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INSIGHTS DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS + PIB SUMMARY- 22 February 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. Influenza A(H5N8) virus.

2. International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

 

GS Paper 3:

1. Telangana achieves 100% tap water connections to schools.

2. RT-PCR tests: What it is and how it is done?

3. What is Carbon Watch— India’s 1st app to assess one’s carbon footprint?

4. ‘One Nation One Standard’ Mission.

 

Facts for Prelims:

1. What is Line of Credit (LOC)?

2. Black-footed ferret.

 


GS Paper  :  2


 

Topics Covered: economics of animal-rearing.

Influenza A(H5N8) virus:


Context:

Russia says it detected first case of H5N8 avian flu in humans, alerts WHO.

  • There are different subtypes of avian influenza viruses. While the highly contagious strain H5N8 is lethal for birds it has never before been reported to have spread to humans.

About Avian influenza (bird flu):

  • It is a viral infection that can infect not only birds, but also humans and other animals. Most forms of the virus are restricted to birds.
  • It is a highly contagious viral disease affecting several species of food-producing birds (chickens, turkeys, quails, guinea fowl, etc.), as well as pet birds and wild birds.
  • Occasionally mammals, including humans, may contract avian influenza.
  • Influenza A viruses are classified into subtypes based on two surface proteins, Hemagglutinin (HA) and Neuraminidase (NA).

Influenza A(H5N8) virus:

According to Paris-based World Organisation for Animal Health, H5N8 avian influenza is a disease of birds, caused by Type “A” influenza viruses, which can affect several species of domestic poultry, such as chickens, turkeys, quails, guinea fowl, ducks, as well as pet birds, wild migratory birds and water fowl.

Can the virus transfer to humans?

There are no known cases of H5N8 in human beings. Risk to general public is very low. There is also no evidence that consumption of poultry meat or eggs could transmit the virus to humans. But necessary precautions are required while handling sick/dead birds and contaminated material during control and containment operations. It is considered safe to eat properly cooked poultry products.

Control measures:

Culling is usually undertaken to control the infection when it is detected in animals. Besides culling, safe disposal of all such culled animals and animal products is also important. The authorities also need to strictly enforce decontamination of infected premises and undertake quarantine of contaminated vehicles and personnel.

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. When a country is declared free from Avian Influenza, who declares it?
  2. H5N1 vs H5N6 vs H9N2 vs H5N8.

Mains Link:

Write a note on Bird Flu. Discuss how it can be prevented.

Sources: the Hindu.

 

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

International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA):


Context:

IAEA Chief has said that a three-month “temporary solution” had been found to allow the agency’s monitoring in Iran to continue, although its level of access will be limited.

What’s the issue?

Iran’s conservative-dominated parliament passed a law in December demanding the country suspend some inspections if the US failed to lift sanctions. The law is due to go into effect on Tuesday.

Significance of the move:

This is an attempt by the U.S. President Joe Biden’s administration, European powers and Iran to rescue the 2015 nuclear deal that has been on the brink of collapse since former President Donald Trump withdrew from it.

About IAEA:

Set up as the world’s “Atoms for Peace” organization in 1957 within the United Nations family.

Reports to both the United Nations General Assembly and Security Council.

Headquarters in Vienna, Austria.

Functions:

  • Works with its Member States and multiple partners worldwide to promote the safe, secure and peaceful use of nuclear technologies.
  • Seeks to promote the peaceful use of nuclear energy, and to inhibit its use for any military purpose, including nuclear weapons.

Functions:

  1. Recommendations to the General Conference on IAEA activities and budget.
  2. Responsible for publishing IAEA standards.
  3. Responsible for making most of the policy of the IAEA.
  4. Appoints the Director General subject to General Conference approval.

Programs:

  • Program of Action for Cancer Therapy (PACT).
  • Human Health Program.
  • Water Availability Enhancement Project.
  • International Project on Innovative Nuclear Reactors and Fuel Cycles, 2000.

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. What is IAEA? Relation with the UN.
  2. Members of IAEA.
  3. Programs of IAEA.
  4. Board of Governors- composition, voting and functions.
  5. What is Uranium Enrichment?

