HINDU NOTES-APRIL 20 2019 [UPSC IAS Current affairs]

HINDU NOTES-APRIL 20 2019 [UPSC IAS Current affairs]

Current affairs, Daily hindu notes, hindu notes, MAINS 2019, Read Hindu, The Hindu Notes, UPSC exam

Hindu Notes from General Studies-01

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Indoor emissions affect air-quality standards

News

  • India can achieve its air quality goals if it completely eliminates emissions from household sources. A recent study has pointed out that the use of firewood, kerosene and coal in the households contributed to about 40% of the PM 2.5 pollution in the Gangetic basin districts.
  • This number varied across the country but household emissions remained one of the major culprits behind air pollution.

Findings

  • The results showed that by eliminating household emissions the average outdoor air pollution levels could be reduced and brought within the national ambient air quality standards.
  • The study also notes that “if all households transitioned to clean fuels, about 13% of premature mortality in India could be averted.”
  • At the national scale, mitigating household emissions is also expected to bring large health benefits.
  • Using satellite data and chemical transport model simulations, the researchers pointed out that complete mitigation would bring down the country’s average annual PM 2.5 air pollution to 38 microgram/cubic metre.
  • Surprisingly, this is below India’s national ambient air quality standard of 40 microgram/cubic metre and slightly above the World Health Organization (interim target 1) standards of 35 microgram/cubic metre.
  • Study has demonstrated that mitigating at a household level is the easiest and more practical way out for the government to reduce not only the household pollution but also outdoor air pollution at the national scale.

Hindu Notes from General Studies-02

Navy seeks access to French base in Djibouti for refuelling

News

  • After operationalising the Mutual Logistics Support Agreement (MLSA) signed with France, the Indian Navy is looking for access to French naval base in Djibouti for refuelling and operational turnaround.

Beyond News

  • Next month, Indian Navy Mig-29K fighters and French Navy Rafale-M fighters operating off their aircraft carriers will exercise together off Goa coast in May under the bilateral exercise Varuna.
  • Beginning with the first logistics with the U.S in 2016, India has signed several such agreements and discussions are on with at least five more countries. France is the only country whose ships have docked at Karwar and Mumbai under the MLSA.
  • In line with the expanding maritime collaborative efforts under the Navy’s foreign cooperation initiative, this year’s Varuna exercise will be the largest so far.
  • As part of the expanding maritime collaborative efforts, this year’s Varuna exercise will be the largest bilateral exercise in terms of scope and complexity.
  • Both countries operate one aircraft carrier each. France is sending its nuclear-powered carrier Charles De Gaulleand India will be deploying INS Vikramaditya. The last time both sides deployed carriers was in 2015 when INS Viraat took part. The MLSA will also be in force during the bilateral exercise.
  • The Initial Planning Conference (IPC) to plan the exercise has been completed and the Final Planning Conference (FPC) is scheduled to be held soon.
  • During the exercise, interactions are scheduled between the pilots of Mig-29K and Rafale-M and also of the carrier teams in foreign object damage assessment in engines.
  • Other focus areas of the exercise are explosive detection and mine hunting. France has also asked for India’s assistance in training in protection of offshore assets.
  • In a first, the head of the French Navy submarine arm, ALFOST, will visit India after the exercise.
  • France has joined the Information Fusion Centre-Indian Ocean Region (IFC-IOR) inaugurated by the Indian Navy. The two countries are already cooperating in the area of Maritime Domain Awareness through information exchange and have recently taken steps for space-based maritime surveillance.

Cases of measles show alarming rise, warns WHO

News

  • The number of cases of measles one of the world’s most contagious diseases is climbing, warned the World Health Organisation (WHO), stating that preliminary global data shows that reported cases rose by 300% in the first three months of 2019, compared to the same period in 2018.

Beyond News

  • In 2017, the most recent year for which estimates are available, it caused close to 1,10,000 deaths.
  • Worse, in recent months, spikes in case numbers have also occurred in countries with high overall vaccination coverage, including the United States of America as well as Israel, Thailand, and Tunisia, as the disease has spread fast among clusters of unvaccinated people.
  • Measles has the potential to be extremely severe. Even in high-income countries, complications result in hospitalisation in up to a quarter of cases, and can lead to lifelong disability, from brain damage and blindness to hearing loss.
  • Countries with the most reported cases include Madagascar, Ukraine, India, Nigeria, Kazakhstan, Chad, Myanmar, Thailand, the Philippines and Democratic Republic of the Congo.
  • In India, measles is still one of the leading causes of death in young children. About 15% of vaccinated children fail to develop immunity from the first dose, meaning that if only 80% are fully immunised, an outbreak is likely.
  • WHO’s African region has recorded a 700% increase, the region of the Americas 60%, the European region 300%, the Eastern Mediterranean 100% and 40% increases have been observed in South-east Asia and the Western Pacific.
  • Many countries are in the midst of sizeable measles outbreaks, with all regions of the world experiencing sustained rise in cases.
  • The disease is almost entirely preventable through two doses of a safe and effective vaccine. For several years, however, global coverage with the first dose of measles vaccine has stalled at 85%. This is still short of the 95% needed to prevent outbreaks, and leaves many people, in many communities, at risk. Second dose coverage, while increasing, stands at 67%.

Navy to take part in fleet review in China

News

  • The Indian Navy has sent two ships to take part in the International Fleet Review to be held in Qingdao, China, later this month as part of the 70th anniversary celebrations of the People’s Liberation Army Navy. The ships are stealth destroyer INS Kolkata and fleet tanker INS Shakti.
  • Pakistan’s Navy is not taking part in the event.

Beyond News

  • The visit of the Navy’s most potent destroyer and versatile fleet support ship showcases India’s prowess, reach and sustainability, besides indigenous ship-building capability.
  • As a reciprocal gesture and as part of the efforts to promote military cooperation, China has agreed to send its ships on port calls to India
  • During the harbour stay of the ships, there will be interactions between personnel of the participating navies, courtesy calls to various dignitaries of the PLA Navy and government officials, professional exchanges and sporting events. The ships will be opened for visits by People’s Liberation Army Navy personnel and local residents.
  • The INS Kolkata is an indigenously built stealth guided missile destroyer. The INS Shakti is one of the largest fleet replenishment tankers, displacing over 27,000 tonnes and capable of carrying 15,000 tonnes of liquid cargo.
  • The Indian Navy had last held an International Fleet Review in February 2016, in which 50 navies of different countries took part with nearly 100 warships.

Hindu Notes from General Studies-03

Ganga has higher proportion of antibacterial agents: study

News

  • A study commissioned by the Union Water Resources Ministry to probe the “unique properties” of the Ganga found that the river water contains a significantly higher proportion of organisms with antibacterial properties.

Findings

  • Other Indian rivers also contain these organisms but the Ganga particularly in its upper Himalayan stretches has more of them, the study suggests.
  • The study began in 2016 and was conducted by the Nagpur-based National Environmental Engineering and Research Institute (NEERI), a CSIR lab. The NEERI team was tasked with assessing the water quality for “radiological, microbiological and biological” parameters in the Bhagirathi (a feeder river of the Ganga) and the Ganga at 20 sampling stations.
  • As part of the assessment, five pathogenic species of bacteria (Escherichia, Enterobacter, Salmonella, Shigella, Vibrio) were selected and isolated from the Ganga, Yamuna and the Narmada and their numbers compared with the bacteriophages present in the river water. Because bacteriophages are a kind of virus that kill bacteria, they are frequently found in proximity to each other.
  • In the river Ganga, the bacteriophages were detected to be approximately 3 times more in proportion than bacterial isolates.
  • Samples drawn from the Ganga contained almost 1,100 kinds of bacteriophage, and proportionally there were less than 200 species detected in the samples obtained from the Yamuna and the Narmada.

Plan soon to monitor vulnerable children

News

  • A survey conducted in 2017-18 by anganwadi workers as part of an annual exercise to draw up their beneficiary list revealed that children in 11.72 lakh families in Kerala State were vulnerable.
  • However, a follow-up to the survey could not be held the past year.

Beyond News

  • The Social Justice Department will now prepare an action plan with the support of various stakeholders to monitor the vulnerable children. A meeting will draw up a strategy for this.
  • The vulnerable families in the survey include those with single parent; where there were cases of domestic violence; financially backward families; where parents are alcoholic; families headed by women; and so on.
  • Now, the department will embark on a validation of the survey findings. For instance, the survey found 1,088 families where siblings have a criminal record.
  • The task ahead would be to identify the problems if any, and the root cause of the problems.
  • The next step would be monitoring the children. If the children are school-going, for instance, teachers, school counsellors, and health nurses will be asked to keep an eye out for any change in their behaviour.

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HINDU NOTES-APRIL 19 2019 [UPSC IAS Current affairs]

HINDU NOTES-APRIL 19 2019 [UPSC IAS Current affairs]

Current affairs, Daily hindu notes, hindu notes, MAINS 2019, PIB notes, The Hindu Notes, UPSC exam

Hindu Notes from General Studies-01

Editorials are covered separately. HINDU NOTES are available free date wise| CLICK HERE

Genome sequencing to map population diversity

News

  • In an indigenous genetic mapping effort, nearly 1,000 rural youth from the length and breadth of India will have their genomes sequenced by the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR).
  • The project aims at educating a generation of students on the “usefulness” of genomics.

