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:
- Bright spots, areas of concern in ASER 2022
- Online child abuse escalated in India during a pandemic: CRY
GS Paper 3:
- Why has the creation of eco-sensitive zones provoked protests?
- Startups are powering India’s Space Odyssey 2.0
Content for Mains Enrichment (Ethics/Essay/ Governance)
- Vishal Singh (DM, Malkangiri, Odisha)
- Chanchal Rana (Balangir, Odisha)
- Keywords: Cyborg
- Keywords: 4 E’s Road Safety
- Keywords: 3C for Politicians
- Keywords: 3P for welfare schemes
- Keywords: 5F theme for textile
Facts for Prelims
- Bhopal Declaration
- World Economic Forum Initiatives
- Leading financiers who pledged Net Zero are still backing fossil fuel expansion
- Rare species of duck sighted in Manipur’s Loktak lake after over 90 years
- Spot Bellied Eagle Owl
- Rare dinosaur eggs found in Narmada Valley show how ancient reptiles shared traits with today’s birds: Study
- MeitY launches Technology for Air Quality Monitoring System (AI-AQMS v1.0)
- What is a ‘pantranscriptome’?
- A century later, a clearer picture of how mercury becomes a superconductor
Bright spots, areas of concern in ASER 2022
GS Paper 2
Syllabus: Development and management of social sectors/services related to Education etc
Direction: The article highlights the findings of the ASER 2022, what can be deduced from these findings and way ahead.
Context: Following two years of school closures caused by Covid-19, the recently released 17th Annual Status of Education Report (ASER) for 2022 contains both bright spots and areas of concern.
- Pratham, a non-governmental organisation (NGO), has been surveying children aged 6 to 14 and publishing ASER since 2005 to track trends in school enrolment, attendance, and reading and arithmetic abilities.
- This year’s report (published after 2018) surveyed 7 lakh children in 19,060 villages across 616 districts across the country.
|Bright spots||Areas of concern|
|● School enrolment touched a record high (98.4% in 2022, 97.2% in 2018)
● The proportion of girls (aged 11-14) not enrolled has reduced (10.3% in 2006, 4.1% in 2018, 2% in 2022)
● The percentage of children (aged 11 – 14) enrolled in government schools has risen from 65% in 2018 to 71.7% in 2022
● A small, steady increase in the children availing private tuitions (from 26.4% to 30.5% between 2018-22)
● Improvement in the AVAILABILITY OF SMARTPHONES
○ In 2022, the availability of smartphones in the homes of enrolled students has nearly doubled from
● % of CHILDREN NOT GOING TO SCHOOL:
○ It has dropped to 2% or below for the first time in 2022
○ Even after prolonged school closures during the pandemic period, the proportion of children not enrolled in school continued to decline between 2018 and 2022.
|● Drop in learning levels of foundational literacy and numeracy (FLN)
● For example, in 2022, the basic reading ability of children in Class 3 dipped by 6.8% points from 27.2% in 2018 and the proportion of children in Class 3 who could do at least subtraction fell to 25.9% (from 28.2%)
|What can be deduced from the ASER 2022 findings?||Govt scheme to promote FLN||Way ahead|
|Why has enrolment in government schools increased? Improvements in infrastructure; distribution of textbooks, midday meals during lockdown; job losses, and the closure of budget private schools in rural areas.
Why did private tuition increase? More flexible to adapt (If a person is unable to pay, they can pay later) and provided extra assistance to children when schools were closed.
|● The National Education Policy 2020
● The National Initiative for Proficiency in Reading with Understanding and Numeracy (NIPUN) Bharat
● Foundational Literacy and Numeracy mission
|● Integration between the Anganwadi and school systems is critical.
● Particularly the education component of the Anganwadi system must be adequately funded.
Conclusion: FLN is critical for increasing the country’s productivity in terms of human capital. As a result, the government’s priority should be to raise learning and teaching standards.
