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 2:
GS Paper 3:
Facts for Prelims:
1. Corpse flower.
2. New Big 5 project.
3. China completes Tibet highway.
GS Paper : 2
Topics Covered: Issues related to health.
Four cases of ‘white fungus’ or ‘candidiasis’ have been detected in Patna, Bihar.
What is While Fungus and What are its symptoms?
- This infection can be caused due to low immunity or if people come in contact with things that contain these moulds like water, etc.
- Patients of white fungus show Covid-like symptoms but test negative; the infection can be diagnosed through CT-Scan or X-ray.
- The exact cause is unknown yet.
White fungus can affect not just the lungs but also other parts of the body including “nails, skin, stomach, kidney, brain, private parts and mouth.
- Differences between Black fungus and white fungus.
- Causes and symptoms.
Discuss why the centre has asked states to notify black fungus as epidemic.
Sources: Indian Express.
Topics Covered: Issues related to health.
The second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic has exposed the abysmally poor state of the country’s health infrastructure.
Current state of India’s health infrastructure- World Bank data:
- India had 85.7 physicians per 1,00,000 people in 2017 (in contrast to 98 in Pakistan, 100 in Sri Lanka and 241 in Japan).
- 53 beds per 1,00,000 people (in contrast to 63 in Pakistan, 79.5 in Bangladesh, 415 in Sri Lanka and 1,298 in Japan).
- 172.7 nurses and midwives per 1,00,000 people (in contrast to 220 in Sri Lanka, 40 in Bangladesh, 70 in Pakistan, and 1,220 in Japan).
- India has among the highest out-of-pocket (OOP) expenditures of all countries in the world- 62% of the total health expenditure in India is OOP.
Reasons and causes for this:
- Low public health expenditure- 1% of GDP 2013-14 and 1.28% in 2017-18 (including expenditure by the Centre, all States and Union Territories).
- Centre is the key player in public health management because the main bodies with technical expertise are under central control. The States lack corresponding expert bodies such as the National Centre for Disease Control or the Indian Council of Medical Research.
- States also differ a great deal in terms of the fiscal space to deal with the novel coronavirus pandemic because of the wide variation in per capita health expenditure.
Inter-State variation in per capita health-care expenditure (between 2010-11 to 2019-20):
- Kerala and Delhi have been close to the top in all the years.
- Bihar, Jharkhand and Uttar Pradesh have been consistently towards the bottom of the ranking in all years.
- Odisha is noteworthy as it had the same per capita health expenditure as Uttar Pradesh in 2010, but now has more than double that of Uttar Pradesh.
What needs to be done? How to manage the pandemic?
- A coordinated national plan at the central level to fight the pandemic.
- The central government should handle the responsibilities including that of procuring vaccines from the international market.
- Once the vaccines arrive in India, these could be distributed across States equitably in a needs-based and transparent manner.
Sources: the Hindu.
GS Paper : 3
Topics Covered: Technology missions; economics of animal-rearing.
- May 20 is observed as World Bee Day annually.
- It was on this day in 1734 that Anton Janša, the pioneer of beekeeping, was born.
- The United Nations proclaimed May 20 as World Bee Day in 2017. The proposal was put forth by Slovenia.
- 2021 theme: “Bee Engaged – Build Back Better for Bees”.
Efforts by the government:
- Government is promoting Beekeeping as part of its aim to double farmers’ income.
- The Government has allocated 500 crores towards Beekeeping under the Atma Nirbhar Abhiyan.
- The National Bee Board has created four modules to impart training as part of the National Beekeeping and Honey Mission (NBHM) and 30 lakh farmers have been trained in beekeeping. They are also being financially supported by the Government.
- The Government has launched ‘Honey Mission’ as part of ‘Sweet Revolution’.
- India is among the world’s top five honey producers.
- Compared to 2005-06 honey production has risen by 242% and exports shot by 265%.
Significance of Beekeeping:
- As per Food and Agricultural Organization database, in 2017-18, India ranked eighth in the world in terms of honey production (64.9 thousand tonnes) while China stood first with a production level of 551 thousand tonnes.
- Further, beekeeping can be an important contributor in achieving the 2022 target of doubling farmer incomes.
- Importance of the day.
- Beekeeping in India.
- Technology missions.
Discuss the significance and importance of beekeeping in India.
Topics Covered: Development of new technology.
It is India’s first Covid-19 self-testing kit approved recently by the ICMR.
- This means anyone can collect their own nasal sample and test it for SARS-CoV-2.
