Current Affair Today

India’s rank on the Corruption Perception Index fell two notches to 81 in 2017 from 79 in 2016, Transparency International (TI).

The Berlin-based non-government body ranked 180 countries in 2017, against 176 in 2016. The index ranks countries and territories by perceived levels of public sector corruption, on a scale of zero (highly corrupt) to 100 (very clean).

India’s score remained intact at 40 points. It had 38 points in 2015.This year, the index scored more than two-thirds of countries below 50, with an average score of 43. This meant India's score remained below average.

No country came perfectly clean. New Zealand was the least corrupt and Somalia was the most.The 2017 index revealed — despite attempts to combat corruption, most countries were moving too slowly with their effort.

In the past six years, many countries have made little to no progress. Further analysis indicated countries with the lowest protection for press and NGOs usually had the worst corruption.

Amid fanfare, actor Kamal Haasan today launched his political party, naming it "Makkal Needhi Maiam," and unveiled its flag that symbolises the strength of unity.

I am not your leader, I am your tool.. this gathering is full of leaders," he said moments before announcing the party's name that roughly translates to "Centre for People's Justice.The party flag was unveiled just before Haasan announced the name of his party with a brief pause heightening the dramatic effect as the huge crowd roared its approval.

The flag in white background has six hands joining together with shades of red over three hands and rest with white along with a star in between surrounded by a star like background in black.

The actor has earlier announced his intentions to start his own party, in a political vacuum created by the absence of two top leaders - the late J Jayalalithaa and M Karunanidhi, who suffers various ailments - in the state politics for more than one year now.

He used Madurai in southern Tamil Nadu as the launchpad for his political journey, keeping in with a long tradition of actors/film personalities in the state moving over from the celluloid world to politics.

Nick Leeson, the rogue trader who captured our imagination way back in 1995, has come alive in various conversations ever since the Punjab National Bank (PNB) -Nirav Modi scam broke last week. The two are not quite the same but the drama linked to any scandal is often similar, if we were to look at how events unfolded and how the authorities reacted.

In the case of PNB, everyone seems to be posing questions to the other at this point. The government is asking regulator Reserve Bank of India (RBI) why it wasn’t able to detect the chain of wrong-doings, the RBI is querying.

A life-like avatar called Cora is being put through her paces by Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS.L), helping customers with basic queries and giving its digital banking drive a more human face.

RBS, which recently axed a quarter of its branches and has announced thousands of job cuts in the past year alone as it reduces costs, will only deploy Cora to NatWest customers if the bank’s female avatar passes her probation period. The digital teller, who wears a NatWest branded uniform and has an ear piercing and sparkling teeth, answers simple questions on getting a mortgage or what to do if a customer loses their card.

It could create another way for our customers to bank with us on top of the usual services we offer and be used to help answer questions round the clock, whilst cutting queuing times.Cora, which is undergoing advanced testing as part of a pilot program at RBS, could even be used to train members of staff.

The Centre has constitued a committee headed by the Vice Chairman of the NITI Aayog to study the Brahmaputra and flood control measures in Assam and neighbouring states.

Participating in an AIR talk show, Assam Water Resource minister Keshab Mahanta has informed this. He said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his visit to Guwahati last year to review flood situation, announced to provide 100 crore rupees to find out permanent solution of flood.

Mr. Mahanta said that the Assam government has submitted required report on flood control measures to the committee. He also said that measures are being taken by the Water Resource department to repair the damaged river embankment due to flood.

Mr Mahanta who is also holding IT department informed that, trainings are being given to make people of the state digitally literate. Mr . Mahanta said that state government will also set up District Science Centre in all districts of Assam to promote science and technology.

station master Angella Stella or ticket collector Vandana Sharma; everyone at the Gandhi Nagar station had smile on their faces on Monday afternoon. They were basking in the glory of being on duty at the country’s first all-women railway station.

Gandhi Nagar of Jaipur became country’s first all-women railway station in the main line category of the Indian railways. Gandhi Nagar railway station has a footfall of nearly 7000 passengers per day and of the 50 trains which pass by, 25 trains halt here.

Officials of North Western railways (NWR) have deployed a woman employee on every single post including station superintendent, head ticket collector, point woman, RPF constable, station master, ticket reservation clerk and enquiry clerk here. It was a proud moment for the women staff, who were congratulated by TP Singh, general manager, NWR on the inaugural function.

