Flash-Cards-for-IAS-Prelims-2018-CA-Day-19
70 Days WAR Plan

Day#19 Current Affairs Flash Cards [70 Days WAR Plan]

Eurasian otter; 'Time bank' scheme; ‘Astana Declaration’; GOSAT 2 (Greenhouse gases Observing Satellite-2) / Ibuki 2; “OneerTM”; 'Operation Samudra Maitri'; Government E-Payments Adoption Ranking (GEAR); Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs); UN Plan of Action for Advancing Prevention, Protection, and Solutions for Internally Displaced People 2018–2020; Global Compact on Refugees;
By IT's Core Team
April 10, 2019

 

 

 

Recently, researchers, after more than 70 years, have confirmed the presence of the elusive Eurasian otter in which place of India?

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Answer:

  • After more than 70 years, researchers have confirmed the presence of the elusive Eurasian otter — one of the least-known of India’s three Otter species — in the Western Ghats.

Enrich Your Learning:

  • The Eurasian otter has been recorded historically from the Western Ghats (Coorg in Karnataka and Tamil Nadu’s Nilgiri and Palani hill ranges.
  • While the species is widespread across Europe, northern Africa and several south Asian countries, it is not as frequently sighted as smooth-coated or small-clawed otters in India.

About the Eurasian otter:

  • The Eurasian otter is an elusive, solitary otter that has one of the widest distributions of all palearctic mammals, from Ireland to China and down to Southeast Asia.
  • It is usually nocturnal and can be found in many freshwater environments.
  • In some environments, however, such as the Scottish Isles, it has diurnal habits and forages in the sea, later looking for freshwater pools to wash the salt out of its pelt.
  • The Eurasian otter is solitary, but sometimes it is seen in family groups, composed of a mother and her offspring.
  • It is listed as Near Threatened by the IUCN Red List.

 

 

 

The Global Compact on Refugees is an initiative of Refugees International. Right or Wrong?

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Answer:

Right Statement:

  • The Global Compact on Refugees is an initiative of United Nations General Assembly.

Enrich Your Learning:

UN Global compact on refugees (GCR):

  • In December 2018, the United Nations General Assembly affirmed the Global Compact on Refugees, after two years of extensive consultations led by UNHCR with Member States, international organizations, refugees, civil society, the private sector, and experts.
  • The Global Compact on Refugees is a framework for more predictable and equitable responsibility-sharing, recognizing that a sustainable solution to refugee situations cannot be achieved without international cooperation.
  • It provides a blueprint for governments, international organizations, and other stakeholders to ensure that host communities get the support they need and that refugees can lead productive lives.
  • It constitutes a unique opportunity to transform the way the world responds to refugee situations, benefiting both refugees and the communities that host them.

Its four key objectives are to:

  • Ease the pressures on host countries;
  • Enhance refugee self-reliance;
  • Expand access to third-country solutions;
  • Support conditions in countries of origin for return in safety and dignity.

What does the Global Compact on Refugees include?

The Global Compact on Refugees has four parts:

  • An introduction setting out the background, guiding principles, and objectives of the global compact.
  • The Comprehensive Refugee Response Framework (CRRF), as agreed to by Member States in Annex I of the New York Declaration.
  • A Programme of Action setting out concrete measures to help meet the objectives of the compact, including:
  • Arrangements to share burdens and responsibilities through a Global Refugee Forum (every four years), national and regional arrangements for specific situations, and tools for funding, partnerships, and data gathering and sharing.
  • Areas in need of support, from reception and admission, to meeting needs and supporting communities, to solutions.
  • Arrangements for follow-up and review, which will primarily be conducted through the Global Refugee Forum every four years, an annual high-level officials meeting held every two years between forums, and the High Commissioner’s annual report to the General Assembly.

 

 

 

What are the four priorities under UN Plan of Action for Advancing Prevention, Protection, and Solutions for Internally Displaced People 2018–2020?

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Answer:

The Plan of Action calls on the wider community working on internal displacement to join forces and work more closely around four priorities:

  • Engage IDPs in decision-making processes that affect them;
  • Promote, develop and implement national frameworks to prevent and address internal displacement;
  • Enhance the quality of data and analysis on internal displacement; and,
  • Address protracted displacement while driving solutions for IDPs.

