Table of Contents:
A. GS1 Related:
B. GS2 Related:
C. GS3 Related:
C. GS3 Related:
ENVIRONMENT AND ECOLOGY
D. GS4 Related:
SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY
D. GS4 Related:
Useful News Articles for UPSC Current Affairs
A. GS1 Related
- Last year, monsoon rains led to severe floods in Bihar and Chief Minister of the state — who petitioned Prime Minister Modi — said decommissioning the 40-year-old, 2.6 km-long Farakka Barrage was the only way out.
- Blame: Farakka Barrage originally conceived to keep the Kolkata port navigable had only worsened the flood situation in Bihar over the years.
Union Water Resource Minister innovative solution
- Union Water Resources Minister, Uma Bharti, has stated that the Farakka Barrage — said to be responsible for aggravating floods in Bihar during the monsoon — is blameless.
- Developing the waterway between Haldia and Allahabad will take care of the silt accumulation in the Barrage.
- National Waterway 1 (NW1) will be on the Ganga from Haldia in West Bengal to Allahabad in Uttar Pradesh, stretching 1,620 kilometres. The NW1 will span Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand and West Bengal.
- Project being funded by the World Bank.
- Project also involves constructing barrages.
Madhav Chitale Committee
- Committee, led by retired engineer Madhav Chitale, investigates the problems of siltation in the Ganga.
- Solution: Constuction of navigable water ways.
- Barrage across the Ganges River, located in the Indian state of West Bengal, roughly 16.5 kilometres (10.3 mi) from the border with Bangladesh near Chapai Nawabganj District. The barrage is about 2,240 metres (7,350 ft) long.
- The purpose of the barrage is to divert 1,100 cubic metres per second (40,000 cu ft/s) of water from the Ganges to the Hooghly River for flushing out the sediment deposition from the Kolkata harbour without the need of regular mechanical dredging.
- After commissioning the project, it was found that the diverted water flow from the Farakka barrage was not adequate to flush the sediment from the river satisfactorily.
Should Muslim Personal laws be reformed?
What’s in news?
- Jamaat-e-Islami Hind released a booklet titled ‘Problems Facing Muslim Women and their Solution’ to create awareness about Muslim Personal Law awareness.
- Burden of preserving Islamic family tradition lies on Muslim women.
- Accuses media and anti-Islamic forces of showing Muslims in a negative manner.
- According to the organization – the current debate on ‘triple talaq’ and objections raised on Muslim personal laws are a consequence of the “rot” and religious ignorance in Muslim society.
‘Managers of family’
- Terming Muslim women “supervisors” and “managers” of the family.
- Un-Islamic customs and traditions prevalent in society today are due only to the women unaware of her din (faith).
- The JIH also says that those Muslim women who approached the Supreme Court against ‘triple talaq’ and polygyny are “irresponsible and ignorant of Islamic teachings” for thinking they are “oppressive to women.”
- It also justifies polygyny among Muslims claiming it is “compatible with human nature.”
- While declaring that is a “great sin” for a man to pronounce three talaqs in one go, the booklet says it is not desirable if a man makes “haste in bringing his matrimonial life to an end.”
- Even as it claims that both men and women have rights to divorce under Islamic Law, the booklet discourages Muslim women from divorcing their husbands.
- However, it acknowledges that women are being deprived of their rightful share of inheritance under Quranic laws.
- It argues against taking disputes to court, saying that “when the cases are made public, anti-Islam forces get a chance to point fingers at Islam.”
What’s in news?
- The U.S. is keen on expanding Malabar trilateral exercises but it will be a decision based on discussion and consensus with the partner countries, said a senior U.S. Navy officer.
- The first step is an observer status and then potentially as participants.
- The next edition of Malabar is scheduled to be held in July this year in the areas “surrounding India in Bay of Bengal” for which the planning conferences are under way.
Australia’s willingness to join:
- Australia has requested India for observer status at this year’s Malabar exercises and is awaiting a final decision.
- But India has been reluctant to let expand the exercises further from the trilateral format which included Japan due to sensitivities from China.
- Japan and the U.S. are keen on expanding the games to include Australia which was expressed by officials from both countries on various occasions.
- This year’s exercises are expected to focus on Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) with increasing Chinese submarine presence in the Indian Ocean.
- Malabar exercise began in 1992 as a bilateral naval exercise between India and the U.S. has since grown in scope and complexity acquiring considerable heft in recent times.
