February 03, 2019
7 months

Operating Ratio

  • The finance minister said that the operating ratio of the railways is expected to improve from 98.4% in 2017-18 to 96.2% in 2018-19 and to 95% in 2019-20.
  • The operating ratio shows the efficiency of an organization’s management by comparing operating expense to net sales.
  • The smaller the ratio, the greater the organization's ability to generate profit if revenues decrease.
  • The operating ratio of Indian Railways was under stress by December 2018.
  • The main reason for the stress is that the expenditure is continuing to far exceed earnings and thereby Indian Railways is facing a dismal financial scenario.
  • Higher operating ratio for railways simply means that the national transporter does not have money for capital investments.
  • The implementation of the Seventh Pay Commission has put a heavy burden on the railways which contributed to the increase in its expenditure.

Microbial Fuel Cell (MFC)

  • A microbial fuel cell (MFC) is a bio-electrochemical device that harnesses the power of respiring microbes to convert organic substrates directly into electrical energy.
  • At its core, the MFC is a fuel cell, which transforms chemical energy into electricity using oxidation reduction reactions.
  • The bacteria are made to act upon the organic substrates or waste water.
  • These bacteria are isolated from the very wastewater they are meant to degrade.
  • They feed on the organic material in the water and break it down under anaerobic (without oxygen) conditions, releasing electrons in the process.
  • The electrons are collected at the anode which results in a current in the circuit.

Surgery: ‘Neglected Step Child’

  • According to a study published in a research letter to The Lancet journal it is estimated that 4.2 million people around the world die every year within 30 days after surgery.
  • It is more than those who die from HIV, tuberculosis, and malaria combined.
  • Also half of the post-operative deaths occur in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs).
  • The Lancet Commission on Global Surgery identified that 313 million surgical procedures are performed each year.
  • However little is known about the quality of surgery globally, as robust postoperative death rates are available for only 29 countries.
  • Based on 4.2 million deaths, 7.7 per cent of all deaths globally occur within 30 days of surgery.
  • At present, around 4.8 billion people worldwide lack timely access to safe and affordable surgery and it is estimated that there is an annual unmet need for 143 million procedures in LMICs.

Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF)

  • America had withdrawn from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty recently.
  • The Treaty between the United States of America and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics on the Elimination of Their Intermediate-Range and Shorter-Range Missiles is commonly referred to as the INF Treaty.
  • The INF treaty resolved a crisis of the 1980s when the Soviet Union deployed a missile in Europe called the SS-20, capable of carrying three nuclear warheads.
  • The United States responded with cruise and Pershing II missiles based in Europe.
  • The treaty prohibited land-based cruise or ballistic missiles with ranges between 500 to 5000 kilometers.
  • It did not cover air- or sea-launched weapons such as cruise missiles fired from ships, submarines or airplanes, although those missiles fly similar distances.


Source: PIB, The Hindu, Indian Express

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