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Insights Daily Current Affairs, 15 May 2017


Insights Daily Current Affairs, 15 May 2017


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


Ebola resurfaces


The World Health Organization has declared an Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Africa.



More than 11,000 people died in the Ebola outbreak in West Africa in 2014-2015, mainly in Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia. The last outbreak in the DRC was in 2014 and killed more than 40 people. The region affected lies 1,300 km north-east of Kinshasa, close to the border with the Central African Republic.



What next?  

While this outbreak will be worrying for communities in this remote part of the DRC, health workers say the country is experienced in fighting the virus. Experts say an experimental vaccine could be used if needed.


What you need to know about Ebola?

Ebola virus disease (EVD), formerly known as Ebola haemorrhagic fever, is a severe, often fatal illness in humans.

  • Transmission: The virus is transmitted to people from wild animals and spreads in the human population through human-to-human transmission.
  • The average EVD case fatality rate is around 50%. Case fatality rates have varied from 25% to 90% in past outbreaks.
  • Prevention: Community engagement is key to successfully controlling outbreaks. Good outbreak control relies on applying a package of interventions, namely case management, surveillance and contact tracing, a good laboratory service and social mobilisation.
  • Early supportive care with rehydration, symptomatic treatment improves survival. There is as yet no licensed treatment proven to neutralise the virus but a range of blood, immunological and drug therapies are under development.


Sources: the hindu.


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


Pneumonia vaccine to be part of immunisation drive


India has rolled out the long-awaited anti-pneumonia vaccine as part of the government’s Universal Immunisation Programme (UIP). The vaccine will protect children against severe forms of pneumococcal disease, such as pneumonia and meningitis.

  • The three-dose pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV) will be rolled out in Mandi, Himachal Pradesh, six districts of Uttar Pradesh and 17 districts of Bihar as a part of the first phase. The vaccine will give protection against 13 types of pneumococcal bacteria which cause pneumonia disease.



What you need to know about Pneumonia?

Pneumococcal disease is the leading cause of vaccine-preventable deaths in children under five years of age globally and in India. India accounts for nearly 20% of global pneumonia deaths in this age group. There are over 90 different types of pneumococcal bacteria which cause a range of problems.



Every year, 59 lakh children die worldwide before their fifth birthday, of them 9% die due to diarrhoea, 16% due to pneumonia. India shoulders the highest burden of child pneumonia and diarrhoea deaths with Nigeria, Pakistan, Democratic Republic of Congo and Angola taking up the next four spots.


Know about UIP:

Universal Immunization Programme is a vaccination program launched by the Government of India in 1985. It became a part of Child Survival and Safe Motherhood Programme in 1992 and is currently one of the key areas under National Rural Health Mission(NRHM) since 2005.

The program now consists of vaccination for 12 diseases- tuberculosis, diphtheria, pertussis (whooping cough), tetanus, poliomyelitis, measles, Hepatitis B, Diarrhoea, Japanese Encephalitis, rubella, Rotavirus and Pneumonia.


Sources: the hindu.


Paper 2 Topic: Important aspects of governance, transparency and accountability, e-governance- applications, models, successes, limitations, and potential; citizens charters, transparency & accountability and institutional and other measures.


Public affairs index


Public affairs index (PAI) for the year 2017 has been released. The PAI aims to rank the states of India objectively in the field of governance based on various focus subjects and indicators and is an initiative of the Public Affairs Committee (PAC).

  • The survey was based on 10 themes, 26 focus subjects and 82 indicators. The report was based on a wide range of themes such as essential infrastructure, support to human development, social protection, women and children, crime, law and order, delivery of justice, environment, transparency and accountability, fiscal management and economic freedom.
  • The PAC is a not-for-profit think-tank focussed on good governance, which was established in 1994.



