IASToppers' CAA 1st August 2016
Current Affairs Analysis

1st August 2016 Current Affairs Analysis

Blood supply; Blue Light Radiation; Immunotherapy; KKNPP; NDRF; Tourism Awards for 2014-15
By IT's Current Affairs Analysis Team
August 01, 2016

Contents

Polity & Governance

  • Blood supply improves, but India still faces a shortfall of 10 per cent

Environment & Ecology

  • Kudankulam plant safest in the world, says Russian official
  • NDRF rescues 10,000 people

Art & Culture

  • Buddhist remains unearthed in A.P.

Science & Technology

  • Beware of blue light radiation while chasing Pokémon
  • Move over chemo, now harness the immune system to fight cancer

Also in News

  • Kerala Tourism bags six National Tourism awards

 

Polity & Governance

Blood supply improves, but India still faces a shortfall of 10 per cent

According to data released by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, India faced a 10% shortage in its estimated blood requirement in 2015-16, an improvement from the 17% shortfall reported in 2013-14.

  • The estimated requirement is around 1.2 crore units per annum.

Key facts:

Blood supply improves

  • Data show that 16 States (including Union Territories) faced a shortage while 18 States had sufficient or excess of blood units.
  • While Delhi had a surplus of 233% in available blood units, Bihar faced an 85% shortage.
  • Sikkim, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Uttaranchal and West Bengal moved from a deficit in 2013-14 to a surplus in 2015-16.
  • Among the large States, Maharashtra (46 per cent), Punjab (39 per cent) and Kerala (35 per cent) had the highest proportion of excess blood units.
  • Four other States — Chhattisgarh, Arunachal Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and Meghalaya — had a shortage of greater than 50 per cent.
  • Jammu and Kashmir reduced its blood deficit by 53 percentage points, from 85 %shortage in 2013-14 to 32 %in 2015-16.
  • There was no shortage of blood banks in India. As of February 2015, there were 2,708 — 1024 public and 1684 private — blood banks in the country.
  • However, 81 districts spread across 17 States did not have a blood bank. A large number of these districts are new and recently created.
[Ref: The Hindu]

 

Environment & Ecology

Kudankulam plant safest in the world, says Russian official

Reports are emerging that the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant (KKNPP) is ‘the safest in the world’.

In what ways the Kudankulam plant is ‘the safest in the world’? 

  • The Kudankulam plant is the first in the world to have implemented all the requisite post-Fukushima safety measures and to have operated them successfully. That means it would have withstood a Fukushima-like incident.
  • The KKNPP can withstand any anticipated operational occurrences, it can even withstand a fall of aircraft.
  • The reactor is protected from the impact of any earthquake, tsunami, tornado and hurricane.

KKNPP

Which safety measures are taken?

  • There are a number of advanced active and passive safety systems which ensure unprecedented design-level nuclear and ecological safety of the plant.
  • Double localising and protective containment, passive heat removal system from reactor plant automatically, core catcher, and closed industrial water intake are some of the safety features incorporated.
  • Given that a large amount of seawater is drawn in to cool the reactors, measures have been taken to preserve the biological diversity of the Mannar Bay adjacent to Kudankulam.
  • Seawater is supplied from the so-called “bucket” constructed in the sea into the special facilities and systems which ensure that fish and plankton return to sea.

Background:

  • The title of ‘safest nuclear power plant in the world’ may have seemed a long away back in February this year when the 1,000-MW plant stopped generation following a steam leak in the plant’s secondary side.

India and Russian Nuclear Cooperation:

As part of India-Russia nuclear cooperation, the Rosatom state nuclear corporation is scheduled to construct six units of VVER-1000 light-water reactors at Kudankulam.

Rosatom state nuclear corporation

  • In December 2014, both sides announced a decision for the construction of at least 12 more units in India.
  • On India’s request, additional safety measures are being enforced in Units 3 and 4 to withstand even higher seismic, climatic and technical impact
  • On Units 5 and 6, in November 2015, Russia submitted the technical-commercial offer and their design had been agreed upon.
  • In February, a road map for construction of Units 5 and 6 prior to the General Framework Agreement (GFA) has been signed. The GFA is expected to be signed in autumn this year
  • Russia is awaiting India’s decision on another site for setting up additional reactors.
[Ref: The Hindu, Frontline]

 

NDRF rescues 10,000 people

Over 10,000 people have been rescued from the flood-hit parts of the country, including Assam and Bihar with the help of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF).

  • In addition to the rescue work, NDRF teams established medical camps in Assam and Bihar and provided medical care to 1,233 persons.

About the NDRF:

National Disaster Response Force

  • The Disaster Management (DM) Act has made the statutory provisions for constitution of National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) for the purpose of specialized response to natural and man-made disasters.

Role and mandate of NDRF:

  • Specialized response during disasters
  • Proactive deployment during impending disaster situations
  • Acquire and continually upgrade its own training and skills
  • Liaison, Reconnaissance, Rehearsals and Mock Drills
  • Impart basic and operational level training to State Response Forces (Police, Civil Defence and Home Guards)
  • Community Capacity Building Programme
  • Public Awareness Campaign

What are the features which make NDRF a Unique Force?

