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Insights Daily Current Affairs, 06 February 2017



Insights Daily Current Affairs, 06 February 2017


Paper 2 Topic: Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources.


Single vaccine for dual protection against measles and rubella


The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare recently launched Measles Rubella (MR) vaccination campaign in the country.


Key facts:

  • The campaign against these two diseases will start from five States/UTs (Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Puducherry, Goa and Lakshadweep) covering nearly 3.6 crore target children.
  • Following the campaign, Measles-Rubella vaccine will be introduced in routine immunization, replacing the currently given two doses of measles vaccine, at 9-12 months and 16-24 months of age.


About MR campaign:

The MR campaign targets around 41 crore children across the country, the largest ever in any campaign.

  • All children aged between 9 months and less than 15 years will be given a single shot of Measles-Rubella (MR) vaccination irrespective of their previous measles/rubella vaccination status or measles/rubella disease status.
  • MR vaccine will be provided free- of- cost across the states from session sites at schools as well as health facilities and outreach session sites.
  • Measles vaccine is currently provided under Universal Immunization Programme (UIP). However, rubella vaccine will be a new addition. After the completion of the campaign, MR vaccine will be introduced in routine immunization and will replace measles vaccine, given at 9-12 months and 16-24 months of age of child.


About Measles and Rubella:

Measles is a deadly disease and one of the important causes of death in children. It is highly contagious and spreads through coughing and sneezing of an infected person. Measles can make a child vulnerable to life threatening complications such as pneumonia, diarrhoea and brain infection. Globally, in 2015, measles killed an estimated 1, 34,200 children—mostly under-5 years. In India, it killed an estimated 49,200 children.

Rubella is generally a mild infection, but has serious consequences if infection occurs in pregnant women, causing congenital rubella syndrome (CRS), which is a cause of public health concern. CRS is characterized by congenital anomalies in the foetus and newborns affecting the eyes (glaucoma, cataract), ears (hearing loss), brain (microcephaly, mental retardation) and heart defects, causing a huge socio-economic burden on the families in particular and society in general.

Sources: pib.


Paper 2 Topic: Statutory, regulatory and various quasi-judicial bodies.


Central Pollution Control Board assessing oil spill


The Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) is analysing samples from the oil spill resulting from a collision between two ships off the coast of Tamil Nadu recently.

  • Clean-up operations are being coordinated by the Coast Guard and involve several disparate organisations.



Oil spill took place recently off the coast of Tamil Nadu due to a collision between two ships. The Hyderabad-based Indian National Centre for Ocean Information Services has estimated that about 20 tonnes of oil may have leaked when the vessels collided. It is estimated that about 43 kms of the Tamil Nadu coastline may have been affected.


About CPCB:

The Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) of India is a statutory organisation under the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEF&CC). It was established in 1974 under the Water (Prevention and Control of pollution) Act, 1974.

  • CPCB is also entrusted with the powers and functions under the Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1981.
  • It serves as a field formation and also provides technical services to the Ministry of Environment and Forests under the provisions of the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986.
  • It Co-ordinates the activities of the State Pollution Control Boards by providing technical assistance and guidance and also resolves disputes among them.

Sources: the hindu.


Paper 2 Topic: Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources. 


Single-dose Zika vaccine works in animals: Study


A new Zika vaccine candidate has potential to protect against the virus with a single dose and is the first to show long-lasting protection in animals without the use of a live virus, a new study has claimed.


Key facts:

  • Traditional viral vaccines contain a weakened or killed version of the virus or isolated viral proteins. By contrast, the new Zika candidate vaccine uses tiny strands of RNA that hold the genetic codes for making viral proteins.
  • These RNA molecules are modified versions of the so-called messenger RNAs (mRNAs) that normally carry information from genes and serve as blueprints for the making of proteins within cells.
  • In this case, the mRNAs – produced and purified in a laboratory or biotech production facility – are delivered like a normal vaccine in an injection.
  • Injected mRNAs normally would be cleared from the body within minutes by a patient’s immune system, but these mRNAs are modified so that they are ignored by the immune system and can easily enter cells.
  • Once inside cells, they are taken up by cellular protein-making machinery and induce the production, over weeks, of the viral proteins they encode.


About Live virus vaccines:

Live virus vaccines – using slow-replicating versions of the virus they are meant to protect against – tend to induce much more powerful immune protection compared to vaccines that are based on non-replicating versions of a virus or isolated viral proteins.

Live virus vaccines have serious potential drawbacks, though, including harmful infection with the virus in people who have weakened immune systems.


About Zika:

Zika is a viral disease transmitted through the bite of an infected Aedes mosquito. This is the same mosquito that is known to transmit infections like dengue and chikungunya.

  • It is said that Zika infection during pregnancy can cause a serious birth defect called microcephaly that is a sign of incomplete brain development.
  • Only one in five people with Zika develop symptoms, which include rash, fever, muscle aches and headaches.


Sources: the hindu.


Paper 2 Topic: Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests, Indian diaspora.


Souring US-Iran ties may spell trouble for Chabahar port


India is keeping a wary eye on the strains developing in US-Iran relations after the Trump administration slapped sanctions on the West Asian country over its missile programme.



Iran’s ballistic missile programme has been a thorny issue with countries like the US, since the nuclear deal took effect last January. The deal—clinched in Vienna in July 2015—commits Iran to providing the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) with greater access and information on its nuclear programme.

However, the recent sanctions announced by the US on Iran seem to be the opening salvo by President Donald Trump who has threatened a more aggressive policy toward Iran. 


