Daily Prelims Notes 23 January 2022
- January 23, 2022
- Posted by: OptimizeIAS Team
- Category: DPN
Daily Prelims Notes
23 January 2022
Table Of Contents
- District Good Governance Index
- Beating Retreat Ceremony
- National Master Plan Portal
- Antibody Responses
- Fungi associated with Basal Stem Rot found
- Radioactive Substances in Wearables
- CT value in a Covid-19 test
- Non-Fungible Tokens
- India Gate
Subject – Governance
Context – Union Home Minister Amit Shah virtually launched the District Good Governance Index (DGGI) in Jammu and Kashmir on Saturday
- The Union Minister of Home and Cooperation virtually released India’s First “District Good Governance Index”, prepared by DARPG in collaboration with Government of Jammu & Kashmir.
- The collaboration received from Chief Secretary Government of Jammu & Kashmir, enabled the conceptualization and formulation of an index that measures the diversity of governance model in the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir.
- It provides a roadmap for similar benchmarking of Governance at District level for all States and Union Territories of India.
- Department of Administrative Reforms and Public Grievances (DARPG), Government of India has been guiding and providing financial support for the exercise with technical support extended by CGG, Hyderabad.
- The J&K Institute of Management for Public Administration and Rural Development (IMPARD) with active collaboration of Directorate of Economics and Statistics (DES) were the pivotal agencies in developing this index for the UT.
- In the composite ranking of first ever District Good Governance Index (DGGI) released, the Jammu district has managed to top the list followed by districts of Doda, Samba, Pulwama and Srinagar in the UT.
Parameters used in the Index
- The DGGI is a framework document comprising of performance under ten governance sectors having 58 indicators with 116 data points. The criteria have been adopted after following a rigorous and robust process of data collection, screening and validation by each of the Districts.
- The governance sectors the performance of which was weighed under this index includes Agriculture and allied sector (11 indicators), Commerce and Industry (05), Human Resource Development (09), Public Health (09), Public Infrastructure and Utilities (06), Social Welfare and Development (06), Financial Inclusion (03), Judiciary and Public Safety (04), Environment (02) and Citizen Centric Governance (03).
Subject – Art and Culture
Context – Abide With Me, the Christian hymn dropped from Beating Retreat ceremony
- A day after the eternal flame at Amar Jawan Jyoti was shifted to the National War Memorial, the government has dropped Abide With Me, the sombre highpoint of the conclusion of the Republic Day celebrations.
- Penned in the pre-modern world by Henry Francis Lyte, a Scottish Anglican minister and son of a naval captain, the hymn, which is known for its simplicity and sombre theme, is often sung to English composer William Henry Monk’s evocative tune Eventide, and has been a fixture in the Indian Beating Retreat ceremony since 1950.
- It is always the last piece to be played by the brass bands before the troops recede up Raisina Hill to the tune of poet Allama Iqbal’s Saarejahan se achha.
- The hymn, which is popular across Christian denominations, was also played at the wedding of Queen Elizabeth II. It was played by musicians as the Titanic went down.
- The piece also became significant and popular during World War I.
- It is still sung during various military services in Australia and New Zealand.
- Abide With Me was one of Mahatma Gandhi’s personal favourites.
- Played at dusk, this is also the last piece before the retreat buglers bring down the Indian flag.
- At the ceremony, the hymn creates a sombre moment when the tubular bells ring from the North and the South blocks, followed by an echo effect created by musicians posted atop the two buildings.
In place of the hymn
- Abide With Me has been replaced by Kavi Pradeep’s seminal piece Aye Mere WatanKe Logon, which was written in the wake of the Sino-Indian War, and went on to become a tableau of Indian nationalism.
- The song was first sung on January 27, 1963. Composed by C Ramachandra and sung by Lata Mangeshkar, it was first performed at Delhi’s National Stadium in a fundraiser organised by the film industry for Indian war widows. Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru welled up as the six-and-a-half-minute song was sung.
About Beating Retreat Ceremony
- It officially denotes the end of Republic Day festivities.
- It is conducted on the evening of 29 January, the third day after the Republic Day.
- It is organized by Section D of the Ministry of Defence.