Beyond News

  • Globally, many countries have undertaken genome sequencing of a sample of their citizens to determine unique genetic traits, susceptibility (and resilience) to disease.
  • This is the first time that such a large sample of Indians will be recruited for a detailed study.
  • The project is an adjunct to a much larger government-led programme, still in the works, to sequence at least 10,000 Indian genomes.
  • Typically, those recruited as part of genome-sample collections are representative of the country’s population diversity. In this case, the bulk of them will be college students, both men and women, and pursuing degrees in the life sciences or biology.
  • Genomes will be sequenced based on a blood sample and the scientists plan to hold at least 30 camps covering most States.
  • Every person whose genomes are sequenced will be given a report. The participants would be told if they carry gene variants that make them less responsive to certain classes of medicines. For instance, having a certain gene makes some people less responsive to clopidogrel, a key drug that prevents strokes and heart attack.
  • The project would involve the Hyderabad-based Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB) and cost ₹18 crore, with the sequencing to be done at the IGIB and the CCMB.
  • Ever since the human genome was first sequenced in 2003, it opened a fresh perspective on the link between disease and the unique genetic make-up of each individual. Nearly 10,000 diseases including cystic fibrosis, thalassemia are known to be the result of a single gene malfunctioning.
  • While genes may render some insensitive to certain drugs, genome sequencing has shown that cancer too can be understood from the viewpoint of genetics, rather than being seen as a disease of certain organs.

Hindu Notes from General Studies-02

HC upholds increase in minimum wage in 34 types of industries in State

News

  • Thousands of employees working in about 34 different types of private industries in the State can cheer now as the High Court of Karnataka has upheld the government’s notifications issued in 2016 and 2017 increasing the minimum wages in these industries.

Beyond News

  • It directed the employers to pay the minimum wages, which remained unpaid till now due to a stay order by the court, to the eligible employees/workers within a period of eight weeks with an interest of 6% per annum from the date from which the revised wages were payable.
  • The court gave a partial relief to the industries by quashing direction to pay additional allowances like seniority allowance at the rate of 1% of the minimum wages for each completed year of service or otherwise, to the employees who have put in a service of ten or more years; and to continue to pay current wages even if they were above the revised minimum wages, and payment of minimum wages to the supervisory staff who do not prima facie come under the definition of ‘employee’ as per Section 2(e) of the Minimum Wages (MW) Act, 1948.
  • The new MW applies to industries like automobile engineering (service and repair); shops and establishments, ceramic, stoneware and potteries, foundry, oil mills, printing press, veneer, hostels, hospital and nursing services, private schools, colleges, and other training centres, road construction and maintenance, and building construction, saw mills, spinning mills, pulp paper and card board, areca nut, bakery, biscuit, brick, chemical, cinchona rubber, coffee, tea and mixed plantations, cloth dyeing and printing, confectionery, cotton, crystal cutting, metal rolling and re-rolling ferrous, textile, among others.

China says ties with India insulated from differences on Belt and Road Initiative

News

  • China said its ties with India had a “bright future” and they were preparing for a summit between their leaders as a follow-up to last year’s two-day across-the board Wuhan informal summit between President Xi Jinping and Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Beyond News

  • At a press conference on a three-day Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation that begins on May 25, Chinese foreign minister and state councillor was emphatic that ties between India and China were insulated from their differences on the Beijing-led Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).
  • Thirty-seven heads of state or heads of government, including leaders from Russia, Italy, Hungary, Austria, Switzerland, Malaysia and Singapore, as well as high level representatives from France, Germany, UK, Spain the European Union and Republic of Korea, will attend the mega event.
  • Chinese foreign minister and state councillor pointed out that India and China were limiting the threshold of their differences so that overall development of ties remained unhampered.
  • India has slammed CPEC, stating that it was an affront to its sovereignty as it passes through Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK).
  • The Chinese top diplomat rubbished accusations that BRI projects were “debt traps”. Instead, the mega-connectivity project to revive the ancient Silk Road had generated benefits. The total trade volume between China and participating countries had surpassed 6 trillion dollars and investments had scaled 80 billion dollars, generating 300,000 jobs, Chinese foreign minister and state councillor pointed out.
  • An “advisory council”, comprising eminent international personalities, had been formed to impart “high quality” to projects under the BRI banner.

In a first, voting takes place at Institute of Mental Health

News

  • For the first time ever in the country, voting was held on the campus of an institution for the mentally ill.
  • A total of 156 of its inmates 100 men and 56 women cast their votes at an auxiliary polling booth established on the campus on Thursday.

Beyond News

  • Patients started to arrive in batches to the polling station a building dating back to 1941 that at present houses the head overseer’s office to cast their votes for the Chennai Central Lok Sabha constituency.
  • Holding on to their new voter identity cards, most of them found the process easy.
  • In fact, staff were surprised as a majority of the voters signed instead of providing thumb impressions.

Hindu Notes from General Studies-03

Universe’s first molecule detected in space

News

  • Scientists have detected the most ancient type of molecule in our universe in space for the first time ever.

Findings

  • Helium hydride ion (HeH+) was the first molecule that formed when, almost 14 billion years ago, falling temperatures in the young universe allowed recombination of the light elements produced in the Big Bang.
  • At that time, ionised hydrogen and neutral helium atoms reacted to form HeH+.
  • Despite its importance in the history of the early Universe, HeH+ has so far escaped detection in astrophysical nebulae cloud of gas and dust in outer space.
  • Operating the GREAT far-infrared spectrometer onboard the flying observatory SOFIA, an international team reported unambiguous detection of the molecule towards the planetary nebula NGC 7027.
  • During the dawn of chemistry when the temperature in the young universe had fallen below 4000 Kelvin, the ions of the light elements (hydrogen, helium, deuterium and traces of lithium) produced in Big Bang nucleosynthesis recombined in reverse order of their ionisation potential.
  • Helium combined first with free electrons to form the first ever neutral atom.
  • At that time hydrogen was still ionised or present in form of bare protons. Helium atoms combined with these protons into the helium hydride ion HeH+, the universe’s first molecular bond.
  • As recombination progressed, HeH+ reacted with then neutral hydrogen and created a first path to the formation of molecular hydrogen marking the beginning of the modern universe.
  • Despite its unquestioned importance in the history of the early Universe, the HeH+ molecule has so far escaped detection in interstellar space.
  • The hard radiation field produced by the central white dwarf star with a temperature of more than 100,000 degrees drives ionisation fronts into the ejected envelope, where HeH+ is predicted to form.
  • The molecule will emit its strongest spectral line at a characteristic wavelength of 0.149 mm.
  • Operating the GREAT spectrometer aboard SOFIA the team now reports the unequivocal detection of HeH+ towards the envelope of the planetary nebula NGC 7027.
  • The detection of this special molecule brings a long search to a happy ending, and eliminates doubts that we might not understand the underlying formation and destruction as well as we thought, researchers said.

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HINDU NOTES-APRIL 18 2019 [UPSC IAS Current affairs]

HINDU NOTES-APRIL 18 2019 [UPSC IAS Current affairs]

Current affairs, Daily hindu notes, hindu notes, MAINS 2019, Prelims UPSC, Read Hindu, The Hindu Notes, UPSC exam

Hindu Notes from General Studies-01

Editorials are covered separately. HINDU NOTES are available free date wise| CLICK HERE

Egypt unveils colourful Fifth Dynasty tomb

News

  • In a major archaeological discovery, Egypt unveiled the tomb of a Fifth Dynasty official adorned with colourful reliefs and well preserved inscriptions.

Beyond News

  • The tomb, near Saqqara, a vast necropolis south of Cairo, belongs to a senior official named Khuwy who is believed to have been a nobleman during the Fifth Dynasty, which ruled over Egypt about 4300 years ago.
  • The L-shaped Khuwy tomb starts with a small corridor heading downwards into an antechamber and from there a larger chamber with painted reliefs depicting the tomb owner seated at an offerings table.
  • It is mostly made of white limestone bricks. Ornate paintings boast a special green resin throughout and oils used in the burial process.
  • The tomb’s north wall indicates that its design was inspired by the architectural blueprint of the dynasty’s royal pyramids.
  • The excavation team has unearthed several tombs related to the Fifth Dynasty.

Hindu Notes from General Studies-02

2018 tiger census report gets delayed due to ‘new methods’

News

  • The much awaited 2018 tiger census report is likely to be delayed and will be released only after the formation of a new government at the Centre, an official said citing “huge data” which is to be analysed.

