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INSIGHTS DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS + PIB SUMMARY- 16 July 2020

InstaLinks help you think beyond the issue but relevant to the issue from UPSC prelims and Mains exam point of view. These linkages provided in this ‘hint’ format help you frame possible questions in your mind that might arise(or an examiner might imagine) from each current event. InstaLinks also connect every issue to their static or theoretical background. This helps you study a topic holistically and add new dimensions to every current event to help you think analytically.

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

Table of Contents:

GS Paper 1:

1. A study on world population trends.

 

GS Paper 2:

1. Report on ‘Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients.

2. First indigenous vaccine for infant pneumonia approved.

3. India Energy Modeling Forum.

4. Asian Development Bank (ADB).

 

GS Paper 3:

1. Hope: UAE’s first mission to Mars.

2. Dolphin number dips in Chambal river.

 

Facts for Prelims:

1. Places in News- Azad Pattan hydel power project.

2. Places in News- Mont Blanc mountain range.

3. India’s first trans-shipment hub – Vallarpadam Terminal of Cochin Port,Kerala.

4. What is milk tea alliance?

5. Chiang Mai initiative (CMI).

6. Melghat tiger reserve.

 


GS Paper  : 1


 

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

A study on world population trends

A study was conducted by researchers at University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME).

It analysed population trends in 195 countries.

  • It used data from the Global Burden of Disease Study 2017 to model future population in various scenarios as a function of fertility, migration, and mortality rates.

Key findings:

  • World population will peak in 2064, at 9.73 billion. This is 36 years earlier than the 11 billion peak projected for 2100 by last year’s UN report World Population Prospects.
  • For 2100, the report projects a decline to 8.79 billion from the 2064 peak.

 What about TFR?

Global total fertility rate (TFR) is predicted to steadily decline from 2.37 in 2017 to 1.66 in 2100.

  • It is projected to fall below 2.1 in 183 countries.
  • In 23 countries including Japan, Thailand, Italyand Spain, it is projected to shrink by more than 50%.

For a generation to exactly replace itself, the replacement-level total fertility rate (TFR) is taken to be 2.1.

India related findings:

  1. It projects a peak population of 1.6 billion in 2048, up from 1.38 billion in 2017.
  2. By 2100, the population is projected to decline by 32% to 1.09 billion.
  3. India’s TFR is already below 2.1 in 2019. It will reach 1.29 in 2100.
  4. The number of working-age adults (20–64 years) in India is projected to fall from around 748 million in 2017 to around 578 million in 2100. However, this will be the largest working-age population in the world by 2100.
  5. In the mid-2020s, India is expected to surpass China’s workforce population (950 million in 2017, and 357 million in 2100).
  6. From 2017 to 2100, India is projected to rise up the list of countries with the largest GDP, from 7th to 3rd.
  7. India is projected to have the second largest net immigration in 2100, with an estimated half a million more people immigrating to India in 2100 than emigrating out.
  8. Among the 10 countries with the largest populations in 2017 or 2100, India is projected to have one of the lowest life expectancies (79.3 years in 2100, up from 69.1 in 2017).

population_shift

 Challenges ahead:

  • Forecasts highlight huge challenges to the economic growth of a shrinking workforce, the high burden on health and social support systems of an ageing population.
  • It forecasts continued trends in female educational attainment and access to contraception will hasten declines in fertility and slow population growth.

What needs to be done?

  1. Countries should address the potential catastrophic impact of a shrinking working-age population.
  2. Suggested Measures include: such as incentives to increase TFR, and using artificial intelligence as a path towards self-sufficiency.
  3. Wealthy countries such as the UK and the USA could counteract the impact of these changes through net migration of working-age adults from the countries with growing populations.
  4. The effect of fertility decline on women’s reproductive health rights has to be accompanied by greater economic independence. This would allow women to negotiate with the system on their own terms and for better support services as well.

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. What is Global Burden of Disease Study? Who releases it?
  2. Top 5 countries with largest GDPs.
  3. What is TFR?

Note: The above article is pretty much loaded with facts. But, for Prelims, please concentrate on key data such as- TFR, doubling rate, population peak, working age population (With a special focus on India-related facts). And also compare these data with the data from UN report World Population Prospects.

Sources: Indian Express.

 


GS Paper  : 2


 

Topics Covered: Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources.

Report on ‘Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients

The report titled ‘Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients- Status, Issues, Technology Readiness, and Challenges’ was brought out recently by Technology Information Forecasting and Assessment Council (TIFAC), an autonomous organization under the Department of Science & Technology.