- It is performed by the bands of the three wings of the military, the Indian Army, Indian Navy and Indian Air Force, and pipe bands from the Army, plus from 2016 a massed formation of bands of the Central Armed Police Forces and the Delhi Police.
- The venue is Raisina Hills and an adjacent square, Vijay Chowk, flanked by the North and South blocks of the Central Secretariat and the Rashtrapati Bhavan (President’s Palace) towards the end of Rajpath.
- The chief guest of the function is the President of India.
- The ceremony traces its origins to the early 1950s when Major Roberts of the Indian Army developed the unique ceremony of display by the massed bands.
- The ceremony is currently held by Armed Forces in the UK, US, Canada, New Zealand, Australia, and India, among others.
Subject – Economy
Context – National master plan portal to be ready by end of March
- The Gati Shakti programme announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi last year envisages a digital platform for a national master plan of infrastructure projects in the country which will be ready by March 31, 2022.
- Prime Minister Modi announced the Gati Shakti national master plan (NMP) on October 13, 2021, for setting up a centralised portal, and “institutionalising” planning, designing and execution among 17 different Ministries in the Centre as well as States.
- It will include projects worth ₹100 lakh crore. The programme also aims to cut down logistical costs and improve supply chains.
To know more about PM Gati Shakti — National Master Plan, please refer October 2021 DPN.
Subject – Science and Tech
Context – New study on antibody responses
- A recent study looked at the neutralising antibody responses generated by breakthrough infections in individuals vaccinated against SARS-CoV2.
- The researchers learnt that the degree of antibody response depended on whether a person has had one, two, three, or four exposures to the spike protein through infection, vaccination, or a mixture of the two.
- Among their study subjects, those who had completed a three-vaccination protocol, and those who had been vaccinated after recovering from COVID-19, and those with a breakthrough infection after having been vaccinated launched almost comparable neutralising antibody responses.
They are proteins made by the immune system to fight antigens, such as bacteria, viruses, and toxins. The body makes different immunoglobulin to combat different antigens.
The five subclasses of antibodies are:
- Immunoglobulin A (IgA), which is found in high concentrations in the mucous membranes, particularly those lining the respiratory passages and gastrointestinal tract, as well as in saliva and tears.
- Immunoglobulin G (IgG), are involved in the secondary immune response (IgM is the main antibody involved in primary response). IgG can bind pathogens, like for example viruses, bacteria, and fungi, and thereby protects the body against infection and toxins. Comprising up to 80% of the antibodies found in the human body, IgG is the smallest, yet most abundant human antibody, and that of other mammals. IgG can be found in all bodily fluids, and is the only antibody that can protect a foetus by passing through the mother’s placenta.
- Immunoglobulin M (IgM),is the largest antibody, and it is the first antibody to appear in the response to initial exposure to an antigen. B-cells create IgM antibodies as a first line of defense. Their large size gives them excellent binding avidity, and can pick up trace amounts of infection to mark for recognition by phagocytes. IgM is primarily found in serum and due to its size, it cannot diffuse well, and is found in the interstitium only in very low quantities.
- Immunoglobulin E (IgE), which is associated mainly with allergic reactions (when the immune system overreacts to environmental antigens such as pollen or pet dander). It is found in the lungs, skin, and mucous membranes.
- Immunoglobulin D (IgD), which exists in small amounts in the blood, is the least understood antibody.
Subject – Science and Tech
Context – Two species of fungi associated with basal stem rot found
- Researchers from Kerala have identified two new species of fungi from the genus Ganoderma that are associated with coconut stem rot. They have also genotyped the two fungi species, named Ganodermakeralense and G. pseudoapplanatum and identified genetic biomarkers.
Basal stem rot
- The butt rot or basal stem rot of coconut is known by several names in different parts of India: Ganoderma wilt (Andhra Pradesh), Anaberoga (Karnataka) and Thanjavur wilt (Tamil Nadu), to mention a few.
- The infection begins at the roots, but symptoms include discolouration and rotting of stem and leaves.
- In the later stages, flowering and nut set decreases and finally the coconut palm (Cocos nucifera) dies.
- A reddish-brown oozing is seen. This oozing has been reported only in India.
- Once infected, recovery of the plants is not likely.
