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INSIGHTS DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS + PIB SUMMARY- 23 June 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. Food Security (Assistance To State Government Rules) 2015 amended.

2. Suicide worldwide in 2019.

3. Possible antibodies against Nipah virus detected in bats from Mahabaleshwar cave.

4. At UNHRC, grave concerns raised over Xinjiang.

 

GS Paper 3:

1. UNESCO to downgrade status of Great Barrier Reef; Australia blames political interference.

2. UN land conservation award.

 

Facts for Prelims:

1. Assam’s Jorhat hosted special International Tea Day auction.

2. World’s 1st GM rubber sapling.


GS Paper  :  2


 

Topics Covered: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.

Food Security (Assistance To State Government Rules) 2015 amended:


Context:

Centre amends Food Security rules to prevent ration leakage, corruption.

  • The government said that this amendment has been made as an attempt to take forward the reform process envisaged under Section 12 of the National Food Security Act (NFSA), 2013 by way of improving the transparency of the operation of the Targeted Public Distribution System (TPDS) under NFSA.

Significance:

  1. This amendment aims to ensure the right quantity to beneficiaries in the distribution of subsidised food grains under the National Food Security Act (NFSA), 2013 as per their entitlement.
  2. It also incentivizes states who have been using ePoS efficiently and encourages states to improve efficiency in ePoS operations and generate savings.

The amendment:

According to the amendment, states that are operating their ePoS devices judiciously and are able to generate savings from the additional margin of Rs 17 per quintal can now utilise the savings for purchase, operations and maintenance of electronic weighing scales and their integration with the point of sale devices.

National Food Security Act (NFSA), 2013:

The objective is to provide for food and nutritional security in human life cycle approach, by ensuring access to adequate quantity of quality food at affordable prices to people to live a life with dignity.

Key features:

Coverage and entitlement under Targeted Public Distribution System (TPDS): The TDPS covers 50% of the urban population and 75% of the rural population, with uniform entitlement of 5 kg per person per month. However, the poorest of the poor households will continue to receive 35 kg of food grains per household per month under Antyodaya Anna Yojana (AAY).

Subsidised prices under TPDS and their revision: For a period of three years from the date of commencement of the Act, Food grains under TPDS will be made available at subsidised prices of Rs. 3/2/1 per kg for rice, wheat and coarse grains.

Identification of Households: The identification of eligible households is to be done by States/UTs under TDPS determined for each State.

Nutritional Support to women and children: Children in the age group of 6 months to 14 years and pregnant women and lactating mothers will be entitled to meals as per prescribed nutritional norms under Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) and Mid-Day Meal (MDM) schemes. Malnourished children up to the age of 6 have been prescribed for higher nutritional norms.

Maternity Benefit: Pregnant women and lactating mothers will also be receiving maternity benefit of Rs. 6,000.

Women Empowerment: For the purpose of issuing of ration cards, eldest woman of the household of age 18 years or above is to be the head of the household.

Grievance Redressal Mechanism: Grievance redressal mechanism available at the District and State levels.

Cost of transportation & handling of food grains and Fair Price Shop (FPS) Dealers’ margin: the expenditure incurred by the state on transportation of food grains within the State, its handling and FPS dealers’ margin as per norms to be devised for this purpose and assistance to states will be provided by the Central Government to meet the above expenditure.

Transparency and Accountability: In order to ensure transparency and accountability, provisions have been made for disclosure of records relating to PDS, social audits and setting up of Vigilance Committees.

Food Security Allowance: In case of non-supply of entitled food grains or meals, there is a provision for food security allowance to entitled beneficiaries.

Penalty: If the public servant or authority fails to comply with the relief recommended by the District Grievance Redressal Officer, penalty will be imposed by the State Food Commission according to the provision.

 

Insta Curious: 

  1. Do you know what MDR is? Read Here
  2. Do you know PDS falls under the Special Merchant Category* ? Check here

 

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. Key features of NFSA.
  2. NFSA vs National Food Security Mission.
  3. About Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) scheme.
  4. About Mid-Day Meal (MDM) scheme.
  5. About AAY.

