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DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS IAS | UPSC Prelims and Mains Exam – 24th May 2021

  • IASbaba
  • May 24, 2021
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(PRELIMS + MAINS FOCUS)


Mobile Monitoring Software (NMMS) App ; Area Officer Monitoring App 

Part of: GS Prelims and GS-II – Policies and interventions 

In news

  • National Mobile Monitoring Software (NMMS) app and Area officer monitoring App was recently launched
  • Ministry: Ministry of Rural Development

Key takeaways 

  • The NMMS App permits taking real time attendance of workers at Mahatma Gandhi NREGS worksites along with geotagged photograph. 
  • This will increase citizen oversight of the programme besides potentially enabling processing payments faster
  • Area Officer Monitoring App facilitates them to record their findings online along with time stamped and go-coordinate tagged photograph for all the schemes of Deptt of Rural Development. 
  • This would also enable better record keeping of inspections by field and supervisory officials and also facilitate analysis of the findings for better programme implementation.

Range of all of the invasive whiteflies increasing 

Part of: GS Prelims and GS -III – Environment 

In news

  • Researchers have found that the host range of all of the invasive whiteflies was increasing due to their polyphagous nature (ability to feed on various kinds of food) and prolific breeding.

Important value additions 

  • Whiteflies are Hemipterans that typically feed on the undersides of plant leaves. 
  • They comprise the family Aleyrodidae, the only family in the superfamily Aleyrodoidea.
  • In warm or tropical climates and especially in greenhouses, whiteflies present major problems in crop protection.
  • These are one of the top ten devastating pests in the world that damage more than 2000 plant species and also function as vectors for some 200-plant viruses.
  • Cotton is one of the worst hit crops by these.
  • Also, Bt. cotton is not resistant against white flies.
  • They were also found to expand their host range on valuable plants species, such as coconut, banana, mango, sapota, guava, cashew, oil palm, and ornamental plants and important medicinal plants.
  • The whiteflies are difficult to control by using synthetic insecticides. 
  • Currently naturally occurring insect predators, parasitoids and entomopathogenic fungi (fungi that can kill insets) are being used.

Governing board of the Kalakshetra Foundation

Part of: GS Prelims and GS – I – Culture 

In news

  • The Central government nominated 12 eminent artistes and musicians as members of the governing board of the Kalakshetra Foundation.

Important value additions 

  • Kalakshetra Foundation is an arts and cultural academy. 
  • It is dedicated to the preservation of traditional values in Indian art and crafts, especially in the field of Bharatanatyam dance and Gandharvaveda music.
  • It is based in Chennai.
  • Founded in: 1936 
  • Founded by: Rukmini Devi Arundale and her husband George Arundale.
  • In 1994, an Act of the Parliament of India recognised the Kalakshetra Foundation as an “Institute of National Importance.”
  • The Kalakshetra style of Bharatanatyam developed by Rukmini Devi Arundale is noted for its angular, straight, ballet-like kinesthetics, and its avoidance of Recakas and of the uninhibited throw (Ksepa) of the limbs.

Scheme in news: One Stop Centre scheme (OSCs)

Part of: GS Prelims and GS -II – Policies and interventions and their effects

In news

  • One Stop Centre Scheme (OSCs) was in news recently. 
  • It has provided assistance to over 3 lakh women so far.
  • Implemented by: the Ministry of Women and Child Development 

Key takeaways 

  • The scheme is implemented through State Governments/ Union Territory (UT) Administrations.
  • Objective: To provide integrated support and assistance to women affected by violence and in distress, both in private and public spaces, under one roof and facilitate immediate, emergency and non-emergency access to a range of services including police, medical, legal aid and counseling, psychological support to fight against any forms of violence against women.
  • Till date, 701 OSCs in 35 States/UTs have been operationalised.

Miscellaneous

Cyclone Yaas

  • According to the India Meteorological Department (IMD), Cyclone Yaas is likely to intensify into a “very severe cyclonic storm” and cross the Odisha and West Bengal coasts on May 26. 

  • A low pressure area has formed over the east-central Bay of Bengal and the adjoining north Andaman Sea.
  • Yaas has been named by Oman.
  • It refers to a tree that has a good fragrance and in English, the word is similar to Jasmine.
  • Cyclone Tauktae, which was named by Myanmar, means “gecko” — a highly vocal lizard — in Burmese dialect.

