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[Mission 2024] INSIGHTS DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS + PIB SUMMARY 4 March 2024

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 3:

  1. Benefits and Challenges of the Genome India Project

 

Content for Mains Enrichment (CME)

  1. Sustainable Lifestyle

 

Facts for Prelims (FFP)

  1. Critical and strategic minerals
  2. Temple Bill
  3. PM Janjati Adivasi Nyay Maha Abhiyaan (PM-JANMAN)
  4. National Electronic Funds Transfer (NEFT)
  5. BHARAT TEX 2024
  6. BioTRIG
  7. Reintroduction of Tigers
  8. Samudra Laksamana

 

Mapping

  1. Agalega Atoll (Mauritius)

 


 

Benefits and Challenges of the Genome India Project

GS Paper 3

 Syllabus: Science and Technology

  

Source: Th

 Context: The Genome India Project, funded by the Department of Biotechnology, has completed sequencing 10,000 Indian genomes, creating a reference for Indian genetic diversity.

 

What is the Genome India Project?

It endeavours to sequence 10,000 Indian human genomes and create a database. This research (inspired by the International Human Genome Project) was carried out by 20 national institutes with support from the Department of Biotechnology, Government of India

  

What is a Genome?

A genome is a genetic material that provides instructions for the development, growth, and functioning of all living organisms, composed of DNA with a sequence of chemical bases that determines an organism’s characteristics.

 

An analogy to understand Genome: 

The genome can be compared to a reference book. In this analogy, a genome contains the DNA– instructions for life. It’s composed of a vast array of nucleotides (letters) that are packaged into chromosomes (chapters). Each chromosome contains genes (paragraphs) that are regions of DNA which code for the specific proteins that allow an organism to function.

 

What is Genome Sequencing? 

Genome sequencing is the process of determining the complete DNA sequence of an organism’s genome. It involves identifying the order of nucleotides (A, T, C, G) that make up the DNA molecule in each of the chromosomes of an organism.

  

 

Importance of Human Genome Sequencing as a scientific breakthrough:

  • Advancing genetics: Human Genome Sequencing has revolutionized genetics by providing a comprehensive map of genetic information in human DNA.
    • This knowledge enhances our understanding of genetic diseases, hereditary traits, and human evolution.
  • Disease understanding: Genome sequencing has shed light on the genetic basis of numerous diseases, including cancer, rare genetic disorders, and complex conditions like diabetes and cardiovascular diseases.
    • INSACOG initiative of the Department of Biotechnology advocated Genome sequencing that allowed scientists to identify threats emerging from the COVID-19 pandemic and also how it spreads.
    • Identifying genetic diseases: it has huge potential in the field of genetic diseases. India has witnessed a rise in cases of diseases like Sickle cell anaemia, thalassemia etc.
  • Decreasing disease burden; genomic testing can help recognize what diseases people are at risk for so that could then also be quickly applied to the task of managing diseases in these groups as well as be used for genetic counselling that could reduce their incidence in future generations.
  • Vaccine development: Only genome sequencing can identify various mutations which further will help in vaccine development and testing.
  • Evolutionary insights: It provides insights into human evolution, ancestry, and migration patterns by comparing genomes from different populations and hominin species.
  • Personalised medicines: genome-wide association studies have enabled us to tailor the diagnostics and treatment of these diseases for individuals in the form of personalised medicine.
  • Precision medicine: By identifying genetic variations, researchers can tailor medical treatments and interventions to an individual’s unique genetic makeup.
    • This has the potential to enhance treatment efficacy and reduce adverse effects.

  

India’s contributions to Genome Sequencing research: Over the years, India has developed rigorous regulatory policies to oversee research and applications done in the field of genomics and genetics.

  • In the last 10 years, genetic testing in India has evolved by leaps and bounds, which can be recognized from the proliferation of genomic databases, such as Index-DB and, the Indian Genetic Disease Database (IGDD), to name a few.
  • Mapmygenome project: With a vision to “Touch 100 million lives”, Mapmygenome was established in 2013, heralding the advent of improved healthcare through genomics-based healthcare.
    • Mapmygenome also provides regular health checks and Covid testing along with Genomics in Hyderabad, Delhi and Bangalore.
  • Genome India project: Taking inspiration from the Human Genome Project, the Department of Biotechnology (DBT) initiated the ambitious “Genome India Project” (GIP) on 3rd January
    • The GIP aims to collect 10,000 genetic samples from citizens across India, to build a reference genome.
  • IndiGen initiative: The IndiGen initiative was undertaken by CSIR in April 2019. The objective is to enable genetic epidemiology and develop public health technology applications using population genome data.
    • This has enabled benchmarking the scalability of genome sequencing and computational analysis at a population scale in a defined timeline.

