Polity & Governance
- Plea against EC order on Sikkim CM disqualification
Issues related to Health & Education
- Health Ministry to launch IMI 2.0 to improve immunisation in low coverage pockets
- United Nations WFP launches ‘Feed Our Future’ cinema ad campaign
- What determines the wealth of a nation
Defence & Security Issues
- Integration of Brahmos missiles on Sukhoi jets to be fast-tracked
- Trends project extreme El Niño more often
- Smallest ozone hole in decades: how it happened, why it matters
Science & Technology
- Indian engineers develop software for world’s largest telescope
Key Facts for Prelims
- Col Chewang Rinchen Setu: India’s highest altitude all-weather permanent bridge
- Khadi and Village Industries Commission (KVIC)
- Deepotsav gets state fair status in U.P.
For IASToppers Current Affairs Analysis Archive, Click Here
Polity & Governance
Plea against EC order on Sikkim CM disqualification
The Delhi High Court sought a response from the Centre and the Election Commission (EC) on a petition challenging the poll panel’s decision to reduce the disqualification period of Sikkim Chief Minister Prem Singh Tamang from six years to 13 months.
- The plea contended that Section 11 of the Representation of People (RP) Act was unconstitutional as it provides arbitrary powers to the EC to remove or reduce the disqualification period.
To know more about this issue, refer to IASToppers’ Mains Article: https://www.iastoppers.com/controversy-sikkim-cms-disqualification/[Ref: The Hindu]
Issues related to Health & Education
Health Ministry to launch IMI 2.0 to improve immunisation in low coverage pockets
To ensure that not a single child in the country misses out on vaccination, the government will launch the ‘Intensified Mission Indradhanush 2.0’ on October 31 with a special focus on improving coverage in areas with “low” immunisation.
About Intensified Mission Indradhanush 2.0
- IMI 2.0 will be launched as part of the silver jubilee celebrations of the Pulse Polio Programme.
- It aims to reach each and every child below the age of two years and all pregnant women still uncovered/partially covered in 271 districts of India and 652 blocks of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar.
- IMI 2.0 will include four rounds of vaccination, with each round involving a seven-day immunisation drive to be conducted each month.
- The IMI programme is supported by 12 ministries and departments and is being monitored by the cabinet secretary at the national level.
- Mission Indradhanush was launched by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India in 2014.
- It aims to achieve more than 90 % full immunisation coverage among children by 2020 who are either unvaccinated, or are partially vaccinated against vaccine preventable diseases.
- IMI is supported by 12 other ministries and departments.
- It is monitored at the highest level under a special initiative called ‘Proactive Governance and Timely Implementation (PRAGATI)’.
Diseases treated under Mission Indradhanush
- Diphtheria, whooping cough, tetanus, poliomyelitis, tuberculosis, measles and Hepatitis B, Japanese Encephalitis and Haemophilus influenzae type B, Rubella, Injectable Polio Vaccine Bivalent and Rotavirus.
About Intensified Mission Indradhanush:
- To further intensify the immunization programme, government launched the Intensified Mission Indradhanush (IMI) on October 8, 2017.
- It aims to reach each and every child under two years of age and all those pregnant women who have been left uncovered under the routine immunisation programme.
- It focused on improving immunization coverage to ensure full immunization to more than 90% by December 2018.
- It covered low performing areas in the selected districts and urban areas. Special attention was given to unserved/low coverage pockets in sub-centre and urban slums with migratory population.
About Pulse Polio Initiative
- With the global initiative of eradication of polio in 1988 following World Health Assembly resolution in 1988, Pulse Polio Immunization programme was launched in India in 1995.
- The Pulse Polio Initiative was started with an objective of achieving 100% coverage under Oral Polio Vaccine.
- The current national full immunisation coverage rate stands at 87 %.
- 260 lakh children are born every year and a 31 lakh (12%) out of them are not receiving complete rounds of vaccination in the first year of their life due to various reasons.
