Daily Current Affairs IAS | UPSC Prelims and Mains Exam – 27th April 2019

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  • April 27, 2019
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IAS UPSC Prelims and Mains Exam – 27th April 2019



Global Initiative of Academic Networks (GIAN)

Part of: GS Prelims and Mains II – Government schemes and programmes; Education reforms

In news:

  • GIAN was launched by Union Ministry of Human Resource Development (HRD) in 2015
  • It aims to boost the quality of higher education in India, facilitate participation of high quality international academicians for delivering short-term courses and programs in Indian institutions

Do you know?

  • Under GIAN, initially 500 international faculties will be engaged in conducting courses and later in subsequent years 1000 faculties would be engaged throughout India.
  • GIAN aims at tapping the talent pool of scientists and entrepreneurs to engage with the institutes of higher education in India

Visiting Advanced Joint Research Faculty (VAJRA) scheme

Part of: GS Prelims and Mains II – Government schemes and programmes; Education reforms

In news:

  • Launched by Ministry of Science and Technology
  • VAJRA scheme enables NRIs and overseas scientific community to participate and contribute to research and development in India.

Do you know?

  • The Science and Engineering Research Board (SERB), a statutory body of the Department of Science and Technology will implement the Scheme.
  • Foreign researchers of Indian origin or otherwise can collaborate with faculties in public funded Indian institutions.
  • Public funded academic institutions and national laboratories will be eligible for hosting the VAJRA Faculty.
  • The VAJRA faculty can reside in India for a minimum of 1 month and a maximum of 3 months a year.

Scheme for Promotion of Academic and Research Collaboration (SPARC)

Part of: GS Prelims and Mains II – Government schemes and programmes; Education reforms

In news:

  • Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur is the National Coordinating Institute to implement the SPARC programme.
  • SPARC aims at improving the research ecosystem of India’s higher educational institutions by facilitating academic and research collaborations between Indian institutions and the best institutions in the world.
  • Under this Scheme, 600 joint research proposals will be awarded for 2 years to facilitate research collaboration between Indian research groups with the best in class faculty and renowned research groups in the leading universities of the world

Do you know?

  • The Ministry of Human Resource Development had recently launched the web portal of the scheme – “Scheme for Promotion of Academic and Research Collaboration (SPARC)”.

1 million species risk extinction due to humans: draft UN report

Part of: GS Prelims and Mains III – Environment and conservation; Role of International Organization or NGO/CSOs

In news:

According to a draft UN report –

  • Up to one million species face extinction due to human influence.
  • It warns about how humanity has undermined the natural resources upon which its very survival depends.
  • The accelerating loss of clean air, drinkable water, forests, pollinating insects, protein-rich fish and storm-blocking mangroves poses no less of a threat than climate change.
  • The report warns of “an imminent rapid acceleration in the global rate of species extinction”.
  • The direct causes of species loss, in order of importance, are shrinking habitat and land-use change, hunting for food or illicit trade in wildlife body parts, climate change and pollution, the report finds.

Do you know?

  • April 22 is celebrated as Earth Day
  • The theme of this year’s Earth Day is ‘protecting the planet’s species diversity’.
  • The theme is important one considering nearly half of 177 mammal species surveyed in a study saw their distribution fall by more than 80% between 1900 and 2015.
  • Scientists strongly believe that the planet may be in the midst of the sixth mass extinction, and unlike other times in the past, this could be largely anthropogenic.



TOPIC: General studies 2 

  • Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation
  • Welfare schemes for vulnerable sections of the population by the Centre and States and the performance of these schemes; mechanisms, laws, institutions
  • Issues and policies related to health

Battling malaria


  • In 1987, the pharma giant GlaxoSmithKline began testing a vaccine to target the malaria parasite.
  • The initiative received support from the WHO, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the international NGO PATH.
  • The collaboration bore fruit on April 23, 2019, when health workers in Malawi rolled out the first vaccine against the viral disease.

Do you know?

