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INSIGHTS DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS + PIB SUMMARY- 30 April 2020

current affairs, current events, current gk, insights ias current affairs, upsc ias current affairs

Table of Contents:

GS Paper 1:

1. The Global Report on Internal Displacement (GRID 2020).

 

GS Paper 2:

1. Constitutional Provisions regarding Minority Educational Institutions.

2. What is a multi-system inflammatory state?

3. Study on China dams brings the Brahmaputra into focus.

4. Annual Special 301 report.

5. Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC).

6. India’s Permanent Mission to the United Nations.

 

GS Paper 3:

1. Berberine and Alzheimer’s.

 

Facts for Prelims:

1. HCARD

2. What are Estrogen and progesterone?

3. Kerala govt brings out ordinance to enforce salary cut.

 


GS Paper  : 1


 

Topics Covered: Population and associated issues, poverty and developmental issues, urbanization, their problems and their remedies.

The Global Report on Internal Displacement (GRID 2020)

What to study?

For Prelims and Mains: Key reasons for displacement, trends and measures needed.

Context: The Global Report on Internal Displacement (GRID 2020) has been released by the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (IDMC). The centre is a part of the Norwegian Refugee Council.

Key findings:

Displacements in India:

  • Nearly five million people were displaced in India in 2019 — the highest in the world so far.
  • The displacements in India were prompted by increased hazard intensity, high population and social and economic vulnerability.
  • More than 2.6 million people suffered displacement due to the southwest monsoon. 2019 was the seventh warmest year since 1901 in India; its monsoon was the wettest in 25 years.
  • Eight tropical storms hit in the year fuelling further destruction. These include Maha and Bulbul.
  • In addition to displacement due to natural disasters, over 19,000 conflicts and violence also prompted the phenomenon.
  • Unrests and communal violence triggered displacement in the second half of the year. For example, political and electoral violence, especially in Tripura and West Bengal, led to the displacement of more than 7,600 people.

Global scenario:

  1. Globally, around 4 million people faced new internal displacements because of conflicts and disasters in about 145 countries in 2019.
  2. Nearly three-quarters of the global displacements, accounting for 24.9 million of the total, were triggered by disasters in 2019. Out of these, about 95 per cent took place due to weather hazards like storms and floods.
  3. A majority of conflict displacements took place due to armed conflict; communal violence accounted for significant portion of the global total of 8.5 million displacements.
  4. Disaster displacement was recorded in low and high-income countries
  5. Most of the disaster displacements were triggered by tropical storms and monsoon rains in South Asia and East Asia and Pacific.
  6. Bangladesh, China, India and the Philippines each recorded more than four million displacements in 2019.
  7. Conflict continued unabated in countries such as Afghanistan, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and Syria. Violence increased sharply in Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger.
  8. Natural disasters in Nigeria, South Sudan and Yemen forced many people, already displaced by conflict, to flee for the second time.

Insta Links:

Prelims Link:

  1. What is IDMC?
  2. What is Norwegian refugee council?
  3. What is the main reason for internal displacement globally?
  4. Reasons in India?

Mains Link:

Discuss about the key findings of the recently released Global Report on Internal Displacement (GRID 2020).

Sources: down to earth.

 


GS Paper  : 2


 

Topics Covered: Indian Constitution- historical underpinnings, evolution, features, amendments, significant provisions and basic structure.

Constitutional Provisions regarding Minority Educational Institutions

What to study?

For Prelims: What are Minority institutions, special rights guaranteed under Constitution and related facts.

For Mains: Significance and implications of the latest judgment.

Context: In a significant judgment, the Supreme Court has ruled that the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET) for admission to graduate and postgraduate medical and dental courses, does not violate the rights of minorities under the Constitution.

Background:

The ruling came on a bunch of petitions originally filed in 2012 by the Christian Medical College, Vellore and others, challenging the notifications for NEET issued by the Medical Council of India (MCI) and the Dental Council of India (DCI).

Petitioners’ arguments:

NEET took away the right of the religious and linguistic minority institutions to administer their business, including the right to admit students from the minority community in terms of their own standards.

Observations made by the Court:

  1. Rights of the minority institutions under Articles 19(1)(g) and 30 read with Articles 25, 26 and 29(1) do not come in the way of securing transparency and recognition of merits in matter of admissions.
  2. State has the right to frame regulatory regime for aided/ unaided minority/private institutions, as mandated by the Constitution. There cannot be any other examination for admitting students.
  3. NEET is a regulatory measure that is in the larger national interest.
  4. The regulatory measures in no way interfere with the rights to administer the institution by the religious or linguistic minorities.
  5. Besides, regulating academics and imposing reasonable restrictions to ensure educational standards, are in national and public interest.