- WHO in 2012 removed India from the list of countries with active endemic wild polio virus transmission.
United Nations WFP launches ‘Feed Our Future’ cinema ad campaign
The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) have launched a cinema advertisement campaign ‘Feed Our Future’.
About ‘Feed Our Future’
- It is an advertisement campaign launched by the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) to raise awareness and take steps against hunger and malnutrition in India.
World Food Programme (WFP)
- Established in 1961, The World Food Programme (WFP) is the food assistance branch of the United Nations and the world’s largest humanitarian organization addressing hunger and promoting food security.
- It is a member of the United Nations Development Group and part of its Executive Committee.
- The WFP is governed by an Executive Board which consists of representatives from member states.
- The WFP operations are funded by voluntary donations from world governments, corporations and private donors.
- WFP food aid is also directed to fight micronutrient deficiencies, reduce child mortality, improve maternal health, and combat disease, including HIV and AIDS.
Focus Areas of WFP
- Climate action
- Disaster risk reduction
- Gender equality
- Smallholder market support
- Social protection and safety nets
- Sustainable livelihoods and ecosystems
Objectives of the WFP
- Zero Hunger in 2030.
- Save lives and protect livelihoods in emergencies.
- Support food security and nutrition and (re)build livelihoods in fragile settings and following emergencies.
- Reduce risk and enable people, communities and countries to meet their own food and nutrition needs.
- Reduce under-nutrition and break the inter-generational cycle of hunger.
WFP in India:
- WFP is working in India since 1963.
- WFP has signed an MoU with the Department of Women and Child Development of the Government of Kerala for rice fortification in Kannur District. In Odisha, WFP is working with Department of School and Mass Education to scale up rice fortification.
- WFP is supporting MoSPI to build a network of experts for the development of methodologies for measuring tier II and tier III indicators for SDG 2 in the context of India.
- In 2015, India, along with other countries, signed the declaration on the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, comprising 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Within this agenda, ending hunger, achieving food security and improved nutrition, and promoting sustainable agriculture was set as SDG 2.
What determines the wealth of a nation
The Credit Suisse Group, a Switzerland-based multinational investment bank, has released the 10th edition of its annual Global Wealth Report which tracks both the growth and distribution of wealth – in terms of the numbers of millionaires and billionaires and the proportion of wealth that they hold – as well as the status of inequality around the world.
Highlights of the Global Wealth Report
- China has overtaken the United States in 2019 to become the country with most people in the top 10% of global wealth distribution.
- The bottom half of wealth holders collectively accounted for less than 1% of total global wealth in mid-2019, while the richest 10% own 82% of global wealth and the top 1% alone own 45%.
- 47 million people – accounting for merely 0.9% of the world’s adult population – owned $158.3 trillion.
- Global financial crisis of 2008-09 has hurt those at the bottom of the pyramid more than the wealthiest as inequalities within countries grew in the wake of the GFC. As a result, the top 1% of wealth holders increased their share of world wealth.
India Specific Highlights
- Annual growth of wealth per adult averaged 11% over 2000–19.
- Personal wealth in India is dominated by property and other real assets, which make up the bulk of household assets.
- India remains one of the fastest wealth creators in the world, with household wealth in dollar terms growing faster than any other region.
- While wealth has been rising in India, not everyone has shared in this growth. There is still considerable wealth poverty, reflected in the fact that 78% of the adult population has wealth below USD 10,000.
- Wealth per Indian adult is at $14,569 (₹10.31 lakh as on 21 October). However, the average number is skewed heavily by a few wealthy individuals.
- India accounts for 2% of the world’s millionaires.
Factors that decide the wealth of nations
Overall size of the population
- For a country with a huge population, in terms of final calculation, this factor reduces the wealth per adult. However, a big population also provides a huge domestic market and this creates more opportunities for economic growth and wealth creation.
