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INSIGHTS DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS + PIB SUMMARY- 4 January 2021

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 2:

1. FSSAI slashes limit for transfat levels in foods.

2. China amends defence law to boost war preparedness.

3. International Organization of Securities Commissions (IOSCO).

4. Scottish independence referendum.

 

GS Paper 3:

1. Serum Institute`s Covishield vs Bharat Biotech`s Covaxin.

2. “Atmosphere & Climate Research-Modelling Observing Systems & Services (ACROSS)” scheme.

 

Facts for Prelims:

1. Mannathu Padmanabhan.

 


GS Paper  : 2


 

Topics Covered: Issues related to health.

FSSAI slashes limit for transfat levels in foods:


Context:

The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has capped the amount of trans fatty acids (TFA) in oils and fats to 3% for 2021 and 2% by 2022 from the current permissible limit of 5% through an amendment to the Food Safety and Standards (Prohibition and Restriction on Sales) Regulations.

Background:

The revised regulation applies to edible refined oils, vanaspati (partially hydrogenated oils), margarine, bakery shortenings and other mediums of cooking such as vegetable fat spreads and mixed fat spreads.

Need for:

Transfats are associated with an increased risk of heart attacks and death from coronary heart disease.

  • According to the World Health Organization, approximately 5.4 lakh deaths take place each year globally because of the intake of industrially produced trans fatty acids.
  • The WHO has also called for the global elimination of transfats by 2023.

What are Trans fats?

  • Trans fatty acids (TFAs) or Trans fats are the most harmful type of fats which can have much more adverse effects on our body than any other dietary constituent.
  • These fats are largely produced artificially but a small amount also occurs naturally. Thus in our diet, these may be present as Artificial TFAs and/ or Natural TFAs.
  • Artificial TFAs are formed when hydrogen is made to react with the oil to produce fats resembling pure ghee/butter.
  • In our diet the major sources of artificial TFAs are the partially hydrogenated vegetable oils (PHVO)/vanaspati/ margarine while the natural TFAs are present in meats and dairy products, though in small amounts.

fats

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. What are trans fats?
  2. Why they are harmful?
  3. How and where they are produced?
  4. What is the permissible limit set by WHO and FSSAI?
  5. Replace Campaign is related to?
  6. About FSSAI.

Mains Link:

What are Trans fats? Why are they harmful? Discuss.

Sources: the Hindu.

 

Topics Covered: India and neighbours.

China amends defence law to boost war preparedness:


Context:

China’s National Defence Law has been amended.

Key changes:

  • Gives the Central Military Commission (CMC) greater power in mobilising resources to protect a new and broader definition of what constitutes the national interest.
  • Experts say the phrase “development interests” included the protection of China’s economic activities and assets overseas, such as those under the Belt and Road Initiative, as a reason for defence mobilisation.
  • The amendment broadened the scope of key security fields beyond land borders, maritime and air defence, to include outer space and electromagnetic networks.
  • The amendment also said China “will participate in global security governance, join multilateral security talks and push for and set up a set of international rules that is widely accepted, fair and reasonable”.

Implications:

The change comes amid a push for closer civil-military fusion, with a target to make the PLA a “world class” military, or on par with the United States military, by 2049, when the People’s Republic of China turns 100.

Sources: the Hindu.

 

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

International Organization of Securities Commissions (IOSCO):


Context:

The International Financial Services Centres Authority (IFSCA) has become an Associate Member of the International Organization of Securities Commissions (IOSCO).

IFSC in India:

  • The first International Financial Services Centre (IFSC) in the country has been set up at the Gujarat International Finance Tec-City (GIFT) in Gandhinagar.
  • To regulate such institutions, the government established IFSCA on April 27 last year with its head office in Gandhinagar.
  • In December 2019, Parliament passed a bill to set up a unified authority for regulating all financial activities at IFSCs in the country.

About IOSCO:

  • It is the international body that brings together the world’s securities regulators and is recognized as the global standard setter for the securities sector.
  • IOSCO develops, implements and promotes adherence to internationally recognized standards for securities regulation.
  • It works intensively with the G20 and the Financial Stability Board (FSB) on the global regulatory reform agenda.

Members:

IOSCO was established in 1983. Its membership regulates more than 95% of the world’s securities markets in more than 115 jurisdictions; securities regulators in emerging markets account for 75% of its ordinary membership.

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. What are IFSCs?
  2. Can they be set up in SEZs?
  3. India’s first IFSC.
  4. Services they provide?
  5. Limitations.
  6. About IOSCO.

Mains Link:

Discuss the significance of international financial services centres.

Sources: PIB.

 

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

Scottish independence referendum:


Context:

Boris Johnson has suggested Scotland should not hold another independence referendum until at least the 2050s, shrugging off claims that Brexit has strengthened the case for a new vote.

When was the last referendum held?

Referendum for Scottish independence was held in 2014. Scotland had voted to remain in the UK.

When did Scotland and England unite?

