Polity & Governance
- NCPCR to visit 117 aspirational districts
Government Schemes & Policies
- WCD Minister Felicitates states and Districts Under BBBP Scheme
Issues related to Health & Education
- PM to launch national programme against foot and mouth disease
- India Behind Bangladesh, Bhutan, Nepal and Thailand in Eliminating Hepatitis B
Environment, Ecology & Disaster Management
- Prepare plan for protection of the Great Indian Bustard: NGT
- Germany to phase out glyphosate by 2023
Bilateral & International Relations
- Indian Ocean Conference
- DNA study reveals Harappan ancestry of South Asian population
Science & Technology
- Chandrayaan 2 lunar landing: Isro loses contact with lander Vikram
- Chandrayaan-2 is 110th Moon mission
Key Facts for Prelims
- India Ranks 34th In World Travel & Tourism
For IASToppers Current Affairs Analysis Archive, Click Here
Polity & Governance
NCPCR to visit 117 aspirational districts
The apex body for child rights, NCPCR, is visiting 117 Aspirational Districts to hold public meetings on complaints affecting children pertaining to education, health and nutrition as well as lack of infrastructure.
The National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) was set up in March 2007 under the Commission for Protection of Child Rights Act, 2005.
- It is a statutory body under the administrative control of the Ministry of Women & Child Development.
- The Commission’s Mandate is to ensure that all Laws, Policies, Programmes, and Administrative Mechanisms are in consonance with the Child Rights perspective as enshrined in the Constitution of India and also the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. The Child is defined as a person in the 0 to 18 years’ age group.
- The commission consist of Chairperson and Six members, out of which at least two are woman appointed by the Central Government from amongst person of eminence, ability and experience.
Functions and powers of the NCPCR
- Examine and review the safeguards provided by or under any law.
- Inquire into violation of child rights and recommend initiation of proceedings in such cases.
- Examine all factors that inhibit the enjoyment of rights of children affected by terrorism, communal violence, riots, natural disaster, domestic violence, HIV/AIDS, trafficking, maltreatment and prostitution and recommend appropriate remedial measures.
- Look into the matters relating to the children in need of special care and protection including children in distress, marginalized and disadvantaged children etc.
What is Aspirational Districts Programme?
- ‘Aspirational Districts’ programme was launched in January, 2018 with an aim to quickly and effectively transform some of the most underdeveloped districts in the country.
- The broad contours of the programme are Convergence (of Central & State Schemes), Collaboration (of Central, State level ‘Prabhari’ Officers & District Collectors), and Competition among districts driven by a Mass Movement or a Jan Andolan.
The objective of the program is to monitor the real-time progress of aspirational districts based on 49 indicators from the 6 identified thematic areas:
- Health and Nutrition
- Agriculture & Water resources
- Basic Infrastructure
- Financial inclusion
- Skill Development
Government Schemes & Policies
WCD Minister Felicitates states and Districts Under BBBP Scheme
The Union Minister of Women and Child Development and Textiles felicitated districts and states which have successfully implemented the Beti Bachao Beti Padhao (BBBP) scheme.
- Haryana, Uttarakhand, Delhi, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh were felicitated for improvement in Sex Ratio at Birth (SRB).
Beti Bachao Beti Padhao (BBBP) Scheme
- The Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao (BBBP) Scheme was introduced in 2015 to address the issue of declining Child Sex Ratio (CSR).
- It is a tri-ministerial effort of Ministries of Women and Child Development, Health & Family Welfare and Human Resource Development.
- However, Ministry of Women and Child Development is responsible for budgetary control and administration of the scheme at the Central level.
- Out of 640 districts under BBBP, 405 are covered under Multi-Sectoral Intervention in which 100% Centrally Sponsored Scheme grant is provided directly to the District Magistrate/District Collector for BBBP.
- Prevent gender biased sex selective elimination
- Ensure survival & protection of the girl child
- Ensure education of the girl child
The Beti Bachao Beti Padhao (BBBP) initiative has two major components.
