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InsightsIAS Daily Current Affairs + PIB Summary, 04 December 2019

InsightsIAS Daily Current Affairs + PIB Summary, 04 December 2019

 

Table of contents:

GS Paper 1:

  1. Kisan Sashaktikaran Pariyojana.

GS Paper 2:

  1. Rotavirus
  2. Independent Directors Databank.

GS Paper 3:

  1. Punjab to create land banks in rural areas.
  2. CSIR-IICT Nuclear Magnetic Resonance test facility.
  3. Torrefaction to reduce stubble burning.

 

Facts for prelims:

  1. “Top 100 City Destination” ranking.

  2. Prithvi-II missile.

  3. International Day of Persons with Disabilities.


 

GS Paper 1:


Topic covered:

  1. Issues related to women.

Mahila Kisan Sashaktikaran Pariyojana

What to study?

For prelims and mains: key features, objectives and significance of the programme, issues related to feminization of agriculture.

 

Context: In line with the provisions of National Policy for Farmers (NPF) (2007), the Department of Rural Development, Ministry of Rural Development is implementing a programme exclusively for women farmers namely, Mahila Kisan Sashaktikaran Pariyojana (MKSP).

Funding support to the tune of up to 60% (90% for North Eastern States) for such projects is provided by the Government of India.

 

About Mahila Kisan Sashaktikaran Pariyojana:

It is a sub component of the Deendayal Antodaya Yojana-NRLM (DAY-NRLM).

It seeks to improve the present status of women in Agriculture, and to enhance the opportunities available to empower her.

MKSP recognizes the identity of “Mahila” as “Kisan” and strives to build the capacity of women in the domain of agro-ecologically sustainable practices.

 

Objectives and significance:

  • The focus of MKSP is on capacitating smallholders to adopt sustainable climate resilient agro-ecology and eventually create a pool of skilled community professionals.
  • Its objective is to strengthen smallholder agriculture through promotion of sustainable agriculture practices such as Community Managed Sustainable Agriculture (CMSA), Non Pesticide Management (NPM), Zero Budget Natural Farming (ZBNF), Pashu-Sakhi model for doorstep animal care services, Sustainable regeneration and harvesting of Non-Timber Forest Produce.

 

Need for feminization of agriculture:

Rural women form the most productive work force in the economy of majority of the developing nations including India.

  • More than 80% of rural women are engaged in agriculture activities for their livelihoods.
  • About 20 per cent of farm livelihoods are female headed due to widowhood, desertion, or male emigration.
  • Agriculture support system in India strengthens the exclusion of women from their entitlements as agriculture workers and cultivators.
  • Most of the women-headed households are not able to access extension services, farmers support institutions and production assets like seed, water, credit, subsidy etc. As agricultural workers, women are paid lower wage than men.

 

Sources: pib.


 

GS Paper 2:


Topics covered:

  1. Issues related to health.

 

Rotavirus

 

What to study?

For prelims and mains: Rotavirus- symptoms, transmission and vaccines.

rotavirus vaccine, rotavirusContext: Vice- President has launched the new rotavirus vaccine – ROTAVAC5D.

The vaccine has been designed and developed by Bharat Biotech.

 

About Rotavirus:

It is a genus of double-stranded RNA virus in the Reoviridae family.

Rotavirus is a leading cause of severe diarrhoea and death among children less than five years of age.

It is responsible for around 10% of total child mortality every year.

 

Rotavirus-Signs and Symptoms:

  1. Kids with a rotavirus infection have fever, nausea, and vomiting, often followed by abdominal cramps and frequent, watery diarrhea.
  2. Kids may also have a cough and runny nose.
  3. Sometimes the diarrhea that accompanies a rotavirus infection is so severe that it can quickly lead to dehydration.
  4. As with all viruses, though, some rotavirus infections cause few or no symptoms, especially in adults.