- In 2015, it was expanded into a trilateral format with the inclusion of Japan.
C. GS3 Related
What’s in news?
- Japan’s island of Okinoshima, a men-only ancient religious site in Fukuoka prefecture, to be soon added to the list of World Heritage list.
- The International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS), notified Japan of its decision.
- Okinoshima still follow strict taboos from ancient times, including the controversial ban on women from entering the island .Men setting foot on the island are first required to strip all clothes and perform a cleansing ritual.
- It was also the site of successful exchanges with the people of the Korean Peninsula and China between the fourth and ninth centuries.
- National treasure: Some 80,000 artefact brought as gifts from overseas have been uncovered on the island, including gold rings from the Korean Peninsula and glass cup fragments from Persia.
- Highlights of recently carried out survey on water awareness by The World Water Council in major parts of the world, including India.
- The standard of drinking water in India has improved in the last five years but a lot of work still remains to be done.
- More than one-third of Indians think that not enough is being done to achieve the UN’s sustainable development goals to make water and sanitation for all a reality by 2030.
- 31% of Indians said they had been in a situation where it was unsafe to drink water but they had no other choice and suffered from diseases like diarrhoea and gastroenteritis.
- A majority (71%) of Indians said that safe drinking water had improved over the last five years.
- 62% of the Indians said they believed that the government was doing enough to support access to safe drinking water.
World Water Forum
- The survey was done ahead of the 8th World Water Forum that is scheduled to take place in the Brazilian capital Brasilia in March 2018.
World Water Forum
- The World Water Forum is an event focusing on perceived issues surrounding water. It is hosted by the World Water Council and takes place every three years
World Water Forum aims to:
- Raise awareness with decision makers and the public at large on water issues and, subsequently, to generate action;
- Contribute to improving access to water supply and sanitation and report on progress towards meeting the Millennium Development Goals;
- Provide opportunities to progressively develop shared visions on challenging water issues, to develop new partnerships and to pave the way for cooperation and action among a wide diversity of organisations and individuals;
- Encourage greater media attention for water issues and solutions
World Water Council
- The World Water Council is an international think tank founded in 1996, with its headquarters in Marseille, France.
- It has 341 members (March 2017) which include organizations from the UN and intergovernmental organizations, the private sector (construction, engineering and manufacturing companies), governments and ministries, academic institutions, international organizations, local governments, and civil society groups.
- Founders and constituent members of the World Water Council include the International Commission on Irrigation and Drainage, the International Union for the Conservation of Nature(IUCN), the International Water Association (IWA), Suez Lyonnaise des Eaux, the United Nations agencies UNDP and UNESCO, and the World Bank.
- Its stated mission is “to promote awareness, build political commitment and trigger action on critical water issues at all levels, including the highest decision-making level, to facilitate the efficient conservation, protection, development, planning, management, and use of water in all its dimensions on an environmentally sustainable basis for the benefit of all life on earth.”
- Every third year the World Water Council organizes the World Water Forum in close collaboration with the authorities of the hosting country.
- Union government has set the target for achieving 90% vaccination by 2021.
- The focus of the universal immunisation programme has shifted to strengthening of the cold chain to ensure the safety of vaccines.
Cold Chain and Immunisation:
- A cold chain is essentially a temperature-controlled supply chain with a series of continuous storage, transportation and distribution.
- Experts said that a well-managed supply chain has emerged as the most fundamental step for immunisation.
- Health care experts and medical professionals have emphasised on addressing managerial and operational challenges in the supply chain management of vaccines at a workshop organised .
- Experts also highlighted the significance of routine immunisation in the public health delivery system and nutrition among women and children.
- It was pointed out that the universal immunisation programme was catering to 2.60 crore infants and 3 crore pregnant women in the country, while saving 25 lakh lives every year.
- Since an effective intervention was needed to deliver life-saving vaccines in time to the targeted beneficiaries, the cold chain management covered the aspects of vaccine handling, stock control, minimising vaccine wastages, handling emergency situations, storage and distribution.
- Over 25% of vaccines go to waste globally, mainly because they lose their potency before the vials are opened, while India records about 5.50 lakh child deaths annually due to vaccine-preventable diseases.
