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DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS IAS | UPSC Prelims and Mains Exam – 25th September 2021

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  • September 25, 2021
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(PRELIMS + MAINS FOCUS)


Scheme to promote medical device parks notified

Part of: Prelims and GS II – Policies and interventions  

Context The Union government recently notified a scheme to promote medical device parks at a financial outlay of Rs. 400 crore till financial year 2024-2025.

Key takeaways 

  • The scheme aims to ensure easy access to testing and infrastructure facilities. 
  • It is expected that this will bring down the cost of production of medical devices, thereby making them more affordable for domestic consumption. 
  • The financial assistance for a selected medical device park would be 90% of the project cost of common infrastructure facilities for the northeastern and hilly States. For the rest, it would be 70%. 
  • However, a maximum assistance under the scheme for one such park will be Rs. 100 crore.

About Medical device 

  • The medical device industry is a unique blend of engineering and medicine. It involves the creation of machines that are used to support life within the human body.
  • Medical devices include Surgical Equipment, Diagnostic equipment like Cardiac imaging, CT scans, X-ray, Molecular Imaging, MRI and Ultrasound-imaging including hand – held devices; Life Support equipment like ventilator, etc. as well as Implants and Disposables. 

Do you know? 

  • As per industry estimates, the Indian medical devices market will grow to USD 50 billion by 2025
  • 100% FDI is permitted in Medical devices through the automatic route
  • Medical Device Parks are planned across India, including Andhra Pradesh MedTech Zone Limited (AMTZ), a park in Sultanpur village (Telangana) and HLL Lifecare Mediparks in Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra and Gujarat. 

Anti-dumping duty

Part of: Prelims and GS-III- Economy Context Directorate General of Trade Remedies (DGTR) has recommended the imposition of anti-dumping duty on a pharma raw material — Ceftriaxone Sodium Sterile — from China to guard local players from cheap imports.

  • Ceftriaxone Sodium Sterile is an API used in formulation for treating diseases such as lower respiratory tract infection, skin and surgical prophylaxis.
  • The Finance Ministry will take the final decision on imposing the duty. 

About the DGTR authority

  • DGTR functions as an attached office of the Department of Commerce, Ministry of Commerce and Industry.
  • DGTR deals with Anti-dumping, Countervailing Duty (CVD) and Safeguard measures. 
  • It also provides trade defence support to our domestic industry and exporters in dealing with increasing instances of trade remedy investigations instituted against them by other countries.
  • DGTR provides a level playing field to the domestic industry against the adverse impact of the unfair trade practices

About Anti-dumping Duty

  • An anti-dumping duty is a protectionist tariff that a domestic government imposes on foreign imports that it believes are dumped.
  • The imposition of anti-dumping duty is permissible under the World Trade Organization regime. 
  • It is aimed at ensuring fair trading practices and creating a level-playing field for local producers vis-a-vis foreign producers and exporters.
  • These tariffs can also lead to higher prices for domestic consumers.

What is Active Pharmaceutical Ingredient (API)? 

  • Part of any drug that produces its effects. 
  • Intended to furnish pharmacological activity or other direct effect in the diagnosis, cure, mitigation, treatment, or prevention of disease. 

Ministry of defence and Airbus sign ₹22,000 crore deal 

Part of: Prelims and GS III – Defence and security 

Context The Ministry of Defence (MoD) recently signed an estimated Rs. 22,000-crore deal with Airbus Defence and Space S.A., Spain, for 56 C-295MW transport aircraft to replace the Indian Air Force’s ageing 56 Avro aircraft that were procured in the 1960s.

  • This is the first project of its kind in which a military aircraft will be manufactured in India under technology transfer by the private sector.

About C-295

  • The C295, having 5-10 tonne capacity, is used for tactical transport of up to 71 troops or 50 paratroopers, and for logistic operations not accessible to current heavier aircraft. 
  • It also has a proven capability of operating from short or unprepared airstrips. 

Arctic Sea Ice Decline

Part of: Prelims and GS – III – Climate change 

Context Recently, the Arctic sea ice reached its minimum extent, coming in at 4.72 million square miles. 

  • It is the 12th lowest on record and the record minimum melting of the ice occurred in 2012.
  • The ‘Last Ice Area’ (LIA), located in the Arctic’s Ice north of Greenland, has also started melting earlier than what the scientists had expected.