 

 Challenges faced by the Genome India Project:

  • Representative Diversity: Sequencing 10,000 genomes doesn’t fully represent India’s diverse population of over one billion, comprising around 4,500 population groups.
  • Complex Genetic Landscape: India’s history of endogamy within castes preserves rare, potentially harmful genetic variants, complicating genetic analysis.
  • Limitations of Monogenic Disease Focus: Most diseases are not monogenic (Monogenic refers to traits or diseases caused by variations in a single gene.), posing challenges in simplifying genetic research to establish direct disease links.
  • Affordability of Treatments: Even with identified genetic causes of diseases, treatments are often unaffordable for many.
  • Data Accessibility: Ensuring widespread access to project findings beyond academia is a significant challenge.
  • Additional challenges in data generation and analysis include issues of sample contamination, accuracy of genetic tests without genotype-phenotype correlations
  • Ethical concerns regarding sensitive genomic data sharing, data security, and privacy.

  

About the Human Genome Project:

The Human Genome Project (1990 to 20003) was an international scientific research project with the goal of determining the base pairs that make up human DNA, and of identifying, mapping and sequencing all of the genes of the human genome from both a physical and a functional standpoint.

 

Human Pangenome Project 

It is an International Alliance of genomics partners, that aims to create a Pangenome Reference representing the genetic diversity of the human population. It differs from the Human Genome Project in several ways:

  1. Inclusivity: Unlike the Human Genome Project’s focus on a limited set of populations, the Pangenome Project aims to encompass genetic variations from diverse populations worldwide.
  2. Graph-Based Representation: Unlike linear sequences used in the reference genome, the Pangenome is represented as a graph, acknowledging the dynamic nature of human genetics.
  3. Deeper Exploration: The Pangenome Project delves deeper into structural and rare genetic variants compared to the Human Genome Project.
  4. Error-free: The Pangenome map boasts high accuracy in representing genetic information, essential for reliable analyses and interpretations.

 

Conclusion

Genome India Project and Human Genome Sequencing exemplify the power of science to unravel the mysteries of our genetic code, offering hope for improved healthcare and a deeper understanding of our species’ genetic legacy. Its continued exploration and responsible application promise to shape the future of medicine and biology.

 

Mains Link:

 What is Genome Sequencing and what are its benefits? Also, enumerate the steps taken by India in this direction. (10M)

 

Prelims Links:

With reference to agriculture in India, how can the technique of ‘genome sequencing’, often seen in the news, be used in the immediate future? (UPSC 2017)

  1. Genome sequencing can be used to identify genetic markers for disease resistance and drought tolerance in various crop plants.
  2. This technique helps in reducing the time required to develop new varieties of crop plants.
  3. It can be used to decipher the host-pathogen relationships in crops.

 

Select the correct answer using the code given below:

(a) 1 only
(b) 2 and 3 only
(c) 1 and 3 only
(d) 1, 2 and 3

 

Ans: D

Sustainable Lifestyle

Content for Mains Enrichment (CME)

 

Source: PIB

Context: The United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA) adopted a resolution on sustainable lifestyles submitted by India, and co-sponsored by Sri Lanka and Bolivia.

 

The resolution acknowledges the 10-Year Framework of Programmes on Sustainable Consumption and Production (SCP), initiated at Rio+20 in 2012. This framework includes six programs covering areas such as

  1. Public procurement
  2. Consumer information
  3. Tourism
  4. Lifestyles
  5. Education
  6. Buildings and construction
  7. Food systems

 

Implemented by the One Planet Network, the resolution urges member states to promote collaboration between public and private sectors and to undertake education and awareness initiatives regarding sustainable lifestyles.

What is Sustainable Lifestyle?

