new-antibiotic-in-dirt-ias
Current Affairs Analysis

17th February 2018 Current Affairs Analysis – IASToppers

A new class of antibiotics called malacidins; Cauvery Water Dispute; Cauvery river; 57th Meeting of the Central Geological Programming Board (CGPB); Geological Survey of India (GSI); Botanical Survey of India (BSI); World Sustainable Development Summit 2018; The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI); What is CCTNS project? What is Antimicrobial resistance or Superbugs? National Action Plan to combat Antimicrobial Resistance; Asia’s first large scale CO2-injected project; etc.
By IT's Current Affairs Analysis Team
February 17, 2018

Contents

Polity & Governance

  • Decades-old Cauvery Water Dispute comes to an end
  • 57th Meeting of the Central Geological Programming Board (CGPB)
  • MoU Signed between Botanical Survey of India and Natural History Museum, UK

Bilateral & International Relations

  • World Sustainable Development Summit 2018

Defence & Security Issues

  • CCTNS project rolled out in Punjab

Science & Technology

  • Scientists find a potentially powerful new antibiotic in dirt

Key Facts for Prelims

  • Asia’s first large scale CO2-injected project

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Polity & Governance

Decades-old Cauvery Water Dispute comes to an end

The Supreme Court verdict on Cauvery water dispute is out, and it has come as a big relief for Karnataka. Karnataka and Tamil Nadu have been at loggerhead for their ‘due share’ of Cauvery river.

Decades-old-Cauvery-Water-Dispute-ias2

What’s the verdict?

  • The apex court directed the Karnataka government to release 177.25 TMC of water to Tamil Nadu, 14.75 TMC lesser than what was allotted by the tribunal in 2007.
  • Karnataka will now get 284.75 TMC and Tamil Nadu will get 404.25 TMC of Cauvery water.
  • The apex court also made it clear that increase in the share of Cauvery water for Karnataka has been done keeping in view the fact that there is an increased demand of drinking water by Bengaluru and also for many industrial activities.

Decades-old-Cauvery-Water-Dispute-ias

About Cauvery Water Dispute:

  • The water sharing of Cauvery River has been a major source of conflict between the states of Tamil Nadu and Karnataka.
  • The origin of this conflict can be traced back to two agreements in 1892 and 1924, which had taken place between the then Madras Presidency and the Kingdom of Mysore.
  • The 802 km long Cauvery River has 44,000 km2 basin area in Tamil Nadu and 32,000 km2 basin area in Karnataka.
  • Based on inflow Karnataka has been demanding its due share of water from the river. It stated that the pre-independence agreements were invalid and majorly favour the Madras Presidency, and demanded a renegotiated settlement based on equitable sharing of the waters.
  • Tamil Nadu, on the other hand, stated that it has already developed almost 3,000,000 acres (12,000 km2) of land and as a result has come to depend very heavily on the existing pattern of usage and any change in the pattern will adversely affect the livelihood of millions of farmers in the state.
  • The Government of India constituted a tribunal in 1990 to look into the matter. After hearing arguments of all the parties involved for the next 16 years, the tribunal delivered its final verdict on February 5, 2007.

Tribunal order:

  • The Tribunal found the total water of the river 740 thousand million cubic feet (TMC) which it divided (majorly) in Karnataka (270) and Tamil Nadu (419 TMC).
  • Rest of the water was divided into two other states and several other basins. It gave Kerala: 30 TMC, Kabini sub-basin: 21 TMC, Bhavani sub-basin: 6 TMC, Pambar sub-basin: 3 TMC, the Union Territory of Pondicherry: 7 TMC.
  • The Tribunal also awarded 10 TMC for environmental protection and 4 TMC for inevitable escapages into the sea.

Background:

  • The CWDT had directed Karnataka to release 192 TMC of Cauvery water in normal monsoon year. Karnataka government wasn’t satisfied with the Tribunal’s order. It moved to the Supreme Court claiming for 312 TMC of water.
  • Karnataka had recently moved a review petition in the apex court against its three orders on the issue. It said grave miscarriage of justice was caused to it following the three apex court orders of September 20, 27 and 30, 2016. In all these orders, Karnataka was directed to release Cauvery water to Tamil Nadu.