Needed, education data that engages the poor parent
National Education Policy 2020 is in conformity with Sustainable Development Goal 4 (2030). It intends to restructure and reorient the education system in India. Critically examine the statement. (UPSC 2020)
Online child abuse escalated in India during a pandemic: CRY
GS Paper 2
Syllabus: Governance, Social Justice
Context: A study jointly conducted by CRY — Child Rights and You and Chanakya National Law University, Patna stated that online sexual exploitation and abuse (OCSEA), has extended its presence across India during the pandemic and the extent of such crimes is becoming a matter of concern.
Key findings from POCSO and Beyond: Understanding Online Safety during COVID Report –
- Adolescent girls and boys within 14-18 years, belonging to the lower income strata were figured as the most vulnerable age group.
- Just 30 per cent of the parents said they would go to the police station and file a complaint, while 70 per cent ruled out that possibility.
- Only 16 per cent of parents claimed to be familiar with any OCSEA-related laws, indicating a lack of information and faith in the legal system and law enforcement.
- Nearly 33 per cent of the parents among the respondents reported that strangers approached their children via Online Platforms.
Laws on sharing of online Child Sexual Abusive Material (CSAM) in India:
- In India, viewing adult pornography in private is not an offence.
- As per the Information Technology (IT) Act, 2002, it is punishable to show children any pornographic content.
Current system of detecting CSAM in India:
- Help from foreign agencies
- Operation Megh Chakra and Operation Carbon:launched by the CBI.
India’s efforts so far:
- ‘Aarambh India’: a Mumbai-based NGO, partnered with the IWF, and launched India’s first online reporting portal to report images and videos of child abuse.
- National cybercrime reporting portal
- Jairam Ramesh Committee made recommendations on ‘the alarming issue of pornography on social media and its effect on children and society as a whole’.
- State governments are increasingly adopting “Child-Friendly Policing” to encourage reporting of abuses.
Major Initiatives for Preventing Child Sexual Abuse in India:
- POCSO Act, 2012
- Integrated Child Protection Scheme
- Child Abuse Prevention and Investigation Unit
- Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao
- Juvenile Justice Act/Care and Protection Act, 2000
- Child Marriage Prohibition Act (2006)
- Child Labour Prohibition and Regulation Act, 2016
- Operation Smile
Effects of Sexual Abuse on Child:
- Children fall for post-traumatic stress disorder diagnosis, depression, conduct disorders, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, and obsessive-compulsive disorder.
- Strong feelings of hopelessness, suicidal ideation, and suicidal attempt.
- Getting detached from family and friends.
Ethical aspects related to Child Abuse:
- Deteriorating moral ideologies in the society – rising cases of paedophilia.
- Parents trying to not open up with their children or talk about this in society.
Article 19 of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) states the following:
States Parties shall take all appropriate legislative, administrative, social and educational measures to protect the child from all forms of physical or mental violence, injury or abuse, neglect or negligent treatment, maltreatment or Exploitation, including sexual abuse, while in the care of parent(s), legal guardian(s) or any other person who has the care of the child.
Why has the creation of eco-sensitive zones provoked protests?
GS Paper 3
Syllabus: Environment and Conservation
Direction: The article covers Ecologically sensitive zones (ESZ) and the issues related to the ESZ.
Context: The creation of the Ecologically sensitive zones (ESZ) has sparked protests in Kerala and can be a hint of what is likely to occur in other parts of the country.
- ESZ Context: The problem begins with a notification that ought to have been community-specific but which a ministry offered as a ‘one size fits all’ solution.
- Protected areas cover 5.26% of India’s land area as 108 national parks and 564 wildlife sanctuaries notified under the Wildlife (Protection) Act 1972 (WPA).
- These protected areas are based on the ‘fortress conservation model’. For example, activities permitted in ‘reserve forests’ are not permitted in national parks and wildlife sanctuaries.
- Surrounding these protected areas is an area of approx. 3.4% of the country’s land, falls under the ESZ regime.
- Governments have notified 341 ESZs in 29 States and 5 UTs, while another 85 ESZs are awaiting notification.
