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DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS IAS | UPSC Prelims and Mains Exam – 7th November 2022

  • IASbaba
  • November 7, 2022
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National Tribal Dance Festival 2022

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Syllabus

  • Prelims – Art and Culture

Context: Chhattisgarh celebrates its 23rd State Foundation Day on 1st November 2022 and as a part of the celebrations, Raipur will host the 3rd National Tribal Dance Festival. The National Tribal Dance Festival will be celebrated from 1st November 2022 to 3rd November 2022.

About National Tribal Dance Festival:

  • National Tribal Dance Festival is one of Chhattisgarh’s grand festivals which celebrates diverse tribal communities and their culture not just in India but from across the globe.
  • It is organised under the Tourism and Culture Department of Chhattisgarh.
  • This festival aims to unite the tribal communities and provides an opportunity to educate about their rich culture for all.
  • The first National Tribal Dance Festival was organised in 2019 and second in 2021.
  • Men and women perform some dances exclusively, while in some performances men and women dance together.
  • In the National Tribal Dance Festival, tribal dance groups from all states and union territories of India will be taking part.
  • The highlights of the National Tribal Dance Festival will be the other countries including Mongolia, Tongo, Russia, Indonesia, Maldives, and Mozambique participating in the event.
  • About 1500 tribal artists will take part in the event of which 1400 will be from India and 100 will be from other countries.
  • The festival will have several competitions in two categories and prizes worth ₹20 lakh will be given to the winners.
  • The award includes cash prizes of ₹5 lakh, ₹3 lakh, and ₹2 lakh to the first, second, and third winners respectively.

Source: The Hindu

Previous Year Question

Q.1) With reference to India, the terms ‘Halbi, Ho and Kui’ pertain to   (2021)

  1. dance forms of Northwest India
  2. musical instruments
  3. pre-historic cave paintings
  4. tribal languages

Lycopene

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Syllabus

  • Prelims – Science and Technology

Context: A team of researchers from the Institute of Nano Science and Technology (INST), Mohali, has developed a nano-biosensor for detecting ‘lycopene’, a phytochemical with high commercial value. The sensor uses a portable smartphone-based upconverting reusable fluorescent paper strip.

About Lycopene:

  • Lycopene, belonging to the carotenoids, is a tetraterpene compound abundantly found in tomato and tomato-based products.
  • It is fundamentally recognized as a potent antioxidant and a non-pro-vitamin A carotenoid.
  • It has been found to be efficient in ameliorating cancer insurgences, diabetes mellitus, cardiac complications, oxidative stress-mediated malfunctions, inflammatory events, skin and bone diseases, hepatic, neural and reproductive disorders.

Natural Sources of Lycopene:

  • Tomato and tomato-based products are the major dietary sources of lycopene and account for approximately 80% of the consumption of lycopene in western countries.
  • It is also present in a high amount in watermelon, guava, pink grapefruit, rosehips, papaya, and apricot.

Applications of Lycopene

Anticancer:

  • Inflammation is known as one of the most important key points in cancer. Therefore, lycopene, as one of the most potent anti-inflammatory nutraceuticals, is under research in many preclinical and clinical cancer studies.

Antidiabetic:

  • There is scientific evidence which supports the beneficial role of lycopene against diabetes. Regarding animal studies and epidemiological surveys, it can be used for both the prevention and treatment of diabetes.

Cardioprotective:

  • Lycopene is a cardioprotective nutraceutical as different research showed a protective effect against atherosclerosis and several CVDs.
  • It can scavenge some of the potent oxidants that are known to be associated with atherosclerosis.

Antioxidative:

  • Lycopene is a well-known antioxidant. It can protect DNA, proteins, and lipids against oxidation.
  • In addition, “lycopene can act on other free radicals such as hydrogen peroxide, nitrogen dioxide and hydroxyl radicals”

Against Dermatologic Diseases:

  • Treatment with lycopene decreased UVB-caused cell proliferation while increasing apoptosis via declining CDK2 and CDK4 in hairless SKH-1 mice and human keratinocytes.

Neuroprotective:

  • The lycopene consumption relieved cognitive defects, age-related memory loss, neuronal damage, and synaptic dysfunction of the brain.
  • Furthermore, lycopene consumption considerably reduced age-related neuroinflammatory disorders by decreasing microgliosis (IBA-1), as well as down-regulating inflammatory mediators.

Bone Protective:

  • Lycopene has several molecular and cellular effects on human osteoblasts and osteoclasts.
  • It reduced osteoclast differentiation, whereas it did not change cell survival/cell density; calcium-phosphate resorbing was also reduced.

Targeting Reproductive Disorders:

  • Lycopene can decrease sperm DNA fragmentation, as well as lipid peroxidation by its antioxidant activity in normospermia infertile men.
  • It improved the sperm count and motility by decreasing H2O2 and lipid peroxidation, and improving mitochondrial enzymatic activity and non-enzymatic antioxidant level (GSH and ascorbate).

Source: DownToEarth


Self Employed Women’s Association and Ela Bhatt

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Syllabus

  • Prelims – History and Personalities in News

Context: Elaben Bhatt, The Gandhian, SEWA founder, and women’s empowerment activist dies.

