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[Mission 2022] INSIGHTS DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS + PIB SUMMARY- 18 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. 

current affairs, current events, current gk, insights ias current affairs, upsc ias current affairs

 

Table of Contents:

GS Paper 2:

1. Global Hunger Index.

2. Impact of COVID-19 on TB elimination efforts.

3. Ebola Outbreak.

4. International Finance Corporation (IFC).

 

GS Paper 3:

1. China’s hypersonic glide vehicle test.

2. COP26 climate conference.

 

Facts for Prelims:

1. Henrietta Lacks.

2. Flower scorpionfish.


 

Global Hunger Index:

GS Paper 2:

Topics Covered: Issues related to health.

 

Context:

Global Hunger Index 2021 has been released.

 

Performance of India:

  • India has slipped seven places to rank 101 among 116 countries. The level of hunger in India was ‘serious’ according to the report.
  • It ranked fourth among South Asian countries.
  • Only 15 other countries ranked below India on the Index.
  • Bangladesh (76), Nepal (76) and Pakistan (92) have fared much better than India on the index.
  • In 2020, India ranked at 94 among 107 countries on the Index.
  • India’s score on the Index in the recent two decades has declined by 10 points.
  • Globally, India ranked among the worst in ‘child wasting’ or ‘weight for height’. Its performance was worse than Djibouti and Somalia.

 

What Is The Global Hunger Index?

The Global Hunger Index (GHI) is published annually as part of a partnership between Concern Worldwide, Ireland’s largest aid and humanitarian agency and Welthungerhilfe.

  • The first GHI report was published in 2006.
  • The GHI is intended to be “a tool designed to comprehensively measure and track hunger at global, regional, and national levels”.

 

How were countries ranked?

Four indicators were considered for calculating the global score out of 100, in order to decide the ranking:

  1. Undernourishment.
  2. Child wasting (percentage of children below five years of age who have low weight for their height, reflecting acute undernutrition).
  3. Child stunting (percentage of children below five years of age who have low height for their age, reflecting chronic undernutrition).
  4. Child mortality (the mortality rate of children under the age of five).

A three-step process based on standardisation of scores on each of the indicators and their aggregation yields a country’s GHI score on a 100-point ‘GHI Severity Scale’, where 0 is the best score and 100 is the worst.

 

Things that made the situation more worse:

Conflict, climate change and the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic have exacerbated the food security situation across the globe including India.

 

But, why India Has Dismissed 2021 Global Hunger Index Ranking?

India came out strongly against the publishers of the annual Global Hunger Index over the questions of methodology and data sources amid a decline in the country’s ranking, which slid from 94 in 2020 to 101 in 2021.

Global Hunger Report 2021 has lowered the rank of India on the basis of FAO estimate.

  • Terming the FAO methodology “unscientific”, India said that “the scientific measurement of undernourishment would require measurement of weight and height, whereas the methodology involved here is based on Gallup poll based on pure telephonic estimate of the population”.
  • Also, India said that the “report completely disregards the government’s massive effort to ensure food security of the entire population during the Covid period, verifiable data on which are available”.

 

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. About GHI.
  2. Indicators.
  3. Rankings.
  4. India’s performance.

Mains Link:

Discuss about the issues associated with the ranking of the countries in GHI. Suggest measures to improve the ranking methodology.

Sources: down to earth.

Impact of COVID-19 on TB elimination efforts:

GS Paper 2:

Topics Covered: Issues related to health.

 

Context:

The Global TB report has been released by the World Health Organization (WHO).

 

Key findings:

  1. The world suffered huge reverses in progress towards tuberculosis (TB) elimination in 2020, thanks to the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.
  2. The biggest impact was felt in terms of detection of new cases. This means a large number of cases went undetected due to highly curtailed access to diagnostics and restrictions imposed to contain the pandemic. From 2016-2019, the number of new cases rose continuously, but fell dramatically to 20 per cent in 2020.
  3. The big global drop in notifications of TB cases in 2020, as compared with 2019, means that the gap between the number of people who actually got the disease and the new people who got diagnosed “widened substantially” in 2020. The report estimated that gap to be around 4.1 million cases.
  4. India contributed the biggest drop in detection of new cases. Some 41 per cent of the total number of cases that dropped in 2020, as compared to 2019, came from India. Thus, a large chunk of TB cases went missing in the country.
  5. The biggest fallout of the decline in notification of new cases is that it has resulted in an increase in TB deaths. TB was ranked the 13th leading cause of death globally till 2019. Thanks to huge setbacks, it is now estimated to be the second leading cause, only after COVID-19.
  6. The ‘End TB Strategy’ milestones for reductions in TB disease burden by 2020 were a 35 per cent reduction in the number of TB deaths. Instead, the global reduction in the corresponding time period has only been 9.2 per cent.

 

What is TB?

