07th and 08th August 2021 Daily Current Affairs

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Siachen Glacier, one of the world’s longest mountain glaciers, is part of

 a) Ladakh

 b) The Zaskar

 c) Karakoram Range

 d) Greater Himalayas

2)Which of the following is/are stated in the Constitution of India?

The President shall not be a member of either houses of Parliament.

The Parliament shall consist of the President and two houses

Offices of the leader of the House and the leader of the Opposition.

Select the correct answer code:

 a) 1 only

 b) 1, 2

 c) 1, 3

 d) 1, 2, 3

3)Consider the following statements regarding Pardoning Powers of Governor.

The Governor cannot Pardon a Death Sentence.

The Governor cannot grant pardon in respect to punishment or sentence by a court-martial.

The Governor cannot pardon the sentence of any person convicted of any offence against any law relating to a matter to which the executive power of the state extends.

Which of the above statements is/are correct?

 a) 2 only

 b) 1, 2

 c) 2, 3

 d) 1, 2, 3

4) The provisions relating to the emoluments, allowances, privileges under Second Schedule are covered for

The Judges of the High Courts

The Comptroller and Auditor-General of India

The members of Parliament

The state ministers

Deputy Chairman of the Legislative Council in the states

Select the correct answer code:

 a) 1, 2, 3

 b) 1, 2, 3, 4

 c) 1, 2, 5

 d) 1, 2, 3, 4, 5

PRELIMS SPECIFIC NEWS

1) The first National Heart Failure Biobank (NHFB) in India was inaugurated at the Sree Chitra Tirunal Institute for Medical Sciences and Technology (SCTIMST).

About Biobank:

A biobank is a collection of biological samples (such as blood) and health information.

It can be used to understand molecular pathways and to improve the diagnosis, prognosis, and treatment of diseases.

About National Heart Failure Biobank (NHFB):

National Heart Failure Biobank(NHFB) is the first heart failure Biobank in the country that would collect blood, biopsies, and clinical data as a guide for future diagnosis and treatment of Heart Failure Patients.

2)What is the News?

Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation(MOSPI) has released a report titled “Elderly in India 2021”.The report is based on the findings of the Technical Group on Population Projections for India and States for 2011-2036.

Key Findings of the Elderly in India 2021 Report:

Elderly in India 2021

 Growth of Elderly Population:

The general population has grown by 12.4% during 2011-2021 in comparison to around 18% in the earlier decade.

On the other hand, the elderly population has grown by 36% in each of the last two decades (2001-2011 and 2011-2021).

A high growth rate in the elderly population compared to the general population was also observed earlier in the two decades between 1961 and 1981.

Reasons: The growth in the elderly population has been attributed to the longevity of life achieved because of economic well-being, better healthcare and medical facilities and reduction in fertility rates.

State Wise Elderly Population:

As per 2021 data, Kerala has the maximum proportion (16.5%) of elderly people in its population.

It was followed by Tamil Nadu (13.6%), Himachal Pradesh (13.1%), Punjab (12.6%) and Andhra Pradesh (12.4%).

The proportion of the Elderly Population is the least in Bihar (7.7%) followed by Uttar Pradesh (8.1%) and Assam (8.2%).

2)Frog enthusiast in Kerala has constructed two ponds at Windermere Estate to restore the habitat for the Anaimalai flying frog.

About Anaimalai flying frog:

Anaimalai flying frog (Racophorus pseudomalabaricus) is also known as the False Malabar Gliding Frog.

The frog is endemic to the southern part of the Western Ghats.

Characteristics of the Anaimalai flying frog:

The frog is usually larger than bush frogs.

Bush Frog is a species of Frog belonging to the family Rhacophoridae.

3)India gave a major defeat to China when the Director-General of Coast Guard, K Natarajan, was elected as the next executive director of the Regional Cooperation Agreement on Combating Piracy and Armed Robbery against Ships in Asia (ReCAAP).

About ReCAAP:

ReCAAP is the first regional government-to-government agreement to promote and enhance cooperation against piracy and armed robbery against ships in Asia.

Launched in: ReCAAP Agreement was launched in 2006 with 14 Asian Contracting Parties including North, Southeast, and South Asian countries.

Members: Currently, it has 20 Contracting Parties including Europe (Norway, the Netherlands, Denmark, and the United Kingdom), Australia, and the United States.

Other Members include India, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, China, Japan, South Korea, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand. Philippines, Brunei, Vietnam. Cambodia and Singapore.

Pillars: Information sharing, capacity building and mutual legal assistance are the three pillars of cooperation under the ReCAAP agreement.

Headquarters: Singapore

4) Who was Dara Shikoh (1615-1659)?

The final resting place of Mughal prince Dara Shikoh remains a mystery, with the Archaeological Survey of India saying it has not located the grave within the Humayun’s Tomb complex.