Major recommendations given in the report:

  1. Focus on engineering and scale aspect of technology development.
  2. Need for Mission mode Chemical Engineering with defined targets for uninterrupted synthesis of molecules.
  3. Create mega drug manufacturing clusters with common infrastructure in India.
  4. Technology platform to be developed for biocatalysis towards reducing process steps for cost optimization.
  5. Scale supporting techno-economic feasibility.
  6. Attention to technologies like hazardous reactions, flow chemistry, cryogenic reactions, and membrane technology.

What is an API?

Every medicine is made up of two main ingredients — the chemically active APIs and chemically inactive, excipients, which is a substance that delivers the effect of APIs to one’s system.

  • API is a chemical compound that is the most important raw material to produce a finished medicine.

In medicine, API produces the intended effects to cure the disease. For instance, Paracetamol is the API for Crocin and it is the API paracetamol that gives relief from body ache and fever.

Fixed-dose combination drugs use multiple APIs, while single-dose drugs like Crocin use just one API.

How an API is manufactured? 

API is not made by only one reaction from the raw materials but rather it becomes an API via several chemical compounds. The chemical compound which is in the process of becoming an API from raw material is called an intermediate.

  • There are some APIs that pass “through over ten kinds of intermediates in a process when it changes from being a raw material into an API”. The long manufacturing process is continued until it is purified and reaches a very high degree of purity.

What’s the concern for India now? How COVID 19 induced pandemic has affected?

  • Despite being a leading supplier of high-quality medicines to several countries, Indian pharmaceutical industry is highly dependent on China for APIs.
  • In the 2018-19 fiscal, the government had informed the Lok Sabha that the country’s drug-makers had imported bulk drugs and intermediates worth $ 2.4 billion from China.
  • But with frequent lockdowns due to the deadly coronavirus outbreak, supplies of raw materials from China to produce drugs for treating HIV, cancer, epilepsy, malaria, and also commonly-used antibiotics and vitamin pills, are likely to be hit.

How India lost its API market to China?

During the early 90s, India was self-reliant in manufacturing APIs.

However, with the rise of China as a producer of API, it captured the Indian market with cheaper products and it eventually led to high economies of scale for China.

  • China created a low-cost API manufacturing industry. The industry was backed by the low cost of capital followed by aggressive government funding models, tax incentives.
  • Their cost of operation is one-fourth of India’s cost. Even the cost of finance in China is 6-7 per cent against India’s 13-14 per cent.
  • So, due to low-profit margins and non-lucrative industry, Indian pharma companies over the years stopped manufacturing APIs.

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. What is an APIs?
  2. What is an intermediate?
  3. APIs in fixed- dose vs single- dose drug combinations.
  4. Comparison of API production in India vs China.
  5. What are excipients in Medicine?

Mains Link:

What are APIs? How and why China became a leading producer in APIs? Discuss.

Sources: pib.

 

Topics Covered: Issues related to health.

First indigenous vaccine for infant pneumonia approved

The Drug Controller General of India (DCGI) has approved the first fully indigenously developed conjugate vaccine for pneumonia- Pneumococcal Polysaccharide Conjugate Vaccine.

  • It has been developed by the Serum Institute of India Pvt. Ltd,

This vaccine is used for active immunisation against invasive disease and pneumonia caused by “streptococcus pneumonia” in infants.

How is Pneumonia spread?

Infectious agents may include bacteria, viruses and fungi.

Streptococcus pneumoniae is the most common cause of bacterial pneumonia in children, and Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib) is the second most common cause of bacterial pneumonia. Respiratory syncytial virus is the most common viral cause of pneumonia.

  • Air sacsin an infected individual’s lungs (alveoli) become inflamed due to deposits of fluid and pus, making it painful and difficult for them to breathe.

What are the symptoms of infection?

Symptoms include high fever and chills, cough with phlegm, physical weakness and a feeling of being unwell, shortness of breath and rapid breathing, and a racing pulse.

How can it be prevented and treated?

Preventive measures include maintaining hygiene and getting vaccinations against certain pneumonia causing bacteria.

Saving a child from pneumonia requires urgent treatment, that usually involves the administration of antibiotics, which typically do not cost much. On average, treatment lasts for about five to seven days.

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. Pneumonia- types, causes and symptoms.
  2. Antigens vs Antibodies.
  3. How a vaccine works?
  4. Types of vaccines.
  5. About DGCI.
  6. Procedure to be followed for vaccine approval in India.

Sources: the Hindu.

 

India Energy Modeling Forum

In the recent joint working group meeting of the Sustainable Growth Pillar, an India Energy Modeling Forum was launched.

Composition: The forum would include knowledge partners, data agencies and concerned government ministries.