About Ela Bhatt:

  • She was known as the “Gentle Revolutionary” who changed the lives of lakhs of women through her organisation, providing them with microloans for five decades.
  • She founded the Self-Employed Women’s Association (SEWA) in 1972.
  • She also headed the women’s wing of Majoor Mahajan Sangh-the Textile Labour Association founded by Anasuya Sarabhai and Mahatma Gandhi.
  • She was the chairperson of the Sabarmati Ashram Memorial and Preservation Trust, also co-founded the Women’s World Banking, a global network of microfinance organisations, of which she was chairperson from 1984 to 1988.
  • She was also nominated to Rajya Sabha, and was a member of the Planning Commission.
  • She had also acted as an advisor to organisations like the World Bank.
  • In 2007, she joined the Elders, a group of world leaders founded by Nelson Mandela to promote human rights and peace.
  • She was a prodigious writer who penned in Anasuya, our Gujarati newsletter, a play on street vendors. One of her famous book was “We are Poor but We are Many”.
  • She was a recipient of the Padma Bhushan, Ramon Magsaysay Award and Indira Gandhi International Prize for Peace among many other awards.

About Self-Employed Women’s Association (SEWA):

  • SEWA was born out of the Textile Labour Association (TLA) founded by Anasuya Sarabhai and Mahatma Gandhi in 1920 but it could not register as a trade union until 1972 because its members did not have an “employer” and were thus not seen as workers.
  • In 1981, after the anti-reservation riots in which the Bhatts were targeted for supporting quotas for Dalits in medical education, the TLA broke up with SEWA.
  • As early as in 1974, SEWA Bank was established to provide small loans to poor women.
  • It is an initiative that was recognised by the International Labour Organisation as a microfinance movement.
  • With an annual membership fee of just Rs 10, SEWA allows anyone who is self-employed to become a member.
  • Its network is spread across 18 Indian states, in other countries of South Asia, in South Africa, and Latin America.
  • It simultaneously provided employment to women and promoted cooperative production, consumption and marketing of textiles which constituted the core of India’s industrialisation.
  • The Unorganised Workers Social Security Act (2008), the National Rural Livelihoods Mission (2011), and the Street Vendors Act (2014), are seen as successes of SEWA’s struggle.
  • The PM Street Vendors Aatmanirbhar Nidhi (PM-SVANidhi) scheme is seen as being inspired by SEWA’s microfinance model.
  • During the pandemic, SEWA launched Anubandh, an e-commerce platform to connect sellers with buyers, to keep kitchen fires burning through the lockdowns.
    • The efforts of SEWA to change the lives of over 2.1 million members and many more around the world have long been recognised as a model for the world.

Source: Indian Express

Previous Year Question

Q.1) Who among the following is associated with ‘Songs from Prison’, a translation of ancient Indian religious lyrics in English?  (2021)

  1. Bal Gangadhar Tilak
  2. Jawaharlal Nehru
  3. Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi
  4. Sarojini Naidu

Apis karinjodian

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Syllabus

  • Prelims – Environment

In news: A new species of endemic honeybee has been discovered after a gap of more than 200 years. The new species has been named Apis karinjodian and given the common name Indian black honeybee.

  • The new find has increased the species of honeybees in the world to 11.
  • Molecular analysis of mitochondrial DNA was also carried out and molecular sequence data available in the public open database NCBI-GenBank also helped confirm the species status of the new honeybee.

About:

  • The Indian black honeybee, ranges from the central Western Ghats and Nilgiris to the southern Western Ghats, covering the States of Goa, Karnataka, Kerala and parts of Tamil Nadu.
  • The last honeybee described from India was Apis indica in 1798 by Fabricius. It was not considered a valid species till now.
  • The research team restored the status of Apis indica based on a new measure for species discrimination in honeybees termed ‘Radio-Medial Index (RMI).
  • Apis karinjodian has evolved from Apis cerana morphotypes that got acclimatised to the hot and humid environment of the Western Ghats.
  • Till date, only a single species, Apis cerana was noted across the plains of central and southern India and Sri Lanka as a ‘fairly uniform population’ in the Indian subcontinent.
  • IUCN status: near threatened

Significance:

  • The research has given a new direction to apiculture in the country by proving that it has three species of cavity nesting honey bees viz., Apis indica, Apis cerana, and Apis karinjodian, the last being visibly dark in appearance.
  • The ability of the Indian black honeybee to produce higher quantities of honey, which is thicker in consistency, opens up new avenues for increasing honey production.

Source: The Hindu

Previous Year Question

Q.1) Recently, our scientists have discovered a new and distinct species of banana plant which attains a height of about 11 metres and has orange-coloured fruit pulp. In which part of India has it been discovered?

  1. Andaman Islands
  2. Anaimalai Forests
  3. Maikala Hills
  4. Tropical rain forests of northeast

COP14 of Ramsar Convention on Wetlands

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Syllabus

  • Prelims – Environment

In news: The 14th Meeting of the Conference of the Contracting Parties (COP14) to the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands began to discuss the state of wetlands globally.

  • Agenda items include waterbird population estimates, Ramsar Convention criteria, lists of wetlands of international importance and conservation of small wetlands.
  • The agenda includes a draft resolution by China to host an international mangrove centre which is cosponsored by Cambodia and Madagascar; which will serve as the Secretariat and technical service platform for international mangrove cooperation in the framework of the Ramsar Convention.

