11th August, 2018-IAS Current Affairs
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‘Hydrogen Wall’ (GS3: Science)
Issue: A vast wall of hydrogen could mark the limits of our solar system, with new analysis of data from the New Horizons probe helping explain our place in the galaxy
New Horizons has already revealed a wealth of new knowledge about the solar system. One particularly theory scientists hoped would be expanded with new information was the predicted existence of a wall of glowing hydrogen, wrapped around us like a bubble.
What is the theory proposed?
That bubble marks the crossover point between what’s considered our own solar system, some believe, and what’s the broader galaxy we’re a part of. It’s created by the sun, and more specifically the solar wind that forms as the star moves through the galaxy. Those charged particles eventually collide with uncharged hydrogen atoms in interstellar space, scattering ultraviolet light in the process.
About Kuiper Belt
The Kuiper belt occasionally called the Edgeworth–Kuiper belt, is a circumstellar disc in the outer Solar System, extending from the orbit of Neptune (at 30 AU) to approximately 50 AU from the Sun. It is similar to the asteroid belt, but is far larger—20 times as wide and 20 to 200 times as massive. Like the asteroid belt, it consists mainly of small bodies or remnants from when the Solar System formed. While many asteroids are composed primarily of rock and metal, most Kuiper belt objects are composed largely of frozen volatiles (termed “ices”), such as methane, ammonia and water. The Kuiper belt is home to three officially recognized dwarf planets: Pluto, Haumea and Makemake. Some of the Solar System’s moons, such as Neptune’s Triton and Saturn’s Phoebe, may have originated in the region.
About New Horizons mission
New Horizons is an interplanetary space probe that was launched as a part of NASA’s New Frontiers program. The spacecraft was launched in 2006 with the primary mission to perform a flyby study of the Pluto system in 2015, and a secondary mission to fly by and study one or more other Kuiper belt objects (KBOs) in the decade to follow. It is the fifth artificial object to achieve the escape velocity needed to leave the Solar System.
‘One District One Product’ summit (GS2: Government policies for development in various sectors)
Issue: The President of India, Shri Ram Nath Kovind, inaugurated the ‘One District One Product’ Summit
About the scheme
Under the ‘One District One Product’ scheme, the state government (U.P) has set a goal of providing employment to 25 lakh people in five years through the financial assistance of Rs. 25,000 crores.
This scheme will create large number of employment opportunities for the youth and strengthen the inclusive and sustainable development of Uttar Pradesh.
Significance of this programme
Uttar Pradesh contributes around 44 per cent in the total handicraft exports of the country. Industries such as handicrafts, food processing, engineering goods, carpets, readymade clothes, leather goods etc earns foreign exchange as well as provide employment. Therefore, this sector will play an important role in the development of Uttar Pradesh. ‘One District One Product’ scheme will enhance skills of local people as well as increase the reach to products. And it will result in economic progress of artisans of Uttar Pradesh.
‘Cage Farming’ (GS2: Government policies for development in various sectors)
Issue: The Government of Karnataka reported the installation of 8 marine cages with an expenditure of Rs. 29.9 lakh for Seabass and Cobia culture and a total of 102 cages in reservoir with an expenditure of Rs.81 lakh.
The Centrally Sponsored Scheme (CSS) on Blue Revolution: Integrated Development and Management of Fisheries approved by the Government in December 2015 inter-alia provides financial assistance for (i) open sea cage culture and (ii) installation of cages/pens in reservoirs and other open water bodies.
What is Cage farming?
Cage culture is receiving more attention by both researchers and commercial producers. Factors such as increasing consumption of fish, declining stocks of wild fishes and poor farm economy has increased interest in fish production in cages. Many small or limited resource farmers are looking for alternatives to traditional agricultural crops. Aquaculture appears to be a rapidly expanding industry and it offer opportunities even on a small scale. Cage culture also offers the farmer a chance to utilize existing water resources in which most cases have only limited use for other purposes.
Cage culture of fish has advantages and disadvantages that should be considered carefully before cage production becomes the chosen method. A potential fish farmer can produce fish in an existing pond without destroying sport fishing; does not have to invest large amounts of capital for construction or equipment; and can, therefore, try fish culture without unreasonable risks.
