1. Union Government launches 100 accessible websites for Divyangs
The Union Social Justice and Empowerment Minister Thaawarchand Gehlot on 19th January 2017 launched 100 accessible websites for Divyangs.
The divyang-friendly websites, especially for the visually impaired, use features such as screen readers and screen magnifiers, which can relay website content to the user in audio format. According to Social Justice Minister, 900 such websites will be launched in a phased manner.
Speaking further on the occasion, the Minister said that divyangs are full of capabilities but need to be given opportunities to prove themselves. He asserted that a lot needs to be done to empower divyangs in the country.
The Minister further urged the states to increase the pace of the work that is being done in favour of divyangs and said that the centre is extending all assistance to empower divyangs and bring them into the mainstream.
2. PMSMA crosses 1 Cr mark in antenatal check-ups
The Pradhan Mantri Surakshit Matritva Abhiyan (PMSMA) has crossed one crore mark in antenatal check-ups.
The programme was launched in 2016 to fulfil Prime Minister Narendra Modi's vision and ensure comprehensive and quality antenatal checkups to pregnant women across the country. The PMSMA has provided quality antenatal checkups to pregnant women on the 9th of every month.
Speaking on the development, Union Health Minister J P Nadda said that safe pregnancy has now become a social movement in the country. He stated that the programme has been successful in reaching out to the difficult and remote areas.
He said more than 25 lakh check-ups were conducted in high priority districts identified by the Health Ministry for focussed attention. The Minister further revealed that the state of Maharashtra has reported the largest number of check-ups among the non-empowered action group states and Rajasthan has reported the largest number of check-ups among the empowered action group states.
3. NDRF celebrates 13th Raising Day
The National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) celebrated its 13th Raising Day on 19th January 2018.
The force was raised on 19th January 2006, as a specialised force capable of responding to any type of disaster in the country and abroad. It is strategically deployed across the nation as per the vulnerability profile.
Overall, the force has saved more than four thousand lives since its inception during relief and rescue operations.
The day’s celebrations included the presentation of Distinguished Service Medals to the NDRF personnel by Intelligence Bureau Director Rajiv Jain.
4. Kerala to set up Blockchain academy
The state-run Indian Institute of Information Technology and Management-Kerala (IIITM-K) is all set to launch its proposed Kerala Blockchain Academy, which will be the first of its kind in the country.
The academy is a joint initiative of IIITM-K and the Blockchain Education Network (BEN), a global network of blockchain communities. It will come up at the Technopark campus.
The main aim of setting up of the academy is to explore the possibilities of leveraging blockchain technology for public good, capacity building initiatives and promoting disruptive innovations and entrepreneurship with blockchain technology.
The move is expected to boost Kerala's efforts in becoming a national leader in the education, adoption and entrepreneurship promotional activities in the new age technological domains.
5. Tamil Nadu government to introduce Aerospace & Defence policy
The Tamil Nadu government is planning to come up with an exclusive Aerospace and Defence policy.
The policy’s main objective would be to achieve a 30 per cent share of the defence sector in India and creating high-end employment opportunities for around 100,000 people in the state.
The development of Chennai Aerospace Park at Sriperumbudur is line with the initiative. The park is being set up in 250 acres in the first phase, which will be expanded to 500 acres in the next phase. It would house at least 50 aerospace or Defence companies forming a strong base for supporting large OEMs (original equipment manufacturers).
The state is also planning to set up a multi-floor manufacturing complex in Chennai Aerospace and Defence Park.
6. Students in China too busy for playtime, reveals survey
According to a survey released on 18th January 2018, more than half of the students in China have to bury their heads in books and thus have no time to play after school.
Initiated by the China National Children's Center and the Social Sciences Academic Press, the study surveyed 8,847 school children in seven cities.
It revealed that about 48.9 percent of primary and middle school students in China take private lessons and about 30 percent of primary school students surveyed spend over two hours finishing homework every day. The proportion was found to be as high as 72.4 percent among high school students.
The survey also found that ‘study’ is the main topic of conversation between parents and children and about 31.5 percent of parents never speak to their children about making friends.
Researchers suggest schools and families should balance students' study and life, encouraging them to participate in sports and entertainment activities.
7. Russia, EU sign agreements on new cooperation programmes
Russia and the European Union (EU) have signed agreements to finance and implement two new cross-border cooperation programmes for the period until 2020.
The information was shared by European Union Ambassador to Russia Markus Ederer on 18th January 2018.
The programmes worth 88 million euros would involve Russia and its neighbours Lithuania and Poland, both of which are EU members, and will focus particularly on the preservation of historical and cultural heritage, the promotion of social inclusiveness, cooperation for a clean natural environment and efficient management of natural resources.
They also aim to promote joint actions for effective border management and security, increasing access to adjacent regions, as well as developing innovation capacities, sustainable transport and communication models.
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