- Not surprising then, that this causes a huge loss: By some estimates made in 2017, in India, around 12 million people are said to depend on coconut farming.
- Another sign of infection is presence of shelf-like “basidiomata,” which are the fruiting or reproductive structures of the fungus, on the tree trunks. Although microscopic, many fungi, produce macroscopic fruiting structures on the substrates where they grow.
- The basidiomata of Ganoderma bear reproductive propagules (called spores) which are dispersed through wind and sometimes with the help of insects. That is how the pathogen spreads from one host to the other.
- Since the fungus is microscopic, it is only detected after the symptoms start manifesting or when the reproductive structures are borne, which can be too late.
- So far, scientists and farmers had to solely rely on the visible symptoms of the disease [which appear only at a later stage, after complete colonization], but now they can easily detect the presence of the pathogen much earlier by analysing plant extracts which can be easily obtained at any stage of growth. Future studies can use the public database entry for early detection of the pathogen.
Subject – Science and Tech
Context – Adding radioactive substances in wearables unjustified – IAEA
- An air purifier (negative ioniser) device emits two million healthy negative ions per sec from the black brush on its top. These ions may impinge on pollutants, make them negatively charged and get them collected on surfaces of tables, windows, bed etc.
- On December 16, 2021, the Authority for Nuclear Safety and Radiation Protection (ANVS), Netherland issued a statement identifying ten products such as (Magnetix Magnetic necklace, Magnetix Sport boost bracelet, Smiley Kids bracelet, Athletic necklace among others) as containing more radioactivity than legally permitted.
- The agency cautioned the public against using “Quantum Pendant,” “anti-5G pendant” or “negative ion” jewellery items or sleep mask.
- Often, “negative ion products” may contain radioactive substances. The ANVS clarified that their warning does not apply to ionic air purifiers, “as they are known not to contain radioactive materials.
- Sellers of “negative ion” consumer products and “scalar energy products” claim that these products improve the user’s health. They may state that they are composed of volcanic ash, minerals etc. These can contain radioactive substances, which emit ionising radiation, which can cause tissue damage and are bad for the user’s health.
- Popular online platforms have been offering such products, often in the form of pendants, necklaces, bracelets, sleep masks etc. for many years now. Manufacturing and selling products containing radioactive substances is not a justified practice.
- Wearing such products for a long period (a year, 24 hours a day) could expose the wearer to a dose of radiation that exceeds the limit for skin exposure prescribed in the Netherlands.
- Realising the safety significance of Naturally Occurring Radioactive Materials (NORM), IAEA and member countries provided guidance on the matter.
- In “Radiation Protection and Safety of radiation Sources: International Basic Safety Standards” (2014), the IAEA considers that the frivolous use of radiation or radioactive substances in toys and personal jewellery or adornments, which result in an increase in activity, is unjustified.
- The IAEA also published a specific safety guide titled “Radiation Safety for Consumer Products (2016).” The Atomic Energy (Radiation Protection) Rules, 2004 contains provisions consistent with those of the IAEA.
Subject – Science and Tech
Context – Among various scientific terms that the Covid-19 pandemic has made part of the public vocabulary, one is the ‘Ct value’ in RT-PCR tests for determining whether a patient is positive for Covid-19.
- Short for cycle threshold, Ct is a value that emerges during RT-PCR tests, the gold standard for detection of the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus. In an RT-PCR test, RNA is extracted from the swab collected from the patient. It is then converted into DNA, which is then amplified. Amplification refers to the process of creating multiple copies of the genetic material — in this case, DNA. This improves the ability of the test to detect the presence of virus.
- Amplification takes place through a series of cycles — one copy becomes two, two becomes four, and so on — and it is after multiple cycles that a detectable amount of virus is produced.
- According to the ICMR advisory, the Ct value of an RT-PCR reaction is the number of cycles at which fluorescence of the PCR product is detectable over and above the background signal.
- Put simply, the Ct value refers to the number of cycles after which the virus can be detected. If a higher number of cycles is required, it implies that the virus went undetected when the number of cycles was lower.
- The lower the Ct value, the higher the viral load — because the virus has been spotted after fewer cycles.
Why is CT value important?