 

Transmission:

Rotavirus is transmitted by the faecal-oral route, via contact with contaminated hands, surfaces and objects, and possibly by the respiratory route. Viral diarrhea is highly contagious.

 

Background:

Out of all the causes of diarrhoea, rotavirus is a leading cause of diarrhoea in children less than 5 years of age. Rotavirus diarrhoea presents in similar manner like any other diarrhoea but can mainly be prevented through rotavirus vaccination. Other diarrhoea can be prevented through general measures like good hygiene, frequent hand washing, safe water and safe food consumption, exclusive breastfeeding and vitamin A supplementation.

 

Sources: pib.


Topics Covered:

Important aspects of governance, transparency and accountability, e-governance- applications, models, successes, limitations, and potential; citizens charters, transparency & accountability and institutional and other measures.

 

Independent Directors Databank

What to study?

For Prelims: About the Databank and who is an independent director?

For Mains: Need for and significance of the databank.

 

Context: Ministry of Corporate Affairs has launched the Independent Directors Databank in accordance with the provisions of the Companies Act, 2013 and the rules made thereunder.

 

What is Independent directors databank?

Developed and maintained by the Indian Institute for Corporate Affairs (IICA) under Ministry of Corporate Affairs.

 

Applications:

  • Provides for a wide array of e-learning courses on various topics including the Companies Act, Securities laws, basic accountancy, board practices, board ethics and board effectiveness.
  • Provides an easy to access navigation platform for the registration of existing Independent Directors as well as individuals aspiring to become independent directors.
  • Companies can register themselves with the databank to search, select and connect with individuals aspiring to be Independent Directors.

 

Who is an independent director?

An Independent Director is a director on a board of directors representing minority shareholders and who does not have a pecuniary relationship with the company or related persons, except for sitting fees.

Their role is to take a stand unambiguously and independently to have a check and balance on the exuberance of majority shareholders that may expose the company to unwarranted risks.

The Companies Act, 2013 has mandated all listed public companies to have at least one-third of the total Directors to be independent.

 

Need for strengthening their role:

They must not assume a passive role. Their Strict accountability and eligibility will curb promoters placing their own ineligible candidates and family members on the listed company boards.

 

Sources: the Hindu.


 

GS Paper 3:


Topics Covered:

Land reforms in India.

Punjab to create land banks in rural areas

What to study?

For Prelims: What are land banks?

For Mains: Significance and implications of this move.

 

Context: With an aim to create land banks in rural areas to boost industrial development, the Punjab Cabinet has given in-principle approval to amend the law for transfer of common village land in rural areas to the state’s industry department.

 

Implications:

The amendment will facilitate gram panchayats to promote development of villages by unlocking the value of ‘Shamlat’ or village common land.

The new rule would pave the way for transfer of ‘Shamlat’ land for industrial projects to the industry department and state-owned Punjab Small Industries & Export Corporation (PSIEC).

 

Role of panchayats:

The amendments ensure that the Panchayats get their dues, with all decisions to be taken on a case to case basis keeping their interests in view.

  • With this amendment, a gram panchayat could, with the prior approval of the state government, transfer the ‘Shamlat land’ vested in it by way of sale on deferred payment terms to industries department or PSIEC for their industrial infrastructure projects.

 

What is Shamlat land?

It is one that does not come under habitation and cultivation and is considered as consolidated land holdings for common use.

Sources: the Hindu.


Topics Covered:

Awareness in the fields of IT, Space, Computers, robotics, nano-technology, bio-technology and issues relating to intellectual property rights.

 

CSIR-IICT Nuclear Magnetic Resonance test facility

What to study?

For Prelims: What is NMR spectroscopy?

For Mains: Significance of NMR.

 

Context: The CSIR-Indian Institute of Chemical Technology (CSIR-IICT), Hyderabad has announced that the Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) test facility at the institute has passed the US Food and Drug Administration (USFDA) inspection with “no observations”.

