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Prime Minister to launch Accessible India Campaign for Physically disabled people n important aim of the society is to integrate persons with disabilities in the society so that they can actively participate in society and lead a normal life. Ideally, a disabled person should be able to commute between home, work place and other destinations with independence, convenience and safety. The more persons with disabilities are able to access physical facilities, the more they will be part of the social mainstream. With firm commitment of the government towards socio-economic transformation of the persons with disabilities there is an urgent need to create mass awareness for universal accessibility. DEPwD is also in the process of creating a mobile app, along with a web portal for crowd sourcing the requests regarding inaccessible places. With the app, downloaded on his/her mobile phone, any person would be able to click a photograph or video of an inaccessible public place (like a school, hospital, government office etc.) and upload the same to the Accessible India portal. The portal will process the request for access audit, financial sanction and final retrofitting of the building to make it completely accessible. The mobile app and portal will also seek engagement of big corporates and PSUs to partner in the campaign by offering their help to conduct access audit and for accessibility- conversion of the buildings/transport and websites. India is a signatory to the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD). Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities (DEPwD), Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, has formulated the Accessible India Campaign (Sugamya Bharat Abhiyan), as a nation-wide campaign for achieving universal accessibility for PwDs. The campaign targets three separate verticals for achieving universal accessibility namely the built up environment, transportation eco-system and information & communication eco-system. The campaign has ambitious targets with defined timelines and will use IT and social media for spreading awareness about the campaign and seeking commitment / engagement of various stakeholders. The Department has asked various State Govts. to identify about 50 to 100 public buildings in big cities and also identify citizen centric public websites, which if made fully accessible would have the highest impact on the lives of PwDs. Once identified, “Access Audit” of these buildings and websites will be conducted by professional agencies. As per the audit findings, retrofitting and conversion of buildings, transport and websites would be undertaken by various government departments. This will be supported by the Scheme of Implementation of Persons with Disabilities Act (SIPDA), an umbrella scheme run by the Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities (DEPwD) for implementing various initiatives for social and economic empowerment of PwDs. Article 9 of UNCRPD casts an obligation on all the signatory governments to take appropriate measures to ensure to persons with disabilities access, on an equal basis with others, to the physical environment, to transportation, to information and communications, including information and communications technologies and systems, and to other facilities and services open or provided to the public, both in urban and in rural areas. Persons with Disabilities (Equal Opportunities. Protection of Rights and Full Participation) Act 1995 under Section 44, 45 and 46 also categorically provides for non-discrimination in participation, non-discrimination of the roads and built up environment. As per Section 46 of the PwD Act, the States are required to provide for : i) Ramps in public buildings ii) Provision of toilets for wheelchair users iii)Braille symbols and auditory signals in elevators or lifts iv) Ramps in hospitals, primary health centres and other rehabilitation centres. Article 9 – Accessibility of UNCRPD 1. To enable persons with disabilities to live independently and participate fully in all aspects of life, States Parties shall take appropriate measures to ensure to persons with disabilities access, on an equal basis with others, to the physical environment, to transportation, to information and communications, including information and communications technologies and systems, and to other facilities and services open or provided to the public, both in urban and in rural areas. These measures, which shall include the identification and elimination of obstacles and barriers to accessibility, shall apply to, inter alia: Buildings, roads, transportation and other indoor and outdoor facilities, including schools, housing, medical facilities and workplaces; Information, communications and other services, including electronic services and emergency services. 2. States Parties shall also take appropriate measures to: Develop, promulgate and monitor the implementation of minimum standards and guidelines for the accessibility of facilities and services open or provided to the public; Ensure that private entities that offer facilities and services which are open or provided to the public take into account all aspects of accessibility for persons with disabilities; Provide training for stakeholders on accessibility issues facing persons with disabilities; Provide in buildings and other facilities open to the public signage in Braille and in easy to read and understand forms; Provide forms of live assistance and intermediaries, including guides, readers and professional sign language interpreters, to facilitate accessibility to buildings and other facilities open to the public; Promote other appropriate forms of assistance and support to persons with disabilities to ensure their access to information; Promote access for persons with disabilities to new information and communications technologies and systems, including the Internet; Promote the design, development, production and distribution of accessible information and communications technologies and systems at an early stage, so that these technologies and systems become accessible at minimum cost.
