Insights Daily Current Affairs, 20 November 2017
GS Paper 1:
Topic: Urbanization, their problems and their remedies.
World Toilet Day 2017
Context: World Toilet Day was celebrated on November 19th.
About the World Toilet Day:
What is it?
In 2013, the United Nations General Assembly officially designated November 19 as World Toilet Day. World Toilet Day is coordinated by UN-Water in collaboration with governments and partners. World Toilet Day is about inspiring action to tackle the global sanitation crisis.
By 2030, the Sustainable Development Goals, specifically SDG #6, aim to reach everyone with sanitation, and halve the proportion of untreated wastewater and increase recycling and safe reuse.
2017 theme: Wastewater.
The global sanitation crisis is reflected in the following facts, according to reports from the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF):
- Around 60% of the global population – 4.5 billion people – either have no toilet at home or one that doesn’t safely manage excreta.
- 862 million people worldwide still practise open defecation.
- Billions of people use an unimproved source of drinking water with no protection against contamination from faeces.
- Globally, 80% of the wastewater generated by society flows back into the ecosystem without being treated or reused.
- Only 39% of the global population (2.9 billion people) use a safely-managed sanitation service, that is, excreta safely disposed of in situ or treated off-site.
- Combined with safe water and good hygiene, improved sanitation could prevent around 842,000 deaths each year.
GS Paper 2:
Topic: 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.
Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Bill
The Union Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment has decided to junk the recommendations of a parliamentary committee report which was the first ever government document to recognize the rights of transgender persons to partnerships and marriage, so that they were no longer criminalized under IPC Section 377, apart from offering other rights.
The ministry is set to re-introduce its original version of The Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Bill, in the next session of Parliament.
Recommendations made by the Parliamentary panel:
- The parliamentary panel report had faulted the government’s Bill for its failure to address several crucial issues. Noting that “Transgender persons remain at risk of criminalisation under Section 377”, it asked that the Bill must recognise their civil rights such as marriage, divorce, adoption, whether under personal or secular laws.
- It had also recommended to accord legal recognition and protection from Section 377 to, if not all sexual minorities, at least transgender persons whose welfare comes under the Social Justice Ministry.
- The panel had also asked for reservations, strong provisions against discrimination, penalties on government officials who subject transgender persons to any kind of violence, skill training to wean them off begging, and separate public toilets for them.
- Going beyond rights and welfare, the panel report also addressed the issue of sexual identity. It asked for provisions that provide “penal action against abortions of intersex foetuses and forced surgical assignment of sex of intersex infants.”
- Most importantly, it redefined several terms in the Bill. To recognise alternative family structures such as adoptions of transgender children by the the Hijra or Aravani communities, it defined family in the Bill as “a group of people related by blood, marriage or by adoption of a transgender person”.
The transgender community is one of the most marginalized in the country because they don’t fit into existing gender categories. Consequently, they face problems ranging from social exclusion to discrimination, lack of education facilities, unemployment, and lack of medical facilities. Census 2011 records the population of ‘others (people who do not identify themselves either as male or female)’ at 4.87 lakh while a 2011 survey by NGO Salvation of Oppressed Eunuchs put their number at 19 lakh.
Sources: the hindu.
Topic: Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources.
Health ministers, NGOs, and private sector representatives from 120 countries adopted the Moscow Declaration at the recently held first WHO Global Ministerial Conference on Ending Tuberculosis in the Sustainable Development Era. India is among the signatories to the declaration that WHO director-general Dr Tedros Ghebreyesus described in his address as a “milestone in the history of TB”.
During the conference, collective commitment was proposed to ramp up action on four fronts:
- Move rapidly to achieve universal health coverage by strengthening health systems and improving access to people-centered TB prevention and care, ensuring no one is left behind.
- Mobilize sufficient and sustainable financing through increased domestic and international investments to close gaps in implementation and research.
- Advance research and development of new tools to diagnose, treat, and prevent TB.
- Build accountability through a framework to track and review progress on ending TB, including multisectoral approaches.
About Moscow declaration:
What is it?
The Moscow Declaration to End TB is a promise to increase multi-sectoral action as well as track progress, and build accountability. It will also inform the first UN General Assembly High-Level Meeting on TB in 2018, which will seek further commitments from heads of state.
The Moscow declaration emphasised the need for fixing multisectoral responsibility towards ending TB by 2035, the global target. It also said that multi-drug resistant TB would be tackled as a national public health crisis.
Need for global attention:
Global efforts to combat TB have saved an estimated 53 million lives since 2000 and reduced the TB mortality rate by 37%. However, progress in many countries has stalled, global targets are off-track, and persistent gaps remain in TB care and prevention.