Sources: the Hindu.

 


GS Paper  :  3


 

Topics Covered: Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment.

Telangana achieves 100% tap water connections to schools:


Context:

Work on providing connection to schools, AWCs and ashramshalas was taken up under the 100-day special campaign of the Ministry of Jal Shakti under the Jal Jeevan Mission.

Now, Telangana has joined a group of States that has ensured tap water connections to all schools and anganwadi centres (AWCs).

  • Previously, the State was the first to provide tap water connections to all households.

About Jal Jeevan Mission:

Announced in August 2019.

Objective of the Mission is to provide piped water supply (Har Ghar Jal) to all rural households by 2024.

It seeks to provide 55 lpcd (Litres per capita per day) of prescribed quality on long-term and regular basis.

  • It aims to create local infrastructure for rainwater harvesting, groundwater recharge and management of household waste water for reuse in agriculture.

Implementation:

Following the principles  of Gandhiji’s ‘Gram Swaraj’, under Jal Jeevan Mission, local village community/ Gram Panchayats or sub-committee i.e. Village Water & Sanitation Committee/ Paani Samiti/ user groups having 10 – 15 members with 50% women are to be involved in planning, implementation, management, operation and maintenance of water supply systems to ensure long-term sustainability to achieve drinking water security.

Funding Pattern:

  1. The fund sharing pattern between the Centre and states is 90:10 for Himalayan and North-Eastern States, 50:50 for other states, and 100% for Union Territories.
  2. Central funding will be 50% for cities with less than 1 lakh population, one third for cities with 1 lakh to 10 lakh population and 25% for cities with million plus population.

Need for and significance of the mission:

India has 16% of the world population, but only 4% of freshwater resources. Depleting groundwater level, overexploitation and deteriorating water quality, climate change, etc. are major challenges to provide potable drinking water. It is an urgent requirement of water conservation in the country because of the decreasing amount of groundwater level. Therefore, the Jal Jeevan Mission will focus on integrated demand and supply management of water at the local level.

Sources: the Hindu.

 

Topics Covered: Science and Technology- developments and their applications and effects in everyday life Achievements of Indians in science & technology; indigenization of technology and developing new technology.

RT-PCR tests: What it is and how it is done?


Context:

How RT-PCR is used for detecting Covid-19?

The causative agent for Covid19 is the SARS-CoV-2 virus. It is an RNA virus, that means it infiltrates a healthy cell to multiply and survive.

  • Thus, the RT-PCR test is for the identification of SARS-CoV-2 RNA. In this, the RNA is converted to DNA through a process called ‘reverse transcription’ for detecting viruses.

How it is carried out? (Note: Read it just for the sake of understanding).

  1. The SARS-CoV-2 RNA is generally detectable in respiratory specimens during the acute phase of infection.
  2. For that upper and lower respiratory specimens (such as nasal, nasopharyngeal) are collected.
  3. This sample is treated with several chemical solutions that remove substances, such as proteins and fats, and extracts only the RNA present in the sample.
  4. Real-time RT-PCR setup usually goes through 35 cycles, which means that by the end of the process, around 35 billion new copies of the sections of viral DNA are created from each strand of the virus present in the sample.
  5. As new copies of the viral DNA sections are built, the marker labels attach to the DNA strands and then release a fluorescent dye, which is measured by the machine’s computer and presented in real-time on the screen. The computer tracks the amount of fluorescence in the sample after each cycle. When the amount goes over a certain level of fluorescence, this confirms that the virus is present.

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. Difference between RNA and DNA.
  2. Differences between RT PCR and antibody tests.
  3. What is a RNA virus? How it survives?
  4. What are antibodies?

Mains Link:

Discuss the significance of RT- PCR test.

Sources: the Hindu.

 

Topics Covered: Conservation related issues.

What is Carbon Watch— India’s 1st app to assess one’s carbon footprint?


Context:

Chandigarh became the first state or Union Territory in India to launch Carbon Watch.

What is Carbon Watch?

