Current Affairs Analysis

9th September 2020 Current Affairs Analysis – IASToppers

Dekho Apna Desh Webinar Series; International Literacy Day; What is Full immunization?; India’s forest policy; Trees Outside Forests (TOFs); Recorded Forest Area (RFA); Real Mango; Silicosis disease; August rainfall highest since 1926; Char Dham project; Asian Development Bank (ADB); KV Kamath Committee; World Solar Technology Summit; Multidimensional Poverty Index; Indira Gandhi Peace Prize; etc.
By IASToppers
September 09, 2020

Contents

Issues related to Health & Education

  • International Literacy Day
  • NSO report shows stark digital divide affects education
  • 40% of children are not fully vaccinated: NSO report

Social Issues

  • NITI Aayog preparing Multidimensional Poverty Index to rank states/UTs

Economy

  • ADB & India Sign $500 Million Loan
  • RBI-constituted KV Kamath Committee recommends 26 sectors for loan restructuring

Environment, Ecology & Disaster Management

  • Research paper calls for change in India’s forest policy

Bilateral & International Relations

  • First World Solar Technology Summit

Art & Culture

  • Ministry of Tourism organises a webinar on Punjab
  • Indira Gandhi Peace Prize for 2019

Key Facts for Prelims

  • Real Mango
  • Silicosis disease
  • August rainfall highest since 1926
  • Char Dham project

For IASToppers Current Affairs Analysis Archive, Click Here

Issues related to Health & Education

International Literacy Day

The United Nations marks International Literacy Day to remind the international community of the importance of literacy for individuals, communities and societies, and the need for intensified efforts towards more literate societies on September 8.

About the International Literacy Day:

  • The day aims at raising awareness and reminding people of the importance of literacy as a matter of dignity and human rights.
  • Theme 2020 is “Literacy teaching and learning in the COVID-19 crisis and beyond”.
  • The Literacy Day this year will reflect on the innovative and effective pedagogies that can be used in youth and adult literacy programmes to face the pandemic and beyond.

Why International Literacy Day is observed on September 8?

  • Following the UNESCO General conference, the first International Literacy Day was celebrated on September 8, 1967.
  • The conference stated, “The hundreds of millions of illiterate adults still existing in the world, make it essential to change national education policies.”

Indians and Literacy:

  • In India, as per the last census in 2011, a total of 74.04 per cent are literate, an increase of 9.2 per cent from the last decade (2001-11).
  • India will take another 50 years to achieve universal literacy, which is 2060, as per UNESCO.
  • According to the report ‘Household Social Consumption: Education in India of National Statistical Office (NSO) data,
    • Kerala is the most literate state in the country, with 96.2 per cent literacy, while Andhra Pradesh features at the bottom with a rate of 66.4 per cent.
    • Delhi has 2nd the best literacy rate at 88.7 per cent, followed by Uttarakhand at 87.6 per cent, Himachal Pradesh at 86.6 per cent and Assam at 85.9 per cent.
    • Rajasthan features as the second-lowest performer with a literacy rate at 69.7 per cent, followed by Bihar at 70.9 per cent, Telangana at 72.8 per cent, Uttar Pradesh at 73 per cent and Madhya Pradesh at 73.7 per cent.

Key fact:

  • Literacy goals are a key part of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) and its 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. 
[Ref: The Indian Express]

NSO report shows stark digital divide affects education

A recent report on the latest National Statistical Organisation (NSO) survey shows just how stark is the digital divide across States, cities and villages, and income groups.

  • The survey on household social consumption related to education was part of the NSO’s 75th round, conducted from July 2017 to June 2018.