Country’s saving behaviour
- A higher savings rate results into higher wealth. Overall, a percentage point rise in the savings rate raises the growth rate of wealth per adult by 0.13% each year on average.
General level of economic activity
- General level of economic activity as represented by aggregate income, aggregate consumption or GDP is important as the expansion of economic activity increases savings and raises the value of household-owned assets.
Defence & Security Issues
Integration of Brahmos missiles on Sukhoi jets to be fast-tracked
Weeks after the Balakot airstrikes, the government decided to fast-track integration of the Brahmos supersonic cruise missile on over 40 Sukhoi fighter jets, a closely guarded strategic project aimed at bolstering combat capability of the Indian Air Force (IAF).
- This integration of the Brahmos missile project is being conducted by the Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) and the BrahMos Aerospace Pvt Ltd (BAPL) which is an Indo-Russia joint venture.
- Once the project to integrate the Brahmos missiles into the Sukhoi fleet is over, the IAF’s capability to strike from large stand-off ranges on any target in sea or land is expected to go up manifold.
- The government is of the view that the planned induction of Rafale aircraft with deadly Meteor beyond-visual-range air-to-air missile (BVRAAM), procurement of S-400 air defence missile system and integration of Brahmos on Sukhoi will provide India a significant advantage over Pakistani Air Force.
Key features of BrahMos Missile
- BrahMos Missile is the first supersonic cruise missilesystem known to be in service, developed as part of a joint venture between India and Russia.
- The missile derives its name from the names of two rivers, namely the Brahmaputra of India and the Moskva of Russia.
- The missile is capable of carrying a conventional as well as nuclear warhead.
- It is a multi-stage missile having a solid propellantin the first stage and the ramjet liquid propellant in the second stage.
- It is world’s fastest cruise missile of its class.
- It can be launched from land, sea, sub-seas and air and has original strike range up to 290 km. However, the range of the missile can be extended up to 400 km as certain technical restrictions were lifted after India became a full member of the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR) in 2018.
- It operates on ‘Fire and Forget Principle’by adopting varieties of flights on its way to the target.
- It approaches the enemy target with a top speed of Mach 2.8 (2.8 times the speed of sound).
- It has been operationalised in the Indian Armed Forces with all the three services.
Trends project extreme El Niño more often
While El Niño is a naturally occurring phenomenon, a key question that scientists frequently ask is: In a continuously warming planet, how will climate change affect the creation of strong El Niño events?
About the new study
- The researchers found a shift in El Niño behaviour since the late 1970s. The found that climate change effects have shifted the El Niño onset location from the eastern Pacific to the western Pacific, and caused more frequent extreme El Niño
- This shift is due to increased surface temperatures in the western Pacific warm pool and easterly winds in the central Pacific. With continued global warming, those factors may lead to a continued increase in frequency in extreme El Niño events.
What is El Nino?
- El Nino refers to a band of warm ocean waterthat develops in the Pacific Ocean and causes global changes of both temperatures and rainfall.
- El Nino is the warm phase of the El Niño-Southern Oscillation cycle (ENSO).
- The ENSO cycle is the way scientists describe the fluctuations in temperature between the atmosphere and the ocean in the east-central Equatorial Pacific.
- Basically, El Nino is a naturally occurring phenomenon that is linked to a periodic warming in sea surface temperatures across the central and east-central Equatorial Pacific.
- El Nino is Spanish for “the boy child,” which is often used to refer to Jesus Christ, and the phenomenon earned this name because it typically occurs in December around Christmas.
- El Nino occurs every 2-7 years, and can last anywhere between nine months and two years.
What is El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO)?
- The ENSO cycle is the fluctuations in temperature between the atmosphere and the ocean in the east-central Equatorial Pacific.
- El Nino and La Nina are opposite phases of El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) cycle. While El Niño as the warm phase of ENSO, La Niña is referred to as the cold phase of ENSO.
