6th Feb, 2019-IAS Current Affairs
‘Heart’ (GS3: Issues related to Health)
Issue: Scientists have developed a dime-sized device to capture and convert the kinetic energy of the heart into electricity to power a wide-range of life-saving implantable devices such as pacemakers
Significance of this invention
Millions of people rely on pacemakers, defibrillators and other live-saving implantable devices powered by batteries that need to be replaced every five to 10 years. Those replacements require surgery which can be costly and create the possibility of complications and infections, according to the study published in the journal Advanced Materials Technologies.
What is a pacemaker?
A pacemaker is a small electrical device, fitted in the chest or abdomen. It’s used to treat some abnormal heart rhythms (arrhythmias) that can cause your heart to either beat too slowly or miss beats. Some pacemakers can also help the chambers of heart beat in time.
How does it work?
Heart’s sinus node is your natural pacemaker (located in the upper right chamber of the heart). It sends an electrical impulse to make your heart beat. The job of a pacemaker is to artificially take over the role of sinus node if it isn’t working properly.
Electrical impulses are sent by the pacemaker to stimulate heart to contract and produce a heartbeat. Most pacemakers work just when they’re needed – on demand. Some pacemakers send out impulses all of the time. This is called fixed rate. Pacemakers do not give heart an electrical shock.
‘Human papillomavirus (HPV)’ (GS2: Issues related to Health)
Issue: Some health experts have stressed that even men should be vaccinated against HPV
Importance of HPV vaccine for men
While the vaccine gives protection to girls and women against cervical, vaginal and vulvar cancer, it also helps protect boys and men against genital warts, penis and anal cancer caused by the HPV virus.
HPV stands for human papillomavirus. It’s the most common sexually transmitted infection. HPV is usually harmless and goes away by itself, but some types can lead to cancer or genital warts. There are more than 200 types of human papillomavirus (HPV). About 40 kinds can infect genital area. HPV is easily spread from sexual skin-to-skin contact with someone who has it.
‘World cancer day’ (GS2: Issues related to Health)
Issue: World Cancer Day is an international day marked on February 4 to raise awareness of cancer and to encourage its prevention, detection, and treatment.
World Cancer Day was founded by the Union for International Cancer Control (UICC) to support the goals of the World Cancer Declaration, written in 2008. The primary goal of World Cancer Day is to significantly reduce illness and death caused by cancer and is an opportunity to rally the international community to end the injustice of preventable suffering from cancer.
Cancer is a group of diseases involving abnormal cell growth with the potential to invade or spread to other parts of the body. These contrast with benign tumors, which do not spread to other parts of the body. Possible signs and symptoms include a lump, abnormal bleeding, prolonged cough, unexplained weight loss and a change in bowel movements.
Tobacco use is the cause of about 22% of cancer deaths. Another 10% are due to obesity, poor diet, lack of physical activity or excessive drinking of alcohol. Other factors include certain infections, exposure to ionizing radiation and environmental pollutants. In the developing world, 15% of cancers are due to infections such as Helicobacter pylori, hepatitis B, hepatitis C, human papillomavirus infection, Epstein–Barr virus and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).
‘GSAT-31’ (GS3: Science)
Issue: India’s latest communication satellite GSAT-31 was successfully launched by European launch services provider- Arianespace’s rocket from French Guiana in the early hours of Wednesday.
About the mission
The GSAT-31 is a high power communication satellite with Ku-band, and it is going to serve and replace some of the satellites that are going to expire soon. The Ariane-5 vehicle (Flight VA247) also carried Saudi Geostationary Satellite 1/Hellas Sat 4 along with GSAT-31.
In the days ahead, scientists will undertake phase-wise orbit-raising manoeuvres to place the satellite in Geostationary Orbit (36,000 km above the equator) using its on-board propulsion system.
GSAT-31 is the country’s 40th communication satellite which is configured on ISRO’s enhanced ‘I-2K Bus’, utilizing the maximum “bus capabilities” of this type.
About Geostationary orbit
A geostationary orbit, often referred to as a geosynchronous equatorial orbit (GEO), is a circular geosynchronous orbit 35,786 km (22,236 mi) above Earth’s equator and following the direction of Earth’s rotation. An object in such an orbit appears motionless, at a fixed position in the sky, to ground observers. Communications satellites and weather satellites are often placed in geostationary orbits, so that the satellite antennae (located on Earth) that communicate with them do not have to rotate to track them, but can be pointed permanently at the position in the sky where the satellites are located. Using this characteristic, ocean-color monitoring satellites with visible and near-infrared light sensors (e.g. GOCI) can also be operated in geostationary orbit in order to monitor sensitive changes of ocean environments.