Key takeaways 

  • Sea ice cover has dropped by roughly half since the 1980s as a direct result of increased carbon dioxide from human activities.
  • At this stage of the melt season (summer), the sea ice pack is at its weakest and is highly responsive to the weather conditions of a given day or week. Subtle shifts can have big impacts.

Factors Causing Rapid Melting of Ice

  • Albedo Feedback Loop: Ice is more reflective (has a higher albedo) than land or water surfaces. 
  • Counterclockwise Ice Circulation: Cyclones entering the Arctic from Siberia generated counterclockwise winds and ice drifts which reduced the amount of sea ice moving out of the Arctic through the Fram Strait, east of Greenland. This likely contributed to the record low summer sea ice conditions observed in the Greenland Sea.
  • Low Pressure System: The low pressure system also increases cloudiness over the Arctic which can also trap heat lost from the surface. 

Solar DC Cooking System

Part of: Prelims and GS III – Solar Energy 

Context Recently, the solar DC cooking technology was developed by the Central Mechanical Engineering Research Institute (CMERI).

The CMERI is an institute under the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR).

About the system

  • It is a Solar Energy based Cooking System which consists of a solar PV panel, charge controller, battery bank and cooking oven.
  • It provides a Clean Cooking Environment, Inverter-Less Direct Operation, Fast and Uniform Heating and a potential to save 1 ton Carbon Dioxide emissions per year/household.
  • It has 20-25% better efficiency and is more Economical in comparison with Conventional Solar based Cooking Systems. 

Government Schemes Related to Solar Energy:


(News from PIB)


Scheme for Promotion of Medical Device Parks

Part of: GS-Prelims ad GS-II: Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health

In News: In a bold move that would make India ‘Aatmanirbhar’, and recognizing the need for higher levels of investments for the creation of proper infrastructure in the sector, the Scheme for Promotion of Medical Device Parks has been notified with the following objectives:

  • Easy access to standard testing and infrastructure facilities through creation of world class common infrastructure facilities for increased competitiveness will result into significant reduction of the cost of production of medical devices leading to better availability and affordability of medical devices in the domestic market.
  • Reaping the benefits arising due to optimization of resources and economies of scale thereby creating a robust ecosystem for the medical device manufacturing in the country and also reducing the manufacturing cost significantly. 

News Source: PIB


PLI Scheme for Automobile & Auto components

Part of: GS-Prelims ad GS-III: Indian Economy 

In News: The Government has issued notification regarding Production Linked Incentive (PLI) Scheme for Automobile & Auto components. The scheme has two components viz Champion OEM Incentive Scheme and Component Champion Incentive Scheme, and will be implemented over a period of five years starting from FY 2022-2023.

  • Envisages to overcome the cost disabilities of the industry for manufacture of Advanced Automotive Technology products in India. 
  • The incentive structure will encourage industry to make fresh investments for indigenous global supply chain of Advanced Automotive Technology products. 
  • It is estimated that over a period of five years, the PLI Scheme for Automobile and Auto Components Industry will lead to fresh investments of over Rs 42,500 crores, incremental production of over Rs 2.3 lakh crore and will create additional employment opportunities of over 7.5 lakh jobs. 
  • Increase India’s share in global automotive trade.

Must read: Link 1 + Link 2

News Source: PIB


Quad Leaders’ Summit

Part of: GS-Prelims and GS-II: Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests

In News: At the Quad summit, leaders are expected to –

  • Take stock of the progress made by the group since their virtual meeting in March and plan on extending their reach in the Indo-Pacific region, which has become important in US geopolitical strategy to face a confrontational China. 
  • The recent signing of the AUKUS pact between the U.S., U.K., and Australia makes it clear that new alliances are being worked in the region. The United States still remains a potent force even after the pullout from Afghanistan. The in-person Quad summit shows that U.S. involvement in the Indo-Pacific region seems to be growing in many ways. 
  • Likely to announce ways to work together to secure the semiconductor supply chain
  • There are also signs that a new security architecture is in the works in the region. This includes players like the U.K., which recently sent a carrier group to the region. The French have also been very active in the region.
  • The four countries are also likely to try to work on an alternative to the China-led Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). This includes merging initiatives like the Japan’s “Partnership for Quality Infrastructure” and the Biden administration’s “Build Back Better World” Initiative.
  • They are also looking at tying up on the tech front, especially in the field of telecommunications, as Chinese firms like Huawei are seen as security risks.
  • Ahead of the first in-person Quad meeting, PM Modi and his Japanese counterpart Yoshihide Suga have reaffirmed their commitment towards a free, open and inclusive Indo-Pacific region, as they reviewed the multi-faceted bilateral relationship and exchanged views on recent global developments, including in Afghanistan.
  • Quad is a strategic dialogue between the United States, Japan, Australia and India. The dialogue was initiated in 2007 by Japan. All these four countries have common interests in the Indo-Pacific region. It is seen as an emerging bloc of countries positioning itself as a check against China’s growing aggression in the Indo-Pacific and outside. 

