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INSIGHTS DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS + PIB SUMMARY- 8 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. 

 

Table of Contents:

GS Paper 1:

1. What are Sattras?

 

GS Paper 2:

1. Rare diseases.

2. China warns U.S. over its Taiwan stand.

3. China plans to build downstream dams on Brahmaputra.

 

GS Paper 3:

1. Sub-Mission on Agroforestry (SMAF) Scheme.

 

Facts for Prelims:

1. Switzerland to ban on face coverings in public.

2. All-Women Crew Of Vessel MT Swarna Krishna Creates History.

3. Techbharat 2021.

4. Maitri Setu inaugurated.

 


GS Paper  :  1


 

Topics Covered: Indian culture will cover the salient aspects of Art Forms, Literature and Architecture from ancient to modern times.

What are Sattras?


Context:

It is common to see politicians often going to different Sattras to seek blessings or extolling the virtues of Sankardeva, especially in the run-up to elections.

What are Sattras?

sattras

  • Sattras are monastic institutions created as part of the 16th century Neo-Vaishnavite reformist movement started by Vaishnavite saint-reformer Srimanta Sankaradeva (1449-1596).
  • These Sattras/Thans were established as centres of religious, social and cultural reforms in the 16th century across Assam.
  • Sattras promulgate Sankardeva’s unique “worship through art” approach with music (borgeet), dance (xattriya) and theatre (bhauna).
  • Each Sattra has a naamghar (worship hall) as its nucleus and is headed by an influential “Sattradhikar”. Monks, known as bhakats, are inducted into Sattras at a young age. They may or may not be celibate, depending on the kind of Sattra they are inducted into.

What is Sankardeva’s philosophy?

  • Sankardeva propagated a form of Bhakti called eka-sharana-naam-dhrama, and espoused a society based on equality and fraternity, free from caste differences, orthodox Brahmanical rituals and sacrifices.
  • His teaching focused on prayer and chanting (naam) instead of idol worship. His dharma was based on the four components of deva (god), naam (prayers), bhakats (devotees), and guru (teacher).

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. What are Sattaras?
  2. About Neo-Vaishnavite reformist movement.
  3. About Srimanta Sankaradeva.
  4. His teachings.

Mains Link:

What are Sattaras? Discuss their significance.

Sources: Indian Express.

 


GS Paper  :  2


 

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

Rare diseases:


Context:

The Delhi High Court has set up a special committee to find a time-bound solution on ways to provide treatment and therapy options to patients suffering from rare diseases.

  • The committee has been asked to give “immediate concrete proposals for crowdfunding of the costs of treatment for children with rare diseases”.

What’s the issue?

The High Court’s direction came while hearing a bunch of petitions filed by patients suffering from rare diseases such as Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy (DMD) and Hunter’s syndromes seeking direction to the government to provide them uninterrupted free treatment in view of the exorbitant cost of treatment.

  • DMD is a condition that causes progressive muscle degeneration and weakness in the victim.
  • Hunter’s syndromes is a rare disease that is passed on in families. It mostly affects boys and their bodies cannot break down a kind of sugar that builds bones, skin, tendons, and other tissues.

What is a rare disease?

A rare disease, also referred to as an orphan disease, is any disease that affects a small percentage of the population.

  • Most rare diseases are genetic, and are present throughout a person’s entire life, even if symptoms do not immediately appear.

The most common rare diseases recorded in India are:

Haemophilia, Thalassemia, sickle-cell anaemia and primary immuno deficiency in children, auto-immune diseases, Lysosomal storage disorders such as Pompe disease, Hirschsprung disease, Gaucher’s disease, Cystic Fibrosis, Hemangiomas and certain forms of muscular dystrophies.

Concerns and challenges:

  1. They pose a significant challenge to health care systems because of the difficulty in collecting epidemiological data, which in turn impedes the process of arriving at a disease burden, calculating cost estimations and making correct and timely diagnoses, among other problems.
  2. Many cases of rare diseases may be serious, chronic and life-threatening. In some cases, the affected individuals, mostly children, may also suffer from some form of a handicap.
  3. As per the 2017 report, over 50 per cent of new cases are reported in children and these diseases are responsible for 35 per cent of deaths in those below the age of one, 10 per cent of deaths between the ages of one and five, and 12 per cent between five and 15.