Mangroves in China:

  • China Mangrove Conservation and Restoration Strategy Research Project in 2020 was China’s first research report to comprehensively assess the state of mangroves in the country.
  • Mangrove forests in China are growing in the northern edge of the global mangrove distribution. Limited by the low temperature, China has less mangrove species compared with other Southeast Asian countries.
  • Mangroves in China were distributed in the provinces of Hainan, Guangdong, Guangxi, Fujian, Zhejiang, as well as Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan. All these areas are located in the extreme tropical south of the country.
  • Mangrove area in China had decreased sharply to 22,000 hectares in 2000, only 45 per cent that of the early 1950s.

About Mangroves:

  • Mangroves are a group of halophyte trees and shrubs that live in the coastal intertidal zone, in dense thickets or forests along tidal estuaries, in salt marshes, and on muddy coasts – they can tolerate salt.
  • Mangroves are typically tropical in nature than temperate because they cannot withstand freezing temperatures. Indonesia alone contains between 26% and 29% of the entire global mangrove stock.
  • These trees grow in areas with low-oxygen soil, where slow-moving waters allow fine sediments to accumulate.
  • They have a dense tangle of prop roots —i.e., exposed supporting roots that make the trees appear to be standing on stilts above the water. This intricate root system:-
  • allows the trees to handle the daily rise and fall of tides, which means that most mangroves get flooded at least twice per day.
  • Filter salt out of sea water, stay upright in soft, waterlogged soils and give them access to oxygen and nutrients.
  • slows the movement of tidal waters, causing sediments to settle out of the water and build up the muddy bottom.
  • stabilize the coastline, reducing erosion from storm surges, currents, waves, and tides.
  • makes these forests attractive to fish and other organisms seeking food and shelter from predators.
  • Its flowers are pale yellow in colour.

   

Significance of Mangroves:

  • Biodiversity – Home to an incredible array of species, mangroves are biodiversity hotspots. They provide nesting and breeding habitat for fish and shellfish, migratory birds, and sea turtles. An estimated 80% of the global fish catch relies on mangrove forests either directly or indirectly.
  • Livelihoods – fishers and farmers depend on these natural environments to provide healthy fisheries from which to fish, and healthy land on which to farm.
  • Water quality – Mangroves are essential to maintaining water quality. With their dense network of roots and surrounding vegetation, they filter and trap sediments, heavy metals, and other pollutants. This ability to retain sediments flowing from upstream prevents contamination of downstream waterways and protects sensitive habitat like coral reefs and sea grass beds below.
  • Coastal defence – Mangroves are the first line of defence for coastal communities. They stabilize shorelines by slowing erosion and provide communities from increased storm surge, flooding, and hurricanes. In 2003, it was estimated that a quarter of the world’s population lived within 100 kilometres of the coast and at 100 meters of sea level. Robust mangrove forests are natural protection for communities vulnerable both to sea level rise and the more intense and frequent weather events caused by climate change
  • Carbon storage –Cover just 0.1% of the planet’s surface but store up to 10x more carbon per hectare than terrestrial forests. This means that conserving and restoring mangroves is essential to fighting climate change, the warming of the global climate fuelled by increased carbon emissions, that is already having disastrous effects on communities worldwide.
  • Materials – In addition to consuming fish and shellfish from the mangroves, communities have historically used mangrove wood and other extracts for both building and medicinal purposes. Their potential as a source for novel biological materials, such as antibacterial compounds and pest-resistance genes, remains largely undiscovered.
  • Sustainable development – Intact and healthy mangrove forests have an  potential for sustainable revenue-generating initiatives including ecotourism, sport fishing, and other recreational activities.

About Ramsar Convention:

  • The Convention on Wetlands is the intergovernmental treaty that provides the framework for the conservation and wise use of wetlands and their resources.
  • The Convention was adopted in the Iranian city of Ramsar in 1971 and came into force in 1975. Since then, almost 90% of UN member states have acceded to become “Contracting Parties”.
  • Aim: International mangrove cooperation mechanism aims for technical exchanges, collaborative research, education and training, and pilot projects on conservation and restoration, to protect mangrove biodiversity and coastal blue carbon ecosystems, enhance mangrove ecosystem services and resilience to climate change.
  • The Convention uses a broad definition of wetlands. It includes all lakes and rivers, underground aquifers, swamps and marshes, wet grasslands, peatlands, oases, estuaries, deltas and tidal flats, mangroves and other coastal areas, coral reefs, and all human-made sites such as fish ponds, rice paddies, reservoirs and salt pans.
  • A Ramsar site is a wetland of international importance under the Ramsar Convention
  • Criteria: One of the nine criteria must be fulfilled to be the Ramsar Site.
  • Criterion 1: If it contains a representative, rare, or unique example of a natural or near-natural wetland type found within the appropriate biogeographic region.
  • Criterion 2: If it supports vulnerable, endangered, or critically endangered species or threatened ecological communities
  • Criterion 3: If it supports populations of plant and/or animal species important for maintaining the biological diversity of a particular biogeographic region.
  • Criterion 4: If it supports plant and/or animal species at a critical stage in their life cycles, or provides refuge during adverse conditions.
  • Criterion 5: If it regularly supports 20,000 or more waterbirds.
  • Criterion 6: If it regularly supports 1% of the individuals in a population of one species or subspecies of waterbird.
  • Criterion 7: If it supports a significant proportion of indigenous fish subspecies, species or families, life-history stages, species interactions and/or populations that are representative of wetland benefits and/or values and thereby contributes to global biological diversity.
  • Criterion 8: If it is an important source of food for fishes, spawning ground, nursery and/or migration path on which fish stocks, either within the wetland or elsewhere, depend.
  • Criterion 9: If it regularly supports 1% of the individuals in a population of one species or subspecies of wetland-dependent non avian animal species.

