Insights Daily Current Affairs, 30 March 2017

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Insights Daily Current Affairs, 30 March 2017


 

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

 

IMD trains states to deal with heatwaves as temperatures rise

 

Anticipating a structural shift in the country’s weather, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) is training state governments to improve their mitigation preparedness to cope with the persistent heatwaves.

heat wave

What’s being done?

IMD has tied up with state disaster management commissioners and health secretaries to formulate plans in the face of large casualties from heatwave conditions. The National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA), on its part, has prepared a standard operating procedure template and a sequence of actions to be triggered during a severe heatwave.

 

What necessitates this move?

Temperatures across India have been rising on an average of 0.7 degrees every decade, according to IMD, with 2016 the hottest so far.

  • Heatwave guidelines will facilitate the stakeholders in preparing a heatwave management and action plan by providing insight into the heat-related illnesses and the necessary mitigative and response actions to be taken.
  • It will help in mobilizing and coordinating various departments, individuals and communities to protect themselves against avoidable health problems during spells of very hot weather.

 

What are heatwaves?

While there are nuances and region-specific differences, the IMD broadly defines a heat wave as when a place’s temperature is 5-6 degrees above normal.

They are usually defined as conditions triggered by the temperature rising to more than 45 degrees Celsius. When temperatures soar above 47 degrees Celsius, it is known as a severe heatwave.

 

Who will be affected?

The people most affected by heatwaves are the homeless, farmers, policemen, construction workers, postmen and vegetable vendors—i.e, those who live or work outdoors. Severe heatwave conditions in the past have resulted in school and college vacations being extended.

 

The health impacts of Heat Waves typically involve dehydration, heat cramps, heat exhaustion and/or heat stroke. The signs and symptoms are as follows:

  • Heat Cramps: Ederna (swelling) and Syncope (Fainting) generally accompanied by fever below 39*C i.e.102*F.
  • Heat Exhaustion: Fatigue, weakness, dizziness, headache, nausea, vomiting, muscle cramps and sweating.
  • Heat Stoke: Body temperatures of 40*C i.e. 104*F or more along with delirium, seizures or coma. This is a potential fatal condition.

 

Sources: the hindu.


 

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

 

New accident recording format

 

A new Road Accident Data Recording and Reporting Format has been rolled out by the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MoRTH) with a view to moving closer towards an accurate, consistent, and objective road accident database.

The comprehensive recording and reporting format, to be executed by all States and Union Territories, is aimed at bringing out the underlying real cause of the road accident so that stakeholders can take corrective and preventive steps.

 

About the new format:

  • The recording format, to be filled in by the police at the site of the accident, has five sections specifically to record primary data on road accidents (and not to replace the FIR), capturing the actual circumstances of the accident.
  • The five sections are: accident identification details, road-related details, vehicles involved in accident, driver’s details, and persons other than drivers involved in accident.
  • As many as 55 indices, including weather condition, GPS location, surface condition of road, road type, speed limit, visibility at the time of accident, physical divider, ongoing road works, and use of safety device, have been incorporated in the new recording form.
  • The new format will help in finding out real cause, help thorough investigation and implement road safety measures in accident sites.

 

Way ahead:

Chief secretaries and State Police Chiefs have been asked to take steps to furnish the road accident details in the new format from this calendar year.

 

Sources: the hindu.


 

Paper 3 Topic: Infrastructure: Energy, Ports, Roads, Airports, Railways etc.

 

India becomes Net Exporter of Electricity for the first Time

 

As per Central Electricity Authority, the Designated Authority of Government of India for Cross Border Trade of Electricity, 1st time India has turned around from a net importer of electricity to Net Exporter of electricity.

  • During the current year 2016-17 (April to February 2017), India has exported around 5,798 Million Units to Nepal, Bangladesh and Myanmar which is 213 Million units more than the import of around 5,585 Million units from Bhutan. Export to Nepal and Bangladesh increased 2.5 and 2.8 times respectively in last three years.

electricity

Import of power:

Ever since the cross border trade of electricity started in mid-Eighties, India has been importing power from Bhutan and marginally exporting to Nepal in radial mode at 33 kV and 132 kV from Bihar and Uttar Pradesh. On an average Bhutan has been supplying around 5,000- 5500 Million units to India.

 

Export of power:

  • India has been exporting around 190 MW power to Nepal over 12 cross border interconnections at 11kV, 33kV and 132 kV level. The export of power to Nepal further increased by around 145 MW with commissioning of Muzaffarpur (India)– Dhalkhebar(Nepal) 400kV line (being operated at 132 kV) in 2016.
  • Export of power to Bangladesh from India got further boost with commissioning of 1st cross border Interconnection between Baharampur in India and Bheramara in Bangladesh at 400kV in September 2013. It was further augmented by commissioning of 2nd cross border Interconnection between Surjyamaninagar (Tripura) in India and South Comilla in Bangladesh. At present around 600 MW power is being exported to Bangladesh.
  • Export of power to Nepal is expected to increase by around 145 MW shortly over 132 kV Katiya (Bihar)– Kusaha (Nepal) and 132 kV Raxaul (Bihar)– Parwanipur (Nepal).

