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INSIGHTS DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS + PIB SUMMARY- 5 December 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.

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Table of Contents:

GS Paper 2:

1. Surgery as part of Ayurveda.

2. Ministry seeks proposals for technical textiles body.

3. UN removes cannabis from ‘most dangerous drug’ category, what this means.

 

GS Paper 3:

1. What is India’s sprawling renewable energy park, coming up on its border with Pakistan?

2. Quantum Supremacy.

3. Lab-grown meat: cleared in Singapore, emerging alternative worldwide.

4. Ken-Betwa Interlinking Project Dam.

 

Facts for Prelims:

1. Navy Day 2020.

 


GS Paper  : 2


 

Topics Covered: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.

Surgery as part of Ayurveda:


Context:

The government has notified compulsory surgical procedures for PG students of Ayurveda.

How far is surgery part of Ayurveda?

There are two branches of surgery in Ayurveda:

  • Shalya Tantra, which refers to general surgery, and Shalakya Tantra which pertains to surgeries related to the eyes, ears, nose, throat and teeth.

All postgraduate students of Ayurveda have to study these courses, and some go on to specialise in these, and become Ayurveda surgeons.

Before the notification, what were the regulations for postgraduate students?

The 2016 regulations allow postgraduate students to specialise in Shalya Tantra, Shalakya Tantra, and Prasuti evam Stree Roga (Obstetrics and Gynecology), the three disciplines involving major surgical interventions.

  • Students of these three disciplines are granted MS (Master in Surgery in Ayurveda) degrees.

So, what is new?

The notification mentions 58 surgical procedures that postgraduate students must train themselves in and acquire skills to perform independently.

  • The surgeries that have been mentioned in the notification are all that are already part of the Ayurveda course.
  • Now, the patients will know exactly what an Ayurveda doctor is capable of. The skill sets have been defined.
  • This will remove question marks on the ability of an Ayurveda practitioner.

What were the IMA’s objections?

The notification has invited sharp criticism from the Indian Medical Association, which questioned the competence of Ayurveda practitioners to carry out these procedures, and called the notification an attempt at “mixopathy”.

IMA doctors insist that they are not opposed to the practitioners of the ancient system of medicine.

But they say the new notification somehow gives the impression that the skills or training of the Ayurveda doctor in performing modern surgeries are the same as those practising modern medicine.

  • This, they say, is misleading, and an “encroachment into the jurisdiction and competencies of modern medicine”.

Sources: Indian Express.

 

Topics Covered: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.

Ministry seeks proposals for technical textiles body:


Context:

The Ministry of Textiles has invited proposals to constitute a dedicated export promotion council for technical textiles.

 Who can apply?

  • Exporter associations and trade bodies registered under the Companies Act or Society Registration Act can submit proposals by December 15.

Background:

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs, in February this year, gave its approval to set up a National Technical Textiles Mission, with a four-year implementation period.

  • The export promotion council for technical textiles is one of the components of the mission.

Technical textiles industry in India:

  • Annual technical textile exports are now worth ₹14,000 crore.
  • The government had set a target market size of $350 billion for technical textiles by 2024-2025 from the current $167 billion for the textile and clothing sector.

What are technical textiles?

Technical textiles are defined as textile materials and products manufactured primarily for their technical performance and functional properties rather than aesthetic and decorative characteristics.

Technical textiles include textiles for automotive applications, medical textiles, geotextiles, agrotextiles, and protective clothing.

Sources: the Hindu.

 

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

UN removes cannabis from ‘most dangerous drug’ category, what this means?


Context:

The United Nations Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND) voted to remove cannabis and cannabis resin from Schedule IV of the 1961 Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, decades after they were first placed on the list.

With this, CND has chosen to affirm a World Health Organisation (WHO) recommendation from 2019 to remove cannabis from its ‘most dangerous’ category.

 Who are for and against?