A geostationary orbit is a particular type of geosynchronous orbit, which has an orbital period equal to Earth’s rotational period, or one sidereal day (23 hours, 56 minutes, 4 seconds).
Difference between Geosynchronous and Geostationary orbit
While geosynchronous satellites can have any inclination, the key difference to geostationary orbit is the fact that they lie on the same plane as the equator.
Geostationary orbits fall in the same category as geosynchronous orbits, but it’s parked over the equator. This one special quality makes it unique from geosynchronous orbits.
‘National Minority Development Finance Corporation (NMDFC)’ (GS2: Programmes for vulnerable sections of the society)
Issue: The schemes of National Minority Development Finance Corporation (NMDFC) are being implemented for the socio-economic development of the ‘backward sections’ amongst the notified minorities through the State Channelising Agencies (SCAs) nominated by the respective State Governments/UT Administration.
Following schemes are being implemented by NMDFC:-
Concessional Credit Schemes
- Term Loan:- Maximum Loan of up to Rs.20.00 Lacs per beneficiary is available under Credit Line-1 at an interest rate of 6% p.a.
- Micro Finance:- Maximum loan upto Rs.1.00 lac per SHG member is available under Credit Line -1 at an interest rate of 7% p.a. Higher loan of maximum upto Rs.1.50 lacs per SHG member is available under Credit Line-2 at an interest rate of 10% p.a. for male beneficiaries & 8% p.a for female beneficiaries.
- Education Loan:- The Educational Loan of upto Rs.20.00 lacs for courses in India & Rs.30 lacs for courses abroad is available at an interest rate of 3% p.a. under Credit Line-1 while interest @ of 8% p.a. is charged from male beneficiaries & 5% p.a from female beneficiaries under Credit Line-2.
- Mahila Samridhi Yojana:- Skill development training is imparted to group of women in women friendly trades. Training period is of maximum 6(six) months with training & raw material cost of upto Rs.1,500 per women while stipend @ Rs.1,000 is available for each women.
- Vocational Training Scheme:-NMDFC has realigned its Vocational Training Scheme with the common norms prescribed by the Ministry of Skill Development & Entrepreneurship (MSDE) viz., “Kaushal Se Kushalta”. Under this scheme, skill development training programs are organized as per common norms. Training programs of 200 to 250 hrs duration are organized at prescribed hourly cost. Stipend of Rs.1,000 per candidate per month and the cost of certification of the trained candidates is borne by NMDFC. There is placement guarantee of minimum 70% candidates trained under the scheme. This promotional scheme is implemented through State Channelising Agencies of NMDFC
- Marketing Assistance Scheme:-The Marketing Assistance Scheme is meant for individual crafts persons, beneficiaries of NMDFC as well as SHGs & is implemented through the SCAs. The scheme envisages to promote sale & marketing of their products at remunerative prices through participation /organizing exhibitions at State/District level.
The National Minorities Development & Finance Corporation (NMDFC) was incorporated on 30th September 1994, as a company not for profit, under Section 25 of the Companies Act 1956. It is a National Level Apex Body for the benefit of Minorities as defined under the National Commission for Minorities Act 1992.
The prime mandate of NMDFC is to provide concessional finance to the Minorities for self employment/ income generation activities. As per the National Commission for Minorities Act, 1992, the notified Minorities are Muslims, Christians, Sikhs, Buddhists & Parsis. Subsequently, Jain community was also added into the list of notified Minority Communities in January 2014. Under NMDFC programme, preference is given to Artisans & Women.
“Rashtriya Vayoshri Yojana (RVY)” (GS2: Issues related to Human resources)
Issue: The Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment has introduced a scheme for providing physical aids and Assisted Living Devices for Senior Citizens belonging to BPL category named “Rashtriya Vayoshri Yojana (RVY)”
About the programme
The Scheme is being implemented through the “Artificial Limbs Manufacturing Corporation (ALIMCO)”, a Public Sector Undertaking under the Ministry of SJ&E, as the sole Implementing Agency. The devices are distributed in the camp mode. The beneficiaries are identified through Assessment Camps organised in collaboration with the respective State Government/District Administration and the devices are distributed in Distribution Camps organised in the selected districts. For the senior citizens aged 80 years or more, the devices are provided at their doorsteps.
‘Tuberculosis Eradication’ (GS2: Issues related to Health)
Issue: The Government has taken up many certain steps in order to tackle the problem of TB by 2025
Measures taken by the government include:
- Early diagnosis of all the TB patients, prompt treatment with quality assured daily treatment regimen along with suitable patient support systems to promote adherence to prevent the development of drug resistance among any patient. To identify the drug resistance at early stage, all TB patient are being screened for detection of resistance under Universal Drug Susceptible Testing (U-DST).
