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INSIGHTS DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS + PIB SUMMARY- 6 March 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. El Salvador becomes first central American country to be declared malaria-free.

2. India reaffirms Lanka defence ties.

 

GS Paper 3:

1. OPEC+ move to hit recovery.

2. FSSAI guidelines on GMO crops.

3. FSI Report on forest fires. 

 

Facts for Prelims:

1. Solid Fuel Ducted Ramjet (SFDR) Technology.

2. Red sanders.

3. Whale shark.

4. Fishing cats.

 


GS Paper  :  2


 

Topics Covered: Issues related to Health.

El Salvador becomes first central American country to be declared malaria-free:


Context:

El Salvador has become the first country in central America and the third in all Americas to get the malaria-free certificate from the World Health Organization (WHO) in recent years.

  • Malaria elimination certificate is awarded to a country when the chain of indigenous transmission of the disease has been disrupted nationwide for at least three consecutive years.
  • The only other countries in the WHO Regions of Americas to have eliminated malaria in recent years are Paraguay (2018) and Argentina (2019).

High Burden to High Impact (HBHI) initiative:

  • Initiated by WHO in 11 high malaria burden countries, including India.
  • In India, Implementation has been started in four states i.e. West Bengal and Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh.

About Malaria:

Caused by a parasite that commonly infects a certain type of mosquito which feeds on humans.

Spread: Female Anopheles mosquitoes deposit parasite sporozoites into the skin of a human host.

 Four kinds of malaria parasites infect humans:

Plasmodium falciparum, P. vivax, P. ovale, and P. malariae. In addition, P. knowlesi, a type of malaria that naturally infects macaques in Southeast Asia, also infects humans, causing malaria that is transmitted from animal to human (“zoonotic” malaria).

Durgama Anchalare Malaria Nirakaran (DAMaN) initiative:

  • Among states, Odisha’s Durgama Anchalare Malaria Nirakaran (DAMaN)initiative is significant.
  • The initiative aims to deliver services to the most inaccessible and hardest hit people of the State. The initiative has in-built innovative strategies to combat asymptomatic malaria.
  • The programme is jointly implemented by Indian Council of Medical Research-National Institute of Malaria Research (ICMR-NIMR), National Vector Borne Disease Control Programme (NVBDCP), Odisha and Medicines for Malaria Venture (MMV).

Insta Links:

Prelims Link:

  1. Difference and examples of various diseases caused by Virus and Bacteria.
  2. Malaria- causes and treatment.
  3. About DAMaN initiative.
  4. HBHI initiative.
  5. Malaria elimination certificate.

Sources: Down to Earth.

 

Topics Covered: India and neighbourhood relations.

India reaffirms Lanka defence ties:


Context:

With the participation of the Indian Air Force Chief and 23 aircraft in the three-day event in Colombo to mark the 70th anniversary of the Sri Lanka Air Force (SLAF), India sought to reaffirm its strong defence cooperation with Sri Lanka.

  • The last time Indian aircraft took part in such an event was in 2001, on the occasion of the SLAF’s 50th year.

India Lanka Defence ties- a historical background:

  • During Sri Lanka’s over three decade-civil war, India has played a crucial role, politically and at times, using its military.
  • The controversial Indian Peace Keeping Force (IPKF) was present in Sri Lanka.
  • India also launched ‘Operation Poomalai’ of 1987 — when the Indian Air Force dropped food supplies in Jaffna.
  • In Sri Lanka’s post-war era, Indo-Lanka military partnership has focused mostly on training and capacity building. About 1,200 Sri Lankan military personnel are trained in India every year.
  • In 2020, Indian Navy and Coast Guard personnel helped the Sri Lankan Navy in a crucial fire-fighting operation, when an oil tanker went up in flames, off the island’s east coast.

Geopolitical Significance of Sri Lanka:

Sri Lanka’s location in the Indian Ocean region as an island State has been of strategic geopolitical relevance to several major powers.

  • Some examples that highlight Western interests in Sri Lanka’s strategic location are the British Defence and External Affairs Agreement of 1948, and the Maritime Agreement with USSR of 1962.

Post 2015, Sri Lanka still relies heavily on China for Port city project and for continuation of Chinese funded infrastructure projects in Sri Lanka.

  • China’s string of pearl’s strategy is aimed at encircling India to establish dominance in the Indian Ocean.

Sri Lanka’s location can serve both commercial and industrial purposes and be used as a military base.

  • Sri Lanka’s Colombo Port is the 25th busiest container port in the world and the natural deep water harbor at Trincomalee is the fifth largest natural harbour in the world.
  • Port city of Trincomalee was the main base for Eastern Fleet and British Royal Navy during the Second World War.

china's_string_pearls

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

Locations of:

  1. Port city of Trincomalee.
  2. Colombo port.
  3. Chabahar port.

Mains Link:

Comment on China’s String of pearl’s strategy.

