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Current Affairs Analysis

28th August 2019 Current Affairs Analysis -IASToppers

Special Protection Group (SPG); How do governments set climate targets? xenotransplantation; Child well-being index’; “Janaushadhi Sugam”; Jan Aushadhi Suvidha Oxo-Biodegradable Sanitary Napkin; Pradhan Mantri Bhartiya Janaushadhi Pariyojana (PMBJP); Pradhan Mantri Bhartiya Janaushadhi Kendras; Generic medicines; ‘Branded generics’; National Mission on Education through Information and Communication; Technology (NMEICT); 2019 Eastern Economic Forum; Far East; National Security Guard (NSG); Gooty Tarantula; East Kalimantan; Buddha Nullah; Shaheen VIII Military exercise; Centre for Development of Telematics (C-DOT); C-Sat-Fi (C-DOT Satellite WiFi); C-DOT’s XGSPON (10 G Symmetrical Passive Optical Network); C-DOT’s Interoperable Set-Top Box (CiSTB);
By IT's Current Affairs Analysis Team
August 28, 2019

Contents

Issues related to Health & Education

  • Kerala, TN, Himachal top India’s child well-being index
  • Mobile application- “Janaushadhi Sugam” launched
  • National Mission on Education through Information and Communication Technology (NMEICT)

Environment, Ecology & Disaster Management

  • How do governments set climate targets?
  • Rare tarantula sighted in Villupuram district
  • How Buddha Nullah turned from a stream into a stinking drain, now polluting river Sutlej

Bilateral & International Relations

  • Focus to be on cooperation in Russian Far East during India-Russia meet
  • Why Indonesia is moving its capital city, and what next for Jakarta
  • Pakistan, China engage in joint air force exercise 300 km north of Leh

Defence & Security Issues

  • How the forces protect VIPs

Science & Technology

  • Govt reiterates its commitment to provide Wi-Fi in all villages through GramNet
  • Pig organs in human body: an old controversy over transplantation returns

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Issues related to Health & Education

Kerala, TN, Himachal top India’s child well-being index

Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Himachal Pradesh and Puducherry topped the charts in the child well-being index, a tool designed to measure and tracks children’s well-being comprehensively.

top India’s child well-being index 2 IASToppers

Highlights of the ‘Child well-being index’

Highlights-of-the-‘Child-well-being-index’ Current Affairs Analysis

Among States

  • First rank: Kerala
  • Second rank: Tamil Nadu
  • Third rank: Himachal Pradesh
  • Last rank: Madhya Pradesh

Among Union territories

  • First Rank: Puducherry leads
  • Last Rank: Dadra and Nagar Haveli
  • Meghalaya (third from last), Jharkhand (second last) and Madhya Pradesh feature at the bottom in the overall index.
  • Even states that are performing best in overall child well-being, are not doing so well in indicators of health. For instance, though Tamil Nadu is the second-best performer in the overall category, it slips to the fifth position when it comes to health indicators.
  • On the other hand, West Bengal that is 11th in overall performance, does better in health indicators.
  • Similarly, Andhra Pradesh which performs poorly in the overall index, does well in health.

About the report

top-Indias-child-well-being-index

  • It has been prepared by World Vision India and IFMR LEAD, a research organisation based in India.
  • It looked at how India fairs on child well-being using a composite child well-being index.
  • It focuses on the three key dimensions and 24 indicators.
  • The three key dimensions are:
    • Healthy individual development
    • Positive relationships
    • Protective contexts
  • One of the primary objectives of this index is to garner attention to the under-researched theme of child well-being in India, and inspire further academic and policy conversations on related issues.

Key Facts

  • 40 per cent of India’s population is made of children between the ages of 1 and 18.
[Ref: The Hindu, Down To Earth]

 

Mobile application- “Janaushadhi Sugam” launched

Union Minister for Chemicals and Fertilizers launched a mobile application “Janaushadhi Sugam” and had announced that “Jan Aushadhi Suvidha Oxo-Biodegradable Sanitary Napkin” will now be available at only One Rupee per pad.

