Daily Prelims Notes 24 April 2021
- April 24, 2021
- Posted by: admin1
- Category: DPN
Daily Prelims Notes
24 April 2021
Table Of Contents
- GLACIAL BURST FLOODS
- BREAKTHROUGH INFECTIONS
- AMICUS CURIAE
- PM GKAY
- UK PARLIAMENT DECLARES GENOCIDE IN CHINA
- KOWLOON PENINSULA
- WMA FOR STATES
- EMERGENCY USE APPROVAL FOR VIRAFIN
- RUPEE DEPRECIATION
- M NARASIMHAM COMMITTEE
- INVESTMENT OPPORTUNITIES IN INDIA’S HEALTHCARE SECTOR
Subject : Geography
Context : Uttarakhand witnessed loss of lives, disappearances and devastation of property due to a glacial burst at Joshimath in Uttarakhand’sChamoli district which triggered floods that destroyed two hydropower projects near the Naina Devi National Park.
Glacial Lake Outburst Flood (GLOF):
- A GLOF refers to the flooding that occurs when the water dammed by a glacier or a moraine (accumulations of dirt and rocks fallen onto the glacier surface) is released suddenly.
- When glaciers melt, the water in glacial lakes accumulates behind loose, natural “glacial/moraine dams” made of ice, sand, pebbles and ice residue.
- Unlike earthen dams, the weak structure of the moraine dam leads to the abrupt breach of the dam on top of the glacial lake which could cause flash floods in the downstream areas.
- According to NDMA, glacial retreat due to climate change occurring in most parts of the Hindu Kush Himalaya has given rise to the formation of numerous new glacial lakes, which are the major cause of GLOFs.
- Glacial lakes are typically formed at the foot of a glacier.
- As glaciers move and flow, they erode the soil and sediment around them, leaving depressions and grooves on the land. Meltwater from the glacier fills up the hole, making a lake.
- Lakes form when meltwater ponds, and this can happen on the ice surface (supraglacial lakes), in front of the ice (proglacial lakes), or even underneath the ice (subglacial lakes).
- Glacier lakes can affect ice flow by reducing friction at the ice-bed interface, encouraging basal sliding.
- They can change the albedo of the ice surface, encouraging more surface melt.
- Proglacial lakes cause calving, which affects mass balance and can decouple mountain glaciers from climate.
- Glacier lakes can be hazardous; moraine and ice dams can fail, causing catastrophic glacier lake outburst floods or jokulhlaups.
Subject: Science & tech
Context: Vaccine Breakthrough Infections with SARS-CoV-2 Variants.
- ICMR said that a small fraction of those vaccinated with either Covaxin or Covishield have tested positive (i.e. breakthrough” infections).
- However, these instances do not undermine the efficacy of the vaccines.
- The immune response begins to develop usually two weeks after every dose and there are variations within individuals, too.
- Of the 9.3 million who received the first dose of Covaxin, 4,208 tested positive; and of the 1.7 million who received the second dose, 695 tested positive.
- For Covishield, of the 100.3 million who received the first dose, 17,145 tested positive; and of the 15 million who got the second dose, 5,014 tested postive.
What explains infections after vaccination
- Healthcare and frontline workers, who were among the first to be vaccinated, were as a population far more exposed to the virus and therefore more susceptible.
- Secondly, the emergence of “the highly transmissible second wave (newer variants) ” may have contributed to instances of infection among those vaccinated.
- Several variants, which have mutations that have been shown to avoid detection by the immune system, and in some cases reduce the efficacy of vaccines, have been reported globally, including in India.
Subject : Polity
Context: Harish Salve recuses from being amicus curiae in Supreme Court suomotu proceedings on Covid-19 crisis.
- An amicus curiae (literally, “friend of the court”; plural: amici curiae) is someone who is not a party to a case who assists a court by offering information, expertise, or insight that has a bearing on the issues in the case.
- The decision on whether to consider an amicus brief lies within the discretion of the court.
- The amicus curiae figure originates in Roman law. Starting in the 9th century, it was incorporated into English law, and it was later extended to most common law systems.
Subject : Government Schemes
Context : Acceding to demand from states, the Centre on Friday decided to distribute 8 million tonne (MT) of foodgrain free of cost to all the 81 crore ration card holders under Prime Minister GaribKalyan Anna Yojana (PM-GKAY) during May-June.
Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana:
- PMGKAY is a part of Pradhan MantriGaribKalyan Package (PMGKP) to help the poor fight the battle against Covid-19.
- The scheme aimed at providing each person who is covered under the National Food Security Act with an additional 5 kg grains (wheat or rice) for free, in addition to the 5 kg of subsidised foodgrain already provided through the Public Distribution System (PDS).
- The beneficiaries are also entitled to 1 kg of pulse for free, according to regional preferences.
Subject : International Relations
Context : Commonwealth war graves: PM ‘deeply troubled’ over racism
- The Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC) is an intergovernmental organisation of six independent member states whose principal function is to mark, record and maintain the graves and places of commemoration of Commonwealth of Nations military service members who died in the two World Wars.
- Members are Australia, Canada, India, New Zealand, South Africa and United Kingdom.
- The commission is also responsible for commemorating Commonwealth civilians who died as a result of enemy action during World War II.
- The commission was founded by Sir Fabian Ware and constituted through Royal Charter in 1917 as the Imperial War Graves Commission.The change to the present name took place in 1960.
- The commission, as part of its mandate, is responsible for commemorating all Commonwealth war dead individually and equally.
- To this end, the war dead are commemorated by a name on a headstone, at an identified site of a burial, or on a memorial. War dead are commemorated uniformly and equally, irrespective of military or civil rank, race or creed.
Subject : International Relations
Context : UK Parliament unanimously declares the Chinese government is committing a Genocide against Uyghurs in historic first.
- The House of Commons has unanimously declared that Uyghurs and other minorities in the Xinjiang region are victims of Genocide and Crimes Against Humanity, the first time a motion declaring genocide has been passed unopposed in the British parliament.
- The UK joins the US, Canada and the Netherlands in having made formal declarations of a genocide taking place against Uyghurs.
- The backbench business debate motion was led by Conservative MP Nusrat Ghani, a member of the cross-party Inter-Parliamentary Alliance on China (IPAC), and received backing from all major opposition parties.
- The motion calls on the UK government to fulfil its obligations under the Genocide Convention and to use “all relevant instruments of international law” to bring the abuses against Uyghurs to an end.
Inter-Parliamentary Alliance on China
- The Inter-Parliamentary Alliance on China (IPAC) is an international, cross-party alliance of parliamentarians from democratic countries focused on relations with the People’s Republic of China (PRC), and specifically, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).
- It was established on June 4, 2020, on the anniversary of the 1989 Tiananmen Square protests.
- The alliance comprises over 100 MPs from the world’s democratic legislatures, Ireland becoming the 20th national to join the alliance in February 2021.
- Each legislature represented takes turns to chair the alliance on a rotating basis. Its purpose is to create a coordinated response to China on global trade, security and human rights.
Subject : Geography
Context : Hong Kong is set to grant a site on the western Kowloon peninsula, to China’s national security office for its permanent base in the city.
- The Kowloon Peninsula is a peninsula that forms the southern part of the main landmass in the territory of Hong Kong, alongside Victoria Harbour and facing toward Hong Kong island.
- The Kowloon Peninsula and the area of New Kowloon are collectively known as Kowloon.
- Geographically, the term “Kowloon Peninsula” may also refer to the area south of the mountain ranges of Beacon Hill, Lion Rock, Tate’s Cairn, Kowloon Peak, etc.
- The peninsula covers five of the eighteen districts of Hong Kong.
- Kowloon Bay is located at the northeast of the peninsula.
- The former British colony of Hong Kong returned to Chinese rule in 1997 with the guarantee of continued freedoms. Pro-democracy activists say those freedoms are being whittled away, especially with the national security law cracking down on dissent.
Subject : Economics
Context : The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) decided to continue with the existing interim Ways and Means Advances (WMA) scheme limit of ₹51,560 crore for all States/ UTs shall for six months i.e., up to September 30, given the prevalence of COVID-19.
- Ways and means advances (WMA) is a mechanism used by Reserve Bank of India (RBI) under its credit policy to provide to States, banking with it, to help them tide over temporary mismatches in the cash flow of their receipts and payments.
- This is guided under Section 17(5) of RBI Act, 1934.