  1. TB is an infectious disease caused by the bacillus Mycobacterium tuberculosis.
  2. It typically affects the lungs (pulmonary TB) but can also affect other sites.
  3. The disease is spread when people who are sick with pulmonary TB expel bacteria into the air, for example by coughing.

 

India’s efforts in this regard:

  1. India is aggressively implementing its fully-funded National Strategic Plan to End TB.
  2. In the last few years, 50 million people have been treated.
  3. India seeks to achieve national scale-up of TB preventive treatment (TPT).
  4. It also seeks to achieve the UN High-Level Meeting (UNHLM) targets of 40 million persons started on TB treatment and 30 million on TPT globally in the remaining 18 months.
  5. Sub-national Certification of States and Districts instituted in 2020- The initiative marks districts/States-UTs on “Progress towards TB Free Status” under different categories measured with graded milestones of decline in TB incidence.

 

Insta Curious:

Have you heard about Bacillus Calmette-Guerin (BCG) vaccination? What is it used for? Reference: read this.

 

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. SDG on TB reduction.
  2. What is NTEP and the goal under it?
  3. About Central TB Division.
  4. Annual TB report is released by?
  5. What is TB? How is it caused?

Mains Link:

“India’s TB report must be seen in light of the country’s slide in Hunger Index”, critically analyse the statement in the light of recently released Annual India Tuberculosis (TB) report.

Sources: down to earth.

Ebola Outbreak:

GS Paper 2:

Topics Covered: Issues related to health.

 

Context:

Ebola resurfaces in Democratic Republic of Congo 4 months after outbreak contained.

 

Background:

The Ebola outbreak in 2014-2016 killed 11,300 people, mostly in Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia.

 

About Ebola:

Ebola virus disease (EVD), formerly known as Ebola haemorrhagic fever, is a severe, often fatal illness in humans.

Transmission: The virus is transmitted to people from wild animals and spreads in the human population through human-to-human transmission.

The average EVD case fatality rate is around 50%. Case fatality rates have varied from 25% to 90% in past outbreaks.

Prevention: Community engagement is key to successfully controlling outbreaks. Good outbreak control relies on case management, surveillance and contact tracing, a good laboratory service and social mobilisation.

Treatment: Early supportive care with rehydration, symptomatic treatment improves survival. There is yet no licensed treatment proven to neutralise the virus but a range of blood, immunological and drug therapies are under development.

Ebola

 

 

Insta Curious:

Do you know what exactly is the Public Health Emergency of International Concern? How many PHEIC declarations have been made so far? Click here

 

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. How is Ebola spread?
  2. What are zoonotic diseases?
  3. Differences between virus, bacteria and other pathogens.
  4. Where is Congo?
  5. Regions in Africa where Ebola outbreak was observed?

Mains Link:

Discuss how the Ebola pandemic was handled by Congo Republic.

Sources: Down to Earth.

International Finance Corporation (IFC):

GS Paper 2:

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

 

International Finance Corporation (IFC)

Context:

IFC stake in Federal Bank Ltd has resulted in no new coal commitment.

 

What’s the issue?

  • The international body had demanded in July 2021 that India’s 7th largest commercial bank should put a stop to coal financing.
  • The bank is a key lender to firms such as Jindal Steel Works (JSW) Energy Ltd and Adani Power Rajasthan Ltd.

This is expected to impact India’s energy production.

 

About the International Finance Corporation (IFC):

  • It is an international financial institution that offers investment, advisory, and asset management services to encourage private sector development in developing countries.
  • It is a member of the World Bank Group and is headquartered in Washington, D.C., United States.
  • It was established in 1956 as the private sector arm of the World Bank Group to advance economic development by investing in strictly for-profit and commercial projects that purport to reduce poverty and promote development.
  • The IFC is owned and governed by its member countries, but has its own executive leadership and staff that conduct its normal business operations.
  • It is a corporation whose shareholders are member governments that provide paid-in capital and which have the right to vote on its matters.

world_bank_group

 

Roles and functions:

  1. Since 2009, the IFC has focused on a set of development goals that its projects are expected to target. Its goals are to increase sustainable agriculture opportunities, improve healthcare and education, increase access to financing for microfinance and business clients, advance infrastructure, help small businesses grow revenues, and invest in climate health.
  2. It offers an array of debt and equity financing services and helps companies face their risk exposures while refraining from participating in a management capacity.
  3. It advises governments on building infrastructure and partnerships to further support private sector development.

 

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. Institutions under the World Bank group.
  2. Difference between IDA and IBRD.
  3. Types of loans by IDA.
  4. About IFC.
  5. Headquarters of important World Bank institutions.
  6. What is the open data initiative?

Sources: down to earth.

China’s hypersonic glide vehicle test:

GS Paper 3

Topics Covered: Awareness in science and technology.

