Monday, 19th September 2022

Table of contents

1   News Snapshot

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Cheetah Reintroduction - Edukemy Current Affairs

●  

CRISPR Technology - Edukemy Current Affairs

●  

National Health Estimates - Edukemy Current Affairs

2   Terms & Concepts

●  

Caracal - Edukemy Current Affairs

●  

Green Fins Hub - Edukemy Current Affairs

●  

Euthanasia - Edukemy Current Affairs

●  

PM Awas Gramin - Edukemy Current Affairs

3   Editorial of the day

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The future of old times in India: The Hindu

●  

Tackling High Inflation: Indian Express

4   Case Study of the Day

●  

Cognitive Dissonance - Edukemy Current Affairs

.... Show less Show more
News Snapshot

Cheetah Reintroduction - Edukemy Current Affairs


In news

India has recently brought five females and three male cheetahs from Namibia to Madhya Pradesh’s Kuno National Park.

  • Before being released into the wild, the cheetahs will spend a few months being housed in a specially constructed enclosure.
  • Cheetahs were declared extinct in India in 1952; this is the first time they have been brought back into the wild in the country.

About the Reintroduction Plan

  • Releasing a species in a habitat that enables it to survive is referred to as "reintroduction."
  • The plan calls for the introduction of 50 cheetahs over the course of five years in each of the nation's National Parks.
  • Initially, 8 to 12 cheetahs will be relocated from South Africa, Namibia, and Botswana.
  • It has never been done before to move a large carnivore from one continent to another.
  • The Wildlife Institute of India (WII), which is leading the initiative on behalf of the Indian government, is cooperating with the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) and the Ministry of Environment, Forests, and Climate Change.
  • Cheetahmitras have been established as part of the reintroduction campaign.
  • Cheetahmitras are a group of about 400 young people been educated to increase cheetah awareness among residents of nearby villages on how their appearance and behaviour differ from leopards.

About Cheetah

  • The huge cat known as the cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus) is native to central Iran and Africa. With a top speed of 128 km/h, it is the swiftest animal on land.
  • There are four subspecies of cheetah.

  • The cheetah differs from the leopard in a variety of ways, including how it looks and how it hunts.

About the Extinction of Cheetahs in India

  • The Maharaja Ramanuj Pratap Singh Deo of Koriya is thought to have hunted and killed the last three known Asiatic cheetahs in India in 1947, which is when the cheetah is thought to have vanished from the country's landscape.
  • The Indian government proclaimed the cheetah extinct there in 1952.
  • The only large carnivore to have gone extinct in the nation up to this point, likely as a result of habitat degradation and poaching.

Significance of Cheetah Reintroduction Plan

  • Cheetah restoration will be part of a prototype for restoring original cheetah habitats and biodiversity, assisting in the prevention of biodiversity degradation and loss.
  • The reintroduction of holds significance as it is a keystone species (an organism that helps define an entire ecosystem) of dry forests, scrub forests, and savannahs.
  • It will revive grasslands and their biomes and habitat and also enhance local community livelihoods through eco-tourism prospects.
  • Bringing back a top predator restores historic evolutionary balance, which has cascading effects on various levels of the ecosystem.
  • This will also result in better management and restoration of wildlife habitats (grasslands, scrublands, and open forest ecosystems), conservation of cheetah prey and sympatric
  • endangered species, and a top-down effect of a large predator that enhances and maintains diversity in lower trophic levels of the ecosystems.

Difference between Asiatic and African Cheetah

Asiatic Cheetah

African Cheetah

Smaller and paler than the African cheetah. Has smaller head and a longer neck. Usually have red eyes and they have a more cat-like appearance.

Bigger in size as compared to Asiatic Cheetah.


Around 40-50 found only in Iran.

Around 6,500-7,000 African cheetahs present in the wild.


IUCN: Critically Endangered

IUCN: Vulnerable

CITES: Appendix-I of the List

CITES: Appendix-I of the List

 

About Kuno National Park

  • Established in 1981 as a wildlife sanctuary, Kuno National Park is a national park in Madhya Pradesh, India.
  • In 2018, it was designated the status of a National park by the state government.
  • It is a part of the dry deciduous forests ecoregion of the Khathiar-Gir.
  • Dry savanna forests, grassland, and tropical riverine forests make up the protected area's vegetation.
  • In the protected area, the sloth bear, dhole, Indian wolf, golden jackal, striped hyena, and Bengal fox are the dominant predators.
  • Why Kuno has been selected as the site for relocation?
  • Most Appropriate Site
    • It has least management interventions among the potential sites evaluated for the feasibility of establishing cheetah populations in India based on IUCN guidelines.

