Wednesday, 2nd November 2022
1 News Snapshot
World TB Report 2022
Amended IT Rules for Social Media
2 Terms & Concepts
Namami Ganga Programme
Liquidity Adjustment Facility (LAF)
3 Editorial of the day
Understanding GM mustard: what is it, and how has it been achieved: Indian Express
4 News Capsules
World Energy Outlook 2022
Just Energy Transition Partnership
5 Case Study of the Day
Social Reforms and Freedom Struggle: Sardar Vallabhai Patel
- Centre approves new Elephant reserve for Uttar Pradesh
About the News:
- The Union Ministry of Forest and Environment (MoEF) has recently approved a new Terai Elephant Reserve (TER) in Uttar Pradesh.
- The TER is the third new elephant reserve that got approval in the past three months under Project Elephant with the other two being Lemru in Chhattisgarh and Agasthymalai in Tamil Nadu.
- Project Elephant is a centrally sponsored scheme which supports elephant conservation in the country.
- At present, there are 32 notified Elephant Reserves (ERs) in the country spread over 15 states.
- Designation as an elephant reserve will help ensure better management of the reserve that also includes protected areas, forest areas and corridors for the conservation of wild elephants.
- About: TER will be set up over a 3,049.39-square kilometre area, including the Dudhwa Tiger Reserve (DTR) and the Pilibhit Tiger Reserve (PTR) besides covering Kishanpur and Katarniaghat wildlife sanctuaries.
- Importance: The designation will help in conserving transboundary migratory elephant populations besides ensuring the conservation of especially four wild species including the tiger, Asian elephant, swamp deer and one-horned rhinoceros in the entire landscape.
- Reduced conflict: The reserve will implement human-elephant conflict mitigation strategies that will protect villagers living in the Indo-Nepal border areas of Uttar Pradesh.
- Need: Elephants requires large areas, very high amount of food and water and therefore their population can be supported only by forests that are under optimal conditions.
- About: Elephant (Elephas maximus) is the largest terrestrial mammal of India and they are the best indicator of the status of the forests.
- Distribution: These were believed to be widely distributed - from Tigris - Euphrates in West Asia eastward through Persia into the Indian sub-continent, South and Southeast Asia including Sri Lanka, Java, Sumatra, Borneo and up to North China.
- Present status: Currently they are confined to the Indian Subcontinent, South East Asia and some Asian Islands - Sri Lanka, Indonesia and Malaysia.
- India: It has the largest population of Asian elephants with 30,000 wild and about 3,600 captive ones making India home to 60% of the Asian elephant population
- Status: Elephant has been recognized as a National Heritage Animal of India and
- Protection: These have the highest degree of protection under the Indian Wildlife Protection Act, 1972.
- States: Tamil Nadu and Assam have the highest number of elephant reserves with five each in both the states followed by four in Kerala, three in Odisha, two each in Uttar Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Karnataka, Nagaland and West Bengal, and one each in Andhra Pradesh, Jharkhand, Meghalaya and Uttarakhand
World TB Report 2022
The WHO released the 'Global TB Report 2022' recently, and it provides a comprehensive and up-to-date assessment of the TB epidemic and of progress in the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of the disease, at global, regional and country levels.
- Tuberculosis (TB) is caused by a bacterium called Mycobacterium tuberculosis.
- The Bacteria spread from person to person through tiny droplets released into the air via coughs and sneezes.
- Around 10.6 million people across the world were diagnosed with tuberculosis (TB) in 2021, with India accounting for 28% of the total TB patients' count.
- India’s TB incidence for 2021 stands improved at 210 per 100,000 population; as compared to 256 per lakh in 2015.
- While the COVID-19 pandemic impacted TB Programmes across the world, India was able to successfully offset the disruptions caused, through its critical interventions:
- National TB Elimination Programme notifying over 21.4 lakh TB cases.
- Mandatory notification policy to ensure all cases are reported to the government.
- Intensified door-to-door active case-finding drives were conducted to screen patients.
- Indigenously-developed molecular diagnostics have helped expand the reach of diagnosis to every part of the country.
- The report notes an upward trend in the number of people developing both TB and Drug Resistant (DR-TB), which experts attribute to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.
- The burden of drug-resistant TB (DR-TB) also increased by 3% between 2020 and 2021.
- Further, the report mapped the five major causes of TB infections - Undernutrition, Alcohol use, diabetes, HIV and smoking.
Measures to reduce TB burden in India
- National Tuberculosis Elimination Programme (NTEP) aims to reduce the TB burden in India by 2025, five years ahead of the Sustainable Development Goals.
