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[Mission 2023] INSIGHTS DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS + PIB SUMMARY 11 July 2022

 

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 1:

1. Cloudbursts

 

GS Paper 2:

1. Regulation of medical devices

2. SDG report 2022

 

GS Paper 3:

1. IPBES Assessment Report on wild species

 

GS Paper 4:

1. Kindness: Small and random acts of Kindness do have value

 

Facts for Prelims:

 

1. The oldest European human fossil found

2. Uber Files

3. Digital Nomads

4. Strengthening of Pharmaceuticals Industry (SPI) Scheme

5. Heat Index

6. Monkeypox cases

7. Tobacco

8. Muon Magnetism

9. Singalila National Park


Cloudbursts

GS Paper 1:

Syllabus: Important Geophysical phenomena such as earthquakes, tsunamis, Volcanic activity, cyclones etc.

 

Context:

Sudden, “highly-localised rains” in Amarnath, Jammu and Kashmir, caused flooding and led to the deaths of at least 16 people and injuries to more than 20 others.

What is a cloudburst?

A cloudburst refers to an extreme amount of rain that happens in a short period, sometimes accompanied by hail and thunder, and this has a precise definition.

The India Meteorological Department (IMD) defines it as unexpected precipitation exceeding 100mm (or 10 cm) per hour over a geographical region of approximately 20 to 30 square km

Where do they occur?

They are more likely to occur in mountainous zones mainly because of terrain and elevation.

  • A cloudburst occurs when moisture-carrying air moves up a hilly terrain, forming a vertical column of clouds known as ‘cumulonimbus’ clouds.
  • Such clouds usually cause rain, thunder and lightning. This upward motion of the clouds is known as an ‘orographic lift’.
  • These unstable clouds cause an intense rainstorm over a small area after becoming heavy enough and locked in the ridges and valleys between the hills.
  • The energy necessary for the cloudburst comes from the upward motion of air. Cloudbursts mostly occur at elevations between 1,000-2,500 metres above sea level.

 

Current Affairs

 

Current Affairs 

 

Practice Questions

Q. Discuss the phenomena of cloudburst, how is it different from regular rainfall? (150 Words)

 

Q. Why are dewdrops not formed on a cloudy night? (UPSC 2019)

(a) Clouds absorb the radiation released from the Earth’s surface.

(b) Clouds reflect back the Earth’s radiation.

(c) The Earth’s surface would have a low temperature on cloudy nights.

(d) Clouds deflect the blowing wind to ground level.

Answer: B

On a cloudy night, the clouds send the heat (earth’s radiation) back to the ground so the ground never gets cold enough for the dew to be formed.

 

Q. During the thunderstorm, the thunder in the skies is produced by the (UPSC 2013)

  1. meeting of cumulonimbus clouds in the sky
  2. lightning that separates the nimbus clouds
  3. violent upward movement of air and water particles

Select the correct answer using the codes given below.

(a) 1 only

(b) 2 and 3

(c) 1 and 3

(d) None of the above produces the thunder

Answer: D

Unstable air forms when warm, moist air is near the ground and cold, dry air is above. Lift comes from differences in air density. It pushes unstable air upward, creating a tall thunderstorm cloud. Thunder is caused by the rapid expansion of the air surrounding the path of a lightning bolt.

Although thunderstorm is related to cumulonimbus cloud, but Qn is asking about ‘thunder’. So the answer is D.

However, some of the sources have given the answer as ‘C’ as well.

Source: Down to Earth

Regulation of medical devices: The draft Bill suggests a separate expert group, check on online pharmacies

GS paper 2

Syllabus: Issues related to the social sector involving healthcare, schemes for vulnerable sections of society etc

 

Context:

  • The Union Health Ministry has released the new draft ‘Drug, Medical Devices, and Cosmetics Bill-2022’ that separately defines medical devices.
  • The government has sought comments, objections, and suggestions on the draft Bill over the next 45 days.

