Daily Prelims Notes 4 April 2021
- April 4, 2021
- Posted by: admin1
- Category: DPN
Daily Prelims Notes
4 April 2021
Table Of Contents
- IRANIAN PLATEAU
- CHENAB ARCH BRIDGE
- GLASHOW RESONANCE
- NATIONAL POLICY ON RARE DISEASES
- H1 B VISA RULE
- DECISION REVIEW SYSTEM
- DIGITAL RMB
- ROBOT SOPHIA
Subject : Geography
Context : A hotter Iran means increased monsoon flow on Indian subcontinent, study finds.
- The Iranian Plateau or the Persian Plateau is a geological feature in Central Asia, South Asia, and Western Asia.
- It is the part of the Eurasian Plate wedged between the Arabian and Indian plates, situated between the Zagros Mountains to the west, the Caspian Sea and the Kopet Dag to the north, the Armenian Highlands and the Caucasus Mountains in the northwest, the Strait of Hormuz and the Persian Gulf to the south and the Indo-Gangetic Plain to the east in Pakistan.
- From the Caspian in the northwest to Balochistan in the south-east, the Iranian Plateau extends for close to 2,000 km.
- It encompasses the greater part of Iran, all of Afghanistan, and Pakistan west of the Indus River containing some 3,700,000 square kilometres (1,400,000 sq mi).
- In spite of being called a “plateau”, it is far from flat but contains several mountain ranges, the highest peak being Damavand in the Alborz at 5610 m, and the Dasht-e Lut east of Kerman in Central Iran falling below 300 m.
Subject : Current Events
Context : Chenab arch to bridge distance between Kashmir, Kanyakumari.
- The Chenab Bridge is a railway bridge currently under construction in the Bakkal and Kauri in the Reasi district of Jammu and Kashmir. The project is being carried out under the auspices of the Northern Railways
- It was announced on March 17, 2021 that the bottom ends of the arch were connected and that the bridge is expected to be open by December 2021
- Upon completion it will span the entire length of the Chenab River at a height of 359 m (1,178 ft) above the river, making it the world’s highest rail bridge.
- It rises in the upper Himalayas in the Lahaul and Spiti district of Himachal Pradesh state.
- The river is formed by the confluence of two rivers, Chandra and Bhaga, at Tandi, 8 km southwest of Keylong, in the Lahaul and Spiti district.
- The Bhagariver originates from Surya taal lake, which is situated a few kilometers west of the Bara-lacha la pass in Himachal Pradesh.
- The Chandra river originates from glaciers east of the same pass (near Chandra Taal).
- It flows through the Jammu region of Jammu and Kashmir into the plains of Punjab, Pakistan, before flowing into the Indus River.
Subject : Polity
Context : Questioning the motives of Justice Ambadas Joshi, Congress on Saturday urged the former Bombay high court judge to study the Goa Lokayukta Act to see if he can do justice to the post before accepting the responsibility.
- The Lokayukta is an anti-corruption authority constituted at the state level.
- It investigates allegations of corruption and mal-administration against public servants and is tasked with speedy redressal of public grievances.
- The origin of the Lokayukta can be traced to the Ombudsmen in Scandinavian countries.
- The Administrative Reforms Commission, (1966-70), had recommended the creation of the Lokpal at the Centre and Lokayukta in the states.
- The Lokayukta is created as a statutory authority under Lokpal and Lokayukta Act, 2013to enable it to discharge its functions independently and impartially.
- The lokayukta and upalokayukta are appointed by the governor of the state. While appointing, the governor in most of the states consults (a) the chief justice of the state high court, and (b) the leader of Opposition in the state legislative assembly.
- Judicial qualifications are prescribed for the lokayukta in the States of Uttar Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Orissa, Karnataka and Assam. But no specific qualifications are prescribed in the states of Bihar, Maharashtra and Rajasthan.
- In most of the states, the term of office fixed for lokayukta is of 5 years duration or 65 years of age, whichever is earlier. He is not eligible for reappointment for a second term.
- The recommendations made by the lokayukta are only advisory and not binding on the state government.
Subject : Science & tech
Context: The neutrino observatory in Antarctica sees evidence of Glashow resonance.
- In 1959, the physicist Sheldon Lee Glashow predicted that the collision between electron-antineutrino (the antiparticle version of the electron-neutrino) and an electron at rest via the weak (nuclear) force can, at a particular incident antineutrino energy, give rise to the formation of the (then) hypothetical particle called W-boson through a resonance process.
- The W-boson, being extremely short-lived, would quickly decay into other particles characteristic of the process, which should be observable.