- Together, protected areas and the ESZs cover 8.66% of India’s land area.
What are ESZ/Ecologically Fragile Areas (EFA)?
Meaning: ESZ is intended to protect ‘protected areas’ – national parks and wildlife sanctuaries – by effectively creating insulating layers around such protected areas where humans and nature can be at peace with each other.
Objectives of creating ESZ:
- To create a shock absorber by regulating and managing the activities around protected areas.
- To serve as a transition zone between areas of high protection and areas of lower protection.
Notified and regulated by: They are notified by the Union Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC) and regulated under the Environment Protection Act 1986 (though the EPA does not mention the word ‘ESZ’).
Criteria to designate ESZ:
- Based on species (endemism, rarity, etc)
- Based on the ecosystem (sacred groves, frontier forests, etc)
- Based on geomorphological features (uninhabited islands, origins of rivers, etc)
Extent of ESZ:
- An ESZ’s distribution can vary in breadth and extent. For example, the extent of ESZ from the boundary of a protected area ranges from 0 to 45.82 km (in Pin Valley National Park, HP).
- The ESZs span notified forests outside protected areas, most of which could also come under gram sabhas’ jurisdiction under the FRA.
Issues with ESZ:
Not in sync with FRA and PESA:
- The Forest Rights Act (FRA) 2006, recognises the customary and traditional rights (both individual and collective) of forest-dwellers on forest land, including inside protected areas.
- Under the FRA, a new category of forests called ‘community forest resource’ (CFR) has been created and has to be managed by the Gram Sabhas.
- Similarly, the Provisions of the Panchayat (Extension to Scheduled Areas) Act (PESA) 1996, empower Gram Sabhas to safeguard and preserve community resources on forest and revenue lands in Scheduled Areas.
- However, the MoEFCC has shown no inclination to amend the Indian Forest Act 1927, the Wildlife (Protection) Act and the EPA 1986 to comply with PESA and FRA.
The case of Kerala:
- The Western Ghats (WG) cover 48% of Kerala and nearly 30% of the state is covered by forests.
- There is also a network of lakes, canals and wetlands, as well as a 590-kilometre-long coastline, all of which are governed by a set of environmental conservation laws.
- This leaves little space for its 3.5 crore population, which has a population density of 900 people per square km (much higher than the national average).
- According to an SC directive, at least one km from the boundary of every protected area in Kerala should be marked as ESZ
- The Kerala State Assembly recently unanimously passed a resolution urging the Central Government to exempt the state’s human settlements, farmlands, and public institutions from the ESZ’s scope.
- Mining and other activities have long depleted the nation’s natural resources.
- As a result, the government’s role should not be limited to that of a “facilitator” of economic activity.
- It must strive to achieve long-term sustainable development by balancing economic development, environmental conservation and the rights of forest dwellers.
The fortress conservation model is based on the belief that biodiversity protection is best achieved by creating protected areas where ecosystems can function in isolation from human disturbance. It assumes that local people use natural resources in irrational and destructive ways, and as a result cause biodiversity loss and environmental degradation.
What are the Eco-sensitive Zones (ESZs)?
How does the draft Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) Notification, 2020 differ from the existing EIA Notification, 2006? (UPSC 2020)
Prelims Links: (UPSC 2014)
With reference to ‘Eco-Sensitive Zones’, which of the following statements is/are correct?
- Eco-Sensitive Zones are the areas that are declared under the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972.
- The purpose of the declaration of Eco-Sensitive Zones is to prohibit all kinds of human activities in those zones except agriculture.
Select the correct answer using the code given below.
- 1 only
- 2 only
- Both 1 and 2
- Neither 1 nor 2
Startups are powering India’s Space Odyssey 2.0
GS Paper 3
Syllabus: Achievements of Indians in science & technology.
Source: Live Mint
Context: With the space sector opening up, startups have begun to rapidly transform the industry.
Measures for encouraging the private sector in the space programme:
- Indian National Space Promotion and Authorisation Centre (IN-SPACe) in Ahmedabad.