- PM TB Mukt Bharat Abhiyan, which is a community support programme, where tuberculosis patients can be adopted and cared for by an individual, elected representatives or institutions through Ni-kshay 2.0 portal.
- Ni-kshay Poshan Yojana (NPY) to help meet the nutritional requirements of TB patients, especially the underserved.
Fighting TB: Challenges in India
- Challenges with regard to this illness in India include
- poor primary health care and infrastructure in rural areas
- unregulated private healthcare
- HIV-induced TB cases
- lack of hygiene facilities and widespread malnourishment and poverty.
- WHO Global TB Report 2022
Why in News?
- India and the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) member countries are expected to start negotiations for a free trade agreement next month with an aim to boost economic ties between the two regions.
· Established in 1981, it is an economic and political alliance of six countries in the Arabian Peninsula, which promotes economic, cultural, security and social cooperation amongst these states.
· The six member countries are: Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates.
· Each year, a summit is held to discuss regional issues and cooperation.
Significance of Trade Pact
Explore the region’s Untapped Potential
- Since GCC is an import-extensive region; India can increase its exports which will provide impetus to sectors like chemicals, textiles, gems and jewellery and leather.
Providing impetus to existing ties
- For 2021-22, India's exports to the GCC: were USD 44 billion and imports: USD 110.73 billion.
Increase in Remittances
- Out of the 32 million NRI’s, almost half are employed in Gulf Countries. This would increase the remittances from the current 30%.
Strengthen relationships with Countries
- Last fiscal, Saudi Arabia was India's fourth-largest trading partner and Kuwait- 27th largest, whereas UAE was the third-largest trading partner in 2021-22.
- The pact would further strengthen the trade relations among the nations.
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Namami Ganga Programme
- Context: Dolphins have started coming back to the Ganga River with improvement in the quality of its water through the Namami Gange programme, said the Uttar Pradesh government.
- The Namami Gange programme was launched in 2014 with the objective to rejuvenate Ganga by adopting an integrated approach which focused on the interception and diversion of sewage by tapping the drains flowing into the river Ganga.
- effective abatement of pollution, conservation and
- rejuvenation of National River Ganga.
- The main reason for this programme:
- River Ganga has significant economic, environmental and cultural value in India.
- The river traverses a course of more than 2,500 km, from The Himalayas to the Bay of Bengal, through the plains of north and eastern India.
- The Ganga basin - accounts for 26% of India's landmass.
- The Ganga also serves as one of India's holiest rivers whose cultural and spiritual significance transcends the boundaries of the basin.
- Context: While the Supreme Court has voiced concerns over their increasing use to prove a case, women’s rights activists deem the technology an empowering tool.
- One’s unique DNA, (DNA-the genetic material that programs how cells work) 0.1% of 3 billion, is sufficient to provide a profile that accurately identifies a person.
- DNA is often left behind in all kinds of evidence, including blood, hair, skin, saliva, and semen. Scientists can analyze the DNA in evidence samples to see if it matches a suspect's DNA.
- When used correctly, DNA profiling is a powerful forensic tool and can be used to quickly eliminate a suspect. And it can provide compelling evidence to support a conviction and, most importantly, reduce the chances of a wrongful conviction.
- DNA test also competes with the conclusiveness of Section 112 of the Indian Evidence Act, which presumes that a child born to a married woman is legitimate — the burden of proof is on the person claiming illegitimacy of the child.
- In India, privacy as part of the fundamental right to life (Article 21) has led to delay of the government’s bid to pilot the DNA Technology (Use and Application) Regulation Bill, 2019.
- Demand grows, but DNA tests fall under a grey area - The Hindu
- Context: Centre restricts the use of common weedicide glyphosate citing health hazards.
- Glyphosate is a herbicide which was first developed in 1970 to kill and control weeds in plants.
- Glyphosate is scientifically N-(phosphonomethyl) glycine under the IUPAC system of nomenclature and is widely used in various countries.
- Glyphosate has been sold in various brand names such as Roundup, Glycel, and Brake.
- It is used in Tea plantations of West Bengal and Assam.
- Currently, Maharashtra is the highest consumer of this herbicide as glyphosate is widely used in sugarcane, maize and many fruit crops including mango, banana, grapes, pomegranate and citrus fruits.
- WHO’ International Agency for Research on Cancer in 2015 speculated “probably carcinogenic (elements) to humans” in a study related to it. However, WHO has not issued any advisory.
- France, Italy, and Vietnam banned the herbicide’s use after the IARC finding.
Liquidity Adjustment Facility (LAF)
Context: Very recently liquidity condition has tightened due to the RBI intervention in the forex market.