Mobile application

About Jan Aushadhi Suvidha Oxo-Biodegradable Sanitary Napkin

  • The Government of India launched “Jan Aushadhi Suvidha Oxo-Biodegradable Sanitary Napkin” on the eve of the World Environment Day (4th June)

suvidha-iastoppers

  • It comes with a special additive, which makes it biodegradable when it comes in contact with oxygen after being discarded.
  • In order to make the sanitary pads more affordable to the women of India, Government of India decided to make Jan Aushadhi Suvidha Oxo-Biodegradable Sanitary Napkin available at rate of only Rs 1.00 per pad. Earlier, it was available at Rs 2.50 per pad.

Significance

  • It will ensure the health security for the section of Indian women who still use unhygienic aids during menstrual period due to non-affordability of sanitary pads available in the market.

About ‘Janaushadhi Sugam’ mobile application

Jan-Aushadhi-Scheme

  • Janaushadhi Sugam mobile application would have options like- to locate nearby Janaushadhi kendra, search Janaushadhi generic medicines, analyse product comparison of Generic vs Branded medicine etc.

Pradhan Mantri Bhartiya Janaushadhi Pariyojana (PMBJP)

Pradhan Mantri Bhartiya Janaushadhi Pariyojana (PMBJP)

  • It was launched by the Department of Pharmaceuticalsin November 2008 under the name Jan Aushadi Campaign.
  • Bureau of Pharma PSUs of India(BPPI) is the implementation agency for PMBJP.
  • The Government aims to have at least 1 PMBJP Kendra in each block of the country by 2020.

Objective

  • Making quality medicines available at affordable pricesfor all, particularly the poor and disadvantaged, through exclusive outlets “Pradhan Mantri Bhartiya Janaushadhi Kendras”, so as to reduce out of pocket expenses in healthcare.
  • Create awareness and demand among the public regarding generic medicines.
  • Provideall the commonly used generic medicines covering all the therapeutic groups.

Key Features of Pradhan Mantri Bhartiya Janaushadhi Kendras

  • State Governments or any organization / reputed NGOs / Trusts / Private hospitals / Charitable institutions / Doctors / Unemployed pharmacist/ individual entrepreneurs are eligible to apply for Pradhan Mantri Bhartiya Janaushadhi Kendras.
  • Pradhan Mantri Bhartiya Janaushadhi Kendras can be located within Government hospital premises as well as Private hospital premisesor anywhere outside.
  • In addition to medicines and surgical items supplied by BPPI, Pradhan Mantri Bhartiya Janaushadhi Kendras is allowed to sell allied medical products commonly sold in chemist shops.
  • An amount of Rs. 2.5 lakhs are extended to entities establishing Pradhan Mantri Bhartiya Janaushadhi Kendras in Government hospital premises where space is provided free of cost by Government to operating agency.

Significance

  • This scheme has led to total savings of approximately Rs 1,000 crores for common citizens, as these medicines are cheaper by 50 per cent to 90 per cent of the average market price.
  • It is also providing a good source of self-employment with self-sustainable and regular earnings, including JanAushadhi Swabhiman adult diapers; Jan Aushahdi Bachpan baby diapers; Jan Aushadhi Ankur pregnancy test kits; Jan Aushadhi Urja energy drink etc.

What are Generic medicines?

Generic-medicines-1

  • Medicines are usually available under two names: a generic name and a brand name.
  • Generic medicines are unbranded medicines which are equally safe as that of branded medicines in terms of their therapeutic value. However, there is no definitionof generic or branded medicines under the Drugs & Cosmetics Act, 1940 and Rules, 1945 made thereunder.
  • In other words, they are drugs which have the same chemical composition as branded drugs are and sold under their chemical name. For example, Paracetamol, a painkiller, is the generic name for branded drugs like Crocin and Calpol.
  • The prices of generic medicines are much cheaper than their branded equivalent.

How are they regulated in India?

  • Drugs manufactured in the country, irrespective of whether they are generic or branded, are required to comply with the same standards as prescribed in the Drugs and Cosmetics Act, 1940 and Rules, 1945made thereunder for their quality.

Trend of branded generic drugs

  • In the USA, when a new drug is launched only the company that holds the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) patent are legally allowed to sell the drug, thus giving them market monopoly.
  • In India, however, there were no patent laws till 2005which meant that anyone could replicate any drug in India without legal ramifications. This led to the trend of branded generic drugs which has 99.5% of the country’s generic drug share.

