Daily Prelims Notes 28 July 2020
- July 28, 2020
- Posted by: OptimizeIAS Team
- Category: DPN
Table Of Contents
- Urban mining
- Down Trading
- NDRF Vs PM-CARES
- State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World 2020 (SOFI 2020)
- Operation breathing space
- Environment impact assessment
- Testing facilities
1. Urban mining
With increasing e waste around the cities, urban mining gains importance.
- Urban mining is the practice of extracting valuable metals and materials from electronic waste
- This makes it possible to obtain high quality steel from old washing machines. Precious metals such as gold, silver, platinum or palladium can be extracted from old mobile phones and computers.
- Urban mining has many advantages over primary mining: the materials are already in the city where they are likely to be needed again, so there is no need for long transport routes. And the environmental impact, particularly in land use, is clearly lower than mining for natural resources.
2. Down Trading
Amid pay cuts and job losses due to the outbreak of the pandemic and lockdown, the trend of down trading is on rise.
- Down trading refers to the practice of switching from expensive products/brands to cheaper alternatives in a bid to conserve cash.
- Products which meet the basic requirements are preferred over those that are perceived to be value-adding.
- This trend is seen not only in small-ticket consumption items but also in vehicle or durable goods purchases.
Subject: Government policy/ schemes
The Supreme Court reserved its order on a plea that seeks money collected under the PM CARES Fund for the COVID-19 pandemic should be transferred to the National Disaster Response Fund (NDRF).
- The National Disaster Response Fund (NDRF), constituted under Section 46 of the Disaster Management Act, 2005, supplements SDRF of a State, in case of a disaster of severe nature, provided adequate funds are not available in SDRF.
- It is a fund managed by the Central Government for meeting the expenses for emergency response, relief and rehabilitation due to any threatening disaster situation or disaster.
- NDRF amount can be spent only towards meeting the expenses for emergency response, relief and rehabilitation.
- It is financed through the levy of a cess on certain items, chargeable to excise and customs duty, and approved annually through the Finance Bill.
- The requirement for funds beyond what is available under the NDRF is met through general budgetary resources.
- A provision also exists in the DM Act to encourage any person or institution to make a contribution to the NDRF.
- It is kept under “Public Accounts” of Government of India.
- Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) audits the accounts of NDRF.
- Department of Agriculture and Cooperation under Ministry of Agriculture (MoA) monitors relief activities for calamities associated with drought, hailstorms, pest attacks and cold wave /frost while rest of the natural calamities are monitored by Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA).
- Prime Minister’s Citizen Assistance and Relief in Emergency Situations Fund, or the PM CARES Fund, was set up to tackle distress situations such as that posed by the COVID19 pandemic.
- The fund receives voluntary contributions from individuals and organisations and does not get any budgetary support. Donations have been made tax exempt, and can be counted against a company’s corporate social responsibility (CSR)
- It is also exempt from the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act, 2010, and accepts foreign contributions, although the Centre has previously refused foreign aid to deal with disasters such as the Kerala floods.
- The Prime Minister chairs the fund in his official capacity, and can nominate three eminent persons in relevant fields to the Board of Trustees. The Ministers of Defense, Home Affairs and Finance are ex officio Trustees of the Fund.
- It is not clear whether the fund comes under the ambit of the RTI Act or oversight by the Comptroller and Auditor General of India, although independent auditors will audit the fund
- The PM CARES web page is opaque regarding the amount of money collected, names of donors, expenditure of the fund so far, or names of beneficiaries. The PMNRF provides annual donation and expenditure information without any detailed breakup.
- The PM CARES Fund’s trust deed is not available for public scrutiny.
- The decision to allow uncapped corporate donations to the fund to count as CSR expenditure, a facility not provided to PMNRF or the CM’s Relief Funds goes against previous guidelines stating that CSR should not be used to fund government schemes.
- A government panel had previously advised against allowing CSR contributions to the PMNRF on the grounds that the double benefit of tax exemption would be a “regressive incentive”
4. State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World 2020 (SOFI 2020)
State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World 2020 warns difficulty in achieving SDG goal of Zero hunger.
- The State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World is the most authoritative global study tracking progress towards ending hunger and malnutrition.
- It is produced jointly by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the UN World Food Programme (WFP) and the World Health Organization (WHO).
- Its first edition was brought out in 2017
- Hunger continues to be on the rise since 2014 and the global prevalence of undernourishment, or overall percentage of hungry people, is 8.9%.
- Asia remains home to the greatest number of undernourished (38 crore). Africa is second (25 crore), followed by Latin America and the Caribbean (4.8 crore).
- According to current estimates, in 2019, 21.3% (14.4.crore) of children under 5 years were stunted, 6.9% (4.7 crore) wasted and 5.6% (3.8 million) overweight.