- i) Mass Communication Campaign: The campaign aims at ensuring girls are born, nurtured and educated without discrimination.
- ii) Multi-sectoral action in Gender Critical Districts covering all States/UTs.
- A budgetary allocation of 100 Cr. has been made under the budget announcement for Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao campaign and 100 Cr. was mobilized from Plan Outlay of the Planned scheme ‘Care and Protection of Girl Child – A Multi Sectoral Action Plan’ for the 12th Plan.
- The estimated cost of the Scheme is 200 cr.
- In India, SRB has improved from 918 in 2014-15 to 931 in 2018-19.
Issues related to Health & Education
PM to launch national programme against foot and mouth disease
Prime Minister of India will launch National Animal Disease Control Programme for foot and mouth disease and Brucellosis.
- He will also launch National Artificial Insemination Programme.
About National Animal Disease Control Programme for foot-and-mouth disease and Brucellosis
- It is a 100 per cent centrally funded programme with a total outlay of Rs 12,600 crore from 2019 to 2024.
- It aims to control Foot and Mouth Disease and Brucellosis by 2025 with vaccination and eventual eradication by 2030.
Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) control programme: It envisages 100% vaccination coverage of cattle, buffaloes, sheep, goats and pigs at six-month interval. The programme also includes de-worming of targeted population of livestock twice a year.
Brucellosis control programme: It envisages 100% vaccination coverage of female cattle and buffalo calves once in a life time.
Foot-and-mouth disease (FMD)
- It is a highly contagious virus disease of animals.
- It affects cloven-hoofed animals (those with divided hoofs), including cattle, buffalo, camels, sheep, goats, deer and pigs.
- It is found in many parts of the world, and has been reported in countries in Africa, the Middles East, Asia and South America.
- There are seven serotypes of the virus: A, O, C, SAT1, SAT2, SAT3 and Asia1.
- Brucellosis is a zoonotic infection caused by the bacterial genus Brucella.
- These bacteria can infect both humans and animals. It causes abortions and infertility in animals.
- It is rarely spread from one human to another.
India Behind Bangladesh, Bhutan, Nepal and Thailand in Eliminating Hepatitis B
Bangladesh, Bhutan, Nepal and Thailand have become the first four countries in the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) Southeast Asia region to successfully control hepatitis B as the prevalence of the disease has been reduced to less than 1% among children below five.
Hepatitis B in India
- India introduced the Universal Immunisation Programme (UIP) in 2002 and scaled it up across the country in 2010 to combat hepatitis B.
- However, its prevalence amongst children less than five has not reduced to below 1%.
- Four crore people in India are suffering from Hepatitis B and 0.6-1.2 crore from Hepatitis C.
Hepatitis B (HBV) vaccine in India
- The Hepatitis B virus is said to be controlled when the disease prevalence is reduced to less than 1% among children less than five years of age.
- In terms of vaccine for Hepatitis B, Coverage for hepatitis B’s third dose of vaccine is high (86%), but the birth dose coverage was only at 45% with large variations across states.
- However, Hepatitis B coverage was stimulated after the introduction of a pentavalent vaccine on a pilot basis in Kerala and Tamil Nadu in 2011 and its national roll-out in 2014-2015.
- The hepatitis B birth dose, rolled out in the national programme in 2008, prevents vertical transmission from the mother to child if administered in the first 24 hours after birth.
- Administering the birth dose to cut vertical transmission is needed as about 70-90% newborns infected this way become chronic carriers of hepatitis B, and about 20-30% carriers in India are due to vertical transmission.
- Inflammation of liver is usually referred as hepatitis.
- Viral hepatitis is a widespread infectious disease normally caused by the hepatitis viruses A, B, C, D and E.
- Hepatitis viruses are the most common cause of hepatitis in the world but other infections, toxic substances (e.g. alcohol, certain drugs), and autoimmune diseases can also cause hepatitis.
About Hepatitis B
- Preventing hepatitis B infection in infancy would reduce chronic infections and cases of liver cancer and cirrhosis (scarring of the liver) in adulthood.
