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Insights Daily Current Affairs + PIB: 11 October 2019

Insights Daily Current Affairs + PIB: 11 October 2019

Table of contents:


GS Paper 2:

  1. Pradhan Mantri Innovative Learning Programme “DHRUV”.
  2. POSHAN Atlas.
  3. National Diabetes and Diabetic Retinopathy Survey.
  4. Surakshit Matritva Aashwasan (Suman) scheme.


GS Paper 3:

  1. Hindu Kush- Himalayan region and the climate change.
  2. ‘Green wall’ of India.


Facts for prelims:

  1. Carpet Export Promotion Council (CEPC).
  2. Phazolicin.
  3. Asia Environmental Enforcement Award.



GS Paper 2:


Topics Covered:

  1. Development processes and the development industry the role of NGOs, SHGs, various groups and associations, donors, charities, institutional and other stakeholders.


Pradhan Mantri Innovative Learning Programme “DHRUV” 


What to study?

For Prelims and mains: Key features and significance of the programme.


Context: Pradhan Mantri Innovative Learning Programme- ‘DHRUV’, a 14 day learning programme, was launched recently from Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) Headquarters at Bengaluru.


About DHRUV:

  • The programme is called DHRUV (after the Pole Star) and every student to be called ‘DHRUV TARA’.
  • 60 students, 30 each from Science and Performing Arts discipline, have been selected for this ambitious programme in the first batch.
  • The programme begins with a tour at ISRO followed by a stay in Delhi, where the selected students will be mentored by renowned experts.
  • It is being started to identify and encourage talented children to enrich their skills and knowledge.



The programme will act as a platform to explore the talent of outshining and meritorious students, and help them achieve excellence in their specific areas of interest may it be science, performing arts, creative writing, etc.


Sources: pib.


Topics Covered:

  1. Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources.




What to study?

For Prelims: POSHAN Abhiyan – features and the atlas.

For Mains: Significance of the campaign and government efforts to address malnutrition in the country.


Context: The ministry of Women and Child Development (WCD) in association with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Deendayal Research Institute is developing a POSHAN atlas under POSHAN abhiyan.


About the POSHAN Atlas:

Aim: to map the crops and food grains grown in different regions of the country so that nutritious protein rich food in local areas can be promoted.


Need for and significance of the atlas:

According to the World Bank Global Nutrition Report – 2018, malnutrition costs India at least $10 billion annually in terms of lost productivity, illness and death and is seriously retarding improvements in human development and further reduction of childhood mortality.

The solution to tackling malnutrition lies in promoting regional cropping patterns and embracing local food that are rich in protein. The atlas will help tackle malnutrition effectively.


What else is needed?

Community Management of Acute Malnutrition is a proven approach to manage severe acute malnutrition and moderate acute malnutrition in children under five. It involves timely detection of acutely malnourished children in the community and provision of treatment for those without medical complications with nutrient-dense foods at home.


Recommendations to solve malnutrition by Food and Nutrition Security Analysis, India, 2019:

Recommendations are grouped by the three pillars of food security: availability, access and utilisation.


  1. Encourage and incentivise agricultural diversification.
  2. Promote innovative and low-cost farming technologies.
  3. Increase the irrigation coverage and enhance knowledge of farmers in areas such as appropriate use of land and water.
  4. The government should improve policy support for improving agricultural produce of traditional crops in the country.



  1. The targeting efficiency of all food safety nets should be improved, especially that of the Targeted Public Distribution System (TPDS), to ensure that the poorest are included.
  2. Fortificationof government-approved commodities within the social safety net programmes can improve nutritional outcomes.
  3. Child feeding practices should be improved in the country, especially at the critical ages when solid foods are introduced to the diet.



  1. Storage capacity should be improved to prevent post-harvest losses.
  2. All the major welfare programmes need to be gender sensitive.
  3. Funds for food to all yield great returns and help in unlocking the full potential of citizens besides strengthening the workforce.


Sources: pib.


Mains Question: Why despite India being a large agricultural country a large population is malnourished? Discuss in detail the reasons and challenges associated with malnutrition in India.

Topics Covered:

Issues related to health.


National Diabetes and Diabetic Retinopathy Survey


What to study?

For Prelims: Key findings of the survey.

For Mains: Measures necessary, challenges present.


Context: National Diabetes and Diabetic Retinopathy Survey report for 2015-19 has been released.

The survey – conducted during 2015-2019 by Rajendra Prasad Centre for Ophthalmic Sciences, All India Institute of Medical Sciences (New Delhi) and released by the health ministry.


Key findings:

  • Prevalence of diabetes in India has been recorded at 11.8% in the last four years with almost same percentage of men and women suffering from the disease.
  • The prevalence of diabetes among males was 12%, whereas among females it was 11.7%. Highest prevalence of diabetes (13.2%) was observed in the 70-79 years’ age group.
  • The prevalence of any form of diabetic retinopathy (DR) in diabetic population aged up to 50 years was found to be 16.9%.
  • Prevalence of blindness among diabetics was 2.1% and visual impairment was 13.7%.