- IN-SPACe is an autonomous, single-window nodal agency; formed to promote, authorise, monitor and supervise the space activities of NonGovernmental Private Entities (NGPEs) in India.
- With the formation of IN-SPACE, over 100 companies have come up in this sector and in 2022 they raised as much as $110 million.
- Reforms in the space sector enable more private players to provide end-to-end services.
- NewSpace India Ltd (NSIL), is mandated to transfer the matured technologies developed by the ISRO to Indian industries.
- Change in strategy: the present supply-based model has been changed to a demand-driven model, wherein NSIL shall act as an aggregator of user requirements and obtain commitments.
- Regulatory regime:
- The first to be updated was the SpaceCom and SpaceRS policies, further liberalizing the traditional Satellite Communication and Remote Sensing sectors, respectively, thus enabling entrepreneurs and industries to take up end-to-end activities in these domains
Private players’ entry will support the Indian space Industry in the following ways:
- Participation in the private sector will give rise to new innovations and technology.
- It will provide an opportunity to harness the talent pool in the country, by providing them with immense opportunities for exploration.
- A reduction in the cost of operation with efficient practices, building a supply chain to accommodate the downstream players.
- Also, it will allow procuring non-Indian orbital resources to build their space-based systems for communication services in and outside India.
Private players find smaller satellite markets a more lucrative option.
Advantages of smaller satellites:
- Smaller satellites use industry-grade rather than space-grade components.
- These smaller satellites are parked closer to earth, where radiation is lower and have a shorter lifespan.
- Moreover, while an INSAT class satellite will cost at least ₹400 crores, smaller satellites can be built for just ₹10 crores
- Above all, they do not need large launch vehicles such as the PSLV or GSLV, which cost ₹300 crore and ₹450 crores, respectively.
- Potential: According to European Space Agency data, anywhere between 70,000 to 100,000 satellites will be launched in the next 15 years and over 80% will be small satellites weighing less than 500 kg.
Role of ISRO in the Private space industry:
- The private sector will rely on ISRO for infrastructure—be it launch facilities, tracking systems, technology transfers and capacity building
- ISRO will focus on non-commercial greater complexity scientific missions such as focusing on deep-space missions and putting an Indian in space through its Gaganyaan
- ISRO has set up NewSpace India Ltd (NSIL) to handle the commercial end of the business.
- ISRO is the 6th largest space agency in the world and holds an exceptional success rate
- Indian Space Association (ISpA): ISpA aspires to be the collective voice of the Indian Space industry.
- The introduction of the Indian Space Activities Bill will give greater clarity to private players on how to be an integral part of the space sector.
Limitations of the private sector in space:
- Policy Bottlenecks: India is yet to legislate specific space laws to regulate the private sector. Hence, ensuring openness and clarity about the working framework becomes difficult in the current situation.
- Monopolization: Space is capital intensive industry, and only a few rich corporates can afford the investment. Hence, accommodating all players and ensuring an equitable platform becomes difficult.
- Funding: India’s space budget of $1.7 billion (in 2022) was minuscule compared to the US’s $30 billion and China’s $14 billion (which includes $1 billion from its private players).
- Profit Motive: Space in general, should be an enabler of Technological equity for citizens. This aspect becomes difficult to ensure when private entities operate with profit interest.
- Intellectual property issue: The lack of a robust space-centric IPR policy in India, raises issues regarding sharing and diversification of space resources.
At present, India needs a space policy, which can be clear and liberal on private players. With this proposed new policy for space, India wants to tap into the private sector, which could help the industry grow.
The mission Prarambh, marks the Indian private sector’s first foray into the promising space launch market, opening opportunities for the privatisation of space which is heavily dominated by ISRO. Discuss.
With reference to India’s satellite launch vehicles, consider the following statements: (UPSC 2018)
- PSLVs launch the satellites useful for Earth resources monitoring whereas GSLVs are designed mainly to launch communication satellites.
- Satellites launched by PSLV appear to remain permanently fixed in the same position in the sky, as viewed from a particular location on Earth.
