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Insights Daily Current Events, 03 August 2015

Insights Daily Current Events, 03 August 2015

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03 August 2015

India will be world’s most populous country in 2022: U.N.

According to the 2015 revision to the U.N.’s World Population Projections, which was released recently, in seven years, India will surpass China to become the world’s most populous country and will have 1.7 billion residents by 2050.

Details of the study:

  • The study says that the world population reached 7.3 billion as of mid-2015, adding approximately one billion people in the past 12 years. The world population, however, is growing slower now; 10 years ago, the growth rate was 1.24% a year, but now, it is growing by 1.18%, or approximately, an additional 83 million people annually.
  • It will take 15 years to add the next billion people, taking the world population to 8.5 billion in 2030. By 2050, the world will have 9.7 billion people and 11.2 billion by 2100.
  • As a region, Africa will have its population — propelled to a large extent by Nigeria which will be the third largest populated country in the world in 2050 overtaking the United States.
  • The population of 48 countries, most of them in Europe and including Japan, will in contrast shrink between 2015 and 2050.
  • The median age of the global population — that is, the age at which half the population is older and half is younger — is 29.6. About one-quarter (26 %) of the world’s people are under 15 years of age, 62%are aged 15 to 59, and 12% 60 or above.
  • India is younger than the world; the median age is a full three years younger and 28.8% are under the age of 15, while just 8.9% are 60 or over. By 2050, India will have aged significantly, and the share of people over 60 will be twice as big, while the median age will be 37.3.
  • China’s population will start declining by the 2030s, while India’s is projected to decline only after 2069 when its population is around 1.75 billion.

Fertility rate in India:

Demographic experts say the U.N.’s projections may not be keeping pace with the speed at which India is reducing its fertility. As of 2013, India’s total fertility rate (average number of children per woman) was down to 2.3. However, the U.N. projects a rate of 2.34 for 2015-20. With the fertility rate of 2.3, India could reach replacement fertility levels — when every woman has just enough children to replace the parents on average — by 2020, but the U.N. projections would see this happening around a decade later.

As of mid-2015, India had 1.31 billion people. Eleven States have already achieved replacement fertility levels.

Sources: The Hindu.

Bihar bans 11 noodle brands

After Maggi, the Bihar government has banned sale, advertisement and storage of 11 other brands of instant noodles after lab tests found presence of monosodium glutamate in them.

  • During tests it was found that one of the 11 brands also contained lead over permissible limit.
  • Nestle’s ‘Maggi’ noodles has been banned in Bihar since June 5.

Why Maggi was banned?

Some Maggi noodles samples were reportedly found to contain higher-than-permissible levels of monosodium glutamate (MSG). Maggi noodles has been at the centre of controversy since laboratory tests ordered by Uttar Pradesh food inspectors in June 2015 on a batch of the popular snack allegedly found eight times as much lead as permissible.

About Monosodium glutamate (MSG):

  • It is one of the most common, naturally occurring non-essential amino acid, which is found in tomatoes, Parmesan cheese, potatoes, mushrooms, and other vegetables and fruits.
  • In the food industry, it is used as a taste enhancer that increases the meaty, savoury flavor of food.
  • Although the U.S Food and Drug Administration recognises MSG as safe, it is considered far more harmful in India. It has long-term effects, but show signs of discomfort among sensitive people whenever consumed.
  • Typical MSG complaints include: Burning sensations of the mouth, head and neck Headaches Weakness of the arms or legs Upset stomach Hives or other allergic-type reactions with the skin.
  • Scientists have also discovered that the compound can destroy Retina and parts of the Brain. It can also lead to nervous disorders and radical hormone fluctuations.
  • Many studies have also shown that it is particularly harmful for pregnant women and nursing mothers as infants and very young children are susceptible to brain damage and underdevelopment.

Sources: The Hindu, Wiki.

FCI gets Rs.13,000 cr as food subsidy

To ensure smooth procurement and distribution of grains, the government has released Rs.13,000 crore as food subsidy to state-owned Food Corporation of India (FCI).

  • The corporation is facing a subsidy arrear of above Rs.55,000 crore as of March 31, 2015.
  • For 2015-16, the government has allocated Rs.97,000 crore as food subsidy to FCI against an estimated bill of Rs.1,18,000 crore.
  • In 2014-15, the government had allocated Rs.92,000 crore as food subsidy, out of which Rs. 91,995.35 crore was given to FCI. The subsidy incurred in the year was Rs. 1,02,476 crore.
  • The bulk of the food subsidy is paid to FCI for running the public distribution system (PDS).

About the Food Corporation of India (FCI):

It was set up in 1965 under the Food Corporations Act 1964 to implement the following objectives of the National Food Policy :

  • Effective price support operations for safeguarding the interests of the farmers.
  • Distribution of foodgrains throughout the country for Public Distribution System.
  • Maintaining satisfactory level of operational and buffer stocks of foodgrains to ensure National Food Security
  • Regulate market price to provide foodgrains to consumers at a reliable price

FCI is the main agency for procurement, storage and distribution of food grains.