  • NITI Aayog will initially coordinate the activities of the forum and finalizing its governing structure.

Background:

Sustainable Growth Pillar is an important pillar of India-US Strategic Energy Partnership co-chaired by NITI Aayog and United States Agency for International Development (USAID).

  • The SG pillar entails energy data management, energy modelling and collaboration on low carbon technologies as three key activities.

The  Forum aims to:

  1. Provide a platform to examine important energy and environmental related issues;
  2. Inform decision-making process to the Indian government;
  3. Improve cooperation between modelling teams, government, and knowledge partners, funders;
  4. Facilitate exchange of ideas, ensure production of high-quality studies;
  5. Identify knowledge gaps at different levels and across different areas;
  6. Build capacity of Indian institutions.

What is Energy Modelling?

Energy modeling or energy system modeling is the process of building computer models of energy systems in order to analyze them.

  • Such models often employ scenario analysis to investigate different assumptions about the technical and economic conditions at play.
  • Outputs may include the system feasibility, greenhouse gas emissions, cumulative financial costs, natural resource use, and energy efficiency of the system under investigation.

What are Energy Modelling Forums (EMF)?

The Energy Modelling Forum (EMF) in USA was established in 1976 at Stanford University to connect leading modelling experts and decision makers from government, industry, universities, and other research organizations.

  • The forum provides an unbiased platform to discuss the contemporary issues revolving around energy and environment.

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. NITI Aayog- composition and key functions.
  2. Role of EMF.
  3. What is Sustainable growth pillar?
  4. What is energy modelling?

Mains Link:

Discuss the objectives and significance of Indian Energy Modelling Forum.

Sources: pib.

 

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

Asian Development Bank (ADB)

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has appointed Election Commissioner Ashok Lavasa as its vice-president (V-P) for private sector operations and public-private partnerships.

About ADB:

It is a regional development bank

established on 19 December 1966.

headquartered — Manila, Philippines.

official United Nations Observer.

Membership: The bank admits the members of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP, formerly the Economic Commission for Asia and the Far East or ECAFE) and non-regional developed countries.

  • Currently, it has 68 members.

Voting rights:

It is modeled closely on the World Bank, and has a similar weighted voting system where votes are distributed in proportion with members’ capital subscriptions.

Roles and functions:

  1. ADB defines itself as a social development organization that is dedicated to reducing poverty in Asia and the Pacific through inclusive economic growth, environmentally sustainable growth, and regional integration.
  2. This is carried out through investments – in the form of loans, grants and information sharing – in infrastructure, health care services, financial and public administration systems, helping nations prepare for the impact of climate change or better manage their natural resources, as well as other areas.

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. Who appoints President and VPs of ADB.
  2. Headquarters of ADB.
  3. Voting rights of ADB members.
  4. How is it different from world bank?
  5. Who can be members of ADB.

Sources: pib.

 


GS Paper  : 3


 

Topics Covered: Awareness in space.

Hope: UAE’s first mission to Mars

The launch of the United Arab Emirates’ (UAE) first mission to Mars is scheduled for July 16 launch. It will take off from its launch site, Tanegashima Space Center, in Japan.

 Why July launch matters?

  • The spacecraft must blast off from the Earth during a brief launch window in July, since Earth and Mars orbit the Sun at different rates and are aligned at their closest points only once every two years.

About the Hope mission:

Announced in 2015 with the aim of creating mankind’s first integrated model of the Red planet’s atmosphere.

The Hope mission is a Mars orbiter spacecraft, which will study the thin atmosphere of Mars.

  • The mission is officially named the Emirates Mars Mission (EMM) and the orbiter has been named Hope or ‘Al Amal’.

If successful, the Hope orbiter will join six others in studying Mars, from the US, Europe and India.

The Hope orbiter:

The Hope probe has a mission life of one Martian year, which is almost two Earth years.

The three main objectives of the Hope probe are:

  1. to understand the climate dynamics and global weather map of Mars by studying the lower atmosphere of Mars.
  2. to explain how the weather of Mars affects the escape of hydrogen and oxygen, by correlating conditions in the lower and upper atmosphere.
  3. to understand the presence and variability of hydrogen and oxygen in the upper atmosphere, and why Mars is losing these gases to space.

Significance of the mission:

  • It is a known fact that the Red Planet was once habitable, from signatures of flowing water and organic material that point to a past that could have supported living things.
  • An understanding of Mars’ past could help scientists understand the future of Earth.

mars_missions

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

Overview of:

  1. MAVEN.
  2. Mars Orbiter Mission.
  3. NASA’s curiosity and opportunity.
  4. ExoMars.
  5. Odyssey

Sources: Indian Express.