About Cauvery river:

Cauvery or Kaveri, by covering a distance of about 765 km, flows through the state of Karnataka and Tamil Nadu and emptying into the Bay of Bengal through two principal mouths in Poompuhar, Tamil Nadu.

  • The Cauvery basin covers about 81155 sq km area. Out of this 43,856 sq km is in Tamil Nadu, 34,273 sq km in Karnataka, 2866 sq km in Kerala and 160 sq km in Puducherry.
  • Talacauvery (located in Kodagu District of Karnataka) is considered the source of the Cauvery.
  • At the source of the Cauvery there is a temple where every year on Tula sankramana thousands of pilgrims gather to pay their respects to the Cauvery.
  • On its journey to the Bay of Bengal, the river is joined by its tributaries, which include Shimsa, Hemavathi, Honnuhole, Arkavathi, Kapila, Lakshmana Theertha, Kabini, Lokapavani, Bhavani, Noyil and Amaravathy.
[Ref: The Hindu, Live Mint]

 

57th Meeting of the Central Geological Programming Board (CGPB)

The 57th Meeting of the Central Geological Programming Board (CGPB) was recently held.

57th-Meeting-of-the-Central-Geological-Programming-Board-(CGPB)-ias

  • Representatives of State Departments, Central Ministries/ organizations, PSUs, academic institutes and private entrepreneurs attended the 57th CGPB meeting.
  • Apart from discussion on achievements of GSI (Geological Survey of India) during the current year, the proposed Annual Programme for ensuing 2018-19 was presented before all Board members.

About Central Geological Programming Board (CGPB):

  • CGPB is the apex body at the national level to overview the programme of geoscientific activities including mineral exploration in the country.
  • It was established through Government of India Resolution in 1966, and subsequently revamped in 2009 with the constitution of 12 theme based committees. CGPB meetings are held twice in a year.

Composition of CGPB:

  • The Secretary (Mines) is the chairman of CGPB.
  • Geological Survey of India is the nodal department (Member Secretary) and the State Geology and Mining departments and Central Government institutions, permanent and special invitees are its participating members.

Functions of CGPB:

  • CGPB coordinates activities on geological mapping, mineral prospecting, exploration and exploitation in the country.

It is responsible for

  • Providing the general strategic direction of geosciences activity;
  • Effecting programmatic coordination among agencies;
  • Enabling better interaction between central agencies and state level organizations;
  • Human resource, and research capability;
  • Identifying new areas and new technologies for geoscientific activities;
  • Advising on geosciences partnerships between GSI, and State and Central – level agencies;
  • Actively promoting use of information technology; and
  • Approving five-year detailed sub-sectoral targets on a rolling plan basis.

About Geological Survey of India (GSI):

Geological Survey of India GSI ias

  • GSI is an organization of Union Ministry of Mines.
  • Founded in 1851, GSI is one of the oldest of such organisations in the world and the second oldest survey in India after Survey of India (founded in 1767), for conducting geological surveys and studies of India.
  • It is the prime provider of basic earth science information to government, industry and general public, as well as the official participant in steel, coal, metals, cement, power industries and international geoscientific forums.
[Ref: PIB]

 

MoU Signed between Botanical Survey of India and Natural History Museum, UK

Botanical Survey of India (BSI) and Natural History Museum (NHM), UK have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for cooperation in the field of genetic/taxonomic studies, research and training, conservation in India, including species and habitat conservation assessments.

MoU-Signed-between-Botanical-Survey-of-India-and-Natural-History-Museum,-UK-iastoppers

  • Under the signed MoU, NHM will help BSI in capacity building in areas of systematic botany and long-term conservation of plant genetic resources in India.

Significance of this MoU:

  • The collection of Indian plants held in UK institutions, together with India’s own tremendous collections, are an invaluable resource for modern Indian botanical science. Lakhs of herbarium specimens of Indian plants are located in the Natural History Museum in London, and a renewed partnership with the Botanical Survey of India is creating digital images of these specimens to make them available to Indian science.