- A liquidity adjustment facility (LAF) is a monetary policy tool used in India by the Reserve Bank of India or RBI.
- The RBI introduced the LAF as part of the outcome of the Narasimham Committee on Banking Sector Reforms of 1998.
- LAFs help the RBI manage liquidity and provide economic stability by offering banks the opportunity to borrow money through repurchase agreements or Repos or to make loans to the RBI via reverse repo agreements.
- LAFs can manage inflation in the economy by increasing and reducing the money supply.
Understanding GM mustard: what is it, and how has it been achieved: Indian Express
In News: Recently, the Genetic Engineering Appraisal Committee (GEAC) under the Union Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change recommended the “environmental release” of the transgenic hybrid mustard DMH-11 for seed production and conduct of field demonstration studies with respect to its effects, if any, on honeybees and other pollinating insects.
Hybridisation involves crossing two genetically dissimilar plant varieties that can even be from the same species. The first-generation (F1) offspring from such crosses tend to have higher yields than what either parent can individually give. Such hybridisation isn’t easy in mustard, as its flowers have both female (pistil) and male (stamen) reproductive organs, making the plants largely self-pollinating.
Scientists at Delhi University’s Centre for Genetic Manipulation of Crop Plants (CGMCP) have developed the hybrid mustard DMH-11 containing two alien genes isolated from a soil bacterium called Bacillus amyloliquefaciens.
- “Genetic modification” involves altering the genes of an organism, be it a plant, animal or microorganism.
- GM technology involves direct manipulation of DNA instead of using controlled pollination to alter the desired characteristics.
- It is one of the approaches to crop improvement, all of which aim at adding desirable genes and removing undesirable ones to produce better varieties.
Regulation of Genetic Modified Crops in India:
Genetic Engineering Appraisal Committee
- In India, the regulation of all activities related to Genetically modified organisms and products is regulated by the Union Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC) under the provisions of the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986.
- GM foods are also subjected to regulations by the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) under the Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006.
- The genetic Engineering Appraisal Committee (GEAC) under MoEFCC is authorised to review, monitor and approve all activities including the import, export, transport, manufacture, use or sale of GMOs.
- GEAC recently approved the commercial cultivation of genetically modified mustard.
- Before that Bt cotton was the only GM crop that was approved for commercial cultivation in 2002. ‘Bt’ is shorthand for Bacillus thuringiensis, a bacterium found mainly in the soil that produces proteins toxic to some insects, especially the cotton bollworm.
Concerns Related to Genetic Modification:
- Void of nutritional value: As genetic modification tends to focus more on increasing their production, prolonging their lifespan, and deterring pests, the nutritional value of some crops is sometimes compromised.
- High risks to the disruption of ecosystem and biodiversity: It can eventually disrupt the natural process of gene flow and affect the sustainability of indigenous variety.
- Effects on wildlife: Altering the genes of plants can also have serious effects on wildlife. For example, genetically modified plants, such as tobacco or rice, that are used to produce plastic or pharmaceuticals, can endanger mice or deer who consume crop debris left in the fields after harvesting.
- Risk of Allergic Reactions for humans: Genetically modified food has immense potential of allergic reaction because it is biologically altered. The sudden emergence of genetic modification may have a common side effect of allergic reaction for humans who have adapted to the conventional variety.
- Bio Safety: It prevents large-scale loss of biological integrity, focusing both on agricultural production as well as plant, animal and human health.
- Effective Regulation: All regulatory bodies of gm crops, especially the GEAC, should be made technically competent. Also, there is a need to create with immediate effect legally mandated District Level and Panchayat level Committees for faster documentation, and analysis of GM crops.
- Integration of Genetic modification with other components: Genetic modifications are not the only solution for food security, it must be combined with improved farming credit, better use of water and reduced waste, to create better food options and sustainable crop management.
- Creation of Gene banks: Gene banks can be created that will assist various research institutions in conducting research as well as help in conserving indigenous crops.
- Bottom-Up Genetic Modification: There should be a consultative and participatory process to prioritise crops and traits for genetic improvement through biotechnology with the goal of addressing the needs of small farmers.
Why in news?
Researchers validate the immunity-boosting ability of ‘curcumin compound’ against mastitis in cattle.
- Curcumin, a yellow pigment found primarily in turmeric, is a polyphenol with anti-inflammatory properties which have anti-cancer properties, anti-inflammatory, anti-ageing, anti-diabetic, and the ability to increase the amount of antioxidants that the body produces.
- Supplementation with curcumin reliably reduces markers of inflammation and increases the levels of endogenous antioxidants in the body.
- India is the largest producer and exporter of turmeric in the world. Turmeric occupies about 6% of the total area under spices and condiments in India.