  • No Human Settlements
    • o   Though chances of conflicts with humans are thin for cheetahs as they do not prey on humans or attack large livestock
  • Savannah Habitat
    • There has been a complete relocation of roughly 24 villages and their domesticated livestock from Kuno and inside the park years ago.
    • The village sites and their agricultural fields have now been taken over by grasses and are managed as savannah habitats.
  • Co-existence of Competing Predators
    • According to the government’s plan, Kuno offers the prospect of housing four large felines in India — tiger, lion, leopard and cheetah — and ensuring they coexist as they did in the past.
 

Content Source Link:

  • https://www.indiatoday.in/india/story/why-madhya-pradesh-kuno-was-picked-home-for-african-cheetahs-2001281-2022-09-17
  • https://indianexpress.com/article/cities/bhopal/cheetah-mitras-to-watch-towers-kuno-ready-to-host-african-guests-8149535/,

Image Source Link:

  • https://indianexpress.com/article/cities/bhopal/cheetah-mitras-to-watch-towers-kuno-ready-to-host-african-guests-8149535/

 

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Keywords: GS Paper 3: Environment and Ecology, Conservation of Endangered Species
News Snapshot

CRISPR Technology - Edukemy Current Affairs


In news

India has recently approved a 5-year project to develop Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats to cure sickle cell anaemia in 2021.

  • Sickle cell anaemia is thefirst disease that is being targeted for CRISPR-based therapy in India.

About CRISPR Technology

  • Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats is known as CRISPR.
  • It is a gene editing technology which replicates natural defence mechanisms in bacteria to fight virus attacks, using a special protein called Cas9.
  • It usually involves theintroduction of a new gene, or suppression of an existing gene, through a process described as genetic Engineering.
  • CRISPR technologydoes not involve the introduction of any new gene from the outside (external source).
  • Functioning: On DNA strands containing genetic information, CRISPR-Cas9 technology acts like a cut-and-paste mechanism.
  • The precise site of the genetic codes that need to be altered, or edited, is located on the DNA strand, and that location is then sheared from the strand using the Cas9 protein, which functions like a pair of scissors. Therefore, it is referred to as ‘Genetic Scissors’.
    • When a DNA strand is damaged, it naturally attempts to heal itself. The desired genetic code sequence is provided by scientists to the auto-repair mechanism so that it can join with the damaged DNA strand.
  • Applications: It offers a wide range of possible uses, such as the correction of genetic flaws, the treatment and prevention of illness, and the enhancement of crop growth and hardiness.

Possibilities it presents

  • Agricultural Sector: A tomato variety that has been enhanced using CRISPR-based intervention has been given approval for commercial cultivation in Japan.
    • Several research teams in India are developing CRISPR-based improvements for a range of crops, including rice and bananas.
  • Health Sector: Clinical studies for several CRISPR-based therapeutic approaches for conditions including sickle cell anaemia and thalassemia have begun, primarily in the United States, and the preliminary outcomes have been perfect.
    • An indigenously created CRISPR-based therapeutic treatment for sickle cell anaemia has been created in India by researchers at the CSIR's Institute of Genomics and Integrative Biology and is currently being prepared for clinical trials.

Ethical Issues

  • Embryonic changes are passed on to subsequent generations: Scientists do not want the technology to be used for preventive actions to acquire unique features.
    • Additionally, because the modifications were accomplished within the embryo, it was conceivable that the altered features would be handed down to succeeding generations.
    • When therapeutic treatments are used, the altered genetic sequences are retained by the individual and are not inherited by the progeny.
  • Tech Misuse: Due to the capability of CRISPR to produce profound alterations in an individual, scientists have been cautioning against its misuse, including the principal developer Doudna.
  • Designer infant: A Chinese scientist revealed in 2018 that he has changed a human embryo's genes to prevent HIV infection. Since this was the first known instance of a "designer baby," the scientific community was gravely concerned.
  • Precision: Although the technology is largely accurate, it is not perfect and may occasionally cause errors that alter other genes. This might potentially be passed down through generations.

