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[Mission 2022] INSIGHTS DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS + PIB SUMMARY- 22 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 1:

1. What is La Niña?

 

GS Paper 2:

1. Why Covaxin is yet to win WHO’s emergency approval?

2. Pakistan To Remain On “Grey List”.

 

GS Paper 3:

1. BharatNet project.

2. UDAN scheme.

3. India’s fossil fuel production exceeds Paris Agreement goals.

 

Facts for Prelims:

1. Georissa mawsmaiensis.

2. Sakharov Prize.

3. Mastitis.


 

What is La Niña?

GS Paper 1

Topics Covered: Important Geophysical phenomena such as earthquakes, Tsunami, Volcanic activity, cyclone etc.

 

Context:

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) recently declared that La Niña has re-developed.

  • Consecutive La Ninas following a transition through ENSO neutral conditions are not uncommon and can be referred to as a “Double-Dip.”

 

Background:

El Nino and La Nina are part of the El Nino Southern Oscillation (ENSO) cycle.

  • In 2020, La Nina developed during the month of August and then dissipated in April 2021 as ENSO-neutral conditions returned.
  • For the upcoming winter season, which extends from December 2021 through February 2022, there is an 87% chance of La Nina.

 

What are the Niño and La Niña?

They are two natural climate phenomena occurring across the tropical Pacific Ocean and influence the weather conditions all over the world.

  • While the El Niño period is characterised by warming or increased sea surface temperatures in the central and eastern tropical Pacific Ocean, a La Niña event causes the water in the eastern Pacific Ocean to be colder than usual.
  • Together, they are called ENSO or El Niño-Southern Oscillation.

 

What causes El Nino?

  1. El Nino sets in when there is an anomaly in the pattern.
  2. The westward-blowing trade winds weaken along the Equator and due to changes in air pressure, the surface water moves eastwards to the coast of northern South America.
  3. The central and eastern Pacific regions warm up for over six months and result in an El Nino condition.

El_nino

Weather changes because of La Nina:

  1. The Horn of Africa and central Asia will see below average rainfall due to La Niña.
  2. East Africa is forecast to see drier-than-usual conditions, which together with the existing impacts of the desert locust invasion, may add to regional food insecurity.
  3. It could also lead to increased rainfall in southern Africa.
  4. It could also affect the South West Indian Ocean Tropical Cyclone season, reducing the intensity.
  5. Southeast Asia, some Pacific Islands and the northern region of South America are expected to receive above-average rainfall.
  6. In India, La Niña means the country will receive more rainfall than normal, leading to floods.

current affairs

Insta Curious:

Do you know about Param Shivay, a Supercomputer built under the National Super Computing Mission? Reference

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. What is El Nino?
  2. What is La Nina?
  3. What is ENSO?
  4. When do these events occur?
  5. Impact of ENSO on Asia, Africa and Australia.

Mains Link:

Discuss the impact of La Nina weather phenomenon on India.

Sources: Indian Express.

Why Covaxin is yet to win WHO’s emergency approval?

GS Paper 2

Topics Covered: Issues related to health.

 

Context:

The World Health Organization’s (WHO’s) approval for WHO pre-qualification, or Emergency Use Listing (EUL) for Bharat Biotech International Ltd’s covid-19 vaccine is moving according to procedure and the Indian government’s haste in pushing through the process is only adding to speculation about the alleged delay.

 

What’s the issue?

The delay in India’s indigenous vaccine getting emergency use authorisation is because WHO has raised some more questions on Covaxin and the queries have been sent to Bharat Biotech for further clarification.

  • As per the World Health Organisation, it is waiting for an additional piece of information from the Hyderabad-based biotechnology company before it evaluates the vaccine.

 

Why WHO’s approval is necessary?

If Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin gets the approval, those inoculated with the vaccine can travel to countries that permit entry of fully vaccinated people. The company can also export it to countries that use vaccines approved by WHO.