Cage culture has advantages which include:
- Many types of water resources can be used, including lakes, reservoirs, ponds, strip pits, streams and rivers which could otherwise not be harvested.
- A relatively low initial investment is required in an existing body of water.
- Harvesting is simplified.
- Observation and sampling of fish is simplified.
- Allows the use of the pond for sport fishing or the culture of other species.
- Less manpower requirement.
- Generation of job opportunities for unemployed youth and women.
- Additional income to fishers during closed seasons.
Cage culture also has some distinct disadvantages. These include:
- Feed must be nutritionally complete and kept fresh.
- Low Dissolved Oxygen Syndrome (LODOS) is an ever present problem and may require mechanical aeration.
- Fouling of net cage.
- The incidence of disease can be high and diseases may spread rapidly.
- Vandalism or poaching is a potential problem.
- Navigation issues.
- Accumulation of unused feed and excreta will lead to water pollution as well as eutrophication.
- Change in water quality parameters.
- Conflicts within the local community.
- Predation by aquatic mammals and birds.
- Overcrowding of aquatic organisms in cages.
‘Humanitarian Assistance Disaster Relief (HADR) missions’ (GS3: Disaster and Disaster Management)
Issue: Many parts of Northern Kerala are completely isolated by landslides and floods due to heavy rains. Kerala state government had requested IAF to provide urgent assistance in Wayanad for providing relief to the affected people.
Five An-32 transport aircraft were deployed to transport NDRF teams and their equipment from Arakkonam to Calicut on 09 Aug 18.
‘Operation Madad’ (GS3: Disaster and disaster management)
Issue: Operation “Madad” has been launched by the Southern Naval Command (SNC) at Kochi since 09 Aug 2018 for assisting the state administration and undertaking disaster relief operations due to the unprecedented flooding experienced in many parts of Kerala
Based on a request received from Deputy Collector, Wayanad, one diving team with Gemini inflatable boat was airlifted
‘SCO Peace Mission Exercise 2018’ (GS2: Multilateral institutions)
Issue: As part of Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) initiatives, SCO Peace Mission Exercise is conducted biennially for SCO member states. The joint exercise for the year 2018 will be conducted by Central Military Commission of Russia
Significance of this exercise
The joint exercise will strengthen mutual confidence, interoperability and enable sharing of best practices among armed forces of SCO Nations. It will be a landmark event in the history of SCO defence cooperation.
The Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO), or Shanghai Pact, is a Eurasian political, economic, and security alliance, the creation of which was announced on 15 June 2001 in Shanghai, China by the leaders of China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan; the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation Charter, formally establishing the organisation, was signed in June 2002 and entered into force on 19 September 2003. The Heads of State Council (HSC) is the supreme decision-making body in the SCO, it meets once a year and adopts decisions and guidelines on all important matters of the organisation. Military exercises among members are also regularly conducted to promote coordination against terrorism, and to maintain regional peace and stability. The original six nations, with the exception of Uzbekistan, were previously members of the Shanghai Five group, founded on 26 April 1996. India and Pakistan joined SCO as full members on 9 June 2017 at a summit in Astana, Kazakhstan. The SCO is often dubbed as the “alliance of Asia”, due to its growing centrality in the Asian continent, and has been the primary security pillar of the region. Being the world’s forefront regional organisation in economic power and political influence, and one of the world’s strongest military alliances, it is also the largest regional organisation in the world in terms of geographical coverage and population, covering three-fifths of the Eurasian continent and nearly half of the human population. At present, the SCO is one of the world’s most powerful and influential organisations
With the growing power and enlargement of the organisation, its scope of unity and cooperation has expanded to many other areas, including education, science, technology, health care, environmental protection, tourism, media, sports, humanitarian and culture.
‘PARIVESH’ (GS2: E-governance)
Issue: The Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi, launched PARIVESH (Pro-Active and Responsive facilitation by Interactive, Virtuous and Environmental Single-window Hub) on the occasion of World Biofuel Day
About this portal
PARIVESH is a Single-Window Integrated Environmental Management System, developed in pursuance of the spirit of ‘Digital India’ initiated by the Prime Minister and capturing the essence of Minimum Government and Maximum Governance.