Sources: the Hindu.

 


GS Paper  :  3


 

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

OPEC+ move to hit recovery:


Context:

OPEC+ has agreed not to increase supply in April as they await a more substantial recovery in demand amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

  • Crude prices rose after the announcement and are up 33% this year.

Concerns for India:

India is the world’s third-biggest oil importer. India imports about 84% of its oil and relies on West Asian supplies to meet over three-fifths of its demand.

  • As one of the largest crude-consuming countries, India is concerned that such actions by producing countries have the potential to undermine consumption-led recovery and more so hurt consumers, especially in our price-sensitive market.

What is the Opec+?

  • Opec+ refers to the alliance of crude producers, who have been undertaking corrections in supply in the oil markets since 2017.
  • OPEC plus countries include Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Brunei, Kazakhstan, Malaysia, Mexico, Oman, Russia, South Sudan and Sudan.

OPEC_1

What is OPEC?

  1. The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) was founded in Baghdad, Iraq, with the signing of an agreement in September 1960 by five countries namely Islamic Republic of Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and Venezuela. They were to become the Founder Members of the Organization.
  2. OPEC is a permanent, intergovernmental organization.
  3. OPEC’s objective is to co-ordinate and unify petroleum policies among Member Countries, in order to secure fair and stable prices for petroleum producers; an efficient, economic and regular supply of petroleum to consuming nations; and a fair return on capital to those investing in the industry.
  4. It is headquartered in Vienna, Austria.
  5. OPEC membership is open to any country that is a substantial exporter of oil and which shares the ideals of the organization.

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. Founder members of OPEC.
  2. Top oil producers?
  3. India’s crude oil imports?
  4. Components and refining of crude oil.
  5. Crude oil storage facilities in India?
  6. Geographical location of OPEC members.
  7. Type of Crude oil produced by OPEC and non-OPEC members.
  8. What is OPEC+?

Mains Link:

How groups, such as OPEC, influence oil prices across the world? Discuss.

Sources: the Hindu.

 

Topics Covered: Biotechnology.

FSSAI guidelines on GMO Crops:


Context:

FSSAI issued an order on February 8 setting the permissible limit for genetically modified organisms (GMO) in imported food crops at 1%.

  • However, trade organisations have said that this threshold is unacceptably high.
  • It amounts to an advocacy for zero presence of GMO in food and some other consumables.

GMO regulation in India:

The task of regulating GMO levels in imported consumables was initially with the Genetic Engineering Appraisal Committee (GEAC) under the Union environment ministry.

  • Its role in this was diluted with the enactment of the Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006 and FSSAI was asked to take over approvals of imported goods.

What are Genetically Modified Organism (Transgenic Organism)?

In GMO, genetic material (DNA) is altered or artificially introduced using genetic engineering techniques.

Genetic modification involves the mutation, insertion, or deletion of genes.

  • Inserted genes usually come from a different organism (e.g. In Bt cotton, Bt genes from bacterium Bacillus thuringiensis are induced).

Genetic modification is done to induce a desirable new trait which does not occur naturally in the species.

GM techniques are used in:

  1. Biological and medical research,
  2. Production of pharmaceutical drugs,
  3. Experimental medicine (e.g. gene therapy),
  4. Agriculture (e.g. golden rice, Bt cotton etc.),
  5. Genetically modified bacteria to produce the protein insulin,
  6. To produce biofuels from some GM bacteria, etc.

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. What are GM crops?
  2. What are GMOs?
  3. About GEAC.
  4. About the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety.

Sources: Down to Earth.

 

Topics Covered: Conservation related issues.

FSI Report on forest fires:


Context:

The Forest Survey of India (FSI) has released a report on forest fires in the country.

Key findings:

  1. At least 5,291 forest fires were recorded in Odisha between February 22 and March 1, 2021 — the highest in the country for the same period.
  2. Collection of mahua flowers and kendu leaves, practice of shifting cultivation and grazing in forest areas are some of the reasons for forest fires in Odisha.
  3. Telangana recorded the second-highest fires in the country at 1,527 during the same period, followed by Madhya Pradesh (1,507) and Andhra Pradesh (1,292), according to FSI data.

Concerns:

  • Forest fires have become an issue of global concern. In many countries, wildfires are burning larger areas, and fire seasons are growing longer due to global warming.
  • Globally, forest fires release billions of tons of CO2 into the atmosphere, while hundreds of thousands of people are believed to die due to illnesses caused by exposure to smoke from forest fires and other landscape fires.

Causes of Forest Fire:

Forest fires are caused by Natural causes as well as Man-made or anthropogenic causes.