 

Key Highlights:

  • Separate expert group: It has provision for the constitution of a separate expert group on medical devices.
  • Central and state testing laboratories: It calls for the setting up of central and state medical device-testing laboratories on the lines of the network of drug-testing laboratories.
  • Rules for online pharmacy: The draft Bill also suggests that the Central government formulate rules for regulating online pharmacies.
  • Separate definitions for medical devices: The draft Bill has a separate definition for medical devices that bring under its ambit diagnostic equipment, its software, implants, devices for assistance with disabilities, life support, instruments used for disinfection, and any reagents or kits.
    • The previous 1940 Act regulated medical devices as one of the four categories of “drugs”.
  • ‘Medical devices technical advisory board’: It makes provision for the creation of a ‘medical devices technical advisory board’ on the lines of the existing drugs technical advisory board.
    • This board will include medical professionals and also people with technical knowledge of the devices.
    • Other than officials from the Health ministry, the board will also include people from:
      • Department of atomic energy,
      • Department of science and technology,
      • Ministry of Electronics,
      • DRDO
      • Experts in the field of biomedical technology, biomaterials, and polymer technology.

 

Drugs and Cosmetics Act, 1940:

●      The Act regulates the import, manufacture, and distribution of drugs in India.

●      The primary objective of the act is to ensure that the drugs and cosmetics sold in India are safe, effective and conform to state quality standards.

Section 3 of the Drugs and Cosmetics Act, 1940:

●      The Central Government, after consultation with the Drugs Technical Advisory Board (DTAB), specifies the devices intended for use in human beings or animals as drugs.

 

 

Insta Links:

Drugs and Cosmetic Rules 1945

 

Practice Questions:

Q. Consider the following statements:

  1. Medical devices were categorized separately under the drugs and cosmetics act, 1940.
  2. The drugs and cosmetics act, 1940 did not provide for a drug technical advisory board.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

  • 1 only
  • 2 only
  • Both 1 and 2
  • Neither 1 nor 2

Ans: (d)

Justification:

  • The 1940 Act regulated medical devices as one of the four categories of “drugs”.
  • Section 3 of the Drugs and Cosmetics Act, 1940: The Central Government, after consultation with the Drugs Technical Advisory Board (DTAB), specifies the devices intended for use in human beings or animals as drugs.

Source: Indian express

SDG report 2022 released by the UN

GS paper 2

Syllabus: Important international policies and institutions, issues related to the development of the social sector, India’s SDG targets and its achievements, SDG etc

 

Context:

A recent UN SDG index says, all 17 SDGs, are in jeopardy due to the climate crisis, the COVID-19 pandemic and an increase in the number of conflicts across the world.

  • The 2022 SDG Index is topped by three Nordic countries – Finland, Denmark and Sweden – and all top 10 countries are European countries.
  • India ranked at 121.

 

Current Affairs

 

Key Highlights:

  • No improvement in performance: Performance on SDG 1 (No Poverty) and SDG 8 (Decent Work and Economic Growth) remain below pre-pandemic levels in many low-income countries (LICs) and lower-middle-income countries (LMICs).
  • Slow progress on climate and biodiversity: Progress on climate and biodiversity goals is also too slow, especially in rich countries.
  • Rise in Greenhouse gas: Greenhouse gas emissions are set to rise 14 per cent over a decade.
    • Antithetical to the Paris Agreement plan: A 2025 peak followed by a 43 per cent decline by 2030 and Net 2050.
  • Pandemic as a threat: The pandemic itself has emerged as one of the biggest threats to several SDGs, pointing at 15 million “excess deaths” directly or indirectly due to the novel coronavirus by 2021.
  • Health emergency: Economic shocks due to the worldwide health emergency pushed 93 million into poverty in 2020 alone, undoing “more than four years” work at alleviating poverty. It also affected the education and healthcare services for millions.
    • Immunization, for example, has dropped for the first time in a decade even as deaths from malaria and TB have risen.
  • Lowering of global economic growth: The pandemic and the Russia-Ukraine war have already led to a lowering of global economic growth projections by 0.9 percentage points, the statement highlighted, flagging the conflict for harming in more ways than one:
    • Raising food and fuel prices
    • Hampering global supplies and trade
    • Roiling financial markets

 

Suggestions:

Current Affairs

 

India and SDG:

  • India’s preparedness for SDG has worsened over the years in comparison with other countries.
  • Major Challenges include:
    • Ensuring decent work (SDG 8).
    • India’s performance on climate action — (SDG) 13 — has slipped from 2019-2020.
  • Progress Made on goals such as SDG 2 ( No hunger), SDG 3 (on health) and SDG 6 (clean water and sanitation).

 


Sustainable Development Report:

●      It is a global assessment of countries’ progress toward achieving the Sustainable Development Goals

●      It is published by a group of independent experts at the Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN).


