Daily Prelims Notes 29 March 2023
- March 29, 2023
- Posted by: OptimizeIAS Team
- Category: DPN
Daily Prelims Notes
29 March 2023
Table Of Contents
- How plastics caused fire & affected air, water, soil, life in Brahmapuram
- Upward Lightning
- Biofilm buster
- Orissa HC stays alienation of forest-classified land for JSW steel project
- US and Japan to sign pact on critical mineral supply chain for EVs requirement
- Prices of essential medicines set to see a hike from April 1
- Students with Type 1 diabetes be given proper care
- More than 500 apps blocked on the advice of cyber-crime centre
- Congress plans motion against Speaker for ‘bias’
- India to estimate TB burden using own system
- India to host meeting of security advisers from SCO countries
- India under fire at WTO for avoiding questions on MSP
- Air India and Nepal Airlines aircraft almost collide
1. How plastics caused fire & affected air, water, soil, life in Brahmapuram
Context: Spread over 110 acres of land, the Brahmapuram dumpyard caught fire on March 2, 2023. After the heroics of several departments including Fire, Air Force and Navy, the fire was completely doused on March 13.
More on the News:
- The Brahmapuram fire, which catapulted into the air, atmosphere, water, soil and ultimately life, is a classic example of a ‘plastic chain reaction’.
- Dumpyards harbour hundred thousand tonnes of mixed municipal solid waste (MSW). MSW has organic waste (50-60 per cent), plastics (8-10 per cent), paper (5-6 per cent) and inert elements (25-30 per cent).
- Though the percentage of plastics might look miniscule in the overall composition of waste, it is non-biodegradable (percentage composition remains constant) while the organic fraction degrades rapidly since it has 88-94 per cent moisture.
- The fire was doused using 60,000 litres of water per minute. Many experts believe that this will lead to a very high leachate contamination, which will carry all the toxics straight to the Kadambrayar river, a drinking water source for several areas.
- The toxins in the water will further be bio-accumulated into fishes and enter human bodies to cause several health issues ranging from nervous disorders to reproductive problems.
- Kerala CM was counting on the “waste-to-energy (WtE)” plant to turn the tide on the garbage problem.
- The electricity produced by WtEs releases more toxins into the atmosphere than the dirty coal fired thermal power plants because it burns plastics.
- Priced over Rs 7 per kilowatt-hour, WtE produces the costliest form of electricity (more expensive than nuclear energy)
- Waste collected has very low calorific value (800-1,100 kilocalorie per kilogram) and hence would require additional fuel to burn.
- Waste-to-energy plants are not the solution.
More details on Waste to energy https://optimizeias.com/waste-to-energy-2/
Solid Waste Management Rules: https://optimizeias.com/kochi-dump-yard-smoke-to-be-contained-in-two-days/
Section: Physical Geography
Context: Brazilian researchers recently succeeded in taking pictures of positive upward discharges of electricity from lightning conductor rods, travelling to connect with the negative discharge from lightning in the clouds.
More on the News:
- The researchers captured the electric action in São José dos Campos, a city northeast of São Paulo in Brazil. They published their research and photos in the open access journal Geophysical Research Letters.
- Multiple studies and observations
- There have been multiple upward lightning studies that were done in Rapid City, South Dakota, USA and Sao Paulo, Brazil during the summer thunderstorm seasons between 2011 and 2016.
- One of the key objectives of these studies was to characterise the triggering of upward positive leaders from tall objects due to preceding nearby flash activity. As part of this, a total of 110 upward flashes were observed with a combination of high- and standard-speed video and digital still cameras, electric field metres, fast electric-field antenna systems, and also lightning mapping arrays.
- These data sets were analysed, along with correlated lightning location system data, to determine the triggering flash type responsible for the initiation of upward leaders from towers.
- The paper concluded that the most effective triggering component is “the propagation of the in-cloud negative leader during the continuing current that follows a positive return stroke”.
