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[Mission 2023] INSIGHTS DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS + PIB SUMMARY 17 April 2023

InstaLinks :  help you think beyond the issue but relevant to the issue from UPSC prelims and Mains exam point of view. These linkages provided in this ‘hint’ format help you frame possible questions ina your mind that might arise(or an examiner might imagine) from each current event. InstaLinks also connect every issue to their static or theoretical background. This helps you study a topic holistically and add new dimensions to every current event to help you think analytically

Table of Contents:

GS Paper 1:

  1. Dr B R Ambedkar
  2. The link between ‘flash droughts’ and climate change

 

GS Paper 3:

  1. Pollution in Ganga
  2. Can we democratise tiger conservation in India?
  3. Clinical trial

 

Content for Mains Enrichment (CME)

  1. ‘Jana Raj Bhavan’ initiative

 

Facts for Prelims (FFP)

  1. Bihu Dance
  2. Gond Painting
  3. Khayal
  4. Trade data
  5. ‘Animal Pandemic Preparedness Initiative’ (APPI) and the ‘Animal Health System Support for One Health’
  6. Ethylene oxide
  7. Bioluminescence

 


 

Dr B R Ambedkar

GS Paper 1

 Syllabus: The Freedom Struggle — its various stages and important contributors/contributions from different parts of the country

 

Source: PIB, IE, IE

His Contributions:

Dimension Description Example
Social Fought against social discrimination and untouchability Led the Dalit Buddhist Movement and established the SC/ST Federation
Political Played a key role in drafting the Indian Constitution Served as the Chairman of the Constitution Drafting Committee
Legal Worked towards the establishment of the rule of law in India Advocated for the abolition of the caste system and women’s rights
Educational Advocated for education as a means of empowerment Founded the People’s Education Society to promote education among marginalized communities
Labour He contributed to the reduction of working hours to 48 hours per week, advocated equal pay for equal work, lifted the ban on the employment of women for underground work in coal mines, and introduced the provisions of overtime, paid leave and minimum wage.

 

Economic Advocated for reservations in education and employment for Dalits; the Reserve Bank of India was based on the idea of Ambedkar, which he had presented to the Hilton Young Commission.

 

In 1951, Ambedkar established the Finance Commission of India. He opposed income tax for low-income groups

 

His writings on Economics: “Administration and Finance of the East India Company”, “The Evolution of Provincial Finance in British India”, “The Problem of the Rupee: Its Origin and Its Solution”

Anthropology Ambedkar surveyed the existing data on the different castes in his book “The Untouchables”

 

 

 

Differences in the view of Ambedkar and Gandhiji:

Issue Ambedkar’s Views Mahatma Gandhi’s Views
Caste System Vocal critic and fought for its abolition Believed in the notion of varnashrama dharma
Untouchability A strong advocate for the rights of Dalits and other marginalized communities Believed in social reform rather than legal means
Political Representation Essential for empowerment and pushed for reserved seats in government Reservation would perpetuate the caste system and advocate for education and economic empowerment
Means of Resistance Power of legal and constitutional means Non-violent resistance and civil disobedience
Religion Critical of Hindu religion and later converted to Buddhism Believed in an inclusive and tolerant form of Hinduism
Approach to Economic Development Believed in economic development for marginalized communities Believed in self-sufficient and rural-based economy
Education Essential for the empowerment and establishment of educational institutions for disadvantaged groups Saw education as important, but focused more on promoting basic education and literacy
Leadership Style Strong and decisive Humble and inclusive with an emphasis on consensus-building
Political Ideology A strong advocate for democracy Ambivalent about democracy, saw it as a means to an end

 

Despite their differences, both Ambedkar and Gandhi were important leaders in the fight for Indian independence and the pursuit of social justice. Their ideas and actions continue to influence and inspire Indian society today.

 

Ambedkar’s relevance in Present times:

  • His ideas and actions for social justice, equality and nation-building are still relevant today
  • His vision of a just society and his emphasis on establishing institutions for the same continue to inspire and guide policy-making and governance in India.
  • Implementation of various pro-poor and people-centric policy measures (Stand-Up India, PM Awas Scheme, BHIM, Prime Minister’s Panch Pran mantra), which align with Ambedkar’s vision.

 

Ethical values from his life:

  • Equality (he fought to establish a society based on equal rights and opportunities for all)
  • Justice and fair treatment
  • Respect for diversity (every individual had the right to express their unique identity);
  • Courage (he remained committed to his principles and fought for social justice despite facing prejudice and discrimination)
  • Integrity

 

Conclusion: Today, India as a nation is facing several socioeconomic, and political challenges. Dr B R Ambedkar, the most forceful champion and icon of the socially deprived, continues to serve as a guiding light.