  1. Natural causes such as lightning which set trees on fire. High atmospheric temperatures and low humidity offer favourable circumstance for a fire to start.
  2. Man-made causes like flame, cigarette, electric spark or any source of ignition will also cause forest fires.
  3. Traditionally Indian forests have been affected by fires. The problem has been aggravated with rising human and cattle population and the increase in demand for grazing, shifting cultivation and Forest products by individuals and communities.
  4. High temperature, wind speed and direction, level of moisture in soil and atmosphere and duration of dry spells can intensify the forest fires.

India’s Initiative to Tackle Forest Fire:

National Action Plan on Forest Fires (NAPFF): It was launched in 2018 to minimise forest fires by informing, enabling and empowering forest fringe communities and incentivising them to work with the State Forest Departments.

The Forest Fire Prevention and Management Scheme (FPM) is the only centrally funded program specifically dedicated to assist the states in dealing with forest fires.

Sources: Down to Earth.

 


Facts for Prelims:


Solid Fuel Ducted Ramjet (SFDR) Technology:

Tested by Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) recently.

  • The successful demonstration of the technology has provided the DRDO with a technological advantage that will enable the agency to develop long-range air-to-air missiles.

Benefits:

  • Ramjet powered missiles provide greater range and a higher average speed compared to missiles powered by solid propellants.
  • ramjet missiles use atmospheric oxygen rather than including an oxidizer as part of the solid motor.
  • Ramjet missiles can also carry a bigger warhead as they do not have to carry an oxidizer.

Red sanders:

  • Red sanders (Pterocarpus santalinus) is known for its rich hue and therapeutic properties.
  • The tree is endemic to several districts in Andhra Pradesh and some parts of Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka.
  • The species was listed in Appendix II of CITES in 1995, and subsequently export of red sanders was prohibited in 2004.
  • But, in 2019, the Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) has revised its export policy to permit the export of red sanders if it is obtained from cultivated land.
  • Red Sanders usually grow in the rocky, degraded and fallow lands with Red Soil and hot and dry climate.
  • The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has put it under the category of near threatened from earlier endangered species in the Red List.

Pochampally Ikat:

  • Pochampally Ikat or resist dyeing involves a sequence of tying and dyeing sections of bundled yarn to a predetermined colour scheme before weaving.
  • During the Nizam era, they were exported to Burma (Myanmar) and West Asia and east Africa, where they were known as Asia rumals.
  • The term `Ikat’ stems from the Malay-Indonesian expression, mangikat, meaning to bind, knot or wind.
  • It has now been granted the Geographical Indication (GI) status.

Whale shark:

  • The whale shark is the largest living species of fish and is endangered, according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature.
  • It is protected under the Wildlife Protection Act.
  • The whale shark has a lifespan of around 130 years and has a unique pattern of dots on its body.
  • It can grow up to 10 metres in length and weigh around 20 tonnes.
  • Habitat: Whale sharks are found in all the tropical oceans of the world. Whale sharks are found along the coast of India.

Fishing cats:

The first-ever survey of the elusive fishing cat in and around Asia’s biggest brackish water lagoon, the Chilika lake in Odisha, started March 1, 2021.

  • Fishing cats are almost twice the size of the house cat.
  • They are generally found in the marshy wetlands of northern and eastern India and on the mangroves of the east coast.
  • IUCN Red List:

fishing_cats_1

GoM suggests steps to stem ‘negative narrative’:

A Group of Ministers (GoM) was formed to fine-tune government communication in an effort to neutralise what it calls a negative narrative.

  • GoM has come out with suggestions to track 50 negative and 50 positive influencers on social media, neutralise the people who are writing against the government without facts and setting false narratives/spreading fake news and take other steps.
  • The action points recommended by the GoM include enlarging the Prasar Bharati News Service into a “mainline news agency”.
  • The agreed long-term strategies include “coordination with schools of journalism as present students are the future journalists”.

 


Articles Covered Previously:


1. SC says new rules to regulate OTT platforms lack teeth.

Context:

The Supreme Court has said the government’s new rules to regulate OTT (over-the-top) platforms lacked teeth to punish violators or to screen offensive content.

What’s the issue?

The new rules were “more in the nature of guidelines” and there was “no effective mechanism for screening or to take appropriate action” against violators.

 

For more details:

https://www.insightsonindia.com/2021/02/26/govt-to-monitor-ott-content/.

 

FM signals ‘duty’ to appeal the Cairn arbitration award:

Context:

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has indicated the government’s intent to appeal against an arbitration panel asking India to return $1.4 billion to U.K.’s Cairn Energy Plc, saying it is her “duty” to appeal in cases where the sovereign authority to tax is questioned.

For more details:

https://www.insightsonindia.com/2020/12/24/cairn-energy-wins-arbitration-award-against-india-in-tax-dispute/.


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