What is ‘Branded generics’?

BrandedGenerics

  • In 2005, there was only process patents and product patents. Under process patent, pharmaceutical companies can produce a drug molecule by a different process and market it as a brand of their choice hence there are several brands of the same drug molecule available in the market.
  • They are not brands in true sense, as they are not marketed by the innovator. Hence they are called ‘branded generics’.

Why aren’t generic drugs more popular?

  • Distinct lack of awarenessabout them.
  • Since they are cheap, people who can afford branded drugs don’t buy them believing themto be of inferior quality.
  • Most of the private doctors never hand out generic drugs because there are no incentives involved from pharma companies.

Key Facts

  • Janaushadhi Diwas is celebrated across the India on March 7.

 [Ref: PIB]

 

National Mission on Education through Information and Communication Technology (NMEICT)

National Mission on Education through Information and Communication and Technology (NMEICT) is an ambitious project undertaken by the Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD).

NMEICT-IAstoppers

More about NMEICT:

  • It is a Centrally Sponsored Scheme to leverage the potential of ICT, in teaching and learning process for the benefit of all the learners in Higher Education Institutions.
  • “Train 10 thousand teachers” (T10KT) is a major initiative under the NMEICT, in which IIT Kharagpur and IIT Bombay are working as partner institutes to improve the teaching skills of engineering college teachers in core Engineering and Science subjects.

Objectives

  • To bridge the digital divide, i.e. the gap in the skills to use computing devices for the purpose of teaching and learning among urban and rural teachers in Higher Education and empower those, who have remained untouched by the digital revolution.
  • To focus on appropriate pedagogy for e-learning, providing facility of performing experiments through virtual laboratories, on-line availability of teachers to guide, utilization of available Education Satellite (EduSAT) and Direct to Home platform.
  • To enhance the Gross Enrolment Ratio (GER) in Higher Education by 5 percentage points during the XI Five Year Plan period.

Components of NMEICT

  • Providing connectivity, along with provision for access devices, to institutions and learners
  • Content generation
[Ref: PIB]

 

Environment, Ecology & Disaster Management 

How do governments set climate targets?

During recent Prime Minister visit to Paris, a substantial part of the joint statement by India and France was dedicated to the related issues of climate change, biodiversity, renewable energy, and ocean resources.

modi-2

Countries & climate targets

2015-Paris-Agreement

  • Under the 2015 Paris Agreement on climate change, which will come into force in 2020, every signatory country is supposed to declare and implement a climate action plan, called Nationally Determined Commitments (NDCs).
  • The NDCs are all five-year or ten-year action plans. Until now, countries have mostly announced their targets for 2025 or 2030.
  • NDCs have to be updated every five years.
  • The first set of NDCs were declared in 2015 ahead of the climate change conference in Paris. Countries will have to update in 2020.
  • The Paris Agreement asks all signatories to ensure that successive NDCs represent a progression from their current targets.
  • India’s declared targets are for 2030. Among India’s target are:
    • Bringing down emission intensity, or emission per unit of GDP, by 33 to 35 per cent by 2030 compared to 2005 levels.
    • At least 40 per cent of its electricity in 2030 would be generated from non-fossil sources,
    • To create an additional carbon sink of 2.5 to 3 billion tonnes through forests.

Why there is need for long term commitment?

  • Countries need to commit to longer-term climate targets over 30-year or 50-year time for bringing more predictability into climate actions and make it easy to monitor the progress.
  • Short-term targets can lack the urgency of the task and can delay ambitious action.
  • In this context, there is a growing pressure on China, the United States, European Union, India, Russia, Brazil, Australia to come up with long-term action plans, in particular to aim for net-zero emissions in the year 2050.
  • The pressure is strongest on Europe as it is the biggest combined emitter from the developed country group after the United States (US has announced a withdrawal from the Paris Agreement).
  • As part of its NDCs, the European Union of 27 countries has set a combined target of 40 per cent reduction in its greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 from the 1990 levels.
  • However, in 2018, it also came up with a long-term vision to attain the goal of net-zero emissions by 2050. Recently, the United Kingdom became the first major economy to legislate a law to make itself climate-neutral by 2050.
  • Recent reports such as the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) on the ‘feasibility of containing global rise in temperatures to within 1.5°C from pre-industrial times’ and ‘state of climate-induced land degradation’ have also stressed the need for more urgent climate action in longer term.