 

Insta Links:

SDGs and India

 

Practice Questions:

Q. Besides being a moral imperative of the Welfare State, primary health structure is a necessary precondition for sustainable development.” Analyze. (UPSC 2021)

 

Q. Consider the following statements: (UPSC CSE 2016)

  1. The Sustainable Development Goals were first proposed in 1972 by a global think tank called the ‘Club of Rome’.
  2. The Sustainable Development Goals have to be achieved by 2030.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

(a) 1 only

(b) 2 only

(c) Both 1 and 2

(d) Neither 1 nor 2

Ans: (b)

Justification:

  • Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) were born at the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development in Rio de Janeiro in 2012.
  • The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) were adopted by all United Nations Member States in 2015 to end poverty, reduce inequality and build more peaceful, prosperous societies by 2030

Refer to the above diagram.

/ 11 July CA, Today's Article

IPBES Assessment Report on wild species

GS paper 3

Syllabus: Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment.

 

Context:

Intergovernmental Science-policy platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Service (IPBES) released its report on the sustainable use of wild species of plants, animals, fungi and algae around the world.

Findings of the Report:

Global:

  • Impact on the biodiversity and wild species ecosystem: Major impact is through Climate change, landscape and seascape changes, pollution and invasive alien species impact
  • Unsustainable exploitation:
    • It is the main threat to wild species in marine ecosystems and the second greatest threat to those in terrestrial and freshwater ecosystems.
    • Unsustainable hunting is the main threat to wild mammal species.
    • Unsustainable logging and gathering are one of the main threats for several plant groups, notably cacti, cycads, and orchids as well as other plants and fungi harvested for medicinal purposes.
  • On livelihood: Small-scale fisheries support over 90% of the 120 million people and about half of the people involved in small-scale fisheries are women.
    • The report finds that 34% of marine wildlife is overfished.
    • 50,000 wild species globally can meet the needs of billions of people.
    • 70 per cent of the world’s poor population was directly dependent on wild species.
  • On indigenous people: Sustainable use of wild species is central to its identity, existence and livelihood

 

Recommendations:

  • Empower indigenous communities: The report noted that indigenous people and local communities used local knowledge, practices and spirituality for the sustainable use of wild species. They respected nature and only took what they needed.
  • Robust fisheries management:g. The Atlantic bluefin tuna population has been rebuilt and is now fished within sustainable levels
  • Effective regulations: Without them, unsustainable use and trade would increase, leading to population collapse.
  • Sustainable use of wild species can meet the needs of billions
  • Other measures needed to save wild species: integration of diverse value systems, equitable distribution of costs and benefits, changes in cultural norms and social values and effective institutions and governance systems would facilitate the sustainable use of wild species in future.
IPBES

What is IPBES?

It is an independent intergovernmental body, established by member States in 2012, with the objective to strengthen the research, evidence-based policy making for the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity.

The work of IPBES works include: – Assessments, Policy Support, Building Capacity & Knowledge

Secretariat: Bonn, Germany.

 

Current Affairs 

 

 Insta Links

‘United for Biodiversity’

 

Practice Questions

Q. How does biodiversity vary in India? How is the Biological Diversity Act, 2002 helpful in the conservation of flora and fauna? (10M) (UPSC 2018)

Q. Do you agree that the benefits of biodiversity far exceed the costs of current levels of biodiversity protection? Explain the impacts of biodiversity on the economic activities of a country. (250 words)

 

Q. With reference to India’s biodiversity, Ceylon frogmouth, Coppersmith Barbet, Gray-chinned minivet and White-throated redstart are (UPSC 2020)

(a) Birds

(b) Primates

(c) Reptiles

(d) Amphibians

Answer: A

Ceylon Frogmouth is also known as Srilanka frogmouth. It is a bird species found in the Western Ghats.

 

Current Affairs

 

Q. With reference to an initiative called “The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity (TEEB)” which of the following statements is/are correct? (UPSC 2016)

  1. It is an initiative hosted by UNEP, IMF and World Economic Forum.
  2. It is a global initiative that focuses on drawing attention to the economic benefits of biodiversity.
  3. It presents an approach that can help decision-makers recognize, demonstrate and capture the value of ecosystems and biodiversity.

Select the correct answer using the code given below.