 

Insta Links:

BR Ambedkar

The link between ‘flash droughts’ and climate change

GS Paper 1 

Syllabus: Important Geophysical Phenomena

 

Source: IE

  

Context: According to a new study, flash droughts are becoming more common and faster to develop around the world, and human-caused climate change is a major reason.

 

Flash Drought
Difference between Flash & Conventional Droughts Flash drought is the rapid onset or intensification of drought. It is set in motion by lower-than-normal rates of precipitation, accompanied by abnormally high temperatures (heat waves), winds and radiation. Typically occurs during warm seasons and tropical/humid places are more vulnerable Conventional Drought is a slow-onset (natural) disaster characterised by the lack of precipitation, resulting in a water shortage.
Causes Higher temperature increases evapotranspiration – the process by which water is transferred from the land to the atmosphere by evaporation from the soil and by transpiration from plants.

 

Flash drought can also be tied to rhythmic climatic patterns, such as El Nino (in Asia) and La Nina (eastern Pacific) events.

 

If not predicted early enough, changes in soil moisture can cause extensive damage to agriculture, economies, and ecosystem goods and services.

Prediction and Mitigation Changes in the rate of evapotranspiration and soil moisture have been identified as key early warning indicators.

 

Vulnerability mapping will help policymakers, and farmers plan accordingly.

 

Highlights of the study:

  • Flash droughts occurred more often than slower ones in tropical/humid places like India, Southeast Asia, sub-Saharan Africa and the Amazon basin.
  • As global warming continues, more abrupt dry spells could have grave consequences for the livelihoods of people dependent on rain-fed agriculture.

 

Insta Links:

More flash droughts in India by end of the century

 

Mains Links:

The interlinking of rivers can provide viable solutions to the multi-dimensional inter-related problems of droughts, floods, and interrupting navigation. Critically examine. (UPSC 2020)

Pollution in Ganga

GS Paper 3

 Syllabus: Conservation, Environmental Pollution and Degradation

 

Source: DTE

 Context: According to the Ministry of Jal Shakti, though the Namami Gange Programme has been able to reduce the overall pollution load in the Ganga River, the river still remains polluted.

 

Namami Gange Programme:

  • It is an Integrated Conservation Mission, approved as a ‘Flagship Programme’ by the Union Government in 2014 with a budget outlay of Rs.20,000 Crore to accomplish the twin objectives of
    • Effective abatement of pollution,
    • Conservation and rejuvenation of National River Ganga.
  • Since 2014, the Centre had taken up 409 projects with a budget outlay of Rs 32,912.40 crore to clean up the river.

 

Pollution in the Ganga River:

  • At least 71% of the river’s monitoring stations reported alarming levels of faecal coliform in January 2023.
  • Faecal coliforms are a group of bacteria found in the gut and faeces of warm-blooded animals, which enters rivers through the discharge of untreated sewage.
  • While Uttarakhand had permissible levels of faecal coliform [less than 2,500 most probable number (MPN) per 100 ml], numbers in three other states – UP, Bihar and West Bengal – are alarming.

 

Why does river Ganga still remain polluted?

  • Untreated waste continues to be discharged in 60% of Ganga.
  • While the five major states through which the river flows generated 10,139.3 million litres per day (MLD) of sewage, they had a combined sewage treatment capacity of only 40%.
  • Uttarakhand is the only state with sufficient treatment capacity.

 

Wider challenges:

  • Higher biochemical oxygen demand (BOD) at the majority of the stations.
    • BOD is a measure of the oxygen required by aerobic microorganisms to biochemically oxidise organic matter. It affects the amount of dissolved oxygen in rivers.
    • The higher the BOD, the lesser the oxygen available to aquatic life.
  • Lax monitoring as the data collection and dissemination remains challenging.

 

Way ahead:

  • Treating industrial and chemical waste: Sewage treatment plants (STPs) are going to be the mainstay of river cleaning.
  • Waste to wealth: Identifying, developing and deploying technologies to treat waste to generate energy, recycle materials, and extract resources of value.

 

Insta Links:

‘Clean Ganga’ changes course to conservation, tourism, livelihood

  

Mains Links: 

The Namami Gange and National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG) programmes and causes of mixed results from the previous schemes. What quantum leaps can help preserve the river Ganga better than incremental inputs? (UPSC 2015)

 

Prelims Links: (UPSC 2014)

Consider the following statements :

  1. Animal Welfare Board of India is established under the Environments (Protection) Act, 1986
  2. National Tiger Conservation Authority is a statutory body
  3. National Ganga River Basin Authority is chaired by the Prime Minister

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

  1. 1 only
  2. 2 and 3 only
  3. 2 only
  4. 1, 2 and 3

 

Ans: 2

Can we democratise tiger conservation in India?