MUST READ New Ramsar sites

Source: Down To Earth

Previous Year Questions

Q.1) Consider the following statements: (2019)

  1. Under Ramsar Convention, it is mandatory on the part of the Government of India to protect and conserve all the wetlands in the territory of India.
  2. The Wetlands (Conservation and Management) Rules, 2010 were framed by the Government of India based on the recommendations of Ramsar Convention.
  3. The Wetlands (Conservation and Management) Rules, 2010 also encompass the drainage area or catchment regions of the wetlands as determined by the authority.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

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

Shyama Prasad Mukherji Rurban Mission (SPMRM)

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Syllabus

  • Prelims – Current Affairs

In News: Aibawk cluster in the Aizwal, Mizoram becomes the first cluster to be completed under the mission.

  • Spread over an area of 522 sq. km across 11 villages and covering a population of 10,963, the Aibawk cluster has the locational advantage due to its proximity to Aizwal City.

About SPMRM:

  • SPMRM was launched by the Prime Minister in February 2016 with a vision to provide amenities to rural areas which are perceived to be urban and have the potential to stimulate local economic development. Such clusters were selected for well-planned and holistic development.
  • It is under the Ministry of Rural Development.
  • Functions: Agri-link road, pedestrian footpaths, and inter-village road connectivity projects undertaken to improve market access.
  • In addition to this, a holistic development approach was employed to provide basic infrastructure like roads, footpaths, drains, water supply, and car parking and social infrastructures like a conference center, sports infrastructure, and upgradation of facilities at educational institutions. Sports infrastructure like the Badminton court and Futsal Ground has helped economically poor players to represent District and the State Level tournaments.
  • The interventions undertaken to improve livelihood are making an impact on the economic well-being of the local populace. Some of these include Dragon fruit cultivation, piggery and poultry activities, nature trail projects, Rurban Eco Estate Phulpui and Nature Park.
  • The Wholesale Market Sateek project has helped the local population within and around the cluster to market their Agri -products.
  • The joint efforts made by the Centre and State with the involvement of the local community have proved a stepping-stone to the second stage of rural development which goes beyond poverty alleviation and tries to meet the aspirations of the people.

Source: PIB


Inflation

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Syllabus

  • Prelims – Economy

In News: The UN Food and Agricultural Organisation’s (FAO) Food Price Index fell.

  • This marks the seventh successive month of decline in the index.

About:

  • FPI is a weighted average of world prices of a basket of food commodities over a base period value, taken at 100 for 2014-16
  • The dip in the FPI has been despite the cereals sub-index posting an increase. Global wheat and maize prices rose on the back on uncertainties relating to exports from Ukraine.
  • Food items have a 45.86 per cent weight in the official consumer price index.
  • Global food prices coming off from their highs reduces the risks of imported inflation, which was seen particularly in edible oils.
  • These have remained elevated, mainly on account of extended southwest monsoon rains damaging the harvest-ready kharif crops in many parts of the country
  • The same excess rains have, however, helped fill dam reservoirs and recharge groundwater aquifers that should favour the rabi (winter-spring) crops now being planted.
  • Early indications — based on improved soil moisture as well as fertiliser availability — point to a substantial increase in the area being sown under wheat, mustard, chickpea, red lentils, field pea, maize, potato, onion, garlic, cumin, coriander and other crops that are harvested from March.

Source: Indian Express


India and Kyrgyz Republic Relations

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Syllabus

  • Mains – GS 2 (International Relations)

Context: Recently, the 10th Session of the India-Kyrgyz Republic Inter-Governmental Commission on Trade, Economic, Scientific and Technological Cooperation (IKIGC).

Historical ties:

  • Historically, India has had close contacts with Central Asia, especially countries that were part of the ancient Silk Route, including Kyrgyz Republic.
  • During the Soviet era, India and the then Kyrgyz Republic had limited political, economic and cultural contacts.

Anniversary of Diplomatic relations:

  • India was among the first Nations to establish a diplomatic relationship with the Kyrgyz Republic in March 1992
  • The 2022 marked the 30th anniversary of diplomatic relationships between the two nations.

Strategic relationship:

  • The visit of the Indian Prime Minister to the Kyrgyz Republic in June 2019 had raised the relationship between two nations to the level of strategic partnership.
  • The 10th India- Kyrgyz Republic Foreign Office Consultations took place in Bishkek on 20 April, 2019.

International ties:

  • Political ties with the Kyrgyz Republic have been traditionally warm and friendly.
  • Kyrgyz Republic supported India in securing full membership in the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) and also supports India’s bid for permanent seat at UNSC.
  • Both countries share common concerns on threats of terrorism, extremism and drug–trafficking.

Trade and Commerce Cooperation:

  • The India- Kyrgyz Republic Inter-Governmental Commission on Trade, Economic, Scientific and Technological Cooperation was set up in 1992.

Connectivity:

  • Connectivity remains one of the biggest challenges for trade between India and Kyrgyz Republic.