Highlights of the report:

  • Across India, only one in ten households have a computer– whether a desktop, laptop or tablet.
  • Almost a quarter of all homes have Internet facilities, accessed via a fixed or mobile network using any device, including smartphones.
  • Most of these Internet-enabled homes are located in cities, where 42% have Internet access.
  • In rural India, only 15% are connected to the internet.
  • Delhi has the highest Internet access, with 55% of homes having such facilities.
  • Himachal Pradesh and Kerala are the only other States where more than half of all households have Internet.
  • Odisha, where only one in ten homes have Internet.
  • States with software hubs such as Karnataka and Tamil Nadu have less than 20% Internet penetration.
  • The NSO report shows that 20% of Indians above the age of 5 years had basic digital literacy, doubling to just 40% in the critical age group of 15 to 29 years
  • NSO marks the biggest divide is by economic status by dividing the population into five equal groups, or quintiles, based on their usual monthly per capita expenditure. 
    • Kerala shows the least inequality: more than 39% of the poorest rural homes have Internet, in comparison to 67% of the richest urban homes.
    • Himachal Pradesh, with 40% of the lowest rural quintile having Internet.
    • Assam shows the most stark inequality, with almost 80% of the richest urban homes having the Internet access denied to 94% of those in the poorest rural homes in the State.
[Ref: The Hindu]

40% of children are not fully vaccinated: NSO report

A report named ‘Health in India’ based on the 75th round of the National Sample Survey (July 2017-June 2018) on household social consumption related to health, released.

Highlights of the report:

  • Across the country, only 59.2% of children under five years are fully immunized.
  • Two out of five children do not complete their immunisation programme in India.
  • About 97% of children across the country received at least one vaccination – mostly BCG and/or the first dose of OPV at birth.
  • However, only 67% of children are protected against measles. Only 58% got their polio booster dose, while 54% got their DPT booster dose.
  • Delhi has the less than half of all children have been given all eight required vaccines.
  • Among States, Manipur (75%), Andhra Pradesh (73.6%) and Mizoram (73.4%) recorded the highest rates of full immunisation.
  • Nagaland, where only 12% of children received all vaccinations, followed by Puducherry (34%) and Tripura (39.6%).

What is Full immunization?

Full immunisation means that a child receives a cocktail of eight vaccine doses in the first year of life:

  • BCG vaccine injected in a single dose shortly after birth, which protects against a childhood attack of tuberculosis;
  • Measles vaccine; the oral polio vaccine (OPV) whose first dose is given at birth, followed by two more doses at intervals of four weeks; and
  • DPT/pentavalent vaccine, generally injected in three doses, which protect a child from diphtheria, pertussis or whooping cough, tetanus, Hepatitis B, and meningitis and pneumonia caused by hemophilus influenza type B.
  • Booster doses for OPV and DPT are also given between 16 and 24 months.

Key fact:

  • Non-governmental organization: Child Rights and You finding that only half of Indian families with children under five years were able to access immunisation services during the lockdown.
[Ref: The Hindu]

Social Issues

NITI Aayog preparing Multidimensional Poverty Index to rank states/UTs

NITI Aayog as the nodal agency has been assigned the responsibility of leveraging the monitoring mechanism of the Global Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI) to drive reforms.

  • Global MPI is part of Government of India’s decision to monitor the performance of the country in 29 select Global Indices.
  • The objective of the “Global Indices to Drive Reforms and Growth (GIRG)” exercise is to fulfil the need to measure and monitor India’s performance on various important social and economic parameters.
  • Also to enable the utilisation of these Indices as tools for self-improvement, bring about reforms in policies, while improving last-mile implementation of government schemes.

Global MPI 2020

  • India is 62nd among 107 countries with an MPI score of 0.123 and 27.91% headcount ratio, based on the NFHS 4 (2015/16) data.
  • Neighbouring countries like Sri Lanka (25th), Bhutan (68th), Nepal (65th), Bangladesh (58th), China (30th), Myanmar (69th) and Pakistan (73rd) are also ranked in this index.
  • The latest NFHS 5 (2019/20) is set to see remarkable national improvement brought about by focused schemes and interventions in these parameters since NFHS 4.