The phenomenon of upward lightning:
- Upward lightning is a phenomenon whereby a self-initiated lightning streak develops from a tall object that travels upward toward an overlaying electrified storm cloud.
- For this to happen, storm electrification and the resulting presence of a cloud charge region are enabling factors. The vertical elevation of a tall object accentuates the electric field locally on the ground, resulting in conditions favourable for the initiation of an upward streak (called a leader) from a tall object, which can also develop in response to an electric field change created by a nearby preceding lightning flash.
- Process of Stepped Ladder Trigger
- Process is triggered by the development of the stepped leader (essentially a channel of negative charge that travels downward in a zigzag pattern from a cloud, nearly invisible to the human eye) travelling to the ground in a millisecond, leading to an intensification of the positive charge on the ground.
- As the streaks of the stepped leader keep streaking towards the ground, the electrical charges between the leader tips and the tops of tall objects on the ground keep on increasing. In the due course, these forces cause the air above these tall buildings or towers to ionise and thereby turn more conductive.
- With the negative charge repeatedly moving toward the ground, the channel of air just above the tall objects turns positively charged, which starts streaking upwards and is called an upward streamer. In due course, the negatively-charged, downward-moving stepped leader makes contact with one of the developing positively-charged upwards streamers.
- According to the US Department of Commerce’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), when contact is eventually made, the lightning channel is complete and charges can flow rapidly from the cloud toward the ground, and it takes just a fraction of a second to go from the stepped leader initiation to the final connection being made with an upwards streamer.
- Upward lightning typically has a lower intensity and duration compared to downward lightning. It also has a higher frequency of occurrence during thunderstorms.
- Upward lightning can cause damage to structures such as buildings and towers by creating an electrical surge that can overload electrical systems and cause fires or explosions.
- Upward lightning can also pose a risk to aviation, particularly for planes that fly close to tall structures during thunderstorms. This can cause electromagnetic interference, affecting communication and navigation systems.
- To prevent damage from upward lightning, lightning rods and other grounding systems can be installed on tall structures to safely dissipate the electrical charge. Additionally, electrical equipment and systems can be designed to withstand lightning strikes and power surges.
Upward lightning and Downward lightning
- Upward lightning and downward lightning are two types of lightning that differ in their direction of propagation.
- Direction: Upward lightning travels from the ground to the sky, while downward lightning travels from the sky to the ground.
- Initiation: Upward lightning is initiated by tall structures such as buildings, towers, or wind turbines that accumulate electric charge, while downward lightning is initiated by the electric fields that develop between the negatively charged base of a thundercloud and the positively charged ground below it.
- Characteristics: Upward lightning is typically weaker and shorter in duration compared to downward lightning. It also has a higher frequency of occurrence during thunderstorms.
- Safety measures: To protect against upward lightning, lightning rods and other grounding systems can be installed on tall structures, while for downward lightning, it is recommended to take shelter indoors and avoid outdoor activities during thunderstorms.
Subject: Science and Technology
Context: Nanocomposite coating inhibits biofilm formation during post-operative care.
More on the News:
- A newly developed nanocomposite coating can inhibit biofilm formation and kill attached bacteria, thereby helping tackle growing post-operative infections, a common occurrence these days due to antibiotic resistance in bacteria.
- These post-operative surgical site infections (SSIs), which, according to WHO, affect 11 per cent of patients in low- and middle-income countries, are caused by the development of biofilms (groups of bacteria growing in formation that are highly resistant to antibiotics) on the incision site or in the soft tissue inside the site.
- The biofilm matrix, which may come from existing infections in the patient’s body or transferred from the hospital environment through potential carriers like surgical equipment, wound dressing, or bandage/surgical sutures, acts as a physical shield against the antibiotics given during operation, thereby slowing their penetration.
- Antibacterial coating on the surface of these materials can act as potential sources of SSI.
