- Plantations go for casual labour to save costs
- The country’s plantation industry has been increasingly using casual labour owing to the high social cost of employing permanent and resident labourers.
- The sector has been bearing “enormous social cost” in view of the statutory provisions under the Plantations Labour Act (PLA), 1951. The percentage share of statutory benefits in the total wages amounts to 76, 65 and 70, respectively, in Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu.
- In the case of Nilgiris, the share of resident labour in the total tea plantation labour declined from 72.8% in 1971 to 55.2% in 2004. The share of temporary labour increased from 25.3% to 39.6% in the same period.
- Out of the 22 coffee estates surveyed in Karnataka, only 4.5% units provided medical facilities, and shockingly only one medical officer was deputed for all 22 units.
· Researchers develop ReMix an in-body GPS system to track tumours
- Researchers able to track implants with centimeter-level accuracy in animal tests.
- Similar implants can be used to deliver drugs to specific regions of the body.
- The test was conducted by scientists from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH)in the US.
· India finish second in Women’s kabaddi for 1st time at Asiad
- India bagged silver medal in Women’s kabaddi at the Asian Games 2018 after losing to Iran in the final match.
- The Indian women’s kabaddi team finished second for the first time at Asiad after having won gold in the 2010 and 2014 editions.
· Center imposes curbs on import of biofuels
- Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) imposedrestrictions on the import of biofuels through an amendment in the import policy. The bio-fuels include ethyl alcohol and other denatured spirits, biodiesel, petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous minerals other than crude. The free import of biofuels is now made available only for non-fuel purposes.
- The Cabinet had approved the National Policy on Biofuels in May 2018, which allowed doping of ethanol produced from damaged food grains, rotten potatoes, corn and sugar beet with petrol. The government claimed that the move will cut oil imports by Rs.4,000 crore in 2018 alone. It then reiterated its plan to invest Rs.10,000 crore to build 12 biofuel refineries by 2022 which will help it save Rs 12,000 crore of import bills.
- Agreements for 5 projects on interlinking of rivers nearing completion
- Union Minister for Water Resources, Nitin Gadkari announced that, a total of 47 proposals for river interlinking projects have been received so far from nine state governments – Maharashtra, Gujarat, Jharkhand, Odisha, Bihar, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Chhattisgarh.
Five projects of river interlinking are:
Ken-Betwa link project,
Damanganga-Pinjal link project,
Par-Tapi-Narmada link project,
Godavari-Cauvery (Grand Anicut) link project and
Parvati-Kali Sindhu-Chambal link.
· Government unveils draft UDAN scheme for international route
- The objective of the UDAN International scheme is to enhance international air connectivity between Indian states and select international destinations through the provision of financial support to airlines.
- Under the scheme, the state governmentswill be responsible for funding the financial benefits.
- The Assam government has committed to fund the subsidy amount of Rs 100 croreper annum for three years.
- Ude Desh ka Aam Nagrik(UDAN) scheme was launched in 2016 to provide affordable air travel at Rs 2,500 per hour of flight for people through subsidised ticket rates and to provide air connectivity to smaller towns.
- India’s First ISTS connected Wind Power Project Commissioned
- Solar Energy Corporation of India Limited (SECI) conducted India’s first auction of wind power projects in February 2017 in which tariff of Rs. 3.46 was discovered, which was much lower than feed in tariffs in vogue those days.
- This was a 1000 MW bid for projects to be connected on ISTS (Inter State Transmission System) wherein power generated from one state (renewable resource rich state) could be transmitted to other renewable deficient states.
- The energy generated from this project is being purchased by Bihar, Odisha, Jharkhand and UP.
· State can stop voluntary retirement of doctors
- The State can stop government doctors from taking voluntary retirement in public interest, the Supreme Court has ruled.
- The fundamental right to retire is not above the right to save lives in a country where government hospitals cater to the poorest.
- The doctors, as citizens, had certain fundamental duties under Article 51(A) towards their fellow citizens. The right to practise a profession under Article 19(1)(g) was subject to the interest of the general public
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