Technical assistance:

  • Technical assistance under the Indian Technical and Economic Cooperation (ITEC) Program, particularly in terms of human resources development, is an important component of India’s economic involvement in Kyrgyz Republic.

Defence Cooperation:

  • Agreement on Defence Cooperation, signed in July 2015, has been an important milestone that has laid the framework for defence cooperation between the two sides.
  • Joint Special Forces Exercise KHANJAR has now become an annual affair.
  • The sixth ‘Khanjar’ exercise was conducted between Indian and Kyrgyz Special Forces in March, 2019 in Bishkek.
  • Fifth exercise was conducted in India in CIJW School, Varaingte (Mizoram) in 2018.

India – Kyrgyzstan Joint Special Forces Exercise, 2022:

  • The 9th Edition of this exercise was recently concluded in April 2022.
  • Besides sharing special skills and techniques between participating Special Forces contingents, the joint training further strengthened the existing bond between India and Kyrgyzstan.

Cultural ties:

  • There is a great appreciation for Indian culture.
  • Kyrgyz Republic has established an India Study Centre in the prestigious National Library of Kyrgyz Republic on 14 November 2014.
  • The Centre is running with the help of volunteers and imparts training in English and Hindi languages, Yoga and Kathak.
  • Another centre has been opened in Kara Balta, near Bishkek. Numerous Kathak, yoga, Indian dance, fusion music and Bollywood workshops/concerts have been organized to propagate and popularise Indian culture and traditions.

Indian Community:

  • About 4500 Indian students are studying medicine in various medical institutions in Kyrgyzstan. A few businessmen are engaged in trade and services in Kyrgyzstan.

Significance India- Kyrgyzstan relations:

  • Kyrgyzstan is important for India’s Central Asian policy and connectivity plans and the India-Central Asia Dialogue forum.

INDIA-CENTRAL ASIA DIALOGUE:

  • It is a ministerial-level dialogue between India and the Central Asian countries namely Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan.
  • All these Central Asian countries gained independence after collapsing of USSR.
  • All the countries participating in the dialogue, except for Turkmenistan, are also members of the SCO.
  • The dialogue focuses on several issues including ways to improve connectivity and stabilize war-ravaged Afghanistan.
  • Recent Development between India and Central Asia Relations:
    • India has a USD 1 billion Line of Credit for projects in Central Asia.
    • To improve connectivity by using the Chabahar Port for enhancing trade between the two sides.
    • The Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) gas pipeline.
    • International North-South Transport Corridor (INSTC) in combination with Ashgabat Agreement on International Transport and Transit Corridor (ITTC) is enhancing connectivity between India and the Central Asian countries.
    • India assisted by supplying Covid-19 vaccines and essential medicines during the early stage of the pandemic.
  • In January 2022 the Prime Minister of India hosted the first India-Central Asia Summit in virtual format.

Source: PIB


New hope for malaria vaccine

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Syllabus

  •  Mains – GS 3 (Science and Technology)

Context: Malaria is a life threating disease which kills nearly 600,000 people every year and the majority of whom are children under the age of five in sub-Saharan Africa.

  • There is need to develop an effective vaccine against the disease with top priority — but given the highly complex life cycle of the parasite, characterization of key elements that correlate with protective immunity lead to difficulty in its development.

About Malaria:

  • Malaria is a life-threatening disease caused by Plasmodium parasites, which are usually transmitted due to the bite of the female Anopheles mosquito
  • These parasites swiftly multiply in the liver after being introduced in the host body, and destroy the red blood cells, thereby infecting the system
  • Types of malaria: Malaria is caused by the bite of the female Anopheles mosquito, if the mosquito itself is infected with a malarial parasite.

There are five kinds of malarial parasites:

  • Plasmodium falciparum
  • Plasmodium vivax (the commonest ones)
  • Plasmodium malariae
  • Plasmodium ovale
  • Plasmodium knowlesi.
  • Therefore, if someone has contracted the Plasmodium ovale type of malaria means that the person has been infected by that particular parasite.

About Plasmodium ovale:

  • P ovale is very similar to P vivax, which is not a killer form
  • Symptoms include fever for 48 hours , headache and nausea, and the treatment modality is the same as it is for a person infected with P vivax.
  • P ovale is no more dangerous than getting a viral infection
  • P ovale malaria is endemic to tropical Western Africa.

Recent development in Vaccine development of Malaria:

  • October 2021, WHO approved malaria vaccine RTS,S/AS01 (Mosquirix) developed by GlaxoSmithKline for immunizing children which is a major milestone.
  • Although RTS, S/AS01 has modest efficacy and reduces severe malaria cases by only about 30 percent after four doses given to children under age 5, it still provides significant public health benefits, and could save thousands of lives every year.
  • It took more than 30 years and approximately $700 million for this breakthrough, which underscores the scientific and logistic challenges in developing a vaccine against a parasitic disease like malaria.
  • GSK has granted Bharat Biotech licence to manufacture Mosquirix, and by 2029, the Hyderabad-based company is expected to be the sole global manufacturer of this vaccine.
  • However, RTS,S/AS01 fails to meet the WHO’s own benchmark for malaria vaccine efficacy of 75 per cent set in 2015.
  • In September 2021, another malaria vaccine, R21/Matrix M, developed by the University of Oxford in the UK, demonstrated an efficacy of 77 per cent in phase 1 and 2 trials among 450 children in Burkina Faso.
  • In early September 2022, this vaccine once again made headlines after publication of results of a booster dose of R21/Matrix-M in the journal Lancet Infectious Diseases showed a high efficacy of 80 per cent was maintained after two years.