 

About WHO’s Emergency Use List (EUL):

The WHO Emergency Use Listing Procedure (EUL) is a risk-based procedure for assessing and listing unlicensed vaccines, therapeutics and in vitro diagnostics with the ultimate aim of expediting the availability of these products to people affected by a public health emergency.

 

To be eligible, the following criteria must be met:

  1. The disease for which the product is intended is serious or immediately life threatening, has the potential of causing an outbreak, epidemic or pandemic and it is reasonable to consider the product for an EUL assessment, e.g., there are no licensed products for the indication or for a critical subpopulation (e.g., children).
  2. Existing products have not been successful in eradicating the disease or preventing outbreaks (in the case of vaccines and medicines).
  3. The product is manufactured in compliance with current Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) in the case of medicines and vaccines and under a functional Quality Management System (QMS) in the case of IVDs.
  4. The applicant undertakes to complete the development of the product (validation and verification of the product in the case of IVDs) and apply for WHO prequalification once the product is licensed.

current affairs

 

Insta Curious:

What is emergency use authorisation (EUA)? How is it regulated in India? Reference

 

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. European Union- Composition and objectives.
  2. About WHO EUL.
  3. Benefits.
  4. Eligibility.

Mains Link:

Write a note on WHO’s EUL.

Sources: Indian Express.

Pakistan To Remain On “Grey List”:

GS Paper 2

Topics Covered: Important International Institutions.

 

Context:

Pakistan will continue to be on the ”Grey List” of the FATF as it needs to “further demonstrate” that action is being taken against UN-designated terrorists like India’s most wanted Hafiz Saeed and Masood Azhar, and groups led by them.

 

What next?

On the action plan of Pakistan, Paris-based FATF requires it to demonstrate terror financing investigation and prosecution of leaders and commanders of UN-designated terrorist groups and their associates.

 

Background:

Pakistan was put on the grey list by the Paris-based FATF in June 2018, and the country has been struggling to come out of it.

  • It has now completed 26 of the 27 action items given to it in 2018.

 

About FATF:

  1. The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) is an inter-governmental body established in 1989 on the initiative of the G7.
  2. It is a “policy-making body” which works to generate the necessary political will to bring about national legislative and regulatory reforms in various areas.
  3. The FATF Secretariat is housed at the OECD headquarters in Paris.

 

Roles and functions:

  • Initially it was established to examine and develop measures to combat money laundering.
  • In October 2001, the FATF expanded its mandate to incorporate efforts to combat terrorist financing, in addition to money laundering.
  • In April 2012, it added efforts to counter the financing of proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.

 

Composition:

The FATF currently comprises 37 member jurisdictions and 2 regional organisations, representing most major financial centres in all parts of the globe. It also has observers and associate members.

 

What is a blacklist and grey list?

Black List: Countries known as Non-Cooperative Countries or Territories (NCCTs) are put in the blacklist. These countries support terror funding and money laundering activities. The FATF revises the blacklist regularly, adding or deleting entries.

Grey List: Countries that are considered safe haven for supporting terror funding and money laundering are put in the FATF grey list. This inclusion serves as a warning to the country that it may enter the blacklist.

 

Considered in the grey list may face:

  1. Economic sanctions from IMF, World Bank, ADB.
  2. Problem in getting loans from IMF, World Bank, ADB and other countries.
  3. Reduction in international trade.
  4. International boycott.

 

Insta Curious:

Do you know about Egmont Group? Is India Party to it? ( Search for Egmont Group) Read Here

Did you know that “Increased monitoring list” is another name for the ”Grey List”?

 

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. G7 vs G8 vs G20.
  2. Black vs Grey list.
  3. Are FATF’s decisions binding on member countries?
  4. Who heads the FATF?
  5. Where is its secretariat?

Mains Link:

What is the mandate and objectives of the Financial Action Task Force? Discuss.

Sources: the Hindu.

BharatNet project:

GS Paper 3

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

 

Context:

Tamil Nadu FibreNet Corp signs agreement for BharatNet project implementation.