News Source: PIB


Induction of C-295MW in Indian Air Force (IAF)

Part of: GS-Prelims 

In News: Ministry of Defence (MoD) signed a contract with M/s Airbus Defence and Space, Spain for acquisition of 56 C-295MW transport aircraft for the Indian Air Force. 

A significant step towards modernisation of the transport fleet of the Indian Air Force (IAF) –

  • It is a transport aircraft of 5-10 tonne capacity with contemporary technology that will replace the ageing Avro transport aircraft of IAF. 
  • Capable of operating from semi-prepared strips and has a rear ramp door for quick reaction and para dropping of troops & cargo. 
  • The aircraft will give a major boost to tactical airlift capability of IAF, especially in the Northern and North-Eastern sector and Andaman & Nicobar Islands.
  • Will give a boost to aerospace ecosystem in India wherein several MSMEs spread over the country will be involved in manufacturing of parts of the aircraft. 
  • Offers a unique opportunity for the Indian private sector to enter into technology intensive and highly competitive aviation industry. The program will also involve development of specialised infrastructure in the form of hangars, buildings, aprons and taxiway.

News Source: PIB


Electronic polymer based low-cost sensor developed to detect explosives rapidly

Part of: GS-Prelims 

In News: Indian scientists, for the first time, have developed a thermally stable and cost-effective electronic polymer-based sensor for rapidly detecting nitro-aromatic chemicals used in high-energy explosives. 

Why is it essential: The detection of explosives without destroying them is essential for protection, and criminal investigations, minefield remediation, military applications, ammunition remediation sites, security applications, and chemical sensors play a vital role in such cases.

News Source: PIB


Nataji Subhash Chandra Bose’s contribution and legacy

Part of: GS-Prelims GS-I – Personalities in Indian national movements 

In News: Inauguration of the Digital Exhibition on Life and Contribution of Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose

  • Twice elected President of the Indian National Congress, (1938-Haripur and 1939-Tripuri).
  • Owing to political differences, he resigned from the Congress Presidentship in 1939 and organised the All India Forward Bloc a faction within the Congress in Bengal.
  • In Calcutta, Bose organised mass protests and was arrested. He was later put under house arrest from where he escaped. 

Azad Hind Fauj

  • Leader of Azad Hind Government
  • Head of State of this Provisional Indian Government-in-exile

Bose was convinced that armed struggle was the only way to achieve independence for India. He had been a leader of the radical wing of the Indian National Congress in the late 1920s and 1930s, rising to become Congress president in 1938 and 1939 but was ousted following differences with Mahatma Gandhi and the Congress leadership.

  • Subhas Chandra Bose had escaped from India in 1941 and gone to Germany to work for India’s Independence. In 1943, he came to Singapore to lead the Indian Independence league and rebuild the Indian National Army (Azad Hind Fauj) to make it an effective instrument for the freedom of India.
  • Netaji went to the Andaman which had been occupied by the Japanese and hoisted there the flag of India. In early 1944, three units of the Azad Hind Fauj (INA) took part in the attack on the north-eastern parts of India to oust the British from India.
  • The Azad Hind Fauj, with the slogan of ‘Delhi Chalo’ and the salutation Jai Hind was a source of inspiration to Indians, inside and outside the country. Netaji rallied together the Indians of all religions and regions, living in south-east Asia, for the cause of India’s freedom.
  • A women’s regiment of Azad Hind Fauj was formed, which was under the command of Captain Lakshmi Swaminathan. It was called the Rani Jhansi regiment. The Azad Hind Fauj became the symbol of unity and heroism to the people of India.

Bose’s death was seen as the end to the Azad Hind movement.

Note:

  • Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose Dweep: Ross Island of Andaman & Nicobar Island
  • Birthday of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose to be celebrated as Parakram Diwas

News Source: PIB


(Mains Focus)


GOVERNANCE/ HEALTH

  • GS-2: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.