- GSLV Mk III is a four-staged launch vehicle with the first and third stages using solid rocket motors; and the second and fourth stages using liquid rocket engines.
Which of the statements given above is/are correct?
(a) 1 only
(b) 2 and 3
(c) 1 and 2
(d) 3 only
The satellites in geosynchronous orbits appear to remain permanently fixed in the same position in the sky. Hence, statement 2 is not correct.
GSLV-Mk III is a three-stage launch vehicle with four liquid strap-ons. The indigenously developed Cryogenic Upper Stage (CUS), forms the third stage of GSLV Mk III.
Content for Mains Enrichment (Ethics/Essay/ Governance)
Vishal Singh (DM, Malkangiri, Odisha)
He implemented a micro-irrigation project in 6 villages in Odisha’s Malkangiri district It helped over 300 farmers grow a 2nd crop & increased household income by 60%
Chanchal Rana (Balangir, Odisha)
He implemented “Gender and Inclusion” in the Balangir district.
He successfully implemented the Sweekruti Scheme which aims to offer dignity, inclusion and livelihood to the transgender community and avail the members of the community of all social security schemes
Source: Indian Express
A cyborg is a being that is part human and part machine, or a machine that looks like a human being. Although no cyborg has been developed yet we are in the phase of development.
- The artificial pancreas is in the development phase
- People undergo neural stimulation to alleviate symptoms of diseases such as depression
- Louise Brown: The first child conceived in a petri dish. This may be 1st step towards a fully conceived cyborg
Keywords: 4 E’s Road Safety: – The main thrust of accident prevention and control across the world has been on 4 E’s vis
- Environment and
- Emergency care of road accident victims
Keyword: 3C for Politicians/bureaucrats/reforms: Collective Code of Conduct (3C)
Keyword: 3P for welfare schemes: Pro-Poor Public (3P) Welfare Schemes
Keywords: 5 F theme for textile– (Farm- Fiber-Factory- Fashion- Foreign) and #MySariMyPride (for textile promotion in India)
- Treating sports as extracurricular activity has harmed the nation- PM Modi
- The world is in a “sorry state” because of myriad “interlinked” challenges including climate change and Russia’s war in Ukraine that are “piling up like cars in a chain reaction crash,”-N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres
Facts for prelims
Context: Bhopal Declaration was released after discussion in the two-day meeting of Think-20 under G20 in Bhopal
About the Declaration:
It was released after the Think20 (T20) meeting of G20 countries’ think tanks and research centres.
Highlights of the declaration:
- To focus more on inclusive development
- Care for the welfare of every section of society in comparison to GDP
- Give special attention to children
- Encourage the model of development led by women
- Bridge the gap between North and South
- Work together to ensure the health of all
- Importance of localization in achieving G-20 sustainable development goals
- Triangular cooperation of government, society, and private organizations
World Economic Forum Initiatives
Source: Economic Times
Context: Here we have clubbed all the initiatives announced (or highlighted) in this year’s ongoing World Economic Forum’s Summit at Davos (Switzerland)
- Giving to Amplify Earth Action (GAEA): WEF launched GAEA to allow over $3 trillion of financing needed each year to reach net-zero, reverse nature loss and restore biodiversity by 2050.
- The fund is to be accumulated through Public-private and philanthropic partnerships (PPPP)
- FireAID Initiative: This project was first launched in January 2022. A recent report (released now) has highlighted its success.
- It uses Artificial Intelligence to allow better prediction of wildfires and efficient use of resources during firefighting operations
- It creates a digital twin for fire response and management and allows firefighters to test hypotheses of intervention measures
- WEF has highlighted that countries need to do three things to the utilization of Fourth Industrial Revolution
- Become Resilient to enable growth, sustainability and inclusivity in the Manufacturing sector and supply chains
- From speed to scale: Large technology adoption and workforce empowerment
- Increase collaborations: Esp. with supply chain partners, industrial ecosystem, and public sector stakeholders.