Content Source Link: 

  • https://indianexpress.com/article/explained/explained-health/crispr-beginning-to-deliver-8149398/#:~:text=In%20the%2010%20years%20since,the%20quality%20of%20human%20life

Image Source Link:

  • https://indianexpress.com/article/explained/explained-health/crispr-beginning-to-deliver-8149398/#:~:text=In%20the%2010%20years%20since,the%20quality%20of%20human%20life

 

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Keywords: GS paper III, Awareness in the fields of IT, Space, Computers, Robotics, Nano-technology, and biotechnology
News Snapshot

National Health Estimates - Edukemy Current Affairs


In news

The member (health) NITI Aayog, in presence of the Union Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, recently released findings of the National Health Accounts (NHA) Estimates for India for 2018-19.

About National Health Account (NHA) estimates:

  • The National Health Account (NHA) estimates for India 2018-19 is the sixth consecutive NHA estimates report prepared by National Health Systems Resource Centre (NHSRC), designated as National Health Accounts Technical Secretariat (NHATS) in 2014 by the Union Health Ministry.

  • Health Accounts describe health expenditures and the flow of funds in the country’s health system over a financial year of India. It answers important policy questions such as what are the sources of healthcare expenditures, who manages these, who provides health care services, and which services are utilized.
  • The NHA estimates are prepared by using an accounting framework based on the internationally accepted standard of System of Health Accounts, 2011, developed by the World Health Organization (WHO).

About the findings

  • The NHA estimates for 2018-19 show that there has been an increase in the share of government health expenditure in the total GDP of the country. It has increased from 1.15% in 2013-14 to 1.28% in 2018-19.
  • The share of Government Health Expenditure in Total Health Expenditure has also increased over time, from 40.6% in 2018-19 to 28.6% in 2013-14.

  • It has also been observed that per capita government spending on healthcare has increased by 74% since 2013-14, i.e., Rs. 1042 to Rs. 1815 in 2018-19.
  • Primary and secondary care accounts for more than 80% of the current Government Health Expenditure, as between 2013-14 and 2018-19, in government, the share of primary and secondary care increased from 74% to 86%.
  • In the case of the private sector, the share of tertiary care has increased but primary and secondary care show a declining trend.
  • Consequently, out-of-Pocket Expenditure (OOPE) as a percentage of total health expenditure has declined substantially by 16% points, from 64.2% in 2013-14 to 48.2% in 2018-19.
  • Further, Per capita, out-of-pocket expenditure in the country has decreased by 8% since 2013-14, from Rs. 2,366 to Rs. 2,155 currently.
  • Also, the social safety net for healthcare expenditure increased from 6% in 2013-14 to 9.6% in 2018-2019.
  • The NHA also reveals that the government-financed health insurance expenditure has increased by 167% since 2013-14.
  • The report depicts that foreign aid for health has come down to 0.4% in 2018-19 from 2.3% in 2004-05, showcasing India’s economic self-reliance.

Source:

  • National Health Estimates (2018-19) released

Image source:

  • https://nhsrcindia.org/sites/default/files/2022-09/NHA%202018-19_07-09-2022_revised_0.pdf
  • https://images.hindustantimes.com/img/2022/09/12/original/13sep-page9_1663025773419.jpg

 

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Keywords: GS Paper 2: Issues Relating to Development and Management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health: National Health Estimates, health expenditure
Terms & Concepts

Caracal - Edukemy Current Affairs


  • Context: The caracal is on the verge of extinction in India and it is essential to find suitable areas to conserve it.
  • The Asiatic caracal (Caracal caracal schmitzi) is an elusive medium-sized and locally threatened felid (cat) species, which has been widely reported to be on the brink of extinction in India.

  • Its presence has been only reported in three states, Rajasthan, Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh.
  • The caracal is currently included in Schedule I of the Wild Life (Protection) Act, 1972 and the Near Threatened category in the IUCN Red list assessment in India.
  • The caracal, like the cheetah, is struggling to survive, although both species had a similar distribution in the past and these elusive wild cats prefer dry deciduous forests with water bodies, having severely eroded riverbanks adjacent to ravine habitats.
  • The protected areas include the Kachchh Wildlife Sanctuary (WLS) in Gujarat, the tiger reserves of Ranthambhore,  Mukundra hills and Sariska and the WLS of Kumbhalgarh, Mount Abu and Todgarh-Raoli in Rajasthan, and Gandhi Sagar WLS in Madhya Pradesh.
  • The threat to the species includes large-scale hunting, illegal trading and loss of natural habitats, which are considered significant threats to the species.

