Insights Daily Current Affairs, 22 May 2018
Topic: Women related issues.
Context: INSV Tarini has completed a historic global Circumnavigation. This is the first-ever Indian circumnavigation of the globe by an all-women crew.
The expedition titled ‘Navika Sagar Parikrama’ is in consonance with the National policy to empower women to attain their full potential. It has showcased ‘Nari Shakti’ on the world platform and helped change societal attitudes and mindset towards women in India by raising visibility of their participation in challenging environs.
About the Journey:
- During her 254 day long voyage, the vessel has covered over 22,000 Nautical miles, visiting five countries – Australia, New Zealand, Falkland Islands (UK), South Africa and Mauritius.
- During the course of her voyage, the vessel has met all criteria of circumnavigation, viz. crossing the Equator twice, crossing all Longitudes, as also the three great capes (Cape Leeuwin, Cape Horn and Cape of Good Hope).
- The expedition was covered in six legs, with halts at 5 ports: Fremantle (Australia), Lyttleton (New Zealand), Port Stanley (Falklands), Cape Town (South Africa) and Port Louis (Mauritius).
INSV Tarini is a 56 foot sailing vessel built in India by M/s Aquarius Shipyard Pvt Ltd, Goa. It was inducted into the Indian Navy recently in February 2017. It has Raymarine navigation suite and an array of satellite communication systems for perfect navigation anywhere in the world. It showcases the ‘Make in India’ initiative on the International forum.
For Prelims: INSV Tarini, Navika Sagar Parikrama, Nari Shakti and Criteria of circumnavigation.
Sources: the hindu.
Topic : Issues related to health.
Context: Kerala health department is on high alert in the wake of deaths due to the ‘Nipah’ virus (NiV). The government has set up a task force to monitor the cases and contain the spread of this fast spreading virus which has a reported mortality rate of 70%.
What is Nipah Virus?
According to WHO, the Nipah virus infection is a newly emerging zoonosis, that is, a disease transmitted from animals to humans. The virus belongs to a new genus termed Henipavirus (subfamily Paramyxovirinae).
The natural host of the virus are fruit bats belonging to the family Pteropodidae. In 2004, humans were affected after eating the date palm contaminated by infected fruit bats. Pigs can also act as intermediate hosts.
When was it first reported?
It was first identified in 1998 at Kampung Sungai Nipah village, Malaysia. The virus is named after this village.
What are the symptoms in humans?
The symptoms of Nipah are similar to that of influenza: fever, muscle pain, and respiratory problems. Inflammation of the brain can also cause disorientation. Late onset of Encephalitis can also occur. Sometimes a person can have an asymptomatic infection, and be a carrier of Nipah and not show any symptoms.
Are there any vaccines?
Currently, there are no vaccines for both humans and animals. Intensive supportive care is given to humans infected by Nipah virus.
According to WHO, ribavarin can reduce the symptoms of nausea, vomiting, and convulsions associated with the disease. Individuals infected need to be hospitalised and isolated. Special care should be taken to prevent human-to-human transmission. Surveillance systems should be established to detect the virus quickly and to initiate appropriate control measures.
- For Prelims: Nipah Virus Infection- causes, spread and symptoms.
- For Mains: Major outbreaks and government preparedness to tackle them.
Sources: the hindu.
Topic: e-governance- applications, models, successes, limitations, and potential.
Common Service Centres (CSCs)
Context: The network of Common Service Centres (CSCs), which act as access points for delivery of various electronic services to villages in India, are set to be expanded to 2.50 lakh gram panchayats by the year end.
What are CSCs?
Common Services Centers (CSCs) are a strategic cornerstone of the Digital India programme. They are the access points for delivery of various electronic services to villages in India, thereby contributing to a digitally and financially inclusive society.
CSCs enable the three vision areas of the Digital India programme:
- Digital infrastructure as a core utility to every citizen.
- Governance and services on demand.
- Digital empowerment of citizens.
Significance of CSCs:
CSCs are more than service delivery points in rural India. They are positioned as change agents, promoting rural entrepreneurship and building rural capacities and livelihoods. They are enablers of community participation and collective action for engendering social change through a bottom-up approach with key focus on the rural citizen.
- The CSC project, which forms a strategic component of the National eGovernance Plan was approved by the Government in May 2006, as part of its commitment in the National Common Minimum Programme to introduce e-governance on a massive scale.
- It is also one of the approved projects under the Integrated Mission Mode Projects of the National eGovernance Plan.
- For Prelims: CSCs, NEP.
- For Mains: CSCs and their significance.
Topic: India and its neighbourhood- relations.
Context: The 330 MW Kishanganga Hydropower Project was recently inaugurated by the Prime Minister in northern Kashmir’s Gurez. The PM also laid down the foundation stone for Pakal Dul hydro power project.
The Kishanganga Hydroelectric project:
- It is an $864 million dam which is part of a run-of-the-river hydroelectric scheme that is designed to divert water from the Kishanganga River to a power plant in the Jhelum River basin.
- It is located 5 km north of Bandipore in Jammu and Kashmir. It also lies to the north of Wular Lake.
- The state of Jammu and Kashmir would be provided with 12 percent of the power generated by the project.
Opposition by Pakistan:
- Pakistan has raised several objections to the Kishanganga Project in the past. Pakistan has complained that the Kishanganga Project affects its own Neelum Jhelum Hydropower Plant. However, India maintains that the project would not have any impact on rivers flowing into the neighbouring country.
- Construction on the dam was temporarily halted by the Hague’s Permanent Court of Arbitration in October 2011 due to Pakistan’s protest of its effect on the flow of the Kishanganga River (called the Neelum River in Pakistan). In February 2013, the Hague ruled that India could divert a minimum amount of water for power generation.