 

Background:

The USFDA inspected the NMR facility during August 21-22 and found the facility in an acceptable state of compliance with regard to Current Good Manufacturing Practice (CGMP). Accordingly, it classified the facility as “no action initiated (NAI)”.

 

What is NMR?

The NMR spectroscopy is an important technique for structural characterization of pharmaceutical and other chemical molecules.

The technique is used in quality control and reserach for determining the content and purity of a sample as well as its molecular structure.

 

How it works?

  1. The sample is placed in a magnetic field and the NMR signal is produced by excitation of the nuclei sample with radio waves into nuclear magnetic resonance, which is detected with sensitive radio receivers.
  2. The intramolecular magnetic field around an atom in a molecule changes the resonance frequency, thus giving access to details of the electronic structure of a molecule and its individual functional groups.
  3. As the fields are unique or highly characteristic to individual compounds, in modern organic chemistry practice, NMR spectroscopy is the definitive method to identify monomolecular organic compounds.

 

Sources: the Hindu.


Topics Covered:

Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment

 

Torrefaction to reduce stubble burning

What to study?

For Prelims: the technology.

For Mains: Significance for India.

 

Context: India tests Swedish torrefaction technology to reduce stubble burning.

 

What is torrefaction?

It is a thermal process used to produce high-grade solid biofuels from various streams of woody biomass or agro residues.

The end product is a stable, homogeneous, high quality solid biofuel with far greater energy density and calorific value than the original feedstock, providing significant benefits in logistics, handling and storage, as well as opening up a wide range of potential uses.

How it works?

  1. Biomass torrefaction involves heating the biomass to temperatures between 250 and 300 degrees Celsius in a low-oxygen atmosphere.
  2. When biomass is heated at such temperatures, the moisture evaporates and various low-calorific components (volatiles) contained in the biomass are driven out.
  3. During this process the hemi-cellulose in the biomass decomposes, which transforms the biomass from a fibrous low quality fuel into a product with excellent fuel characteristics.

 

Sources: the Hindu.


 

Facts for prelims:


“Top 100 City Destination” ranking:

Released by Euromonitor International, a UK-based global market research company.

The Euromonitor report highlights top 100 cities based on 2018 international arrivals. Arrivals encompasses all purposes of visit such as business, leisure and visiting friends and relatives.

Key findings:

  • India has emerged as the strongest emerging destination with seven cities in the top 100 popular cities this year.
  • Delhi is forecast to be hold the 8th place in 2019. 
  • Despite political unrest and protests in the last few months, Hong Kong remained No.1 destination this year. However, the number of vistors arriving to Hong Kong declined in 2019.
  • Asia posted fastest growth in the number of international arrivals globally.
  • Developed infrastructure, government’s focus on tourism and digitisation of travel facilities like e-visa are some of the reasons behind Asian countries’ popularity among global tourists.

 

Prithvi-II missile:

  • It is a surface-to-surface tactical missile with a strike range of 350 km.
  • It is developed by DRDO under Integrated Guided Missile Development Program (IGMDP).
  • It is capable of carrying 500 to 1,000 kg of warheads, both conventional as well as nuclear.
  • The state-of-the-art missile is powered by liquid propulsion twin engines.
  • It uses an advanced inertial guidance system with maneuvering orbit to hit its target.
  • It was inducted into armour of the defence forces in 2003.

 

International Day of Persons with Disabilities:

Context: It is observed every year on December 3 to promote the rights and well-being of persons with disabilities in all spheres of society and development.

Key facts:

  • It was instituted by United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in 1992.
  • It aims to promote an understanding of disability issues and mobilize support for the dignity, rights and well-being of persons with disabilities.
  • It also seeks to increase awareness of situation of persons with disabilities in every aspect of political, social, economic and cultural life.
  • 2019 Theme: Promoting the participation of persons with disabilities and their leadership: taking action on the 2030 Development Agenda.