Constitutional Provisions regarding Minority Educational Institutions:

Article 30(1) recognizes linguistic and religious minorities but not those based on race, ethnicity.

  • It recognizes the right of religious and linguistic minorities to establish and administer educational institutions, in effect recognizing the role educational institutions play in preserving distinct culture.
  • A majority community can also establish and administer educational institution but they will not enjoy special rights under Article 30(1)(a).

Special rights enjoyed by religious minority institutions are:

  1. Under Art 30(1)(a), MEI enjoy right to education as a Fundamental Right. In case the property is taken over by state, due compensation to be provided to establish institutions elsewhere
  2. Under Article 15(5), MEIs are not considered for reservation
  3. Under Right to Education Act, MEI not required to provide admission to children in the age group of 6-14 years upto 25% of enrolment reserved for economically backward section of society
  4. In St Stephens vs Delhi University case, 1992, SC ruled that MEIs can have 50% seats reserved for minorities
  5. In TMA Pai & others vs State of Karnataka & others 2002 case, SC ruled that MEIs can have separate admission process which is fair, transparent and merit based. They can also separate fee structure but should not charge capitation fee.

Insta Links:

Prelims Link:

  1. Various rights available for MEIs.
  2. Rights of Minority vs other institutions.
  3. Can states interfere in their internal matters?
  4. What is NEET?

Mains Link:

Write a note on constitutional rights conferred upon minority educational institutions in India.

Sources: the Hindu.

 

Topics Covered: Issues related to health.

What is a multi-system inflammatory state?

What to study?

For Prelims and Mains: Meaning, how it affects, symptoms and ways to prevent it.

Context: Doctors have picked up a slight rise in the number of children of all ages needing intensive care treatment for a condition called “multi-system inflammatory state”.

The rise has happened over the past three weeks in London and elsewhere in the UK.

What is a multi-system inflammatory state?

It’s a severe immune response that can affect the body in multiple ways, most importantly by making the blood vessels leaky, a condition called Kawasaki disease.

This leads to low blood pressure and a build-up of fluid in the lungs and organs.

It is extremely serious. Patients need urgent intensive care to support the heart, lungs and sometimes other organs such as the kidneys.

Are there other symptoms?

The children have overlapping symptoms of toxic shock syndrome (another extreme immune reaction) and unusual Kawasaki disease.

Other symptoms include abdominal pain, gastrointestinal problems and heart inflammation.

Causes:

There is no evidence that the condition is caused by any change in the virus, as that would have shown up in adults first.

But it may be a post-infection inflammatory response triggered by the coronavirus. This has been seen in adults, who tend to be more ill in the second phase of the infection, when the initial lung disease gives way to inflammatory damage.

Is this disease related to Covid-19?

Only some of the children with these symptoms tested positive for Covid-19. Therefore, it remains unclear if and how the inflammatory syndrome is related to the virus.

What is TSS?

Toxic shock syndrome (TSS) is a rare life-threatening condition caused when certain bacteria enter the body and release harmful toxins. If not treated in time, the condition could be fatal. Symptoms include high temperature, flu-like symptoms including headache, sore throat, cough, diarrhea, dizziness or fainting, difficulty breathing and confusion. Some patients suffering from TSS may need ICU admissions.

What is Kawasaki disease?

Kawasaki disease is an acute inflammatory disease of the blood vessels and usually occurs in children below the age of five.

  • The inflammation caused by the disease affects many parts of the body but has a more serious effect on the heart since it causes inflammation in the coronary arteries that are responsible for supplying blood to the heart.
  • This results in enlargement or in the formation of aneurysms that can lead to heart attacks. Symptoms include fever, changes in extremities, rashes, redness of the cornea, red and cracked lips, a red tongue and lymph node enlargement of the neck.

Insta Links:

Prelims Link:

  1. What is MSIM?
  2. What is TSS?
  3. What is Kawasaki disease?
  4. Which organs are mainly affected by Corona Virus?
  5. What is Cytokine storm?

Sources: Indian Express.

 

Topics Covered: India and its neighbourhood- relations.

Study on China dams brings the Brahmaputra into focus

What to study?

For Prelims: Key findings of the report, important dams in Mekong and Brahmaputra river, overview of these river basins.

For Mains: Impact of dams on people and ecology, ways to address them.

Context: China’s upstream activities along the Mekong River have long been contentious — but a recent study has sparked fresh scrutiny over its dam-building exercises, reigniting warnings that millions of livelihoods could be destroyed.