Long term action for India

  • India is treated differently from developed country parties like the US, European Union or Australia in the Paris Agreement because India is not obligated to take as ambitious targets as the developed world.
  • However, India is the third biggest emitter of greenhouse gases, after China and the United States. (If the European Union is not counted as one entity).
  • There have been demands from India, as well as other major developing economies such as Brazil and South Africa, to also come up with longer-term commitments.
[Ref: Indian Express]

 

Rare tarantula sighted in Villupuram district

In an interesting find, researchers have sighted a critically endangered species of tarantula, Gooty Tarantula, for the first time beyond its known habitat in the Eastern Ghats.

Villupuram-district

About Gooty Tarantula

  • A spider named Peacock Parachute Spider or Gooty Tarantula was spotted by researchers in the Pakkamalai Reserve Forests near Gingee in Villupuram district, Tamil Nadu.
  • The spider belongs to the genus Species of this genus can be identified based on the banding patterns on the underside of the legs.
  • This species is known to be endemic to India.
  • The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) categorised it as Critically Endangered.
  • Tarantulas are biological pest controllers and there is a huge demand for them by collectors in the pet trade.

Why it is significant?

  • This spider was sighted in 1899 in Gooty, Andhra Pradesh. After more than 100 years, this species has been recorded in forest between Nandyal and Giddalur in the Eastern Ghats of Andhra Pradesh.
  • Researchers do not believe that it occurs naturally in Gooty, as it could have come from the Eastern Ghats at least 100 km away.
[Ref: The Hindu]

 

How Buddha Nullah turned from a stream into a stinking drain, now polluting river Sutlej

Residents in several colonies in Ludhiana city were forced to live amidst stench and in fear of disease outbreak for several days after stinking, polluted water from overflowing Buddha Nullah flooded the streets and their homes.

buddha-nullah-1

What is Buddha Nullah?

  • It is a seasonal water stream, which runs through the Malwa region of Punjab.

buddhanala-th

  • After passing through highly populated Ludhiana district of Punjab, it drains into Sutlej River (tributary of the Indus river) near Walipur Kalan village.
  • This stream carrying fresh water was earlier known as ‘Buddha Dariya’. Over the years, the name got changed to Buddha Nullah (drain) owing to the sewage, industrial and domestic waste that is dumped into it in the 14-km stretch within Ludhiana city limits.

What are the major sources of pollution?

There are three major sources polluting Buddha Nullah

buddah-nullah-2

  1. Untreated sewage waste from Ludhiana city Sewage Treatment Plants (STPs)
  2. Untreated industrial effluents from dyeing units
  3. Various outlets directly releasing sewage and industrial waste into the stream.
  • As per the Action Plan for Clean River Sutlej-2019, of more than 2,400 industrial units in Punjab polluting the Sutlej, the majority are in Ludhiana.
  • In November 2018, the National Green Tribunal (NGT) fined Rs 50 crore on Punjab government for failing to control pollution in Sutlej and Beas rivers.
[Ref: Indian Express]

 

Bilateral & International Relations

Focus to be on cooperation in Russian Far East during India-Russia meet

Indian Prime Minister has been invited as the chief guest of the Eastern Economic Forum (EEF) in Vladivostok in Russia on September 5.

Eastern-Economic-Forum-EEF

Expectations from the upcoming EEF 2019

  • There could be an announcement on the manufacture of Ka-226T utility helicopters by Russia for the Indian military through a joint venture.

helicopter

  • Indian and Russia are likely to sign a military logistics support agreement named ‘Agreement on Reciprocal Logistics Support’ (ARLS).
  • The pact will facilitate access to each other’s’ military facilities for exchange of fuel and provisions on mutual agreement, simplifying logistical support and increasing operational turnaround.
  • Some progress is also expected on an effort to conclude long-term spares and maintenance agreements for military hardware India has procured from Russia

About Eastern Economic Forum

Eastern_Economic_Forum-iastoppers

  • Eastern Economic Forum or Far East Economic Forum is an international forum held each year in Vladivostok, Russia.
  • The Forum was established by the Russian Federation in 2015 to support the economic development of Russia’s Far East.
  • It was also aimed to expand international cooperation in the Asia-Pacific region.
  • It is sponsored by the organizing committee appointed by Roscongress, an association of the Russian Government.