- Hence, El Niño and La Niña are the extreme phases of the ENSO cycle, between these two phases is a third phase called ENSO-neutral.
- This oscillating warming and cooling pattern or ENSO cycle, directly affects rainfall distribution in the tropics and can have a strong influence on weather across the United States and other parts of the world.
Smallest ozone hole in decades: how it happened, why it matters
During September and October, the ozone hole over the Antarctic has been the smallest observed since 1982, NASA and US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) scientists have reported.
Why Ozone Hole is Small in 2019?
- Typically, depletion of ozone becomes significant in September and peaks in October. So the measure of the ozone hole in September is a marker of the extent of ozone depletion.
- Due to abnormal weather patterns in the atmosphere over Antarctica and warmer temperatures in 2019, fewer polar stratospheric clouds form (they don’t persist as long) which limit the ozone-depletion process.
- As per researchers, there are three stages in the ozone recovery process, a) reduced rate of decline (b) levelling off of the depletion and (c) ozone increase linked to reduction of the levels of CFCs. The scientists had observed the third stage of recovery.
What is the ozone layer?
- The ozone layer is a part of the atmosphere that has high concentrations of ozone (a gas made of three oxygen atoms), compared to oxygen molecules that exist in nature as a pair of oxygen atoms.
- It exists 10km to 40km above the surface of the earth in a region called the stratosphere. Ozone is formed when oxygen molecules are broken apart by the ultra-violet (UV) rays of the sun in the stratosphere. It contains 90 percent of all the ozone in the atmosphere.
- The Ozone layer forms a natural shield that protects the Earth from the harmful UV rays of the sun.
- However, ozone released from the ground cause pollution. Using certain compounds, like Hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFC) and Chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) can cause gaps or ‘holes’ in the layer, and allow harmful UV radiation from the sun to pass through the atmosphere without reflecting some of it away.
- UV rays break down DNA. Organisms can repair some of this damage themselves, but the unrepaired DNA causes cancers to form and results in other mutant effects such as missing or extra limbs in animals.
What are Chlorofluorocarbons (CFC)?
- CFCs are a class of compounds of carbon, hydrogen, chlorine, and fluorine. These are typically gases used in refrigerants and aerosol propellants.
- They are harmful to the ozone layer in the earth’s atmosphere owing to the release of chlorine atoms on exposure to ultraviolet radiation. These chlorine atoms wander around the atmosphere until they meet up with ozone molecules. These chlorine atoms only combine with one oxygen atom of ozone, leaving behind diatomic/molecular oxygen. Molecular oxygen, unlike ozone molecules, cannot keep UV rays from reaching the Earth’s surface.
- CFCs get released into the atmosphere because of leaks in equipment. Because CFCs are stable compounds and do not dissolve in water, they tend to stick around for long periods of time, from decades to hundreds of years.
- Generally, ozone is constantly being formed and destroyed, but the total amount of ozone in the atmosphere should remain constant. CFCs upset this balance, removing ozone faster than it can be replaced.
What are HydroChlorofluorocarbons (HCFC)?
- HCFCs are a group of man-made compounds containing hydrogen, chlorine, fluorine and carbon and do not occur naturally anywhere.
- The production of HCFC began to increase after countries agreed to phase out the use of CFCs in the 1980s.
- Unlike CFCs, most HCFCs are broken down in the lowest part of the atmosphere and pose a much smaller risk to the ozone layer. However, they are still very potent greenhouse gases.
About Montreal Protocol
- The Montreal Protocol, finalized in 1987, is a global agreement that regulates the production and consumption of nearly 100 man-made chemicals referred to as ozone depleting substances (ODS).
- The Protocol is to date the only UN treaty ever that has been ratified by all 197 UN Member States.
- The Multilateral Fund for the Implementation of the Montreal Protocol was established in 1991 to provide assistance to developing country parties to the Montreal Protocol.