- Mastitis, or inflammation of the mammary gland, is the most common and the most expensive disease of dairy cattle throughout most of the world caused by bacteria.
World Energy Outlook 2022
- Why in news? India’s coal generation and oil imports are going to peak in 2030, while gas imports will double around the same time, a report – World Energy Outlook 2022 – published by the International Energy Agency (IEA) stated.
- World Energy Outlook is an annual publication of the International Energy Agency (IEA), widely recognized as the most authoritative source for global energy projections and analysis.
- It analyzed the future global energy scenario by exploring three different scenarios differentiated primarily by the assumptions made on government policies. They are:
- The Stated Policies Scenario (STEPS): It shows the trajectory implied by current policy measures on energy.
- The Announced Pledges Scenario (APS): It assumes that all aspirational targets announced by governments are met on time and in full, including their long-term net zero and energy access goals.
- The Net Zero Emissions by 2050 (NZE) Scenario: It maps out a way to achieve a 1.5 °C stabilization in the rise in global average temperatures, alongside universal access to modern energy by 2030.
- The report assesses India on the basis of Energy demand, Demand for coal, Renewables, and Net Zero by 2070.
- Why in news? Recently, a study found that Earthly Microbes Might Survive on Mars for Hundreds of Millions of Years.
- Deinococcus radiodurans, nicknamed “Conan the Bacterium,” is one of the world’s toughest microbes, capable of surviving in radiation strong enough to kill any other known life form.
- Moreover, it is a polyextremophile, it can also survive the vacuum of space, extreme cold, exposure to acid, and also dehydration.
- Deinococcus radiodurans has multiple copies of its genome as well as cellular mechanisms which enable rapid repair of its DNA. Moreover, no additional mutations are introduced during the repair process.
- These adaptations make this bacterium the ideal organism to study the processes that cause cancer and ageing.
Just Energy Transition Partnership
Why in news? Recently, G7 countries urge India to join Just Energy Transition Partnership.
- Just Energy Transition Partnership, an initiative of the rich nations to accelerate phasing out of coal and reducing emissions.
- It was launched at the COP26 in Glasgow with the support of the United Kingdom (UK), the United States (US), France, Germany, and the European Union (EU).
- This initiative is modelled for South Africa, to support South Africa’s decarbonization efforts.
- It is poised to help heavily coal-dependent emerging economies speed their shift to renewables. These partnerships are moving ahead in India, Indonesia, South Africa, and Vietnam.
- Just Energy Transition Partnership makes various funding options available for this purpose in identified developing countries.
Why in news? Recently, India and Singapore's 5-day bilateral naval exercise begins at Visakhapatnam.
- Initiated in 1994, SIMBEX is the Indian Navy's longest uninterrupted bilateral maritime exercise with any foreign navy.
- The 29th edition of the Singapore-India Maritime Bilateral Exercise (SIMBEX) is being conducted in two phases – Harbour Phase at Visakhapatnam followed by the Sea Phase in the Bay of Bengal.
- The Indian Navy is hosting the 29th edition of the Singapore-India Maritime Bilateral Exercise (SIMBEX) at Visakhapatnam.
- Two ships from the Republic of Singapore Navy, RSS Stalwart (a Formidable Class Frigate) and RSS Vigilance (a Victory Class Corvette) arrived in Visakhapatnam for participation in the exercise.
- The exercise exemplifies the high level of cooperation between India and Singapore in the maritime domain. It also highlights the commitment and contribution of the two nations toward enhancing maritime security in the Indian Ocean Region.
Other Exercises with Singapore:
- Bold Kurukshetra (Army)
- Joint Military Training (Air Force)
Why in news? Recently, Defence Minister dedicates 75 Border Road projects to the nation from the country’s last village Shyok in Leh.
- Darbuk-Shyok-Daulat Beg Oldie (DSDBO) road joins Leh to the Karakoram Pass, which divides Ladakh from China’s Xinjiang province.
- It is the 255-km long all-weather road built by India’s Border Roads Organisation (BRO) in eastern Ladakh.
- It runs almost parallel to the Line of Actual Control (LAC) at Aksai Chin.
- DSDBO connects Leh to Daulat Beg Oldie (DBO), the northernmost corner of Indian territory in Ladakh. DBO has the world’s highest airstrip.
- The road from Darbuk traverses at an altitude of 14,000 feet and reaches Shyok, the last Indian village in the region. Between Shyok and Karakoram Pass (that divides Ladakh from China’s Xinjiang province) lies DBO, a plateau at an altitude of over 16,000 feet and the location of an Advanced Landing Ground (ALG) used by the air force to drop supplies.
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