 A sustainable lifestyle involves adopting behaviours and practices that minimize harm to the environment, promote social equity, and ensure economic prosperity for current and future generations. It encompasses:

  1. Conscious consumption
  2. Renewable energy use
  3. Waste reduction
  4. Eco-friendly transportation
  5. Ethical sourcing
  6. Responsible water usage

 

The goal is to maintain a balance between meeting present needs while preserving resources and ecosystems for future generations.

 

Mission LiFE, introduced by India at UNFCCC COP26 (Oct 2022), aims to encourage individual and community actions for environmental preservation. It operates in three phases: changing demand by nudging individuals towards eco-friendly practices, changing supply by enabling industries to meet this demand, and changing policy to support Sustainable Consumption and Production (SCP).

Critical and strategic minerals

Facts for Prelims (FFP)

 

Source: PIB

  

Context: The Union Cabinet, has approved the amendment of the Second Schedule to the Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Act, 1957.

  • This amendment specifies the royalty rates for 12 critical and strategic minerals, including Beryllium, Cadmium, Cobalt, Gallium, Indium, Rhenium, Selenium, Tantalum, Tellurium, Titanium, Tungsten, and Vanadium.
  • With this approval, the exercise of rationalizing royalty rates for all 24 critical and strategic minerals is completed.

About Critical and Strategic Minerals:

 

  • Critical and strategic minerals are those that are deemed essential for the economic and national security of a country due to their importance in various industrial sectors, including defence, energy, electronics, and manufacturing.
  • These minerals are crucial for the production of key technologies, such as renewable energy systems, electric vehicles, and advanced weaponry.
  • They are often characterized by their scarcity, high economic value, and irreplaceability in specific applications.

 

Temple Bill

Facts for Prelims (FFP)

 

Source: IE

 Context: The Karnataka Legislative Assembly passed the Karnataka Hindu Religious Institutions and Charitable Endowments (Amendment) Bill, 2024, after it was previously defeated in the Legislative Council by the BJP-JD(S) alliance.

  • The bill proposes the creation of a Common Pool Fund under the Hindu Religious Institutions and Charitable Endowments Department to support religious activities in the state.
  • The amendment requires temples with incomes above Rs one crore to contribute 10%, those with incomes between Rs 10 lakh to one crore to contribute five per cent, and temples with incomes below Rs 10 lakh are exempt from contributions.

 

Constitutional Provisions for passing of bills: 

  • According to Article 197 of the constitution, if a bill is rejected by the Legislative Council for the first time, the Legislative Assembly has the option to pass the bill again, with or without the amendments suggested by the Legislative Council.
  • Once the bill is passed for the second time by the Legislative Assembly, it is sent back to the Legislative Council.
  • The bill is considered to have been passed by both houses if the Legislative Council either rejects the bill, takes no action on it for more than one month, or passes the bill with amendments to which the Legislative Assembly does not agree.

Temple regulation in India:

  1. Article 25(2) of the constitution allows states to enact laws for regulating the secular activities of religious places and for social welfare, reform, or the opening of Hindu religious institutions to all sections of Hindus.
  2. The management of religious endowments and institutions falls under the concurrent list of the Constitution, meaning that both the central and state governments have the authority to legislate on this matter.

PM Janjati Adivasi Nyay Maha Abhiyaan (PM-JANMAN)

Facts for Prelims (FFP)

 

Source: TH

 Context: The housing component of the PM Janjati Adivasi Nyay Maha Abhiyaan (PM-JANMAN) is facing hurdles due to discrepancies in data on Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups (PVTGs).

  • The government set a target of sanctioning 2.5 lakh houses by February 15 but only 1.59 lakh houses could be sanctioned due to challenges in collecting accurate beneficiary data.

 

PM Janjati Adivasi Nyay Maha Abhiyaan (PM-JANMAN) is a government initiative launched in India with the aim of addressing the needs and welfare of tribal communities, particularly those living below the poverty line (BPL)

The initiative was announced in the Union Budget speech of 2023.

PM-JANMAN encompasses various schemes and programs aimed at improving the lives of tribal populations, including housing, healthcare, education, and economic development.

National Electronic Funds Transfer (NEFT)

Facts for Prelims (FFP)

 

Source: TNIE

  

Context: Recently, the National Electronic Funds Transfer (NEFT) system processed a record 4.10 crore transactions, marking the highest number of transactions processed in a single day.