- Pakistan has been flagging concern over designs of India’s five hydroelectricity projects – Pakal Dul (1000 MW), Ratle (850 MW), Kishanganga (330 MW), Miyar (120 MW) and Lower Kalnai (48 MW) – being built/planned in the Indus river basin, contending these violate the treaty.
Pakal Dul hydro power project:
The 1,000 megawatt Pakal Dul hydroelectric power project on Marusadar River, a tributary of Chenab River, in Jammu and Kashmir will provide 12% free power to the state. The project will not only be the largest hydroelectric power project in the state but also the first storage unit.
- For Prelims: Kishanganga and Pakal Dul power projects.
- For Mains: Associated issues between India and Pakistan.
Topic: Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests.
Context: The Mission Innovation Ministerial is being held at Malmo-Sweden. India is also taking part in the ministerial.
- Mission Innovation is a global platform of 23 countries and European Union aimed at accelerating clean energy innovations through enhanced Government funding, greater public-private sector partnership and enhanced global cooperation.
- Mission Innovation is complemented by private sector-led investments of extraordinary levels of private capital in clean energy, focusing on early-stage innovations.
- As part of the initiative, participating countries have committed to seek to double their governments’ clean energy research and development (R&D) investments over five years, while encouraging greater levels of private sector investment in transformative clean energy technologies. These additional resources will dramatically accelerate the availability of the advanced technologies that will define a future global energy mix that is clean, affordable, and reliable.
- Mission Innovation was announced on November 30, 2015, as world leaders came together in Paris to undertake ambitious efforts to combat climate change.
- India is Founding Member of the Steering Committee and also a Member of the two sub-groups: Joint research and Capacity Building and Private Sector Engagement.
The power of innovation – driven by sustained public investment in research and development (R&D) coupled with business leadership – can push down costs further and bring fledgling ideas into the mainstream. Further reducing the cost of tomorrow’s clean energy technologies, along with adoption of today’s clean energy solutions, underpin global strategies to enhance global energy security, drive economic growth, bring life-changing energy services to the poor, and increase ambition in combatting climate change.
Topic: Important International institutions, agencies and fora, their structure, mandate.
World Health Assembly
Context: Plenary Meeting of the 71st World Health Assembly is being held at Geneva.
In addition to its three main themes of celebrating the 70th anniversary of the Organization, the 40th Anniversary of Alma-Ata and WHO’s top priority, universal health coverage, it will cover many topics on health throughout the life-course including sexual and reproductive health; early childhood development; maternal, infant and young child nutrition; poliomyelitis and the Global Vaccine Action Plan.
World Health Assembly (WHA):
- The World Health Assembly (WHA) is the forum through which the World Health Organization (WHO) is governed by its 194 member states. It is the world’s highest health policy setting body and is composed of health ministers from member states.
- The members of the World Health Assembly generally meet every year in May in Geneva, the location of WHO Headquarters.
- The main functions of the World Health Assembly are to determine the policies of the Organization, appoint the Director-General, supervise financial policies, and review and approve the proposed programme budget.
For Prelims and Mains: WHA and its role.
Sources: the hindu.
Topic: Conservation of environment.
Context: National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG) has asked DDA to expedite “Asita”, its Yamuna River Front Development Project.
Asita, also known as Yamuna River Front Development (RFD) project, aims to restore, revive and rejuvenate the river’s floodplains and make them accessible to the people of Delhi. “Asita” is another name of river Yamuna.
Key features of the project:
- A special focus of the project is on reviving the river’s bio-diversity in the National Capital.
- River Front “walks”, a major component of the project, will enable people to develop a relationship with river Yamuna.
- The project envisages creating a green buffer area approx. 300mts wide along the river edge with species of riverine ecology. Besides, a wide belt of 150mts along the peripheral roads will be developed as greenways for public amenities that will include a continuous trail of pathways and cycle tracks.
- To revive the ecosystem of the floodplains, wetlands will be created to store the flood waters and also to improve the groundwater recharge which will eventually result in flourishing of biodiversity in the floodplains.
- An environmentally conscious approach for integration of the river into the urban fabric of the city has been adopted. A people-friendly bio-diversity zone will be created for people to interact freely with the river’s eco-system.
The Yamuna was declared a dead river. The dissolved oxygen level, which are crucial to life in the water, is negligible. The river usually flows with heavy toxic foam on its surface and often parts of the river actually catch fire. Ostensibly, in the last 22 years, over Rs. 2,000 crore has been spent on the clean-up of the Yamuna.
The Yamuna is the tributary of river Ganga. It originates from the Yamunotri Glacier at a height of 6,387 metres on the south western slopes of Banderpooch peaks in the uppermost region of the Lower Himalayas in Uttarakhand. It merges with the Ganges at Triveni Sangam, Allahabad, the site for the Kumbha Mela.
Yamuna Action Plan:
Government of India has sanctioned Yamuna Action Plant (YAP)-I and YAP-II schemes for river Yamuna in Delhi, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh and YAP-III in Delhi under financial assistance from Japan International Coorperation Agency (JICA) for taking up works for sewerage/interception and diversion of drains, Sewage Treatment Plants (STPs), low cost sanitation/community toilet complexes, electric/ improved wood crematoria, etc.
Facts for Prelims:
First Commercial Flight Lands In Arunachal Pradesh:
Arunachal Pradesh has been put on the aviation map of the country with the state’s first commercial flight landing at Pasighat in the north-east state’s East Siang district, 305 kilometres from state capital Itanagar.