Beyond News

  • The four-yearly report, which gives out the number of big cats living in the country, was to be released this month, but officials say it is not expected before June due to addition of states in the survey, intense methods and delay by states in submitting the data.
  • However, an official had said in February the report would be released in March as the tiger count was almost completed and only data analysis was pending.
  • According to Dehradun-based Wildlife Institute of India (WII), an autonomous institution of the Ministry of Environment, the process of estimating tigers commenced late and it has been an elaborate exercise with minute details being taken care of so the report is likely to come out in May end.
  • A wildlife official from the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA), a statutory body of the environment ministry, said the delay was on the part of state governments in submitting their data to the Centre and due to the increase in the number of states from where the data is being collected.
  • Number of states have increased this time. Nagaland, Manipur and Gujarat have been included this time besides the 18 tiger reign states.
  • This is the fourth cycle of the tiger census. The first was conducted in 2006, second in 2010 and third in 2014. A team of over 44,000 officials is working on the census along with 55 biologists.
  • According to the last survey conducted in 2014, the tiger count was 2,226.

 ‘Zinc deficiency rising in Indians’

News

  • Rising carbon dioxide levels can accelerate zinc deficiency in crops and thus in human consumption, cautions a new study.

Findings

  • The study states that inadequate zinc intake has been rising in India for decades, causing tens of millions of people to become newly deficient in it.
  • The study added that the highest rate of inadequate zinc intake was concentrated mainly in the southern and northeastern States with rice-dominated diets: Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Manipur and Meghalaya.
  • Rising carbon dioxide levels in the coming decades could accelerate this trend. National grain fortification programmes, increased dietary diversity, bio-fortified crops, and reduced carbon dioxide emissions could all make a difference to slow or reverse the course.
  • Inadequate zinc intake can have serious health consequences, particularly for young children, who are more susceptible to contracting malaria, diarrhoeal diseases and pneumonia, when suffering from zinc deficiency.
  • The presence of zinc plays a critical role in human immune systems.
  • Rice is poor in [the presence of] zinc, causing higher rates of zinc inadequacy in diets that rely heavily upon it. Overall urban populations, and wealthier urban groups in particular, showed higher rates of inadequate intake as well, due to a higher proportion of nutrient-poor fats and sugars in the diet.

Hindu Notes from General Studies-03

Cross-LoC trade suspended after ‘misuse by arms, drugs smugglers’

News

  • The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) suspended the cross-Line of Control (LoC) trade in Jammu and Kashmir, citing “funnelling of illegal weapons, narcotics and fake currency” as reasons.

Beyond News

  • The move will immediately impact around 300 traders, and over 1,200 people who are directly and indirectly associated with the trade on this side.
  • The action has been taken after reports that the cross-LoC trade routes are being misused by Pakistan-based elements for funnelling illegal weapons, narcotics and fake currency, etc.
  • The trade has changed its character to mostly third party trade and products from other regions, including foreign countries, are finding their way through this route. Unscrupulous and anti-national elements are using the route as a conduit for hawala money, drugs and weapons, under the garb of this trade.
  • A probe by the National Investigation Agency (NIA), the MHA said, suggested that a significant number of concerns engaged in the trade are being operated by persons closely associated with banned terrorist organisations.
  • It also pointed out that the Government of India after the Pulwama attack withdrew the Most Favoured Nation status to Pakistan and “inputs suggested that in order to evade the consequent higher duty, the LoC trade was likely to be misused to a much larger extent.”
  • In a major confidence building measure, cross-LoC trade was started in 2008 by setting up two Trade Facilitation Centres located at Uri’s Salamabad in Baramulla, and Chakkan-da-Bagh in Poonch.
  • The trade took place four days a week. It was based on barter system and zero duty basis.

Lunar meteorites reveal origin of Moon

News

  • Analysing lunar meteorites has provided new evidence that the Moon was formed after a Mars-sized body impacted the Earth 4.5 billion years ago, finds a study.

Findings

  • Scientists conducted research on three lunar meteorites from the US space agency NASA and found chlorine isotopic fractionation, which only occurs in ultra-high-temperature and ultra-high-energy conditions, such as a giant collision between astronomical bodies.
  • Chlorine isotopic fractionation was a process in which chlorine-35, an isotope of chlorine, easily evaporates under high temperatures while the heavier chlorine-37 can better stand the heat.
  • The discovery of the phenomenon in lunar meteorites demonstrates that the Moon originated from a giant impact.
  • The giant-impact hypothesis gives answer to many questions, such as the moon’s rotation speed and the relatively large size of the moon compared with the Earth.

Dhanush gun enters the scene with a bang

News

  • A premier research establishment located in Visakhapatnam has facilitated patenting and trademarking of India’s first home-made long-range howitzer gun Dhanush, which was formally inducted into the Indian Army recently after trials in the desert regions, and glaciers of the Himalayas.

Beyond News

  • Termed ‘desi version of the Bofors gun,’ the patent facilitation was made by experts of the National Research Development Corporation (NRDC) Intellectual Property Facilitation Centre and UN-WIPO Technology Support Centre located at Innovation Valley here.
  • Dhanush has inertial navigation-based sighting system, onboard ballistic computation and most advanced any time firing system. The ordnance factory, also known as gun carriage factory, has successfully passed through accuracy, quality, speed, timing and other rigorous tests during the trial phase.
  • The design was made on the lines of Bofors Haubits fh77 of the 1980s.
  • Production started in 2019 after development trials during last year. Sources said the Army had ordered for 114 guns, which could go up to 414 for phase-wise supply.
  • The new weapon, which will give a fillip to the Army’s firepower, will replace 105mm Indian field gun, Russian 122-mm gun and 105mm light field gun.
  • This is the third type of artillery gun manufactured in the country after K-9 Vajra and M-777 ultra light howitzers.

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HINDU NOTES-APRIL 17 2019 [UPSC IAS Current affairs]

HINDU NOTES-APRIL 17 2019 [UPSC IAS Current affairs]

Current affairs, Daily hindu notes, Editorial analysis, hindu notes, IAS EXAM, MAINS 2019, MASTER 2019, PIB notes, Read Hindu, The Hindu Notes, UPSC exam

Hindu Notes from General Studies-02

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9 groynes to check erosion in Ennore

News

  • Fishing hamlets along the Ennore Expressway that face a stormy sea and flooding every year may be spared this year. The long-pending project to construct nine groynes to prevent erosion along the coastline is expected to be completed by May-end.

Beyond News

  • Residents of coastal areas in north Chennai have been living in fear of the strong waves that hit the localities sometimes past the sea wall built in some portions.
  • The second phase of the project to build groynes, which are a collection of boulders laid perpendicular to the shoreline, was started last year.
  • Some of the groynes are being built in ‘T’ shape to control fierce waves and aid sand accretion in the locations that have been affected severely by sea erosion. Officials of Water Resources Department said nearly 60% of the work has been completed so far.
  • The Department expects to reclaim three-four m of shoreline in a year after the implementation of the project. With this project, most of the stretch of the coastline in north Chennai would be better equipped to face the monsoon.

Hindu Notes from General Studies-03

NASA exoplanet hunter TESS finds Earth size planet

News

  • NASA’s new exoplanet hunter Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) has discovered its first earth-sized world.
  • The planet orbits HD 21749, a star with about 70% of the sun’s mass located 53 light years away in the southern constellation Reticulum and is the second planet TESS has identified in the system.

Indian tigers are highly stressed due to human disturbances

TIGER IN PUBLIC ROAD

News

  • Compared with 200-odd Amur tigers in Russian Far East, the Bengal tigers in three tiger reserves in India Bandhavgarh, Kanha, Sariska are about 20% more stressed, a study found.
  • The Indo-Russian team measured the stress level by studying the glucocorticoids metabolites present in the faeces of tigers.

Findings

  • Increased stress level for prolonged periods will affect the immunity and fitness of tigers. Most importantly, elevated stress negatively impacts reproductive hormones which can lead to reduced fertility and reproductive failure.
  • Tigers in the Kanha reserve had the highest faecal glucocorticoids metabolites level (markers for stress) while tigers in the Bandhavgarh reserve had the lowest level and comparable with the Amur tigers of 
  • The elevated stress in Bengal tigers might be due to anthropogenic disturbance.
  • While the tiger reserves in India are smaller than in Russia, the anthropogenic disturbances are very high in Indian reserves.
  • Besides high anthropogenic stress, tigers in the three reserves experience higher population density compared with Amur tigers in Russia. At 11.33 tigers per 100 sq km, the density of tigers is many times higher in India compared with Ussuriisky reserve in Russia (0.15 tigers per 100 sq. km).
  • A 2015 study found that tigers reintroduced in Sariska reserve experienced high stress due to anthropogenic disturbances.
  • Besides high vehicular traffic, tigers in the Sariska reserve encounter herders, villagers who visit the forest for collecting wood and livestock grazing. As a result, the reproducing ability of Sariska tigers reduced.

Even remote peaks are not free of microplastic

News

  • A secluded mountain region thought to be free of plastic pollution is in fact blanketed by airborne microplastics on a scale comparable to a major city such as Paris, researchers have found.