- Conventionally, antibacterial coatings containing biocides like nanosilver, nanocopper, triclosan, and chlorhexidine have been used to prevent bacterial infections. Although triclosan and chlorhexidine exhibit antibacterial effects towards a broad spectrum of bacteria, they and other biocides are found to produce cytotoxicity. As a result, there is an increasing focus on developing alternative non-cytotoxic materials with antibacterial properties.
- Researchers from ARCI, Hyderabad, have developed a nanocomposite coating (named by ARCI as ATL), by combining water repellence and biocidal property (combinatorial approach).
- The developed coating not only inhibits biofilm formation by restricting bacterial and water adhesion but also kills attached bacteria.
- ATL was deposited on different surgical sutures made of silk, nylon, and polyglactin 910 (vicryl) in addition to surgical instrument-grade stainless steel 420 coupons and tested for biofilm inhibition against American Type Culture Collection (ATCC) and clinical isolate strains of proven biofilm-forming bacteria such as Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Acinetobacter baumannii, Staphylococcus aureus and Escherichia coli.
- Biofilm formation is a complex process by which groups of microorganisms, such as bacteria, adhere to surfaces and form a slimy layer of cells.
- Biofilm formation is a natural process that occurs in many different environments, including aquatic systems, soil, and the human body.
- Biofilm formation occurs in several stages. In the first stage, free-floating microorganisms attach to a surface using appendages such as pili or fimbriae. This is followed by the formation of microcolonies, which grow and produce EPS that hold the cells together. As the biofilm matures, it becomes more complex and resistant to environmental stressors such as antibiotics or immune cells. Eventually, some cells may detach from the biofilm and colonize new surfaces.
- Biofilm matrix is composed of polysaccharides, proteins, lipids, and nucleic acids, and provides structural support and protection for the microorganisms. The microorganisms within the biofilm can communicate with each other through a process known as quorum sensing, which allows them to coordinate their behavior and adapt to changing environmental conditions.
- Biofilms can have both positive and negative impacts on human health and the environment. Positive impacts include their role in bioremediation, wastewater treatment, and nutrient cycling. Negative impacts include the formation of biofouling on surfaces such as ship hulls and pipes, the development of antibiotic resistance, and the formation of biofilm-related infections in medical settings.
- The detection and characterization of biofilms can be challenging due to their complex structure and composition. Techniques such as confocal microscopy, DNA sequencing, and proteomics can be used to study the composition and behavior of biofilms.
- Garcinia pedunculata, a medicinal plant commonly called ‘borthekera’ in Assamese and traditionally forbidden for raw consumption, has been found to protect from heart disease.
- Administration of the dried pulp of the ripe fruit of the medicinal plant reduced cardiac hypertrophy indicators and oxidative stress and heart inflammation.
- The sun-dried slices of the ripe fruit are used for culinary and medicinal purposes and are known to have therapeutic properties like anti-inflammatory, anthelmintic, antibacterial, antifungal, antidiabetic, hypolipidemic, nephroprotective, and even neuroprotective activity.
4. Orissa HC stays alienation of forest-classified land for JSW steel project
Context: The National Green Tribunal recently suspended environmental clearances granted to the mega steel project.
Background of the News:
- Villagers had moved the Orissa High Court, stating that the Tahsildar of Erasama had initiated land alienation under the Orissa Government Land Settlement Act, 1962without settling their rights under the Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act, 2006.
- High Court lawyer, had contended that Sub-section(5) in Section 4 of Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act, 2006 says no Scheduled Tribe (ST) or other traditional forest dweller shall be evicted or removed from forest land under his occupation till the recognition and verification procedure is complete.
- The petitioners submitted that between 2009 and 2013, the Odisha Government had forcibly taken over the possession of 2,700 acres of forest land for a mega steel plant proposed by South Korean steel major POSCO by deploying police force near the port town of Paradip.
- Due to widespread opposition by the people, POSCO had shelved the project in 2017.
