7th April, 2018-IAS Current Affairs
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(GS2: Issues related to Health)
Issue: The Union government on Friday banned imports of the hormone oxytocin to stop its misuse in the livestock industry, where activists say it causes hormonal imbalances and shortens the lives of milch animals.
1. Oxytocin is a hormone secreted by pituitary gland
2. Often called the ‘love hormone’, oxytocin is released naturally in human bonding activities such as sex, childbirth and breastfeeding.
3. It is used both in humans and animals, to accelerate normal labour
4. The drug’s abuse in animals shortens their lives and makes them barren sooner
5. India halted retail sales of the prescription-only drug in 2014, but regulators have struggled to curb illegal sales, and the volume of imports is unclear.
Difference between a hormone and an enzyme
About Pituitary gland
The pituitary gland is a tiny organ, the size of a pea, found at the base of the brain. As the “master gland” of the body, it produces many hormones that travel throughout the body, directing certain processes or stimulating other glands to produce other hormones.
The pituitary gland makes or stores many different hormones. The following hormones are made in the anterior (front part) of the pituitary gland:
- Prolactin– stimulates breast milk production after childbirth. It also affects sex hormone levels from ovaries in women and from testes (testicles) in men, as well as fertility
- Growth hormone (GH) – stimulates growth in childhood and is important for maintaining a healthy body composition and well-being in adults. In adults, GH is important for maintaining muscle mass and bone mass. It also affects fat distribution in the body. Read about growth hormone excess
- Adrenocorticotropin (ACTH) – stimulates the production of cortisol by the adrenal glands—small glands that sit on top of the kidneys. Cortisol, a “stress hormone,” is vital to our survival. It helps maintain blood pressure and blood glucose (sugar) levels, and is produced in larger amounts when we’re under stress—especially after illness or injury. Read about having too much ACTH
- Thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) – stimulates the thyroid gland to produce thyroid hormones, which regulate the body’s metabolism, energy balance, growth, and nervous system activity
- Luteinizing hormone (LH) – stimulates testosterone production in men and egg release (ovulation) in women
- Follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) – promotes sperm production in men and stimulates the ovaries to produce estrogen and develop eggs in women. LH and FSH work together to enable normal function of the ovaries and testes
The following hormones are stored in the posterior (back part) of the pituitary gland:
- Antidiuretic hormone (ADH) – also called vasopressin, regulates water balance in the body. It conserves body water by reducing the amount of water lost in urine
- Oxytocin – causes milk to flow from the breasts in breastfeeding women, and may also help labor to progress
‘Fighter jets for Indian Air Force’
(Facts that can be asked in Prelims)
Issue: The Indian Air Force on Friday set in motion the process of acquiring a fleet of 110 fighter jets worth an estimated $15 billion, one of its largest orders in recent years, in a bid to shore up its fast-depleting squadron strength.
According to a statement on the defence ministry’s website, at least 85% of the jets have to be made in India, giving a big push to India’s “Make in India” programme.
Who are the contenders?
Leading military aircraft producers, including US firms Lockheed Martin and Boeing, Sweden’s Saab and France’s Dassault Aviation, are among those likely to vie for the mega deal. The deal could be worth as much as $15 billion
Conditions proposed in this new procurement
1. The aircraft have to be jointly produced by a foreign aircraft maker along with an Indian company under the recently-launched strategic partnership model which aims to bring in high-end defence technology to India.
2. The aircraft are intended as day-and-night-capable, all-weather, multi-role combat aircraft” which can be used for air defence, reconnaissance, maritime, electronic warfare as well as re-fuelling missions
3. The procurement should have a maximum of 15% aircraft in flyaway state and the remaining 85% aircraft will have to be made in India
(Facts that can be asked in Prelims)
Issue: The Indian Air Force will carry out one of its biggest combat exercises from Sunday to check its operational preparedness with a focus on dealing with any possible security challenges from China and Pakistan.
The two-week long exercise named ‘Gaganshakti’ will involve almost the entire assets of the IAF including its fighter squadrons.
(GS2: Bilateral relations)
Issue: On Friday, Modi and Oli met and discussed issues pertaining to Nepal’s domestic situation and needs
Major topics discussed in the meeting include:
1. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has expressed his readiness to revise and update the 1950 Treaty of Peace and Friendship between India and Nepal
2. One of the key takeaways from Saturday’s bilateral meeting is going to pertain to the railways network, which will connect Indian cities with Kathmandu and beyond. A pact in this regard is expected to be signed, apart from some others pertaining to agriculture research, education and training.