- Increase in diagnostic and management capacity for early detection and consequent earlier initiation of treatment. This will aid in decreasing mortality and cutting down transmission of the infection. Various interventions like Integrated mechanism for management of Adverse Drug Reactions (ADRs), provision of patients & family counselling at the time of diagnosis and during the course of treatment, airborne infection control as well as grievance redressal mechanism have been introduced to improve patient compliance.
- Various interventions like Integrated mechanism for management of Adverse Drug Reactions (ADRs), provision of patients & family counselling at the time of diagnosis and during the course of treatment, airborne infection control as well as grievance redressal mechanism have been introduced to improve patient compliance.
- The Nikshay Poshan Yojana provides 500 INR monthly to all TB notified TB patients in order to provide nutritional support and aid in the treatment of TB.
- Private sector engagement is being promoted to reach out to all patients who are seeking treatment in the private sector and efforts are being made to provide them all diagnostic, treatment and care facilities, including public health action such as counselling, nutritional support, contact tracing etc.
A bacteria called Mycobacterium tuberculosis causes TB. There are a variety of TB strains, and some have become resistant to medication.
TB bacteria are transmitted through infected droplets in the air. Once they’re in the air, another nearby person can inhale them. A person who has TB can be transmitted the bacteria via:
People with well-functioning immune systems may not experience TB symptoms, even though they are infected with the bacteria. This is known as latent or inactive TB infection. According to WHO, about one-quarter of the world’s population has latent TB.
Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (PMJAY) (GS2: Issues related to Health)
Issue: Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (PMJAY) is being implemented through the State Governments/UTs.
National Health Agency (NHA), registered as a society, has been setup by the Government to implement PMJAY through State level Health Agencie
About the scheme
Under the ambit of Ayushman Bharat, a Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (PM-JAY) to reduce the financial burden on poor and vulnerable groups arising out of catastrophic hospital episodes and ensure their access to quality health services was conceived. PM-JAY seeks to accelerate India’s progress towards achievement of Universal Health Coverage (UHC) and Sustainable Development Goal – 3 (SDG3).
Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (PM-JAY) will provide financial protection (Swasthya Suraksha) to 10.74 crore poor, deprived rural families and identified occupational categories of urban workers’ families as per the latest Socio-Economic Caste Census (SECC) data (approx. 50 crore beneficiaries). It will have offer a benefit cover of Rs. 500,000 per family per year
PM-JAY will cover medical and hospitalization expenses for almost all secondary care and most of tertiary care procedures. PM-JAY has defined 1,350 medical packages covering surgery, medical and day care treatments including medicines, diagnostics and transport.
To ensure that nobody is left out (especially girl child, women, children and elderly), there will be no cap on family size and age in the Mission. The scheme will be cashless & paperless at public hospitals and empanelled private hospitals. The beneficiaries will not be required to pay any charges for the hospitalization expenses. The benefit also includes pre and post-hospitalization expenses. The scheme is an entitlement based, the beneficiary is decided on the basis of family being figured in SECC database. When fully implemented, the PM-JAY will become the world’s largest government funded health protection mission.
Benefits of PM-JAY
- Government provides health insurance cover of up to Rs. 5,00,000 per family per year.
- More than 10.74 crore poor and vulnerable families (approximately 50 crore beneficiaries) covered across the country.
- All families listed in the SECC database as per defined criteria will be covered. No cap on family size and age of members.
- Priority to girl child, women and senior citizens.
- Free treatment available at all public and empanelled private hospitals in times of need.
- Covers secondary and tertiary care hospitalization.
- 1,350 medical packages covering surgery, medical and day care treatments, cost of medicines and diagnostics.
- All pre-existing diseases covered. Hospitals cannot deny treatment.
- Cashless and paperless access to quality health care services.
- Hospitals will not be allowed to charge any additional money from beneficiaries for the treatment.
- Eligible beneficiaries can avail services across India, offering benefit of national portability. Can reach out for information, assistance, complaints and grievances to a 24X7 helpline number – 14555
‘Kilogram standard’ (GS3: Science)
Issue: The prototype of one kilogram (NPK-57) is already available in India and placed at National Physical Laboratory, New Delhi as per the provisions made under the Legal Metrology (National Standards) Rules, 2011.
New definition of kilogram
A kilogram will be defined by a tiny but immutable fundamental value called the ‘Planck constant. The new definition involves an exquisitely accurate weighing machine called the Kibble balance, which makes use of the constant to measure the mass of an object using a precisely measured electromagnetic force.