The US funded study was carried out by research and consulting firm, Eyes on Earth.

The report was published by the UN-backed Sustainable Infrastructure Partnership, and the Lower Mekong Initiative — a multinational partnership of the U.S. with Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam.

Key findings and observations:

  • China built its first dam on the upper Mekong in the 1990s and currently runs 11 dams along the river. The country has plans to build more dams, which are used to generate hydropower.
  • These dams are holding back large amounts of water upstream on the Mekong, which exacerbated a severe drought in the Southeast Asian countries downstream last year.
  • Some of those dams have compounded the alteration of the river’s natural flow, resulting in the Lower Mekong recording some of its lowest river levels ever throughout most of the year.
  • China’s dam management is causing erratic and devastating changes in water levels down stream.
  • Unexpected dam releases caused rapid rises in river level that have devastated communities downstream, causing millions in damage shocking the river’s ecological processes.

mekong_river

Should India be worried?

India has long expressed concerns over dam-building on the Brahmaptura. In 2015, China operationalised its first hydropower project at Zangmu, while three other dams at Dagu, Jiexu and Jiacha are being developed. Indian officials have said the dams are not likely to impact the quantity of the Brahmaputra’s flows because they are only storing water for power generation. Moreover, the Brahmaputra is not entirely dependent on upstream flows and an estimated 35% of its basin is in India.  But, India does not have a water-sharing agreement with China.

 About Mekong:

The 4,350 kilometer (2,700 mile) Mekong River runs through six countries.

Starting from China — where it is called the Lancang River — it flows past countries like Cambodia, Laos, Thailand and Myanmar, before emptying into the South China Sea via Vietnam.

It is the lifeblood of these Southeast Asian countries and supports the livelihood of nearly 200 million people there who depend largely on farming and fishing.

Insta Links:

Prelims Link:

  1. Countries through which Mekong flows.
  2. Dams constructed across Mekong and Brahmaputra.
  3. What is Brahmaputra called in China? Its tributaries.
  4. Does India has any water sharing agreement with China?
  5. Himalayan region through which these rivers pass.

Mains Link:

Discuss how China’s upstream activities along the Mekong River have impacts on countries downstream and the ecology surrounding.

Sources: the Hindu.

 

Topics Covered: Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests, Indian diaspora.

Annual Special 301 report

What to study?

For prelims: special 301 report, what is priority watch list?

For mains: why is India placed under this list, concerns, implications and what needs to be done?

Context: The United States Trade Representative (USTR) has released its Annual Special 301 Report.

What is Special 301 Report?

  • It is prepared annually by the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) that identifies trade barriers to United States companies and products due to the intellectual property laws, such as copyright, patents and trademarks, in other countries.
  • It is published pursuant to Section 301 of the Trade Act of 1974.
  • The Report includes a list of “Priority Foreign Countries”, that are judged to have inadequate intellectual property laws; these countries may be subject to sanctions.
  • In addition, the report contains a “Priority Watch List” and a “Watch List”, containing countries whose intellectual property regimes are deemed of concern.

Observations made about India in the latest report:

  • India continues to be on the ‘Priority Watch List’ for lack of adequate intellectual property (IP) rights protection and enforcement.
  • While India made “meaningful progress” to enhance IP protection and enforcement in some areas over the past year, it did not resolve recent and long-standing challenges, and created new ones. The same assessment was made in the 2019 report.

What are the unresolved issues as per the report?

  1. Innovators being able to receive, maintain and enforce patents particularly in the pharmaceutical sector.
  2. Concerns over copyright laws not incentivising the creation and commercialisation of content.
  3. An outdated trade secrets framework.
  4. Restrictions on transparency of information provided on state-issued pharmaceutical manufacturing licenses
  5. Restrictive patentability criteria to reject pharmaceutical patents.
  6. Absence of an effective system for protecting against the unfair commercial use.
  7. High customs duties on medical devices and Information and Communications Technology.
  8. Weak enforcement by courts and the police, and Lack of familiarity with investigative techniques and no centralised IP enforcement agency.
  9. India was ranked among the top five source economies for fake goods by the Organization of Economic Development and Cooperation (OECD) in 2019.
  10. Trademark counterfeiting levels were “problematic” and there were “excessive delays” in obtaining trademarks due to a lack of examination quality.
  11. The government’s 2019 draft Copyright Amendment Rules, if implemented, would have “ severe” consequences for Internet-content rights holders, as the proposed rules broadened the scope of compulsory licensing from radio and television broadcasting to online broadcasting.

Demands by the USTR:

It has urged India to join the Singapore Treaty on the Law of Trademarks, a treaty that harmonises trademark registration.