3. On the third day of his visit, he will visit the G B Pant University of Agriculture and Technology in Pantnagar, Uttarakhand. He will visit the Breeder Seed Production Centre and an integrated farming project there. He will also be conferred with a Honorary Degree of Doctor of Science at the university.
History of India-Nepal ties
As close neighbors, India and Nepal share a unique relationship of friendship and cooperation characterized by open borders and deep-rooted people-to-people contacts of kinship and culture. There has been a long tradition of free movement of people across the borders. Nepal has an area of 147,181 sq. kms. And a population of 29 million. It shares a border of over 1850 kms in the east, south and west with five Indian States –Sikkim, West Bengal, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand –and in the north with the Tibet Autonomous Region of the People’s Republic of China. The India-Nepal Treaty of Peace and Friendship of 1950 forms the bedrock of the special relations that exist between India and Nepal. Under the provisions of this Treaty, the Nepalese citizens have enjoyed unparalleled advantages in India, availing facilities and opportunities at par with Indian citizens. Nearly 6 million Nepali citizens live and work in India.
Economic relationship between India and Nepal
Since 1996, Nepal’s exports to India have grown more than eleven times and bilateral trade more than seven times; the bilateral trade that was 29.8% of total external trade of Nepal in year 1995-96 has reached 61.2% in 2015-16. The bilateral trade grew from Rs. 1,755 crores in 1995-96 to IRs.32294 Crores (US$ 4.8 billion) in 2015-16. Exports from Nepal to India increased from IRs. 230 crores in 1995-96 to IRs.2468.3 crores (US$ 371 million) in 2015-16. Similarly, India’s exports to Nepal increased from IRs. 1,525 crores in 1995-96 to IRs.29825.7.6crores (US$ 4.48 billion) in 2015-16. Nepal’s main imports from India are petroleum products (13.7%); motor vehicles and spare parts (13.1%); M. S. billet (4.7%);rice & paddy (4.5%); other machinery & parts (4%); medicine (4%); hot-rolled sheet in coil (2.8%); electrical equipment(2.5%); cement (2.4%); agricultural equipment & parts(1.9%); coal (1.9%); m.s. wires, rods, coils, bars (1.6%); vegetables (1.6%); cold rolled sheet in coil (1.4%); thread (1.3%), etc.
Major investments in Nepal
Indian firms are the biggest investors in Nepal, accounting for about 40% of the total approved foreign direct investments. There are about 150 Indian ventures operating in Nepal. They are engaged in manufacturing, services (banking, insurance, dry port, education and telecom), power sector and tourism industries. Some large Indian investors include ITC, Dabur India, Hindustan Unilever, VSNL, TCIL, MTNL, State Bank of India, Punjab National Bank, Life Insurance Corporation of India, Asian Paints, CONCOR, GMR India, IL&FS, Manipal Group, MIT Group Holdings, Nupur International, Transworld Group, Patel Engineering, Bhilwara Energy, Bhushan Group, Feedback Ventures, RJ Corp, KSK Energy, Berger Paints, Essel Infra Project Ltd. and Tata Power, India etc.
Apart from these areas, India has extensive relationship with Nepal in the fields of Defence cooperation, water resources, developmental assistance etc
Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and depression has been identified.
(GS2: Issues related to Health)
Issue: Dysfunction in a gene that can lead to attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and depression has been identified.
What does the study say?
People with attention deficits have difficulty focusing and often display compulsive behavior. The study suggests that these symptoms could be due to dysfunction in ErbB4 gene, that helps different brain regions communicate.
ErbB4 is also a risk factor for psychiatric disorders and is required to maintain healthy neurotransmitter levels in the brain. “And since ErbB4 is a risk factor for schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and major depression, the results provide insights into mechanisms of these disorders,” said Lin Mei, Professor Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine in Cleveland.
Issue: Richard Branson’s company Virgin Galactic conducted a supersonic test flight over the Sierra Nevada Mountain of its SpaceShipTwo passenger rocket ship on Thursday, the company said, three years after a fatal accident on an earlier version of the ship.
The Spaceship Company, a Virgin Galactic sister firm also owned by Mr. Branson’s London-based Virgin Group, built the new SpaceShipTwo VSS Unity, the second in a planned fleet of five, and took over the test-flight program from Scaled.