GS Paper 3

 Syllabus: Conservation, Environmental Pollution and Degradation

 

Source: TH

 Context: As India celebrates 50 years of its Project Tiger (1973), there is a need to reflect on what needs to change in conservation practice in India.

 

Background:

  • The Tiger is an “umbrella species”. Hence, saving the tiger means saving the entire ecosystem.
  • Tigers in India occur in a wide range of habitat types, from the evergreen forests of the Western Ghats to the terai grasslands of the Himalayan foothills, and from the tropical dry forests of Rajasthan to the mangroves of the Sundarbans.
  • Project Tiger was able to sustain tiger populations in most of the geographical regions.
  • The Tiger Census 2022 (interim) indicated a 6.7% annual growth rate (in the last 4 years) in the number of Tigers.
  • The expected number would be approximately 3167, which is above the previous 2018-2019 estimate of 2,967 tigers.

 

Issues with India’s conservation practice:

  • Shifting baselines/conservation amnesia: The figure of 1,400+ Tigers estimated in 2006 resulted in the celebration of doubling the tiger population in 2019.
  • Reintroduction plan: This was done to reintroduce tigers from central Indian forests, where the populations are thriving.
    • However, this will lead to a loss of genetic diversity, reducing the hopes of maintaining long-term population viability and natural recovery.
  • Narrow and exclusive conservation practices: Conservation in India depends entirely on a network of Protected Areas (PAs) and the focus stayed on boosting tiger numbers rather than their habitat and concomitant (prey) species.
    • Also, all-natural habitats are managed by one agency and therefore the approach to conservation is singular and exclusive.
  • Lack of scientific oversight:
    • The most common interventions were to manipulate ecosystems so that they could support high densities of the Tiger’s principal prey species [“cheetalification” of tiger reserves].
    • However, in the Kanha Tiger Reserve, the explosion in the cheetal population made the habitat unsuitable for the endangered barasingha.
    • The excessive provisioning of water (in other parks) tends to reduce natural, climate-driven variations in populations of wildlife.
  • The Wildlife Protection Act 1972 – a restrictive law: There is no policy framework and incentive for ordinary citizens to aid in conservation – be it for tigers or for any other species.
    • As a result, conservation has not reached beyond these PAs.

 

Impact of Unscientific Tiger conservation practices:

  • Fifty years after the Tiger census, the number of Tigers has remained more or less the same.
  • The 2023 preliminary report, showed that
    • India is now losing tigers from Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, Eastern ghats and the Northeastern forests.
    • While tiger populations within protected areas in the W. Ghats have remained stable or increased, tiger occupancy outside of these regions has significantly decreased.

 

Way ahead:

  • Decentralise conservation: Frameworks that allow local communities, citizens, scientists, NGOs and businesses to participate meaningfully in conservation are needed.
  • For example, “Reserved Forests” can be co-managed with an approach that is inclusive and provides economic benefits for local communities.

 

Conclusion: Only by extending the reach of conservation beyond the present PA system and empowering local communities and ordinary citizens to meaningfully participate in conservation actual doubling of tigers and other embattled wildlife can be achieved.

 

Insta Links:

India celebrates 50 successful years of “Project Tiger”

Clinical trial

GS Paper 3

 Syllabus: Science and Technology – Health

 

Source: TH

 Context: The speedy approval of Covid-19 vaccines during the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic highlighted the importance of clinical trials.

 

What is a Clinical Trial? 

A clinical trial is a research study conducted on human participants to evaluate the safety, efficacy, and/or effectiveness of an intervention such as a drug, device, or behavioural therapy.

The objective of Clinical Trial: Clinical trials are an essential component of the drug development process and are necessary to determine the benefits and risks of new treatments.

 

Stages of Clinical Trial:

  

What is CTRI?

The Clinical Trials Registry – India (CTRI) (est. 2007; maintained by ICMR (under the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare) a national clinical trial registry in India.

  • It is mandatory to register for every trial at CTRI before commencing
  • CTRI is a free online public record system for the registration of clinical trials (both public and private research) conducted in India.