Efforts by India towards this:

The Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has published a national policy for the treatment of 450 ‘rare diseases’.

  • The policy intends to kickstart a registry of rare diseases, which will be maintained by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR).
  • Under the policy, there are three categories of rare diseases — requiring one-time curative treatment, diseases that require long-term treatment but where the cost is low, and those needing long-term treatments with high cost. Some of the diseases in the first category include osteopetrosis and immune deficiency disorders, among others.

Financial assistance: As per the policy, the assistance of Rs 15 lakh will be provided to patients suffering from rare diseases that require a one-time curative treatment under the Rashtriya Arogya Nidhi scheme. The treatment will be limited to the beneficiaries of Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana.

Justification for state’s intervention:

  1. State has responsibility for providing affordable, accessible and reliable health-care services to every citizen.
  2. Constitution also mentions importance of health-care services under articles like 21, 38 and 47 and thus state cannot evade this responsibility under the pretext of non-justifiability of articles.
  3. Even if pharmaceutical companies are incentivized to develop drugs to treat rare diseases, pharmaceutical companies remain beholden to the laws of economics and, given the low demand for orphan drugs, price these drugs as high as they choose to. Hence there has to be regulation of the government in restricting the exorbitant prices of the drugs.

rare_disease

InstaLinks:

Prelims link:

  1. India’s policy on rare diseases.
  2. Which diseases can be classified as rare diseases?

Mains Link:

What are rare diseases? How do they spread? And how can the spread be prevented?

Sources: the Hindu.

 

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

China warns U.S. over its Taiwan stand:


Context:

China recently warned the Biden administration to roll back former President Donald Trump’s “dangerous practice” of showing support for Taiwan.

  • China has also warned Taiwan that any attempt to seek independence “means war”.

What’s the issue?

China sees democratic Taiwan as a breakaway province, but Taiwan sees itself as a sovereign state, with its own constitution, military, and elected leaders.

China- Taiwan relations- Background:

China has claimed Taiwan through its “one China” policy since the Chinese civil war forced the defeated Kuomintang, or Nationalist, to flee to the island in 1949 and has vowed to bring it under Beijing’s rule, by force if necessary.

  • China is Taiwan’s top trading partner, with trade totaling $226 billion in 2018. Taiwan runs a large trade surplus with China.
  • While Taiwan is self-governed and de facto independent, it has never formally declared independence from the mainland.
  • Under the “one country, two systems” formula, Taiwan would have the right to run its own affairs; a similar arrangement is used in Hong Kong.
  • Taiwan is a member of the World Trade Organization, Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation and Asian Development Bank under various names.

Indo- Taiwan relations:

  • Although they do not have formal diplomatic ties, Taiwan and India have been cooperating in various fields.
  • India has refused to endorse the “one-China” policy since 2010.

who

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. Location of Taiwan and its historical background.
  2. Regions being administered by China under One China policy.
  3. Is Taiwan represented at WHO and the United Nations?
  4. Countries in South China Sea.
  5. Qing dynasty.

Mains Link:

Write a note on India- Taiwan bilateral relations.

Sources: the Hindu.

 

Topics Covered: India and neighbours.

China plans to build downstream dams on Brahmaputra:


Context:

In its new Five-Year Plan (2021-2025), China has proposed to build first dams on the lower reaches of Yarlung Zangbo river, as the Brahmaputra is known in Tibet before it flows into India.

  • Other major projects include the construction of coastal nuclear power plants and power transmission channels.

What are India’s concerns?