Performance of various states:

  • For the second year running, Kerala and Tamil Nadu have maintained their positions as the states with the best governance in the country. They are followed by Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh and Karnataka.
  • Among 12 small States (population less than two crore), Himachal has wrested the first rank, followed by Goa and Mizoram. Delhi slipped from third position in 2016 to 9th position in 2017. Meghalaya (12th), Arunachal Pradesh (11th) and Jammu Kashmir (10th) are at the bottom of the table.
  • Punjab is the best performer among all States in the category of essential infrastructure. Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Gujarat secured second, third and fourth positions, respectively.
  • In human development, Kerala, Maharshtra, and Punjab are top of the table while Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Assam are the worst performers.
  • Kerala, Assam and Madhya Pradesh secured top three ranks in implementation of social protection policies, while Telangana, Haryana and Punjab are lagging in execution of various State and Central government schemes.
  • In the category of women and children, Kerala topped the list followed by Odisha and Karnataka while Jharkhand, Haryana and Maharashtra are poor performers.
  • Tamil Nadu secured first rank in maintaining law and order, delivery of justice and environment categories and secured last rank in transparency and accountability in the administration.
  • Telangana is the best performer in fiscal management while its neighbour Andhra Pradesh is the poor performer and secured last rank.
  • In the category of economic freedom, Gujarat secured top rank while Bihar secured the last rank.


Sources: the hindu.


Paper 2 Topic: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.


Aquatic animal diseases revisited


The national surveillance programme for aquatic animal diseases in India, one of the largest fish disease surveillance programme implemented in the country, is all set to begin a new phase.

  • A road map proposed for taking the surveillance programme to the next level includes developing disease-free zones and targeted active surveillance for fish pathogens in India. The programme is led by the ICAR-National Bureau of Fish Genetic Resources (ICAR-NBFGR).



What you need to know about the programme?

The programme includes monitoring of the disease status of susceptible populations and would provide a general picture of prevalence of diseases in the country. It will also provide a means for rapid detection of new and exotic infectious diseases through advanced diagnostic techniques; help in certifying freedom from diseases of concern within a defined geographical area or a specific population and give boost to our aquatic animal exports.

  • The programme would also result in assessing the efficiency of disease control programmes. It will also help in developing appropriately trained and dedicated personnel who can understand normal health patterns and describe the abnormalities. Finally, this programme will help in providing scientifically accurate and cost-effective information for assessing and managing risks of pathogen transfer associated with trade in aquatic animals and improve production efficiency.
  • The programme is currently being implemented in 16 States and three Union Territories.


There are mainly five objectives of disease surveillance programme.

  • To provide means for rapid detection of new and exotic infectious disease.
  • To provide evidence of freedom from diseases of concern within a defined geographical area or a specific population.
  • To collect the information on distribution and occurrence of diseases of concern.
  • To assess the efficiency of disease control programmes with a defined geographical area.
  • To improve reporting requirements to World organization for Animal Health(OIE) and regional Quartely Aquatic Animal Disease Reporting System and enhance compliance to OIE standards.


Sources: the hindu.


Paper 3 Topic: Challenges to internal security through communication networks, role of media and social networking sites in internal security challenges, basics of cyber security; money-laundering and its prevention.


Alert sounded on malware


The IT Ministry has reached out to key stakeholders like RBI, National Payments Corporation of India, NIC and UIDAI (Aadhaar) to advise them to protect their systems against ‘WannaCry’ ransomware to ensure that the digital payments ecosystem in the country is protected.

  • The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology has also instructed cyber security unit CERT-In to gather information of ‘WannaCry’ ransomware that has wreaked havoc across sectors like healthcare and telecommunications in more than 100 countries.




The ransomware has hit systems in over 100 countries, including Russia and the U.K., in one of the most widespread cyber attacks in history. It infected computers running on older versions of Microsoft operating systems like XP, locking access to files on the computer. The cyber criminals have demanded a fee of about $300 in crypto-currencies like Bitcoin for unlocking the device.


Know about CERT-In:

CERT-In (the Indian Computer Emergency Response Team) is a government-mandated information technology (IT) security organization. CERT-In was created by the Indian Department of Information Technology in 2004 and operates under the auspices of that department.


It’s purpose:

  • The purpose of CERT-In is to respond to computer security incidents, report on vulnerabilities and promote effective IT security practices throughout the country.
  • According to the provisions of the Information Technology Amendment Act 2008, CERT-In is responsible for overseeing administration of the Act.
  • CERT organizations throughout the world are independent entities, although there may be coordinated activites among groups. The first CERT group was formed in the United States at Carnegie Mellon University.


Sources: the hindu.


Paper 2 Topic: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.