Disease Surveillance System

Context: John Snow is often referred to as the father of modern epidemiology and William Farr as founder of the modern concept of disease surveillance system. 

Both had worked extensively to control Cholera outbreak in London during 1850s.

  • Epidemiology is the branch of medicine which deals with the incidence, distribution, and possible control of diseases and other factors relating to health.

Surveillance in India

  • A major cholera outbreak in Delhi in 1988 and the Surat plague outbreak of 1994, pushed the Government of India to launch the National Surveillance Programme for Communicable Diseases in 1997. 
  • In 2004, India launched the Integrated Disease Surveillance Project (IDSP).
  • The focus under the IDSP was to increase government funding for disease surveillance, strengthen laboratory capacity, train the health workforce and have at least one trained epidemiologist in every district of India.

Issues

  • The disease surveillance system and health data recording and reporting systems are key tools in epidemiology; however, these have performed variably in Indian States
  • As per data from the fourth round of sero-survey, Kerala could identify one in every six infections.
  • While in States such as MP, UP & Bihar, only one in every 100 COVID-19 infections could be detected, pointing towards a weak disease surveillance system
  • Due to weak surveillance system, viral illnesses, most likely dengue, are causing hospitalisation but not being correctly identified.
  • 18 months into the COVID-19 pandemic, the government has failed to fulfil the promises of strengthening disease surveillance and health systems.

Way Ahead 

  • First, the government resources allocated to disease surveillance need to be increased by the Union and State governments. 
  • Second, the workforce in the primary health-care system in both rural and urban areas needs to be retrained in disease surveillance and public health actions The vacancies of surveillance staff at all levels need to be urgently filled in
  • Third, the laboratory capacity for COVID-19, developed in the last 18 months, needs to be planned and repurposed to increase the ability to conduct testing for other public health challenges and infections. 
  • Fourth, the emerging outbreaks of zoonotic diseases are a reminder of the interconnectedness of human and animal health. The ‘One Health’ approach has to be promoted and made functional on the ground
  • Fifth, there has to be a dedicated focus on strengthening the civil registration and vital statistics (CRVS) systems and medical certification of cause of deaths (MCCD) because these are complementary to disease surveillance systems.
  • Sixth, it is also time to ensure coordinated actions between the State government and municipal corporation to develop joint action plans and assume responsibility for public health and disease surveillance.

Conclusion

We cannot prevent every single outbreak but with a well-functioning disease surveillance system and with application of principles of epidemiology, we can reduce their impact.

Connecting the dots:

  • Biological Threats & Diseases Surveillance System
  • Nuclear Proliferation & Surveillance System

POLITY/ SECURITY

  • GS-2: Federalism and Challenges
  • GS-3: Internal Security

Peace Process for Naga Accord Stuck

Context: R N Ravi (who was earlier also the Governor of Nagaland) has resigned as interlocutor for the Naga peace talks. 

  • Naga sources have said the NSCN(IM) views Ravi’s removal as Governor of Nagaland and interlocutor as a victory.

What is the Naga peace process?

  • It refers to ongoing talks between the Indian government and Naga insurgent groups, in particular the NSCN(IM), since 1997 with the aim to sign a Naga Peace Accord.
  • The Naga insurgency, rooted in Naga nationalism, is one of the oldest insurgencies in the country. 
  • The Naga-inhabited areas of the Northeast never considered themselves part of British India, and on August 14, 1947, the Naga National Council (NNC) led by Angami Zapu Phizo declared independence for Nagaland. 
  • Phizo formed an underground Naga Federal Government (NFG) and a Naga Federal Army (NFA) in 1952, in response to which the Centre sent in the Army and enacted the Armed Forces (Special) Powers Act, or AFSPA.
  • After years of talks, the Shillong Accord was signed in 1976 with underground groups of Nagaland, but it was rejected by many top NNC leaders on the ground that it did not address the issue of Naga sovereignty.
  • Five years later, Isak Chishi Swu, Thuingaleng Muivah, and S S Khaplang split from the NNC and formed the National Socialist Council of Nagaland (NSCN) to continue the armed struggle
  • In 1988, the NSCN split again into NSCN(IM) led by Isak and Muivah and NSCN(K) led by Khaplang.
  • In 1997, the NSCN(IM) entered into a ceasefire with the Indian government, which gave rise to hope for a final settlement.

What has happened since?