Russian Far East 

Russian Far East

  • The Russian Far East comprises the Russian part of the Far East, the easternmost territory of Russia, between Lake Baikal in Eastern Siberia and the Pacific Ocean.
  • The macro-region borders two oceans: the Pacific and the Arctic.
  • The Far Eastern Federal District shares land borders with Mongolia, China and Korea to its south, and shares maritime borders with Japan to its southeast and with the US to its northeast.
  • It constitutes over one-third of Russia’s territory. It is home to major natural resource deposits and essential to maintaining increasingly valuable Asian trade routes.
  • Although traditionally considered part of Siberia, the Russian Far East is considered separate from Siberia in Russian regional schemes.

Significance of the Far East:

  • The Far East is rich in natural resources like diamonds, stannary, borax materials, 50 gold, tungsten, and fish and seafood.
  • About 1/3 of all coal reserves and hydro-engineering resources of the country are here.
  • Forests of the region comprise about 30% of the total forest area of Russia.

Key Facts

  • India signed the Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Understanding (LEMOA) with the U.S. in August 2016 and has since concluded several such agreements.
[Ref: The Hindu]

 

Why Indonesia is moving its capital city, and what next for Jakarta

Indonesia’s President announced that the capital of the country, which is Jakarta at present, will be relocated to the province of East Kalimantan on the lesser populated island of Borneo.

Jakarta-skyline

Reason behind the relocation

  • The relocation is meant to reduce the burden on Jakarta, which has been facing problems such as poor quality air, traffic gridlocks and is particularly prone to flooding.
  • It is also the largest Indonesian city with a population of 1 crore and is located on the most populous island in the world, Java.

NED-227-Indonesia-will-relocate-capital

  • Because Jakarta was built on a marsh, it is especially prone to being submerged. Due to climate change, the water levels in the Java Sea are rising. 40 percent of Jakarta’s land falls below the sea level.
  • Since Jakarta is the centre for administration, governance and trade, it has inevitably led to relentless construction in the city, due to which the water is not able to seep into the ground in many areas, leading to increased run-off.
  • The digging of illegal wells (because Jakarta does not have adequate piped water) have been steadily draining the underground aquifers.

Why East Kalimantan?

East-Kalimantan

  • The new capital of Indonesia will be built in part of Penajam Paser regency and part of Kutai Kartanegara regency in East Kalimantan.
  • East Kalimantan was selected as capital as it does not have a history of natural disasters and the government owns vast amounts of land in that area.
  • However, some environmentalists criticized the decision since the forests of the East Kalimantan region are home to orangutans, sun-bears and long-nosed monkeys. The area is also equipped with coal reserves.
[Ref: Indian Express]

 

Pakistan, China engage in joint air force exercise 300 km north of Leh

The air forces of China and Pakistan are currently engaged in Shaheen VIII joint military exercise in Chinese city of Holton, close to the Indian border near Ladakh. 

300 km north of Leh

About the Shaheen VIII Military exercise

  • Shaheen VIII (Eagle VIII) is the eighth military exercise between China and Pakistan, in order to develop a mechanism for interoperability of both countries’ air forces.

Shaheen-VIII

What Shaheen VIII means for India?

  • The location of this military exercise is just around 300 kilometres north of Leh city.
  • Pakistani planes, which are participating in this year’s drill, have passed through the Skardu airbase in Gilgit Baltistan, a semi-provincial area occupied by Pakistan, which India claims is a part of the former Jammu and Kashmir.
  • The Pakistanis have used the base after a long time to join the Chinese Air Force which has built several bases in the northern region with India.
  • Moreover, after the abrogation of Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir, both China and Pakistan have expressed concerns over the decision.
[Ref: First Post]

 

Defence & Security Issues

How the forces protect VIPs

The Government recently downgraded the security cover of former PM Manomhan Singh, from Special Protection Group (SPG) to Z plus of the CRPF. The security cover of several other VIPs too has been downgraded.