Enrich Your Learning:

UN Plan of Action for Advancing Prevention, Protection, and Solutions for Internally Displaced People 2018–2020:

  • The three-year multi-stakeholder Plan of Action to Advance Prevention, Protection and Solutions for IDPs from 2018 – 2020 was launched in April 2018 in Geneva and endorsed by the IASC principals in May 2018.
  • Spearheaded by UNHCR, UN OCHA and the Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights of IDPs and engaging a broad range of stakeholders, it is operational in focus and brings us around the common goal of reducing and resolving internal displacement through prevention, protection and solutions for IDPs in line with the Guiding Principles.

The vision of this first-ever such effort on internal displacement is twofold:

  • Prevention of the conditions that cause displacement and improved lives of people already displaced; and,
  • More inclusive, coherent and strategic action among stakeholders engaged on and affected by internal displacement no matter the cause.
  • The Plan of Action goes beyond international humanitarian organisations to include development organisations, local civil society and governments of countries affected by all types of internal displacement. It also engages IDPs in decision-making.

Implementation:

The Plan of Action is being rolled out in three ways:

  • Operational partners and their field offices,
  • UN Resident Coordinators and Humanitarian Coordinators at the national level, and
  • The Geneva-based Steering Group and its work on the priorities.

The Steering Group in Geneva is comprised of UN member states, NGOs and their consortia, UN entities, the World Bank, IFRC and ICRC. The bulk of the work is envisioned to take place at the national level.

 

 

 

What is the United Nations General Assembly’s third High-level Meeting on the prevention and control of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) all about?

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Answer:

  • The United Nations General Assembly’s third High-level Meeting on the prevention and control of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) will undertake a comprehensive review of the global and national progress achieved in putting measures in place that protect people from dying too young from heart and lung diseases, cancers and diabetes.

Enrich Your Learning:

  • In September 2018, the United Nations General Assembly is staging the third High-level Meeting on the prevention and control of non-communicable diseases (NCDs), which will undertake a comprehensive review of the global and national progress achieved in putting measures in place that protect people from dying too young from heart and lung diseases, cancers and diabetes.
  • The adopted declaration is entitled “Time to Deliver: Accelerating our response to address NCDs for the health and well-being of present and future generations.”
  • The political declaration includes commitments to reduce NCD mortality by one third by 2030, and to scale-up funding and multi-stakeholder responses to treat and prevent NCDs.

About Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs):

  • NCDs are diseases of long duration and generally slow progression.
  • The four main types of noncommunicable diseases are cardiovascular diseases (like heart attacks and stroke), cancer, chronic respiratory diseases (such as chronic obstructed pulmonary disease and asthma) and diabetes.
  • NCDs are by far the leading cause of death in the world, representing 63% of all annual deaths. Noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) kill more than 36 million people each year.
  • Some 80% of all NCD deaths occur in low- and middle-income countries.

 

 

 

Government E-Payments Adoption Ranking (GEAR) is jointly published by?

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Answer:

The Government E-Payments Adoption Ranking (GEAR), an Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) global Index and benchmarking study commissioned by Visa, ranks governments by quantifying their e-payment capabilities based on various indicators.

Enrich Your Learning:

Government E-Payments Adoption Ranking (GEAR)

  • Visa, a global leader in payments technology, announced that India ranked 28th among 73 countries in the 2018 Government E-Payments Adoption Ranking (GEAR) study.
  • This is up from 36th rank in 2011, reinforcing the country’s progress towards digital transformation.
  • This is the third edition of the study after those in 2007 and 2011.
  • The 2018 GEAR, an Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) global Index and benchmarking study commissioned by Visa, ranks governments by quantifying their e-payment capabilities based on various indicators.
  • The 73-country survey looks at availability of government electronic transaction services and the underlying environment of mechanisms that support digitisation for all transactions in a market, such as policy and infrastructure.
  • India leads the Business to Government category, along with Australia, Singapore and South Korea.
  • The country holds the top ranking on B2G and G2B, and comes third on C2G jointly with Argentina.
  • The category refers to the ease with which businesses can calculate and make their tax payments, register and renew their registrations online and digitally calculate their pension fund contributions, thereby making those payments on a periodic basis.
  • At the same time, by simplifying refund and loan application processes, wherein businesses can track status digitally, coupled with dedicated digital portals to submit proposals for government procurement services, India leads the Government to Business category as well.
  • India is at the 58th place for digital infrastructure and lags significantly in the development of digital infrastructure and socio-economic conditions, according to the survey.
  • The survey said while the country has done well on financial inclusion, its overall performance in inclusiveness dropped due to a lack of government integration of the informal economy.
  • Norway leads the pack in the 73-country ranking, followed by France and Denmark.

