25 Mar 2018: UPSC Exam Comprehensive News Analysis

TABLE OF CONTENTS

A. GS1 Related
B. GS2 Related
POLITY
1. Fodder Scam: Lalu gets 14 years in jail
2. Cauvery Panel
HEALTH ISSUES
1. National Anti-TB Drug Resistance Survey report 
2. Non-reporting of Tuberculosis (TB) 
C. GS3 Related
SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY
1. Protein that prevents spread of cancer cells in liver discovered
2. Svalbard Global Seed Vault 
D. GS4 Related
F. Prelims Fact
G. UPSC Prelims Practice Questions
H. UPSC Mains Practice Questions 

A. GS1 Related

Nothing here for today!!!

B. GS2 Related

Category: POLITY

1. Fodder Scam: Lalu gets 14 years in jail

Context

  • A special CBI court has sentenced the former Bihar CM Lalu Prasad Yadav to a total of 14 years for two more convictions concerning his involvement in the fodder scam
  • Lalu was held guilty of two separate offences — one under the Indian Penal Code and the other under the Prevention of Corruption Act was handed separate sentences of seven years each.

Background

  • The fodder scam concerned embezzlement of public money earmarked for promotion of animal husbandry by officials of the department tasked with the job.
  • The combine raised forged bills to withdraw Rs 970 crore from government treasuries, the amount far exceeding the budget of the animal husbandry department.

Penalties

  • Prasad was sentenced to 14 years in jail, seven years each under Sections of 120(B), 419, 420, 467, 468 of the IPC and the Prevention of Corruption Act.
    • This is the maximum sentence awarded to any politician in the fodder scam.
  • He was also imposed a fine of Rs 60 lakh and directed the Enforcement Directorate to confiscate the assets of Lalu and other convicts, which may have been acquired from the illegal income they received by fraudulently withdrawing Rs 3.76 crore from the Dumka treasury between December 1995 and January 1996.
  • Considering the volume of fraudulent withdrawals, the court also slapped a cumulative fine of Rs 5.1 crore on the 19 convicts. 

2. Cauvery Panel

Context

  • The union Water Resources Ministry has prepared a draft detailing the structure of the Cauvery Management Board and is likely be circulated to other Ministries before being put up for clearance

Concern of States

  • The Board may have “extra members” to accommodate representations from States such as Karnataka and Kerala, who have expressed concerns over the constitution of the board

Cauvery Management Board

  • The Cauvery Management Board, according to the 2007 order of the Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal, is to have three full-time and six part-time members, the latter including one from each of the riparian States of Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and the Union Territory of Puducherry.

What will the board do?

  • The Board will monitor the inflow of waters in the Cauvery basin and decide the quantum of water to be released to the States and it will also have a Cauvery Water Regulation Committee to implement the Board’s decision.

Karnataka’s Objection

  • Karnataka has objected to the constitution of such a Board, saying the Supreme Court verdict only mentions a “scheme” and not a Board to take a call on matters of distribution

Category:HEALTH ISSUES

1. National Anti-TB Drug Resistance Survey report

Context

  • The first-ever survey of drug-resistant (DR) tuberculosis (TB) has found that over a quarter of patients in India could be resistant to one or more drugs that can cure them.
  • Among the 4,958 patients on whom drug susceptibility testing (DST) was conducted (necessary to find out if a person has drug resistant TB), 28% had resistance to one or the other anti-TB drug, while 6.19% had multi-drug resistant (MDR) TB.

Stats

  • India is home to 2.8 million TB patients, the largest in the world.
  • With 879 XDR patients, Maharashtra has the highest number of such patients.
  • Uttar Pradesh has the highest number of cases of drug-resistant TB (9,138)

No private sector data

  • The survey was done at designated microscopy centres (DMCs) within the laboratory network of the Revised National Tuberculosis Control Programme (RNTCP), and provides a conservative estimate of India’s actual disease burden.
  • The survey does not reveal the national burden of DR-TB as it does not include data from patients being treated in the private sector.

Targets

  • India has set itself the target of eliminating TB by 2025, five years ahead of the global target set under the Sustainable Development Goals.
  • To reach the ‘elimination’ target, the country will have to restrict new infections to less than one case per 100,000 people as against the current rate of 211 new infections per 100,000 people.