 

Topics Covered: Conservation related issues.

Dolphin number dips in Chambal river

Madhya Pradesh forest department has released the latest Dolphin census report.

Key findings:

There are just 68 dolphins left in 435-kilometre-long Chambal river sanctuary which passes through three states (Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan).

Dolphins’ number in Chambal river has been reduced by 13 per cent in four years.

The decreasing trend is continuing from 2016 when there were 78 dolphins.

Reasons for the decline:

  1. Illegal sand mining.
  2. Overuse of river water.
  3. Changing River course.
  4. Inland waterways / Movement of large cargo vessels.
  5. Various anthropogenic / religious activities.
  6. Accidental killing – by catch/ fisheries related entanglements.

Key facts- Gangetic dolphin:

  1. Platanista gangetica has been declared endangered by International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). 
  2. It has rudimentary eyes. From preying to surfing, dolphins do it through ultrasonic sound.
  3. It is India’s national aquatic animal and is popularly known as ‘Susu’
  4. They are distributed across seven states in India: Assam, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Bihar, Jharkhand and West Bengal.

Save_dolphin

Sources: Hindustan Times.

 


Facts for Prelims


Azad Pattan hydel power project:

Location: The 700MW power project is on the Jhelum river in Sudhoti district of Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (PoK).

Why in News? Pakistan and China have signed an agreement on this under the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).

Other projects in the region:

  • 1,100 MW Kohala project- on Jhelum near Muzaffarabad.
  • Karot Hydropower station– on the Jhelum is on the boundaries of Kotli district in PoK and Rawalpindi district in Pakistan’s Punjab province.
  • Two hydel projects are planned in Gilgit Baltistan Phandar Hydro Power, and Gilgit KIU. 

Places in News- Mont Blanc mountain range:

Why in News?

A melting glacier at Europe’s Mont Blanc mountain range recently disentombed Indian newspapers buried there for 54 years –- some of them carrying headlines such as “India’s First Woman Prime Minister”, referring to Indira Gandhi’s election win in 1966.

The newspapers are among the remains of Air India Flight 101, a Boeing 707 plane that on January 24, 1966, crashed into Mont Blanc.

  • Among the 177 dead was Homi Bhabha, the founding leader of India’s nuclear programme.

Location:

  1. Mont Blanc is the second-highest mountain in Europe after Mount Elbrus.
  2. It is the highest mountain in the Alps and Western Europe.
  3. The mountain stands in a range called the Graian Alps, between the regions of Aosta Valley, Italy, and Savoie and Haute-Savoie, France.
  4. Its epithet the “Roof of Europe”.
  5. It is also known as White Mountain in French.
  6. The border between Italy and France passes through the summit of Mont Blanc, making it both French and Italian.

India’s first trans-shipment hub – Vallarpadam Terminal of Cochin Port,Kerala:

Vallarpadam Terminal of Cochin Port is envisaged as first trans-shipment port of India.

Trans-shipment Hub is the terminal at the port which handles containers, stores them temporarily and transfers them to other ships for the onward destination.

What is milk tea alliance?

It is a term used to describe an online democratic solidarity movement made up of netizens from Thailand, Hong Kong, and Taiwan.

It arose in response to the increased presence of Chinese trolls and nationalist commentators on social media.

  • The ‘Milk Tea Alliance’ is an informal term coined by social media users because in the region, tea is consumed in many nations with milk, with the exception of China.

Chiang Mai initiative (CMI):

  • It is a multilateral currency swap arrangement among the 10 members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), the People’s Republic of China (including Hong Kong), Japan and South Korea.
  • Launched in 2010 to manage regional short-term liquidity problems and to avoid relying on the IMF.

Melghat tiger reserve:

  • Located in the Amaravati district of Maharashtra.
  • It is on the southern offshoot of the Satpura Hill Range in Central India, called Gavilgarh Hill.
  • The Tapti Riverand the Gawilgadh ridge of the  Satpura Range form the boundaries of the reserve.
  • It was declared a tiger reserve in 1974. It was among the first nine tiger reserves notified in 1973-74 under Project Tiger.
  • It was the first tiger reserve of Maharashtra.
  • The name ‘Melghat’ means the confluence of various ‘ghats’ or valleys as is typical from the landscape of this tiger Reserve.

Other prominent animals are Sloth Bear, Indian Gaur, Sambar deer, Leopard, Nilgais, etc. The endangered and ‘back from extinction’ Forest Owlet is also found in various areas of Melghat.

What is a super capacitor?

It is a type of capacitor that can store many times as much energy as older capacitors. They were developed in the late 20th century.

It has high power density, long durability, and ultrafast charging characteristics.

advantages_limits


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