 

China in August tested a nuclear-capable hypersonic glide vehicle that circled the globe before speeding towards its target.

 

What are hypersonic speeds?

  • Hypersonic speeds are 5 or more times the speed of sound.

current affairs  current affairs

 

Concerns and implications for India and the world:

  • The weapon could, in theory, fly over the South Pole. That would pose a big challenge for the US military because its missile defence systems are focused on the northern polar route.
  • India is especially concerned with the latest developments considering relations with China in the recent past. Such capabilities highlight the threat for our space assets along with the surface assets.

 

Technology used:

The exact details on technology used by China in this particular test are not known through media sources. But most of the hypersonic vehicles primarily use the scramjet technology.

 

What is scramjet technology?

Scramjets are a category of engines designed to handle airflows of speeds in multiples of the speed of sound.

  • In an air-breathing scramjet engine, air from the atmosphere is rammed into the engine’s combustion chamber at a supersonic speed of more than Mach two.
  • In the chamber, the air mixes with the fuel to ignite a supersonic combustion but the cruiser’s flight will be at a hypersonic speed of Mach six to seven. So it is called supersonic combustion ramjet or Scramjet.

current affairs

current affairs

 

Insta Curious:

Hypersonic technology has been developed and tested by both DRDO and ISRO. Reference: read this.

 

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. Who developed HSTDV?
  2. Which countries have successfully tested hypersonic technology so far?
  3. What is a scramjet?
  4. What are ICBMs? How many countries possess ICBMs?
  5. What are cruise missiles?
  6. What are ballistic missiles?

Mains Link:

What successful testing of the Hypersonic Test Demonstrator Vehicle (HSTDV) mean for India? Discuss.

Sources: Indian Express.

COP26 climate conference:

GS Paper 3

Topics Covered: Conservation related issues.

 

climate conference:

Context:

The UK will host the COP 26 UN Climate Change Conference from October 31 to November 12.

 

What is the Conference of Parties?

COP comes under the United Nations Climate Change Framework Convention (UNFCCC) which was formed in 1994.

  • The UNFCCC was established to work towards “stabilisation of greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere.”
  • COP members have been meeting every year since 1995 (COP1 was held in 1995 in Berlin).

 

It laid out a list of responsibilities for the member states which included:

  1. Formulating measures to mitigate climate change.
  2. Cooperating in preparing for adaptation to the impact of climate change.
  3. Promoting education, training and public awareness related to climate change.

 

According to the UNFCCC, COP26 will work towards four goals:

  1. Secure global net-zero by mid-century and keep 1.5 degrees within reach.
  2. Adapt to protect communities and natural habitats.
  3. Mobilise finance: To deliver on our first two goals, developed countries must make good on their promise to mobilise at least $100bn in climate finance per year by 2020.
  4. ‘Finalise the Paris Rulebook’: Leaders will work together to frame a list of detailed rules that will help fulfil the Paris Agreement.

 

What could India do to reach its targets?

  • It is time for India to update its Nationally Determined Contributions or NDCs. (NDCs detail the various efforts taken by each country to reduce the national emissions).
  • Sector by sector plans are needed to bring about development. We need to decarbonise the electricity, transport sector and start looking at carbon per passenger mile.
  • Aggressively figure out how to transition our coal sector. Time may have come for India to announce that we will not be building any more coal-fired power plants beyond what is in the pipeline. India also needs to ramp up the legal and institutional framework of climate change.

 

Insta Curious:

At COP3 held in Kyoto, Japan, in 1997, the famous Kyoto Protocol was adopted. What is the Kyoto protocol?

India hosted the eighth COP from October 23 to November 1, 2002 in New Delhi. What were its outcomes?

Sources: Indian Express.

Facts for Prelims:

Henrietta Lacks:

  • Henrietta Lacks, an African-American woman who died 70 years ago of cervical cancer, was bestowed a posthumous honour by the World Health Organization (WHO) October 13, 2021.
  • Her biopsy samples, collected without her consent or understanding, made possible innumerable breakthroughs in medical sciences and also aided research on the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
  • Her ‘cell line’ — the first immortal line of human cells to divide indefinitely in a laboratory — was critical for the development of the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine, the polio vaccine, drugs for HIV and cancers.
  • Called ‘HeLa’ cells, Lack’s bioses were also of paramount importance in research on Parkinson’s disease, reproductive health (including in vitro fertilisation), chromosomal conditions, gene mapping and precision medicine.

 

Flower scorpionfish:

  • Hoplosebastes Armatus, also known as the flower scorpionfish, belongs to the order of ray-finned fish that are also known Scorpaeniforme.
  • This unique, lesser-known fish species that was till now thought to be found only in the Pacific Ocean has been found in the Indian Ocean too.
  • The length of the species ranged from 75-127 mm, while its body width was from 14-22 mm. The head of the species was comparatively large and greater than the body.


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