International Court of Justice to hear South China Sea dispute Philippines filed the case in 2013 to seek a ruling on its right to exploit the South China Sea waters in its 200-nautical mile exclusive economic zone (EEZ) as allowed under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). China claims sovereignty over almost the entire South China Sea, dismissing claims to parts of it from Vietnam, the Philippines, Taiwan, Malaysia and Brunei. _67616829_south_china-sea_1_464 Court of Arbitration rejected Beijing’s claim that the disputes were about territorial sovereignty and said additional hearings would be held to decide the merits of the Philippines’ arguments. China has boycotted the proceedings and rejects the court’s authority in the case. China, facing international legal scrutiny for the first time over its assertiveness in the South China Sea. What is exclusive economic zone (EEZ) and territorial sea ? An exclusive economic zone (EEZ) is a sea zone prescribed by the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea over which a special rights regarding the exploration and use of marine resources, including energy production from water and wind. It stretches from the baseline out to 200 nautical miles (nmi) from its coast. A territorial sea as defined by the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, is a belt of coastal waters extending at most 12 nautical miles from the baseline (usually the mean low-water mark) of a coastal state. The territorial sea is regarded as the sovereign territory of the state. Foreign ships (both military and civilian) are allowed innocent passage through it. This sovereignty also extends to the airspace over and seabed below.
UN Warns Air Pollution in Asia Pacific Has Rising Cost The United Nations Report says : The rising level of air borne pollution in Asia is extracting greater social and economic costs leading to millions of people dying prematurely each year. Globally some 7 million people a year die prematurely due to indoor and outdoor pollution with about 70 per cent of those deaths in the Asia Pacific. From forest fires with their smoky haze over South East Asia, to China’s smog-filled mega cites, to rural homes in South Asia choked by inefficient stoves, scientists say in Asia there are rising health and social costs from air borne particle pollution. The costs from air pollution are rising for millions across the region, with hundreds of cities facing pollution levels exceeding World Health Organization (WHO) safety standards. We know that well over 200 cities in Asia exceed WHO guidelines on PM2.5 emissions. Millions of people living in them exceeding WHO guidelines which is directly linked with basically chronic health problems. Emission rates from household fuel combustion should not exceed the following targets (ERTs) for particles with aerodynamic diameters of less than 2.5 µm (PM2.5) and carbon monoxide (CO), based on the values for kitchen volume, air exchange and duration of device use per day set out in Table R1.1 and which are assumed to be representative of conditions in low- and middle-income countries. Scientists warn that without significant steps, the number of premature deaths from air borne pollution will double by 2050. In South Asia, from Bangladesh to India and Pakistan, the toll to human life has been directly linked to people using stoves that burn solid cooking fuels, like wood or dung. Indoor pollution is a major contributor to health problems that compares to the pollution faced by urban communities with traffic borne smog. it’s not just a kind of respiratory problem, but it’s also a cardiovascular problem. it’s not just young children’s and women’s problem but across all age groups — men and women — everybody’s impacted — it makes it the top most public health environment concern. In India alone some 3.5 million deaths a year are attributable to household air pollution. But she adds India’s economic growth and rising incomes has led to more families to seek alternatives to solid fuels, such as liquid petroleum gas. Atmospheric brown clouds (ABCs) over mega cities from Bangkok, Japan, China and throughout India, also extract serious costs to communities. China is reported to be increasing investment to curb severe pollution in major cities, both the capital and regionally. But U.N. scientists say more must be done than merely punishing polluters. They say the challenge lies in ensuring there is the political will to enforce existing environmental laws and cooperate on cross border problems such as smoke haze and other atmospheric pollution. Air pollution in India It is quite a serious issue with the major sources being fuelwood and biomass burning, fuel adulteration, vehicle emission and traffic congestion. In autumn and winter months, large scale crop residue burning in agriculture fields – a low cost alternative to mechanical tilling – is a major source of smoke, smog and particulate pollution. The National Green Tribunal directed Delhi and its neighbouring States Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh to stop the age-old practice of straw burning recently. India has a low per capita emissions of greenhouse gases but the country as a whole is the third largest after China and the United States. A 2013 study on non-smokers has found that Indians have 30% lower lung function compared to Europeans. The Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act was passed in 1981 to regulate air pollution and there have been some measurable improvements. However, the 2014 Environmental Performance Index ranked India 155 out of 178 countries.In which Air quailty is ranked 174 out of 178 countries.