- Laboratory diagnosis of hepatitis B infection focuses on the detection of the hepatitis B surface antigen
- There is no specific treatment for acute hepatitis B.
- As per WHO, tenofovir or entecavir is the most potent drugs to suppress hepatitis B virus.
Low health dose in India
- There was only 45% coverage of the health dose in 2015 and 60% in 2016.
- Despite the fact that 80% of deliveries are in healthcare institutions in India, the coverage for the birth dose vaccine has been low with 55% in 2015 and 67% in 2016.
- The coverage amongst institutional deliveries for the birth dose was reported to be 71% as of March 2017.
- A factor that contributes to the low coverage of the birth dose in healthcare facilities is the fear of wasting vaccines when a ten-dose vial is used.
- However, most workers are unaware that WHO recommendations allow for a hepatitis B open vial policy for the vaccine which can be kept for a maximum duration of 28 days for use in other children.
What is the difference between Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B, and Hepatitis C?
Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B, and Hepatitis C are diseases caused by three different viruses. Although each can cause similar symptoms, they have different modes of transmission and can affect the liver differently.
- Hepatitis A appears only as an acute or newly occurring infection and does not become chronic. People with Hepatitis A usually improve without treatment.
- Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C can also begin as acute infections, but in some people, the virus remains in the body, resulting in chronic disease and long-term liver problems.
- There are vaccines to prevent Hepatitis A and B; however, there is not one for Hepatitis C.
- If a person has had one type of viral hepatitis in the past, it is still possible to get the other types.
About Universal Immunisation Programme
- Immunization Programme in India was introduced in 1978 as ‘Expanded Programme of Immunization’ (EPI) by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.
- In 1985, the programme was modified as ‘Universal Immunization Programme’ (UIP) to be implemented in phased manner to cover all districts in the country by 1989-90 with the one of largest health programme in the world.
- Ministry of Health and Family Welfare provides several vaccines to infants, children and pregnant women through the Universal Immunisation Programme.
- Hepatitis B prevalence is highest in the Western Pacific Region and the African Region, where nearly 6 % of the adult population is infected respectively.
- It is not possible, on clinical grounds, to differentiate hepatitis B from hepatitis caused by other viral agents.
Environment, Ecology & Disaster Management
Prepare plan for protection of the Great Indian Bustard: NGT
Noting the high mortality rate of the Great Indian Bustard, the National Green Tribunal has directed the Centre to prepare a time-bound action plan within two months for protection of the birds.
What is the issue?
- National Green Tribunal (NGT) constituted a committee to prepare the action plan for implementation of suggestions submitted by the Wildlife Institute of India (WII) over high mortality rate of the Great Indian Bustard.
- WII, noting high Collison rate of Great Indian Bustard with power-lines, has suggested a slew of measures, including mitigation of all power transmission lines passing through priority bustard habitats, disallowing new wind turbines, solar farms among others.
About the Great Indian Bustard:
The Great Indian Bustard or Indian bustard is a bustard found in India and the adjoining regions of Pakistan.
- In India, the bird is found in Rajasthan, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat.
- A large bird with a horizontal body and long bare legs, giving it an ostrich like appearance, this bird is among the heaviest of the flying birds.
- The species is listed in Schedule I of the Indian Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972, in the CMS Convention and in Appendix I of CITES, as Critically Endangeredon the IUCN Red List.
- It has also been identified as one of the species for the recovery programme under the Integrated Development of Wildlife Habitats of the Ministry of Environment and Forests.
- These birds are often found associated in the same habitat as blackbuck.
Project Great Indian Bustard
- The state of Rajasthan initiated “Project Great Indian Bustard”, on World Environment Day 2013, identifying and fencing off bustard breeding grounds in existing protected areas as well as provide secure breeding enclosures in areas outside protected areas.
- The species recovery plan also calls for ex situ conservation measures. However, it has so far failed in its objectives.