- Resonance means, for instance, in mechanical systems and musical instruments. It results in the enhancement of an effect at an instant when a certain variable of the mechanical system or the musical instrument, say its frequency, gets tuned to a particular value.
- In particle physics, it refers to a sudden enhancement in the probability of occurrence of some particle interaction at a particular total energy of the interacting particles.
- In the scattering between electron-antineutrino and electron that Glashow considered, the production of W-boson shows up as a peak in the cross section (a measure of probability) of that process at a particular energy.
Subject : Governance
Context : Union Health Minister approved the “National Policy for Rare Diseases 2021” on 30th March 2021.
- The Rare Diseases Policy aims to lower the high cost of treatment for rare diseases with increased focus on indigenous research with the help of a National Consortium to be set up with Department of Health Research, Ministry of Health & Family Welfare as convenor.
- Increased focus of research and development and local production of medicines will lower the cost of treatment for rare diseases.
- The policy also envisages creation of a national hospital based registry of rare diseases so that adequate data is available for definition of rare diseases and for research and development related to rare diseases within the country.
- The Policy also focuses on early screening and prevention through primary and secondary health care infrastructure such as Health and Wellness Centres and District Early Intervention Centres (DEICs) and through counselling for the high-risk parents.
- Screening will also be supported by NidanKendras set up by Department of Biotechnology.
- Policy also aims to strengthen tertiary health care facilities for prevention and treatment of rare diseases through designating 8 health facilities as Centre of Excellence and these CoEs will also be provided one-time financial support of up to Rs 5 crores for upgradation of diagnostics facilities.
- A provision for financial support up to Rs. 20 lakhs under the Umbrella Scheme of RastriyaArogyaNidhi is proposed for treatment, of those rare diseases that require a one-time treatment (diseases listed under Group 1 in the rare disease policy).
Subject : International Relations
Context : USA President Joe Biden has allowed a Trump-era H-1B visa rule to expire
- Last June, the administration of former President Donald Trump, a Republican, halted the issuance of non-immigrant work visas of several types, including the skilled worker visa, or H-1B.
- At the time, the White House had stated that the aim of the policy was to stop foreign workers from cornering American jobs during the economic distress and consequent shortage of economic opportunities brought on by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
- While the original order was valid until December 31, 2020, it was extended by the Trump administration to be valid until March 31, 2021.
- Now, the 46th and current U.S. President, Democrat Joe Biden, has allowed the ban on H-1B visa issuance to expire, potentially bringing relief to a large number of Indian nationals, especially IT workers who are prospective applicants for the visa.
- Until now, the U.S. issued 85,000 H-1B visas annually, of which 20,000 went to graduate students and 65,000 to private sector applicants, and Indian nationals would garner approximately 70% of these.
H1 B VISA
- The H-1B category is an expedient and lawful method to bring foreign-born professionals temporarily to the United States, and therefore one of the most widely sought after visa classifications for employment in the United States.
- The H-1B is a non-immigrant visa in the United States under the Immigration and Nationality Act, section 101(a)(15)(H).
- It allows U.S. employers to temporarily employ foreign workers in specialty occupations.
- If a foreign worker in H-1B status quits or is dismissed from the sponsoring employer, the worker must either apply for and be granted a change of status to another non-immigrant status, find another employer (subject to application for adjustment of status and/or change of visa), or leave the U.S.
- An individual may work in H-1B status for a maximum of six years.
Subject : Science & tech / sports
Context : The International Cricket Council’s (ICC) cricket committee has made changes to the way lbws will be decided under the Decision Review System (DRS).
- The “wicket zone”, the area of the stumps a ball must hit for an on-field not-out decision to be overturned, which previously ended below the bails, will now extend all the way up to the top.
- The committee also decided to retain the umpire’s call, an element that allows the on-field decision to stand when there is no conclusive evidence to overturn it.
- A player can also ask the umpire whether an attempt was made to play the ball before deciding to review an lbw call.
What necessitated the review?
- Under DRS, 50% of the ball should predictively hit the “wicket zone” for an on-field not-out decision to be reversed.
- Earlier, if the ball-tracking simulation showed the ball to be clipping the bails, the on-field verdict, even if it was not out, stood because the “wicket zone” ended below the bails.
- This left both players and supporters exasperated because two balls, both predictively shown to be hitting the stumps, can both be out and not out depending on the on-field umpire’s call.
- The 50% test is also applied for balls projected to hit the outside of the off-stump or leg-stump.
Subject : Science & tech
Context : China in February 2021 launched the latest round of pilot trials of its new digital currency, with reported plans of a major roll-out by the end of the year and ahead of the Winter Olympics in Beijing in February 2022.
- Officially titled the Digital Currency Electronic Payment (DCEP), the digital RMB (or Renminbi, China’s currency) is, as its name suggests, a digital version of China’s currency.