  1. China’s dam building overdrive is a concern because there are no bilateral or multilateral treaties on the water.
  2. China believes dam building on the Brahmaputra helps it assert claim over Arunachal Pradesh.
  3. India believes China’s projects in the Tibetan plateau threaten to reduce river flows into India.
  4. Dams, canals, irrigation systems can turn water into a political weapon to be wielded in war, or during peace to signal annoyance with a co-riparian state.
  5. Denial of hydrological data becomes critical when the flow in the river is very high.
  6. China is contemplating northward re-routing of the Yarlung Zangbo.
  7. Diversion of the Brahmaputra is an idea China does not discuss in public, because it implies devastating India’s northeastern plains and Bangladesh, either with floods or reduced water flow.

Significance of Brahmaputra river for India:

The Brahmaputra flows for over 3,000km through Tibet, India and Bangladesh.

  • It is crucial for India too as its basin is a critical water source for Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Meghalaya, Sikkim, Nagaland and West Bengal.
  • The Brahmaputra valley supports the lives of several indigenous communities.

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. Countries through which Brahmaputra flows.
  2. Dams constructed across Brahmaputra.
  3. What is Brahmaputra called in China? Its tributaries.
  4. Himalayan region through which this river pass.

Mains Link:

Discuss how China’s upstream activities along the Brahmaputra River have impacts on countries downstream and the ecology surrounding.

Sources: the Hindu.

 


GS Paper  :  2


 

Topics Covered: Technology missions.

Sub-Mission on Agroforestry (SMAF) Scheme:


Context:

The Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Central Silk Board on a convergence model for the implementation of Agroforestry in the silk sector under the ongoing Sub-Mission on Agroforestry (SMAF) Scheme.

Significance:

  • The signing of this MoU aims to incentivize the farmers to take up sericulture based Agroforestry models thereby contributing to the Make in India and Make for the World vision.
  • This linkage will add another dimension to agroforestry for faster returns to the growers as well as support the production of the range of silks that India is famous for.

About the Sub-Mission on Agroforestry (SMAF):

  • The Department of Agriculture, Cooperation and Farmers Welfare (DAC & FW) has been implementing the Sub-Mission on Agroforestry (SMAF) since 2016-17 as part of the recommendation of the National Agroforestry Policy 2014.
  • This sub-mission is under the National Mission for Sustainable Agriculture (NMSA).
  • India was the first country to have such a comprehensive policy which was launched at the World Agroforestry Congress held in Delhi in February 2014.
  • At present, the scheme is being implemented in 20 States and 2 UTs.

Aim of the mission:

SMAF aims to encourage farmers to plant multi-purpose trees together with the agriculture crops for climate resilience and an additional source of income to the farmers, as well as enhanced feedstock to inter alia wood-based and herbal industry.

Sources: PIB.

 


Facts for Prelims:


Switzerland to ban on face coverings in public:

In a recently held referendum, Switzerland has narrowly voted in favour of banning face coverings in public, including the burka or niqab worn by Muslim women.

Exceptions: The places where the full facial coverings will be allowed include places of worship and other sacred sites. Besides, it will be allowed for health and safety reasons and also in situations where it is “local custom” such as carnivals.

Background: Swiss people are given a direct say in their own affairs under the country’s system of direct democracy. They are regularly invited to vote on various issues in national or regional referendums.

First European Country to ban: France was the first country in Europe to ban burqas and niqabs in public places in 2011.

rare_disease

All-Women Crew Of Vessel MT Swarna Krishna Creates History:

The all-women crew of onboard Shipping Corporation of India (SCI) vessel MT Swarna Krishna created history as this is the first time in the world maritime history that a ship is being sailed by all women officers.

Techbharat 2021:

  • It is an e-conclave bringing together stakeholders from HealthTech & Edutech sectors.
  • This is the second edition of the e-conclave organised by Laghu Udyog Bharati and the IMS Foundation.

Maitri Setu inaugurated:

  • The bridge ‘Maitri Setu’ has been built over the Feni river which flows between the Indian boundary in Tripura State and Bangladesh.
  • The construction was taken up by the National Highways and Infrastructure Development Corporation Ltd at a project cost of Rs. 133 Crores.
  • The 1.9 km long bridge joins Sabroom in India with Ramgarh in Bangladesh.

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