In 2016, the space company was granted an operating license to fly its passenger ship with the world’s first paying space tourists once final safety tests are completed.
(GS3: Conservation of Environment)
Issue: Sanjiv Mehta, chief executive officer and managing director at Hindustan Unilever Ltd (HUL), and Osvald Bjelland, founder, chairman and CEO at Xynteo AS, a Norway-based environmental advisory and think tank, are spearheading India 2022, a global private sector-led coalition to combat environmental issues, in addition to improving societal and economic conditions.
Aim of this initiative
A group of like-minded companies that have come together to find solutions to seemingly impractical problems. Their philosophy is that new business models should reduce the environmental impact and increase the societal impact. It also comes from a belief that neither the government, nor civil society, nor even private corporations can do it alone.
‘SEBI –Non-genuine trades’
(GS3: Regulatory agency)
Issue: The Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) will take action in a phased manner against 14,720 entities for “non-genuine trades” through illiquid stock option segment as it clamps down on fraudulent activities in the securities market.
About Non-genuine trades
The markets regulator came across violations by 14,720 entities while it was probing 59 entities in a case related to alleged trading irregularities in stock options segment of the BSE.
With regard to 59 entities, Sebi had initiated a preliminary examination in the matter of illiquid stock options for the period from 1 April, 2014 to 31 March, 2015 during which it was noticed that the entities were repeatedly incurring significant losses by executing reversal trades in the stock options segment of BSE.
Another set of entities were repeatedly making significant profits by becoming their counter parties in orchestrated trades with a common objective of intended execution of the non-genuine trades.
‘World Health Day 2018’
(GS2: Issues related to Health)
Issue: The World Health Day is a global health awareness day celebrated every year on 7 April, under the sponsorship of the World Health Organization (WHO), as well as other related organisations.
About the World Health day
In 1948, the WHO held the First World Health Assembly. The Assembly decided to celebrate 7 April of each year, with effect from 1950, as the World Health Day. The World Health Day is held to mark WHO’s founding, and is seen as an opportunity by the organization to draw worldwide attention to a subject of major importance to global health each year. The WHO organizes international, regional and local events on the Day related to a particular theme. World Health Day is acknowledged by various governments and non-governmental organizations with interests in public health issues, who also organize activities and highlight their support in media reports, such as the Global Health Council.
World Health Day is one of eight official global health campaigns marked by WHO, along with World Tuberculosis Day, World Immunization Week, World Malaria Day, World No Tobacco Day, World AIDS Day, World Blood Donor Day, and World Hepatitis Day
* The theme of World Health Day is: Universal health coverage: everyone, everywhere.
* The slogan is “Health for All”.
‘Swadhar Greh scheme’
(GS2: Welfare policies for vulnerable section of the population)
Issue: The Ministry of Women and Child Development is implementing the Swadhar Greh Scheme which targets the women victims of difficult circumstances who are in need of institutional support for rehabilitation so that they could lead their life with dignity. The Scheme envisages providing shelter, food, clothing and health as well as economic and social security for these women.
As per guidelines of the Swadhar Greh Scheme, to seek financial assistance the agency should meet following requirements:
- The agency should be either recognized by State/UT under existing law or should be well known with the experience or working in the field for at least 3 years and its work should be reported satisfactory by the State Govt./UT Administration concerned.
- It should ordinarily have been engaged in the field of women’s welfare/social welfare for a minimum period of two years
- Its financial position should be sound
- It should have facilities, resources, experience and personnel to undertake the management of such project
- It should run Swadhar Greh on a no-profit basis and
- It should have facilities like computers, internet connection etc at Swadhar Greh.
Ministry of Women and Child Development is the implementing agency for this programme
(GS2: Issues related to Health)
Issue: POSHAN Abhiyaan under Innovation component, envisages undertaking activities to be implemented intended to improve the service delivery system, capacity building of front line functionaries and community engagement for better nutritional outcomes.
Working of the programme
An Executive Committee has been set up under the Chairpersonship of Secretary, Ministry of Women & Child Development to provide policy support and guidance to States/ UTs under POSHAN Abhiyaan from time to time. A National Council on India’s Nutrition Challenges has also been set up under the Chairpersonship of Vice Chairman, NITI Aayog for policy direction, review, effective coordination and convergence between Ministries which have a sectoral responsibilty for the challenge of nutrition.