  • A total 3,60,000 children across three African countries — Malawi, Ghana and Kenya — will be covered every year with the vaccine. (pilot countries)
  • The vaccine (named RTS,S) has taken three decades to come to fruition, and is the first one ever against a disease that kills 4,35,000 people a year, most of them children.
  • India ranks high in the list of countries worst affected by the mosquito-borne disease.
  • In 2018, 3,99,134 cases of malaria and 85 deaths due to the disease were reported in India, according to data from the National Vector Borne Disease Control Programme.
  • Every year, April 25 is celebrated as World Malaria Day, to consolidate and re-strengthen efforts to control the disease.
  • Malaria has been in existence since the last 1,00,000 years and despite the progress made by science and medicine in controlling the disease, it continues to be the biggest killer of mankind.

About RTS,S vaccine

  • RTS,S aims to trigger the immune system to defend against the first stages of malaria when the Plasmodium falciparum parasite enters the human host’s bloodstream through a mosquito bite and infects liver cells.
  • The vaccine is designed to prevent the parasite from infecting the liver, where it can mature, multiply, re-enter the bloodstream, and infect red blood cells, which can lead to disease symptoms.
  • According to WHO, the malaria vaccine has the potential to save tens of thousands of children’s lives.


  • PATH is an international nonprofit team of innovators which advises and partners with public institutions, businesses, grassroots groups, and investors to tackle the world’s toughest global health problems, including malaria.
  • PATH’s Malaria Vaccine Initiative (MVI) works with various stakeholders towards the development of a malaria vaccine.

Why is malaria such a major global public health challenge?

  • Malaria is a potentially life-threatening parasitic disease caused by the parasites Plasmodium viviax (P.vivax), Plasmodium falciparum (P.falciparum), Plasmodium malariae (P.malariae), and Plasmodium ovale (P.ovale), transmitted by the female Anopheles mosquito.
  • In its most virulent form, malaria is a difficult disease to deal with. Plasmodium falciparum, the most dangerous of the virus, replicates very fast in the human body. This means if a person infected with the virus does not get diagnosed urgently, the infection assumes fatal or near fatal proportions rapidly.
  • Unlike bacteria, parasites evolve complex ways to evade the immune system. The malaria parasite passes through multiple life stages, each of which presents a unique challenge to vaccine developers.
  • Moreover, inside the human body the virus changes shape making it very difficult for the proteins produced by a vaccine to target the pathogen.
  • Malari remains one of the world’s leading killers, claiming the life of one child every two minutes.
  • Children under the age of 5 are at greatest risk from its life-threatening complications.
  • The poorest children suffer the most and are at highest risk of death.

Limitations of the new vaccine

  • In clinical trials, the new vaccine reduced malaria cases by less than 40 per cent — the measles vaccine, by comparison, is 97 per cent effective and the chickenpox vaccine prevents almost 100 per cent of severe cases of the disease.
  • Another issue with the vaccine is that children need four doses. Critics of the vaccine argue that four trips to a clinic could be tough for families in rural Africa.


Once the pilots have been completed, the WHO will review the results and come out with its recommendations for the use of the vaccine. For a country like India, the key question though is likely to be as much the efficacy of the vaccine as its cost.

The vaccine is also a significant intervention given that the WHO estimates that climate change will exacerbate the mortality caused by the disease.

Connecting the dots:

  • While India has successfully eliminated small pox and polio over time. It is time coordinated efforts are put in to eliminate malaria. Discuss the challenges associated with the same. Also, suggest measures to address these challenges.
  • India has suffered from a major burden of malaria for decades, but the World Malaria Report 2018 of the World Health Organisation shows that sustained public health action can end the epidemic by 2030. Critically comment.


TOPIC: General studies 2 

  • Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation
  • Welfare schemes for vulnerable sections of the population by the Centre and States and the performance of these schemes; mechanisms, laws, institutions
  • Issues and policies related to health

How South-East Asian countries spearheading the global push to end TB


  • Each of the WHO South-East Asia Region’s member states have played a critical role in the global push to end TB by or before 2030.
  • For example, in 2017, health ministers from across the region issued a call for action, highlighting the measures needed to contain and fight the disease.
  • By next year it came up with a statement of action, which pledged intensified efforts to achieve that outcome, even as domestic funding reached unprecedented levels.
  • In the same year, at the UN General Assembly, member states vigorously canvassed for a political declaration on the fight against tuberculosis, which was subsequently endorsed.
  • Region-wide commitment, resolve and action is to be commended. It is also vitally important.