Mains Link:

Discuss the significance of NFSA.

Sources: the Hindu.

 

Topics Covered: Issues related to health.

Suicide worldwide in 2019:


Context:

Suicide worldwide in 2019 report was recently released by WHO.

Key findings:

  1. The world will not be able to reach the SDG target- Reducing the global suicide mortality rate by a third.
  2. 703,000 people or one in a 100, died by suicide in 2019.
  3. Most affected age group: More than half of global suicides (58 per cent) occurred before the age of 50 years. Suicide was the fourth-leading cause of death among young people aged 15-29 globally in 2019.
  4. Most affected regions: Some 77 per cent of global suicides in 2019 occurred in low- and middle-income countries. On an average, 9 out of every 100,000 people ended their lives in the world.
  5. Higher than the global average: Three WHO regions — Africa, Europe and South-East Asia — recorded suicide rates higher than the global average.
  6. Overall decrease in suicide rate: In 20 years (2000-2019), the global suicide rate had decreased by 36 per cent.
  7. Currently, only 38 countries are known to have a national suicide prevention strategy.

WHO guidelines to help countries reduce the global suicide mortality rate by a third by 2030:

  1. Limiting access to the means of suicide, such as highly hazardous pesticides and firearms.
  2. Educating the media on responsible reporting of suicide.
  3. Fostering socio-emotional life skills in adolescents.
  4. Early identification, assessment, management and follow-up of anyone affected by suicidal thoughts and behaviour.

SDG Goals in this regard- Goal 3:

  1. Target 3.4: By 2030, By 2030, reduce by one third premature mortality from non-communicable diseases through prevention and treatment and promote mental health and well being.
  2. Target 3.5: Strengthen the prevention and treatment of substance abuse, including narcotic drug abuse and harmful use of alcohol.
  3. Target 3.8: Achieve universal health coverage, which mental health is part of.

Suicide rate in India:

  • As of 2019, India has the highest suicide rate in the South-East Asian region– 16.5 suicides per 100,000 people.
  • India also had the third-highest female suicide rate (14.7).

Measures by India in this regard:

  1. The Mental Healthcare Act, 2017 decriminalizes suicide, assuring adequate medical relief to those attempting it.
  2. The National Mental Health Programme and Health and Wellness Centres under the Ayushman Bharat Program are efforts to provide quality care at the primary health care level.
  3. Deaddiction centres and rehabilitation services are also available.
  4. A comprehensive suicide prevention strategy within the framework of the National Mental Health Policy of India 2014, with effective multisectoral collaboration is imperative.

 

Insta Curious: 

Extrapolated topic

  1. Do you know the difference between Voluntary, Non-Voluntary and Involuntary Euthanasia? Read Here
  2. What is the view of Buddhism on Suicide and Euthanasia? Read Here

 

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. About the National Mental Health Policy.
  2. Mental Healthcare Act, 2017.
  3. National Mental Health Programme.

Mains Link:

Discuss the measures taken by India to prevent suicides in the country.

Sources: Down to Earth.

 

Topics Covered: Issues related to health.

Possible antibodies against Nipah virus detected in bats from Mahabaleshwar cave:


Context:

A survey by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) and the National Institute of Virology has picked up samples with the possible presence of antibodies against the Nipah virus in some bat species from a cave in Mahabaleshwar, a popular hill station in Maharashtra.

  • The survey was aimed at studying the prevalence of the Nipah virus (NiV) one of the top-10 global priority list pathogens identified by the World Health Organization (WHO) – in bats of India.

Nipah Virus outbreaks in India:

  1. India has experienced four NiV outbreaks, with the case fatality rate between 65 percent and 100 percent.
  2. The most recent outbreak started in Kerala in 2018.
  3. Southern Asian countries and some Indian states have been identified as potential hotspots for the disease.

What’s the Concern now?

Nipah is considered dangerous as there is no medicine or vaccines and the death rate among those affected is high. While the Case Fatality Rate (CFR) among COVID-19 affected patients is between 1-2%, that for Nipah infections is in the range of 65-100%.