Global Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI)

  • Global MPI is an international measure of multidimensional poverty covering 107 developing countries.
  • The index identifies multiple deprivations at the household and individual level in health, education and standard of living.
  • It was first developed in 2010 by Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative (OPHI) and United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) for UNDP’s Human Development Reports.
  • The Global MPI is released at the High-Level Political Forum (HLPF) on Sustainable Development of the United Nations in July, every year.
  • Global MPI score each household on 10 parameters based on -nutrition, child mortality, years of schooling, school attendance, cooking fuel, sanitation, drinking water, electricity, housing and household assets.
  • It utilizes the National Family Health Survey (NFHS) and International Institute for Population Sciences (IIPS).

Dimensions

  • Health dimension: Nutrition and Child mortality (total weightage: 2/6)
  • Education dimension: School attainment and School attendance (total weightage: 2/6)
  • Standard of living: Housing, Assets ownership, Electricity, improved sanitation, improved drinking water and cooking fuel remain the same. (each:1/18, total weightage: 2/6)
[Ref: PIB]

Economy

ADB & India Sign $500 Million Loan

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the Government of India signed a $500 million loan to build a modern, high-speed 82-kilometer Delhi-Meerut Regional Rapid Transit System (RRTS) corridor.

  • With a design speed of 180 km per hour and high-frequency operations of every 5–10 minutes, the corridor connecting Sarai Kale Khan in Delhi to Modipuram in Meerut in Uttar Pradesh is expected to reduce the journey time to about 1 hour from the present 3–4 hours.

Significance

  • It will improve regional connectivity and mobility in India’s national capital region (NCR).
  • The first tranche financing will be used for constructing electrified tracks, signaling systems, multimodal hubs and stations with design features that are friendly to elderly, women, children and the disabled.
  • It will also support the National Capital Region Transport Corporation (NCRTC) in drafting action plans on Transit-oriented development (TOD), value capture financing (VCF) instruments and public-private partnership (PPP) initiatives, setting up a smart-technology based platform, and formulating a gender-friendly workplace policy.
  • Development of this corridor will have a huge demonstration effect and pave the way for a paradigm shift in mobility and the pattern of urban development within the region.
  • The project is expected to have a transformational impact on the development trajectory of the national capital region by introducing high-level technologies for RRTS, signaling, and station designs.

Asian Development Bank

  • ADB is a regional development bank established in December 1966.
  • It is headquartered in Manila, Philippines and aims at reducing poverty in Asia and Pacific through inclusive economic growth, environmentally sustainable growth and regional integration.
  • The bank admits the members of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP) and non-regional developed countries.
  • ADB was modelled closely on the World Bank, and has a similar weighted voting system where votes are distributed in proportion with member’s capital subscriptions.
  • ADB is an official United Nations Observer and offers both Hard Loans and Soft loans.
  • The ADB offers “hard” loans from ordinary capital resources (OCR) on commercial terms, and the Asian Development Fund (ADF) affiliated with the ADB extends “soft” loans from special fund resources with concessional conditions.

Members

  • Currently, ADB has 68 members– of which 49 are from within Asia and the Pacific and 19 from outside the region.
  • India is the founding member of ADB.

Funding

  • ADB raises funds through bond issues on the world’s capital markets.
  • ADB also relies on its members’ contributions, retained earnings from its lending operations, and the repayment of loans.
  • Japan holds the largest proportions of shares at 15.67%.
  • The United States holds 15.56%, China holds 6.47%, India holds 6.36%, and Australia holds 5.81%.

Functions of ADB

  • Provides loans and equity investments to its Developing Member Countries (DMCs).
  • Provides technical assistance for the planning and execution of development projects and programs and for advisory services.
  • Promotes and facilitates investment of public and private capital for development.
  • Assists in coordinating development policies and plans of its DMCs.
[Ref: PIB]

RBI-constituted KV Kamath Committee recommends 26 sectors for loan restructuring

Reserve Bank of India released the K V Kamath-led Committee report, on Resolution Framework for Covid-19-related stress along with sector specific benchmark ranges for such parameters.

