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[Mission 2022] INSIGHTS DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS + PIB SUMMARY- 7 October 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 2:

1. What is Mosquirix, the first malaria vaccine to get the WHO’s backing?

2. Ayushman Bharat Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (AB PM-JAY).

3. Interpol.

4. UN peacekeepers.

 

GS Paper 3:

1. 2021 Nobel Prize in Chemistry.

2. Why is there a coal crisis in India?

 

Facts for Prelims:

1. India’s newest Tiger Reserve, No. 4 in Chhattisgarh.

2. What is the difference between Captive and Non-Captive Mines?

3. Scheme for ‘Good Samaritan’.

4. Jim Corbett National Park.


 

What is Mosquirix, the first malaria vaccine to get the WHO’s backing?

GS Paper 2:

Topics Covered: Issues related to health.

 

Context:

RTS,S/ASO1 (RTS.S), trade name Mosquirix, was recently endorsed by the World Health Organisation (WHO).

  • It is the first and, to date only, vaccine shown to have the capability of significantly reducing malaria, and life-threatening severe malaria, in tests on young African children.

 

About Mosquirix:

  • The vaccine acts against falciparum, the most deadly malaria parasite globally, and the most prevalent in Africa.
  • It is also the first malaria vaccine to be introduced by three national ministries of health through their childhood immunization programmes — Ghana, Kenya, and Malawi.

 

About Malaria:

Malaria is a life-threatening disease caused by parasites that are transmitted to people through the bites of infected female Anopheles mosquitoes.

 

Malaria burden across the world:

  • Malaria is most endemic in Africa, with Nigeria, Congo, Tanzania, Mozambique, Niger and Burkina Faso together accounting for over half the yearly deaths.
  • Even now, the disease kills over four lakh every year, according to WHO figures.
  • Children aged under 5 years are the most vulnerable group affected by malaria; in 2019, they accounted for 67% (274,000) of all malaria deaths worldwide.
  • In 2019, India had an estimated 5.6 million cases of malaria compared to about 20 million cases in 2020.

 

Countries that have eliminated malaria:

Countries that have achieved at least 3 consecutive years of zero indigenous cases of malaria are eligible to apply for the WHO certification of malaria elimination.

Over the last two decades, 11 countries have been certified by the WHO Director-General as malaria-free:

  • United Arab Emirates (2007), Morocco (2010), Turkmenistan (2010), Armenia (2011), Sri Lanka (2016), Kyrgyzstan (2016), Paraguay (2018), Uzbekistan (2018), Algeria (2019), Argentina (2019), and El Salvador (2021).

 

Challenges ahead:

The latest vaccine is considered only the first step towards effective immunisation of the global population against malaria. This vaccine is able to prevent severe cases of malaria in only 30 percent of the cases, and the quest for more effective vaccines is still underway.

 

Reasons for the failure to develop a malaria vaccine so far:

  1. The complexity of the life-cycle of the malaria-causing parasite, a part of which is spent in the human host.
  2. These parasites are also able to hide inside human cells to avoid being recognised by the immune system, creating further challenges.
  3. Lack of funding and interest in developing a malaria vaccine.
  4. The vaccine manufacturers have little incentive for malaria vaccines.

 

Insta Curious:

Did you know that China is the first country in the WHO Western Pacific Region to be awarded a malaria-free certification in more than 3 decades? Reference: read this.

 

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. Difference and examples of various diseases caused by Virus and Bacteria.
  2. Malaria- causes and treatment.
  3. About WHO Certification process.
  4. Overview of WHO World Malaria Report 2020.

Mains Link:

Discuss India’s efforts targeted at Malaria control.

Sources: Indian Express.

Interpol:

GS Paper 2:

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

 

Context:

The Interpol has launched an online campaign to apprise people of major cyberthreats to help them protect their computer systems, networks and personal information from cybercriminals.

  • The three-week campaign, from October 4 to 22, would be run primarily through social media.

 

Objective of the campaign:

With cyber threats becoming increasingly sophisticated, in addition to increased levels of remote work and dependence on digital devices, the campaign will focus on ransomware, online scams and phishing, and business email compromise.

 

What is Interpol?

  • The International Criminal Police Organisation, or Interpol, is a 194-member intergovernmental organisation.
  • headquartered in Lyon, France.
  • Formed in 1923 as the International Criminal Police Commission, and started calling itself Interpol in 1956.
  • India joined the organisation in 1949, and is one of its oldest members.