- Instead of returning the land to the people, the State government, through the Infrastructure Development Corporation (IDCO) had constructed boundary walls around ‘illegally’ acquired forest land, they pointed out. When the JSW Group proposed the establishment of a steel plant on the same place, the same patch of land was decided to be handed over to the company.
- The Union Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change had approved the transfer of the final forest clearance for 1,083.69 Ha (2,677.85 acres) of forest area out of 1,253.225 Ha (3,096.78 acres) in favour of the JSW Group.
- A Division Bench of the Orissa HC, directed for the purpose of alienation of lands pending with the office of the Tahsildar, Erasama, that there must first be compliance with requirements of Forest Right Act.
- Till compliance of the requirements, including recognition of traditional forest dwellers, is complete as filed in the lease cases, they will remain stayed, said Orissa HC
5. US and Japan to sign pact on critical mineral supply chain for EVs requirement
Subject: International relations
- Japan and the United States have reached an agreement on trade in critical minerals for electric vehicle batteries, part of an effort to diversify supply chains and reduce reliance on China for strategically important resources.
More about the news:
- The US and Japan will boost cooperation on critical mineral supply chains as inorder to counter China’s dominance in the electric vehicle battery industry.
- Following the pact, electric vehicles that use materials that have been collected or processed in Japan will be eligible for EV tax breaks under the US Inflation Reduction Act,
- It is a similar to an agreement Washington has been negotiating with the European Union which would extend access to some of the as much as $369 billion in handouts and tax credits available over the next decade under the IRA, in areas including wind, solar and electric vehicles
What is Inflation Reduction Act (IRA):
- The Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 (IRA) is a landmark United States federal law which aims to curb inflation by reducing the deficit, lowering prescription drug prices, and investing into domestic energy production while promoting clean energy.
- It is a reduced version of the Biden administration’s proposed Build Back Better Act.
The legislation stands to be the single largest investment in climate and energy in the U.S. to date.
6. Prices of essential medicines set to see a hike from April 1
- The prices of about 384 essential medicines and over 1,000 formulations are likely to witness an increase of over 11%, due to a sharp rise in the Wholesale Price Index (WPI).
- The yearly increase in the prices of medicines listed in the National List of Essential Medicines (NLEM) is based on the WPI.
- The price surge is expected for various routine and essential drugs such as painkillers, anti-infection drugs, cardiac drugs, and antibiotics.
- The National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA) announced that the annual change in WPI was 12.12% for the calendar year 2022.
- Every year, the NPPA announces a change in the Wholesale Price Index (WPI) in accordance with the Drugs (Price Control) Order, 2013.
- Experts have pointed out that the latest WPI figures are the highest seen since the DPCO 2013 came into force and this is the second consecutive year that the WPI is more than the annual permitted price hike for non-scheduled formulations (10%).
- Experts have also raised concerns as such a drastic increase in the prices would distort the accessibility and affordability of essential medicines.
- However, Health Ministry officials believe that the price increase will ensure that there would be no shortage of medicines in the market, and that manufacturers and consumers mutually benefit.
- It was previously seen that when a 10% increase was allowed, various manufacturers kept the rate under 5% because of market forces and a similar trend is expected.
National List of Essential Medicines
- The National List of Essential Medicines (NLEM) is a list released by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.
- The medicines listed in the NLEM are sold below a price ceiling fixed by the National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA).
- NPPA caps medicine prices and changes only based on wholesale price index-based inflation.
- In India, it was framed on the lines of the Essential Medicines List (EML) released by the WHO.
- The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare prepared and released the first National List of Essential Medicines of India in 1996 consisting of 279 medicines. This list was subsequently revised in 2003, 2011, 2015 and 2022.
- Guide safe and effective treatment of priority disease conditions of a population.
- Promote the rational use of medicines.
- Optimize the available health resources of a country. It can also be a guiding document for:
- State governments to prepare their list of essential medicines
- Procurement and supply of medicines in the public sector.
Criteria for a Medicine to be Included in NLEM
- Several factors are looked at before including a drug in the NLEM. These are:
- Essentiality: A medicine may be essential considering the population at large and should fit into the definition mentioned earlier.