About Botanical Survey of India (BSI):

  • The Botanical Survey of India (BSI) was established in 1890 with the objectives of exploring the plant resources of the country and identifying plant species with economic virtue.

iastoppers-botanical-survey-of-india

In 1954, the Government reorganised the BSI with the objectives of:

  • Undertaking intensive floristic surveys and collecting accurate and detailed information on the occurrence, distribution, ecology and economic utility of plants in the country.
  • Collecting, identifying and distributing materials that may be of use to educational and research institutions.
  • Acting as the custodian of authentic collections in well planned herbaria and documenting plant resources in the form of local, district, state and national flora.
[Ref: PIB, Business Standard]

 

Bilateral & International Relations

World Sustainable Development Summit 2018

The 2018 edition of World Sustainable Development Summit (WSDS 2018) was held New Delhi.

World-Sustainable-Development-Summit-2018-ias

  • The theme of the Summit this year is ‘Partnerships for a Resilient Planet’.

About the World Sustainable Development Summit:

The World Sustainable Development Summit (WSDS), TERI’s flagship event, has been conceptualized as a single platform to accelerate action towards sustainable development and especially climate change.

  • WSDS has replaced TERI’s earlier called Delhi Sustainable Development Summit (DSDS).
  • The first DSDS was organised in 2005. It underscored need for businesses and private sector to take lead in poverty reduction and to ensure rapid and sustained adoption of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
  • The WSDS series seeks to bring together the finest minds and leading thinkers of the world to focus attention on the challenge of sustainable development and has emerged as a landmark event addressing issues pertinent to the future of humanity.

About The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI):

The-Energy-and-Resources-Institute-TERI-ias

  • TERI is a non-profit research institution that conducts research work in the fields of energy, environment and sustainable development.
  • It was established in 1974 as Tata Energy Research Institute and was renamed The Energy and Resources Institute in 2003.
  • It aims to focus on formulating local and national level strategies for shaping global solutions to critical issues.
[Ref: PIB, Indian Express]

 

Defence & Security Issues

CCTNS project rolled out in Punjab

Punjab government has launched the Crime and Criminal Tracking Network and Systems (CCTNS), a project to keep digitised records of FIRs and information on crimes and criminals.

CCTNS Punjab

  • FIRs and General Diaries can now be updated online by police officials on CCTNS ‘Go-Live’. They would be provided Tablets for this purpose.

What is CCTNS project?

  • Crime and Criminal Tracking Network and Systems (CCTNS) is a Mission Mode Project (MMP) under the National e-Governance Plan of Govt. of India.
  • CCTNS is a project initiated in June 2009 which aims at creating a comprehensive and integrated system for enhancing the efficiency and effectiveness of policing at the Police Station level.
  • This will be done through adoption of principles of e-Governance, and creation of a nationwide networked infrastructure for evolution of IT-enabled state-of-the-art tracking system around “investigation of crime and detection of criminals”.

Functions:

  • The Project will interconnect about 15000 Police Stations and additional 5000 offices of supervisory police officers across the country and digitize data related to FIR registration, investigation and charge sheets in all Police Stations.
  • It will not only automate Police functions at Police station and higher levels but will also create facilities and mechanism to provide public services like registration of online complaints, ascertaining the status of case registered at the police station, verification of persons etc.
  • In 2015, an additional objective of establishing a basic platform for an Inter-operable Criminal Justice System (ICJS) was added to the Project.

Need for CCTNS:

  • The police of any state barely “talked” among themselves, or with the police of other states. Each police station was an island, where records were maintained manually.
  • The National Crime Records Bureau and State Crime Records Bureaus were initial steps towards storage, sharing and accessing data, but the process was technologically primitive and cumbersome, Chidambaram felt.
  • A seamless, technology-driven network in which any police station could “talk” to another police station in real time, was needed.

Significance:

  • The Full implementation of the Project with all the new components would lead to a Central citizen portal having linkages with State level citizen portals that will provide a number of citizen friendly services like Police Verification for various purposes including passport verification, reporting a crime including cyber-crime and online tracking of the case progress etc.
  • The project will enable National level crime analytics to be published at increased frequency, which will help the policy makers as well as lawmakers in taking appropriate and timely action, it will also enable Pan-India criminal/accused name search in the regional language for improved inter-state tracking of criminal movement.
  • This would lead to development of a national database of crimes and criminals.
[Ref: The Hindu]

 

Science & Technology

Scientists find a potentially powerful new antibiotic in dirt

Scientists from New York have reported discovery of a new class of antibiotics called malacidins.

new-antibiotic-in-dirt-ias

  • It has been produced by microorganisms living in soil and dirt and is capable of killing off several antibiotic-resistant pathogens.