  • The treaty was adopted in Singapore on 28 March 2006. It entered into force on 16 March 2009.
  • As of July 2016, there are 50 contracting parties to the treaty, which includes 48 states plus the African Intellectual Property Organization and the Benelux Organization for Intellectual Property.
  • It includes provisions on the recording of trademark licenses, and establishes maximum requirements for requests for recordal, amendment or cancellation of the recordal of a license etc.
  • The Treaty is open to States members of WIPO and to certain intergovernmental organizations.

What about other countries?

Algeria, Argentina, Chile, China, Indonesia, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Ukraine and Venezuela are also on the Priority Watch List.

Insta Links:

Prelims Link:

  1. What is priority watch list and watch list?
  2. Impact on countries placed in this list.
  3. India’s position last year vs this year.
  4. What is USTR?
  5. What is WIPO?
  6. What is the Singapore Treaty on the Law of Trademarks?
  7. What is 2019 draft Copyright Amendment Rules?

Mains Link:

Discuss the impact of observations made by the USTR Special 301 report on India.

Sources: the Hindu.

 

Topics Covered: Important International institutions, agencies and fora, their structure, mandate.

Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC)

What to study?

For Prelims: Compilation, objectives, functions and geographical locations of member countries.

For Mains: Relevance and significance of the group for India.

Context: The Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) region is expected to post a 2.7 per cent economic decline in 2020 due to the impact of Covid-19.

This will be the most significant fall since the near-zero growth rate logged in 2009 during the global financial crisis.
The region’s unemployment rate is projected to rise to 5.4 per cent in 2020 from 3.8 per cent in 2019, or an additional 23.5 million workers being unemployed in 2020.

APEC

Economic rebound:

An economic rebound is a forecast for 2021, with the anticipated growth of 6.3 per cent, higher than the projected global economic growth of 5.8 per cent.

This rebound, however, depends on the effectiveness of containment mechanisms to avoid a second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic as well as measures to stimulate the economy.

APEC:

The Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) is a regional economic forum established in 1989 to leverage the growing interdependence of the Asia-Pacific.

Aim: to create greater prosperity for the people of the region by promoting balanced, inclusive, sustainable, innovative and secure growth and by accelerating regional economic integration.

Functions:

  • APEC works to help all residents of the Asia-Pacific participate in the growing economy. APEC projects provide digital skills training for rural communities and help indigenous women export their products abroad.
  • Recognizing the impacts of climate change, APEC members also implement initiatives to increase energy efficiency and promote sustainable management of forest and marine resources.
  • The forum adapts to allow members to deal with important new challenges to the region’s economic well-being. This includes ensuring disaster resilience, planning for pandemics, and addressing terrorism.

Members:

APEC’s 21 member economies are Australia; Brunei Darussalam; Canada; Chile; People’s Republic of China; Hong Kong, China; Indonesia; Japan; Republic of Korea; Malaysia; Mexico; New Zealand; Papua New Guinea; Peru; The Philippines; The Russian Federation; Singapore; Chinese Taipei; Thailand; United States of America; Viet Nam.

Insta Links:

Prelims Link:

  1. Geographical locations of APEC members.
  2. Regional groups to which India is not a member.

Sources: Business Standard.

 

Topics Covered: Important International institutions, agencies and fora, their structure, mandate.

India’s Permanent Mission to the United Nations

What to study?

For Prelims and Mains: Permanent mission and representatives- roles, functions and significance.

Context: India has appointed diplomat T S Tirumurti, currently serving as Secretary in the Ministry of External Affairs, as its Permanent Representative to the United Nations.

What are Permanent Missions to the United Nations?

According to Article 1 (7) of the Vienna Convention on the Representation of States in their Relations with International Organizations of a Universal Character, a “Permanent Mission” is a: “ mission of permanent character, representing the State, sent by a State member of an international organization to the Organization”.

The Permanent Mission is the diplomatic mission that every member state deputes to the United Nations.

It is headed by a Permanent Representative, who is also referred to as the “UN ambassador”.

 Roles and functions:

  • The presence of such permanent missions serves to assist in the realization of the purposes and principles of the United Nations.
  • They seek to keep the necessary liaison between the Member States and the Secretariat in periods between sessions of the different organs of the United Nations.
  • The Representatives are assigned to the UN headquarters in New York City, and can also be appointed to other UN offices in Geneva, Vienna, and Nairobi.

The Indian Permanent Mission at the UN:

There are currently eight Indians in senior leadership positions at the United Nations at the levels of Under Secretary General and Assistant Secretary General.