China’s Renminbi Is Approved by I.M.F. as a Main World Currency The Chinese renminbi was anointed as one of the world’s elite currencies , a milestone decision by the International Monetary Fund that underscores the country’s rising financial and economic heft. The move will help pave the way for broader use of the renminbi in trade and finance, securing China’s standing as a global economic power. Just four other currencies — the dollar, the euro, the pound and the yen — have the I.M.F. designation. IMF members can use the Special Drawing Rights (SDR) list to obtain currencies to meet balance-of-payments needs. The Fund also issues its crisis loans – crucial to struggling economies like Greece – valued in SDRs. The yuan’s entry into the IMF list takes effect on October 1, 2016. The decision puts the Bank of China under pressure to provide more transparency in line with its peers, such as the Federal Reserve and the European Central Bank. Special Drawing Rights (SDR): An international type of monetary reserve currency, created by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in 1969, which operates as a supplement to the existing reserves of member countries. Created in response to concerns about the limitations of gold and dollars as the sole means of settling international accounts, SDRs are designed to augment international liquidity by supplementing the standard reserve currencies. You can think of SDRs as an artificial currency used by the IMF and defined as a “basket of national currencies”. The IMF uses SDRs for internal accounting purposes. SDRs are allocated by the IMF to its member countries and are backed by the full faith and credit of the member countries’ governments.
Best IAS And KAS Coaching Centre In Bangalore Government approves over Rs 5000 cr funding to push solar projects The Cabinet committee on economic affairs (CCEA) has approved setting up over 5, 000 Mega Watt of Grid-Connected Solar Photo Voltaic Power Projects on build, own and operate basis. The government approved a ‘viability gap funding’ (VGF) of Rs 5, 050 crore for setting up over 5, 000 MW of grid. Viability Gap Funding (VGF) Means a grant one-time or deferred, provided to support infrastructure projects that are economically justified but fall short of financial viability. The VGF will be provided through reverse bidding. Whosoever will quote the lowest VGF will win. One part of these funds will be for domestic modules. These companies will be given Rs 1.25 crore per MW and those coming through international competitive bidding will get Rs one crore per MW It will be implemented by Solar Power Developers with Viability Gap Funding under Jawahar Lal Nehru National Solar Mission. The total investments expected under the scheme is about Rs 30, 000 crore. It will give jobs to 30 thousand people, with reduction of more than 8 Million tonne of CO2 emissions into environment every year. Jawahar Lal Nehru National Solar Mission: The Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission is a major initiative of the Government of India and State Governments to promote ecologically sustainable growth while addressing India’s energy security challenges. It will also constitute a major contribution by India to the global effort to meet the challenges of climate change. The Mission is one of the several initiatives that are part of National Action Plan on Climate Change. The program was inaugurated in 2010 with a target of 20 GW by 2022 which was later increased to 100 GW in 2015 Union budget of India. United States filed a case with WTO against India for restricting the critical materials used to domestic content. The immediate aim of the Mission is to focus on setting up an enabling environment for solar technology penetration in the country both at a centralized and decentralized level. The first phase (up to 2013) will focus on capturing of the low hanging options in solar thermal; on promoting off-grid systems to serve populations without access to commercial energy and modest capacity addition in grid-based systems. In the second phase, after taking into account the experience of the initial years, capacity will be aggressively ramped up to create conditions for up scaled and competitive solar energy penetration in the country.
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