Germany to phase out glyphosate by 2023
Germany agreed to ban glyphosate by 2023, which includes a “systematic reduction strategy” to cut its usage by farmers.
- Glyphosate is an It is applied to the leaves of plants to kill both broadleaf plants and grasses.
- It is used widely in agriculture, forestry, urban and home applications.
- The sodium salt form of glyphosate is used to regulate plant growth and ripen specific crops.
Why there is a debate around Glyphosate?
- Glyphosate is a non-selective herbicide, meaning it will kill most plants. It prevents the plants from making certain proteins that are needed for plant growth.
- It stops a specific enzyme pathway, which is necessary for plants and some microorganisms.
- The World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) declared glyphosate as carcinogenic to humans.
Glyphosate in India
- Glyphosate is popular in India too where farmers use the chemical as an alternative to expensive manual weeding.
- Despite being aware of its toxicity, farmers in India want the chemical as it helps them control weeds in their farms at a lower cost.
- In 2017 the European Parliament approved a resolution to ban glyphosate’s use by 2022, but after extreme backlash from the farming industry, the EU Commission voted to extend the glyphosate license till
- Despite the extension, many countries that disagreed with it have made progress in phasing out the chemical’s use.
- Austria recently became the first country to ban all use of the chemical.
Bilateral & International Relations
Indian Ocean Conference
With the Indian Ocean region coming to global focus, even as China seeks to increase its foothold in the region, littoral countries, including India, have gathered for a two-day conference in the Maldives capital.
About Fourth Indian Ocean Conference 2019
- It is organized by the India Foundation, in association with the Government of Maldives and the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies, Singapore.
- It is organized in the Malé (Maldives capital).
- The theme of the conference is “Securing the Indian Ocean Region: Traditional and Non-Traditional Challenges”.
- Indian Ocean Conference was first launched in 2016.
DNA study reveals Harappan ancestry of South Asian population
People of the Harappan civilisation are the ancestors of most of the population of South Asia, a study of DNA samples of skeletons in Rakhigarhi in Haryana’s Hissar district has shown.
About the new study
- A study of DNA from skeletal remains excavated from the Harappan cemetery at Rakhigarhi argues that the hunter-gatherers of South Asia (Harappans) have an independent origin.
- The researchers have rejected the theory of Steppe pastoral or ancient Iranian farmers as the source of ancestry of the Harappan population.
- The researchers suggest that there was a movement of people from east to west as the Harappan people’s presence is evident at sites like Gonur in Turkmenistan and Sahr-i-Sokhta in Iran.
- The finding also negates the hypothesis about mass migration during Harappan times from outside South Asia and concluded that Harappans developed into agricultural communities without outside help.
How did researchers concluded that farming in South Asia was not due to the movement of people from the farming cultures of the west?
- In Europe, ancient-DNA studies have shown that agriculture started to spread through the people of Anatolia, in modern day Turkey. This new study also shows that in Iran and Turan (southern Central Asia), Anatolian people and farming arrived around the same time.
- Researchers find no trace of the Anatolian-related ancestry who spread farming to the west, but the Iranian-related ancestry they detected in Harappans comes from a lineage that separated from ancient Iranian farmers and hunter-gatherers before those groups split from each other.
- Rakhigarhi is a village in Hisar District in Haryana.
- It is located in the Ghaggar-Hakra river plain.
- Rakhigarhi is the largest city of Harappan civilisation.
Science & Technology
Chandrayaan 2 lunar landing: Isro loses contact with lander Vikram
Vikram, Chandrayaan 2’s lander, lost contact with Indian Space Research Organisation’s (ISRO) mission control centre just a few minutes before it had to soft-land on the lunar surface.
What was supposed to happen?
- On the day of landing on September 7, the Vikram lander had to perform a series of complex manoeuvres, including imaging the landing site.
- Vikram was supposed to begin its descent form a height of 35 km above the lunar surface and a velocity of around 6,000 kmph. In just over 10 minutes, the Vikram lander had to drop to a height of 7.4 km above the Moon altitude and lower its speed to around 526 kmph.