 

Issues with the CTRI in India:

Issue Examples
Missing data Only 281 of 606 (46%) trials were updated after the final enrollment
Messy data Unclear data, such as the same acronym being used for two organizations or a clinical trial site being listed twice with the same principal investigator
Misleading information Wrong data about whether a trial is registered prospectively or retrospectively
Confusion over definitions A number of entries are inaccurate due to confusion over definitions, such as some ‘interventional trials’ being listed as ‘observational trials’
Incomplete information Non-standardized information about cities causes confusion and repetition in the registry
Variations in the classification of organizations All India Institute of Medical Sciences is classified as a ‘government-funded agency’, a ‘government medical college’, a ‘research institution’, and a ‘research institution and hospital’

 

Solutions:

  • Ensure compliance with regulations: The CTRI should ensure registration of all clinical trials in India
  • Adhere to WHO guidelines: The CTRI should comply with the WHO guidelines and provide information for each trial, including audit trails, results fields, and data-sharing plans.
  • Improve record-keeping of CTRI
  • Make CTRI a permanent activity: The CTRI could be made a permanent activity with staff on a five-year contract, instead of relying on temporary staff for 15 years.

 

Drug approval in India:

A pharmaceutical company in India must have DCGI approval for selling a new prescription drug. They can get DCGI approval once drug regulator CDSCO verifies the

quality, safety, and efficacy of drugs including vaccines. Also, required is the approval from respective Ethics Committee where the study is planned and mandatory registration on the ICMR-maintained website

The Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation (statutory body under the Drugs and Cosmetics Act 1940) is India’s national regulatory body for cosmetics, pharmaceuticals and medical devices.

 

Mains Links 

What are clinical trials? What are the issues with respect to conducting clinical trials in India? Present the ethical issues involved. (250 Words)

‘Jana Raj Bhavan’ initiative

Content for Mains Enrichment (CME)

 

Source: TH

 Kolkata Raj Bhavan, the residence of the West Bengal Governor, opened its doors to the public on the occasion of Poila Baishak, the Bengali New Year’s Day.

 

The initiative taken: A heritage walk was inaugurated in collaboration with the Indian Museum, and a colourful ‘Peace Run’ was flagged off.

 

Usages: Similarly Rashtrapati Bhavan, home to the President of India was thrown open to the public for four days a week in 2017. Such initiatives promote the values of openness; inspire youngsters into administration and governance.

Bihu Dance

Facts for Prelims (FFP)

Source: TH

 Context: Guinness World Record has been awarded for the largest Bihu dance performance and largest dhol recital at a single venue.

 

About Bihu

Description
About Bihu is a fast-paced (with brisk footsteps), extremely joyful dance, hailing from the state of Assam
Purpose Celebrating the three agricultural festivals of Assam— Rongali/Bohag Bihu (April), Bhogali/Magh Bihu (January), Kongali/Kati Bihu (October)
Performers Young men and women in groups
Costume Colourful traditional costumes
Music Bihu folk music played with instruments such as drums and flutes
Significance Symbolizes fertility and love, celebrates the arrival of spring and the rain needed for crop growth
Cultural icon Sign of Assamese cultural identity has remained relevant even with increased urbanization
Historical significance One of the earliest depictions of Bihu dance can be found in 9th-century Tezpur and Darrang regions, and it has been referenced in inscriptions from the 14th century

Gond Painting

 

Source: HT

 

Context: Gond painting, popular folk art of the Gond tribe in Madhya Pradesh, has been awarded the Geographical Indication (GI) tag.

 

About Gond Painting

Information
About Gond painting is one of the most famous artworks of the Gond tribal community, done to preserve, remember, and communicate the rich culture
Evolution Digna and Bhittichitra paintings evolved into present-day Gond paintings
Famous Artist Jangarh Singh Shyam
Materials Handmade paper, canvas, natural and synthetic colours
Tools Paintbrushes
Themes and Designs Local flora and fauna, deities, urban culture, and daily life. These paintings are geometrically drawn on the walls of the hut. It also includes portraits of Lord Krishna, crows with pots, young boys, and girls
Signature Patterns Dots, fine lines, curved lines, dashes, fish scales, drops of water, seed shapes, and geometrical shapes
Location It is mainly done in Patangarh Village in the Dindori district of Madhya Pradesh.
About Gond Tribes The Gond tribe is one of the largest tribal communities in India. The name Gond comes from “Kond” meaning green mountains. Their main occupation is Agriculture or daily wages

Khayal  

 

Source: TH

Information
About Khayal is a genre of Hindustani classical music, which originated in the late 16th century in Sufi communities in the region between Delhi and Jaunpur.
Origin Persia (now Iran)
Meaning of ‘Khayal’ The word “khayal” comes from Persian and means “imagination” or “idea“. It is also known as Bandish
Founder Amir Khusrau
Style Classical vocal music
Popular among Artists, musicians
Improvisation Yes
Repertoire Short songs (2-8 lines)
Composed in Specific raga and tala
Text Praise of kings, description of seasons, pranks of Lord Krishna, divine love, the sorrow of separation
Major Gharanas Gwalior (Oldest), Kirana, Patiala, Agra, Bhendibazaar
Dhrupad The khayal is related to the longer melodic form known as the dhrupad but has fewer restrictions.