Working of Vaccines:

  • RTS,S and R21 are similar in that they both contain the same part of a major protein that is found on the surface of the liver stage parasite, called sporozoite.
  • Both also contain hepatitis B virus surface antigen (HBsAg), a protein that has an ability to self-assemble and that helps as the formation of virus-like particles of the CSP antigen fused with it.
  • The important difference between the two vaccines is in the amount of the HBsAg. RTS, S has about 20 per cent of the fusion protein, with the remaining 80 per cent made up of HBsAg antigen, produced separately.
  • R21, on the other hand, is made up entirely of the CSP fusion protein moieties, resulting in much higher proportion of CSP antigen displayed on the virus-like particle surface, which significantly raises its exposure to the immune system of the host.
  • RTS, S is formulated with an adjuvant called AS01 developed at GSK; R21 employs an adjuvant called Matrix-M developed by Novavax (Sweden).
    • Matrix M contains saponin-plant based material and stimulates both antibody and cellular immune responses to vaccines.

India’s weakness and strength:

  • Why has India not been more successful in developing vaccines against diseases including malaria — especially when basic malaria research in India has been robust and there are well established malaria research and control centres across the country.
  • There is a major gap in the establishment of safe and scientifically robust control human infection models in India for diseases like malaria or influenza.
  • All malaria vaccines under development need to be tested in the safe and scientific robust Controlled Human Malaria Infection (CHMI) model after completing phase 1 safety studies.
    • This has been established in many countries of Europe, the UK, Colombia, and Thailand. Both RTS, S and R21 were tested in CHMI before further safety and efficacy field trials.
  • Scientists at the International Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology (ICGEB) Delhi have carried out phase 1 safety trials of two experimental blood stage malaria vaccines developed and produced in the country.
  • But further development of these vaccines has been a challenge in the absence of the CHMI model in India.
  • With a highly successful and deeply committed vaccine-producing biopharma industry and a strong scientific base, India should be able to lead the world in developing and producing vaccines.

Indian government initiative to eliminate Malaria:

  • Government has adopted the National Framework for Malaria Elimination (NFME) 2016-2030 outlines India’s strategy for elimination of the disease by 2030.
  • The framework has been developed with a vision to eliminate malaria from the country and contribute to improved health and quality of life and alleviation of poverty.

Objectives of NSP:

  • Achieve universal coverage of case detection and treatment services in endemic districts to ensure 100% parasitological diagnosis of all suspected malaria cases and complete treatment of all confirmed cases.
  • Strengthen the surveillance system to detect, notify, investigate, classify and respond to all cases and foci in all districts to move towards malaria elimination.
  • Achieve near universal coverage of population at risk of malaria with an appropriate vector control intervention.
  • Achieve near universal coverage by appropriate BCC activities to improve knowledge, awareness and responsive behavior regarding effective preventive and curative interventions for malaria elimination.
  • Provide effective programme management and coordination at all levels to deliver a combination of targeted interventions for malaria elimination.

Way Forward:

  • “India has made remarkable progress in reducing the malaria incidence and deaths. Our efforts have resulted in 86.45% decline in malaria cases and 79.16% reduction in malaria related deaths in 2021 as compared to 2015.
  • More than 124 districts in the country have reported ‘zero malaria case’’. This is a major step towards our goal for elimination of malaria but still more needs be done to fulfil the dream of Malaria Free India.

Source: Indian Express 

Previous Year Question

Q.1) In the context of vaccines manufactured to prevent COVID-19 pandemic, consider the following statements:

  1. The Serum Institute of India produced COVID-19 vaccine named Covishield using mRNA platform.
  2. Sputnik V vaccine is manufactured using vector based platform.
  3. COVAXIN is an inactivated pathogen based vaccine.

Which of the statements given above are correct? (2022)

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

Green Cess/Clean Environment Cess (CEC)

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Syllabus

  • Mains – GS 3 (Environment)

Context: The government of India has made a climate pledge to reduce emissions to GDP ratio by 45 per cent by 2030 compared to 2005 levels under the Paris Agreement.

About Green Cess:

  • A Green cess is a form of tax levied by the government with the purpose of environment conservation.
  • The revenue collected through such cess is used to create green energy infrastructure, combating environmental pollution, afforestation and other such purposes which help in conserving the environment.
  • In India, many state governments such as Goa and Gujarat have provision of green tax or cess.
  • Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MoRTH) had introduced a similar tax called as Green Tax / Eco Tax.

About CEC:

  • The Clean Environment Cess (CEC) was a tax introduced in 2010 as a fiscal tool to reduce the use of coal and associated carbon emissions.
  • The revenues were earmarked for financing and promoting clean environment initiatives.
  • It was levied on the total sales of all types of coal in India.
  • To manage the funds accrued under the CEC, the National Clean Energy & Environment Fund (NCEEF) was created in 2010.
  • The funds were hypothecated for environmental goals such as rejuvenation of rivers, afforestation, and promotion of renewable energy generation through research and development.
  • Despite these intentions of levying the cess, its design and implementation have been inadequate.