The first Indian delegates at the United Nations included statesman Arcot Ramasamy Mudaliar, and freedom fighters Hansa Mehta, Vijayalakshmi Pandit, and Lakshmi Menon. Mehta and Pandit were among the 15 women members of the Indian Constituent Assembly.

 India and the UN:

  • India was among the select members of the United Nations that signed the United Nations Declaration at Washington on January 1, 1942.
  • India also participated in the historic UN Conference of International Organization at San Francisco from April 25 to June 26, 1945.

Sources: Indian Express.

 


GS Paper  : 3


 

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

Berberine and Alzheimer’s

What to study?

For Prelims: About the disease, treatments, Berberine and Ber- D.

For Mains: Significance of the discovery.

What is Berberine?

Berberine is a natural and cheap product similar to curcumin, available commercially

It is poorly soluble and toxic to cells.

Why in News?

Scientists from Jawaharlal Nehru Centre For Advanced Scientific Research (JNCASR) have modified the structure of Berberine into Ber-D to use as a Alzheimer’s inhibitor.

Ber-D is a soluble (aqueous), antioxidant. It is a multifunctional inhibitor of multifaceted amyloid toxicity of Alzheimer’s disease.

The structural attributes of Ber-D are such that they prevent the generation of reactive oxygen species (ROS) and rescue biomacromolecules from oxidative damage.

These attributes make Ber-D a promising candidate for developing effective therapeutics to treat multifaceted toxicity of Alzheimer’s disease.

Background:

Alzheimer’s disease is the most prevalent neurodegenerative disorder and accounts for more than 70% of all dementia. The multifactorial nature of the disease attributed to multifaceted toxicity has made it difficult for researchers to develop effective medication.

Protein aggregation and amyloid toxicity predominantly contribute to multifaceted toxicity observed in neuronal cells, including generation of reactive oxygen species (ROS), mitochondrial dysfunction, interfering with synaptic signaling, and activation of premature cell death.

What is Alzheimer’s?

It is a progressive brain disorder that typically affects people older than 65. When it affects younger individuals, it is considered early onset.

The disease destroys brain cells and nerves, and disrupts the message-carrying neurotransmitters.

Eventually, a person with Alzheimer’s loses the ability to perform day-to-day activities.

Symptoms include memory loss, difficulty in completing familiar tasks, confusion with time or place, problems in speaking and writing, decreased or poor judgment, and changes in mood and personality. Alzheimer’s disease is also the most common cause of dementia — which is a syndrome and not a disease in itself, and whose symptoms include loss of memory, thinking skills, problems with language, changes in mood and deterioration in behaviour.

Treatment:

There is no cure for Alzheimer’s, because its exact causes are not known. Most drugs being developed try to slow down or stop the progression of the disease.

There is a degree of consensus in the scientific community that Alzheimer’s involves two proteins, called beta amyloids and tau. When levels of either protein reach abnormal levels in the brain, it leads to the formation of plaque, which gets deposited between neurons, damaging and disrupting nerve cells.

Most existing drugs for Alzheimer’s try to target these proteins to manage some of the symptoms of Alzheimer’s.

DE_AL

Sources: pib.

 


Facts for Prelims


HCARD:

  • It is a robot to assist frontline COVID-19 healthcare warriors.
  • It helps in maintaining physical distance from those infected by coronavirus.
  • Developed by Durgapur-based CSIR lab, Central Mechanical Engineering Research Institute. 
  • This robot can be controlled and monitored by a nursing booth with a control station having such features as navigation, drawer activation for providing medicines and food to patients, sample collection and audio-visual communication.
  • HCARD stands for Hospital Care Assistive Robotic Device (HCARD.

hospital

What are Estrogen and progesterone?

Estrogen and progesterone are the two main sex hormones that characterise a woman.

  • Estrogen helps her develop female physical features and also maintains her reproductive system.
  • Progesterone is secreted by a temporary endocrine gland that the body produces during the second half of the menstrual cycle, and helps prepare the body for possible pregnancy after ovulation.

The male body too has estrogen and produces progesterone, both in smaller amounts.

Kerala govt brings out ordinance to enforce salary cut:

  • The Kerala government will bring an ordinance to defer up to 25 per cent salaries of its employees after the High Court order barred it from taking a tougher cost-cutting measure during the coronavirus outbreak.
  • The government has decided to come out with Disaster and Public Emergency Special Provisions Act which will give it the power to defer payment of salaries, up to 25 per cent of all state government employees.
  • The provision in the Act says this can be done when a health emergency or a disaster strikes.

Insights Current Affairs Analysis (ICAN) by IAS Topper