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Current Affairs – 30-12-2017

1. HYDERABAD WELCOMES ‘ROBOCOP’

Hyderabad may soon get its first ‘robocop’, with the launch of a prototype in the city.

  • It can take complaints, record audio and video clips, identify suspects, detect metals, and monitor temperature. The policing robot has been made by H-BOTS, a Hyderabad-based artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning start-up.
  • Made of nylon plastic, said to be ten times stronger than regular plastic, the robot has a multi-touch screen. It recognises voice and can interact in English. The robot is expected to be familiar with basic policing work, regulation of traffic, and details of the Indian Penal Code. On subjects it is not familiar with, the robot will reply to queries by sourcing information from Wikipedia or Google as it has an AI unit inside.
  • If someone tries to tamper with it, the robot is programmed to blow a siren similar to that used by police vehicles. Though far from a complete ‘police person’, unlike a human cop, it can work round-the-clock and its AI-enhanced surveillance capabilities would be far superior.

2. BRIDGE COURSE TO PRACTISE ALLOPATHY: BILL

In a controversial provision, the National Medical Commission Bill 2017 envisages allowing Ayush practitioners (Ayurveda, Yoga and Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homoeopathy) to practise modern (allopathic) medicine after clearing a bridge course. The Bill, introduced in Lok Sabha seeks to overhaul the structure of medical education, introduce a medical exit examination and bring an end to the Medical Council of India.

  • It envisages a “joint sitting” of the (National Medical) Commission, the Central Council of Homoeopathy and the Central Council of Indian Medicine at least once a year “to enhance the interface between homoeopathy, Indian Systems of Medicine and modern systems of medicine”. These three will decide “approving specific bridge course that may be introduced for the practitioners of homoeopathy and of Indian Systems of Medicine to enable them to prescribe such modern medicines at such level as may be prescribed”.
  • The meeting will also finalise, by an affirmative vote of all members present and voting, approvals for “specific educational modules or programmes that may be introduced in the undergraduate course and the postgraduate course across medical systems and to develop bridges across various systems of medicine and promote medical pluralism”.
  • Calling for reform of the Medical Council of India, the Bill says that a 25-member commission selected by a search committee headed by the Union Cabinet Secretary will replace the elected MCI. A medical licentiate (exit) examination will be instituted within three years of its passage by Parliament. A medical advisory council that will include one member representing each state and union territory (vice-chancellors in both cases); chairman, University Grants Commission, and director of the National Accreditation and Assessment Council will advise and make recommendations to the NMC.
  • Four boards dealing with undergraduate, postgraduate medical education, medical assessment and rating and ethics and registration will regulate the sector.
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