Such a self-test kit was first approved in the US last November. Similar kits have been approved in Europe and South Korea too.
- Developed by MyLab Discovery Solutions, a Pune-based molecular company.
- It uses a rapid antigen test, in which a nasal swab sample is tested for the virus and gives results within 15 minutes.
- Taking the test takes hardly two minutes.
How does it work?
This easy-to-use test combines with MyLab’s AI-powered mobile app so that a user can know his/her positive status, submit the result to ICMR directly for traceability, and know what to do next in either result.
What are the arguments for?
- A person testing himself at home rather than visiting a hospital or lab, or calling a technician at home, reduces the risk of transmission to others.
- Swab collection in this case is fairly simple and quick, and reduces overall testing expenditure and the stress of booking appointment in labs.
- Self-testing will reduce the burden on laboratories that are currently working 24 hours up to full capacity with manpower that is already saturated.
- The reliability of results remains a major concern. The likelihood of the sample not being collected correctly, or the swab stick getting contaminated, is high.
- Also, rapid antigen tests come with a high chance of false negatives. If a Covid-infected person is asymptomatic and tests negative, the test may give a false sense of security.
- Technical errors in the mobile app can also hamper the entire testing and reporting process.
Can the launch be a game-changer in Covid-19 management?
Many states are going through a second wave of infections, putting pressure on diagnostics laboratories. The RT-PCR test, considered the gold standard for Covid-19 testing, takes 3-4 days to give results, delaying hospitalisation and treatment.
- Self-test kits can potentially be a game-changer in Covid-19 management in India. These can cut queues in laboratories, reduce costs, dissipate the burden on existing manpower for sample collection from homes, and provide quick results (within 15 minutes), leading to prompt treatment and isolation.
- This testing kit cost Rs 250, while RT-PCR test costs between Rs 400 to Rs 1,500 and a rapid antigen test in laboratory costs Rs 300-900 in different states.
- What is Coviself?
- How it works?
- Differences between antigens and antibodies.
Discuss the pros and cons of self-help kits for the detection of Covid.
Sources: Indian Express.
Topics Covered: Conservation related issues.
Iceberg A-76 calved from the western side of the Ronne Ice Shelf in Antarctica and is now floating on the Weddell Sea.
- Measurements taken from satellites and planes confirm it’s now the world’s largest.
- It measures around 170 kilometers (105 miles) long and 25 kilometers (15 miles) wide.
What’s the Concern?
The Antarctica ice sheet is warming faster than the rest of the planet, causing melting of snow and ice covers as well as the retreat of glaciers, especially around the Weddell Sea. As glaciers retreat, chunks of ice break off and float adrift until they break apart or crash into land.
- Location of the iceberg.
- About Antarctica.
- Weddel sea.
- Ronne Ice Shelf.
Discuss the impact of climate change on Antarctica.
Sources: the Hindu.
Facts for Prelims:
- Scientific name: Amorphophallus titanum.
- The ultra-rare plant is known to bloom only once every seven to ten years.
- The flower is also considered to be one of the largest in the world.
- While the plant is native to Indonesia, its saplings have been cultivated in zoos, botanical gardens and greenhouses around the world over the years.
- The average corpse flower has a lifespan of about three-four decades.
- The flower is known for its pungent stench, which is said to be similar to rotting meat or a decaying cadaver.
- It was listed as an endangered plant in 2018 by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).
New Big 5 project:
It is an international initiative of more than 250 of the world’s wildlife photographers, conservationists and wildlife charities.
- Created by British photographer Graeme Green.
- Its aim is to raise awareness about the crisis facing the world’s wildlife from threats including habitat loss, human-wildlife conflict, poaching, illegal wildlife trade and climate change.
- Since its launch in April 2020, the project to list the animals received more than 50,000 votes from wildlife lovers.
Why in News?
It has named the five animals for framing instead of firing at. These are the elephant, polar bear, gorilla, tiger and lion.
- All the New Big 5 animals are keystone species, essential to the balance of nature in their habitats, biodiverse ecosystems and the survival of other species, including humans.
China completes Tibet highway:
- It enables greater access to remote areas along the disputed border with Arunachal Pradesh in India.
- It passes through the Grand Canyon of the Yarlung Zangbo river, as the Brahmaputra is called in Tibet.
- This is the “second significant passageway” to Medog county that borders Arunachal, directly connecting the Pad township in Nyingchi to Baibung in Medog county.
- The highway will reduce the distance between Nyingchi city and Medog from 346 km to 180 km and will cut the travel time by eight hours.
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