How are the cyclones named?

  • In 2000, a group of nations called WMO/ESCAP (World Meteorological Organisation/United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific), which comprised Bangladesh, India, the Maldives, Myanmar, Oman, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Thailand, decided to start naming cyclones in the region.
  • In April 2020, IMD released The list of 169 cyclone names provided by these countries. 
  • The WMO/ESCAP expanded to include five more countries in 2018 — Iran, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates and Yemen.

(Mains Focus)


ECONOMY/ GOVERNANCE

Topic:

  • GS-2: Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization, of resources, growth, development and employment. 

Employment & Recovery of Indian economy

Context: Hit by a relentless second wave of COVID-19 infections, India has seen localised lockdowns across several States. 

Do You Know?

  • Labour participation Rate(LPR) is the measure the section of the population that is willing to take on jobs. 
  • Unemployment is a subset, which helps in giving a measure of those who are willing to take on jobs but are not employed. 

How have lockdowns affected jobs? 

  • According to the Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy (CMIE), the unemployment rate was 6.5% in March 2021 but rose to around 8% in April, the month when several States began to prepare for or had already imposed lockdowns. 
  • With 73.5 lakh job losses in April 2021, the number of employees (both salaried and non-salaried) fell from 39.81 crore in March to 39.08 crore in April for the third straight month.
  • In April 2020, which was the first full month of the national lockdown last year, the unemployment rate had zoomed to 23.5%.
Rural-Urban Variation in Unemployment
  • At 7.13%, the rural unemployment rate for April 2021 is lower than the urban figure of 9.8%. 
  • The month of May has seen the rates rise further at the national level. As of May 21, the 30-day moving average for overall unemployment was 10.3%, with the relevant figures for urban and rural areas at 12.2% and 9.4%, respectively. 
Gender variation in unemployment
  • Women tend to face a double challenge, with lower labour participation and a higher unemployment rate for females compared with males (for ages above 15). 
  • For the January-April 2021 period, urban female LPR was 7.2% compared with the urban male’s 64.8%, while urban female unemployment was 18.4% against the urban male unemployment rate of 6.6%, CMIE data showed.
Agriculture Sector
  • Agriculture was the saving grace during the first wave, but it is not so during the second one. 
  • April 2020 saw this sector being the only one to add jobs — the count of those employed in the agriculture sector had gone up by 6 million or 5% compared with the average count in FY20.
  • In April 2021, agriculture shed 6 million jobs compared to a month earlier. This figure ties in with reports of the hinterland being far more affected by the pandemic this year 
  • MGNREGA data showed that April saw an uptick in the demand for jobs — 2.7 crore households signed up for work in April 2021, rising from 1.3 crore a year earlier — as reverse migration of labour picked up, resulting in availability of hands in the rural parts.
Salaried Class
  • The cumulative loss of salaried jobs since the pandemic began is pegged at 12.6 million, according to CMIE data
  • The trend continues with April 2021 seeing a drop 3.4 million jobs from the level in March 2021.
Variation across States
  • Haryana recorded the highest unemployment rate in April 2021 at 35%, as per CMIE data, followed by Rajasthan at 28%, Delhi at 27.3%, and Goa at 25.7%. 
  • Significantly, Gujarat, which, like the above States, also witnessed the ferocity of the pandemic’s second wave, saw unemployment at an appreciably lower level of 1.8%.

What are the consequences of rising unemployment?

  • Reduced Family incomes
  • Increased poverty levels
  • Increased hunger: The Hunger Watch survey showed that 66% of surveyed households had less to eat even five months after last year’s lockdown.
  • Increased debt levels- Households cope with this shock by borrowing, largely from informal sources, and selling assets.
  • Weak consumer sentiment – demand shock – loss of mobility, low discretionary spending and inventory accumulation.
  • Lower-than-anticipated economic recovery

Measures taken by governments to address the economic situation

  • The Central government has announced that it will distribute 5 kg of rice and wheat for free to ration card holders across the country. Individual States have added to this. 
  • Karnataka has announced a ₹1,250-crore relief package, through which farmers, auto, taxi and maxi cab drivers, construction workers and other informal sector workers will receive varying amounts in the form of a one-time dole.