About the Nipah virus:

  1. It is a zoonotic virus, meaning that it can spread between animals and people.
  2. The organism which causes Nipah Virus encephalitis is an RNA or Ribonucleic acid virus of the family Paramyxoviridae, genus Henipavirus, and is closely related to Hendra virus.
  3. Fruit bats, also called flying foxes, are the animal reservoir for NiV in nature.
  4. Symptoms: Infection with NiV is associated with encephalitis (swelling of the brain) and can cause mild to severe illness and even death.

 

Insta Curious: 

  1. Do you know WHO’s first ever list of antibiotic-resistant “priority pathogens” ? Read Here

 

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. About Nipah.
  2. Causes.
  3. Symptoms.
  4. Treatment and prevention.
  5. What are zoonotic diseases?

Sources: Indian Express.

 

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

At UNHRC, grave concerns raised over Xinjiang:


Context:

More than 40 countries led by Canada have voiced grave concerns at the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) about China’s actions in Xinjiang, Hong Kong and Tibet.

What were the demands?

Beijing must allow UN rights chief Michelle Bachelet and other independent observers “immediate, meaningful and unfettered access” to Xinjiang, and end the “arbitrary detention” of Uighurs and other Muslim minorities.

What’s the issue?

Credible reports indicate that over a million people have been arbitrarily detained in Xinjiang and that there is widespread surveillance disproportionately targeting Uighurs and members of other minorities and restrictions on fundamental freedoms and Uighur culture.

China’s response:

Despite mounting evidence, China denies mistreating the Uyghurs, and goes on to insist it is simply running “vocational training” centres designed to counter extremism.

Who are Uighurs?

The Uighurs are a predominantly Muslim minority Turkic ethnic group, whose origins can be traced to Central and East Asia.

The Uighurs speak their own language, similar to Turkish, and see themselves as culturally and ethnically close to Central Asian nations.

  • China recognises the community only as a regional minority and rejects that they are an indigenous group.
  • Currently, the largest population of the Uighur ethnic community lives in the Xinjiang region of China.
  • A significant population of Uighurs also lives in the neighbouring Central Asian countries such as Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan.

Uighur Muslims for decades, under the false accusation by the Chinese government of terrorism and separatism, have suffered from abuses including persecution, forced detention, intense scrutiny, surveillance and even slavery.

 

Insta Curious: 

Do you know about China’s One Country Two Systems policy? Which regions are administered under this policy? Read this, 

 

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. Who are Uighurs?
  2. Where is Xinjiang?
  3. Who are Han Chinese?
  4. Indian states bordering Xinjiang province.

Mains Link:

Who are Uighurs? Why are they in news? Discuss. 

Sources: the Hindu.


GS Paper  :  3


 

Topics Covered: Conservation related issues.

UNESCO to downgrade status of Great Barrier Reef; Australia blames political interference:


Context:

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation committee has recommended that the Great Barrier Reef should be added to a list of “in danger” World Heritage Sites.

  • This is because of its dramatic coral decline.

What’s the issue now?

However, Australia has opposed this move, which is part of an ongoing dispute between Unesco and the Australian government over the status of the iconic site.

  • After Unesco first debated its “in danger” status in 2017, Canberra committed more than A$3 billion (£1.bn; $2.2bn) to improving the reef’s health.
  • However, several bleaching events on the reef in the past five years have caused widespread loss of coral.
  • Scientists say the main reason is rising sea temperatures as a result of global warming caused by the burning of fossil fuels.

Australia’s carbon emissions:

Australia’s reliance on coal-fired power makes it one of the world’s largest carbon emitters per capita, but its conservative government has steadfastly backed the country’s fossil fuel industries, arguing tougher action on emissions would cost jobs.

What are “in danger” World Heritage Sites?

The List of World Heritage in danger is maintained in accordance with Article 11 (4) of the 1972 World Heritage Convention.

Objective: The list is designed to inform the international community of conditions which threaten the very characteristics for which a property was inscribed on the World Heritage List, and to encourage corrective action.