‘Ease of Doing Agri-Business’ (GS3: Indian agriculture)
Issue: Ease of Doing Agri-Business, a concept note along with parameters for developing an Index has been circulated to all States/UTs inviting their views.
About the proposed plan
The concept is to consider farming not solely as a production oriented activity carried out to achieve food security for the country, but as a business activity carried out by farmer as entrepreneur. The proposed index has taken the aspects of increasing production/productivity, increasing price realization of agri-produce and decreasing input costs of production, risk mitigation and investment related attributes.
‘Medicinal plants’ (GS2: Issues related to Health)
Issue: As per information of the Botanical Survey of India (BSI), an organization under Ministry of Environment, Forests & Climate Change estimated more than 8,000 species of medicinal plants are found in India.
The National Medicinal Plants Board (NMPB), Ministry of AYUSH is presently implementing following schemes to encourage farming / cultivation, conservation, processing and promotion of medicinal plants throughout the country:
- Centrally Sponsored Scheme of National AYUSH Mission (NAM). Under ‘Medicinal Plants’ component of the NAM scheme the large scale farming / cultivation of medicinal plants is being supported. As per the scheme guidelines, the support is provided for:
- Cultivation of prioritized medicinal plants on farmer’s land.
- Establishment of nurseries for supply of quality planting material.
- Post-harvest management.
- Primary processing, marketing infrastructure etc.
- Central Sector Scheme on “Conservation, Development and Sustainable Management of Medicinal Plants”. Under the scheme, the project based support is provided for following activities:
- In-situ conservation through development of Medicinal Plants Conservation and Development Areas (MPCDAs).
- In-situ/Ex-situ resource augmentation.
- Ex-situ conservation through establishment of herbal gardens.
- Livelihood linkages with Joint Forest Management Committees (JFMCs) / Panchayats / Van Panchayats / Biodiversity Management Committees (BMCs) / Self Help Groups (SHGs).
- IEC activities like Training / workshops / Seminars/ Conferences etc.
- Research & Development.
- Promotion of marketing and trade of medicinal plants produce.
- Voluntary Certification Scheme for Medicinal Plants Produce (VCSMPP). The scheme is aimed to encourage Good Agricultural Practices (GAPs) and Good Field Collection Practices (GFCPs) in medicinal plants and enhance quality and safety of their produce.
‘Bullet train’ (GS3: Conservation of Environment)
Issue: A committee, chaired by Union Environment Minister Harsh Vardhan, has accorded wildlife clearance to the Mumbai-Ahmedabad high speed train corridor that encroaches upon a flamingo sanctuary and the Sanjay Gandhi National Park, the home to leopards, in Mumbai.
Concerns with the project
Apart from the creek, the proposal also involves diverting 32.75 ha of forestland and 77.30 ha of non-forestland from Sanjay Gandhi National Park and from 0.6902 ha of forestland and 4.7567 ha of non-forest land from Tungareshwar Wildlife Sanctuary.
While according clearance, the National Board of Wildlife– the apex body tasked with according permissions to allow forest land to be diverted for industrial development– has laid pre-conditions for the bullet train project. These include paying Rs 10 crore (2% of 500 crore—the component of the project in Mumbai) for habitat improvement of the sanctuary, barricading the work site to ensure that no debris fall outside the project area and ‘…providing site and funds for penal plantation of at least 5 times the number of mangroves plants anticipated to be lost in this project
About National Board of Wildlife
National Board for Wild Life is a “Statutory Organization” constituted under the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972. Theoretically, the board is “advisory” in nature and advises the Central Government on framing policies and measures for conservation of wildlife in the country. However, it is a very important body because it serves as apex body to review all wildlife-related matters and approve projects in and around national parks and sanctuaries.
Primary function of the Board is to promote the conservation and development of wildlife and forests. It has power to review all wildlife-related matters and approve projects in and around national parks and sanctuaries. No alternation of boundaries in national parks and wildlife sanctuaries can be done without approval of the NBWL.
The NBWL is chaired by the Prime Minister. It has 47 members including the Prime Minister. Among these, 19 members are ex-officio members. Other members include three Members of Parliament (two from Lok Sabha and one from Rajya Sabha), five NGOs and 10 eminent ecologists, conservationists and environmentalists.
‘Depression’ (GS2: Issues related to Health)
Issue: Bacteria in the gut may affect our mental well-being and could be linked to depression, said a study published in the journal Nature Microbiology
The World Health Organisation says an estimated 300 million people suffer from depression, and there are known links between a patient’s physical and mental health.