  • The project aims at providing 1 Gbps bandwidth connectivity to all Gram Panchayats.

 

About BharatNet:

  1. BharatNet Project was originally launched in 2011 as the National Optical Fibre Network(NOFN) and renamed as Bharat-Net in 2015.
  2. It seeks to provide connectivity to 2.5 lakh Gram Panchayats (GPs) through optical fibre.
  3. It is a flagship mission implemented by Bharat Broadband Network Ltd. (BBNL).
  4. The objective is to facilitate the delivery of e-governance, e-health, e-education, e-banking, Internet and other services to rural India.

 

The larger vision of the project is:

  • To establish a highly scalable network infrastructure accessible on a non-discriminatory basis.
  • To provide on demand, affordable broadband connectivity of 2 Mbps to 20 Mbps for all households and on demand capacity to all institutions.
  • To realise the vision of Digital India, in partnership with States and the private sector.

 

Implementation:

The project is a Centre-State collaborative project, with the States contributing free Rights of Way for establishing the Optical Fibre Network.

The entire project is being funded by Universal service Obligation Fund (USOF), which was set up for improving telecom services in rural and remote areas of the country.

 

Insta Curious:

Do you know what Dark Fibre is? Read Here

 

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. About BharatNet.
  2. Objectives and implementation.
  3. About USOF.
  4. About BBNL.

Mains Link:

Discuss the significance of BharatNet Project.

Sources: the Hindu.

UDAN scheme:

GS Paper 3

Topics Covered: Infrastructure- airways.

 

Context:

The Government of India has identified 21st October as UDAN Day, the day on which the scheme document was first released.

 

About UDAN scheme (Ude Desh Ka Aam Nagrik) Scheme:

  • The scheme is aimed at enhancing connectivity to remote and regional areas of the country and making air travel affordable.
  • It is a key component of Centre’s National Civil Aviation Policy led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and launched in June 2016.
  • Under the scheme, nearly half of the seats in Udan flights are offered at subsidised fares, and the participating carriers are provided a certain amount of viability gap funding (VGF) an amount shared between the Centre and the concerned states.
  • The scheme will be jointly funded by the central government and state governments.
  • The scheme will run for 10 years and can be extended thereafter.

current affairs

UDAN 4.0:

  • The 4th round of UDAN was launched in December 2019 with a special focus on North-Eastern Regions, Hilly States, and Islands.
  • The airports that had already been developed by Airports Authority of India (AAI) are given higher priority for the award of VGF (Viability Gap Funding) under the Scheme.
  • Under UDAN 4, the operation of helicopters and seaplanes is also been incorporated.

 

Insta Curious:

Did you know that the ATF is not within the ambit of the Goods and Services Tax (GST)? More about items not covered under GST: read this.

 

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. When was UDAN scheme launched?
  2. Implementation and funding of the scheme.
  3. Overview of the National Civil Aviation Policy.
  4. Under the scheme, who provides Viability Gap Funding (VGF) to subsidise the airfare?
  5. Role of state governments under the scheme.

Mains Link:

Discuss the performance of UDAN scheme.

Sources: the Hindu.

India’s fossil fuel production exceeds Paris Agreement goals:

GS Paper 3

Topics Covered: Conservation related issues.

 

Context:

The United Nations Environment Programme’s (UNEP) latest Production Gap Report has revealed that 15 of the top fossil fuel producing countries, including India, are not prepared to meet the requirements of the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement.

  • Paris Agreement seeks to keep global warming “well below 2 degrees” above pre-industrial levels.

 

Highlights of the Production Gap Report:

  1. Governments are in aggregate planning to produce 110 per cent more fossil fuels in 2030 than would be consistent with limiting global warming to 1.5°C, and 45 per cent more than would be consistent with limiting warming to 2°C, on a global level.
  2. By 2040, this excess grows to 190% and 89%, respectively.
  3. The 15 countries analysed as part of the report were responsible for 75 per cent of the world’s fossil fuel production in 2020.
  4. They are Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Germany, India, Indonesia, Kazakhstan, Mexico, Norway, Russia, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), the United Kingdom (UK) and the United States (US).