- The Fourth Industrial Revolution conceptualizes rapid change to technology, industries, and societal patterns and processes in the 21st century due to increasing interconnectivity and smart automation
The World Economic Forum is an international non-governmental and lobbying organisation based in Cologny, canton of Geneva, Switzerland. It was founded in 1971 by German engineer and economist Klaus Schwab. It has broadened its vision to include providing a platform for resolving international conflicts and climate change.
Leading financiers who pledged Net Zero are still backing fossil fuel expansion
Context: The world’s largest banks and asset owners (members of GFANZ) that have pledged Net Zero actions are continuing to fund the expansion of the coal, oil and fossil gas industries.
The Glasgow Financial Alliance for Net Zero (GFANZ) is a global coalition of leading financial institutions that claim to be committed to accelerating the decarbonisation of the economy.
It was launched in 2021 by the UN Special Envoy on Climate Action and Finance and COP26 along with UNFCCC Race to Zero Campaign. It has over 550 members.
About Race to Zero Campaign:
Race to Zero is the UN-backed global campaign rallying non-State actors – including companies, cities, regions, financial, educational, and healthcare institutions – to take rigorous and immediate action to halve global emissions by 2030 and deliver a healthier, fairer zero-carbon world in time.
Rare species of duck sighted in Manipur’s Loktak lake after over 90 years
Source: Indian Express
Context: A rare species of duck, Greater Scaup, locally known as Sadangman, was recently sighted in Loktak lake in Manipur’s Bishnupur district after a gap of over 90 years.
About Greater Scaup:
- IUCN Status: Least Concern
- The greater scaup (Aythya marila) is a medium-sized diving duck belonging to the family
- The greater scaup species is distributed in Asia, Europe, the United States, and Canada.
- It is a rare visitor to the Indian Subcontinent.
- It is known as Scaup in Europe and Bluebill in North America, Greater Scaup breeds in Alaska, Siberia, north Canada and on the eastern side of Europe and they flock to warmer regions during the Winter season.
Spot Bellied Eagle Owl
Source: The Hindu
Context: A ‘Spot Bellied Eagle Owl’ (Bubo Nipalensis) was spotted for the first time in the Seshachalam forest, and for the third time in Andhra Pradesh.
About Spot Bellied Eagle Owl:
- The bold predatory bird, measuring 20-25 inches in length and weighing between 1.5 kg and 2 kg, feeds on small rodents and lizards.
- The bird makes a strange scream similar to humans and it is hence called the ‘Ghost of the Forest’ in India and ‘Devil Bird’ in Sri Lanka.
- It is a forest-inhabiting species found in the Indian Subcontinent and Southeast Asia
- IUCN Status: Least Concern
Rare dinosaur eggs found in Narmada Valley show how ancient reptiles shared traits with today’s birds: Study
Context: A group of Indian researchers found rare cases of fossilized dinosaur eggs — an egg within an egg — among 256 newly discovered eggs from the Narmada Valley.
- The discovery suggests that Titanosaurs — one of the largest dinosaurs to have roamed the Earth — displayed a notable reproductive trait unique to modern-day birds.
- The egg has two yolks; this feature can be seen in birds, suggesting they share similar reproductive traits.
Region where these fossils were found:
- This region falls between the easternmost Lameta exposures at Jabalpur in the upper Narmada Valley (central India) and Balasinor in the west in the lower Narmada Valley (western central India),
- Lameta exposure is a sedimentary rock formation known for its dinosaur fossils.
- The Bhedaghat-Lamheta Ghat in Narmada valley has made it to the tentative list of UNESCO’s world heritages sites.
MeitY launches Technology for Air Quality Monitoring System (AI-AQMS v1.0)
Context: Under the ‘National programme on Electronics and ICT applications in Agriculture and Environment (AgriEnIcs)’– the Centre for Development of Advanced Computing (C-DAC), in collaboration with TeXMIN, ISM, Dhanbad has developed an outdoor air quality monitoring station to monitor environmental pollutants.