(a) 1 and 2 only

(b) 3 only

(c) 2 and 3 only

(d) 1, 2 and 3

Answer: C

The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity (TEEB) is a global initiative assessing the costs of the loss of biodiversity and the associated decline in ecosystem services worldwide. It can help decision-makers recognize, demonstrate and capture the values of ecosystem services and biodiversity.

The TEEB study was launched by Germany and the European Commission in response to a proposal by the G8+5 Environment Ministers in Potsdam, Germany in 2007, to develop a global study on the economics of biodiversity loss.

Source: Down to Earth

Small and random acts of Kindness do have value

GS paper 4

Syllabus: Human Values

 

“Do things for people, not because of who they are or what they do in return, but because of who you are.” — Harold S. Kushner

A Random Act of Kindness is giving your best self to others without requests or promise of return on investment. It’s simply doing something nice for someone else, without them asking and without you doing it for anything in return.

When you engage in an act of kindness, endorphins (a natural painkiller) are produced in your brain. In addition, it has been found people who are kind have 23 per cent less of the stress hormone cortisol than the average population.

Examples:

  • Many videos of people giving away money or making someone happy comes up on social media.
  • During the COVID pandemic, Anganwadi worker, Vennila travelled through dense forests and scary wildlife of Nilgiris to deliver food and ration to migrant workers. She also visited kids at the Anganwadi centre and delivered eggs and rations to their families. She was awarded the ‘Covid Women Warriors, The Real Heroes’ award by the National Commission for Women.

Positive motivation for people to perform these acts at some cost to themselves?

  • Religion provides one motivation. It provides a robust framework for ethical behaviour when it comes to fellow humans and in some cases, to all living beings.
  • Upbringing – wherein family members inculcate the teaching of doing small acts of kindness.
  • Any experience which changes one’s view of the outer world.

 

Negative motivation:

  • To gain fame- as these acts would be posted in social media and can increase their followers.

 

Insta Links

Human Values

 

Practice Questions

Q. “Kindness in words creates confidence. Kindness in thinking creates profoundness. Kindness in giving creates love”. Explain the significance of kindness as a virtue in one’s life. (250 words)

Facts For Prelims

 

The oldest European human fossil found

Context:

A jawbone fragment discovered in northern Spain last month could be the oldest known fossil of a human ancestor found to date in Europe,

The researchers said the fossil found at an archaeological site in the Atapuerca mountain range was about 1.4m years old.

Until now, the oldest hominid fossil found in Europe was a jawbone found at the same site in 2007 that was determined to be 1.2m years old.

Atapuerca holds one of the richest records of prehistoric human occupation in Europe.

 

Current Affairs 

 

Uber Files

Context:

The Uber Files are a leak of gigabytes of data obtained from an anonymous source and shared with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) and its media partners from 30 countries.

  • The Uber Files show how the ride-hailing start-up begun by Travis Kalanick in San Francisco in 2010 became a global behemoth by harnessing technology, working around laws, and using aggressive lobbying tactics to curry favour with governments during the period of its dramatic expansion.
  • In 2017, Uber’s investors forced Kalanick out amid a series of sexual harassment and privacy scandals, causing huge reputational damage to the company.

What is a ‘Kill Switch’?

  • Emails and internal documents reveal that India was among the countries where Uber deployed its unique blocking software, ‘Kill Switch’.
  • The ‘Kill Switch’ was meant to be used to switch off systems in the event of serious regulatory action, like a tax raid.
  • g., Uber used a software named ‘Casper’ and later ‘Ripley’.

 

Current Affairs 

 

Digital Nomads

Context:

Indonesia has announced “Digital Nomad Visas” for travellers, to attract more foreign tourists.

Digital Nomads are people who work remotely while travelling to different places and spending their earned income in the country they are travelling to.

  • Unlike regular remote workers, who tend to stay in one geographic area, digital nomads travel and explore while working.

The proposal: The Digital Nomad Visa would allow remote workers to stay in Indonesia, including Bali, tax-free.

Benefits: Economic and spiritual tourism:  Indonesia aims to bring in over 3.6 million overseas travellers into the country over the next year to explore spiritual retreats as well as the eco-tourism of Indonesia.

What are some other countries that provide nomad visas?