PM Manomhan Singh

How does the government decide the level of protection an individual need?

Manmohan-SPG

  • The Home Ministry takes the decision based on inputs from intelligence agencies, which include the Intelligence Bureau and the Research and Analysis Wing.
  • They give a measure of threat to life or injury to a person from terrorists or any other group.
  • Certain individuals, by their position in government, are automatically entitled to security cover. These include the Prime Minister and his immediate family.
  • The Home Minister and officials such as the National Security Adviser too generally get security cover on the basis of their position.

Criticism

  • Since none of the intelligence agencies in India is accountable to any statutory body, VIP security is sometimes seen as open to manipulation.
  • A number of protectees, it has been alleged, are under security cover for political reasons and not necessarily due to any real threat.

Protection categories?

There are largely six types of security covers: X, Y, Y plus, Z, Z plus and Special Protection Group (SPG).

While SPG is only for the PM and his immediate family, other categories can be provided to anyone about whom the Centre or state governments have inputs about facing a threat.

  • X category: One gunman protecting the individual
  • Y category: One gunman for mobile security and one (plus four on rotation) for static security.
  • Y plus category: Two policemen on rotation for security and one (plus four on rotation) for residence security.
  • Z category: Six gunmen for mobile security and two (plus eight) for residence security;
  • Z plus category: Ten security personnel for mobile security and two (plus eight) for residence security.

What are various protection levels?

  • There are various kinds of cover including security of residence, mobile security, office security and inter-state security.
  • Different VIPs are given different kinds of cover depending on threat perception. For example, if the Chhattisgarh CM is assessed to be facing a threat from Maoists only in his state, the Centre may choose to give him residence and mobile security only in his state, and appropriate security by the concerned state police when he travels out.
  • Similarly, some may have a threat only when they travel, so they are given an escort force.
  • Then, different forces may be engaged for residence and mobile security. Many protectees get residence security from state police and mobile security from a Central Armed Police Force (CAPF).

Who are SPG? Whom do they protect?

SPG

  • The SPG is a force raised specifically for the protection of the PM, former PMs and their immediate family.
  • SPG Special Agents assigned to the PM security wear black, Western-style formal business suits, with sunglasses, and carry a two-way encrypted communication earpiece, and concealed handguns.
  • The SPG was raised in 1985 in the wake of the killing of PM Indira Gandhi in 1984. Earlier, Delhi police (before 1981) and Special Task Force (raised by the Intelligence Bureau in 1981) provided residence and proximate security to the PM.
  • In 1985, the Birbal Nath Committee set up by the Home Ministry recommended raising a Special Protection Unit (SPU). The SPU was then re-christened SPG and the post of Inspector General of Police was re-designated as director.
  • Till 1988, SPG functioned under executive orders. In 1988, Parliament passed the SPG Act. Then, the Act did not include former prime ministers.
  • When V P Singh came to power in 1989, his government withdrew SPG protection given to his predecessor Rajiv Gandhi. After Rajiv’s assassination in 1991, Singh faced much criticism and the SPG Act was amended to offer protection to all former PMs and their families for at least 10 years.
  • In 2003, the government again amended the SPG Act to bring the period of automatic protection down from 10 years to a period of 1 year and beyond one year based on the level of threat as decided by the government.
  • Under the current SPG Act, family members of an incumbent or former PM can decline security cover.

Who are the National Security Guard (NSG)?

National-Security-Guard-(NSG)

  • The NSG (Black Cat commando) was founded as a special commando unit for surgical strikes against organised terrorist attacks within the country.
  • It was envisaged in the wake of high casualties and damage during Operation Blue Star in 1984.
  • It is a “Federal Contingency World Class Zero Error Force” to deal with terrorism.
  • It a force specially trained to deal with specific situations and used only in exceptional circumstances to thwart serious acts of terrorism.
  • NSG has two groups of personnel and officers: Special Action Group (SAG) and Special Ranger Group (SRG). SAG is drawn from the Army and focuses on counter-terror training and action while SRG is used for VIP security.
[Ref: Indian Express]

 

Science & Technology

Govt reiterates its commitment to provide Wi-Fi in all villages through GramNet

At the 36th Foundation Day celebrations of Centre for Development of Telematics (C-DOT), C-DOT has launched its latest innovations: C-Sat-Fi, C-DOT’s XGSPON and C-DOT’s Interoperable Set-Top Box (CiSTB).

