CCEA approves restructured National Bamboo Mission
The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) on April 25, 2018 approved the centrally sponsored scheme ‘National Bamboo Mission’ (NBM) under the National Mission for Sustainable Agriculture (NMSA) for the remaining period of Fourteenth Finance Commission (2018-19 & 2019-20).
The National Bamboo Mission will ensure integrated development of the bamboo sector by establishing effective linkage of farmers with industry.
Besides, the CCEA also approved the Empowerment of Executive Committee for formulation of guidelines of the National Bamboo Mission and to make the changes therein.
J&K cabinet approves ordinance on death penalty for child rapists
The state cabinet of Jammu and Kashmir on April 24, 2018 approved the Jammu and Kashmir Criminal Law (Amendment) Ordinance, 2018 that provides death penalty to the rapists of children below the age of 12 years.
The ordinance has made the rape of children under the age of 12 years punishable with the death sentence. In case of rape of children between 12 and 16 years of age, the punishment would carry rigorous imprisonment of 20 years that may extend to a life sentence.
The development comes in the wake of huge outrage over the Kathua rape and murder case.
Remove the Provisions discriminating against Leprosy patients: SC to Centre
The Supreme Court on April 24, 2018 asked the Centre and all the States to remove all the provisions that refer to leprosy as a disability from statute books.
The move came after the apex court observed that the leprosy is curable and patients suffering from it should not be victims of social stigma.
The Supreme Court bench noted that the references to leprosy as a disability in the written laws led to the “statutory stigma.” And these laws must be amended to bring in the parity as with the advancement of medical science, leprosy is no longer an incurable disease.
Government, World Bank sign agreement to develop India’s healthcare industry
The Union Government and World Bank signed a $125 million agreement on April 24, 2018 for the ‘Innovate in India for Inclusiveness Project’ to support India in developing an innovative biopharmaceutical and medical devices industry, which is globally competitive.
The project will support Union Government’s Biotechnology Industry Research Assistance Program (BIRAC). It mainly aims to leverage India’s potential and capability to deliver safe, effective and low-cost vaccines to tackle a host of diseases that affect billions of people around the world.
NASA’s lunar orbital platform ‘Gateway’ to begin construction
NASA will start work on its Lunar Orbital Platform-Gateway by early 2019 when it will award the first contract for the program.
The lunar platform will be NASA's planned ‘staging’ area for studies of the moon and the deep-space environment. It will eventually also function as a gateway space station for Astronauts travelling to and from Mars.
The platform is expected to orbit the moon in 2025.