Do you know?

  • The South-East Asia Region is the world’s most TB-affected region.
  • The life-threatening disease has serious social, political and economic impacts.
  • Significantly, TB remains the region’s leading cause of death and lost productive years in the crucial 15-49-year-old age group, impacting the prospects of individuals, families, communities and countries.
  • The region is also home to a growing number of drug-resistant cases of the disease.

According to UN’s Political Declaration on TB, member states’ should ensure that by 2022

  • 18 million TB patients are diagnosed and effectively treated;
  • more than 500,000 patients with drug-resistant TB are successfully treated; and
  • preventive treatment is provided to around 12 million people at risk of developing the disease

Steps needed to meet these challenges:

  • Intensifying active case-finding, especially amongst high-risk groups, is essential.
  • Intensified case-finding can dramatically reduce case incidence while also ensuring all patients receive quality treatment.
  • Member states should develop a joint roadmap on how they can harness novel diagnostics to find missing cases, as well as how people-centred treatment can be provided to all.
  • Covering all groups at risk of developing TB with preventive treatment should also be prioritised.
  • All plans should be aligned with WHO guidelines, which recommends treating childhood, adolescent and adult contacts of TB cases, alongside other at-risk groups such as people living with HIV or those who are immuno-compromised.
  • All partners should support the supply of first-line drugs via south-south cooperation, precisely as India has offered to do.
  • Royalty-free technology transfers will improve access to diagnostics and the efficacy of outreach.
  • Community engagement, including capacity building, must be a core priority of all countries.

Connecting the dots:

  • Tuberculosis can be one of the major hurdles in converting the human capital in India to Demographic Dividend. Highlight the reasons for the rising TB problem and suggest measures to eliminate the problem.
  • TB remains one of the leading causes of death from any single infectious agent worldwide. Comment on the national and global efforts to eliminate the disease by 2035.


Model questions: (You can now post your answers in comment section)


  • Featured Comments and comments Up-voted by IASbaba are the “correct answers”.
  • IASbaba App users – Team IASbaba will provide correct answers in comment section. Kindly refer to it and update your answers.

Q.1) Which among the following is the first State in the country where the WHO will collaborate for elimination of malaria?

  1. Bihar
  2. Uttar Pradesh
  3. Punjab
  4. West Bengal

Q.2) National Vector Borne Disease Control Programme (NVBDCP) is an umbrella programme for prevention and control of vector borne diseases. Vector borne diseases that are being targeted are:

  1. Malaria
  2. Dengue
  3. Lymphatic Filariasis
  4. Kala-azar

Which of the above options is/are correct?

  1. 1, 2 and 3 only
  2. 2, 3 and 4 only
  3. 1, 3 and 4 only
  4. All the above

Q.3) World Malaria Report is released by

  1. WHO
  2. Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria
  3. Roll Back Malaria Partnership
  4. None of the above

Q.4) Consider the following pairs

Disease : : Pathogens

  1. Tuberculosis : : Virus
  2. Malaria : : Protozoa
  3. Chicken pox : : Bacteria

Which of the pairs given above is/are correct?

  1. 1 and 2 only
  2. 2 only
  3. 1 and 3 only
  4. 1 only

Q.5) The new vaccine RTS,S is associated with –

  1. Malaria
  2. Tuberculosis
  3. HIV
  4. Dengue

Q.6) Health Ministries, NGOs and private sector representatives from 120 countries have signed the Moscow declaration of WHO. The target of declaration is

  1. To eradicate polio from the world till 2030
  2. To eradicate vector borne infections
  3. To eradicate Tuberculosis by 2030
  4. To end deaths by hunger in the world by 2030

Q.7) Consider the following statements about ‘VAJRA’ Scheme

  1. It is an outreach programme, conceived to hook children early on to science and research.
  2. Science and Engineering Research Board (SERB), a statutory body of the Department of Science and Technology will implement the Scheme

Select the correct statements

  1. 1 Only
  2. 2 Only
  3. Both 1 and 2
  4. Neither 1 nor 2


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