Findings

  • Over a five-month period in 2017-2018, an average of 365 tiny bits of plastic settled every day on each square metre of an uninhabited, high-altitude area in the Pyrenees straddling France and Spain.
  • The study focussed on microplastics mostly between 10 and 150 micrometres across, including fragments, fibres and sheet-like pieces of film.
  • By comparison, a human hair is, on average, about 70 micrometres in width.
  • Most significant finding is that microplastics are transported through the atmosphere and deposited in a remote, high-altitude mountain location far from any major city.
  • Researchers used two monitoring devices to independently measure particle concentration in an area long considered to be among the most pristine in western Europe.
  • The nearest village is 7km away, and the nearest city, Toulouse, is more than 100 km away. While the scientists were able to identify the types of plastic, they could not say with certainty where they came from or how far they had drifted.
  • Analysing the pattern of air flows, they surmised that some particles had travelled at least 100 km. Samples transported by wind, snow and rain were collected at the meteorological station of Bernadouze at an altitude of more than 1,500 metres.

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HINDU NOTES-APRIL 16 2019 [UPSC IAS Current affairs]

HINDU NOTES-APRIL 16 2019 [UPSC IAS Current affairs]

Current affairs, Daily hindu notes, General Studies, hindu notes, MAINS 2019, PIB notes, Read Hindu, The Hindu Notes

Hindu Notes from General Studies-01

Editorials are covered separately. HINDU NOTES are available free date wise| CLICK HERE

‘India short of 6 lakh doctors, 2 million nurses: U.S. study

News

  • India has a shortage of an estimated 600,000 doctors and 2 million nurses, say scientists who found that the lack of staff who are properly trained in administering antibiotics is preventing patients from accessing live-saving drugs.
  • Even when antibiotics are available, patients are often unable to afford them. High out-of-pocket medical costs to the patient are compounded by limited government spending for health services, according to the report by the U.S.-based Center for Disease Dynamics, Economics & Policy (CDDEP).

Findings

  • In India, 65% of health expenditure is out-of-pocket, and such expenditures push some 57 million people into poverty each year.
  • The majority of the world’s annual 5.7 million antibiotic-treatable deaths occur in low- and middle-income countries, where the mortality burden from treatable bacterial infections far exceeds the estimated annual 700,000 deaths from antibiotic-resistant infections.
  • Researchers at CDDEP in the U.S. conducted stakeholder interviews in Uganda, India, and Germany, and literature reviews to identify key access barriers to antibiotics in low-, middle-, and high-income countries. Health facilities in many of these countries are substandard.
  • In India, there is one government doctor for every 10,189 people (the World Health Organisation (WHO) recommends a ratio of 1:1,000), or there is a deficit of 600,000 doctors, and the nurse:patient ratio is 1:483, implying a shortage of two million nurses.
  • The findings of the report show that even after the discovery of a new antibiotic, regulatory hurdles and substandard health facilities delay or altogether prevent widespread market entry and drug availability.
  • Worldwide, the irrational use of antibiotics and poor antimicrobial stewardship lead to treatment failure and propagate the spread of drug resistance which, in turn, further narrows the available array of effective antibiotics.

Hindu Notes from General Studies-02

India-US ties promoted in sustained manner by Trump: report

News

  • The Trump administration has worked to make India a more prominent part of its regional strategy, lauding President Donald Trump for promoting strategic ties with India in a “sustained manner”.

Beyond News

  • Asserting that the Trump administration has maintained the success story of US-India relations initiated by George W Bush, the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) in its report gives the US President a high B+ grade when it comes to America’s ties with India.
  • The Trump administration has worked to make India a more prominent part of its regional strategy. After changing the name of US Pacific Command to US Indo-Pacific Command in May 2018, the United States is now planning its first tri-service exercise with the Indian military.
  • President Trump’s inclinations, as conveyed through his South Asia strategy, which accords primacy to India; his release of advanced weapons systems, such as unmanned aerial vehicles, for sale to New Delhi; and his decision to treat India on par with NATO allies where strategic technology release is concerned are all viewed as favourable toward India.
  • New Delhi has accordingly responded with bold initiatives of its own.
  • Although it has not entirely endorsed the Trump administration’s Indo-Pacific strategy, it has applauded the strategy’s declared vision of a free and open Indo-Pacific region a concept first articulated by Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, with whom Prime Minister Narendra Modi enjoys an exceptionally close relationship.

Drug board recommends mandatory QR coding for API

News

  • With the aim of ensuring assured quality and limiting the flow of fake drugs into the market, the Drugs Technical Advisory Board (DTAB) has recommended “making it mandatory to have QR coding on labels of Active Pharmaceutical Ingredient (API) the most important constituent of any drug formulation for tracing the origin and movement of APIs from manufacturers to formulators through a system of networking.’’

Beyond News

  • India’s top drug advisory body DTAB noted that in the supply chain for APIs, the “security and integrity in proper storage condition” played a very important role to enhance quality supply.
  • It added that in various fora, stake holders had suggested incorporating a system of QR coding on the packing of APIs for tracing the origin and movement of the drug ingredients.
  • DTAB after detailed deliberation has now recommended to include necessary provisions under the Drugs and Cosmetics Rules, 1945, for this, confirmed a senior Health ministry official.
  • The QR coding for API will provide key benefits including better price control and more effective quality control.
  • APIs are the active raw materials used in medicines to give them their therapeutic effect. Currently, India relies on other nations for 60%-80% of its API supplies and the Health ministry has been working to reduce the dependence on China.
  • Recently, the Supreme Court had directed the central government to devise a mechanism that would help ensure consumers could benefit from price control of drugs. The ministry says it has been working on introducing QR coding for medicine packaging, which can then be linked to software supervised by the National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA).

Hindu Notes from General Studies-03

Lakes filled with liquid methane spotted on Saturn’s moon Titan

News

  • Scientists provided the most comprehensive look to date at one of the solar system’s most exotic features: prime lakeside property in the northern polar region of Saturn’s moon Titan – if you like lakes made of stuff like liquid methane.

Findings

  • Using data obtained by NASA’s Cassini spacecraft before that mission ended in 2017 with a deliberate plunge into Saturn, the scientists found that some of frigid Titan’s lakes of liquid hydrocarbons in this region are surprisingly deep while others may be shallow and seasonal.
  • Titan and Earth are the solar system’s two places with standing bodies of liquid on the surface. Titan boasts lakes, rivers and seas of hydrocarbons: compounds of hydrogen and carbon like those that are the main components of petroleum and natural gas.
  • The researchers described landforms akin to Mesas towering above the nearby landscape, topped with liquid lakes more than 300 feet deep comprised mainly of methane. The scientists suspect the lakes formed when surrounding bedrock chemically dissolved and collapsed, a process that occurs with a certain type of lake on Earth.
  • The scientists also described “phantom lakes” that during wintertime appeared to be wide but shallow ponds perhaps only a few inches deep but evaporated or drained into the surface by springtime, a process taking seven years on Titan.
  • The findings represented further evidence about Titan’s hydrological cycle, with liquid hydrocarbons raining down from clouds, flowing across its surface and evaporating back into the sky. This is comparable to Earth’s water cycle.
  • Because of Titan’s complex chemistry and distinctive environments, scientists suspect it potentially could harbor life, in particular in its subsurface ocean of water, but possibly in the surface bodies of liquid hydrocarbons.
  • Titan, with a diameter of 5,150 km, is the solar system’s second largest moon, behind only Jupiter’s Ganymede. It is bigger than the planet Mercury.
  • Titan is the most Earth-like body in the solar system. It has lakes, canyons, rivers, dune fields of organic sand particles about the same size as silica sand grains on Earth.

Exports outpace imports at 11% in March

News

  • India’s exports rose to a five-month high of 11% in March on account of higher growth mainly in pharma, chemicals and engineering sectors, marking the outbound shipments at $331 billion for FY 2018-19, official data showed Monday.

Beyond News

  • Merchandise exports in March stood at $32.55 billion as against $29.32 billion in the same month last year.
  • This is the best growth rate for exports since October 2018, when shipments grew by 17.86%. Imports rose by 1.44% to $43.44 billion in March 2019. However, trade deficit the difference between exports and imports narrowed to $10.89 billion during the month under review as compared to $13.51 billion in March 2018.
  • Oil and gold imports rose by 5.55% and 31.22% to $11.75 billion and $3.27 billion.
  • For the full fiscal (2018-19), imports rose by 8.99% to $507.44 billion, widening the trade deficit to $176.42 billion as against $162 billion in 2017-18.
  • Data showed that oil imports in April-March 2018-19 grew by 29.27% to $140.47 billion, while non-oil imports were up by 2.82% to $366.97 billion during that fiscal.

Long range cruise missile Nirbhay test fired

News

  • The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) successfully test-fired the underdevelopment long range subsonic cruise missile Nirbhay from the Integrated Test Range (ITR), Chandipur in Odisha.
  • It is the sixth development flight trial with objective to prove the repeatability of boost phase, cruise phase using way point navigation at low altitudes.

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HINDU NOTES-APRIL 14 and 15 2019 [UPSC IAS Current affairs]

HINDU NOTES-APRIL 14 and 15 2019 [UPSC IAS Current affairs]

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What drives tiger dispersal

News

  • Tigers in India traverse long distances to find mates and new territories. But the movement depends on roughness of the terrain and human disturbance in the area.
  • The terrain affects tiger dispersal differently in the Western Ghats and central India, two strongholds of wild tiger populations in the country, finds a new study.