  • India was part of the voting majority, along with the US and most European nations.
  • China, Pakistan and Russia were among those who voted against, and Ukraine abstained.

The cannabis plant:

According to the WHO, cannabis is a generic term used to denote the several psychoactive preparations of the plant Cannabis sativa.

  • The major psychoactive constituent in cannabis is Delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).
  • The Mexican name marijuana is frequently used in referring to cannabis leaves or other crude plant material in many countries.

How is it regulated?

  • The Vienna-based CND, founded in 1946, is the UN agency mandated to decide on the scope of control of substances by placing them in the schedules of global drug control conventions.
  • Cannabis has been on Schedule IV the most dangerous category of the 1961 Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs for as long as the international treaty has existed.
  • The law around cannabis in India can be found in the Narcotics Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1985.

What this could mean for the cannabis industry? 

The reclassification of cannabis by the UN agency, although significant, would not immediately change its status worldwide as long as individual countries continue with existing regulations.

Sources: Indian Express.

 


GS Paper  : 3


 

Topics Covered: Infrastructure- Energy.

What is India’s sprawling renewable energy park, coming up on its border with Pakistan?


Context:

On December 15, Prime Minister Narendra Modi will lay the foundation stone for the 30,000 MW project in Gujarat’s Kutch district, billed as the largest of its kind in the world.

The renewable energy park will have two zones:

  1. A 49,600-hectare hybrid park zone that will accommodate wind and solar power plants of 24,800 MW capacities.
  2. An exclusive wind park zone spread over 23,000 hectares.

Strategic location:

  • The project site is about 25 km from Khavda, which is the last point that can be accessed by civilians in the area.
  • The exclusive wind park zone will come up within 1-6 km of the international border.
  • The hybrid park zone will be located 6 km from the Indo-Pak border.

This site has been chosen because this is a complete wasteland and windmills put near the border also act as a boundary.

Who will set up the wind and solar projects in this park?

  • Allotted to Solar Energy Corporation of India (SECI) to set up wind projects under the competitive bidding route policy.
  • Power Grid Corporation of India will evacuate the power produced at this park.

Renewable energy capacity of India:

  • RENEWABLE ENERGY HAS A SHARE OF 39% IN THE TOTAL INSTALLED GENERATION CAPACITY IN THE COUNTRY i.e. 368.98 GW (Upto 29th February, 2020).
  • India now at 5TH GLOBAL POSITION for overall installed renewable energy capacity.
  • RENEWABLE ENERGY INSTALLED CAPACITY INCREASED 226% IN LAST 5 YEARS.

Sources: Indian Express.

 

Topics Covered: Awareness in IT.

Quantum Supremacy:


Context:

China Claims Quantum Supremacy With Computer 10 Billion Times Faster Than Google’s Prototype.

  • Google said last year it has built a computer that could perform a computation in 200 seconds that would take the fastest supercomputers 10,000 years.

What is Quantum Supremacy?

It is a term proposed in 2012 by John Preskill, professor of theoretical physics at the California Institute of Technology.

It describes the point where quantum computers can do things that classical computers cannot.

  • Superposition and entanglement are what give quantum computers the ability to process so much more information so much faster.

Differences between a standard computer and a quantum computer:

  1. A classical computer performs calculations using bits that is 0 representing off and 1 representing on. It uses transistors to process information in the form of sequences of zeros and ones called computer binary language. More transistors more processing ability.
  2. A quantum computer uses the laws of quantum mechanics. Here, different states can be achieved in particles due to their internal angular momentum called spin. The two states 0 and 1 can be represented in the spin of the particle.

Thus, in a classical computer information is expressed through single number either 0 or 1.

A quantum computer uses qubits which is described as a 0 and 1 at the same time giving us more processing power.

Potential:

While still in its infancy, quantum computing is seen as the key to radically improving the processing speed and power of computers, enabling them to simulate large systems and drive advances in physics, chemistry and other fields.

Sources: Times of India.