- Changing disease burden: With time, the disease burden keeps changing in the country. At one point, TB might be more important to tackle. At the next moment, another disease like Covid-19 may become more important. So, the prevalent disease is considered while preparing the list.
- Efficacy and Safety: The medicine must have “unequivocal” evidence of efficacy and wider acceptance based on its safety to be included in the list.
- Cost-Effectiveness: The total price of the treatment must be considered while including the drug in NLEM. Only unit price may not be the best benchmark for this.
- Fixed Dose Combinations (FDCs): The single-dose medicines are considered for inclusion in NLEM. FDCs are only included if they have a proven advantage concerning the therapeutic effect.
- Turnover: High sales turnover alone is not considered a good benchmark for inclusion in the NLEM. Other factors are also required to be essentially considered for it.
When is a Medicine Deleted from NLEM?
- A drug is deleted from the list if it gets banned in India. Also, it is removed if reports of concerns about drug safety emerge.
- If medicine with better efficacy or favourable safety profile and better cost-effectiveness is now available, then it is removed from NLEM.
7. Students with Type 1 diabetes be given proper care
Subject : Science and technology
- The National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) has written to the Education Boards of all States and UTs, saying that it is the duty of schools to ensure that children with Type 1 diabetes are provided with proper care and required facilities.
Type 1 diabetes
- Type 1 diabetes is a condition in which the immune system destroys insulin-making cells in the pancreas called the “beta cells”.
- Thus the disease is caused by an autoimmune reaction.
- Since the pancreas doesn’t produce insulin or produces very little insulin, the blood sugar can’t get into cells and builds up in the bloodstream.
- Insulin helps blood sugar enter the cells in the body for use as energy.
- Type 1 diabetes was earlier known as “insulin-dependent or juvenile diabetes”.
- Type 1 diabetes is less common than type 2 diabetes which is common among adults.
- Type 1 diabetes cannot be prevented but can be treated successfully by managing sugar levels via managing insulin levels.
- Hypoglycemia and Diabetic Ketoacidosis are two common complications associated with diabetes.
- Hypoglycemia refers to low blood sugar levels.
- Diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) is a serious complication of diabetes, which develops when the body lacks the required amount of insulin to let blood sugar into cells.
- Since the body does not get enough glucose for fuel, it breaks down fat cells instead. This creates chemicals called ketones.
For notes on NCPCR , refer – https://optimizeias.com/ncpcr/
8. More than 500 apps blocked on the advice of cyber-crime centre
Subject :Science and Technology
- Union Home Minister Amit Shah said that more than 500 Internet based applications have been blocked on the recommendation of the Indian Cyber Crime Coordination Centre (I4C).
- Union Home Minister recently reviewed cyber security infrastructure and functioning of the Indian Cyber Crime Coordination Centre (I4C).
- He appealed to spread awareness to curb the menace of cybercrime.
- He said that I4C is organizing “Cyber JagaruktaDiwas” on the first Wednesday of every month.
- The I4C is reaching out to all the states in the country to play an active and pivotal role in this initiative and help promote cyber hygiene.
- More than 20 lakh cyber-crime complaints have been registered on the cybercrime portal so far.
- He also said that 99.99 per cent of police stations (16,597) in the country have been connected with CCTNS (Crime and Criminal Tracking Network & Systems).
- CCTNS, launched in 2009, aims to integrate all the data and records of crime into a single database.
- Police stations are now registering 100 per cent of First Information Reports directly on CCTNS.
- The database so far contains 28.98 crore police records.
- Under the Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) platform ‘CyTrain’, the Minister further stated more than 31,000 police officers have been registered and more than 8,000 certificates have been issued.
- CyTrain portal has been developed by National Cybercrime Training Centre of I4C, MHA.
- It aims to build capacities at all levels such as investigators, public prosecutors, police officers etc., by providing online courses and certificates.
