serves as a member of the IOC Executive Board.
  • It meets once or twice a year, and also organises an Athletes’ Forum once every two years.

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Delhi’s air quality very poor: SAFAR

According to System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting and Research (SAFAR) national capital New Delhi’s air quality was recorded in the ‘very poor’ category.

The average (24-hour rolling) of PM2.5 and PM10, suspended respirable pollutants, were recorded as 120.8 and 248 micrograms per cubic metre as against safe limits of 60 and 100.

The poor air quality may lead to respiratory problems, irritation to eyes and skin, blurring of vision and headache.

The major reasons for the poor air quality may due to the favourable cold weather conditions coupled with very light wind, vehicular pollution and farm fires in neighbouring states of Punjab, Haryana.

What is System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting and Research (SAFAR)?

  • SAFAR was introduced by Union Ministry of Earth Sciences (MoES) for greater metropolitan cities of India to provide location specific information on air quality in near real time.
  • It was developed by Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology (IITM), Pune along with India Meteorological Department (IMD) and National Centre for Medium Range Weather Forecasting (NCMRWF).
  • The main objective of SAFAR project is to increase awareness among general public regarding the air quality.
  • The purpose awareness for general public is to take appropriate mitigation measures and systematic action for betterment of air quality and related health issues.

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PM launches National SC/ST hub and Zero Defect – Zero Effect scheme

Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched the National SC/ST hub and the Zero Defect, Zero Effect (ZED) scheme for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) at Ludhiana in Punjab.

Besides, he also presented National Awards to MSMEs. He also distributed 500 traditional wooden charkhas (spinning wheels) among women.

What is National SC/ST hub?

  • The objective of the SC/ST (Schedule Castes/Schedule Tribes) Hub is to provide professional support to entrepreneurs from the SC/ST.
  • It also seeks to promote enterprise culture and entrepreneurship among the SC/ST population and to enable them to participate more effectively in public procurement.
  • It will work towards strengthening market access/linkage, capacity building, monitoring, sharing industry-best practices and leveraging financial support schemes.

Public Procurement Policy, 2012: It specifies that 4% of procurement done by ministries, departments and CPSEs should be done from enterprises owned by SC/ST entrepreneurs.

What is Zero Defect, Zero Effect (ZED) scheme?

  • ZED Scheme aims to rate and handhold all MSMEs to deliver top quality products using clean technology. It will have sector-specific parameters for each industry.
  • MSME sector is crucial for the economic progress of India and this scheme will help to match global quality control standards.

The slogan of Zero Defect, Zero Effect (ZED) was first mentioned by PM Narendra Modi in his Independence Day speech in 2014. It was given for producing high quality manufacturing products with a minimal negative impact on environment.

Comment

  • ZED Scheme is meant to raise quality levels in  unregulated MSME sector which is engine of growth for Indian economy. MSME sector drives almost 38% of nation’s GDP and around employs 110 million employees.
  • The scheme will be cornerstone of the Central Government’s flagship Make in India programme, which is aimed at turning India into a global manufacturing hub, generating jobs, boosting growth and increase incomes.

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