 

Interpol’s declared global policing goals include:

  • Countering terrorism, promoting border integrity worldwide, protection of vulnerable communities, providing a secure cyberspace for people and businesses, curbing illicit markets, supporting environment security, and promoting global integrity.

What is the Interpol General Assembly?

  • It is Interpol’s supreme governing body, and comprises representatives from all its member countries.
  • It meets annually for a session lasting approximately four days, to vote on activities and policy.
  • Each country is represented by one or more delegates at the Assembly, who are typically chiefs of law enforcement agencies.
  • The Assembly also elects the members of the Interpol Executive Committee, the governing body which “provides guidance and direction in between sessions of the Assembly”.

 

Insta Curious:

Did you know that like Interpol (which is a non-UN body), there is something called The United Nations Police (UNPOL). There is an Europol.

 

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. Who is a fugitive economic offender?
  2. What is Interpol.
  3. Various notices issued.
  4. Overview of Interpol’s crime programmes.

Mains Link:

Discuss the significance of Interpol. Suggest reforms.

Sources: the Hindu.

UN peacekeepers:

GS Paper 2:

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

 

UN peacekeepers

Context:

A total of 836 troops from the Indian Army serving with the UN peacekeeping mission in South Sudan have been awarded the United Nations medal for their services to ensure durable peace in the world’s youngest country.

 

Background:

The civilian, police and military personnel from 73 countries serving with the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) are responsible for protecting civilians, creating conditions conducive to the delivery of humanitarian aid, supporting the implementation of a revitalised peace agreement, and monitoring and investigating human rights.

 

What is peacekeeping? It’s significance?

  • United Nations Peacekeeping is a joint effort between the Department of Peace Operations and the Department of Operational Support.
  • Every peacekeeping mission is authorized by the Security Council.
  • The financial resources of UN Peacekeeping operations are the collective responsibility of UN Member States.
  • According to the UN Charter, every Member State is legally obligated to pay their respective share for peacekeeping.

 

Composition:

  • UN peacekeepers (often referred to as Blue Berets or Blue Helmets because of their light blue berets or helmets) can include soldiers, police officers, and civilian personnel.
  • Peacekeeping forces are contributed by member states on a voluntary basis.
  • Civilian staff of peace operations are international civil servants, recruited and deployed by the UN Secretariat.

 

UN Peacekeeping is guided by three basic principles:

  1. Consent of the parties.
  2. Impartiality.
  3. Non-use of force except in self-defence and defence of the mandate.

 

Global partnership:

  • UN peacekeeping is a unique global partnership. It brings together the General Assembly, the Security Council, the Secretariat, troop and police contributors and the host governments in a combined effort to maintain international peace and security.
  • Its strength lies in the legitimacy of the UN Charter and in the wide range of contributing countries that participate and provide precious resources.

 

Insta Curious:

Did you know that India is the second-largest troop contributor to the 18,300-strong peacekeeping mission in South Sudan, having provided nearly 2,400 soldiers?

 

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. Who funds peacekeeping operations?
  2. Role of UNSC.
  3. Composition of Peacekeepers?
  4. Why peacekeepers are called as Blue Helmets?
  5. Guiding principles of UN peacekeeping.
  6. Ongoing peacekeeping missions.

Mains Link:

Write a note on UN Peacekeeping and its significance.

Sources: the Hindu.

2021 Nobel Prize in Chemistry:

GS Paper 3

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

 

Context:

The 2021 Nobel Prize in Chemistry was awarded to Benjamin List and David W C MacMillan “for the development of asymmetric organocatalysis”.

 

Firstly, what is a catalyst? And what is catalysis?

A catalyst is a substance that increases the rate of a chemical reaction without taking part in the reaction, or without undergoing any changes during the chemical reaction.

  • Catalysis is the process of increasing the rate of a chemical reaction by adding a catalyst.

The major types of catalysts are metals and enzymes.

 

Contributions of 2021 Nobel Prize Winners- asymmetric organocatalysis:

In 2000, Dr. List and Dr. MacMillan, independent of each other, developed a third type of catalysis named asymmetric organocatalysis.

  • The new catalysts, derived from naturally-occurring chemicals, were greener and cheaper, and ensured that the end product of the chemical reaction was of a specific variety — and did not need to go through a purification process to yield the desired type of compound.

 

How does it work?

Organocatalysts bind to the reacting molecules to form short-lived intermediates that are more reactive than the substrate molecules on their own. Being chiral, the catalyst transfers its handedness to the substrate, controlling which side of the intermediate can react further.

 

Applications of organocatalysis:

Organocatalysis finds several applications in pharmaceutical research and other industries.