Connecting the dots:


HEALTH/ GOVERNANCE

Topic:

  • GS-2: Science and Technology- developments and their applications and effects in everyday life. 

Mucormycosis

What is mucormycosis?

  • Mucormycosis is an aggressive and invasive fungal infection caused by a group of molds called mucormycetes. 
  • It can affect various organs but is currently manifesting as an invasive rhino-orbito-cerebral disease, crawling through the sinus and working its way to the brain, affecting the ear, nose, throat, and mouth. 
  • While it is not contagious, it can cause a lot of damage internally and can be fatal if not detected early.
  • While mucormycosis is an old disease, what is perhaps new and concerning is the sudden increase in the invasive form of the sinus variant, which involves the orbit, and at times the brain, leading to blindness, stroke or death.
  • In common parlance, it also goes by the name ‘black fungus’, a direct reference to the blackening that is characteristic of the disease.
  • Distinct Symptoms: The signs to watch out for are a stuffy nose, bloody, blackish, or brown discharge from the nose, blackish discolouration of the skin, swelling or numbness around the cheek, one-sided facial pain, toothache or jaw pain, drooping of the eyelids or eyelid swelling, double vision, redness of eyes, and sudden decrease in vision.

Why has it become a cause of concern in recent days?

  • Hospitals across the country have started to report a number of cases of mucormycosis, affecting patients who have recently recovered from COVID-19. 
  • While no studies exist on the current prevalence, the infection remained a possibility for one in 10,000 persons who recovered from COVID-19. It is predicted that the figure may go up as the number of COVID-19 cases escalates.

What causes the disease?

  • Diabetes mellitus is the most common underlying cause, followed by haematological malignancies and solid-organ transplants. Diabetes mellitus was reported in 54% to 76% of cases, according to a report.
  • What seems to be triggering mucormycosis in patients post COVID-19 is indiscriminate use of a high dose of steroids in COVID-19 patients, sometimes even in minimally symptomatic patients. This leads to spikes in the sugar level among diabetics, which, in turn, renders them vulnerable. 
  • Rational use of steroids is necessary, and constant monitoring of sugar levels and resorting to insulin use to control these levels if required, is essential.
  • The use of monoclonal agents like Tocilizumab may be a factor, too. 
  • Experts also opine that while the fungi are present in the environment, the use of nasal prongs and other devices for oxygen delivery and possible breach of sterile conditions can possibly lead to cross-infection and hospital-acquired infection

How can mucormycosis be prevented?

  • The main line of treatment is an anti-fungal drug called amphotericin B, which is given over an extended period of time under the strict observation of a physician. Surgery to remove the fungus growth might also be warranted.
  • Following appropriate treatment protocols as recommended by WHO for COVID-19, including rational use of steroids and monoclonal antibodies only when they can help a patient, is important.
  • It is important to keep blood sugar levels under control and ensure that appropriate calibration of oral drugs or insulin is done from time to time.
  • Further, recognising the symptoms and seeking treatment early if there are two or three symptoms at a time is key. Like most illnesses, if detected early, mucormycosis can be cured.

(TEST YOUR KNOWLEDGE)


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

Note:

  • Correct answers of today’s questions will be provided in next day’s DNA section. Kindly refer to it and update your answers.
  • Comments Up-voted by IASbaba are also the “correct answers”.

Q.1 Which of the following Ministry launched National Mobile Monitoring Software (NMMS) app and Area officer monitoring App:

  1. Ministry of Environment 
  2. Ministry of Finance 
  3. Ministry of Rural Development 
  4. Ministry of Urban Affairs 

Q.2 Consider the following statements regarding Kalakshetra Foundation:

  1. It is recognised as an “Institute of National Importance.”
  2. The Kalakshetra style of Bharatanatyam avoids Recakas and uninhibited throw (Ksepa) of the limbs.

Which of the above is or are correct? 

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

Q.3 Consider the following statements regarding Whiteflies:

  1. Bt. cotton is resistant against white flies.
  2. Whiteflies can be controlled by using synthetic insecticides.

Which of the above is or are correct? 

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

ANSWERS FOR 22nd May 2021 TEST YOUR KNOWLEDGE (TYK)

A
D
3 C

Must Read

On loans to corporate borrowers:

The Hindu

On Deflating India’s COVID black market boom:

The Hindu

About COVID reaching rural areas:

Indian Express

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