The Act of Union between Scotland and England was signed on Jan. 16, 1707. It came into effect on May 1 of that year, creating the United Kingdom of Britain. The Scottish Parliament was dissolved, and a single Parliament was created at Westminster in London.

Why did Scotland and England join in the first place?

Scotland and England have a complicated history, but the short answer is that Scotland needed an economic boost. The country’s finances were a mess after a failed attempt to establish a trading colony in Panama. This unsuccessful scheme was conclusive evidence that Scotland’s future prosperity was best served by union.

What is the main case for independence?

  • Those who support independence believe Scotland “would be richer” if it breaks from England.
  • Proponents of independence want Scotland to make its own decisions about how resources are controlled and money is invested.
  • Rather than investing billions of pounds in nuclear weapons, for example, they would focus on things like childcare or programs to retain talent and encourage young Scots to stay.

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Sources: the Hindu.

 


GS Paper  : 3


 

Topics Covered: Indigenization of technology and developing new technology.

Serum Institute`s Covishield vs Bharat Biotech`s Covaxin:


Context:

In a significant development, the Drug Controller General of India (DCGI) has formally approved Serum Institute and Bharat Biotech vaccines for restricted emergency use against COVID-19 in India.

Background:

Neither Covishield nor Covaxin has completed the crucial Phase-3 trial, under which a vaccine candidate is administered to volunteers at multiple locations across the country.

  • The approval was based on a recommendation by a Subject Expert Committee which deliberated for two days on granting approvals to the vaccines.

About Covishield:

  • Covishield has been developed by Oxford University in collaboration with Astrazeneca.
  • Pune-based Serum Institute of India is their manufacturing and trial partner.
  • It uses a replication-deficient chimpanzee viral vector based on a weakened version of a common cold virus.
  • This virus causes infections in chimpanzees and contains the genetic material of the SARS-CoV-2 virus spike protein.

About Covaxin:

  • Covaxin is developed by Bharat Biotech and it is India’s first indigenous vaccine against Covid-19.
  • Bharat Biotech has developed this vaccine in collaboration with the Indian Council of Medical Research and National Institute of Virology.
  • It is an inactivated vaccine which is developed by inactivating (killing) the live microorganisims that cause the disease.
  • This destroys the ability of the pathogen to replicate, but keeps it intact so that the immune system can still recognise it and produce an immune response.

covaxin

Is it safe?

WHO has welcomed the authorisation but there are many who fear the vaccine and the safety of it all. Surveys have found that many Indians are in no rush to get vaccinated. Experts also believe that more information about the vaccine trials should be published.

What is the process of getting an emergency use authorisation in India?

Experts and activists say India’s drug regulations do not have provisions for a EUA, and the process for receiving one is not clearly defined or consistent.

  • Despite this, CDSCO has been granting emergency or restricted emergency approvals to Covid-19 drugs during this pandemic for remdesivir and favipiravir.

Is there a risk in using a product that has only been granted an emergency use authorisation?

According to the US FDA, the public has to be informed that a product has only been granted an EUA and not full approval.

  • In the case of a Covid-19 vaccine, for example, people have to be informed about the known and potential benefits and risks, and the “extent to which such benefits or risks are unknown”, and that they have a right to refuse the vaccine.

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. Antigens vs Antibodies.
  2. How a vaccine works?
  3. Types of vaccines.
  4. About DGCI.
  5. Procedure to be followed for vaccine approval in India.

Sources: the Hindu.

 

Topics Covered: Environment related issues.

“Atmosphere & Climate Research-Modelling Observing Systems & Services (ACROSS)” scheme:


Context:

The scheme was recently reviewed by the Ministry of Earth Sciences.

ACROSS Scheme:

  • ACROSS scheme pertains to the atmospheric science programs of the Ministry of Earth Sciences (MoES).
  • It addresses different aspects of weather and climate services, which includes warnings for cyclone, storm surges, heat waves, thunderstorms etc.
  • Each of these aspects is incorporated as nine sub-schemes under the umbrella scheme “ACROSS” and is implemented in an integrated.

Benefits of the Scheme:

  • The scheme will provide improved weather, climate and ocean forecast and services, thereby ensuring transfer of commensurate benefits to the various services.
  • It will also provide a sizable number of scientific and technical staff along with requisite administrative support, thereby generating employment.
  • To ensure last-mile connectivity of the weather based services to the end -user, a large number of agencies like the Krishi Vigyana Kendras of ICAR, Universities and local municipalities are roped in thus generating employment opportunities to many people.

Sources: PIB.

 


Facts for Prelims:


Mannathu Padmanabhan:

  • He was an Indian social reformer and freedom fighter from Kerala.
  • He lived from January 2, 1878 – February 25, 1970.
  • He took part in anti-untouchability agitations and advocated opening temples for people of all castes.
  • He also participated in the Vaikom Satyagraha.
  • He is also known for his founding of the Nair Service Society (NSS).

Why in News?

Birth anniversary.


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