Dara Shikoh

  • Dara Shikoh, who was Mughal emperor Shah Jahan’s son and expected heir, was killed on the orders of his brother Aurangzeb in 1659 after losing the war of succession.
  • He was the eldest son and heir-apparent of the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan.
  • Dara was designated with the title Padshahzada-i-Buzurg Martaba (Prince of High Rank) and was favored as a successor by his father and his older sister, Princess Jahanara Begum.
  • In the war of succession which ensued after Shah Jahan’s illness in 1657, Dara was defeated by his younger brother Prince Muhiuddin (Aurangzeb).
  • He was executed in 1659 on Aurangzeb’s orders in a bitter struggle for the imperial throne.

His legacy

  • Dara was a liberal-minded unorthodox Muslim as opposed to the orthodox Aurangzeb.
  • He authored the work The Confluence of the Two Seas, which argues for the harmony of Sufi philosophy in Islam and Vedanta philosophy in Hinduism.
  • It was Dara Shikoh who was responsible for making the Upanishads available to the West as he had them translated.
  • He had commissioned a translation of Yoga Vasistha.
  • A great patron of the arts, he was also more inclined towards philosophy and mysticism rather than military pursuits.
  • The course of the history of the Indian subcontinent, had Dara Shikoh prevailed over Aurangzeb, has been a matter of some conjecture among historians.

Q.Who among the following Mughal Emperors shifted emphasis from illustrated manuscripts to album and individual portrait?

(a) Humayun

(b) Akbar

(c) Jahangir

(d) Shah Jahan

5)What is Absorption Spectroscopy?

Researchers from IIT Madras and IISER Kolkata have developed a method to detect minute quantities of chemicals in solution using Absorption Spectroscopy.

Note: These days there has been a rise in questions from biology (rather cell biology in particular).

Absorption Spectroscopy

  • Absorption spectroscopy is a tool to detect the presence of elements in a medium.
  • Light is shone on the sample, and after it passes through the sample is examined using a spectroscope.
  • Dark lines are seen in the observed spectrum of the light passed through the substance, which correspond to the wavelengths of light absorbed by the intervening substance and are characteristic of the elements present in it.
  • In usual methods, about a cubic centimeter of the sample is needed to do this experiment.
  • In the method developed here, minute amounts of dissolved substances can be detected easily.
  • Usually in absorption spectroscopy, the principle used is that light because of its wavelike nature, shows diffraction patterns, that is, dark and light fringes, when it scatters off any object.

Studying small objects

  • A related concept called the Abbe criterion sets a natural limit on the size of the object being studied.
  • According to this criterion, the size of the observed object has to be at least of the order of the wavelength of the light being shone on it.
  • If one wants to perform absorption spectroscopy using visible light, namely, blue, green and red, the wavelengths [of these colours] are about 400 nm, 500 nm and 600 nm, respectively.

What has Indian researchers achieved?

  • In the method used by the researchers here, tiny, nano-sized particles that can absorb light being shone on them and re-emit red, blue and green light were employed.
  • The particles emit electric fields that are analogous to how a tiny magnet would give off magnetic lines of force – this is called a dipole, and the particle is like a tiny mobile phone’s antenna.
  • This dipole generates an electromagnetic field depending upon the quantum properties of the erbium dopants in the glass.
  • The absorption leaves a gap in the reflected light, which is what is observed and used to analyse the nature of the absorbing material.

Applications of this technology

  • There are many potential applications.
  • Small molecules almost ten-millionth of an mm in diameter can be detected while these pass the emission region of the glass particle.
  • The future is to use it to measure individual molecules, see absorption spectroscopy of a single DNA or protein molecule.

Try this

Q.Which of the following statements are correct regarding the general difference between plant and animal cells?

  1. Plant cells have cellulose cell walls whilst animal cells do not.
  2. Plant cells do not have plasma membranes unlike animal cells which do.
  3. Mature plant cell has one large vacuole whilst an animal cell has many small vacuoles.

Select the correct answer using the code given below:

(a) 1 and 2 only

(b) 2 and 3 only

(c) 1 and 3 only

(d) 1, 2 and 3

Editorials of the Day

South Asia’s emerging digital transformation

Synopsis: Adoption of digital technology has increased manifold during the pandemic, and it will continue its upward trajectory. An analysis of the issues involved with digitization and how South Asia can leverage its potential to come out of economic stagnancy.

Context

Covid-19 has forced South Asia to take a quantum leap in digitization. The shift to remote work and online education has led to rapid increase in internet penetration. Even a small nation like Nepal recorded almost 11% increase in internet users. For a region with an inadequate public health infrastructure it acted as a watershed moment providing novel solution to the public health crises.