Indian Cyber Crime Coordination Centre (I4C):
- Indian Cyber Crime Coordination Centre is an initiative of the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) to combat cyber-crime in the country, in a coordinated and effective manner.
- It works under the Cyber and Information Security (CIS) division of the MHA.
- It acts as a nodal point in the fight against cybercrime.
- The centre is located in New Delhi.
Functions of I4C:
- To prevent misuse of cyber space for furthering the cause of extremist and terrorist groups
- Suggest amendments, if required, in cyber laws to keep pace with fast changing technologies and International cooperation
- To coordinate all activities related to implementation of Mutual Legal Assistance Treaties (MLAT) with other countries related to cybercrimes in consultation with the concerned nodal authority in MHA.
National Database on Sexual Offenders (NDSO)
- The Ministry of Home Affairs launched the National Database on Sexual Offenders (NDSO) in 2018.
- NDSO is a central database of sexual offenders in the country which is being maintained by the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB).
- Currently, the database has a registry of over 13 lakh individuals involved in sexual offences, like rape, molestation, stalking, child abuse, etc.
- The database allows investigation officers to track habitual sex offenders, besides initiating preventive measures against sexual offences.
9. Congress plans motion against Speaker for ‘bias’
Subject : Polity
- A section of Congress MPs, at a meeting held on Monday, mulled over moving a resolution against the Speaker for being “unfair” to the Opposition, sources said.
- However, the sources said that a decision on the no confidence motion against the Speaker would be taken only after consulting all Opposition parties and if they are in agreement.
Removal of Speaker:
- Usually, the Speaker remains in office during the life of the Lok Sabha. However, under following conditions, the speaker, may have to vacate the office earlier:
- If he ceases to be a member of the Lok Sabha.
- If he resigns by writing to the Deputy Speaker
- If he is removed by a resolution passed by Lok Sabha.
- Such a resolution can be moved only after giving 14 days’ advance notice.
- It also needs the signature of at least 50 MPs.
- When a resolution for the removal of the Speaker is under consideration of the House, he/she may be present at the sitting but not preside.
Removal from office
- Speaker can be removed by the Lok Sabha by a resolution passed by an effective majority (>50% of total strength excluding vacancies) of the house as per Articles 94 (vacation) and 96 (resolution for removal).
- Speaker is also removed on getting disqualified for being Lok Sabha member under sections 7 and 8 of Representation of the People Act, 1951.
- This would arise out of speaker’s wrong certification of a bill as money bill inconsistent with the definition given in Articles 110 of the constitution.
- When courts uphold the unconstitutional act of the speaker for wrong certification of a bill as money bill, it amounts to disrespecting the constitution deserving conviction under Prevention of Insults to National Honour Act, 1971.
- It is applicable for disqualification of speaker’s Lok Sabha membership under section 8K of Representation of the People Act, 1951.
- However the omissions in the procedure committed by the speaker in the Lok Sabha can not be challenged in court of law per Article 122.
10. India to estimate TB burden using own system
Subject : Science and technology
- India has become the first country in the world to estimate the Tuberculosis (TB) burden in-country and launch its own mathematical system to estimate the disease burden.
About the Model:
- This model was constructed based on;
- The natural history of diseases,
- individual status of infection, disease,
- health care seeking, missed or correct diagnosis,
- Treatment coverage and outcomes including cure and death.
- The TB model was drawn up by using data from several sources, including the Nikshay portal of private sector drug sales, the sub-national certification system where the TB-free status of various States is estimated and ranked.
Status of TB in India:
- India’s TB incidence rate stands at 196 per 1,00,000 population, instead of the 210 estimated by the WHO, and the estimated deaths from the communicable disease stand at 3.20 lakh, instead of the 4.94 lakh that was projected in 2021.
- The Health Ministry noted that as per this data, the global TB reduction numbers stand at 11% while the reduction in TB cases in India is 18%.