- It can be downloaded and exchanged via an application authorised by the People’s Bank of China (PBOC), China’s central bank.
- China is among a small group of countries that have begun pilot trials; others include Sweden, South Korea and Thailand.
How is it different from an e-wallet?
- Unlike an e-wallet such as Paytm in India, or Alipay or WeChat Pay, which are the two dominant apps in China, the Digital RMB does not involve a third party. For users, the experience may broadly feel the same.
- But from a “legal perspective”, the digital currency is “very, very different”. This is legal tender guaranteed by the central bank, not a payment guaranteed by a third-party operator. There is no third-party transaction, and hence, no transaction fee.
- Unlike e-wallets, the digital currency does not require Internet connectivity. The payment is made through Near-field Communication (NFC) technology.
- Also, unlike non-bank payment platforms that require users to link bank accounts, this can be opened with a personal identification number.
- While several countries have been experimenting with digital currencies, China’s recent trials in several cities have placed it ahead of the curve.
- The central bank-issued digital RMB will turn the logic of decentralised cryptocurrencies on its head, without the privacy and anonymity they offer, by giving regulators complete control over transactions. There are global motivations as well.
Subject : Science & tech
Context : Researchers from India, the U.K. and Russia have analysed a large collection of 502 genomes sourced from over 16 countries and collected from over a period of 122 years of the bacterium that causes diphtheria – Corynebacteriumdiphtheriae.
- Diphtheria is primarily caused by the bacterium Corynebacteriumdiphtheriae.
- Symptoms: Common cold, fever, chills, swollen gland in neck, sore throat, bluish skin etc.
- The primary infection is in the throat and upper airways. Produces a toxin affecting other organs.
- One type of diphtheria affects the throat and sometimes the tonsils.
- Another type causes ulcers on the skin.
- It is mainly spread by coughs and sneezes, or through close contact with someone infected.
- Target Population: Diphtheria particularly affects children aged 1 to 5 years.
- Occurrence of diphtheria cases in under-five children reflects low coverage of primary diphtheria vaccination.
- Fatality Rate: Diphtheria is fatal in only 5-10% cases.
- Fatality Rate is the proportion of people who die from a specified disease among all individuals diagnosed with the disease over a certain period of time.
- Treatment: Administering diphtheria antitoxin to neutralize the effects of the toxin, as well as antibiotics to kill the bacteria.
- Diphtheria is preventable with use of antibiotics and vaccines.
- Vaccination: The diphtheria vaccine is among the oldest vaccines in India’s Universal Immunisation Programme. As per data from the National Family Health Survey-4, the coverage of diphtheria vaccine is 78.4%.
- In 1978, India launched the Expanded Programme on Immunisation.
- The first three vaccines in the programme were BCG (against TB), DPT (diphtheria, pertussis, tetanus) and cholera.
- In 1985, the programme was converted to the Universal Immunisation Programme (UIP). DPT continues to be a part of UIP, which now includes 12 vaccines.
Subject : Current Events
Context : ‘Artist’ Sophia robot’s digital creations sold for $688,888, aims for a music career
- Sophia is the first robot citizen of the world after Saudi Arabia granted her citizenship in October 2017.
- She is a social humanoid robot, which using artificial intelligence (AI) programming, can imitate human gestures and facial expressions, and is able to converse on predefined topics.
- It was developed by the Hong Kong-based Hanson Robotics and ‘activated’ on February 14, 2016.
- She made her maiden India debut on December 30, 2017 at the Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay (IIT-B) during its cultural festival TechFest.
Subject : Security
Context: Khagaria man awaits release as Ulfa (I) frees Assam colleague.
- The United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA) is a militant outfit operating in Assam. It seeks to establish an independent state of socialist Assam with an armed struggle.
- It was founded in 1979 by PareshBaruah. The organisation established ties with the Nationalist Socialist Council of Nagaland in 1983, with the Burma based Kachin Independent Army in 1987 and began its own operations in 1990.
- Military operations against the ULFA by the Indian Army began in 1990 and continue into the present. The Government of India banned the organisation in 1990 under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act citing it as a terrorist organisation.
- The outfit suffered a major setback in 2003 when Bhutan flushed them out of its territory via its Operation All Clear.
Operation All Clear
- In December 2003, Operation All Clear was launched by the Royal Bhutanese Army, with the `logistical support’ of the Indian security forces.
- The objective was to clear southern Bhutan of camps of the ULFA, the National Democratic Front of Bodoland (NDFB), and the Kamatapur Liberation Organisation (KLO).
- Several senior ULFA, NDFB and the KLO leaders were captured and handed over to the Indian Army.