Major Recommendations

  • The committee has recommended financial parameters including aspects related to leverage, liquidity and debt serviceability.
  • It has suggested financial ratios for 26 sectors, which can be factored by lenders while finalising a resolution plan for a certain borrower.
  • The identified sectors include auto components, auto manufacturing, aviation, cement, construction, pharma manufacturing, power, real estate, consumer durables, hotels, restaurants and tourism among others.
  • The committee selected five parameters based on their relevance while considering the resolution plan.
  • These include ratios:
    1. Total Outside Liability/Adjusted Tangible Net Worth (TOL/Adjusted TNW)
    2. Total Debt/EBIDTA
    3. Current Ratio
    4. Debt Service Coverage Ratio (DSCR)
    5. Average Debt Service Coverage Ratio (ADSCR)
  • In addition to above five mandatory parameters, lenders can also consider other financial parameters and adopt a graded approach depending on the severity of the impact on the borrowers.
  • In respect of sectors where ratios have not been specified, lenders can make their own assessment towards the resolution plan.
  • The panel has recommended that the resolution framework should be invoked by December 31, 2020.
  • The resolution process should be treated as invoked once lenders representing 75 per cent by value and 60 per cent of lenders agree to do so.
  • The residual tenor of the loan may be extended by maximum two years, with or without payment moratorium. The moratorium period shall come into force immediately upon implementation of the resolution plan.
  • The asset classification may be maintained as standard or upgraded to standard subject to the resolution panel being implemented as per the framework.
  • Banks may restructure loans of more than ₹10 lakh crore largely attributed to 5-6 critical sectors, including aviation, commercial real estate and hospitality, that have been severely hit by the Covid-19 outbreak.

KV Kamath Committee

  • The RBI had formed a five-member committee under the chairmanship of Kamath to make recommendations on the financial parameters to be considered for the one-time restructuring of loans impacted by the Covid 19 pandemic.
  • The committee had asked to recommend a list of financial parameters, including leverage, liquidity, and debt serviceability, to decide on the resolution plan.
  • The committee will also vet the resolution plans for all the accounts where the exposure is more than ₹1,500 crores.

Total Outside Liability to Total Net Worth (TOL/TNW)

  • TOL/TNW is a measure of a company’s financial leverage calculated by dividing the total liabilities of the company by the total net worth of the business.
    • Total outside liability– sum of all the liabilities of the business
    • Total net worth– sum of share capital and surplus reserves of the company
  • This ratio gives an accurate picture of the businesses reliance on debt.
  • A low TOL/TNW ratio signifies good levels of promoter’s stake in the business, whereas a high TOL/TNW ratio shows low levels of promoter’s stake in the business which is considered risky.

Total Debt/EBIDTA

  • EBIDTA– Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization
  • A ratio measuring the amount of income generated and available to pay down debt before covering interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization expenses.
  • Debt/EBITDA measures a company’s ability to pay off its incurred debt.
  • A high ratio result could indicate a company has a too-heavy debt load.

Current Ratio

  • Current Ratio is a measure of businesses liquidity calculated by dividing the total current assets of the business by total liabilities.
  • This ratio is a great indicator of a business’s ability to repay its short-term obligations as they become due over the next 12 months.
  • A current ratio of more than 1.5 implies the business has adequate cash flows over the next 12 months to meet the demands, while a current ratio of less than 1 would imply that the business might have cash flow problems.

Debt Service Coverage Ratio (DSCR)

  • It measures the ability of a company to use its operating income to repay all its debt obligations, including repayment of principal and interest on both short-term and long-term debt.
  • This ratio is often used when a company has any borrowings on its balance sheet such as bonds, loans, or lines of credit.
  • It is also a commonly used to evaluate the debt capacity of the target company, along with other credit metrics such as total debt/EBITDA multiple, net debt/EBITDA multiple, interest coverage ratio, and fixed charge coverage ratio.