 

 

 

For which country, India had launched ‘Operation Samudra Maitri’ for humanitarian assistance?

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Answer:

India has launched ‘Operation Samudra Maitri’ to assist victims of earthquake and tsunami in Central Sulawesi Province of the Republic of Indonesia.

Enrich Your Learning:

‘Operation Samudra Maitri’:

  • Two IAF Aircrafts, C-130J and C-17, departed carrying on board medical personnel and relief material.
  • The operation for humanitarian assistance was launched after the telephonic conversation and following Indonesia’s acceptance for international aid.
  • The C-130J aircraft is carrying a medical team on board along with tents and equipments to set up a field hospital.
  • The C-17 aircraft is carrying medicines, generators, tents and water to provide immediate assistance.
  • Three Indian Naval Ships – INS Tir, INS Sujatha and INS Shardul – have also been mobilized to carry out humanitarian assistance and disaster relief (HADR).
  • These ships are likely to reach the Central Sulawesi Province of Indonesia in October 2018.

 

 

 

An innovative technology for “Drinking Water Disinfection System” with Trade name “OneerTM” has been developed by institute in India?

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Answer:

An innovative technology for “Drinking Water Disinfection System” with Trade name “OneerTM” has been developed by Council of Scientific and Industrial Research, Indian Institute of Toxicology Research (CSIR-IITR).

Enrich Your Learning:

  • It is useful for continuous treatment of water and eliminates all disease causing pathogens such as virus, bacteria, fungi, protozoa and cyst to provide safe drinking water to domestic and communities settings as per National and International standards prescribed for potable water (BIS, WHO etc.).
  • It is well known that infection through drinking water results in an increase in morbidity and mortality particularly amongst children and Oneer developed by CSIR-IITR, will provide access to safe and clean drinking water at a cost of just 2 Paise / Ltr.
  • The Community level model is of 450 LPH capacity which can be scaled up to 5000 to 1 lakh L/day; and is also maintenance and membrane free.
  • The technology will be helpful especially for rural people since it can be solar powered and this development is in line with the ‘Make in India’ Mission.
  • Currently a large proportion of India’s rural community is consuming water that does not meet the WHO drinking water quality standards.
  • According to the World Health Organization, “access to safe drinking-water is essential to health, a basic human right and a component of effective policy for health protection”.
  • CSIR is continuously focusing on translational research through Mission Projects and Fast Track Translational Research Projects to develop technologies and products focussed at unmet needs.
  • One of the components of the programme is to enhance the quality of life of common people and remove drudgery.
  • The smaller unit of Oneer is particularly suitable for homes, street food vendors, and small establishments.

 

 

 

GOSAT-2 Mission was recently in news. What is it all about? and it was launched by which country?

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Answer:

GOSAT-2 Mission, launched by Japan, aims to gather observations of greenhouse gases with higher levels of accuracy via even higher-performance on-board observation sensors.

Enrich Your Learning:

GOSAT 2 (Greenhouse gases Observing Satellite-2) / Ibuki 2:

  • GOSAT-2 is a follow-on Japanese mission in planning of GOSAT/Ibuki which was launched in 2009. The experiences gained from the operation of the GOSAT mission with regard to payload calibration and validation activities serve as input for the requirements of the GOSAT-2 mission.
  • Although TANSO-FTS (on GOSAT) has some anomalies, GOSAT has accomplished certain results; in particular, the project recognized the availability of the GHG (Greenhouse Gas) observation from space and at the same time it has been pointed out that it’s necessary to improve the concentration measurement precision to expand this mission to make it useful for humankind.
  • Hence, Japan’s three parties, MOE (Ministry of the Environment), NIES (National Institute for Environmental Studies) and JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency), which have led the GOSAT project, have investigated the requirements on the future greenhouse gases observation and defined the mission requirements for the GOSAT-2 mission.
  • The overall mission goal is to give policy makers further observed and analyzed data on climate changes to contribute to decisions on emission reduction targets based on scientific facts.
  • As the successor to the Ibuki mission, GOSAT-2 aims to gather observations of greenhouse gases with higher levels of accuracy via even higher-performance on-board observation sensors.
  • The project will serve to provide observation data to environmental administrations and drive international anti-global warming efforts.
  • The goals for the GOSAT-2 are to measure carbon dioxide at 0.5 ppm and methane at 5 ppb at a 500 km mesh.
  • The GOSAT-2 is also capable of monitoring carbon monoxide concentrations.
  • Whereas carbon dioxide not only comes from anthropogenic sources like industrial activity and fuel combustion but also has natural origins in forests and biological activity, carbon monoxide emissions are by products of human activity alone – not the natural world. Analyzing combined observations of carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide will give researchers an effective means of estimating carbon dioxide emissions from anthropogenic sources.