PARIVESH include – single registration and single sign-in for all types of clearances (i.e. Environment, Forest, Wildlife and CRZ), unique-ID for all types of clearances required for a particular project and a single Window interface for the proponent to submit applications for getting all types of clearances (i.e. Environment, Forests, Wildlife and CRZ clearances).
‘POLIO’ (GS2: Issues related to Health)
Issue: India has been certified Polio free by the Regional Polio Certification Commission on the 27th March 2014.
Actions taken by the government to maintain this status
- Population immunity against polio is being maintained by observing polio campaigns every year. In the year 2018, two National Immunization Days (NID) have been conducted and two sub- national polio immunization rounds (SNID) are planned, in addition to polio vaccination through routine immunization. Inactivated Polio Vaccine (IPV) has also been introduced across the country to further boost the population immunity as additional protection against polio.
- Vaccination to international travelers to and from 8 other countries and continuous vaccination at the international borders of India are being carried out throughout the year to mitigate risk of importation.
- Sensitivity of polio surveillance is maintained through Acute Flaccid Paralysis (AFP) surveillance in human and environment surveillance to detect any polio threat as early as possible and respond quickly to mitigate the risk of circulation.
‘Diabetes’ (GS2: Issues related to Health)
Issue: According to International Diabetes Federation (IDF) Diabetes Atlas (7th Edition), China has the largest number of diabetes (11.43 cr.), followed by India (7.29 cr.) in 2017. As per the National Family Health Survey (NFHS-4); 2015-16, 5.8 % women and 8.0 % men in India are having blood sugar level above 140 mg/dl, in the age group of 15-49 years.
The factors responsible for increase in Diabetes are unhealthy diet, lack of physical activity, harmful use of alcohol, over-weight/obesity, tobacco use etc.
Actions taken by the government to combat this problem
The Government of India is implementing National Programme for Prevention and Control of Cancer, Diabetes, Cardiovascular Diseases and Stroke (NPCDCS) for interventions up to District level under the National Health Mission (NHM). It has focus on awareness generation for behavior and life-style changes, screening and early diagnosis of persons with high level of risk factors and their treatment and referral (if required) to higher facilities for appropriate management for Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) including Diabetes.
Under NPCDCS, testing, diagnosis and treatment facilities for Diabetes are provided through different levels of healthcare by setting up NCD Clinics in District Hospitals and Community Health Centres (CHCs). The treatment is either free or highly subsidized for the poor and needy.
A population level initiative of prevention, control and screening for common NCDs (diabetes, hypertension and cancer viz. oral, breast and cervical cancer) has been rolled out in 2017-18 under NHM, as a part of comprehensive primary healthcare. Under the initiative, frontline health workers such as Accredited Social Health Activists and Auxiliary Nurse Midwives, inter alia, are leveraged to carry out screening and generate awareness about the risk factors of NCDs among the masses. The initiative is under implementation in more than 150 districts across the country.
‘Eco-friendly Rakhis’ (GS3: Conservation of Environment)
Issue: Eco-friendly Rakhis are being sold by TRIFED, an autonomous organisation under Ministry of Tribal Affairs. The product has been made available on banner of Tribes India at all its retail outlets and e-commerce portals including tribesindia.com, Amazon, Snapdeal, PayTM and Flipkart. Besides, ethnic clothing meant for Rakshabandhan are also on sale at the specially created ‘Rakhi Counters’ at all outlets and e-commerce portals.
About this product
TRIFED is using the occasion of Rakhi to send a strong message of eco-friendliness and encouraging proximity to nature by promoting plantation of trees and flowers with the help of seed paper prepared by tribal women
‘PENCIL (Platform for Effective Enforcement for No Child Labour)’ (GS2: Issue related to Human resources)
Issue: As per 2011 census, there are 43.53 lakh main workers in the age group of 5-14 years in various occupation and process including domestic work in the country.
As per Ministry of Labour & Employment, Government is following a multi-pronged trategy for elimination of child labour. It comprises of statutory and legislative measures, rehabilitation and universal elementary education along with convergence with other schemes for socio economic development. Government has enacted the Child Labour (Prohibition & Regulation) Amendment Act, 2016 which came into force w.e.f. 1.9.2016. The Amendment Act inter alia provides for complete prohibition of work or employment of children below 14 years in any occupation and process and adolescents in the age group of 14 to 18 years in hazardous occupations and processes. The amendment also provides stricter punishment for employers for violation of the Act and made the offence as cognizable.