- Based on the recommendations of the Advisory Committee on WMA to State Governments, 2021 (chaired by Sudhir Shrivastava) the RBI had revised the WMA Scheme of States and Union Territories (UTs).
- The WMA limit arrived at by the Committee based on total expenditure of States/ UTs, works out to ₹47,010 crore.
- The RBI said it would review the WMA limit thereafter, depending on the course of the pandemic and its impact on the economy.
- The Special Drawing Facility availed by State Governments/ UTs shall continue to be linked to the quantum of their investments in marketable securities issued by the Government of India, including the Auction Treasury Bills.
Subject : Science & tech
Context: Zydus Cadila on Friday announced that it has received restricted emergency use approval from the Indian drug regulator, Drug Controller General of India (DCGI), for the use of ‘Virafin’, Pegylated Interferon alpha-2b (PegIFN) in treating moderate coronavirus infection in adults.
Emergency Use Approval
- There is nothing such as emergency use approval in Indian rules, however the 2019 rules provide for “Accelerated Approval Process” in several situations that would include the one like the current pandemic.
- In such situations, there is a provision for granting approval to a drug that is still in clinical trials provided the product is of meaningful therapeutic benefit.
- Accelerated approval may also be granted to a new drug if it is intended for the treatment of a serious, or life-threatening condition, or disease of special relevance to the country, and addresses unmet medical needs.
- A new drug, or a vaccine, can be considered for approval if remarkable effectiveness is reported even from phase-II trials.
- In such cases, additional post licensure studies may be required.
- The approval granted to drugs or vaccines that are still in clinical trials is temporary, and valid only for one year.
Drugs Controller General of India
- Drugs Controller General of India is the head of department of the Central Drugs Standard Control Organization of the Government of India.
- Responsible for approval of licences of specified categories of drugs such as blood and blood products, IV fluids, vaccines, and sera in India.
- DCGI also sets standards for manufacturing, sales, import, and distribution of drugs in India.
- Comes under the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare.
- DCGI lays down the standard and quality of manufacturing, selling, import and distribution of drugs in India.
Subject : Economics
Context : The rupee’s near-term fortunes may directly be influenced by the Reserve Bank of India’s intent on preventing any further depreciation in the currency as the surge in COVID-19 cases hits jobs and growth, economists and traders said.
Appreciation and Depreciation of Currency
- In a floating exchange rate system, market forces (based on demand and supply of a currency) determine the value of a currency.
- Currency Appreciation: It is an increase in the value of one currency in relation to another currency.
- Currencies appreciate against each other for a variety of reasons, including government policy, interest rates, trade balances and business cycles.
- Currency appreciation discourages a country’s export activity as its products and services become costlier to buy.
- Currency Depreciation: It is a fall in the value of a currency in a floating exchange rate system.
- Economic fundamentals, political instability, or risk aversion can cause currency depreciation.
- Currency depreciation encourages a country’s export activity as its products and services become cheaper to buy.
The following are some of the principal determinants of the exchange rate between two countries.
- Differentials in Inflation
- Differentials in Interest Rates
- Current Account Deficits
- Public Debt
- Terms of Trade
Subject : Economics
Context : ‘Father of banking reforms’: Ex-RBI governor M Narasimham passes away at 94.
- Narasimham Committee I (1991) – Consolidation would make economic and commercial sense where the whole would be greater than the sum of its parts, and have a “force-multiplier effect.”
- It also recommended local banks whose operations would be confined to specific regions, and rural banks.
- Narasimham Committee II (1998) -It emphasised that consolidation process in PSBs needed to be based on synergies, and locational and business-specific complementarities.
Subject : Current Events
Context :NITI Aayog Releases Report ‘Investment Opportunities in India’s Healthcare Sector’.
- The report outlines the range of investment opportunities in various segments of India’s healthcare sector, including hospitals, medical devices and equipment, health insurance, telemedicine, home healthcare and medical value travel.
- India’s healthcare industry has been growing at a Compound Annual Growth Rate of around 22% since 2016.
- At this rate, it is expected to reach USD 372 billion in 2022.
- In the hospital segment, the expansion of private players to tier-2 and tier-3 locations, beyond metropolitan cities, offers an attractive investment opportunity.