Average Debt Service Coverage Ratio (ADSCR)

  • There are two different ways to calculate the average debt service coverage ratio (ADSCR) that could result in different numerical outcomes.
    1. Calculate the average of the period-by-period DSCRs over the life of the loan
    2. Divide the total cash flow available for debt service (CFADS) over the life of the loan by the sum of principal (P) and interest (I).
[Ref: Live Mint, The news Minute]

Environment, Ecology & Disaster Management

Research paper calls for change in India’s forest policy

Director General of Forests advocated for sustainable forest management in making a strong case for amendment in the forest policy, through a research paper.

  • The paper was published in 2016 in the Natural Resources Forum, a United Nations Sustainable Development Journal.

Key concerns:

  • The paper is titled the ‘Impact of forest policies on timber production in India: a review’ was received from the Indian Institute of Forest Management (IIFM), Bhopal.
  • It illustrates the potential of timber production from trees outside forests (TOFs) – grown outside government recorded forest areas (RFAs).
  • It points to the lack of reliable data relating to growing stock, consumption and production of timber, which constrained forecast of supply and demand projections.
  • Domestic timber production slumped while imports soared after decades of policies focused on production instead of conservation.
  • The domestic demand of timber was growing owing to increasing population and per capita GDP, warranting a revision in the Indian policy to boost domestic production.
  • The import-export policy of the country should be reviewed to rectify the pricing in the market so that it is economically viable to grow trees on farmlands.

Suggestions:

  • Increasing wood production will also push carbon sequestration, and help in mitigating effects of climate change.
  • The conservation policy must focus on maintaining ecological balance and improving biodiversity through protected area management.
  • The restoration policy must target reclamation, rehabilitation and regeneration of degraded landscapes and wastelands.
  • Production forestry should focus on “sustainable increase in forest productivity from TOFs and RFAs”.
  • To boost production through RFAs, States must devise working plans and demarcate 10% of the forests for plantations. For TOFs, a synchronized nationwide policy could be developed.

Trees Outside Forests (TOFs):

  • Trees outside the forest are excluded from the definition of forest. Trees outside the forest are located on other lands mostly on farmlands and built-up areas, both in rural and urban areas.

Recorded Forest Area (RFA): 

  • Recorded Forest Area is used for lands which have been notified as forest under any government acts or rules or recorded as forest in the government data.

Key facts:

  • India’s forests are currently governed through the National Forest Policy- 1988. A draft National Forest Policy was released in 2019. 
[Ref: The Hindu]

Bilateral & International Relations

First World Solar Technology Summit

The first World Solar Technology Summit was inaugurated on 7th September by International Solar Alliance (ISA) virtually.

About the Summit

  • The objective of the event is to bring the spotlight on state-of-the-art technologies as well as next-generation technologies which will provide impetus to the efforts towards harnessing solar energy more efficiently.
  • Five Public Sector Undertakings (PSUs) under Petroleum & Natural Gas Ministry will be joining International Solar Alliance (ISA)’s Coalition for Sustainable Climate Action (ISA-CSCA) as Corporate Partners.
  • Oil and Natural Gas Corporation Limited (ONGC), Indian Oil Corporation Limited (IOCL), Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited (BPCL), Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Limited (HPCL) and GAIL (India) Limited will be contributing to ISA’s Corpus Fund.