Italy (can stay in the country for up to 90 days without a visa), Antigua and Barbuda (for digital nomad visa for two years), Barbados (a year-long remote working visa)

 

Current Affairs 

 

Strengthening of Pharmaceuticals Industry (SPI) Scheme

(Ministry of chemical and fertilizers)

Context:

The scheme to strengthen the existing infrastructure facilities of pharmaceutical industries so as to make India a global leader in the pharma sector.

  • Currently, India is the largest:
    • Manufacturer and exporter of generic medicines (meets 20% of global demand)
    • Manufacturer of Vaccines (meets 60% of global demand)

The scheme will give assistance to the pharma industry, and SMEs through common facilities, technology up-gradation and conducting survey reports, awareness programs, creation of databases etc.

Other schemes related to pharma:

  • Promotion of Bulk Drug Parks Scheme: To develop 3 mega Bulk Drug parks in India
  • Production Linked Incentive (PLI) Scheme: To promote domestic manufacturing of critical Key Starting Materials (KSM) and Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients (APIs) in the country.

 

Heat Index

Context:

Recently, the temperature of Delhi felt like 52 degrees C (on Heat Index) even though the actual temperature was 39 degrees C, mainly because of high humidity and lack of rain.

Heat Index: The heat index, also known as the apparent temperature, is what the temperature feels like to the human body when relative humidity is combined with the air temperature. This has important considerations for the human body’s comfort.

 

Current Affairs

 

Monkeypox cases

Context:

The study found three men tested positive for monkeypox but have no symptoms. None of them reported exposure to a diagnosed monkeypox case, nor did any of their contacts develop clinical monkeypox.

About:

  • It is a viral zoonotic disease (transmission from animals to humans) and is identified as a pox-like disease among monkeys hence it is named Monkeypox. It is endemic to Nigeria.
  • It is caused by monkeypox virus, a member of the Orthopoxvirus genus in the family Poxviridae.
  • The natural host of the virus remains undefined. But the disease has been reported in many animals.
  • Animals known to be sources of Monkeypox virus include monkeys and apes, a variety of rodents (including rats, mice, squirrels and prairie dogs) and rabbits.

Symptoms:

  • Infected people break out in a rash that looks a lot like chicken pox. But the fever, malaise, and headache from Monkeypox are usually more severe than in chicken pox infection.
  • In the early stage of the disease, Monkeypox can be distinguished from smallpox because the lymph gland gets enlarged.

 

Current Affairs

Tobacco

Context:

Andhra Pradesh government exported tobacco to the USA for 1st time in the country

Status: India is the 2nd largest producer (1st is China) and 2nd largest export (1st in Brazil) of tobacco.

Climate: Semi-tropical crop, needs 100-120 days of frost-free climate, medium rainfall, loamy soil with high potash and iron content. It cannot tolerate high-speed winds and storms.

Nodal Agency: Tobacco Board (Ministry of Commerce and Industry)

 

Current Affairs

 

Muon Magnetism

Context:

Experiments are being done to measure the magnetic property of muon in the Fermilab (USA)

Muon: A muon is an elementary particle similar to the electron, with an electric charge of −1 e and a spin of 1⁄2, but with a much greater mass. It is classified as a lepton.

Why the experiment?

  • To resolve the conundrum: the present measured value of the muon’s magnetic strength, or its “magnetic moment”, which determines its behaviour in a magnetic field, is significantly higher than the theoretical predictions of the Standard Model (SM) of particle physics.
  • Muon, a heavier, unstable cousin of the electron, behaves like a tiny bar magnet.

 

Current Affairs

 

Singalila National Park

Context: Singalila National Park launches a programme that aims to release about 20 red pandas in a period of five years.

It is the first attempt to re-wild endangered mammals in India.

Why?

The number of red pandas has been declining in the wild, even in the Singalila and Neora Valley National Parks (West Bengal)

About Red Panda:

  • Category: endangered species (IUCN) and comes under Schedule I of the Indian Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972.
  • Red pandas are shy, solitary and arboreal animals and are considered an indicator species for ecological change.
  • They are also one of the most iconic species in terms of their importance to global conservation.
  • The red panda’s survival is crucial for the eastern and north-eastern Himalayan subalpine conifer forests and the eastern Himalayan broadleaf forests. (2200-4800m under dense bamboo)
  • It is also the state animal of Sikkim.
  • Protection measure: Transboundary law enforcement cooperation through the use of multi-government platforms like SAWEN (South Asia Wildlife Enforcement Network).

 

Current Affairs


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