Challenges associated with the implementation of the CEC:

The grade factor:

  • The design of the CEC, which levies the cess in proportion to only the quantum of coal (at ₹400/tonne), without differentiating by its grade.
  • It does not give an incentive to switch to higher quality coal with lower levels of pollution.

Diversion of funds:

  • This cess was subsumed into the Goods and Services Tax (GST) compensation cess in 2017.
  • The revenues, which were originally earmarked for environmental conservation, were instead used for compensating States for their loss of revenues.
  • Funds designated for clean energy and environment initiatives are now at the discretion of the States to determine where their revenues from the GST compensation cess are being spent.
  • This calls for an immediate review and also highlights the inefficiencies of the government’s fiscal operations and the reduced attention given to promoting clean environment schemes.

Under spent funds for intended purpose:

  • The data on revenue utilisation indicate that only 18 per cent of the aggregated revenue collected between 2010-11 and 2017-18 was used for its intended purpose.
  • This again points out the inefficiency of the government in using the revenue of a cess for its earmarked purposes.

Inadequacy collection of revenues:

  • There is an inadequacy by the government in collecting the revenues owed from the CEC.
  • The difference between the prescribed rate and the actual rate of collection has widened since 2013-14 (see graph).
  • While the rate of this cess was ₹200/tonne and ₹400/tonne in 2015-16 and 2016-17, the actual collection rate per tonne of coal was only ₹144 and ₹324, correspondingly.
  • The gap of ₹56 and ₹76 per tonne of coal sold in India led to an estimated revenue loss of around ₹4,900 crore and ₹6,700 crore, respectively.

The effect on the emissions reduction is meagre:

  • Despite the doubling of the rate of CEC from ₹200 to ₹400/tonne in 2016-17, the modelling experiment showed that the effect on the emissions reduction was meagre.
  • The emissions from the burning of the coal and petroleum products in various industries decreased by only 0.90 per cent in total.
  • Also, doubling of the cess had a marginal impact on the GDP, with a reduction of 0.09 per cent.
  • The emissions intensity of the economy thus reduced by just 0.81 per cent, compared to the effective 20 per cent tax imposed on the price of coal.
  • This shows that the cess was not very useful in reducing the emissions intensity in India vis-à-vis its high tax rate.

Way Forward:

  • The government must introduce a graded form of an ecological tax that is levied on the value of outputs of sectors such as coal, electricity, fertilisers, iron and steel, non-ferrous basic metals, paper products, and textile industries.
  • It will help broaden the tax because in contrast to the CEC, which was levied on the sale of coal, and coal is not as polluting as these sectors.
  • The proceeds from such taxes must be used in an ecological sensitive manner by sticking to the desired objectives of promoting clean environment projects and meeting the country’s climate change mitigation targets.

There are industries other than coal which are more polluting, which not only release air pollution, but also have adverse impacts of water pollution and land degradation.

Thus, a tax on the industrial outputs, and not necessarily on their emissions may help India provide industries a proper incentive to move away from polluting forms of production to cleaner mechanisms.

Source: The Hindu


India-Australia relations

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Syllabus

  • Mains – GS 2 International Relations

In News: India’s External Affairs Minister travelled to New Zealand and Australia.

  • This was the minister’s first visit to New Zealand and second visit to Australia this year .
  • He also attended the 13th Foreign Ministers’ Framework Dialogue (FMFD) along with his Australian counterpart.

Context:

  • Against the backdrop of significant geopolitical turmoil, from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine to China’s continuing harassment of its neighbours and heightened tensions in the Taiwan Strait, India-Australia relations assume greater significance.
  • India and Australia do not want to see any one country dominating or any country being dominated.
  • India and Australia, both are Quad members and their relations are multifaceted and comprehensive, spanning from maritime security and mutual logistics support to cooperation in cyber-enabled critical technology, critical and strategic minerals, water resources management, vocational education and training, as well as public administration and governance.
  • Both are strong, vibrant, secular and multicultural democracies that have a free press and an independent judicial system. Moreover, other connections such as the English language, Cricket, and Indian students coming to Australia for education, are significant elements in awareness at the popular level.

Bilateral relations:

  • The Australia-India relationship is at a high point, underpinned by the Comprehensive Strategic Partnership announced in 2020
  • It includes an annual meeting of prime ministers, a foreign minister’s dialogue, a 2+2 defence and foreign ministers meeting, a trade ministerial commission, an education council, an energy dialogue, and sectoral working groups.
  • It entails significant investments to bolster economic ties announced as part of the India Economic Strategy Update, launched in 2022, and the signing of the Australia-India Economic Cooperation and Trade Agreement.
  • India’s extraordinary support for Australia in the face of stiff opposition from Russia and China with regard to AUKUS at the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).
  • Australia’s support to India on India’s Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) membership as well as on counterterrorism issues.
  • Australia-India Council (AIC) was established by the Australian Government in 1992 to broaden and deepen Australia-India relations through contacts and exchanges in a range of fields that promote mutual awareness and understanding.
  • Australia will be hosting India at the next Quad Counter-Terrorism Tabletop Exercise in October 2022, while India will be welcoming Australia in the proposed No Money for Terror Conference in New Delhi, scheduled for later in 2022.