  • It has helped streamline the production of existing pharmaceuticals, including paroxetine, used to treat anxiety and depression, and oseltamivir, a respiratory infection medication.

 

Insta Curious:

Did you know that Catalysis has helped win seven Nobel Prizes in Chemistry? Identify those. Reference: read this.

Sources: Indian Express.

Ayushman Bharat PM-JAY:

GS Paper 3

Topics Covered: Issues related to health.

 

Context:

The National Health Authority (NHA), the apex body for implementing the Ayushman Bharat Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (AB-PMJAY), has revised the Health Benefit Package (HBP) Master under the scheme.

 

In the revised version of Health Benefit Package (HBP 2.2):

  • Rates of some packages have been increased by 20% to 400% under the PM-JAY.
  • Rates of around 400 procedures have been revised and one new additional medical management package related to black fungus has also been added.

 

Key Features of PM-JAY:

  1. The world’s largest health insurance/ assurance scheme fully financed by the government.
  2. It provides cover of 5 lakhs per family per year, for secondary and tertiary care hospitalization across public and private empaneled hospitals in India.
  3. Coverage: Over 10.74 crore poor and vulnerable entitled families (approximately 50 crore beneficiaries) are eligible for these benefits.
  4. Provides cashless access to health care services for the beneficiary at the point of service.
  5. The National Health Authority (NHA) is the nodal agency responsible for the nationwide roll-out and implementation of the AB-PMJAY scheme.
  6. This scheme is a Centrally sponsored scheme with some Central sector components.

 

Eligibility:

  1. No restrictions on family size, age or gender.
  2. All pre–existing conditions are covered from day one.
  3. Covers up to 3 days of pre-hospitalization and 15 days post-hospitalization expenses such as diagnostics and medicines.
  4. Benefits of the scheme are portable across the country.
  5. Services include approximately 1,393 procedures covering all the costs related to treatment, including but not limited to drugs, supplies, diagnostic services, physician’s fees, room charges, surgeon charges, OT and ICU charges etc.
  6. Public hospitals are reimbursed for the healthcare services at par with the private hospitals.

 

As per the latest economic survey:

  1. The Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (PM-JAY) contributed to improvement in many health outcomes in States that implemented the programme.
  2. States that joined the PM-JAY, compared to those that did not, experienced greater penetration of health insurance, reduction in infant and child mortality rates, realised improved access and utilisation of family planning services and greater awareness of HIV/AIDS.
  3. Across all the States, the proportion of households with health insurance increased by 54% for States that implemented PM-JAY while falling by 10% in States that did not.

 

Insta Curious:

Did you know that the National Health Authority has also been given the responsibility to implement the National Digital Health Mission? Reference: 

 

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. Components of Ayushman Bharat.
  2. PMJAY- Key features.
  3. Eligibility.
  4. About the National Health Agency.
  5. SEHAT scheme.

Mains Link:

Discuss the significance and potential of PMJAY.

Sources: the Hindu.

Why is there a coal crisis in India?

GS Paper 3

Topics Covered: Infrastructure- Energy.

 

coal crisis in India

Context:

India is facing a severe coal shortage.

 

Background:

India is the second-largest importer, consumer and producer of coal, and has the world’s fifth-largest reserves. It mainly imports from Indonesia, Australia and South Africa.

 

How bad is the situation?

The situation is “touch and go”, and could be “uncomfortable” for up to six months.

  • The coal stocks at its thermal power plants can supply just days of fuel.
  • On October 1, the power ministry said that the 135 thermal power plants in the country had only an average of about 4 days of coal stocks left.

This is worrisome because coal-fired plants make up nearly 70% of India’s power source mix.

 

Reasons for the shortage:

  • Heavy September rains in coal mining areas hit production and delivery and plants failed to build up their stocks pre monsoon.
  • Diamond had outstripped supply, despite increased buying from coal India.
  • Sharp fall in imports due to high prices.

 

Impact of the shortage:

  • If industries face electricity shortages it could delay India’s economic reopening.
  • Some businesses might downscale production.
  • India’s population and underdeveloped energy infrastructure will mean the Power Crisis could hit long and hard.

 

What next?

  • Coal India and NTPC Limited are working to raise output from mines.
  • The government is trying to bring more mines on stream to boost supply.
  • India will need to amp its imports despite the financial cost.