Sources: The Hindu, Wiki.

Experts favour pre-exposure anti-rabies vaccination in Kerala

Public health experts in Kerala have mooted the idea of pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) vaccination for rabies, especially for children, as Kerala is a rabies-endemic area and there seems to be no solution in sight to check the burgeoning stray dog population.

Pre – exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) for rabies:

  • Pre-exposure prophylaxis for rabies is normally recommended for those whose occupation frequently puts them at risk of animal bites, like veterinarians or animal handlers.
  • PrEP is a strategy encouraged by the World Health Organisation in areas where canine rabies is a major public health problem.
  • The biggest advantage of PrEP is that even if a person is later exposed to a severe animal bite he will not require the costly, life-saving rabies immunoglobulin (RIG) or serum.
  • Experts say that this strategy is suitable to bring down deaths caused by accidental dog bites and in the long-term, could be a better investment for the government.

In Kerala:

  • The incidence of animal bites has gone in Kerala by three times between 2009 and 2015.
  • PrEP, as a strategy to prevent rabies, is especially important in a State like Kerala where people are lax about regularly vaccinating domestic dogs.
  • About 60% of the animal bites which ends in rabies death are caused by domestic dogs. Rabies is one disease which can be prevented through timely immunisation, even after one is exposed to the virus.
  • Kerala annually spends more money — Rs. 8 crore — on rabies vaccine and serum than it does on anti-cancer drugs (Rs. 5.25 cr). This is however, a far cry from what the government used to spend on the same in 2009, which was Rs. 36 crore.
  • The budgetary spend was brought down after 2009, when rabies vaccination through the intra-dermal route (IDRV) — as against the traditional intra-muscular route — was introduced in public health facilities.
  • The government also moved away from the expensive human rabies serum (which would cost Rs. 20,000) to equine serum, which cost only Rs. 1,500 per person.

Sources: The Hindu.

Pakistan becomes member of CERN

The European Organisation for Nuclear Research, known as CERN, has formally conferred its associate membership on Pakistan, following completion of required internal ratification process by it.

  • Pakistan can now participate in the governance of CERN, by attending meetings of its council. It will also allow the Pakistani industry to bid for CERN contracts.

About CERN:  

The European Organization for Nuclear Research, known as CERN is a European research organization that operates the largest particle physics laboratory in the world. The CERN convention was signed in 1953 by the 12 founding states and entered into force on 29 September 1954.

  • It has 22 European member states. Israel is the first (and currently only) non-European country granted full membership.
  • Member states have special duties and privileges. They make a contribution to the capital and operating costs of CERN’s programmes, and are represented in the council, responsible for all important decisions about the organization and its activities.
  • CERN’s main function is to provide the particle accelerators and other infrastructure needed for high-energy physics research – as a result, numerous experiments have been constructed at CERN as a result of international collaborations.
  • CERN is also the place the World Wide Web was first implemented.
  • It also operates the Large Hadron Collider (LHC).
  • Some states (or international organizations) for which membership is either not possible or not yet feasible are observers. “Observer” status allows non-member states to attend council meetings and to receive council documents, without taking part in the decision-making procedures of the organization.
  • Observer states and organizations currently involved in CERN programmes include the European Commission, India, Japan, the Russian Federation, Turkey, UNESCO and the USA.

India and CERN:

  • Currently, India has observer status in CERN, which has 22 member states.
  • To be an associate member, India will have to pay $10.7 million annually. The status of associate member is also the pre-stage to full membership.
  • The associate membership will open the doors of mega science experiments for Indian scientists and will also allow Indian industry to participate in bids for Cern contracts across various sectors. India was given “Observer” status in Cern in 2002.

Sources: The Hindu, cern.

Sania Mirza Recommended for Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award by Sports Ministry

The Union Sports Ministry has confirmed that Wimbledon doubles champion Sania Mirza has been recommended for the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna but made it clear that the final decision rests with only the Awards Committee.

  • Sania won her career’s first ever women’s doubles Grand Slam title with Swiss partner Martina Hingis in June. She also became world number one before winning the Grass Court major.

About Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award:

  • It is India’s highest honour given for achievement in sports, given by the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports, government of India.
  • It carries a medal, a scroll of honour and a substantial cash component.

The Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports, in February 2015, revised the Schemes of Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award, Arjuna Award, Dhyan Chand Award and Dronacharya Awards. Under the revised scheme, for Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna, Arjuna Awards and Dronacharya Awards, the weightage for performance in sports events has been reduced from 90% to 80% and weightage of marks to be given by the Selection Committee for factors like profile and standard of sports events has been increased from 10% to 20%. This will increase say of the Selection Committee in the process of selection and give sufficient paly to the profile and standard of sports events in determination of awardees.

Sources: The Hindu, PIB.

Insights Secure Prelims 2015

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