Economic:

  • Australia is the 17th largest trading partner of India, while New Delhi is Canberra’s 9th largest trading partner. India’s goods exports were worth USD 6.9 billion and imports aggregated to USD 15.1 billion in 2021. Major exports to India include coal, copper and gold; major imports from India include refined petroleum, pearls and gems, and medicaments.
  • In 2022, India and Australia signed the Economic Cooperation and Trade Agreement (IndAus ECTA) under which both the countries are providing duty free access to a huge number of goods and relaxing norms to promote trade in services.
  • A$5.8 million to the three-year India-Australia Critical Minerals Investment Partnership
  • To fulfil its ambitions to lower emissions and meet growing demand for critical minerals to help India’s space and defence industries, and the manufacture of solar panels, batteries and electric vehicles, etc.
  • supply risks exist due to rare availability, growing demand and complex processing value chain.

Defence:

  • Defense Marles’ travel to India in June 2022 shows India’s importance in Australia’s strategic thinking.
  • Indian-built offshore patrol vessel INS Sumedha joined HMAS Anzac to conduct cross-deck landing of helicopters, tactical manoeuvres and a farewell steam-past.
  • Indo-Pacific Endeavour 2022, a key regional engagement activity of Australia that runs across Southeast Asia and the northeast Indian Ocean.
  • Visakhapatnam will be a port of call
  • Indo-Pacific Endeavour began in 2017 as an annual activity to deliver on the promise of the 2016 defence white paper to strengthen Australia’s engagement and partnerships with regional security forces.
  • The maritime waters between Indonesia and northern Australia are an area of mutual interest to both countries, being a gateway to the Indian Ocean region.
  • Maritime Exercises:
  • Maritime Partnership Exercise (MPX) off Perth in August 2022 – INS Sumedha participated with HMAS Anzac in the exercise.
  • Exercise Pitch Black 2022 between Indian Air Force and Royal Australian Air Force.
  • INS Satpura participated in Australia’s naval exercise Kakadu 2022
  • Australia has been participating in the Malabar series of naval exercises since 2020

Technology:

  • Australian side extending assistance for the temporary Telemetry Tracking and Command Center for the Gaganyaan Mission of India, which is to take place in 2023.

Diaspora:

  • Australia and India will establish a taskforce to develop qualifications recognition arrangements for Australia and India to enhance two-way mobility, from 2023.
  • Australia’s Indian communities make important contributions in business, politics, the judiciary, government, civil society, academia, science, the arts and sport.
  • 3% of Australians have Indian heritage and in 2020 the Indian-born population became Australia’s second-largest group of overseas-born residents.
  • This community is recognised as having a great sense of civic responsibility and being a rich source of dynamism and enterprise.
  • Over $20 million will be given in Maitri (friendship) initiatives, including a scholars program, a grants and fellowship program and a cultural partnership. The Maitri Scholars Program will attract and support high achieving Indian students to study at Australian universities.
  • The Maitri Cultural Partnership will boost the role of creative industries in our economic and people-to-people ties.

Way forward:

  • A tricky issue in India’s engagement with Australia as well as its other new security partners is the Russia question. So far, it has not affected the functioning of the Quad.
  • The India Economic Strategy is an ambitious plan to transform Australia’s economic partnership with India out to 2035.
  • For the time being, Australia and other partners maintain an understanding of the Indian position, but India needs to be careful in not pushing that beyond a point.
  • The growing congruence between the two sides must be shaped by their “shared concerns about respect for international law and a rules-based order.”

Source: Orf Online


Baba’s Explainer – Indian Diaspora and Remote Voting

Indian Diaspora and Remote Voting

Syllabus

  • GS-2: Indian Foreign Policy, Indian diaspora.
  • GS-2: Fundamental Rights

Context: On the assurance of the Attorney General that the Centre was looking at ways to facilitate distance voting for non-resident Indians (NRIs), mainly migrant labourers, the Supreme Court on November 1 disposed of a batch of petitions seeking remote voting for NRIs.

  • The Bench led by Chief Justice U. U. Lalit said that the purpose of the petitions had been served as the government had introduced a Bill to facilitate proxy voting by overseas electors.
  • The Bill, however, lapsed and a pilot project for postal voting is yet to see the light of day.

Read Complete Details on Indian Diaspora and Remote Voting


Daily Practice MCQs

Daily Practice MCQs

Q.1) Recently, our scientists have discovered a new and distinct species of black-coloured honey bees which can produce higher quantities of honey in thicker consistency. In which part of India has it been discovered?

  1. Andaman Islands
  2. Arunachal Pradesh
  3. The Himalayas
  4. Western Ghats

Q.2) With reference to Shyama Prasad Mukherji Rurban Mission, consider the following statements:

  1. It is a flagship scheme of Ministry of Panchayati Raj.
  2. It was launched in 2019.
  3. It aims to stimulate infrastructural development like roads, water supply, etc.
  4. It, among other things will also market agriculture products.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

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

Q.3) 21/Matrix-M vaccine, which is often mentioned in news used to prevent which of the following diseases?

  1. Malaria
  2. Dengue
  3. Tuberculosis
  4. Hepatitis B

Comment the answers to the above questions in the comment section below!!

ANSWERS FOR ’7th November 2022 – Daily Practice MCQs’ will be updated along with tomorrow’s Daily Current Affairs.st


ANSWERS FOR 5th November – Daily Practice MCQs

Answers- Daily Practice MCQs

Q.1) – b

Q.2) – a

Q.3) – c

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