Significance of this discovery:

  • Malacidins are distinctive class of antibiotics that are commonly encoded in soil microbiomes. They have never been reported in culture-based NP (Natural Products) discovery efforts.
  • Malacidins are active against multidrug-resistant pathogens, sterilise methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) skin infections in animal wound model and did not select for resistance in laboratory conditions.
  • The malacidins was tested on rats with MRSA skin infections. The condition was cured, and even after 20 days of continued contact with malacidins, the rodents did not experience any side effects.

Concern related to Malacidins:

  • Malacidins only target gram-positive bacteria with a very thick cell wall. It is ineffective against gram-negative bacteria which cause cholera, pneumonia, sexually transmitted diseases, and plague. Thus, it does not make it universal cure against all bacteria.

What is Antimicrobial resistance or Superbugs?

  • Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) or superbugs happens when microorganisms such as viruses, bacteria, fungi and parasites change when they are exposed to antimicrobial drugs. These microorganisms are also termed as “superbugs”.
  • As a result, the medicines or drugs become ineffective and infections persist in the body further increasing the risk of spread to others.

infographic-causes-Antimicrobial-resistance-ias

Dangers of AMR:

  • AMR causes a reduction in the effectiveness of medicines, making infections and diseases difficult or impossible to treat.
  • AMR is associated with increased mortality, prolonged illnesses in people and animals, production losses in agriculture, livestock and aquaculture. This threatens global health, livelihoods and food security.
  • AMR also increases the cost of treatments and care.

India’s vulnerabilities to AMR:

  • Bacteria spread easily in India because half of Indians defecate outdoors, and much of the sewage generated by those who do use toilets is untreated. As a result, Indians have among the highest rates of bacterial infections in the world and collectively take more antibiotics, which are sold over the counter here, than any other nationality.
  • A study found that Indian children living in places where people are less likely to use a toilet tend to get diarrhoea and be given antibiotics more often than those in places with more toilet use.
  • All those drugs that create resistance to antibiotics find their way into hospital sewage, which is mostly dumped untreated into rivers, canals and pits in the surrounding community where pregnant women can become infected.
  • Equally worrisome has been the rapid growth of India’s industrialised animal husbandry, where antibiotics are widespread. Most large chicken farms here use feed laced with antibiotics banned for use in animals in the United States.
  • Also, antibiotics are still readily available over the counter, and people still self-medicate. The Indian government has notably failed to institute and implement real regulations to stop chemists from handing out antibiotics like cheap candy.

National Action Plan to combat Antimicrobial Resistance:

  • Union Minister of Health and Family Welfare announced the finalization of India’s comprehensive and multi-sectoral National Action Plan at the ‘Inter-Ministerial Consultation on AMR containment’ held at New Delhi.
  • The Ministers signed a ‘Delhi Declaration’ to contain Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR).
  • The Delhi Declaration calls for the support of all stakeholders including UN, WHO, FAO and other UN agencies, civil society organizations etc., in developing and implementing the national and state action plans on AMR.
  • The National action plan has objectives of enhancing awareness, strengthening surveillance, improving rational use of antibiotics, reducing infections and promoting research.

Objectives:

The National Programme for Containment of AMR is under implementation in 12th Five Year Plan with the following objectives:

  • To establish a laboratory-based surveillance system by strengthening laboratories.
  • To generate quality data on AMR for pathogens of public health importance.
  • To generate awareness among healthcare providers and in the community regarding the rational use of antibiotics.
  • To strengthen infection control guidelines and practices and promote rational use of antibiotics.
[Ref: The Hindu]

 

Key Facts for Prelims

Asia’s first large scale CO2-injected project

carbon-dioxide-(CO2)-injection-technology-ias

  • Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) is planning to introduce carbon dioxide (CO2) injection technology in its Gandhar oil field in Gujarat. It will be first large scale CO2-injected project in Asia.
  • Its purpose is to recover extra 20 million barrels of crude oil under enhanced oil recovery (EOR) programme.
  • EOR programme aims at recovering up to 20% of residual oil from ageing oil fields to improve India’s energy security.

 

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