Highlights

  • This summit assumes significance in view of India’s ambitious target of having 100GW of solar energy by 2022. India’s installed solar power generation capacity stood at over 35 GW by July 2020 (as per Central Electricity Authority data).
  • A special finance vehicle is needed for funding solar projects. ISA aims to create a World Solar Bank with authorized capital of $15 billion to fund projects.
  • ISA would also launch a journal on Solar Energy (I JOSE) that would help authors from across the globe to publish their articles on solar energy.
  • The articles in this journal would be reviewed by global experts and will reach the member countries through ISA’s vast network of NFPs (National Focal points) and STAR (Solar Technology and Application Resource) centres.
  • Besides, there is need for huge funding for solar projects across the world for increasing share of renewable sources in the overall energy mix.
  • State-run firm EESL (Energy Efficiency Services Limited) has been entrusted by the ISA to do this exercise for a potential order of 47 million home power systems. This is basically a price discovery tender.

International Solar Alliance

  • ISA is an initiative jointly launched by India and France in 2015 at Paris on the sidelines of COP21 UN Climate Change Conference.
  • It is a treaty-based international organization and an alliance of 121 solar resource-rich countries.
  • Presently 83 countries have signed ISA framework agreement and 58 countries have ratified the ISA agreement.
  • Headquarters: National Institute of Solar Energy(NISE), Gurugram, Haryana.

Aim

  • To undertake joint efforts required to reduce the cost of finance and cost of technology.
  • To facilitate deployment of over 1,000 GW of solar energy and mobilize more than USD 1,000 billion into solar power by 2030 in Member countries.

To join International Solar Alliance

  • Must be a Solar resource-rich state which lies fully or partially between the Tropic of Cancer and the Tropic of Capricorn.
  • Must be a member of the United Nations.
[Ref: PIB, Times of India]

Art & Culture

Ministry of Tourism organises a webinar on Punjab

Ministry of Tourism organises a webinar titled Punjab- A historic perspective under Dekho Apna Desh Webinar Series.

Key facts on Punjab:

  • Meaning of Punjab as ‘the land of Five Waters’ referring to the rivers Jhelum, Chenab, Ravi, Sutlej, and Beas
  • Punjab is divided into three parts– Majha, Doaba and Malwa.
  • Maharaja Ranjit Singh also known as Sher-e-Punjab which ruled the much of the Punjab in the early 19th century, and then taken over by the East India Company when it annexed the Punjab in 1849.
  • Todar Mal was a devotee of Guru Gobind Singh Ji and finance minister of the Mughal Empire during Akbar’s reign.
    • He managed the cremation of the two younger sons of Guru Gobind Singh Ji named Fateh Singh and Zorawar Singh who were slained by the Mughal authorities 
  • Punjab’s many festivals–Teej, Lohri, Basant Panchami, Baisakhi and Hola Mahalla to name some are celebrations that mirror the farming ethos.
  • Popular dance forms of Punjab are Bhangra and Giddha. Bhangra, the traditional dance of Punjab revolves around, and replicates a farmer’s daily life.
  • Historically, Punjab has played host to a number of ethnicities, including the Aryans, Persians, Greeks, Afghans and Mongols, thus bestowed with a rich tangible heritage.
  • Golden Temple is a major pilgrimage destination for devotees from around the world.
    • Construction of the Amrit Sarovar (pool of nectar- at golden temple) was initiated by Guru Amar Das (3rd Guru) in 1570 and was completed by Guru Ram Das (4th Guru).
    • Guru Arjan Dev began work on the building after inviting Mian Mir, the Sufi saint, to lay its foundation stone in 1588.  Three years later, the Harimandar Sahib, or Darbar Sahib got completed.
  • Patiala: The city of Punjab, Patiala was established under Baba Ala Singh, a Jat Sikh chieftain.
    • He laid the foundation of the fort which is located in the region around Qila Mubarak or the Fortunate Castle.
    • Patiala is famous for pug (Shahi Turban), Jhooti and Patiala Peg.
  • The city of Fatehgarh Sahib: It is so called because in 1710, Sikhs under the leadership of Baba Banda Singh Bahadur conquered the area and destroyed the Mughal fort.
  • There is Virasat-e- Khalsa Museum, an architectural marvel commemorating the 550-years of culture and tradition of Punjab and Sikhism in Punjab.
    • Designed by architect Moshe Safdie and envisioned as the world’s largest cultural and historical museum dedicated to a single community.
  • Punjab has also Partition Museum which is world’s first museum on the largest human migration.