- Further, the lander had to reduce its speed to 331.2 kmph and reach a height of 5 km above the lunar surface.
- At 100 metres above the lunar surface, the Vikram lander had to hover for about 25 seconds during which it was supposed to choose between two pre-determined landing sites.
- Four hours after landing, the Pragyan rover would be unloaded from the Vikram lander.
- Chandrayaan-1, India’s first mission to the Moon, discovered water on moon by the Moon Mineralogy Mapper (M3) instrument.
To know about Chandryaan-2 mission, Refer IASTopper’s Mains Article: https://www.iastoppers.com/chandrayaan-2-indias-orbiter-lander-rover-mission-mains-article/[Ref: The Hindu, DownToEarth]
Chandrayaan-2 is 110th Moon mission
Chandrayaan-2 is the 110th space mission to the moon, and the 11th this decade. A bulk of the moon missions, 90 out of the 109 so far, were sent between 1958 and 1976. There was a complete lull in moon exploration after that.
Different kinds of moon missions
- These are the missions in which the spacecraft passed near the moon but did not get into an orbit around the moon.
- These missions aims to study the moon from a distance, or were on their way to some other planetary body or deep space exploration and happened to pass by the moon.
- Some early examples of flyby missions were Pioneer 3 and 4 by the United States and Luna 3 of the then USSR.
- These spacecrafts are designed to get into a lunar orbit and carry out prolonged studies of the moon’s surface and atmosphere.
- India’s Chandrayaan-1 was an Orbiter mission.
- Orbiter missions are the most common way to study a planetary body.
- So far, landings have been possible only on moon and Mars. All other planetary bodies have been studied through Orbiter or flyby missions.
- While the main spacecraft keeps going around the moon, one or more instruments onboard make an uncontrolled landing on the moon.
- They get destroyed after the impact, but still send some useful information about the moon while on their way.
- One of the instruments on Chandrayaan-1, called Moon Impact Probe (MIP) was also made to crash land on the moon’s surface in a similar way. The MIP showed additional evidence of presence of water on moon.
- These missions involve the soft-landing of the spacecraft on the moon.
- These are more complicated than the Orbiter missions. In fact, the first 11 attempted lander missions had all ended in failure.
- The first landing on the moon was accomplished in 1966, by the Luna 9 spacecraft of the then USSR. It also relayed the first picture from the moon’s surface.
- These are an extension of the lander missions.
- The lander spacecraft remain stationary after landing. While Rovers, a special wheeled payload on the lander that can detach themselves from the spacecraft and move around on moon’s surface, collect useful information.
- These involve the landing of astronauts on the moon’s surface.
- So far only US has been able to land human beings on the moon.
- NASA has now announced plans to send another manned mission, Artemis, by the year 2024.
Key Facts for Prelims
India Ranks 34th In World Travel & Tourism
Since 2017, India has made the greatest improvement among the top 25 per cent of the countries among 140 countries that have been ranked in World Economic Forum (WEF) list of nations.
Highlights of Travel and Tourism Competitive Report
India Specific Highlights
- India’s ranking improved from 40th (in 2017) to 34th (in 2019), which is the greatest improvement over 2017 among the top 25 per cent of all countries ranked in the report.
- Among the four sub-indexes, India witnessed highest improvement in enabling environment (by 10 places to 98).
- The least improvement was recorded in infrastructure as well as in natural and cultural rankings.
- China, Mexico, Malaysia, Thailand, Brazil and India, which are not high-income economies but rank in the top 35 in the overall list, stand out in the Cultural Resources and Business Travel Pillar through their combination of rich natural and cultural resources.
About the Report
- The Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Index (TTCI) is produced by the World Economic Forum (WEF).
- It is published biannually.
- It measures the factors and policies that make a country a viable place to invest within the Travel and Tourism sector.
- It analyses 140 countries and scored each according to four sub-indices:
- Enabling environment
- Travel and tourism policy and enabling conditions
- Natural and cultural rankings