Maharashtra govt announces cash prizes for those who bagged medals in CWG 2018
• The Maharashtra state government on April 11, 2018 announced cash prizes for all the players from the state who have bagged medals in the ongoing Commonwealth Games Gold Coast.
• An official notification from the state’s Chief Minister’s office read that each gold medal winner will be rewarded with a cash prize of 50 lakh rupees, silver medalists with 30 lakh rupees and bronze medalists will be awarded 20 lakh rupees each.
• The coaches would also be honoured with 12.5 lakh rupees, 7.5 lakh rupees and 5 lakh rupees, respectively for each gold, silver and bronze medal won by the players from the state.
• Madhurika Patkar and Pooja Sahasrabuddhe, both from Thane, and Sanil Shetty have bagged gold in table tennis. Chirag C Shetty of Vile Parle has also bagged a gold medal in badminton.
• Besides, Heena Sidhu, who lives in the Mumbai suburb of Goregaon, also won a gold and silver medal in two categories of pistol shooting.
Ace shuttler Kidambi Srikanth becomes World No 1
• Ace Indian shuttler Kidambi Srikanth became World number 1 in men’s singles category after Badminton World Federation updated its weekly rankings on April 12, 2018.
• He overtook World Champion Viktor Axelsen at the top of rankings with 76,895 points.
• Srikanth has now become the first Indian male shuttler to achieve the feat in modern ranking system.
• He joins Saina Nehwal to become only the second Indian to achieve the feat.
• Twenty-five year old Srikanth had missed out on the chance to become No. 1 in the world last year after suffering an injury.
India's social sector spending remains woefully below peers: Study
• According to a study titled 'Union Budget 2018-19: An Assessment', India's social sector spending remains woefully below peers, including Latvia and Iceland, in terms of GDP.
• Published in RBI's monthly bulletin, the study analysed 17 countries including India in terms of their social sector expenditure as per cent of GDP 2016.
• The study stated that with the National Health Protection Scheme under the 'Ayushman Bharat' programme and the reform of the education system, the expenditure on health and education together is budgeted to grow by 4.6 per cent as per the 2018-19 Budget.
• As per the study, India's social sector expenditure as per cent of GDP in 2016 was 7.5 per cent whereas it was 29 per cent in Belgium, 15.2 per cent in Iceland, 14.5 in Latvia and 10.4 per cent in Korea, among other countries.
India ranked 130 in Economic Freedom Index
• India was ranked at 130th spot in the latest annual Index of Economic Freedom, which was released by a top American think-tank the Heritage Foundation.
• India has jumped up 13 places in this year’s ranking. In 2017, India with a score of 52.6 points was ranked at 143 among 180 countries.
• As per the latest Index of Economic Freedom, China has jumped one spot and Pakistan is now at the 131st position. China with 57.4 points was ranked 111 in the 2017.
• The report said Economic liberalisation measures, including industrial deregulation, privatisation of state-owned enterprises and reduced controls on foreign trade and investment, that began in the early 1990s, accelerated growth.
• The report also mentioned that Corruption, underdeveloped infrastructure, a restrictive and burdensome regulatory environment, and poor financial and budget management continue to undermine overall development.
New Zealand bans all new offshore oil exploration
• New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern on April 12, 2018 announced a ban on all new offshore oil exploration, as a transition towards a zero-carbon economy.
• The ban is applied with immediate effect to only new offshore oil exploration permits and will not affect existing permits and onshore drilling.
• The transition must start somewhere, said Ardern who vowed to push for more environmental measures adding that the government was taking an important step to address climate change and create a clean, green and sustainable future for New Zealand.
• Arden also assured that her policy will not lead to job losses in the country's oil industry, which currently employs at least 11,000 workers and generates about $1.8 billion per year.
• Greenpeace, a non-governmental environmental organisation, hailed Ardern's move in a statement, saying this was a historic moment for the country and a huge win for the climate and people power.
World Bank approves $55mn for Bangladesh project
• The World Bank has approved $55 million to expand the use of clean renewable energy in rural areas of Bangladesh where grid electricity cannot reach easily.
• The additional financing to the Second Rural Electrification and Renewable Energy Development (RERED II) Project will install 1,000 solar irrigation pumps, 30 solar mini-grids and about 4 million improved cooking stoves in rural areas.
• The project, including the additional financing, will enable about 10 million people living in villages, shoals and islands to access electricity and use energy efficient cooking stoves.
• The project has already built 10 solar mini-grids in remote areas, including islands and shoals to provide grid-quality electricity.
FDA approves marketing of first AI device to detect diabetic eye disease
• The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on April 11, 2018 permitted the marketing of the first medical device to use Artificial Intelligence (AI) to detect greater than a mild level of the eye disease diabetic retinopathy in diabetic adults.
• Diabetic retinopathy, the most common cause of vision loss for people living with diabetes, occurs when high levels of blood sugar lead to damage in the blood vessels of the retina, the light-sensitive tissue in the back of the eye.
• The device, called IDx-DR, is a software programme that uses an AI algorithm to analyse images of the eye taken with a retinal camera called the Topcon NW400.
• A doctor can upload the digital images of the patient's retinas to a Cloud server on which IDx-DR software is installed.
• If the images are of the desired quality, the software will provide the doctor with one of the two results, either "more than mild diabetic retinopathy detected: refer to an eye care professional" or "negative for more than mild diabetic retinopathy: re-screen in 12 months."
• The IDx-DR is the first device authorised for marketing that provides a screening decision without the need for a clinician to also interpret the image or results, which makes it usable by health care providers who may not normally be involved in eye care.