- It will monitor parameters like PM 1.0, PM 2.5, PM 10.0, SO2, NO2, CO, O2, ambient temperature, relative humidity, etc., for continuous air quality analysis of the environment.
- The new Air Quality Monitoring System (AI-AQMS v1.0) will soon be available for a wider market as the new technology is already transferred to JM EnviroLab for further commercialization and deployment in different mining and cement industries.
(MeitY) also launched the technology for biosensing systems for the detection of Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals in aquatic ecosystems (MEAN) for qualitative and quantitative analysis of EDC content in water bodies.
Endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs) are substances in the environment (natural– air, soil, or water) or manufactured (man-made) products that interfere with the normal function of the body’s endocrine system.
The most common EDCs are-
- Bisphenol A (BPA) – used to make certain plastics and epoxy resins
- Dioxins – a byproduct in herbicide production and paper bleaching
- Perfluoroalkyl and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS) – used in a non-stick pan, paper and textile coatings
- Phthalates – used to make plastics more flexible
- Phytoestrogens – found in plants that have hormone-like activity, such as tofu or soy milk
- Triclosan – found in some anti-microbial and personal care products
- Endosulfan – an organochlorine insecticide that caused health hazards in the state of Kerala.
What is a ‘pantranscriptome’?
Source: The Hindu
Context: A new study published in the journal Nature Methods, has proposed a “pantranscriptome,” which combines a transcriptome and a pangenome — a reference that contains genetic material from a cohort of diverse individuals, rather than just a single linear strand.
About Pan Transcriptome:
- Using a reference genome from a single organism is not reliable and there exists considerable variation in the intra-specie genomes.
- This gave birth to the pan- genomics, which divides the genome of the specie into three parts, core genome, dispensable genome, and unique genes.
- Transcriptome represents all the RNA molecules present in a specie or in an organism.
- Building a pan-transcriptome is necessary for studying and analyzing complex genomes and variations between species.
How it works:
- RNA’s most commonly recognized function is to translate DNA into proteins, but scientists now understand that the vast majority of RNA does not make proteins, but instead can play roles such as influencing cell structure or regulating genes.
- When evaluating an individual’s genomic data for variation, scientists compare the individual’s genome to that of a reference made up of a single, linear strand of DNA bases.
- Using a pangenome allows researchers to compare an individual’s genome to that of a genetically diverse cohort of reference sequences all at once, sourced from individuals representing a diversity of biogeographic ancestry.
- This gives the scientists more points of comparison for which to better understand an individual’s genomic variation.
A century later, a clearer picture of how mercury becomes a superconductor
Source: The Hindu
Context: Superconductivity was first discovered in mercury, yet scientists required 111 years to explain how it becomes superconducting
In 1911, Dutch physicist Heike Kamerlingh Onnes discovered superconductivity in mercury. He found that at a very low temperature, called the threshold temperature, solid mercury offers no resistance to the flow of electric current.
The Bardeen-Cooper-Schrieffer (BCS Theory) to explain the superconductivity of Mercury: Details of the theory are technical in nature and you may skip it from a UPSC point of view.
Mercury is a naturally occurring element that is found in air, water and soil. It is released into the atmosphere through natural processes such as weathering of rocks, volcanic eruptions, geothermal activities, forest fires, etc. It is the only metal which remains liquid at room temperature.
Superconductors are materials that conduct electricity with no resistance. Unlike the more familiar conductors such as copper or steel, a superconductor can carry a current indefinitely without losing any energy.
- Advantages of superconductors: low power dissipation, high-speed operation, and high sensitivity
- Application: E.g. MRI machines, Particle accelerators, Power utilities, electronics companies, the military, and transportation.
When a material makes the transition from the normal to the superconducting state, it actively excludes magnetic fields from its interior; this is called the Meissner effect.
Law Optional/Pub Ad: TH: Admonishments that endanger the constitution (on Basic structure, we had covered this topic a week back)
Pub Ad: IE: Lose sleep over your dreams ( by home minister Amit Shah on Good Governance; continuance of y’day optional link on good governance)
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