As a result, TB still kills more people than any other infectious disease. There are major problems associated with antimicrobial resistance, and it is the leading killer of people with HIV. One of the main problems has been a lack of political will and inadequate investment in fighting TB.
Topic: Important International institutions, agencies and fora, their structure, mandate.
International Committee of Military Medicine (ICMM)
The 42nd World Congress of the International Committee of Military Medicine (ICMM) was recently organised by the Armed Forces Medical Services (AFMS) under the aegis of the Ministry of Defence (MoD). The event is being organised for the first time in India, and is the largest medical conference ever organised by the AFMS. Around 350-400 foreign delegates from 80 countries are attending the event.
The theme of this 42nd World Congress is “Military Medicine in Transition: Looking Ahead.”
What is it?
The ICMM is an international inter-governmental organisation created in 1921 with its secretariat at Brussels in Belgium and currently has 112 nations as members.
When and why was it established?
The ICMM was established after World War I had revealed the lack of care provided to victims and the need to strengthen cooperation between the health services of the armed forces worldwide.
The main objective of the ICMM is to ensure that our medical services personnel have the means to work together, using similar practices, in operations involving international cooperation. This is a long-term goal, and the ICMM can work towards achieving this in a number of ways: by encouraging activities at which scientific and technical experience is shared, by developing contacts with the scientific community, by promoting regional events. This will enable us to pool our resources and work experience of military medicine, both in the theatre of operations and in a support role in the case of crisis situations.
GS Paper 3:
Topic: Awareness in the fields of IT, Space, Computers, robotics, nano-technology, bio-technology and issues relating to intellectual property rights.
NOAA’s JPSS-1 satellite
The Joint Polar Satellite System-1, an advanced U.S. weather satellite designed to improve the accuracy of extended forecasts has been launched into polar orbit from California.
About the Joint Polar Satellite System-1:
What is it?
The satellite is the first of four next-generation spacecraft for NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
What is it for?
Circling the Earth from pole to pole 14 times a day, JPSS-1 carries a suite of five instruments intended to make global observations that will improve forecasts of severe weather events three to seven days beforehand. The satellite also will contribute to near-term weather forecasts, climate and ocean dynamics research, among many other uses.
The satellite will improve weather forecasting, such as predicting a hurricane’s track, and will help agencies involved with post-storm recovery by visualizing storm damage and the geographic extent of power outages. JPSS-1 data will also improve recognition of climate patterns that influence the weather, such as El Nino and La Nina.
Sources: the hindu.
Facts for Prelims:
- Namami Barak festival:
The first ever Namami Barak festival was celebrated on November 18th at Barak Valley in Assam.
What is it?
Namami Barak is an attempt to pay tribute to the River Barak and to showcase of Barak’s potential and possibilities to emerge as a hub of trade and commerce. The cultural heritage of the valley together with its cuisine, fauna and flora, socio-economic and civic splendor were showcased before the global audience during the festival.
About Barak river:
The Barak River is one of the major rivers of South Assam and is a part of the Surma-Meghna River System. It rises in Manipur State, where it is the biggest and the most important of the hill country rivers. After Manipur it flows through Mizoram and into Assam, ending after 564 kilometres just after it enters Bangladesh where it forks into the Surma and Kushiyara rivers.
- Indira Gandhi Prize:
Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh will be the recipient of this year’s Indira Gandhi Prize for Peace, Disarmament and Development.
About the award:
The award is given annually to individuals and organisations in recognition of creative efforts toward promoting international peace, development and a new international economic order, ensuring that scientific discoveries are used for the larger good of humanity, and enlarging the scope of freedom. The award, comprising a cash prize of ₹25 lakh and a citation, was instituted by the Indira Gandhi Memorial trust in 1986.
- Gleadovia konyakianorum:
Scientists have discovered a new species of parasitic flowering plant. The species is named Gleadovia konyakianorum, in honour of the Konyak tribe of Nagas.
- The plant is a holoparasite [complete parasite] that derives its entire nutritional requirement from the host plant, which is a Strobilanthes species.
- Though it has no chlorophyll, the plant has a vascular system and extracts its nutrition from the host plant with the help of a haustorium. A haustorium is a specialised structure with which plant parasites attach themselves to the tissue of host plants and derive nutrition.
- The new plant species is a root parasite that grows up to 10 cm in height, and bears white, tubular flowers. Interestingly, this is only the fourth species from the genus Gleadovia to be found in the world. The other three are Gleadovia banerjiana (discovered in Manipur), Gleadovia mupinense (found in China) and Gleadovia ruborum (discovered in Uttarakhand and also reported from China).
- World’s biggest toilet pot model unveiled at ‘Trump village’:
World’s biggest toilet pot model was recently unveiled at Marora, popularly known as the “Trump village”, in Haryana on the World Toilet Day in a bid to create awareness towards sanitation and use of toilets.