- In 2007, the Parties decided to accelerate their schedule to phase out Hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs). Developed countries will completely phase them out by 2020 while Developing countries agreed to complete phase-out of HCFCs by 2030.
- In 2016, Parties to the Montreal Protocol adopted the Kigali amendment in Rwanda to phase down production and consumption of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) worldwide. Countries approved gradual reduction by 80-85 per cent by the late 2040s.
Science & Technology
Indian engineers develop software for world’s largest telescope
A key milestone of software development for Thirty Meter Telescope was reached when a pune based IT company delivered the Telescope Common Software (CSW), which was under development for the past two years.
About Thirty Meter Telescope:
- The Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT) is a proposed astronomical observatory with an extremely large telescope (ELT). It will be built on Mauna Kea on the island of Hawaii in US.
- It is an international project with participation from institutions from the United States, Canada, China, Japan and India.
- Compared to the Gran Telescopio Canarias (largest currently existing visible-light telescope), TMT will be three times wider and nine times more in area.
- Its resolution is 12 times sharper than the Hubble Space Telescope.
- It will help astronomers see deeper into space and observe cosmic objects with unprecedented sensitivity.
- It is one of three planned mega-telescopes of ground-based observing. The other two are the Giant Magellan Telescope and the European Extremely Large Telescope, both under construction in Chile.
- The project was first launched in 2015 and construction was halted as protesters claimed damage to the mountain.
- However, in October 2018, Hawaii’s top court ruled that observatory’s construction permit is valid, paving the way for work to restart on Mauna Kea.
- The TMT International Observatory Board has also decided to develop a secondary Northern Hemisphere site at La Palma in the Canary Islands, Spain for the construction of TMT due to protest.
Key Facts for Prelims
Col Chewang Rinchen Setu: India’s highest altitude all-weather permanent bridge
Col Chewang Rinchen Setu inaugurated by Defence Minister is India’s highest permanent bridge, located in eastern Ladakh at nearly 45 km from the country’s border with China.
About Col Chewang Rinchen Setu
- It is India’s highest altitude all-weather permanent bridge.
- It is located on Shyok River in eastern Ladakh. It is strategically located on the Darbuk-Shayok-Daulat Beg Oldie (DSDBO) section of the road between Leh and Karakoram Pass.
- The bridge is sandwiched between strategic Karakoram and Chang Chenmo ranges.
- The bridge is named after after Col Chewang Rinchen (‘Lion of Ladakh’) who defended Leh and Partapur sector.
- This bridge is constructed using micropiling technique for the first time in India.
Khadi and Village Industries Commission (KVIC)
Why in news?
Khadi and Village Industries Commission (KVIC) has recently partnered with the Goa Government to boost employment opportunities in the state.
- The Khadi and Village Industries Commission (KVIC) is a statutory body formed by the Government of India, under the Act of Parliament, ‘Khadi and Village Industries Commission Act of 1956’.
- In April 1957, it took over the work of former All India Khadi and Village Industries Board.
- It is an apex organisation under the Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises, with regard to khadi and village industries within India
- KVIC seeks to promote the development of khadi and village industries in the rural areas.
- It is the nodal agency of Prime Minister Employment Generation Programme (PMEGP) under which loans will be provided for setting up units of processing, bottling, packaging and labelling units for the honey.
Objectives of KVIC
- The social objective of providing employment in rural areas
- The economic objective of producing saleable articles
- The wider objective of creating self-reliance amongst the poor
Deepotsav gets state fair status in U.P.
- The Uttar Pradesh government has granted the status of State fair to the ‘Deepotsav Mela’ (festival of lamps) to be held in Ayodhya during Deepavali.
- Deepotsav Mela is celebrated to mark the return of Lord Ram to Ayodhya after 14 years of exile.
- With the change in its status, the Mela will now be planned by the District Magistrate of Ayodhya. Earlier, the Tourism Department organised it.