 

What needs to be done?

In order for the world to meet the Paris Agreement goals, “global coal, oil, and gas production (and consumption) have to start declining immediately to be consistent with limiting warming to 1.5°C.”

 

India’s plans vs goals:

India is the seventh-largest producer of fossil fuels among the 15 countries.

  • As part of the Paris Agreement, India pledged a 33%–35% reduction in the “emissions intensity” of its economy by 2030, compared to 2005 levels.
  • However, as part of the Atmanirbhar Bharat campaign, the government pledged to become a self-reliant producer of coal and made a plan to invest Rs 500 billion worth of infrastructure for coal extraction.

 

Challenges ahead for India:

India doesn’t have a federal level policy on scaling down production of fossil fuels, or ensuring a just transition into renewable energy.

 

Why is there a need to limit the use of fossil fuels?

Global cost of air pollution from fossil fuels is high: It was around $2.9 trillion per year, or $8 billion per day, which was 3.3 per cent of the world’s GDP at the time.

  • India is estimated to bear a cost of $150 billion from air pollution caused by fossil fuels.

 

Overall Challenges ahead:

  1. As of now, human activities have already caused global temperatures to rise by about 1 degree Celsius above pre-industrial levels (1950-1900).
  2. Currently, countries’ emissions targets are not in line with limiting global warming to under 1.5 degrees.

 

Need of the hour for India:

  1. Reduce emphasis on domestic exploration.
  2. Increase productivity of producing fields.
  3. Increase strategic reserves.
  4. Restructure and reorganize public sector petroleum companies.
  5. Avoid siloed thinking.

paris_climate_agreement

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. What is Paris Agreement?
  2. Which countries have not signed?
  3. Targets.
  4. Funding mechanism announced under the Paris Agreement.
  5. What are NDCs?

Mains Link:

Discuss the significance of the Paris Climate deal.

Sources: down to earth.

Facts for Prelims:

Georissa mawsmaiensis:

  • A micro snail species named Georissa mawsmaiensis has recently been discovered from Mawsmai, a limestone cave in Meghalaya, 170 years after the last such discovery was made.
  • It was in 1851 that Georissa saritta, a member of the same genus as the latest find, was collected and described from the Musmai (Mawsmai today) valley near Cherrapunjee.
  • The members of the Georissa genus are widely distributed across and reported from Africa, Asia, and the Pacific. However, they are confined to microhabitats consisting of limestone caves or karst landscapes formed by the dissolution of limestone.

About the Mawsmai cave:

  • It is situated in the small village of Mawsmai, around four kilometres from Cherrapunjee (Sohra) in the East Khasi Hills district of Meghalaya.
  • The term ‘Mawsmai’ means ‘Oath Stone’ in the Khasi language. The Khasi people use the local term ‘Krem’ for the cave.
  • Mawsmai cave is located at an altitude of 1,195 metres above sea level and is indirectly influenced by the streams of the Kynshi river originating from the East Khasi Hills.

current affairs

 

Sakharov Prize:

Imprisoned Russian Opposition leader Alexei Navalny was recently awarded this European Union’s top human rights prize.

  • The Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought, commonly known as the Sakharov Prize, is an honorary award for individuals or groups who have dedicated their lives to the defense of human rights and freedom of thought.
  • Named after Russian scientist and dissident Andrei Sakharov, the prize was established in December 1988 by the European Parliament.

current affairs

 

Bovine Mastitis:

  • Bovine Mastitis is a common infectious disease, which affects farm productivity due to fall in milk quality, thus impacting income-generating activities.
  • It is a potentially fatal mammary gland infection, that is most common in dairy cattle worldwide.
  • Mastitis is caused by microorganisms ranging from virus, mycoplasma, fungus and bacteria. Physical injury to the mammary region, poor hygiene and/or trauma, also cause this condition.

current affairs


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