Current Affairs Today - Current Affairs 2014 - Page 62

The Miracle girl “Mississippi baby”cured of HIV as an infant now detected with virus again

The baby girl who had emerged as a ray of hope for the global combat against AIDS, when she was cured of HIV after being born to an infected mother has now been detected with the HIV virus.

In a huge setback to researchers, the child known as the “Mississippi baby” who when put on Anti-Retroviral Therapy (ART) within 30 hours of birth was cured in 2013 by stopping the formation of viral reservoirs — dormant cells responsible for the re-starting the infection in most HIV patients within weeks of halting the therapy has now been found to have been re-infected after more than 2 years without ART support.

The kid has detectable HIV levels in the blood (16,750 copies/mL). Besides, the child has reduced levels of CD4+ T-cells, the main constituent of a normal immune system, and the presence of HIV antibodies — signs of a replicating pool of virus in the body. The kid has been put on ART again. It has been found that the child’s HIV infection was the same strain acquired from the mother. ​

HIV first emerged over 30 years ago and has till now infected over 34 million people globally. Scientists face a daunting challenge of finding a vaccine against HIV. As per the UN estimates, 330,000 babies were infected in 2011. This is apart from more than 3 million children living with HIV across the globe.

In India, over 14,000 children got infected in 2011, which accounted for 13% decrease as compared to 2009. The number of estimated deaths among children (0-14 years old) due to AIDS was 10,213 in 2011. In India, in 2011, an estimated 21 lakh people living with HIV/AIDS, 7% were children. Nearly 40% (8.16 lakh) of them were women, who are likely to pass on the virus to their babies.

Margaret Alva Sworn-in as Goa Governor

Margaret Alva, the current Governor of Rajasthan, was sworn-in as the Governor of Goa. She was administered oath of office by Chief Justice of Bombay high court Mohit Shah. Rajasthan governor Alva has been given additional charge of Goa after previous governor B V Wanchoo resigned on July 4, 2014, a day after CBI interrogated him in the VVIP chopper deal scam.

World Population Day observed across the world on July 11

The World Population Day was observed across the world on July 11. The theme for year 2014 is Invest in Young People today, to ensure a Bright Future“.

The United Nations’ (UN) World Population Day is observed annually on July 11 to reiterate the human right to plan for a family. It promotes activities, events and information for the realization of this right throughout the world. As per United States Census Bureau (USCB), World Population is estimated to be 7.023 billion. World Population has increased sharply in the last 200 years. Countries like China and India together make up 37% of the total world population. Continent wise, Asia with 4.2 billion people has largest population. As compared to other continents of the world, Asia accounts for over 60% of the world population.

Study attributes Oklahoma earthquakes to subsurface wastewater injection

A study has attributed the dramatic increase in earthquakes in central Oklahoma since 2009 to subsurface wastewater injection at a few wastewater disposal wells. As per researchers, Oklahoma earthquakes make up nearly half of all central and eastern U.S. seismicity from 2008 to 2013, many occurring in areas of high-rate water disposal.

Induced seismicity poses as a primary obstacle to expanded shale gas and unconventional hydrocarbon development. The study offers insight into the process by which the earthquakes are induced and suggests that sticking to standard best practices may significantly cut down the danger of inducing seismicity. The best practices include avoiding wastewater disposal near major faults and the use of suitable monitoring and mitigation schemes.

As per research, 4 of the highest-volume disposal wells in Oklahoma (about 0.05% of wells) are capable of triggering about 20% of recent central U.S. earthquakes in a series, called a swarm, spanning nearly 2,000 sq kms, as shown by the study of modeled pore pressure surge at relocated earthquake hypocenters.

Earthquakes are induced at distances more than 30 kms from the disposal wells, far away from current criteria of 5 kms from the well for diagnosis of induced earthquakes.

The area of increased pressure related to these wells keeps expanding, increasing the probability of encountering a larger fault and thus raising the risk of triggering an earthquake of higher-magnitude.

Budget Box 2014-15: Highlights

Union Finance Minister Mr. Arun Jaitley presented Union Budget 2014-15. The highlights:

 

For individuals

  • No change in the Tax slab on personal income
  • Income tax exemption limit increased by Rs 50,000 to Rs 2.5 lakh and for senior citizens to Rs 3 lakh
  • Exemption limit for investment in financial instruments under 80C increased to Rs 1.5 lakh from Rs 1 lakh.
  • Investment limit in PPF increased to Rs 1.5 lakh from Rs 1 lak
  • Deduction limit on interest on loan for self-occupied house enhanced to Rs 2 lakh from Rs 1.5 lakh.
  • Reintroduction of Kisan Vikas Patra, National Savings Certificate with insurance cover to be launched
  • Long term capial gain tax for mutual funds doubled to 20%; lock-in period increased to 3 years
  • Mandatory wage ceiling of subscription to EPS (Employee Pension Scheme) enhanced from Rs 6,500 to Rs 15,000
  • Minimum pension raised to Rs 1,000 per month
  • LCD, LED TV become less expensive
  • Cigarettes, pan masala, tobacco, aerated drinks become costlier