Trade data  

 

Source: IE

 

Context: Trade data (released by the Ministry of Commerce and Industry ) points to slowing global and domestic demand

 

Key points:

  • India’s overall exports surpassed the 2022-23 target of $750 billion dollars (nearly $770 billion)
  • Trade Balance (Export-Import): Negative ($122 billion in FY23 in comparison to $83 billion in FY22).
  • Goods trade deficit: $266 billion
  • Services trade surplus: Nearly $144
  • India’s merchandise exports and importshave now declined in three of the last four months.
  • Major items of export by India: Petroleum, Electronics goods, rice, etc.
  • Major Items of import: Petroleum and Coal.
  • Major Export Destinations: USA, UAE, Netherlands and China.
  • Major Import Destinations: China, UAE, USA and Russia.

‘Animal Pandemic Preparedness Initiative’ (APPI) and the ‘Animal Health System Support for One Health’

 

Source: PIB

 Context: Union Ministry for Fisheries, Animal Husbandry and Dairying has launched the Animal Pandemic Preparedness Initiative (APPI) and World Bank-funded Animal Health System Support for One Health (AHSSOH) to enhance India’s preparedness and response to potential animal pandemics, in line with the One Health approach.

  

About APPI and AHSSOH:

APPI (Animal Pandemic Preparedness & Response) AHSSOH (Animal Husbandry Infrastructure Development Fund)
Objective Enhance India’s preparedness and response to potential animal pandemics Create an ecosystem for better animal health management using the One Health approach
Key pillars Integrated disease surveillance & monitoring (built on National Digital Livestock Mission), disease modelling algorithms and early warning systems, strengthening regulatory system (e.g., Nandi online portal), targeted R&D Strengthen district laboratories, provide mobile veterinary units in remote and high-risk areas, upgrade dispensaries and hospitals, train veterinarians and private diagnostic labs
Implementation period 5 years as a Central sector scheme
Coverage Initially covers five states – Assam, Odisha, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, and Karnataka

 

Significance: Both APPI and AHSSOH are important initiatives aimed at improving animal health and reducing the risk of potential pandemics. Both initiatives are essential in promoting animal health and welfare, which in turn can have a positive impact on human health and the economy.

  

About One Health Approach (2022-2026) 

One Health is an approach calling for “the collaborative efforts of multiple disciplines working locally, nationally, and globally, to attain optimal health for people, animals and our environment”, as defined by the One Health Initiative Task Force.

Ethylene oxide

 

Source: HBL

 Context: The European Commission has classified ethylene oxide as carcinogenic, mutagenic and toxic for reproduction (previously it was classified as a fumigant)

  

Significance: Agricultural products being exported to European Union will now be mandatorily tested.

Ethylene oxide:

At room temperature, ethylene oxide is a flammable colourless gas with a sweet odour.  It is used primarily to produce other chemicals, including antifreeze. In smaller amounts, ethylene oxide is used as a pesticide and a sterilizing agent. The ability of ethylene oxide to damage DNA makes it an effective sterilizing agent but also accounts for its cancer-causing activity.

Bioluminescence

 

Source: TH

 

Context: Recently, Visakhapatnam beaches started glowing due to a phenomenon called bioluminescence

About Bioluminescence Description
Definition Production and emission of light by living organisms.
Mechanism The chemical reaction between luciferin (a molecule that, when it reacts with oxygen, produces light.) and oxygen, is catalyzed by the luciferase enzyme.

Bioluminescence is chemiluminescence that takes place inside a living organism

Prevalence Found in many marine organisms, including bacteria, algae, jellyfish, fish, and sharks
Functions Used for warning or evading predators, luring or detecting prey, and communicating within a species
Examples Fireflies, anglerfish, jellyfish, bioluminescent plankton
Visakhapatnam Here the phenomenon is most likely the result of an algal bloom (significant accumulation) of the dinoflagellate species of noctiluca and ceratium. These emit light when disturbed by breaking waves

 

 

Optional:

 

PSIR

 

 

Geography/Agriculture

 

Read the Daily CA in PDF Format here:

 


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