National TB prevalence survey 2019-21:
- The National TB Prevalence survey in India was conducted from 2019 to 2021 to know the actual disease burden of TB at a national level.
- The survey estimated the point prevalence of microbiologically confirmed pulmonary TB (PTB) among person’s ≥15 years in age in India at the national level and for 20 individual states / state groups.
- The survey also explored the health seeking behaviour and estimated the prevalence of TB infection.
- Key Findings:
- Delhi has the highest burden of all forms of TB and pulmonary TB — at 747 per 100,000 and 534 per 100,000 respectively.
- Gujarat has the lowest burden of all forms of TB at 137 per 100,000 while Kerala is the lowest in pulmonary TB at 151 per 100,000.
- TB is caused by a bacterium called Mycobacterium tuberculosis, belonging to the Mycobacteriaceae family
- In humans, TB most commonly affects the lungs (pulmonary TB), but it can also affect other organs (extra-pulmonary TB)
- TB is a treatable and curable disease.
- Transmission: TB is spread from person to person through the air. When people with lung TB cough, sneeze or spit, they propel the TB germs into the air.
Treatments available for TB:
- For previously treated cases of TB, the intensive phase is of 12 weeks, where injection of streptomycin is given for eight weeks along with four drugs FDCs (INH, Rifampicin, Pyrazinamide, and Ethambutol).
- Second-line drugs are the TB drugs that are used for the treatment of drug-resistant TB. The second line drugs include levofloxacin, moxifloxacin, bedaquiline, delamanid and linezolid.
- Vaccines: Currently, the following two vaccines have been developed and identified for TB, and are under Phase-3 clinical trial:
- VPM (Vaccine Projekt Management) 1002
- MIP (Mycobacterium Indicus Pranii).
For further notes on TB, refer – https://optimizeias.com/the-road-to-ending-tuberculosis/
11. India to host meeting of security advisers from SCO countries
Subject : International Relations
- India will be hosting a meeting of the National Security Advisers (NSAs) of member countries of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO).
- The meeting will be chaired by NSA Ajit Kumar Doval and will be attended by high-level delegates from the Central Asian Republics.
- The meeting is a part of the preparatory meetings for the SCO summit that will be held in India in 2023.
- The agenda of the meeting is expected to include developments in Afghanistan and advancing consultations on Russia’s plans for the Eurasian economic bloc.
- Iran is set to become a permanent member of the SCO in 2023.
Shanghai Cooperation Organization
- The SCO is a permanent intergovernmental international organization. It is a Eurasian political, economic, and security alliance and has been the primary security pillar of the region.
- It was established in 2001. It was preceded by the Shanghai Five mechanism.
- The Heads of State Council (HSC) is the supreme decision-making body in the SCO. It meets once a year and adopts decisions and guidelines on all important matters of the organization.
- The organization has two permanent bodies:
- the SCO Secretariat based in Beijing.
- the Executive Committee of the Regional Anti-Terrorist Structure (RATS) based in Tashkent.
- Eight member states: India, Kazakhstan, China, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, Russia, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan.
- Four observer states: Afghanistan, Belarus, Iran and Mongolia.
- Six “Dialogue Partners” :Armenia, Azerbaijan, Cambodia, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Turkey.
12. India under fire at WTO for avoiding questions on MSP
Subject: International Relations
Section: International Organization
- India faced pressure at the World Trade Organisation (WTO) for avoiding questions raised on India’s minimum support price (MSP) programmes for food grains, especially rice, as subsidies have crossed the prescribed limits.
- Members like the U.S., Australia, Canada, the EU, and Thailand have asked India to reply to questions asked on its public stockholding (PSH) programmes at the WTO agriculture committee meeting.
- India’s MSP policies are under scrutiny as India became the first country to invoke the Bali “peace clause” to justify the breach of the 10% ceiling (of the total value of rice production) for rice support in 2018-2019 and 2019-2020.
- The Bali “peace clause” permits developing countries to exceed the 10% ceiling without invoking legal action by members.