 

New projects and programmes

  • 5 IIMs to be opened in HP, Punjab, Bihar, Odisha and Rajasthan
  • 5 IITs in Jammu, Chattisgarh, Goa, Andhra Pradesh and Kerala
  • 4 more AIIMS like institutions in Andhra Pradesh, West Bengal, Vidarbha in Maharashtra and Poorvanchal in Uttar Pradesh
  • Kisan TV for farmers, Arun Prabha TV for northeast
  • National Rural Internet and Technology Mission for services in villages and schools, training in IT skills proposed
  • ‘Digital India programme will be launched to ensure broad band connectivity at village level
  • Ultra Modern Super Critical Coal Based Thermal Power Technology has been proposed
  • ‘Jal Marg Vikas’ a project on the river Ganga for inland waterways between Allahabad and Haldia; Rs 4,200 crore will be allocated for the same.
  • “Uniform Account Number” service will be launched by EPFO for contributing members.
  • Project “Neeranchal” will be launched to give fillip to watershed development in the country with an initial outlay of Rs. 2142 crores.
  • Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao Yojana to spread awareness and help in improving the efficiency of delivery of welfare services meant for women.
  • Achieving “Health For All” objective through Free Drug Service and Free Diagnosis Service
  • Two National Institutes of Ageing to be established at AIIMS, New Delhi and Madras Medical College, Chennai.

 

Key allocations

  • Rs 100 crore allocated to support about 600 new and existing Community Radio Stations
  • Swachh Bharat Abhiyan to cover every household with sanitation facility by the year 2019
  • Rs 100 crore for metro projects in Lucknow and Ahmedabad
  • ‘Namami Gange’ the Integrated Ganga Conservation Mission has been allocated Rs 2,037 crore
  • Rs 150 crore set aside for enhancing safety of women in large cities
  • Rs. 7,060 crore allocated for the project of developing 100 Smart Cities.
  • Rs 11,200 crore for PSU banks capitalization
  • Rs 500 crore allocated for rehabilitation of displaced Kashmiri migrants
  • “Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayee Yojna” has been provided Rs 1000 crore.
  • Rs. 50,548 crore under the SC Plan and Rs. 32,387 crore under TSP

 

Economic Measures

  • Composite cap of foreign investment to be increased to 49% in Defence and Insurance sectors.
  • Requirement of the construction area and capital conditions for FDI decreased to 20,000 square metres and $5 million respectively for development of smart cities.
  • Manufacturing can sell its products through retail including e-commerce platforms.
  • Requirement to inject Rs.2,40,000 crore as equity by 2018 in our banks to be in consonance with Basel-III norms PSUs will invest through capital investment a total sum of Rs. 2,47,941 crores.
  • Rs 4,000 cr allocated to increase flow of cheaper credit for affordable housing to the urban poor/EWS/LIG segment.
  • Government supports consolidation of PSU banks
  • Providing greater autonomy to PSU banks while making them accountable is under consideration

 

Some key fiscal information

  • Government expects Rs 9.77 lakh crore revenue crore from taxes
  • Plan expenditure pegged at Rs 5.75 lakh crore and non-plan at Rs 12.19 lakh crore.
  • Fiscal deficit target maintained at 4.1% of GDP for current fiscal and 3.6% for FY 2016
  • Disinvestment target fixed at Rs 58,425 crore
  • Gross borrowings pegged at Rs 6 lakh crore
  • Configuration of GST to be finalized this fiscal
  • Government to examine DTC proposal.

 

Administrative reforms

  • Panel to examine all fresh tax demands for indirect transfer of assets in wake of retrospective tax amendments of 2012
  • Setting up of Expenditure Management Commission; will look into food and fertilizer subsides
  • Legislative and administrative amendments to clear up pending tax demands of more than Rs. 4 lakh crore under dispute and litigation.
  • Formulation of New Urea Policy
  • MGNREGA would provide more productive, asset creating wage employment with linkages to agriculture and allied activities
  • A panel will look into and recommend how unclaimed amounts with PPF, Post Office, saving schemes etc. can be utilized to protect and further financial interests of the senior citizens
  • Slum development to be included in the list of Corporate Social Responsibility
  • Panel to look into the financial architecture for MSME Sector, remove impediments and create new norms and structures regarding the same.
  • To provide support to mainstreaming PPPPs (People Public Private Partnership) called4PIndia”, an institution will be established with a corpus of Rs. 500 crores.

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