2. Non-reporting of Tuberculosis (TB)

Context

  • The government recently passed a gazette notification making the non-reporting of tuberculosis (TB) cases a punishable offence, with even a jail term of up to two years.
  • The move comes against the backdrop of the Prime Minister’s call to end TB in India by 2025, ushering in a ‘mission mode’ approach to defeat the disease.

Under-reporting of cases

  • The TB Programme continues to face the challenge of under-reporting of cases from the private sector, which caters to a majority of cases.
  • A study in The Lancet in 2016 estimated that as many as 22 lakh cases of TB were treated in the private sector in 2014; in the public sector, the figure was 14 lakh.
  • Despite efforts in the past decade to encourage higher case notifications, the private sector reported just over three lakh cases in 2016.
  • Going by The Lancet’s estimates, almost 19 lakh cases are still ‘missing’, a term used to define the gap between the estimated cases in the private sector and those reported to the government.

What is the harm if a patient is not reported to the government and is being diagnosed and treated in the private sector?

  • First, not being reported to the government means the true burden of the disease remains unknown.
    • What cannot be measured, therefore, cannot be improved upon.
  • Second, the absence of drug distribution controls and poor treatment practices accentuate the emergence of drug-resistant TB.
    • Anti-TB drugs are widely available without prescription at numerous pharmacy outlets.
    • Also, limited usage of the Standards for TB Care in India (STCI), which are the standard protocols to be adhered by providers, leads to incorrect diagnosis and improper treatment.
    • This in turn delays the commencement of treatment and can even contribute to drug resistance.
  • Finally, TB is five times more common among the economically weaker sections of society and the disease can have devastating financial and social consequences.
    • In order to address these issues, the government has proposed innovative measures which include a ‘direct benefit transfer’ for nutritional support and free diagnosis and treatment, particularly to patients being treated in the private sector.

Using Nikshay

  • A web-based application called ‘Nikshay’ was launched in 2012 to help providers notify cases to the authorities.
  • Doctors need to download the app. The data of the patients entered in the app will be linked to a server in CTD. This will help avoid its duplication
  • Apart from web based technology, SMS services have been used effectively for communication with patients and monitoring the programme on a day-to-day basis.
  • It has been developed by National Informatics Centre (NIC)
  • However, low awareness about this portal among private providers and technical difficulties in the software resulted in its low use.

Considering that punitive action can be taken against providers for not reporting cases, it is imperative that the reporting process itself becomes more accessible.

Way forward

  • Collaboration with forums such as the Indian Medical Association should also be explored to conduct sensitisation workshops to improve knowledge among private providers.
  • Thus, the notification policy, supplemented by the comprehensive strengthening of the public health system, greater engagement with the private sector, the simplification of the reporting process and more awareness among public and health-care providers, is sure to reach the goal of a TB-free India.

C. GS3 Related

Category: SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY

1. Protein that prevents spread of cancer cells in liver discovered

 

Context

  • Researchers have discovered a new protein that prevents the uncontrolled proliferation of cancer cells in the liver.
  • The protein, called LHPP, can serve as a biomarker for the diagnosis and prognosis of liver cancer

Details

  • The researchers show that the loss of LHPP promotes tumour growth and reduces the chance of survival of cancer patients.
  • The incidence of liver cancer, also known as hepatocellular carcinoma, is steadily increasing
  • Hepatocellular carcinoma is usually diagnosed at a very late stage when the liver is already severely damaged and hence overall prognosis is poor.
  • Detection of the anti-cancer protein LHPP as a biomarker may allow clinicians to provide better treatment options.

2. Svalbard Global Seed Vault

  • It is a long-term seed storage facility, built to stand the test of time — and the challenge of natural or man-made disasters. The Seed Vault represents the world’s largest collection of crop diversity.
  • It is famously called the ‘Doomsday’ or the ‘Apocalypse’ Seed Bank or ‘Noah’s Ark for seeds’.
  • It is owned by the Norwegian government.
  • The facility is managed through an agreement between the Norwegian ministry of agriculture and food, the Nordic Genetic Resource Centre (NordGen), and the Crop Trust (formerly known as the Global Crop Diversity Trust).