Findings

  • The central Indian landscape is highly fragmented with high densities of people, while the Western Ghats has lesser human disturbance and is home to the world’s largest contiguous tiger population.
  • A study in 2017 by a team,revealed that roughness of terrain and human footprint drove tiger gene flow in central India: tigers moved across ridges and rough topography to avoid the presence of people.
  • Another team studied this across 30,000 sq km in the Western Ghats in Kerala, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu. They collected tiger faeces in forests including Bhadra Tiger Reserve and Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve, and used forensic samples that came to CSIR-CCMB between 2011 and 2015 to obtain genetic data of 115 individual tigers.
  • They complemented this with overlays of land cover and land use categories, using maps showing terrain, road networks, developed areas (reflecting human disturbance) and historical maps (from the 1960s, to see how vegetation cover changed over the decades).
  • Though the team did not find strong correlations between current genetic structure and historical landscape in the Ghats, comparing the data with the team’s earlier study in central India (after standardising the methods for comparisons) revealed an interesting pattern the relationship between terrain and gene flow is “inverted” in both regions.
  • While gene flow correlated with rough terrain in central India, it was linked with smooth forest terrain containing minimal human disturbance in the Ghats, finds the team’s study.
  • This pattern is mainly due to differing levels of human disturbance.
  • While Central India has more fragmented forests and higher human disturbance, the Ghats have relatively larger, connected forest patches and lesser human disturbance, facilitating tiger movement across lower and smoother areas.

Hindu Notes from General Studies-02

Election Commission bans 3 AIADMK poll advertisements

News

  • The Election Commission of India (ECI) banned the telecast of three Lok Sabha campaign advertisements of the AIADMK targeting the DMK on the grounds that they violated the Model Code of Conduct (MCC).

Beyond News

  • The advertisements made certain references to the DMK on corruption which the ECI indicated was based on “unverified allegations” or on “distortions” and on land grabbing cases and killing of ethnic Tamils in Sri Lanka a decade ago.
  • As some political parties were telecasting political advertisements without the approval of the State-level Media Certification and Monitoring Committee, the ECI also warned of strong action in case of violations.

World Bank to study irrigation service delivery in State

News

  • The State’s efforts in boosting the irrigation sector through huge investments received international acclaim what with the World Bank inviting Telangana to be a key featured State in its study on improving irrigation services delivery in the country.

Beyond News

  • The initiative, the World Bank said, seeks to review the existing institutional arrangements for service delivery across different States in India and explore the variation across and within states to identify the constraints to improving service delivery in irrigation systems.
  • The study adopts two-phased approach, lead water resources management specialist of the World Bank Ijsbrand H de Jong said in a March 12 letter addressed to Chief Secretary S.K. Joshi.
  • The first phase of the two-phased study is aimed at econometric and geo-spatial analysis for estimating the value addition of of the canal system. It would compare similar villages on either sides of catchment area boundaries for improving the existing knowledge on the degree of variance between the head and tail reaches in large canal systems.
  • Case studies to better understand the techno-commercial aspects, salient features, institutional arrangements, benefits accruing and expected both in terms of livelihood enhancement and resource optimisation of select capital projects would form part of the second phase.
  • This is aimed at drawing overall lessons for identification of opportunities for scaling this to better meet the stated goals of the State.
  • The Bank recalled the State’s participation in the stakeholder consultation on “improving irrigation service delivery in India” last year and said it was immensely valuable.
  • Acknowledging the “strides the State of Telangana made towards improving service delivery”, the Bank said it intended to feature this as an innovative case within India adding the Union Ministry of Water Resources too had advised it to include Telangana in the study.

State TB cell mulls MoU with India Post to transport samples

News

  • The Telangana State TB Cell officials are mulling signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the postal department to transport sputum samples from Primary Health Centres to Cartridge Based Nucleic Acid Amplification Testing (CBNAAT) laboratories in district headquarters.
  • The move aims to reduce the time taken to test samples for Multi-Drug Resistant TB (MDR TB). If MDR TB goes undetected, the patient might spread the disease to others.

Beyond News

  • Health department officials said that early detection of MDR TB helps in early treatment, which also helps in checking its spread. When the bacteria that causes TB becomes resistant to drugs such as Isoniazid and Rifampicin, it is called MDR TB.
  • There are 750 Designated Microscopy Centres (DMCs) in PHCs in Telangana, where sputum samples are tested for the disease. If a sample tests positive for TB, the patient is provided drugs and the samples are again sent to CBNAAT laboratories at the district headquarters, where tests are conducted to know if it is a MDR TB case.
  • Currently, lab technicians at DMCs send the sputum samples to CBNAAT labs through courier. If a DMC is located in a remote area, the technician has to reach the mandal headquarters or some other far-away place where courier service is available.
  • This system was being implemented on a pilot project basis in Nalgonda and Nizamabad for the past two months. Officials said that they intended to follow it in the entire State.
  • Meanwhile, to avoid MDR TB, medicines need to be taken without any gap for six to nine months. Within one or two months of taking the medicines, the effect of bacteria (Mycobacterium Tuberculosis) reduces.

Hindu Notes from General Studies-03

Exploring nearest exoplanets

News

  • Life may be evolving on rocky, Earth-like planets orbiting in the habitable zone of some of our closest stars which are bombarded by high levels of radiation, according to a study.

Beyond News

  • Proxima-b, only 4.24 light years away, receives 250 times more X-ray radiation than Earth and could experience deadly levels of ultraviolet (UV) radiation on its surface, said researchers from Cornell University in the US.
  • According to the study, life already has survived this kind of fierce radiation on the Earth.
  • All of life on Earth today evolved from creatures that thrived during an even greater UV radiation assault than Proxima-b, and other nearby exoplanets, currently endure.
  • The same thing could be happening at this very moment on some of the nearest exoplanets, researchers said.
  • They modelled the surface UV environments of the four exoplanets closest to Earth that are potentially habitable: Proxima-b, TRAPPIST-1e, Ross-128b and LHS-1140b.
  • These planets orbit small red dwarf stars which, unlike our Sun, flare frequently, bathing their planets in high-energy UV radiation. While conditions prevail upon the surface of the planets orbiting these flaring stars, it is known that such flares are biologically damaging and can cause erosion in planetary atmospheres.

Lunar meteorites reveal origin of Moon

News

  • Analysing lunar meteorites has provided new evidence that the Moon was formed after a Mars-sized body impacted the Earth 5 billion years ago, finds a study.

Findings

  • Scientists conducted research on three lunar meteorites from the US space agency NASA and found chlorine isotopic fractionation, which only occurs in ultra-high-temperature and ultra-high-energy conditions, such as a giant collision between astronomical bodies, the Xinhua reported on Wednesday.
  • Chlorine isotopic fractionation was a process in which chlorine-35, an isotope of chlorine, easily evaporates under high temperatures while the heavier chlorine-37 can better stand the heat.
  • The discovery of the phenomenon in lunar meteorites demonstrates that the Moon originated from a giant impact.
  • The giant-impact hypothesis has been the prevailing theory on the origin of the Moon. It suggests the collision between the Earth and a Mars-sized body created a large debris disk that eventually formed the Moon.

Coming, more GSLV satellite launch vehicles

News

  • The Union Cabinet approved five more GSLV satellite launch vehicles for the period 2021-24 under the next phase 4 of the ongoing GSLV continuation programme.

Beyond News

  • One of them could be used for the second Mars mission which is being considered.
  • Sanctioned in 2003, the programme is currently in its third phase. The allocation of ₹2729.13 crore includes the cost of the launchers, augmentation of the facilities, programme management, and launch campaign, a statement said.
  • The Indian Space Research Organisation uses the GSLV, the second of its three launchers, to put 2,000-kg class of communication and other satellites to a GEO (or geosynchronous) orbit about 36,000 km away.
  • The GSLV Continuation Programme – Phase 4 will meet the launch requirement of satellites for providing critical satellite navigation services, data relay communication for supporting the Indian Human Spaceflight Programme and the next interplanetary mission to Mars. This will also ensure the continuity of production in Indian industry.
  • The first two geo imaging (or Earth observation) satellites in a hrGEO orbit are slated for the second half of this year on two GSLVs.
  • The GSLV has so far launched ten national satellites, the last one in December 2018. It has made the country self-reliant in putting its 2,000 kg-class communication and weather satellites to space. Powered by the indigenous cryogenic upper stage, it is now a reliable launcher for communication, navigation and meteorological satellites and also to undertake future interplanetary missions.

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HINDU NOTES-APRIL 13 2019 [UPSC IAS Current affairs]

HINDU NOTES-APRIL 13 2019 [UPSC IAS Current affairs]

Current affairs, Daily hindu notes, General Studies, hindu notes, IAS EXAM, MAINS 2019, PIB notes, Read Hindu, The Hindu Notes, UPSC exam

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Jallianwala Bagh shameful act in British-Indian history: British envoy

News

  • British High Commissioner to India Dominic Asquith termed the massacre at Jallianwala Bagh in Amritsar, a hundred years ago, “a shameful act in British-Indian history.