Source:

  • https://www.downtoearth.org.in/news/wildlife-biodiversity/caracal-as-the-cheetah-returns-to-india-researchers-map-out-most-suitable-areas-for-its-coursing-counterpart-84959

Image source:

  • https://twitter.com/soctropecol/status/1456670391515090948/photo/1

 

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Keywords: GS Paper 3, Environment and ecology
Terms & Concepts

Green Fins Hub - Edukemy Current Affairs


  • Context: UNEP has recently launched a new worldwide digital platform to encourage sustainable marine tourism.
  • UNEP has taken up this initiative along with the UK-based charity Reef-World Foundation.

  • The Green Fins Hub will address the growing industry demand for environmentally-friendly underwater sports and intends to promote a shift towards sustainability in the marine tourism sector.
  • Increasing accessibility of best practices, knowledge and citizen science through the Green Fins Hub will ensure a future for coral reefs and other fragile marine ecosystems.
  • Coral reefs, home to at least 25% of marine life, are the most sort after for marine-related tourism, contributing up to 40% or more of the gross domestic product in some island nations.
  • However, they are the most vulnerable ecosystem to climate change with the difference between a global temperature rise of 1.5 or 2 degrees Celsius being existential for reefs.
  • Green Fins Hub will host two types of membership.
    • DIGITAL MEMBERSHIP for diving, snorkelling and liveaboard operations globally.
    • GREEN FINS CERTIFIED MEMBERS, to train persons at their operations, and assess them annually.
  • The platform will ALSO have features like the Green Fins Community Forum, Green Fins Library, Action Plan Tracker etc.

SOURCES:

  • https://www.downtoearth.org.in/news/environment/unep-launches-new-worldwide-digital-platform-to-encourage-sustainable-marine-tourism-84946
  • https://www.unep.org/news-and-stories/press-release/coral-reef-protection-grow-green-fins-hub

IMAGE SOURCE:

  • https://blogs.worldbank.org/voices/Sustainable-Tourism-Can-Drive-the-Blue-Economy

 

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Keywords: GS Paper 3, Environment and ecology, Marine Ecosystem.
Terms & Concepts

Euthanasia - Edukemy Current Affairs


  • Context: Jean-Luc Godard, one of the legends of French New Wave cinema died recently by assisted suicide at the age of 91. 
  • Both assisted suicide and euthanasiaare practices under which a person intentionally ends their life with active assistance from others.
  • Several European nations, some states in Australia and Colombia in South America allow assisted suicide and euthanasia under certain circumstances.

  • In its landmark judgment in the Aruna Shanbaug case, the Supreme Court of India recognised passive euthanasia and legalised it in 2018, stating that it was a matter of ‘living will’.
  • According to the judgment,an adult in his conscious mind is permitted to refuse medical treatment or voluntarily decide not to take medical treatment to embrace death in a natural way, under certain conditions.
  • It also laiddown guidelines for ‘living will’ made by terminally ill patients who beforehand know about their chances of slipping into a permanent vegetative state.
  • The court specifically stated that therights of a patient, in such cases, would not fall out of the purview of Article 21 (right to life and liberty) of the Indian Constitution.

Source:

  • https://indianexpress.com/article/explained/explained-health/godard-assisted-suicide-euthanesia-india-explained-8153188/

Image source:

  • http://www.twenty22.in/2011/03/passive-euthanasia.html

 

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Keywords: GS Paper 2: Polity: Fundamental Rights, Euthanasia
Terms & Concepts

PM Awas Gramin - Edukemy Current Affairs


  • Context: Pulling up States for the delay in the completion of Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (Gramin), the Union Ministry of Rural Development has come up with a set of penalties that the State governments will have to bear for any further delay.
  • PMAY-G is one of the flagship programmes of the Government of India launched in 2016 with the objective of providing “Housing for All” by 2022.
  • The program envisages the completion of 2.95 crore PMAY-G houses with all basic amenities by the year 2022.