- According to the ICMR, a patient is considered Covid-positive if the Ct value is below 35. In other words, if the virus is detectable after 35 cycles or earlier, then the patient is considered positive.
What is the significance of the ICMR threshold of 35?
- Globally, the accepted cut-off for Ct value for Covid-19 ranges between 35 and 40, depending on instructions from the respective manufacturers of testing equipment.
- The ICMR has arrived at the Ct value of 35 based on laboratory experiences and inputs taken from several virology labs.
Is there any correlation between a Ct value and severity of disease?
- Although Ct value is inversely correlated with viral load, It does not have any bearing on the severity of the disease, experts have said.
- A patient can have a low Ct value, which means her viral load is high enough to be detected rapidly, but she may still be asymptomatic.
- The Ct value tells us about the viral load in the throat and not in the lungs.
- The Ct value does not correlate with severity – only with infectivity.
Does a high Ct value always mean a low viral load?
- While that may be the obvious inference, some experts stress that some patients can have a high Ct value and yet have a very significant level of Covid-19 infection, and vice versa.
- Many factors are important in interpreting an RT-PCR test, and the results may also depend on the method of specimen collection and time from infection to collection and to analysis.
- Besides, Ct values are also determined by the technical competence of the person performing the test, calibration of the equipment, and the analytical skills of the interpreters.
- Again, Ct values may differ between nasal and oropharyngeal specimens collected from the same individual. The temperature of transportation, as well as the time taken from collection to receipt in the lab, can also adversely impact Ct values.
Subject – Economy
Context – French luxury fashion brand Hermès is suing American digital artist Mason Rothschild who created the MetaBirkins series of NFTs (Non-Fungible Tokens), a rapidly growing part of the crypto world.
Why are NFTs considered to be unique digital assets?
- An NFT is a unique, irreplaceable token that can be used to prove ownership of digital assets such as music, artwork, even tweets and memes. The term ‘non-fungible’ simply means that each token is different as opposed to a fungible currency such as money (a ten-rupee note can be exchanged for another and so on).
- Cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin and Ethereum are also fungible, which means that one Bitcoin can be exchanged for another. But an NFT cannot be exchanged for another NFT because the two are different and therefore unique. Each token has a different value, depending on which asset it represents.
- NFT transactions are recorded on blockchains, which is a digital public ledger, with most NFTs being a part of the Ethereum blockchain. NFTs became popular in 2021, when they were beginning to be seen by artists as a convenient way to monetise their work.
What are the other reasons for which NFTs are in high demand?
- One of the other attractions is that NFTs are a part of a new kind of financial system called decentralised finance (DeFi), which does away with the involvement of institutions such as banks.
- For this reason, decentralised finance is seen as a more democratic financial system because it makes access to capital easier for lay people by essentially eliminating the role of banks and other associated institutions.
Subject – Art and Culture
Context – The government has put out the eternal flame of the Amar Jawan Jyoti underneath India Gate and merged it with the one instituted at the National War Memorial in 2019 a few hundred meters away.
- The India Gate, All India War Memorial, as it was known earlier, was built by the British in 1931. It was erected as a memorial to around 90,000 Indian soldiers of the British Indian Army, who had died in several wars and campaigns till then.
- India Gate, formerly known as the All-India War Memorial, was designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens and inaugurated by Lord Irwin, then Viceroy of India, in 1931. It was erected as a memorial to around 90,000 Indian soldiers of the British Indian Army, who had died in several wars and campaigns till then.
- The foundation stone of India’s largest war graves and memorials to soldiers killed in the First World War was laid down on 10 February 1921 by the Duke of Connaught.
- The names of more than13,000 dead soldiers are mentioned on the 42-m-tall memorial, built in an architectural style that is often compared to the ArcdeTriomphe in Paris.
- It stands as a memorial to 90,000 soldiers of the British Indian Army who died in between 1914 and 1921 in the First World War, in France, Flanders, Mesopotamia, Persia, East Africa, Gallipoli and elsewhere in the Near and the Far East, and the Third Anglo-Afghan War.
- The Amar Jawan Jyoti was built under its arch to commemorate India’s victory in the Indo-Pak War of 1971.
- The structure is inspired by the 18th century Mahabalipuram pavilion and had statue of King George V until 1947.