 

About Central Electricity Authority:

The Central Electricity Authority of India (CEA) is a statutory organisation constituted under section 3(1) of Electricity Supply Act 1948, which has been superseded by section 70(1) of the Electricity Act 2003. The CEA advises the government on matters relating to the National Electricity Policy and formulates short-term and perspective plans for the development of electricity systems.

  • Under the Electricity Act 2003, CEA prescribes the standards on matters such as construction of electrical plants, electric lines and connectivity to the grid, installation and operation of meters and safety and grid standards.
  • The CEA is also responsible for concurrence of hydro power development schemes of central, state and private sectors taking into consideration the factors which will result in efficient development of the river and its tributaries for power generation, consistent with the requirement of drinking water, irrigation, navigation and flood control.

 

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.

 

Chinese city announces punishments for VPN users

 

Southwest China’s Chongqing Municipality, the most populous and also the largest direct-controlled municipality, has announced a new regulation to punish unauthorised Internet connections outside China’s Great Firewall (GF) using VPNs by individuals in the region.

China's Great Firewall

Key facts:

  • The new regulation aims to strengthen China’s rule of law and cyberspace security.
  • Under the new rules, if an individual accesses international network privately or via “illegal channels,” or offers related services without authorisation, they could be fined up to 15,000 yuan ($2,178). Those who violate the regulation to make profits would be fined and their gains confiscated accordingly.

 

What is China’s Great Firewall?

The GF is built over the years by China to regulate the Internet content and restrict access to all the banned contents including access to global social media sites like Twitter, Facebook, Youtube and Google.

 

What necessitated this move?

There are 700 million Internet users in China, more than half of its population, and Internet news circulated by social media platforms like Weibo has become more popular than the state-controlled mainstream media making the ruling Communist Party of China (CPC) to beef up controls on the Internet to ensure that its monopoly over power is not challenged.

While VPNs are used widely by diplomatic and foreign media in China to access world wide Internet, the special applications designed to beat the GF being marketed by several Internet firms abroad are becoming popular among Chinese too.

Also, China pitches for “cyber sovereignty” moving away from global Internet.

 

Sources: et.


 

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

 

FSSAI performance comes under CAG scanner 

 

In a first, the Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) is doing a comprehensive performance audit of the country’s food regulator, FSSAI.

  • CAG’s audit is looking at issues such as how FSSAI fixes standards, finalizes regulations, approves products, ensures compliance and conducts surveillance.
  • This is a fairly comprehensive audit and is being done for the first time since the regulator came into existence.

cag audit

Background:

The audit of the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) comes against the backdrop of the food regulator’s controversial decision to ban manufacturing and sales of Maggi noodles—a popular snack sold by Swiss company Nestle in India—in 2015.

 

What was the issue?

After the crackdown on Maggi, questions were raised on FSSAI’s capabilities and operations including things like product approval process, one of the primary things the regulator used to do. The Bombay high court in July 2015 asked FSSAI to justify its actions against the noodle brand.

  • On 13 August 2015, the Bombay high court set aside the ban imposed by FSSAI on Maggi noodles and asked Nestlé to retest samples at three laboratories certified by the National Accreditation Board for Testing and Calibration Laboratories (NABL).
  • On 5 November, Nestlé India said its Maggi noodles received clearance from three laboratories certified by NABL and relaunched the popular snack on 9 November 2015.

 

Significance of this move:

An audit like this will eventually help the organization enhance its performance. It would find out the loopholes, highlight what the regulator should do to cover up those.

 

About FSSAI:

FSSAI was set up in August 2011 under the Food Safety and Standard Act, 2006.

  • It has powers to lay down standards for food articles and to regulate their manufacturing, storage, distribution, sale and import.
  • Some of its activities include licencing and surveillance of food and beverages outlets, enforcement of safety regulations across registered food vendors and ensuring safety of imported food items, their standards and labelling.

 

Sources: pib.


 

Paper 2 Topic: Important International institutions, agencies and fora, their structure, mandate.

 

U.N. picks former U.S. state governor to run World Food Programme  

 

United Nations chief Antonio Guterres has appointed former South Carolina Governor David Beasley to run the Rome-based World Food Programme (WFP). He will replace Etharin Cousin.

wfp

About WFP:

The World Food Programme (WFP) is the food assistance branch of the United Nations and the world’s largest humanitarian organization addressing hunger and promoting food security. The WFP strives to eradicate hunger and malnutrition, with the ultimate goal in mind of eliminating the need for food aid itself.

  • It is a member of the United Nations Development Group and part of its Executive Committee.
  • Born in 1961, WFP pursues a vision of the world in which every man, woman and child has access at all times to the food needed for an active and healthy life.
  • The WFP is governed by an Executive Board which consists of representatives from member states.
  • The WFP operations are funded by voluntary donations from world governments, corporations and private donors.
  • WFP food aid is also directed to fight micronutrient deficiencies, reduce child mortality, improve maternal health, and combat disease, including HIV and AIDS.

 

Sources: the hindu.


 

Facts for Prelims:

 

SAW (single actuator wave-like robot):

  • It is a tiny, ingestible 3D-printed snake-like robot that can navigate through the small intestines, and could one day be used to visualise the digestive system in real time.
  • The robot moves in a wave-like motion and can travel through the extremely squishy environment of the small intestine.
  • The external shape of the robot is a 2D projection of a rotating helix. The result is a continuously moving wave.
  • The direction of the robot can be reversed by reversing the direction of rotation of the motor.