- In a first, Uttarakhand to use EVMs for students’ union polls
- In a first in Uttarakhand, the state government has decided to use electronic voting machines (EVM) in students’ union elections. While EVMs have been made mandatory for colleges having a strength of over 10,000 students, other degree colleges would be provide the facility as per their request.
- For educational institutes having a strength less than of 10,000 students, the EVMs would be provided on request basis.
- Vietnam to host Indian Ocean conference
- The third edition of Indian Ocean Conference is set to begin on August 27 at Hanoi, the capital of Vietnam.
- The theme of the two- day conference will focus on ‘Building Regional Architectures’.
- This year’s conference will see 43 countries as participants while 28 ministers and officials are set to address the event.
· Govt to cap margins on medical devices
- India is set to cap trade margins on medical devices, abandoning the current price control mechanism, as it seeks to curb profiteering as well as allay concerns of device makers, particularly importers of stents and knee implants, who have complained that price restrictions hurt innovation.
- According to Niti Aayog’s formula, the maximum retail price (MRP) of a device will be decided by adding the trade margin to the price at the first point of sale (stockist).
- The trade margin is the difference between the price at which the manufacturers/importers sell to stockists and the price charged to consumers.
- Currently, 23 medical devices have been notified as drugs and are regulated under the Drugs and Cosmetics Act. Of these, only four—cardiac stents, drugeluting stents, condoms and intra-uterine devices—are included in the National List of Essential Medicines and are, therefore, subject to notified price ceilings.
- Last year, knee implants were brought under price control under para 19 of the Drugs (Price Control) Order, 2013. The remaining medical devices are not under any form of price regulation.
- Once the new mechanism of calculating trade margins is approved, it will be applicable on devices such as cardiac stents and knee implants, prices of which were slashed by as much as 85% using powers under the Drugs Price Control Order, 2013.
· New Policy to map drone future
- The civil aviation ministry’s new policy on the use of drones — likely to be released next month — will not be a regulation limited to airports and security installations but will provide a road map for the future, laying down guidelines for the possible use of drones as taxis, delivery services and other commercial activities.
- In the draft policy, released last November, the civil aviation ministry defined no-drone zones near airports and international borders. But the final policy will have a clause in which certain permissions can be granted by the aviation regulator for commercial purposes, while government agencies will be exempted from these guidelines and can use drones for any purpose required.
- In avoid to avoid any security scare, the Union home ministry is simultaneously testing technology to shoot down drones that have entered no-drone and other danger zones.
· Under new series GDP grew 10.08%
- Achieving a doubledigit growth rate has been a longcherished goal for the Indian economy. If the current Gross Domestic Product (GDP) series, which has 2011-12 as its base year, were to be extended backwards, the Indian economy may have actually achieved this feat in 006-07, with annual growth of Gross Value Added (GVA) at factor cost reaching 10.08%.
- To be sure, these figures are not from the Central Statistical Office (CSO), the official source of GDP statistics in India. There is still no official back-series of the 2011-12 GDP numbers and no line of sight on when they will be released.
- The report gives identical values for growth in GVA and GDP at factor cost in the backdated new series. It also shows that backdated new series GDP at market prices crossed the 10% level twice: hitting 10.23% in 2007-08 and 10.78% in 2010-11. While the 2011-12 series does not give values for GDP at factor cost, focusing on GVA (or GDP at factor cost figures) in backdated new series is a better option, as the GDP at market price values do not give sector-wise growth data.
- To be sure, 2006-07 was not the first time India achieved a double digit growth rate. GDP at factor cost grew at 10.16% in 1988-89, largely because of a strong baseeffect as the previous year’s growth rate was just 3.53%.
- PM to launch FAME India II on Sept 7
- Prime Minister Narendra Modi will launch the second phase of the FAME India scheme offering incentives for mass adoption of electric vehicles with an outlay of Rs 5,500 crore on September 7.
- The prime minister would unveil the scheme at the inaugural session of the ‘MOVE’, a global mobility summit to be organised on September 7-8.
- In April, the government had extended the phase 1 of the FAME India scheme by six months till September-end or till its second phase is approved.
- India to join elite club with first biofuel flight
- India would join the elite club of nations who have operated a flight on alternative energy source like biofuel.
- SpiceJet is planning to operate a flight from Dehradun to Delhi using biofuel, which would be first such experiment in India.
- While developed countries like Canada, Australia and US have already conducted these test flights, India would be the first developing nation to experiment that.
Gk bit – Biofuels
- Biofuels are fuels produced directly or indirectly from organic material – biomass – including plant materials and animal waste.
- Biofuels may be derived from agricultural crops, including conventional food plants or from special energy crops. Biofuels may also be derived from forestry, agricultural or fishery products or municipal wastes, as well as from agro-industry, food industry and food service by-products and wastes.
- There are two main types of biofuels – ethanol and biodiesel. The simplest way to distinguish between the two is to remember ethanol is an alcohol and biodiesel is an oil. Ethanol is an alcohol formed by fermentation and can be used as a replacement for, or additive to, gasoline whereas biodiesel is produced by extracting naturally occurring oils from plants and seeds in a process called transesterification. Biodiesel can be combusted in diesel engines.
- Biofuels are grouped by categories – first generation, second generation, and third generation – based on the type of feedstock (the input material) used to produce them.
- First generation biofuels are produced from food crops. For ethanol, feedstocks include sugar cane, corn, maize, etc. For biodiesel, feedstocks are naturally occurring vegetable oils such as soybean and canola.
- Second generation biofuels are produced from cellulosic material such as wood, grasses, and inedible parts of plants. This material is more difficult to break down through fermentation and therefore requires pre-treatment before it can be processed.
- Third generation biofuels are produced using the lipid production from algae.
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