What’s the concern?

Deterioration in US-Iran ties could spell trouble for India’s plans to develop the Chabahar port, which New Delhi sees as key to gaining access to landlocked Afghanistan and Central Asia.

For India, the current state of events seems to present a dilemma as it looks to establish a working relationship with Washington.


About Chabahar port development project:

The project first found mention in an India-Iran joint statement issued in 2003. Fourteen years later, the venture is far from fruition—thanks mainly to India being caught up in US-Iran tensions. In the annual budget unveiled on 1 February, the government has allocated some $21 million for the project.

  • The port is located on the Makran coast, Chabahar in southeastern Iran. Its location lies in the Gulf of Oman. This coast is a relatively underdeveloped free trade and industrial zone, especially when compared to the sprawling port of Bandar Abbas further west. Also, it is the only Iranian port with direct access to the ocean.


chabhahar port

Sources: the hindu.


Paper 2 Topic: Functions and responsibilities of the Union and the States, issues and challenges pertaining to the federal structure, devolution of powers and finances up to local levels and challenges therein. 


Nagaland cabinet step up pressure on Centre in revisiting schedule IX -A


The Nagaland state cabinet, while taking serious consideration of the widespread concern expressed by various tribal hohos (apex bodies) and other organisations with regard to certain provisions of Part IX-A of the Constitution relating to municipalities, has decided to submit a memorandum to the prime minister to amend the Constitution through ordinance.

  • This is seen as state government’s attempt to placate the tribal bodies which is opposing 33% reservation for women in urban local bodies (ULBs) and resorted to violence protest following which polls were called off.


nagaland issue

What experts say?

Experts say, Part IX (A) of the Constitution of India – which pertains specifically to municipalities – is not applicable to the state of Nagaland. Part IX (A) does not embrace a state where it is wholly tribal.

  • In other words, Part IX (A) is applicable to the states where tribals or scheduled castes are in minority and the majority are non-tribals, non-scheduled castes.



Article 371(A) accords special provisions to the state of Nagaland. Many believe that Part IXA clashes with Article 371 (A) of the Constitution which guarantees special rights to the state of Nagaland. Under the article, customary laws, social practices, beliefs of the people and the resources of the state are safeguarded from intervention by the Centre and its policies unless the state assembly decides so by a resolution. While provision 243(T) of Part IXA grants reservation to women in municipalities, Naga social groups have said this goes against their customary laws as protected by Article 371(A). 


Article 371(A) of the Indian Constitution (Special provision with respect to the State of Nagaland) states that – “Notwithstanding anything in this Constitution, (a) no Act of Parliament in respect of: (i) religious or social practices of the Nagas, (ii) Naga customary law and procedure, (iii) administration of civil and criminal justice involving decisions according to Naga customary law, (iv) ownership and transfer of land and its resources, shall apply to the State of Nagaland unless the Legislative Assembly of Nagaland by a resolution so decides.”

Sources: et.


Paper 2 Topic: Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests.


UN seeks India’s nominee for anti-terror panel


India has been asked to send the name of its nominee for inclusion in a global team to assist a United Nations committee which decides on banning terror outfits and their leaders.

  • Following the request from the global body, both the Home and Finance ministries have been asked to recommend names of suitable individuals who can be part of the key team.


Key facts:

  • The nominations have been sought from qualified individuals to serve on the ‘Analytical Support and Sanctions Monitoring Team’ in support of the important ‘1267/1989/2253 ISIL (Da’esh) and Al-Qaeda Sanctions Committee’.
  • Those interested should be experts on ISIL (Da’esh), Al-Qaeda and affiliated individuals and entities, their evolution, linkages and changing nature of the threat. They should have “willingness to travel extensively, including in difficult environments”.
  • The position requires a high level of personal commitment to the monitoring team’s mandate and to the United Nations.
  • The final selection of the team is made by the UN secretariat based on assessment of the individual qualifications of the candidate.
  • The monitoring team works in tandem with the UN Secretariat to standardise the format of all United Nations sanctions lists and also assists the Committee in regularly reviewing names on it.  


Significance of this move:

The presence of the country’s nominee on the panel may facilitate the government’s efforts to get Maulana Masood Azhar, head of Pakistan-based terrorist group Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) and mastermind of last year’s Pathankot air base attack.



India’s effort to get JeM chief listed in the UN’s sanctions list of organisations and individuals linked to Al-Qaeda and ISIS has been repeatedly blocked by China. Azhar’s JeM, which is said to have links with Taliban and Al-Qaeda, has been blacklisted by the UNSC.

Sources: the hindu.


Facts for Prelims


Tribe offers clues to hidden wonders of medicinal plant:

  • Scientists have confirmed the multiple therapeutic properties of Neurocalyx calycinus used by the Cholanaickan tribe, one of the particularly vulnerable groups in Kerala, to treat inflammations and wounds.
  • This medicinal plant is endemic to the southern parts of Western Ghats and Sri Lanka.
  • The researchers have filed for a patent on a novel herbal drug formulation possessing wound-healing, burn-healing, anti-cancer, analgesic, anti-inflammatory, immuno- enhancing, platelet-augmentation and anti-oxidant effects.
  • The pre-clinical trials confirmed the therapeutic effects of N.calycinus against burn wounds and pain, besides its immuno-enhancing, platelet augmentation, and anti-oxidant potential.
  • The presence of high Vitamin E content and potent cytoprotective activity in cell lines in the plant species have also enhanced the prospects of developing an anti-cancer drug.