  • It is a social welfare program through which the Government provides financial assistance to houseless beneficiariesidentified using SECC 2011 data to help them construct a house of respectable quality for their personal living.
  • The cost of the unit will be shared in a 60:40 ratio between the Central and State governments in plain areas and in the Himalayan statesnortheastern states, and the Union Territory (UT) of Jammu & Kashmir, the ratio is 90:10. 100% financingfrom the Centre for Union Territories including the UT of Ladakh
  • Payments are made electronically directly to bank accounts or post office accounts that are linked to Aadhaar.
  • Convergence for piped drinking water, electricity connection, LPG gas connection etc. under different Government programmes Swachh Bharat Mission, PM Ujjwala Yojana etc. and unskilled wage component of 90-95 days under MGNREGS is also an inherent thematic component of the scheme.
  • The program is being implemented and monitored through end-to-end e-governance solutionssuch as AwaasSoft and AwaasApp.

Source:

  • https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/delay-in-pm-modi-governments-flagship-rural-housing-scheme-to-invite-penalty/article65895017.ece

Image source:

  • https://afpr.co.in/pm-awas-yojana-list-pmay-2022/

 

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Keywords: GS Paper 2: Governance: Housing for All, Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (Gramin)
Editorial of the day

The future of old times in India: The Hindu


Essence - The editorial discusses the importance of the old age pension scheme for ensuring a decent quality of life for the elderly in light of the increasing share of the elderly population. It mentions that there is a high prevalence of depression amongst the elderly population and some amount of financial independence helps in reducing the symptoms of geriatric depression. It also discusses the loopholes of the National Social Assistance Program (NSAP). Later it highlights the need to make the coverage of the old pension scheme universal.

Towards the end, it recommended a few steps that need to be taken to increase the Social security net which includes increasing the budgetary support for these schemes. To support this argument it cites the example of Tamil Nadu and some of the other states. Apart from this it also recommends improving overall geriatric care for providing dignified Social life to our elders.

Why to read this editorial

To know the need of universalising the pension schemes.

To know how to improve the outcome of Social security schemes for elders.

Source:

  • https://www.thehindu.com/opinion/lead/the-future-of-old-times-in-india/article65891365.ece

 

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Keywords: GS2, Welfare schemes for vulnerable sections of the population.
Editorial of the day

Tackling High Inflation: Indian Express


Essence - The article highlights that the inflation and CPI (Consumer Price Index) are high despite the loose monetary policy (expansionary monetary policy). This demands better management of issues using multiple tools and instruments.

The article highlights the approach highlighted by the finance minister recently and the need to be worked upon it at the earliest. She rightly pointed out that in India where almost 50% of the basket for CPI measurement accounts for food-related items, it is important to consider other tools to tame inflation. These tools include fiscal trade and tariff policy, food and agriculture policy, infrastructure policy and monetary policy.

Why should you read this editorial?

  • To understand the present economic situation behind the rising inflation.
  • To understand the need to balance inflation and GDP growth and give a roadmap to achieve it.

Source:

  • https://indianexpress.com/article/opinion/columns/multiple-instruments-is-required-to-deal-with-the-continuing-high-inflation-8158927/

 

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Keywords: GS Paper 3, Indian Economy, Economic Development, INFLATION, Monetary policy
Case Study of the Day

Cognitive Dissonance - Edukemy Current Affairs


Background

Cognitive dissonance is a psychological theory that discusses how individuals or groups perceive and manage inconsistencies among beliefs/thoughts and behaviour.

About Cognitive Dissonance

  • The cognitive dissonance theory was one of the most influential theories in social psychology first proposed by Leon Festinger in his book 'A Theory of Cognitive Dissonance' in 1957.
  • The theory proposes that inconsistency between one’s thoughts and behaviours would lead to an uncomfortable psychological or emotional tension (cognitive dissonance) among individuals/groups which results in them either changing the inconsistent elements to reduce the dissonance or adding consonant elements to restore harmony.
  • Different ways in which individuals or groups resolved cognitive dissonance:
    • One could change one’s thoughts.
    • Change one’s behaviour to match one’s thoughts.
    • Add a thought to justify the behaviour.
    • Trivialise the inconsistency between thoughts and behaviour.
  • Further, Cognitive dissonance theory explains how individuals or groups rationalise their support and belief toward different religions, cults or political parties, partially blinding themselves to reduce the contradictions between their thoughts and behaviour.

Source:

  • Cognitive dissonance

Image source:

  • https://www.simplypsychology.org/cognitive-dissonance.html

 

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Keywords: GS Paper 4: Attitude: Content, Structure, Function, its Influence and Relation with Thought and Behaviour, Cognitive Dissonance
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