Dekho Apna Desh Webinar Series:

  • Dekho Apna Desh Webinar Series is an effort to showcase India’s rich diversity under Ek Bharat Shreshtha Bharat.
  • Objective: To provide information on the many destinations and the sheer depth and expanse of the culture and heritage of Incredible India.
  • The webinar will be available on the Ministry’s social media handles- IncredibleIndia.
  • The DekhoApnaDesh Webinar Series is presented in technical partnership with National e Governance Department, Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology.
[Ref: PIB]

Indira Gandhi Peace Prize for 2019

In a virtual award ceremony, the renowned author and natural historian David Attenborough was conferred the Indira Gandhi Peace Prize.

  • David is well known through his prodigious creativity in educating the humankind with brilliant films and books about the natural world.
  • And he has been the most sensible voice warning that more than anything else, humankind is responsible for the accelerating threat to the environment on our planet.

Indira Gandhi Peace Prize

  • The Indira Gandhi Peace Prize which is named after former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi is a prestigious prize awarded annually by the Indira Gandhi Memorial Trust since 1986.
  • It consists of a monetary award of Rs 25 lakh along with a citation
  • The Indira Gandhi Peace Prize is given to individuals or organizations who are working towards ensuring international peace and development, ensuring that scientific discoveries are used to further the scope of freedom and better humanity, and creating new international economic order.
[Ref: Times of India]

Key Facts for Prelims

Real Mango

  • Recently, Railway Protection Force has disrupted the operation of illegal software called “Real Mango” used for cornering confirmed Railway reservation.
  • In view of the apprehension of increase in touting activity after restart of the passenger services, drive against touts was intensified by RPF.

Silicosis disease

About the Silicosis:

  • Silicosis is the lung disease caused by the breathing of silica dust particles. Over time, it could build up in lungs, cause bloody coughing and breathlessness.
  • Silica dust is the major constituent of sand. It is found in most rock beds.
  • Silica dust mostly forms while mining, quarrying, tunneling and working with certain metal ores. It is more prevalent among miners who are exposed to dust containing crystallised silica.

Types of silicosis:

  • Chronic silicosis– This disease occurs due to long term exposure with low amount of silica dust. It causes swelling in the lungs and chest lymph nodes. Its major symptom is trouble in breathing. This is the most common form of silicosis.
  • Accelerated silicosis– This disease occurs because of the exposure to larger amount of silica for a long period of time. Its symptoms occur faster than in simple silicosis.
  • Acute silicosis– Acute silicosis occurs from short term exposure to very large amount of silica. It results in highly inflamed lungs with fluid which causing severe shortness of breath and a low blood oxygen level.

Why it is a silent killer?

  • The dust particles of silica are aroma less
  • Silicosis disease is asymptomatic.
  • Silicosis is an incurable disease.
  • People with silicosis are at high risk of developing tuberculosis (TB).

August rainfall highest since 1926

  • August rainfall this year has been the highest since 1926 with 32.7 cm or about 27% more than what is normal for the month, according the India Meteorological Department (IMD).
  • In August 1926, the rainfall recorded was 34.8 cm, exceeding the normal by 33%.

Char Dham project

  • It is a ₹12,000-crore project for better connectivity to pilgrimage centres Yamunotri, Gangotri, Badrinath and Kedar Nath across the fragile Himalayan slopes.
  • The project had proposed the widening of single lane roads into double lanes by up to 10 metres, developing the highways.
  • Recently, the Supreme Court has said that in the Char Dham project’s intermediate lane configuration with road width of 5.5 metres has to be followed, as per the Ministry of Road Transport and Highway’s circular of 2018.
[Ref: The Hindu]
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