According to the World Health Organisation (WHO):

  1. There are estimated 72.96 million cases of diabetes in adult population of India.
  2. The prevalence in urban areas ranges between 10.9%-14.2% and prevalence in rural India is at 3.0-7.8% among population aged 20 years and above with a much higher prevalence among individuals aged over 50 years. 



Diabetes and diabetic retinopathy have been emerging as a significant non-communicable disease leading to ocular morbidity (blindness). It is estimated that diabetic retinopathy was responsible for 1.06% of blindness and 1.16% of visual impairment globally in 2015. 

Sources: pib.

Topics Covered:

  1. Welfare schemes for vulnerable sections of the population by the Centre and States and the performance of these schemes; mechanisms, laws, institutions and bodies constituted for the protection and betterment of these vulnerable sections.


Surakshit Matritva Aashwasan (Suman)


What to study?

For Prelims and mains: Key features, significance and expected outcomes of the programme.


Context: The Union Government has launched Surakshit Matritva Aashwasan (SUMAN) to provide quality healthcare at zero cost to pregnant women, new mothers and newborns.


About the scheme:

It aims to provide dignified and quality health care at no cost to every woman and newborn visiting a public health facility.

Under the scheme, the beneficiaries visiting public health facilities are entitled to several free services.

These include at least four ante natal check-ups that also includes one checkup during the 1st trimester, at least one checkup under Pradhan Mantri Surakshit Matritva Abhiyan, Iron Folic Acid supplementation, Tetanus diptheria injection.



All pregnant women, newborns and mothers up to 6 months of delivery will be able to avail several free health care services


Features and benefits:

  • The scheme will enable zero expense access to the identification and management of complications during and after the pregnancy.
  • The government will also provide free transport to pregnant women from home to the health facility and drop back after discharge (minimum 48 hrs).
  • The pregnant women will be able to avail a zero expense delivery and C-section facility in case of complications at public health facilities.
  • The scheme will ensure that there is zero-tolerance for denial of services to such patients.


Need for and significance of the scheme:

The scheme aims to bring down the maternal and infant mortality rates in the nation and to stop all preventable maternal and newborn deaths.

The scheme provides a positive and stress-free birth experience to the mother and newborn.



The World Health Organization (WHO) defines quality of care for mothers and newborns as “the extent to which health care services provided to individuals and patient populations improve desired health outcomes. In order to achieve this, health care must be safe, effective, timely, efficiently integrated, equitable and people-centered.”


According to government, India’s maternal mortality rate has declined from 254 per 1,00,000 live births in 2004-06 to 130 in 2014-16. Between 2001 and 2016, the infant mortality rate came down from 66 per 1,000 live births to 34.


Sources: pib.



GS Paper 3:


Topics Covered:

  1. Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment.


Hindu Kush- Himalayan region and the climate change


What to study?

For Prelims and Mains: All about third pole, its location, significance and climate change issues associated.


Context: To better gauge the impact of climate change on the Hindu Kush mountains, which includes the Himalayas, and spruce up data-gathering, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) will collaborate with meteorological agencies in China and Pakistan, among others, to provide climate forecast services to countries in the region.


About Hindu Kush-Himalayan region:

The Hindu Kush-Himalayan region spans an area of more than 4.3 million square kilometres in Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, China, India, Myanmar, Nepal, and Pakistan.

The region stores more snow and ice than anywhere else in the world outside the polar regions, giving its name: ’The Third Pole‘.

It contains the world’s highest mountains, including all 14 peaks above 8,000 metres, is the source of 10 major rivers, and forms a formidable global ecological buffer.



  • The Third Pole region has enormous socioeconomic and cultural diversity; it is home to many different ethnic communities speaking more than 600 languages and many more dialects.
  • It is endowed with rich natural resources and contains all or part of four global biodiversity hotspots.
  • The mountain resources provide a wide range of ecosystem services and the basis for the livelihoods to the 210 million people living in the region, as well as indirectly to the 1.3 billion people — one fifth of the worlds’ population — living in the downstream river basins.
  • More than 3 billion people benefit from the food and energy produced in these river basins that have their origin in the mountains.


The Third Pole and Climate Change:

  • Climate change has become a major concern in the Third Pole.
  • Mountain systems are particularly sensitive to climate change and the Third Pole region is home to some of the people most vulnerable to these changes in the world.
  • Changes in the river systems and their basins have impacted directly on the wellbeing of millions of people.
  • The rate of warming in the Third Pole region is significantly higher than the global average, and the rate is higher at higher altitude, suggesting a greater vulnerability of the cryosphere environment to climate change. This trend is expected to continue.
  • Climate change projections suggest that all areas of South Asia are likely to warm by at least 1°C by the end of the century, while in some areas the warming could be as high as 3.5-4°C.
  • The life and livelihoods of the people in the Third Pole region is challenged due to climate change, and the stability and prosperity of the region affected by the Third Pole is at risk, which will have implications for all of Asia and for the world.