 

Recent Reforms In Coal Sector:

  • Commercial mining of coal allowed, with 50 blocks to be offered to the private sector.
  • Entry norms will be liberalised as it has done away with the regulation requiring power plants to use “washed” coal.
  • Coal blocks to be offered to private companies on revenue sharing basis in place of fixed cost.
  • Coal gasification/liquefaction to be incentivised through rebate in revenue share.
  • Coal bed methane (CBM) extraction rights to be auctioned from Coal India’s coal mines.

 

Challenges ahead:

  1. Coal is the most important and abundant fossil fuel in India. It accounts for 55% of the country’s energy needs. The country’s industrial heritage was built upon indigenous coal.
  2. Commercial primary energy consumption in India has grown by about 700% in the last four decades.
  3. The current per capita commercial primary energy consumption in India is about 350 kgoe/year which is well below that of developed countries.
  4. Driven by the rising population, expanding economy and a quest for improved quality of life, energy usage in India is expected to rise.
  5. Considering the limited reserve potentiality of petroleum & natural gas, eco-conservation restriction on hydel project and geo-political perception of nuclear power, coal will continue to occupy centre-stage of India’s energy scenario.

 

Insta Curious:

Have you heard about the National Coal Index? Why is it useful? Reference: read this.

 

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. About NCI.
  2. Key features.
  3. Types of coal.
  4. What is Coal Gasification?
  5. How is it done?
  6. What are the byproducts?
  7. Benefits of Gasification?
  8. What is Underground Coal Gasification?
  9. What is coal liquefaction?
  10. Benefits of Liquefaction.

Mains Link:

Write a note on goal gasification and liquefaction. Discuss their significance.

Sources: Indian Express.

Facts for Prelims:

India’s newest Tiger Reserve, No. 4 in Chhattisgarh:

National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) has approved the Chhattisgarh government’s proposal to declare the combined areas of the Guru Ghasidas National Park and Tamor Pingla Wildlife Sanctuary as a Tiger Reserve.

  • The new Reserve is located in the northern part of the state, bordering Madhya Pradesh and Jharkhand.
  • This will be the fourth Tiger Reserve in Chhattisgarh, after the Udanti-Sitanadi, Achanakmar, and Indravati Reserves.
  • Please note that the Guru Ghasidas National Park was the last known habitat of the Asiatic cheetah in the country.

How is a tiger reserve created?

  • The approval is granted by NTCA under Section 38V(1) of The Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972.
  • The State Government shall, on the recommendation of the Tiger Conservation Authority, notify an area as a tiger reserve.

 

What is the difference between Captive and Non-Captive Mines?

  • Captive Mines: Captive mines are the mines that are owned by companies. The coal or mineral produced from these mines is for the exclusive use of the owner company of the mines. The company cannot sell coal or mineral outside. Some electricity generation companies used to have captive mines.
  • Non- Captive Mines: Non-captive Mines are mines from which the produced coals of minerals could be used for its own consumption and as well as for selling it.

Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Act, 1957 empowered central to reserve any mine for the particular end-use. These were the captive mines. Now, the Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Amendment Bill, 2021 removed the distinction. Now captive mines will also be able to sell their stock.

Why in News?

The coal mines that produce coal solely for their own use, known as “captive mines”, will now be allowed to sell 50% of their annual output in the open market. The Ministry of Coal has amended Mineral Concession Rules, 1960 in this regard.

 

Scheme for ‘Good Samaritan’:

The Union government has launched a scheme for ‘Good Samaritan’. The scheme will be implemented from October 15.

Under the Scheme:

  • Anyone who saves the life of a road accident victim by rushing them to a hospital within the “golden hour” will get a cash reward of ₹5,000.
  • Each Good Samaritan would also receive a certificate of appreciation.
  • An individual could be awarded a maximum of five times in a year.
  • The ministry also said there will be 10 national-level awards each year for the worthiest Good Samaritans, who would be selected from all those who have been awarded during the whole year and they would be given an award of ₹1 lakh each.
  • If more than one Good Samaritan saves the life of more than one victim, the amount of award would be ₹5,000 per victim saved, subject to maximum ₹5,000 per Good Samaritan.

 

Jim Corbett National Park:

  • It is located in Nainital district of Uttarakhand. The park encompasses the Patli Dun valley formed by the Ramganga river.
  • The national park was established in 1936 as Hailey National Park to protect the endangered Bengal tiger.
  • It is named after Jim Corbett who played a key role in its establishment.
  • It is the oldest national park in India. It was the first area to come under the Project Tiger initiative in 1973.

Why in News?

Union Minister of State for Environment, Forest and Climate Change Ashwini Kumar Choubey has proposed to change the name of Corbett National Park to Ramganga National Park.


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