Beyond News

  • Asquith was in Amritsar to pay tribute at the Jallianwala Bagh National Memorial to mark the centenary of the tragedy.
  • On the 100th anniversary of the Jallianwala Bagh massacre – when a peaceful gathering was fired upon by British Indian Army soldiers in Amritsar in 1919 – Union Minister Hardeep Singh Puri said here that an “appropriate expression of apology” was needed for closure.

Hindu Notes from General Studies-02

India, ASEAN vow to step up ties in maritime sector, boost connectivity

News

  • India and ASEAN have resolved to strengthen ties by deepening cooperation in the maritime sector and boosting connectivity.

Beyond News

  • The two sides made the affirmations at the 21st ASEAN-India Senior Officials’ Meeting (SOM) held on April 11-12.
  • The ASEAN-India SOM reviewed the strategic partnership and its future direction.
  • It assessed the progress of cooperation under all three pillars — political-security, economic and socio-cultural, the MEA said.
  • The SOM leaders also exchanged views on regional and international issues of interest to ASEAN and India.
  • They agreed to deepen maritime cooperation as decided at the ASEAN-India Commemorative Summit 2018. In this context, they proposed to undertake a variety of measures, including enhanced cooperation in the sub-sector of Blue Economy.
  • It was decided at the meeting to give an impetus to ASEAN-India connectivity in all its forms.
  • The two sides also discussed the ways and means to further deepen cooperation on financial matters as well as overall strengthening of the ASEAN Secretariat.
  • The two sides also vowed to step up cooperation in renewable energy and hold an ASEAN-India Conference on Renewable Energy in 2019. The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) and the ASEAN Centre for Energy (ACE) would be the co-partners for this project.
  • The ASEAN-India partnership is being implemented through the “Plan of Action (2016-20) to implement the ASEAN-India Partnership for peace, progress and shared prosperity”.

Oil import from Iran may be reduced as U.S. mulls waiver

News

  • Indian officials are working closely with U.S. officials to ensure that two upcoming deadlines in early May, for the extension of the Iran oil sanctions waiver, as well as the final decision on withdrawing India’s preferential Generalised System of Preferences (GSP) status, end positively for the government, multiple sources in Delhi and Washington confirmed.

Beyond News

  • While the decision on the GSP could be deferred until after elections, the discussions on the Iran oil sanctions waiver have indicated an extension is likely, with India allowed a lower quantity of oil imports from Iran.
  • Last week, following discussions with U.S. Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence Sigal Mandelkar, who visited Delhi in early April to discuss U.S. nuclear-related sanctions on Iran and the global coalition to combat Iran’s state support for terrorism and ongoing malign behaviour, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) had said both sides had been “continuously engaged” on the issue of India’s oil imports from Iran since November.
  • India, Turkey and China remain the only countries with significant imports. After initial defiance where it said it only recognised “UN sanctions, not unilateral sanctions”, the Modi government has softened its stand in negotiations for the sanctions waiver from America.
  • S. is considering an extension of the six-month waiver, but reducing the quantity of oil India can import from the previous allowance of nine million barrels a month.
  • Despite the appeals, U.S. officials say there has been a growing sense of frustration in their administration on trade issues.
  • According to the officials, out of the nine outstanding issues on trade, the two sides were able to narrow differences on all but two or three, which were irreconcilable, and led to the U.S. notice on cancelling GSP.
  • These include the issue of certifying dairy products from “vegetarian” cows, and the price caps on medical devices like stents both of which had originally triggered the GSP review in April 2018.
  • The U.S. also remains concerned about duties and regulations in the Information Technology industry, an issue for which the European Union has filed a case against India at the World Trade Organisation (WTO) this week.
  • In addition, officials said the U.S. is watching India’s decision on 5G technology closely, particularly the fate of the bid by Chinese company Huawei, given the U.S.’s cases against it.

Drug advisory board proposes stringent norms for medical devices

News

  • In a move that would give end users more protection while using a medical device, the Drugs Technical Advisory Board (DTAB), India’s top drug advisory body, has recommended that the Health Ministry should notify all medical devices under the drug laws.

Beyond News

  • When enforced, this translates into medical devices being treated as drugs, more stringent tracking systems, mandatory reporting of all adverse reactions and registration of device before it is allowed into the market.
  • A decision to this effect was taken at a meeting earlier this month and the recommendations, when brought in for implementation by the Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation (CDSCO), would be introduced in a phased manner to help the manufactures/importers adhere to the new laws.
  • Currently of the 5,000-6,000 medical devices in the Indian market, there are only 23 notified medical devices under government control.
  • When enforced, medical devices will be recognised as drugs under Section 3 (b) (iv) of the Drugs and Cosmetics Act, 1940.
  • The decision, however, has not gone down well with the Association of Indian Medical Device Industry (AIMED) which says that all medical devices need to be regulated under a separate medical devices-specific law.
  • AIMED has also asked the government to stick to the earlier assurance given to the industry by the Ministry in 2016, which included a four-step plan of starting with Medical Devices Rules (MDR), initially experimenting with a few electronic devices under MDR, amending MDR as per experience gained after six months of introduction and simultaneously drafting a Medical Device Patient Safety Bill to be reviewed and passed by Parliament.

Hindu Notes from General Studies-03

513 ceasefire violations by Pakistan post Balakot strike: Army

News

  • As many as 513 ceasefire violations by Pakistan have taken place along the line of control (LoC) in Jammu and Kashmir in the past one-and-a-half month and the Pakistan Army has suffered five to six times more casualties than the Indian Army in the retaliatory action, a senior officer said.

Beyond News

  • The Pakistan Army also used heavy weaponry like mortars and artillery guns in over 100 times during these violations and targeted civilian areas but was given a befitting response by the Indian Army.
  • Almost 513 ceasefire violations happened in the past one-and-a-half month and over 100 times during these violations, the Pakistan Army used heavy weapons like mortars and artillery guns and targeted civilian areas. Only yesterday [Friday], four civilians, including two girls, were injured in Poonch.
  • Ten people, including four security personnel, have been killed and nearly 45 others, mostly civilians, injured in the twin districts since India’s preemptive air strike on a Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) terror camp in Pakistan’s Balakot on February 26 in response to the February 14 Pulwama terror attack in which 40 CRPF personnel were killed.
  • Some incidents of sniping took place earlier and accordingly we have taken some measures to strengthen our As per the data this year, only three incidents of sniping by the Pakistan Army were reported from January to February 26 in which one of the fatalities include a civilian porter.

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HINDU NOTES-APRIL 12 2019 [UPSC IAS Current affairs]

HINDU NOTES-APRIL 12 2019 [UPSC IAS Current affairs]

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Give info to ECI on each donor, each electoral bond in sealed covers: SC orders political parties

News

  • Refusing the government’s advice to steer clear of the electoral bonds scheme of political funding, the Supreme Court passed interim directions, directing political parties to provide full information on each and every political donor and contributions made through electoral bonds in sealed cover to the Election Commission of India (ECI).

Beyond News

  • The court ordered the political parties to start providing forthwith the Election Commission of India (ECI) with details of each donor, every electoral bond through which contribution was received and the amount received on each bond till date.
  • The parties have been given time to provide all the details before May 30. The information is to be provided to the ECI in sealed covers. The poll body would keep them secure.

The court’s directions comes a day after the government claimed that voters do not need to know where funds come to political parties from.

Night squads in Aluva to check groundwater exploitation

News

  • A section of councillors in the Aluva municipality in Kerala is planning to form night squads with the help of residents’ associations to check illegal groundwater tapping, which they believe is continuing at least in a limited scale despite the stop memo issued by the municipality.

Beyond News

  • The municipality had issued a stop memo earlier this month against drawing water from 21 wells by tankers after widespread complaints that indiscriminate tapping of water was causing groundwater depletion, leading to acute water shortage in such areas.
  • At one point, the parties concerned were drawing up to 150 litres to 200 litres of water daily, which was predominantly sold to commercial establishments like malls and hotels, badly hampering the flow in the river and leading to drop in water level in the nearby wells.
  • Groundwater Department officials had asked the persons concerned to produce ownership documents of wells and deposit fee for the yield test, which they failed to comply with.
  • The yield test has to be undertaken in a scientific way to determine whether the drawing of water was leading to groundwater depletion.

Narendra Modi to get Russia’s highest civilian award

News

  • Russia announced that President Vladimir Putin will confer its highest civilian award, the “Order of the Holy Apostle Andrew the First,” on Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his work on bilateral ties.

Beyond News

  • The order was presented to the Prime Minister of India for his distinguished contribution to the development of a privileged strategic partnership between Russia and India and friendly ties between the Russian and Indian peoples.
  • The Order of the Holy Apostle Andrew the First is awarded to prominent government and public figures, prominent representatives of science, culture, art and various sectors of the economy for “exceptional services that contribute to the prosperity, greatness and glory of Russia,”.
  • It was first awarded by former Russian Tsar ‘Peter the Great’ in 1698 and subsequently discontinued. In 1998, former President Boris Yeltsin reinstated the honour by a presidential decree.