Rs. 11,000 cr. to be spent on roads in Naxal-hit areas


The Centre will soon begin work on a Rs. 11,000-crore project to provide road connectivity to 44 Naxal-affected districts, including Sukma in Chhattisgarh, which had recently witnessed one of the deadliest Maoist attacks. The project will be implemented under the Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana in the districts that are critical from a security and communication point of view.

  • Under the project, there will be construction or upgradation of 5,411 km of roads and 126 bridges.
  • Odisha, Jharkhand, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Telangana and Maharashtra are the other States that will be covered under the scheme.



Know about PMGSY:

PMGSY was launched on 25th December 2000 as a fully funded Centrally Sponsored Scheme to provide all weather road connectivity in rural areas of the country. The programme envisages connecting all habitations with a population of 500 persons and above in the plain areas and 250 persons and above in hill States, the tribal and the desert areas.


Sources: the hindu.


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


Xi evokes Panchsheel as India skips meet


Despite India’s decision to skip the two-day Belt and Road Forum (BRF), the once special relationship between New Delhi and Beijing echoed during the opening session of the conclave. Chinese President Xi Jinping proposed five principles of peaceful co-existence or Panchsheel — the brainchild of China, India and Myanmar in the 1950s — as the mantra for advancing the Belt and Road Initiative (B&RI), and as a vehicle for achieving sustainable globalisation.


belt and road forum


India’s had decided to boycott the BRF, as a mark of protest against the infringement of its sovereignty by the China- Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) that passes through Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK). India’s decision to stay away has raised eyebrows here, as other countries such as Japan and Vietnam, which have serious maritime disputes with China, have sent high-level official delegations, to the BRF.


Know about Panchsheel:

The Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence, known in Nepal and India as the Panchsheel Treaty, are a series of principles which formed the bedrock of the relationship between India and the People’s Republic of China. Their first formal codification in treaty form was in an agreement between China and India in 1954. They were enunciated in the preamble to the “Agreement (with exchange of notes) on trade and intercourse between Tibet Region of China and India”, which was signed in Peking on 29 April 1954. This agreement stated the five principles as:

  • Mutual respect for each other’s territorial integrity and sovereignty.
  • Mutual non-aggression.
  • Mutual non-interference in each other’s internal affairs.
  • Equality and cooperation for mutual benefit.
  • Peaceful co-existence.


An underlying assumption of the Five Principles was that newly independent states after decolonization would be able to develop a new and more principled approach to international relations.


Sources: the hindu.


Paper 1 Topic: Important Geophysical phenomena such as earthquakes, Tsunami, Volcanic activity, cyclone etc., geographical features and their location- changes in critical geographical features (including water-bodies and ice-caps) and in flora and fauna and the effects of such changes.


In news- Indian Ocean rise and fall


Since 2004, it has been known that the Indian Ocean has been rising particularly rapidly. However, it turned out that this was specific to a smaller stretch called the North Indian Ocean, which consists of the Bay of Bengal, the Arabian Sea and a large part of the Indian Ocean until the 5 degree S latitude. This is an imaginary line cutting through Indonesia, central Africa and Peru. More surprisingly, as a team of oceanographers recently observed, the North Indian Ocean sea levels actually dipped between 1993 and 2004, at about 0.3 mm per year, but after 2004, the rise was 6 mm annually. Such a fluctuating trend hasn’t been observed for the Pacific Ocean and the Atlantic Ocean.


Why did this happen?

Unlike the Pacific Ocean and the Atlantic Ocean, the North Indian Ocean is hemmed in on all sides, except an outlet on the southern side. This influences the rate at which heat is absorbed and flushed out from within the system. According to calculations, heat was moving out slower after 2004 than during the 1990s. Moreover, wind flows, which led to warm water welling up on the Indian Ocean surface, changed directions every decade and probably influenced sea level patterns.


What does this imply?

This means a rise in average global temperature doesn’t mean a concurrent rise in sea levels everywhere. Every year in the last decade has broken temperature records that have held for over a century but researchers associated with this study are willing to wager that North Indian Ocean levels may see a fall over the next decade (like seen between 1993 and 2004). This points to a need for more research to understand the inherent variability of the Indian Ocean. This could help sharpen monsoon forecasts and predicting coastal erosion patterns. Better understanding of sea level undulations could also inform future reports by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.


Sources: the hindu.