The threats and challenges faced by the biodiversity in the Hindu Kush region are:

  1. Biodiversity is in steep decline driven by human development, pollution, overexploitation of resources and climate change.
  2. With the growing impacts of climate change, along with new infrastructure development, trade routes and hydropower dams planned for the fragile region, the effects on the biodiversity is set to worsen further.
  3. Along with species loss this will mean the loss of the key environmental services the region provides – such as water and carbon storage – to the rest of Asia.
  4. As temperatures rise with climate change, large areas of grasslands, alpine meadows, wetlands and permafrost will disappear on the Tibetan plateau by 2050.
  5. Human impact has led to a loss of wildlife populations, plant productivity, changes in growing seasons and plants and entire ecosystems shifting to higher altitudes.
  6. Hydropower is a big threat, with over 550 large projects in existence or under construction.
  7. New trade routes under China’s Belt and Road initiative – such as new rail and roads cutting through fragile landscapes – will bring new opportunities to remote regions, but could facilitate greater resource extraction and illegal wildlife trade.
  8. About 40% of the HKH region is designated as protected areas, but actual implementation of conservation measures is patchy.
  9. Many of these areas are remote and authorities have little control over border regions sometimes plagued with ongoing conflict. Example: Indo-Burma hotspot.


Facts for Prelims:

The Third Pole Environment (TPE): TPE, an international research program, was launched in 2009 and focuses on the Tibetan Plateau and surrounding mountain ranges.


Sources: the hindu.

Topics Covered:

  1. Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment.


‘Green wall’ of India


What to study?

For Prelims: The proposed green wall, About The Great Green Wall of Africa.

For Mains: Need for, significance and challenges therein.


Context: The Centre is mulling an ambitious plan to create a green wall on North- Western part of India.


About the proposed wall:

  1. It will be a 1,400km long and 5km wide green belt from Gujarat to the Delhi-Haryana border, on the lines of the “Great Green Wall” running through the width of Africa, from Dakar (Senegal) to Djibouti, to combat climate change and desertification. 
    If approved, this may turn out to be a legacy programme in India’s efforts to deal with land degradation and the eastward march of the Thar desert.
  2. India seeks replicate the idea as a national priority under its goal to restore 26 million hectares of degraded land by 2030.
  3. The green belt may not be contiguous, but would roughly cover the entire degraded Aravali range through a massive afforestation exercise.


The need for and significance of the wall:

  1. A legacy programme like converting such a huge tract of land as a green belt in high-intensive land-degraded states will be great boost towards meeting India’s target.
  2. The idea of forming a green belt from Porbandar to Panipat will not only help in restoring degraded land through afforestation along the Aravali hill range that spans across Gujarat, Rajasthan, Haryana and Delhi, but also act as a barrier for dust coming from the deserts in western India and Pakistan.
  3. The Aravalli range, which separates western India’s Thar desert from the relatively green plains to its east, has lost so much green cover that it is losing its ability to act as a natural barrier against the heat and dust that blows in from the west. The greener it remains, say ecologists, the less likely that the desert will expand into the rest of the Indian landmass.



India has, at present, 96.4 mha of degraded land which is 29.3% of the country’s total geographical area (328.7 mha). 

The desertification and land degradation atlas of India, brought out by the ISRO in 2016, revealed that Gujarat, Rajasthan and Delhi were among states/UT where more than 50% of the total area was degraded land and those under the threat of desertification.

Sources: the Hindu.



Facts for Prelims:


Carpet Export Promotion Council (CEPC):

It is a non-profit making organization.

  • Setup in 1982 by the Ministry of Textiles.
  • Objective: To promote export of Carpets, all types of Handmade / handmade knotted Carpets, Rugs, Floor Coverings & other allied Products from India.
  • Background: Indian Handmade Carpet Industry is ranked No. 1 status in the international market achieved highest quantity both in terms of value and production in the world market. India is possessing market share of around 35% of total world import of Handmade Carpets.



  • It is a new antibiotic discovered in the soil of a tropical rainforest.
  • It was recently isolated deep in the tropical forests of Los Tuxtlas, Mexico.
  • Found in the root nodules of wild beans (Phaseolus vulgaris), this unusual antibiotic is produced by a symbiotic soil bacteriumthat fixes nitrogen for the plant and keeps harmful microbes away.
  • The antibiotic phazolicin is a class of peptide produced in the ribosome, and is part of a diverse class of natural products with a variety of biological uses.
  • Benefits: Not only could this antibiotic attack a diverse group of bacterial cells, the authors found it could also enter the bacteria and bind to its ribosomes, messing with its ability to synthesise proteins – only the second peptide known to do this.


Asia Environmental Enforcement Award:

Senior Indian Forest Service (IFS) officer Ramesh Pandey has been selected by United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) for prestigious Asia Environmental Enforcement Award.

  • Ramesh Pandey is recognised for combating trans-boundary environmental crime.
  • Pandey also introduced M-Stripes (Monitoring System for Tigers Intensive Protection & Ecological Status), a novel software-based patrolling in Dudhwa Tiger Reserve on the recommendation of National Tiger Conservation Authority.

About the award:

The purpose of the Awards are to publicly recognise outstanding achievements by public organisations and individuals in Asia to combat transboundary environmental crime.

The 5 categories in which award will be given are:

  1. Collaboration.
  2. Impact.
  3. Innovation.
  4. Integrity.
  5. Gender leadership.