  • The only dedicated disaster response force of the world.
  • The only agency with comprehensive response capabilities having multi-disciplinary and multi-skilled, high-tech, stand alone nature.
  • Experienced paramilitary personnel specially trained and equipped for disaster response.
  • Capabilities for undertaking disaster response, prevention, mitigation and capacity building.

Locations of NDRF BNs:

download

  • These NDRF battalions are located at ten different locations in the country based on the vulnerability profile of country and to cut down the response time for their deployment at disaster site.
[Ref: Hindu, ndrfandcd.gov]

 

Art & Culture

Buddhist remains unearthed in A.P.

During a study conducted as part of the Preserve Heritage for Posterity campaign, Buddhist remains on a mound called ‘Ernamma Pallu Dibba’ in Krishna district, Andhra Pradesh were unearthed.

IASToppers buddist

  • The remains included limestone pillars bearing half lotus medallions and feet of a Buddha statue.

Historical underpinning:

  • The remains, basing on the style of art and architecture are datable to the 3rd Century AD — i.e., Ikshwaku times.
  • In an inscription belonging to the third century, it was mentioned that Upasika Bodhisiri, wife of a mariner, built a stone pillar pavilion at Ghantasala for the benefit of pilgrims visiting the Maha Stupa. The pillars and the fragment of Buddha statue might be of that pavilion.
[Ref: The Hindu]

 

Science & Technology

Beware of blue light radiation while chasing Pokémon

The popular app, Pokémon Go, has brought with it increased exposure to blue light radiation and concern among doctors about the long-term adverse eye-health effects, especially among children.

What is Blue light radiation?

  • Blue light radiation, also referred to as computer vision syndrome (CVS), is the condition results from uninterrupted focus on a computer or digital display for elongated periods of time.

Health impacts of Blue light radiation:

Blue light radiation

  • Blue light radiation is believed to affect the secretion of melatonin hormone, linked to influencing when people sleep and how well they sleep.
  • Long hours in front of a screen have been known to cause myopia or nearsightedness.
[Ref: The Hindu]

 

Move over chemo, now harness the immune system to fight cancer

Some of the most promising advances in cancer research in recent years involve treatments known as immunotherapy.

  • Rather than attacking the cancer directly, as chemotherapy does, immunotherapy tries to rally the patient’s own immune system to fight the disease.
  • A widely used type of immunotherapy involves drugs that free immune cells to fight cancer by blocking a mechanism — called a checkpoint — that cancer uses to shut down the immune system.

What is immunotherapy?

Immunotherapy is a type of cancer treatment that helps your immune system fight cancer.

  • The immune system helps your body fight infections and other diseases.
  • It is made up of white blood cells and organs and tissues of the lymph system.
  • Immunotherapy is a type of biological therapy, which is a type of treatment that uses substances made from living organisms to treat cancer.

Immunotherapy is not yet as widely used as surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation therapy.

How immunotherapy works against cancer?

One reason that cancer cells thrive is because they are able to hide from your immune system. Certain immunotherapies can mark cancer cells so it is easier for the immune system to find and destroy them. Other immunotherapies boost your immune system to work better against cancer.

immunotherapy

Immunotherapy vs chemotherapy:

Immunotherapy vs chemotherapy

[Ref: The Hindu]

 

Also in News

Kerala Tourism bags six National Tourism awards

Kerala Tourism bagged six National Tourism awards for 2014-15 in the marketing category for states at the National Tourism Awards for 2014-15.

National Tourism Awards for 2014-15

  • It received two more awards, including the one for its Responsible Tourism (RT) initiative in Wayanad. The Wayanad initiative, which has transformed the hilly district’s economy through intensive participation of the local people, was selected for the award in the ‘Responsible Tourism’ category.
  • Kerala Tourism received three out of the six awards for states in the Tourism Promotion and Publishing category, including the one for ‘Most Innovative use of Information Technology’ – social media/mobile app.
  • Sargaalaya Arts and Crafts Village at Iringal, a small but thriving village in Kozhikode, fetched the award for Kerala Tourism in the Rural Tourism project category.
  • Kerala and the Spice Routes, a coffee-table book designed by Stark, won the award in the category of Excellence in Publishing in English language.
  • The third award for Kerala Tourism in ‘Tourism Promotion and Publishing’ category came for its most innovative use of information technology for the website.

Other awardees:

  • Madhya Pradesh won the first prize in the category of Best State/Union Territory for Comprehensive Development of Tourism.
  • Warangal in Telangana won the award for Best Heritage City.
  • The monuments of Amarkantak in Madhya Pradesh were chosen for the award for the Best Maintained and Disabled Friendly Monument.
  • Gujarat was chosen for the award for the Best Film Promotion Friendly State.

Note: The list is exhaustive.

[Ref: The Hindu]

 

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