  • There have been nearly 100 rounds of talks. In August 2015, the NSCN(IM) group signed a framework agreement with the Indian government for the Naga Peace Accord. Ravi was appointed interlocutor to take the talks to their conclusion.
  • But while both the government and Naga groups said the talks successfully concluded on the government’s deadline of October 31, 2019, no accord was signed. 
  • Relations between Ravi and the NSCN(IM) unravelled after the talks concluded. In January 2020, the government had IB special director Akshay Mishra step in and continue the engagement.

How did things go wrong?

  • Things started to go bad after Ravi realised that the NSCN(IM) and the Indian government differed in their understanding of the framework agreement. The group was insistent on a Naga constitution, and was pushing for a Greater Nagalim stretching beyond the boundaries of the present Nagaland state.
  • In November 2017, Ravi signed an agreement with seven groups who had come together under the banner of the Naga National Political Groups (NNPGs), which did not include the NSCN (IM). 
  • The NSCN (IM), which considers itself the principal representative of Naga aspirations, has been a rival of many of the NNPG groups. In a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2020, the IM accused Ravi of attempting to “segregate the Naga civil society”.
  • After becoming Nagaland Governor in 2019, Ravi expressed uneasiness at the delay in concluding the deal. He accused NSCN (IM) for delaying the settlement by raising the contentious symbolic issues of separate Naga national flag and constitution. 
  • Ravi wrote a scathing letter to Nagaland Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio, calling the NSCN(IM) an “armed gang”, and accused it of running a “parallel government” and engaging in extortion.
  • Ravi’s open criticism made the NSCN(IM) publicly harden its position. It demanded that the Naga flag and Naga constitution were non-negotiable
  • NSCN(IM) claimed the framework agreement included the idea of unification of all Naga inhabited areas in Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, and Manipur. It accused Ravi of twisting the document by deleting key words that suggested Nagaland would co-exist with India as a sovereign.
  • The counter by Ravi that “any misadventure to disintegrate the nation shall not be tolerated” angered NSCN(IM) and called for his ouster as Governor & interlocutor.

Amid all this, what are the real issues?

  • The Naga issue is very complex, and the NSCN(IM) is in a delicate position. It is led by a Tangkhul from Manipur, for whom it is difficult to abandon the demand for a Greater Nagalim. But India cannot accept that demand, and a middle path has to be found, which may take some time,
  • On the other hand, Naga flag and Naga constitution which is one of the core demands of NSCN(IM) cannot be accepted by Indian Government given the abrogation of Article 370 in August 2019.
  • The enthusiasm with which the framework agreement in 2015 was announced led to unreasonable expectations of a final Accord.

What is the way forward?

  • The government has roped in former IB officer Akshaya Kumar Mishra as the new pointsperson for talks.  Mishra, who sources say could be formally appointed the new interlocutor, is known to be a quiet worker, and has been talking to Naga groups since January 2020.
  • It is important to understand that there cannot be an accord without the NSCN(IM) because it continues to get young recruits and wields considerable influence in the region. 
  • The idea is to slowly bring NSCN(IM) to accept what India can give.
  • Some demands that need ironing out include 
    • Bicameral Assembly with at least 40 nominated members representing different tribes; 
    • Absorption of cadres as local armed forces or in the Indian paramilitary; 
    • Setting up of autonomous councils in Naga-dominated areas of neighbouring states; 
    • Use of the Naga flag for at least customary events.

Connecting the dots:

  • Article 371
  • Schedule V & Schedule VI- Concept of Asymmetrical Federalism

(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.

Q.1 Where is the Headquarters of International Solar Alliance located? 

  1. Gurugram
  2. Moscow
  3. Paris
  4. Beijing

Q.2 Antidumping duties applied to imported goods?

  1. are abolished by the World Trade Organization
  2. result in decreases in consumer surplus for domestic households
  3. are imposed by industrial countries but not developing countries
  4. result in lower-priced goods for domestic consumers

Q.3 Consider the following Statements About medical device industry:

  1. 100% FDI is permitted in Medical devices through the automatic route
  2. Medical Device Parks are planned across India, including Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra and Gujarat. 

Select the correct answer from the codes given below:

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

ANSWERS FOR 24th Sept 2021 TEST YOUR KNOWLEDGE (TYK)

1 B
2 B
3 A

Must Read

On AUKUS:

The Hindu

On building inclusive schools for LGBTQ+ children:

Indian Express

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