- Our health, 25 years from now, would be the sum total of the daily impacts of a degrading environment on our bodies
- Triggers such as air pollution, toxins in water and food and climate change would work synergically
- Different permutations and combinations of communicable and non-communicable diseases would weaken our bodies
Disease burden due to Climate Change:
- Climate change would possibly be the biggest cause for diseases 25 years from now
- A warmer world would help vectors proliferate and expand their territories
- Deadly new diseases would emerge from dried-up forests, piggybacking on animals that would have nothing to sustain them there
- We have no idea what these new zoonotic diseases would be and have no drugs to treat them
- Our inability to deal with the Zika epidemic is a rude reminder of our helplessness
- Even known enemies like cholera would spread to newer areas in a warmer world and extreme weather events such as sudden rain
- Heat strokes would become more common
Climate change and malnutrition:
- Climate change and extreme weather events would destroy crops, and persistent droughts would dry up forestlands, which would have been otherwise an alternative source for food-stuff
- This would perpetuate food scarcity
- As a result, some parts of the world would have to deal with chronic malnutrition
- The food we would be left with would be the next big determinant of our health in the future
- It would be full of obesogenic toxins and cancer-causing agrochemicals
- Genetically modified (GM) foods that are linked with allergies would become more common in our markets, despite the fact by that time, more data on GM food’s detrimental effects would have accumulated
- Food rich in fat, salt and sugar rich foods would lead to obesity and increase the risk of diabetes and heart ailments
- There are problems such as Internet addiction, which are bound to increase with time
- More aging populations would result in a large number of people suffering from dementia, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases
- Psychological problems, including depression, too would be high
- Light pollution would disturb our sleep and, in turn, result in many chronic diseases
- The proportion of communicable diseases might go down, the fact that we would be in the post-antibiotic era, when pathogens would have stopped responding, is a cause for concern
- Treating simple infections would be difficult
- This could mean that India and other parts of the world too would fail to eliminate diseases such as kalaazar, filariasis, leprosy, measles and tuberculosis and miss national deadlines set by governments
- The increase in diseases has wide-ranging public health implications
- We are already witnessing a trend towards the privatisation of public healthcare, and private healthcare is not likely to be bothered about the poor, who would have the least capacities to adapt in a changing world
- Moreover, it seems we will be unable to meet the Sustainable Development Goal 3, which says that by 2030, countries would have to find ways to ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all of all ages
- Goal 2, which promises to end hunger, achieve food security and improve nutrition, seems unattainable
- Only the affluent might have the luxury of benefitting from medical breakthroughs
- There would be artificial hearts, kidneys and lungs to deal with organs damage
Artificial organs in future world:
- Road accident victims who lose limbs would have the option of bio-prosthetics, which outperform the natural body parts
- Artificial uterus would take care of infertility issues
- Even artificial eyes would be available
- Diagnostic tests would be performed on sweat, instead of blood, and wearable sensors would monitor us day and night
- Surgeries would be less invasive
- Personalised medicines would make life better for the sick
- We would even find ways to deal with the pesky little vectors by using fungi and bacteria
What’s in news?
- A new mission to Saturn’s moons Titan or Enceladus to find signs of life beyond Earth cannot be ruled out as NASA says it is reviewing 12 proposals for future unmanned solar system mission to be launched in the mid-2020s.
Nothing here for Today
G. Practice Questions for UPSC Prelims Exam
Question 1: Consider the following statements:
- In India, magnetite is the most important industrial iron ore in terms of the quantity used
- The iron ore produced in Goa is of lower grade when compared to the other major iron ore producing states
Which of the statements above is/are correct?
a) 1 Only
b) 2 Only
c) Both 1 and 2
d) Neither 1 nor 2
Question 2: Consider the following statements:
- Many auto companies in India already manufacture car engines which support the Bharat Standard (BS)-VI norms
- At present, BS-IV auto fuels are being supplied all over the country
Which of the above statements is/are true?
a) 1 only
b) 2 only
c) Both 1 and 2
d) Neither 1 nor 2
Question 3: The first University Commission of independent India, is popularly known as the ________.
- Radhakrishnan Commission
- Maulana Azad Commission
- Prasad Commission
- Zakir Commission
Question 4: The Rashtriya e-market Services Ltd. (ReMS) is a _______.
- Joint venture created by the Government of India and the National Commodity & Derivatives Exchange Limited (NCDEX) in order to create a national common agricultural market
- Joint venture created by the Ministry of Commerce and Ministry of Agriculture in order to create a national common agricultural market
- Unified Market Platform offering single licensing system for around 50 agricultural markets in Karnataka
- Joint venture created by the Government of Madhya Pradesh and NCDEX Spot Exchange in order to create a unified state agricultural market
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