Criteria:

A World Heritage property can be inscribed on the List of World Heritage in Danger by the World Heritage Committee when it finds that the condition of the property corresponds to at least one of the criteria listed.

(Note: The criteria list is exhaustive. However, you need not mug up all of them. Just have a brief overview here).

Implications:

  1. Inscribing a site on the List of World Heritage in Danger allows the World Heritage Committee to allocate immediate assistance from the World Heritage Fund to the endangered property.
  2. It alerts the international community to these situations in the hope that it can join efforts to save these endangered sites.
  3. It also requires the World Heritage Committee to develop and adopt, in consultation with the State Party concerned, a programme for corrective measures, and subsequently to monitor the situation of the site.

Some illustrative cases:

Iranian city of Bam: The ancient Citadel and surrounding cultural landscape of the Iranian city of Bam, where 26,000 people lost their lives in the earthquake of December 2003, was simultaneously inscribed on UNESCO’s World Heritage List and on the List of World Heritage in Danger in 2004. Important international efforts are mobilized to salvage the cultural heritage of this devastated city.

 

Insta Curious: 

Do you remember the Declaration on World Heritage? Read Here 

 

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. About the Great Barrier Reef, location and significance.
  2. What is a World Heritage site?
  3. What are sites “in Danger”?
  4. What is the tentative list?
  5. What are mixed world Heritage sites?

Mains Link:

What is Coral bleaching? How it is affecting coral reefs across the world. Discuss.

Sources: the Hindu.

 

Topics Covered: Conservation related issues.

UN land conservation award:


Context:

Shyam Sundar Jyani, a Rajasthan-based climate activist, has won the prestigious United Nations’ Land for Life Award for his environment conservation concept, Familial Forestry.

What is familial forestry?

Familial Forestry means transferring the care of trees and environment in the family so that a tree becomes a part of the family’s consciousness.

  • Placing a family at the cornerstone of society, the concept ensures the success of any social campaign.

About the Land for Life Award:

  1. Launched at the UNCCD COP (Conference of Parties) 10 in 2011.
  2. It is considered as the world’s highest reward regarding land conservation and restoration.
  3. It is organised by UNCCD every two years.
  4. This year’s theme was “Healthy Land, Healthy Lives”.

About United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification:

Established in 1994.

It is the sole legally binding international agreement linking environment and development to sustainable land management under the UN.

  • It is the only convention stemming from a direct recommendation of the Rio Conference’s Agenda 21.
  • Focus areas: The Convention addresses specifically the arid, semi-arid and dry sub-humid areas, known as the drylands, where some of the most vulnerable ecosystems and peoples can be found.

 

Insta Curious: 

Related Topic :

Do you know, the decade 2019-28 is The UN Decade of Family Farming? Read Here

 

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. About UNCCD.
  2. Rio Conference’s Agenda 21.
  3. About United Nations’ Land for Life Award.

Mains Link:

Differentiate between land degradation and desertification? Discuss impact of desertification on ecology.

Sources: India Today.

 


Facts for Prelims:


Assam’s Jorhat hosted special International Tea Day auction:

  • Jorhat, the “tea capital” of Assam held the first International Tea Day special auction on June 21.
  • The auction was conducted — exactly a month after the best leaves were plucked to mark International Tea Day on May 21 — by mjunction services limited, India’s largest business-to-business e-commerce firm.

World’s 1st GM rubber sapling:

  • World’s first genetically modified (GM) rubber sapling was recently planted at the Rubber Board’s Sarutari research farm on the outskirts of Guwahati in Assam.
  • It was developed at the Kerala-based Rubber Research Institute of India (RRII).
  • With additional copies of the gene MnSOD (manganese-containing superoxide dismutase) inserted in it, the GM rubber is expected to tide over the severe cold conditions during winter, which is a major factor affecting the growth of rubber saplings.
  • MnSOD gene used in the GM rubber was taken from the rubber plant itself.

 

 

Articles to be covered tomorrow:

  1. About Indian Navy’s Information Fusion Centre for Indian Ocean Region (IFC-IOR).
  2. Delta variant ‘greatest threat’ to U.S.’ COVID-19 efforts.

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