Purpose

  • The purpose of the Vault is to store duplicates (backups) of seed samples from the world’s crop collections.
  • Permafrost and thick rock ensure that the seed samples will remain frozen even without power. The Vault is the ultimate insurance policy for the world’s food supply, offering options for future generations to overcome the challenges of climate change and population growth.
  • It will secure, for centuries, millions of seeds representing every important crop variety available in the world today. It is the final back up.
  • The Svalbard Global Seed Vault holds the most diverse collection of food crop seeds in the world, with over 60,000 samples from India.The first deposit from India at Svalbard had the pigeon pea or arhar dal.

 

India’s Seed bank

  • India has national seed bank at the National Bureau of Plant Genetic Resources (NBPGR) in Delhi
  • India has its own mini version of the seed vault in Chang-La, about 75km from Leh. This National Permafrost Repository was started in 2009 by the DRDO, in collaboration with the NBPGR.
  • While the national seed bank has more than 1,500 crop species in the form of almost 400,000 seeds, the repository at Chang-La holds close to 5,000 seed samples from different plant species.

Extreme Altitude Research Center- Changla

  • It is India’s doomsday vault.
  • DRDO has established theworld’s highest terrestrial centre at 17,600 feet above sea level at Changla near Pengong lake in Ladakh.
  • The centre will serve as a natural cold storage for preserving rare and endangered medical plants for generations to come.
  • The centre will act as an important utility for research work in frontal areas of food and agriculture and bio-medical sciences for wellbeing of the soldiers deployed in high altitude cold desert.
  • Other activities that are proposed to be undertaken here include human physiological work, designing, testing, validation and demonstration of mobile and portable greenhouses, soil-less micro-farming technologies for fresh food in remote landlocked posts besides conservation and propagation of endangered extreme altitude medicinal plants and others.

Why was the place chosen?

  • Chang-La has the subzero temperatures and low humidity necessary to suspend seed life for future generations.
  • It is a site carefully chosen. It is far from rising seas and tectonic plate movement but around 75 km from the Leh aiport, it is close enough to human civilisation today to deposit the country’s agricultural heritage with ease.

Challenges

  • Security from the point of view of electricity and energy conservation, since gene banks rely heavily on artificial cooling systems.
  • Since it is a big project will need inputs from not only scientists, but engineers, earth sciences experts

D. GS4 Related

Nothing here for today!!!

E. Editorials

Nothing here for today!!!

F. Prelims Fact

Nothing here for today!!!

G. Practice Questions for UPSC Prelims Exam

Question 1. Which of the following are Refractory ceramics?
  1. Tantalum carbide
  2. Silver Copper Telluride (AgCuTe)
  3. Sodium Nitrite
  4. Hafnium carbide (HfC)

Which of the statements are correct?

  1. Only 1 and 2
  2. Only 1
  3. Only 1 and 4
  4. 1,2 and 3

See

Answer
Question 2. Mishmi Tribe belong to which state?
  1. Madhya Pradesh
  2. Himachal Pradesh
  3. Arunachal Pradesh
  4. Andhra Pradesh

See

Answer
Question 3. Consider the following statements, with reference to the National Conference on Drug Law Enforcement
  1. It was initiated by both Punjab Govt and Ministry of health
  2. This was in collaboration with World Narcotics body and WHO

Which of the statements are incorrect?

  1. 1 only
  2. 2 only
  3. Both 1 and 2
  4. None of the above

See

Answer
Question 4. World Happiness Index is published by
  1. World Economic Forum
  2. World Bank
  3. United Nations Sustainable Development Solutions Network
  4. Trans world pacific Group

See

Answer
Question 5. Look at the following statements about “Office of profit”
  1. It is defined in the constitution
  2. The president has the final powers in terms of disqualification and the court cannot look into the decision
  3. 15 Percent clause for the cabinet was part of original constitution

Which of the statements are correct?

  1. All of the above
  2. Only 2 and 3
  3. None of the above
  4. Only 1 and 2

See

Answer

H. UPSC Mains Practice Questions

General Studies II

POLITY

  1. Indian Govt Mission for eliminating TB by 2025 requires a networked approach from laws to IT, from regulation to awareness. Examine.

General Studies III

ECOLOGY

2.Conservation is the need of the hour with the constant changes in Climate. Explain in reference to Svalbard Global Seed Vault and similar such initiatives in India.

 

Also, check previous Daily News Analysis

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