Hindu Notes from General Studies-03

A genetic method to empower conservation

News

  • New genetic method developed by scientists, hopes to make studying as well as conserving wild species quicker, easier and cost-effective by deriving information from animal sources containing extremely low-quality DNA including faeces and cooked meat.

Beyond News

  • Their method, described in the study, relies on identifying multiple, short portions of DNA segments in a single experiment (a ‘multiplex PCR’), followed by ‘next-generation sequencing’, in which multiple fragments of DNA can be decoded simultaneously, and several times, in an automated process.
  • The team tested their method on Caribbean queen conches and tigers, two extremely different species that had strong conservation needs, to show how this approach could be used generally.
  • The team obtained DNA from the faeces, hair and saliva of 75 wild and captive tigers to identify individuals and close relatives, and RNA from 279 queen conch samples. They then decoded between 60 to 100 single nucleotide polymorphisms or SNPs, one of the most common types of change seen in genetic material, in these samples.
  • The team was also able to identify the geographic regions these individuals belonged to. Apart from using this for animal monitoring, it could also potentially be used to obtain intelligence on wildlife 
  • Testing several hundred samples simultaneously and decoding up to 1000 SNPs per sample would cost as low as $5 (less than ₹350). The biggest advantage is that this would take just five days while older methods take at least a month.

Over 150 social media posts found violating poll code in a month

News

  • In nearly a month after the model code of conduct came into force, election officials monitoring social media platforms have identified more than 150 posts violating it in Karnataka.

Beyond News

  • The violations include advertisements paid for by candidates and those that have been reported to the police for being offensive and not in public interest.
  • Besides, after being brought to the notice of social media platforms, some of the posts have been taken down. A social media team is monitoring various platforms and users in the State, and has identified about one crore users.
  • Some of the advertisements that have popped up are in violation of the Media Certification and Monitoring Committee (MCMC) guidelines. Sources in the commission said these advertisements have come out without the MCMC certification, which is a must for all advertisements during the poll code period, which will end on May 27.

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HINDU NOTES-APRIL 11 2019 [UPSC IAS Current affairs]

HINDU NOTES-APRIL 11 2019 [UPSC IAS Current affairs]

Current affairs, Daily hindu notes, hindu notes, MAINS 2019, PIB notes, Press Information Bureau(PIB), The Hindu Notes, UPSC exam

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India’s population grew at 1.2 % average annual rate between 2010 and 2019: UN report

News

  • India’s population grew at an average annual rate of 1.2 per cent between 2010 and 2019 to 1.36 billion, more than double the annual growth rate of China, according to a report by the United Nations Population Fund.

Findings

  • India’s population in 2019 stood at 1.36 billion, growing from 942.2 million in 1994 and 541.5 million in 1969.
  • India’s population grew at average annual rate of 1.2 per cent between 2010 and 2019, the UN sexual and reproductive health agency said in the State of World Population 2019 report.
  • In comparison, China’s population stood at 1.42 billion in 2019, growing from 1.23 billion in 1994 and 803.6 million in 1969.
  • China’s population grew at an average annual rate of 0.5 per cent between 2010 and 2019.
  • According to the report, in India, total fertility rate per woman was 5.6 in 1969, dropping to 3.7 in 1994 and 2.3 in 2019.
  • India recorded an improvement in life expectancy at birth. The life expectancy at birth in 1969 was 47 years, growing to 60 years in 1994 and 69 years in 2019.
  • 27 % of the country’s population was in the age bracket of 0-14 years and 10-24 years each, while 67 % of the country’s population was in the 15-64 age bracket.
  • Six per cent of the country’s population was of the age 65 and above.
  • Maternal Mortality Ratio (MMR) in the country dropped from 488 deaths per 100,000 live births in 1994 to 174 deaths per 100,000 live births in 2015.
  • The report includes, for the first time, data on women’s ability to make decisions over three key areas: sexual intercourse with their partner, contraception use and health care.
  • According to the analysis, the absence of reproductive and sexual rights has a major and negative repercussions on women’s education, income and safety, leaving them “unable to shape their own futures”.
  • Early marriage continues to present a major cultural obstacle to female empowerment and better reproductive rights, the UNFPA report said.
  • Looking ahead to future challenges, the UN agency highlights the threat to women’s and girls’ reproductive rights posed by emergencies caused by conflict or climate disasters.

Hindu Notes from General Studies-03

Report reveals risk to cloud platform

News

  • Cybercriminals attempted attacks on a Mumbai cloud server honeypot more than 6,78,000 times in a month, which was second to Ohio in the U.S. that recorded more than 9,50,000 login attempts, among a total of 10 honeypots placed globally, global cybersecurity major Sophos said.

Beyond News

  • The honeypots were set up in 10 of the most popular Amazon Web Services (AWS) data centres in the world, including California, Frankfurt, Ireland, London, Ohio, Paris, Sao Paulo, Singapore and Sydney over a 30-day-period from mid-January to mid-February.
  • A honeypot is a system intended to mimic likely targets of cyberattackers for security researchers to monitor cybercriminal behaviour.
  • According to the report, ‘Exposed: Cyberattacks on Cloud Honeypots’, over five million attacks were attempted on the global network of honeypots, thus, demonstrating how cybercriminals are automatically scanning for weak open cloud buckets.
  • Cloud servers were subjected to 13 attempted attacks per minute, per honeypot, on an average.
  • With businesses across the globe increasingly adopting cloud technology, the report revealed the extent to which businesses migrating to hybrid and all-cloud platforms are at risk.

India stares at pile of solar e-waste

News

  • By 2050, India will likely stare at a pile of a new category of electronic waste, namely solar e-waste, says a study.
  • Currently, India’s e-waste rules have no laws mandating solar cell manufacturers to recycle or dispose waste from this sector.

Findings

  • India’s PV (photovoltaic) waste volume is estimated to grow to 200,000 tonnes by 2030 and around 1.8 million tonnes by 2050.
  • India is among the leading markets for solar cells in the world, buoyed by the government’s commitment to install 100 GW of solar power by 2022. So far, India has installed solar cells for about 28 GW and this is largely from imported solar PV cells.
  • Solar cell modules are made by processing sand to make silicon, casting silicon ingots, using wafers to create cells and then assembling them to make modules.
  • India’s domestic manufacturers are largely involved in assembling cells and modules.
  • These modules are 80% glass and aluminium, and non-hazardous. Other materials used, including polymers, metals, metallic compounds and alloys, and are classified as potentially hazardous, says the study.
  • Despite the e-waste regulation being in place for over seven years, only less than 4% of estimated e-waste is recycled in the organised sector as per the latest estimates from the Central Pollution Control Board, say the the report.

Kerala’s bad times with weather continues

News

  • Kerala’s bad times with weather continues. Less than eight months after the disastrous floods, the State is reeling under a severe heat wave.

Beyond News

  • Since summer began, four people have died and nearly 1,000 have suffered sunburn and sunstroke.
  • Wildfires, often caused by humans, have destroyed large tracts of forests.
  • The Kerala Disaster Management Authority has warned people, including politicians on election campaign, against venturing out in the sun.
  • The temperature rose to 41 degrees Celsius in some parts of Kerala against an average high of 36 degrees. The India Met Department has called for vigil as all districts except Wayanad are projected to see a rise in temperature by two or three degrees.
  • Summer showers have mostly stayed away. The vanishing of ponds, streams and rivulets and the emergence of concrete jungles are being blamed for the unwelcome change in temperature.

Work to restore capacity of Cholavaram reservoir begins

News

  • Cholavaram reservoir, one of the water bodies that supplies drinking water to Chennai, will have more capacity to store water this year. After several months of planning, work started recently to desilt the lake.

Beyond News

  • Nearly 1,200 lorry loads of silt had already been removed from Cholavaram reservoir. The desilting exercise would help enhance the lake’s storage by about 250 million cubic feet (mcft). Nearly 38 lakh cubic metres of silt is expected to be removed from the lake to restore it to its original capacity. The Rs. 5.42 crore project also includes improvement works.
  • The WRD aims to restore original capacity of all four reservoirs serving the city by removal of silt deposited in them. It also expects to net a revenue of Rs. 700 crore from the sale of silt.
  • While the improvement works are expected to be completed in a year, the desilting exercise may take up to five years. Once the work is completed, the reservoirs would have 2,000 mcft of additional capacity.
  • The reservoirs are now able to store only 80% of their capacity of 11,257 mcft. This work would help avoid flooding and provide drinking water to the city for a more months.

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HINDU NOTES-APRIL 7 and 8 2019 [UPSC IAS Current affairs]

HINDU NOTES-APRIL 7 and 8 2019 [UPSC IAS Current affairs]

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Hindu Notes from General Studies-01

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Yellow weather warning for Himachal

News

  • The Meteorological Department issued a yellow weather warning for rain in Himachal Pradesh.