- Healthy diet costs more than ₹143 (or $1.90/ day), which is the international poverty threshold. The number of people globally who can’t afford a healthy diet is at 300 crore people, or more than the combined population of the two most populous countries in the world, i.e. China and India.
- The previous editions of the report cited that conflict, climate variability, and economic slowdowns acted as hindrances on the path to achieve the global target. COVID-19 pandemic is expected to only aggravate this problem. Desert Locust outbreaks in Eastern Africa, Arabian Peninsula, and parts of South Asia, especially amidst the pandemic, has only exacerbated the situation.
An Israeli team led by a esearch and development (R&D) defence official arrived with a multi-pronged mission codenamed “Operation Breathing Space” to work with Indian authorities.
- In this mission scientists from both countries work on COVID response.
- Four different kinds of rapid tests, which will be jointly developed after trials on Indian COVID-19 patients, as well as high-tech equipment to minimise exposure of medical staff to the virus, advanced respirators and special sanitisers developed in Israel were brought.
- The cooperation between Indian and Israeli scientists will also include sharing the most effective treatment protocols for COVID-19 patients.
6. Environment impact assessment
Huge criticism is rising against the draft Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) 2020 notification issued to amend rules.
- Environment Impact Assessment or EIA can be defined as the study to predict the effect of a proposed activity/project on the environment. A decision making tool, EIA compares various alternatives for a project and seeks to identify the one which represents the best combination of economic and environmental costs and benefits.
- Till 1994, environmental clearance from the Central Government was an administrative decision and lacked legislative support.
- On 27 January 1994, the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests (MEF), Government of India, under the Environmental (Protection) Act 1986, promulgated an EIA notification making Environmental Clearance (EC) mandatory for expansion or modernisation of any activity or for setting up new projects listed in Schedule 1 of the notification.
- The MoEF recently notified new EIA legislation in September 2006. The notification makes it mandatory for various projects such as mining, thermal power plants, river valley, infrastructure (road, highway, ports, harbours and airports) and industries including very small electroplating or foundry units to get environment clearance.
- Environment Impact Assessment Notification of 2006 has decentralized the environmental clearance projects by categorizing the developmental projects in two categories, i.e., Category A (national level appraisal) and Category B (state level appraisal).
- Category A projects are appraised at national level by Impact Assessment Agency (IAA) and the Expert Appraisal Committee (EAC) and Category B projects are apprised at state level.
- State Level Environment Impact Assessment Authority (SEIAA) and State Level Expert Appraisal Committee (SEAC) are constituted to provide clearance to Category B process.
Subject: Science and tech
Prime minister has virtually launched COVID-19 testing facilities in Noida, Mumbai and Kolkata.
- These facilities will ramp up testing capacity in the country and help in strengthening early detection and treatment, thus assisting in controlling the spread of the pandemic.
- These labs will also reduce turn-around-time and exposure of lab personnel to infectious clinical materials.
- The labs are enabled to test diseases other than COVID as well, and post the pandemic, will be able to test for Hepatitis B and C, HIV, Mycobacterium tuberculosis, Cytomegalovirus, Chlamydia, Neisseria, Dengue, etc.
- Cytomegalovirus (CMV) is a common virus for people of all ages; however, a healthy person’s immune system usually keeps the virus from causing illness.
- Once CMV is in a person’s body, it stays there for life and can reactivate.
- A person can also be re-infected with a different strain (variety) of the virus.
- Most people with CMV infection have no symptoms and aren’t aware that they have been infected.
- People with weakened immune systems who get CMV can have more serious symptoms affecting the eyes, lungs, liver, esophagus, stomach, and intestines.
- Babies born with CMV can have brain, liver, spleen, lung, and growth problems. The most common long-term health problem in babies born with congenital CMV infection is hearing loss, which may be detected soon after birth or may develop later in childhood.
- Chlamydia is a common sexually transmitted infection (STI) caused by bacteria. People who have chlamydia often don’t have outward symptoms in the early stages.
- In fact, about 90 percent of women and 70 percent of men with the STI have no symptoms. But chlamydia can still cause health problems later.
- Untreated chlamydia can cause serious complications.
“Periglacial Flora of Western Himalayas Diversity And Climate Change Vulnerability” study by Botanical survey of India found high altitudes plants are facing the “climb higher or die” situation due to climate change.
- Acclimatization is the process in which an individual organism adjusts to a change in its environment (such as a change in altitude, temperature, humidity, photo period, or pH), allowing it to maintain performance across a range of environmental conditions.
- Acclimatization occurs in a short period of time (hours to weeks), and within the organism’s lifetime (compared to adaptation, which is a development that takes place over many generations).
- This may be a discrete occurrence (for example, when mountaineers acclimate to high altitude over hours or days) or may instead represent part of a periodic cycle, such as a mammal shedding heavy winter fur in favor of a lighter summer coat.
- Organisms can adjust their morphological, behavioral, physical, and/or biochemical traits in response to changes in their environment.