The PENCIL Portal (pencil.gov.in) has various components, namely Child Tracking System, Complaint Corner, State Government, National Child Labour Project and Convergence. The Districts will nominate District Nodal Officers (DNOs) who will receive the complaints and within 48 hours of receiving, they will check the genuineness of the complaint and take the rescue measures in coordination with police, if the complaint is found to be genuine.
Ministry of Labour and Employment is implementing this programme
‘POSHAN Abhiyaan (National Nutrition Mission – NNM)’ (GS2: Issues related to Health)
Issue: POSHAN Abhiyaan (National Nutrition Mission – NNM) set up by Government on November, 2017 aims to reduce the level of stunting, under-nutrition, anemia and low birth weight babies.
About the programme
The important components of the Abhiyaan are: ensuring convergence with various programmes; incentivizing States/ UTs for achieving goals; IT enabled Real Time Monitoring (ICT-RTM); Evaluation; weighing efficiency and making nutrition visible; Community mobilization awareness advocacy; IEC, Jan Andolan – to educate the people on nutritional aspects, on-line Course on Nutrition for Children, Nutrition message from folk songs and songs on WASH, sending messages on nutrition and also creating ring-tones, Yoga for children at AWCs; strengthening human resource; measuring height and length of children below 6 years of age. Coverage of districts in a phased manner is 315 districts in 2017-18, 235 districts in 2018-19 and remaining districts in 2019-20.
Under POSHAN Abhiyaan, the Government has fixed targets to reduce stunting, under-nutrition, anemia (among young children, women and adolescent girls) and reduce low birth weight by 2%, 2%, 3% and 2% per annum respectively. Mission also strives to achieve reduction in Stunting from 38.4% (NFHS-4) to 25% by 2022 (Mission 25 by 2022).
A single unified technical set-up, namely a National Nutrition Resource Centre – Central Project Management Unit (NNRC-CPMU) at the national level and similarly State Nutrition Resource Centre – State Project Management Unit (SNRC-SPMU) in all States/ UTs ensures regular monitoring and review of all sectoral programmes especially those directly affecting malnutrition and.
‘Index of Industrial Production’ (GS3: Indian Economy)
Issue: Growth in industrial activity picked up to a five-month high of 7% in June, driven by an across-the-board acceleration in growth rates including in sectors such as manufacturing, electricity, infrastructure, and capital and consumer goods, according to official data released
What are the factors driving the growth?
- pickup in investment demand
- an increase in government expenditure
- The stimulus by the government on the current and capital sides and a pickup in private investment has led to industrial growth.
The Index of Industrial Production (IIP) is an index for India which details out the growth of various sectors in an economy such as mineral mining, electricity and manufacturing. The all India IIP is a composite indicator that measures the short-term changes in the volume of production of a basket of industrial products during a given period with respect to that in a chosen base period. It is compiled and published monthly by the central statistical organisation (CSO), Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation six weeks after the reference month ends.
The level of the Index of Industrial Production (IIP) is an abstract number, the magnitude of which represents the status of production in the industrial sector for a given period of time as compared to a reference period of time. The base year was at one time fixed at 1993–94 so that year was assigned an index level of 100. The current base year is 2011-2012
The Eight Core Industries comprise nearly 40.27% of the weight of items included in the Index of Industrial Production (IIP). These are Electricity, steel, refinery products, crude oil, coal, cement, natural gas and fertilizers.
‘Nano-particles’ (GS3: Science and Technology)
Issue: A new cancer therapy using nanoparticles to deliver a combination therapy direct to cancer cells could be on the horizon
The technology is the first of its kind to use nanoparticles to deliver two drugs in combination to target cancer cells.
The drugs, already approved for clinical use, are an anti-cancer drug called docetaxel, and fingolimod, which is used to treat multiple sclerosis.
What are Nano-particles?
A nanoparticle (or nanopowder or nanocluster or nanocrystal) is a microscopic particle with at least one dimension less than 100 nm.
Nanoparticles exist in the natural world and are also created as a result of human activities. Because of their submicroscopic size, they have unique material characteristics, and manufactured nanoparticles may find practical applications in a variety of areas, including medicine, engineering, catalysis, and environmental remediation.