  • The NEFT system, along with the Real Time Gross Settlement (RTGS) system, is managed by the Reserve Bank of India for settling retail and wholesale payments, respectively.
  • Both NEFT and RTGS have been operating on a 24x7x365 basis.

BHARAT TEX 2024

Facts for Prelims (FFP)

 

Source: PIB

 

 Context: Bharat Tex 2024, India’s largest textile event, concluded after four days of showcasing over 100 product announcements, international Memoranda of Understanding (MoUs), investment decisions, and research collaborations.

  • The event attracted 3,000 buyers from over 100 countries and saw participation from over 10,000 artisans, weavers, students, factory workers, NGOs, and producer companies.
  • Bharat Tex 2024 also served as a platform for launching various initiatives and projects, including IndiaTEX and the Textile Grand Innovation Challenge, aimed at fostering innovation and sustainability in India’s textile industry.

 

About IndiaTEX:

 The project ‘Accelerating the Transition of the Indian Textile Sector towards Circularity’ (IndiaTex) is a four-year initiative funded by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark and implemented in collaboration with the Government of India’s Ministry of Textiles.

 

  • IndiaTex aims to expedite the transition of the Indian textile sector towards circularity.
  • The project, spanning from December 2023 to December 2027, will focus on working with industry stakeholders, including small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and textile clusters.
  • Specific objectives include supporting SMEs in calculating their Product Environmental Footprint (PEF), assisting SME brands in adopting circular business models, and collaborating with the Indian government to develop and implement circular textile policies.

BioTRIG

Facts for Prelims (FFP)

 

Source: DTE

 Context: A recent study introduces a waste management technology called ‘BioTRIG,’ utilizing pyrolysis at the community level in rural India.

  • This process converts organic waste into useful products like bio-oil, syngas, and biochar fertilizer.
  • The BioTRIG system aims to address various rural challenges, including indoor air pollution, soil degradation, and lack of reliable electricity.

Reintroduction of Tigers

Facts for Prelims (FFP)

 

Source: DD News

 Context: India and Cambodia Forge Alliance to Restore Tigers in Cambodia, drawing from India’s expertise in Project Tiger.

The last record of a tiger in Cambodia was from a camera trap in 2007 and the big cats were declared “functionally extinct” in Cambodia in 2016, and are now extinct, requiring active reintroduction and reinforcement to rebuild the population.

Samudra Laksamana

Facts for Prelims (FFP)

 

Source: PIB

 Context: India and Malaysia conducted the bilateral maritime exercise Samudra Laksamana from February 28 to March 2, 2024, in Visakhapatnam. The exercise involves the Indian Naval Ship Kiltan and the Royal Malaysian Ship KD Lekir.

 

Other exercises between India and Malaysia:

Exercise Harimau Shakti: This is a bilateral military exercise between the Indian Army and the Malaysian Army, aimed at enhancing cooperation and interoperability in counter-terrorism and jungle warfare.

 

Agalega Atoll (Mauritius)

Mapping

 

Source: IE

Context: The Prime Ministers of India and Mauritius have jointly inaugurated an airstrip and the St James Jetty on North Agaléga Island in the Indian Ocean.

  

The joint inauguration signifies:

For Mauritius:

  • Economic benefits: Reduced travel time, job creation, and tapping into tourism potential.
  • Strategic advantages: Enhanced maritime surveillance and security capabilities through Coast Guard deployment.

 

For India:

  • Strengthening India-Mauritius relations: Enhanced goodwill and multi-dimensional cooperation.
  • Geostrategic significance: Supports India’s SAGAR initiative, counters China’s “string of pearls” strategy (by India’s “Necklace of Diamond”), enhances Indian Ocean surveillance, and reinforces India’s role as a peace provider in the region.

 

About Agaléga

It is a atoll, comprising two islands, North and South Agalega. It is governed by Mauritius and used by India for various purposes. Despite this, it remains under the sovereignty of Mauritius. A 2015 memorandum of understanding on India–Mauritius military cooperation envisaged developing the Agaléga islands for an Indian military base.

Note: An atoll is a ring-shaped coral reef, island, or series of islets that encircle a lagoon, often found in warm, tropical waters.

 

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