 

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

Lab-grown meat: cleared in Singapore, emerging alternative worldwide:


Context:

The Singapore Food Agency (SFA) approved this week the sale of a lab-grown meat product.

Why is this big deal?

In its June 2020 Food Outlook Report, the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) stated that the world meat output was set to contract row to 333 million tonnes, 1.7% less than in 2019.

  • The disruption has been caused mainly by Covid-19, but it has added to already widespread fears about zoonotic diseases, especially African swine fever and highly pathogenic avian influenza.

This provides an opportunity to the alternative meat industry.

How is lab-grown or cultured meat different from plant-based meat?

The latter is made from plant sources such as soy or pea protein, while cultured meat is grown directly from cells in a laboratory.

  • Both have the same objective: to offer alternatives to traditional meat products that could feed a lot more people, reduce the threat of zoonotic diseases, and mitigate the environmental impact of meat consumption.

In terms of cellular structure, cultured or cultivated meat is the same as conventional meat except that cultured meat does not come directly from animals.

Benefits of cultivated meat:

  1. Since cultivated meat is created in clean facilities, the risk of contamination by pathogens such as salmonella and E coli, which may be present in traditional slaughterhouses and meat-packing factories, is significantly reduced.
  2. It does not require antibiotics either, unlike animals raised for meat, thereby reducing the threat posed to public health by growing antibiotic resistance.

How soon will cultured meat be widely available to consumers?

There are still significant hurdles to be overcome before cultured meat is widely available. They are:

  1. Affordability.
  2. Dealing with consumer mistrust.
  3. Resistance from traditional meat producers.

Who else is making cultured meat?

According to the GFI report, by the end of 2019, 55 companies were focused on cultivated meat products, including:

  • Future Meat Technologies (chicken, lamb, beef) in Israel, Biftek (beef) in Turkey, Cubiq Foods (chicken fat) in Spain, Netherlands based Meatable (pork, beef), French company Gourmet (foie gras) and US-based Memphis Meats (beef, chicken, duck).
  • Also among these is Delhi-based Clear Meat, which is developing cultured chicken.

Sources: Indian Express.

 

Topics Covered: Conservation related issues.

Ken-Betwa Interlinking Project Dam:


Context:

An expert panel of India’s environment ministry has deferred environment clearance for the Lower Orr Dam, which is part of the Ken-Betwa river interlinking project, and sought fresh data to decide whether a new public hearing is expected for the project or not.

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About Ken- Betwa project:

Conceived as a two-part project, this is the country’s first river interlinking project.

It is perceived as a model plan for similar interstate river transfer missions.

  • The project aims to transfer surplus water from the Ken river in MP to Betwa in UP to irrigate the drought-prone Bundelkhand region spread across the districts of two states mainly Jhansi, Banda, Lalitpur and Mahoba districts of UP and Tikamgarh, Panna and Chhatarpur districts of MP.

Key facts:

  1. Ken and Betwa rivers originate in MP and are the tributaries of Yamuna.
  2. Ken meets with Yamuna in Banda district of UP and with Betwa in Hamirpur district of UP.
  3. Rajghat, Paricha and Matatila dams are over Betwa river.
  4. Ken River passes through Panna tiger reserve.

Benefits of interlinking:

  • Enhances water and food security.
  • Proper utilisation of water.
  • Boost to agriculture.
  • Disaster mitigation.
  • Boost to transportation.

Sources: TOI.

 


Facts for Prelims:


Navy Day 2020:

Every year, India celebrates December 4 as Navy Day to commemorate Operation Trident, a key offensive during the 1971 India-Pakistan War, when the Indian Navy inflicted heavy damage on Pakistani vessels in Karachi harbour.

  • On December 4, under Operation Trident, the Indian Navy sank three vessels near the Pakistani port city of Karachi.

 

Articles to be covered on Monday:

  1. RBI tightens oversight of NBFCs, UCBs.
  2. China turns on ‘artificial sun’.

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