 

 

 

What is the aim of the ‘Astana Declaration’, recently in news?

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Answer:

The Astana declaration aims to refocus efforts on primary health care to ensure that everyone everywhere is able to enjoy the highest possible attainable standard of health.

Enrich Your Learning:

Astana declaration:

  • The Global Conference on Primary Health Care in Astana, Kazakhstan in October 2018 endorsed a new declaration emphasizing the critical role of primary health care around the world.
  • The Astana Declaration marks the 40th anniversary of the historical Alma Alta Declaration that declared health a human right for all and not just a privileged few, and urged the world to make primary health care the mainstay of universal health coverage in 1978, in what was then the Soviet Union.
  • The declaration, which has all 194 WHO member states on board, including India, urges countries to use high-quality, safe, effective and affordable medicines, including “appropriate” traditional medicines, vaccines, diagnostics and other technologies to improve access to health while “protecting personal data”.
  • It is a multi-sectoral action that includes technology, scientific and traditional knowledge, along with well-trained and compensated health professionals, and people and community participation is needed to strengthen primary health care and provide quality “health for all”.
  • Primary health centres must provide a comprehensive range of services and care, “including but not limited to vaccination”, said the declaration, which marks a move away from targeted health programmes that work in silos to an integrated health approach.
  • It underlines the growing need for prevention, control and management of non-communicable diseases like diabetes and heart disease, among others, which now account for more years of ill health and deaths in most parts of the world, including in India.
  • For the first time, a health declaration acknowledged the need to “create decent work and appropriate compensation for health workers” working at the primary health care level and invest in the education, training, recruitment, development, motivation and retention of the workforce, with an appropriate skill mix.
  • It said countries must strive for the retention and availability of the PHC workforce in rural, remote and less developed areas and not allow international migration of health personnel to undermine developing countries’ ability to meet the health needs of their populations.

Background:

  • In 1978, a pivotal conference was held in Almaty, Kazakhstan, bringing together health experts and world leaders to commit to health for all.
  • Endorsed at that conference, the declaration formed the foundation for the last 40 years of global primary health care efforts.

Why a new declaration?

  • While we have made great strides in health outcomes globally over the past 40 years, we face many ongoing challenges. A primary health care (PHC) approach is the most effective way to sustainably solve today’s health and health system challenges.
  • The PHC approach is foundational to achieving our shared global goals in Universal Health Coverage (UHC) and the health-related Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
  • The new declaration has renewed political commitment to primary health care from Governments, non-governmental organizations, professional organizations, academia and global health and development organizations. It will be used to inform the UN General Assembly high-level meeting on UHC in 2019.
  • The new declaration was also a chance to commemorate the 1978 Alma-Ata Declaration on Primary Health Care, and reflect on how far we have come and the work that still lies ahead.

 

 

 

Why was the ‘time bank’ scheme in news?

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Answer:

  • Recently, a panel of experts, who are part of National Human Rights Commission’s (NHRC) core group on disability and elderly persons, has recommended that India should adopt the “time bank” scheme, launched by Switzerland, to take care of senior citizens who are living alone without any support from their family.

Enrich Your Learning:

‘Time bank’ scheme:

  • Under the ‘time bank’ scheme, people save time and volunteer to take care of the elderly who need help and the number of hours they spend time with or take care of senior citizens are deposited into their personal account of social security system.
  • When the volunteer himself gets old and needs someone for help, he/she could use the ‘time bank’ and a volunteer is assigned to take care of him/her.

Importance:

  • There are approximately 10 crore senior citizens in India out of which around 1.5 crore live alone, according to government figures.
  • Out of these 1.5 crore elderly, only 20 lakhs are covered by organisations working in this field while rest are left to fend for themselves.
  • Their state lends urgency to the need to build over 800 old age homes across the country.
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