- However, it is subjected to stringent terms and conditions which include not distorting global trade and not affecting the food security of other members.
- India has, however, insisted that it has provided the best possible information and clarifications at the consultations held.
- The peace clause protects India’s food procurement programmes against action from WTO members in case the subsidy ceilings – 10 per cent of the value of food production in the case of India and other developing countries – are breached.
- India’s Explanation
- India’s breach of commitment for rice arises from support provided in pursuance of public stockholding programmes for food securitypurposeswhich were in existence as on the date of the Bali Ministerial Decision on Public Stockholding for Food Security Purposes.
- India said that under its public stockholding programmes for food security purposes, rice, wheat, coarse cereals and pulses, among others, are acquired and released in order to meet the domestic food security needs of the country’s poor and vulnerable population, and “not to impede commercial trade or food security of others. For these reasons only the breach of the de minimis limits for rice is covered by the peace clause.
- Government does not undertake exports on a commercial basis from public stockholdings. Additionally, open market sales of food grains from public stockholding are made provided the buyer gives an undertaking of not exporting from such purchase.
- The peace clause can’t be challenged and because of this flexibility, distribution of food grains to the poor can be done for free which is crucial during the pandemic.
- India ensures food security through the minimum support price (MSP) programme, and Public Distribution System and National Food Security Act, 2013.
For further notes on WTO Agreement for agriculture, refer – https://optimizeias.com/wto-agreement-on-agriculture-and-the-peace-clause/
13. Air India and Nepal Airlines aircraft almost collide
Subject : Science and technology
- A major tragedy was averted on Friday when an Air India and a Nepal Airlines aircraft came close to collision mid-air but the warning systems alerted the pilots whose timely action prevented the disaster, authorities said.
- The Air India aircraft was descending from 19,000 ft while the Nepal Airlines aircraft was flying at an altitude of 15,000 ft at the same location.
- However, the radar systems felt the presence of another aircraft in the proximity, and the Nepal Airlines flight descended to 7,000 ft — avoiding a major tragedy.
Role of Air Traffic Control
- Air traffic control (ATC) is a service provided by ground-based air traffic controllers (also called control tower operators (CTO))who direct aircraft on the ground and through a given section of controlled airspace, and can provide advisory services to aircraft in non-controlled airspace.
- The primary purpose of ATC worldwide is to prevent collisions, organize and expedite the flow of air traffic, and provide information and other support for pilots.
- Air traffic controllers monitor the location of aircraft in their assigned airspace by radar and communicate with the pilots by radio.
- To prevent collisions, ATC enforces traffic separation rules, which ensure each aircraft maintains a minimum amount of empty space around it at all times.
- In air traffic control, separation is the name for the concept of keeping an aircraft outside a minimum distance from another aircraft to reduce the risk of those aircraft colliding, as well as prevent accidents due to secondary factors, such as wake turbulence.
- Separation can also apply to terrain, obstacles, and controlled airspace, wherein an aircraft must stay at a minimum distance from a block of airspace; as an example, all aircraft must be approved by the controller who “owns” the airspace before the aircraft is approved to enter that sector.
Air Traffic Management System
- Air traffic management and control primarily involves the control of traffic in and around airports, airport terminals and airspace.
- Air traffic controllers that work from Air Traffic Control (ATC) towers are responsible for ensuring a safe distance between all aircraft, both in the air and on the ground, to prevent accidents.
- Air traffic controllers prevent collisions and maintain an orderly flow of air traffic. The commonly used technologies and systems in air traffic management and control include:
- Surface movement and surveillance radars
- Holographic radar
- Navigation and surveillance systems
- Voice communication control systems
- Ultra-high frequency (UHF) and very high frequency (VHF) communication systems
- Flight data information display equipment
- Radio modems and transceivers
- Collision avoidance systems
- Noise monitoring systems
- Meteorological sensors and displays
- Airfield lighting control and monitoring
- Training management software