Beyond News

  • The weather department has forecast thunderstorm with hail in isolated places of mid hills, including Shimla, Mandi, Kullu, Chamba, Solan and Sirmaur.
  • The weather office issues colour-coded warnings to alert people ahead of severe or hazardous weather which has the potential to cause “damage, widespread disruption or danger to life”.
  • Yellow is the least dangerous of the weather warnings.

Climate change blights children’s lives in Bangladesh

News

  • Environmental disasters linked to climate change are threatening the lives of over 19 million children in Bangladesh, prompting many families to push their daughters into child marriages, UNICEF said.

Findings

  • Climate change is deepening the environmental threat faced by families in Bangladesh’s poorest communities, leaving them unable to keep their children properly housed, fed, healthy and educated, UNICEF said in a report.
  • In Bangladesh and around the world, climate change has the potential to reverse many of the gains that countries have achieved in child survival and development.
  • Around 12 million children live in and around the river systems that regularly burst their banks.
  • Another 4.5 million children live in coastal areas regularly struck by powerful cyclones, including almost half a million Rohingya refugee children from neighbouring Myanmar living in fragile bamboo and plastic shelters.
  • A further three million children live further inland, where farming communities suffer increasing periods of drought.
  • Bangladesh’s flat topography, dense population and weak infrastructure have long made it vulnerable to extreme weather events, but experts say that these have become more frequent in recent years as global temperatures have risen.
  • The report says that climate change is a key factor pushing poorer Bangladeshis to head to the capital Dhaka and other major cities, where children risk being pushed into dangerous forms of labour and early marriage.
  • It cites research showing that Bangladesh has six million climate migrants already, a number that could more than double by 2050.
  • The connection between climate change and child marriage, child labour and access to education is evident in various parts of Bangladesh.
  • Despite making impressive gains in many social indicators in recent decades, child marriage remains rampant in the conservative, Muslim-majority country.
  • Bangladesh currently has one of the world’s highest rates of child marriage with nearly a third of girls being married before the age of 15.

Hindu Notes from General Studies-02

Increase random checking of VVPAT slips to five per Assembly segment, SC directs Election Commission

News

  • The Supreme Court increased voter verified paper audit trail (VVPAT) verification to five random Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) in each Assembly segment/constituency.

Beyond News

  • In case of general elections, VVPAT slips of five EVMs in each Assembly segment of a Parliamentary Constituency would be subject to physical counting. In State Assembly elections, the VVPAT verification would extend to five random EVMs in each Assembly constituency. The Supreme Court order would be implemented in the Lok Sabha polls, scheduled to commence from April 11.
  • A Bench increased the number of EVM-VVPATs subjected to physical verification in order to “ensure the greatest degree of accuracy, satisfaction in election process.”
  • Earlier, under the ECI guideline 16.6, only the VVPAT slips from one EVM in every Assembly segment/constituency was subjected to physical verification. Now, with five such EVMs under physical scrutiny, the apex court said the election would see “fool-proof.”
  • The Supreme Court’s decision is a far shot from what 21 Opposition parties wanted VVPAT verification in 50% or 125 polling booths in each constituency. The increase to five EVMs from one would only increase the VVPAT verification percentage from 0.44% to less than two per cent.
  • The court said VVPAT verification of five EVMs, rather than in 125 polling booths, is more “viable at this point of time.” It would not be a drain on the ECI’s infrastructural resources and manpower as the Opposition’s idea would have been. Neither would counting VVPAT slips of five EVMs take any substantial amount of time.
  • Meanwhile, the Commission submitted that no mismatch has been detected in mock polls or in the verification of VVPAT slips carried out at 1,500 polling stations till date.

Sri Lanka seeks enhanced military training from India

News

  • Sri Lanka has sought enhanced military training from India, according to President Maithripala Sirisena’s office.

Beyond News

  • Visiting Indian Defence Secretary Sanjay Mitra called on Mr. Sirisena, and wide-ranging matters, including bilateral defence cooperation between the neighbouring countries and regional security, were discussed.
  • India and Sri Lanka agreed to increase cooperation in security and defence spheres in several areas, including regional security, curbing drug smuggling and human trafficking and training of members of the security forces.
  • Thanking India for its partnership, Mr. Sirisena requested to increase the number of personnel trained by India. The Indian Defence Secretary agreed to look into the possibility of enhancing training facilities, the statement further said.
  • Currently, over 60% of Sri Lanka’s military personnel pursue their young officers’ course, junior and senior command courses in India, according to defence sources in Colombo.
  • Meanwhile, ‘Exercise Mitra Shakti’, the sixth edition of the joint military training exercise between the Indian Army and the Sri Lankan Army, concluded in Badulla district, in Sri Lanka’s Central Province, on Monday.

India might soon have the most Caesarean births

News

  • A new study based on the data from the National Family and Health Survey has shown that there is a significant increase in the rate of caesarean births in India.

Findings

  • While the WHO recommends the rate of caesarean delivery to be 10-15%, the number was 17.2% for India during the period from Jan 2015 to Dec 2016.
  • This is higher than the rate seen in rich countries such as the Netherlands and Finland. The report says that if this trend continues, India could soon have the largest number of C-section births in the world.
  • A 2018 report pointed out that the prevalence of maternal mortality and morbidity is higher after caesarean than after vaginal birth. Also, it is noted to be associated with an “increased risk of uterine rupture, abnormal placentation, ectopic pregnancy, stillbirth, and preterm birth.”
  • Many studies have pointed out that babies born via C-section have less bacterial exposure, which in turn alters their immunity and gut microbiome diversity. Children tend to have increased chances of allergy, asthma, and childhood obesity.
  • The study noted the rates varied widely across States, with just 5.8% in Nagaland to 57.7% in Telangana.
  • When taking socioeconomic conditions into account, the researchers found that the rate of C-section was as small as 4.4% among the poorest group to 35.9% among the richest quintile.
  • The high rates point out that there is increased C-section deliveries among non-risk pregnancies in the privileged classes.

Hindu Notes from General Studies-03

NASA’s solar probe completes 2nd closest encounter with Sun

News

  • NASA announced that its Parker Solar Probe, the fastest spacecraft in history, has completed its second close approach to the Sun and is now entering the outbound phase of the second solar orbit.

Beyond News

  • The spacecraft passed within 24 million kilometres of the Sun, tying its distance record set in October as the closest spacecraft ever to the star, according to NASA.
  • Parker Solar Probe was travelling at 343,112 km/hr during this 
  • The spacecraft is operating well and all instruments are collecting science data, sending back normal signals through NASA’s Deep Space Network.
  • Parker Solar Probe began this solar encounter on March 30, and it will conclude on April 10.

India’s imports from China decelerating, says report

News

  • India’s imports from China stood at $60 billion during the April-January period of 2018-19 fiscal, a deceleration of 5% over the corresponding period a year ago.

Beyond News

  • According to the chamber, India’s trade deficit with China also eased to $46 billion in April-January 2019 from $53 billion in the same period a year ago.
  • Despite substantial volume of imports from China, India’s import growth from China shrunk from 24% during April to January 2018 to (-) 5% during April-January 2019.
  • Commerce Ministry data showed India’s export to China totalled $13.8 billion, whereas its imports from the neighbouring country stood at $60.1 billion during the period.
  • Indian shipments to China totalled $13.33 billion in 2017-18, whereas the country’s imports from China stood at $76.38 billion in the period.
  • The chamber said India has seen a major breakthrough in its exports to China during the last few months, whereas imports of Chinese products in India are decelerating.
  • Its exports to China grew 31% in 2019, increasing from $10 billion in April-January 2018 to $14 billion in April-January 2019.
  • Meanwhile, India has identified and shared with China a list of 380 products including horticulture, textiles, chemicals and pharmaceuticals, as their shipments hold huge export potential in the neighboring country.
  • Increasing exports of these products would help India narrow the widening trade deficit with China, which stood at $50.12 billion during April-February 2018-19.

Army gets first batch of Dhanush, home-made Bofors artillery guns, from OFB

News

The Ordnance Factory Board (OFB) handed over the first batch of six Dhanush artillery guns to the Army.

  • Dhanush is the indigenously upgraded gun of the Swedish Bofors gun procured in the 1980s.

Beyond News

  • Indigenisation to the extent of about 81%, has already been achieved. By the end of 2019, the indigenisation level of the gun will go up to 91%,.
  • Dhanush is a 155 mm, 45-calibre towed artillery gun with a range of 36 km and has demonstrated a range of 38 km with specialised ammunition. It is an upgrade of the existing 155m, 39 calibre Bofors FH 77 gun. It is compatible with all North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) 155 mm ammunition system.
  • The gun is fitted with inertial navigation system with global positioning system- (GPS) based gun recording and auto-laying, an enhanced tactical computer for onboard ballistic computations, an onboard muzzle velocity recording, an automated gun sighting system equipped with camera, thermal imaging and laser range finder
  • All 114 guns are expected to be delivered within four years. The OFB has already undertaken capacity augmentation to manufacture over 400 barrels and 250 ordinances for large calibre weapon systems.

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