Wi-Fi-in-all-villages

  • On the occasion, the government reiterated its commitment to provide Wi-Fi in all the villages through GramNet with connectivity between 10 Mbps to 100 Mbps speed. 

C-Sat-Fi (C-DOT Satellite WiFi):

  • It is based on the optimal utilization of wireless and satellite communication to extend connectivity to the unserved areas including the remote islands and difficult terrains.
  • Besides offering the ease of deployment, the solution is ideally suited to addressing disasters and emergencies when no other means of communication are available.
  • This cost-effective solution does not require expensive Satellite Phones and can work on any WiFi-enabled phone.

C-DOT’s XGSPON (10 G Symmetrical Passive Optical Network):

xgs-pon-iastoppers

  • It will help in meeting the demands of applications like IPTV, HD Video Streaming, Online Gaming and host of other cloud-based services that necessitate the seamless availability of high bandwidth.

C-DOT’s Interoperable Set-Top Box (CiSTB):

cistb

  • This solution will revolutionize the experience of the Cable TV operators by offering them a high degree of choice, ease and convenience without having to replace the once installed STB.
[Ref: PIB]

 

Pig organs in human body: an old controversy over transplantation returns

Recently, pioneering transplant surgeon Sir Terence English, who had performed the first heart transplant in the United Kingdom in 1979, declared that his team would this year transplant a pig’s kidney into a human’s body, which reopened an old controversy around xenotransplantation.

pig Current Affair Analysis

What is xenotransplantation?

Pig-organs-in-human-body-4

  • It is the transplantation of living cells, tissues or organs from one species to another. Such cells, tissues or organs are called xenografts or xenotransplants.
  • It is also called heterologous transplant.

Animal-to-human transplants

  • The first attempts at animal-to-human transplants were made in 1838, when the cornea of a pig was transplanted into a human.
  • Then, organs from pigs, goats, sheep, and monkeys were used in unsuccessful transplantation attempts. From 1960s, researchers attempted organ transplantation from chimpanzees, baboons and pigs.
  • For fear of transmission of viruses from animals to humans, xenotransplantation has for long been an area that governments and doctors have treated with caution.
  • Researchers are now trying to genetically alter pigs to enable organ transplantation in humans.

Why pig only?

  • A pig’s genetic structure and internal organs are similar to a human’s.
  • However, rejection rate (when the human body’s immune system starts working against any transplanted organ) is higher in a pig-to-human transplant than in a human-to-human transplant.
  • In a human-to-human transplant, immunosuppressants (lower the body’s ability to reject a transplanted organ) help the body into accepting the foreign organ as its own. But immunosuppressants have failed to work in animal-to-human transplants.
  • There are certain enzymes and amino acids in pigs that are different from those in humans. These are substances against which the human body will produce antibodies and reject the organ. This process is called antigenicity.

Need for organ transplant from animals

  • The need for organ donation is rising globally alongside the rise in kidney, liver and heart ailments. Several die while waiting for an organ donation.
  • In India, nearly 2,000 liver and 8,000 kidney transplants were conducted in 2018, against the need of 1.8-2 lakh kidney transplants every year.
  • With a lack of human donors, researchers are looking at animal organs as an alternative.

The 1997 attempt in Assam

  • In 1997, a heart surgeon conducted first animal to human transplant as a pig-to-human heart and lung transplant in Guwahati.
  • After several experimental studies, the transplant was conducted, in which, the patient died a week later, resulting in arrest of doctor under the Transplantation of Human Organs Act, 1994.

Recent research

  • Researchers have been trying to replace pig’s kidney proteins with human proteins, so that the human body does not reject the organ.
  • There is a debate going on the genetic modification of the three proteins in the pig that provoke rejection.
  • In the United States, pigs’ hearts were transplanted in baboons, which survived for two years with the pig hearts beating alongside their own.
  • Countries such as Germany, the United Kingdom, New Zealand, Russia, Ukraine, and Mexico are conducting similar research.
  • Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) guidelines allows only animal-to-animal transplants.
[Ref: Indian Express]

 

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