Digital health has great potential towards reducing inequity in provisioning and distribution of healthcare resources and services and it can greatly facilitate proactive treatment for disabled patients, children with developmental delays and deformities and people suffering from mental health illnesses and for those suffering from stigmatic infections such as HIV/AIDS, leprosy and tuberculosis.” This was stated by Shri J P Nadda, Union Minister for Health and Family Welfare during his address at the Global Digital Health Partnership Symposium at Sydney, Australia, today. The Union Health Minister spoke on the topic: The role of digital health in supporting improved health outcomes in India.

Mr. Michael Keenan, Minister of Human Services, Australia, Mr Jim Birch AM, Chair, Australian Digital Health Agency, Professor Robyn Norton, Co-founder and Principal Director of the George Institute for Global Health, Professor Ian Jacobs, President and Vice-Chancellor, UNSW Sydney, along with delegates from other countries were also present at the event.

Addressing the participants, Shri Nadda said that it is evident from experiences of various countries that well-designed digital health systems and services can reduce medical errors and cost of care while improving health system efficiency. “We have seen many sectors benefitting from digital revolutions in the past such as retail, banking, logistics etc. The next decade of digital revolution is going to be seen in healthcare; in fact, digital revolution is long overdue in healthcare which can transform the way our physicians, nurses, field staff and hospitals work to deliver care.

The Union Health Minister informed the participants that the National Health Policy (2017) of India clearly articulates the healthcare aspirations of people of India with three distinct goals. “The first goal is to ensure district-level electronic database of information on health system components by 2020, which largely means moving away from paper-based data collection and recording in public health system to use of sophisticated computerized tools for improving functioning of hospitals and health system. The second goal is to strengthen the health surveillance system and establish registries for diseases of public health importance by 2020, where we intend to create registries to support epidemiological profiling of diseases to be better informed for targeted health interventions. The third goal pushes us to work for establishment of federated national e-health architecture, setting-up of health information exchanges and national Health Information Network by 2025,” Shri Nadda elaborated.

Speaking about various strategic initiatives taken by the Union Health Ministry, Shri Nadda said that Integrated Health Information Platform (IHIP) is intended to establish first Health Information Exchange by connecting various Hospital Information Systems from 10 Indian States. He also highlighted the work done by the Ministry in building Registries. We have started building registries for health facility and have given unique identification numbers to more than 200 thousand public health facilities. Incorporation of health facilities from private sector is ongoing. Creation of registries for patients and providers is also planned to be taken-up under IHIP. 

The Union Health Minister further said that the Health Ministry is in process of setting-up a National Digital Health Authority, a statutory body for creating frameworks, regulations and guidelines for interoperability and exchange of digital information. The Authority is also intended to promote adoption of eHealth standards. It will soon be set up through an Act of Parliament which would also address issues related to health data privacy and security.  Shri Nadda also gave an overview of Health Data and Information Standards and Tele-medicine.

Reiterating India’s commitment towards Digital Health, Shri Nadda said that modernization of healthcare through digital technology is an important public policy agenda and India is committed to modernizing its health facilities and services using digital technology. Under the Digital India Programme of Government of India, we are giving lot of focus on use of ICTs for improving service delivery and Health Ministry has rolled out large scale IT systems in different areas of healthcare ecosystem such as public health management, hospital information system, supply chain management, online services, tele-medicine, programme monitoring, mHealth etc.

Stressing on the need of building collaborations, the Union Health Minister said that cyber security and protection of privacy of patient health data are major areas where cooperation from various countries would be required.  This area also requires collaboration with industry and academia to come-up with sustainable strategies to fight cybercrime. Similar collaborations would also be required when we intend to use Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning in hospitals or in community settings for use by health workers.

The Indian and Indonesian armies on Monday began the sixth edition of their annual military exercises in the West Java province of the archipelago country.

The opening ceremony of the two-week Garuda Shakti military drill between the Special Forces of the Indian Army and the Indonesian Army was held at Bandung.The exercises will include experience sharing in counter-terrorism operations, close quarter combat, and other areas of special operations.

This joint exercise between Indian and Indonesian Special Forces highlights the increasing trust and cooperation between the two armiesndian Ambassador to Indonesia Pradeep Kumar Rawat attended the opening ceremony along with Indonesian military officers. Indonesia Defence Minister General Ryamizard Ryacudu visited India last month for the Biennial Defence Ministers Dialogue in New Delhi.