It is a mobile application to assess the carbon footprint of an individual.

What is Carbon Footprint?

Carbon footprint is the amount of greenhouse gases-especially carbon dioxide-released into the atmosphere by a particular human activity.

How does the app Carbon Watch work?

  1. As a person downloads the application, they will need to fill details in four parts- Water, Energy, Waste Generation and Transport (Vehicular movement). In each category, they will be required to inform about their respective consumptions and waste generations.
  2. With the mentioned information, the mobile application will automatically calculate the carbon footprint of the individual.
  3. The application will also provide information such as the national and world average of the emission, and the individual’s level of emission generation.

Solutions:

The mobile application will suggest methods to reduce the carbon footprints. The application will suggest ways as per the information furnished by the individuals.

Motive behind designing this application?

Making the people Climate-Smart Citizens while making them capable of accessing their carbon footprint, along with providing them with steps to reduce it, is the motive behind the application.

Sources: Indian Express.

 

Topics Covered: Effects of liberalization on the economy, changes in industrial policy and their effects on industrial growth.

‘One Nation One Standard’ Mission:


Context:

Food and Consumer Affairs Minister Piyush Goyal has stressed on the need for ‘One Nation One Standard’ to bring uniformity and said labs testing in India should be of global standards.

The minister said this while reviewing the work of Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS).

What is it?

  • The ‘One Nation One Standard’ Mission was first deliberated in September, 2019.
  • The mission was envisioned on the line of ‘one nation, one ration card’ scheme in order to ensure quality products in the country.
  • The purpose is to converge multiple standards with the BIS which is a recognised national body for standardisation in India.

Need for:

  • The strength and character of a nation is often exemplified by the standards it sets for the quality of its products and services.
  • Bringing a national uniformity and standardization in all kinds of public procurement and tendering can be an immediate deliverable.
  • The uniform national standards will help in making it mandatory for more products.

About the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS):

  • BIS is the only national body that frames standards.
  • It works under the aegis of Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food & Public Distribution, Government of India.
  • BIS is responsible for the harmonious development of the activities of standardization, marking and quality certification of goods and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto.

The Bureau of Indian standards (BIS) Act 2016 establishes the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) as the National Standards Body of India.

  • The Act enables the Central Government to appoint any authority/agency, in addition to the BIS, to verify the conformity of products and services with the established standard and issue certificate of conformity.
  • There is a provision for repair or recall, of the products (bearing Standard Mark) that do not conform to the relevant Indian Standard.

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. About BIS.
  2. Functions.
  3. Overview of BIS Act 2016.

Mains Link:

Discuss the need for ‘One Nation One Standard’ Mission.

Sources: Indian Express.

 


Facts for Prelims:


What is Line of Credit (LOC)?

The Line of Credit is not a grant but a ‘soft loan’ provided on concessional interest rates to developing countries, which has to be repaid by the borrowing government.

  • The borrower can access funds from the line of credit at any time as long as they do not exceed the maximum amount (or credit limit) set in the agreement and meet any other requirements such as making timely minimum payments.

Context:

India and the Maldives have signed a defence Line of Credit agreement worth $50 million.

Black-footed ferret:

  • S. scientists have successfully cloned an endangered black-footed ferret using frozen cells from along-dead wild animal, the first time any native endangered species has been cloned in the United States.
  • The species is North America’s only native ferret.
  • The species was considered extinct until seven were found in 1981.

 

Sant Ravidasji:

  • He was a poet-saint of the Bhakti movement in northern India.
  • Founder of the Ravidassia sect.
  • He taught against caste-based discrimination.
  • Some of the devotional verses he composed have been included in the Guru Granth Sahib.

International Mother Language Day:

  • Observed on 21 February every year.
  • The Day is celebrated to promote awareness of linguistic and cultural diversity and to promote multilingualism.
  • First announced by UNESCO in 1999, it was formally recognized by the United Nations General Assembly in 2002.
  • The idea to celebrate International Mother Language Day was the initiative of Bangladesh.
  • Theme for IMLD 2021 is “Fostering multilingualism for inclusion in education and society”.

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