Impact of Covid 19 on digitisation

  1. Accelerated launch of National Digital Health Mission – In India, COVID-19 accelerated the launch of the National Digital Health Mission, enhancing the accessibility and the efficiency of health-care services by creating a unique health ID for every citizen.
  2. Increased adoption of E-commerce – The pandemic-induced lockdown spurred South Asia’s embrace of e-commerce, boosted by digital payment systems. For instance, Bangladesh alone witnessed an increase of 70-80% in online sales in 2020, generating $708.46 million in revenues.

Why digitization is key for India and South Asia?

Digital transformation through advanced technologies such as cloud computing, artificial intelligence, the Internet of things, Big Data, etc., will become  key to success in future and thus role of digital technology can not be overlooked.

  • Economic growth – Adoption of digital tech will drive post-pandemic growth in South Asia, including India.
  • Business opportunities – digitization will provide new business opportunities and access to larger markets
  • Create employment – In India, e-commerce could create a million jobs by 2030 and be worth $200 billion by 2026
  • Poverty reduction and financial inclusion – Fintech could drive significant growth and reduce poverty by building financial inclusion

Problems with digitization 

  1. Lack of access – Despite having the world’s second-largest online market, 50% of India’s population are without Internet, 59% for Bangladesh and 65% for Pakistan.
  2. Gender divide – 51% of women in South Asia got excluded from social security measures due to lack of access to internet.
  3. Exclusion of children – According to UNICEF data 88% of children lacked access to Internet powered homeschooling which can create other problems such as increase in out of school children, place girls at risk of early marriages, can push poor children into child labor
  4. Impact on businesses – Many South Asian firms failed to embrace e-commerce or other cloud-based technologies to survive the financial problems of the novel coronavirus pandemic. The region recorded a 64% decline in sales, with small and women-led firms impacted the most.
  5. Creating unemployment – With increased pace of digitization due to Covid crisis, the acute skill gap among the youth will create problem of unemployment.

Digitisation in South Asia: South Asia has also made significant strides in the adoption of digital technologies.

  • The Digital Bangladesh Vision 2021 envisages transforming Bangladesh into a prosperous, digital society
  • India’s JAM Trinity (Jan Dhan, Aadhar and Mobile) systems intend to improve the efficiency of welfare programmes through digital innovation.

However, the region still has a long way to go.

Measures/Suggestions

  1. Addressing legal and regulatory issues -South Asia needs to address legal, regulatory and policy gaps as well as boost digital skills
  2. Boosting digital infrastructure – A robust digital infrastructure is a sine qua non
  3. Increasing Funding to the sector – public private partnership needs to be leveraged for the region’s digital infrastructure financing
  4. Regulatory roadblocks need to be addressed – as e-commerce regulations are weak in South Asia
  5. Other issues – such as customer protection, digital and market access regulation, etc. need to be addressed
  6. Addressing digital illiteracy and skills – Governments and businesses need to come together to revamp the education system to meet the demand for digital skills and online platforms
  7. Stringent cybersecurity measures – needed to protect data of the users.
  8. Cooperation among countries: Roadblocks to digitization could be effectively addressed, drawing inspiration from recent cooperation among South Asian countries against the COVID crisis. To fight COVID, South Asian countries collaborated with various initiatives like contributing towards a COVID-19 emergency fund, exchanging data and information on health surveillance, sharing research findings etc.

Conclusion

Collaboration at all levels is needed to push South Asia out of stagnancy and towards a digital future of shared prosperity. A shared “digital vision” could place the region on the right track towards the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

Editorial 02 : Harness power of nature-based solutions to fight climate crisis: G20 ministers

Synopsis: India can leverage the global best practices regarding Nature-based solutions (NbS) to fight against the climate crisis. Significance of NbS and discussion of its major roadblocks.

Background

In the recently concluded meeting of The environment, energy and climate ministers from the ‘Group of 20’ on in Naples, the Ministers expressed their commitments towards addressing the challenges presented by urbanization, climate change and biodiversity loss. A major emphasis was placed on the inclusion of nature-based solutions (NbS) in the fight against the climate crisis.

Nature-based solutions (NbS)

Nature-based solutions to climate change involve conserving, restoring or better managing ecosystems to remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. It is a relatively new concept and still at a nascent stage of development. However, certain countries of G20 have begun implementing this concept already, like

  1. Argentina – It launched the Forest AR2030 platform to boost environmental sustainability through massive restoration programmes. The initiative aimed to restore two million hectares of forested land.
  2. Canada – It is establishing a natural climate solutions fund that will be investing $4 billion over the next 10 years.
  3. European Union – It is among the top leaders of NbS. It has implemented numerous projects and funding programmes like Horizon 2020
  4. China has been aggressively pursuing the NbS since the 1998 mass flooding. They have established more than 20,000 miles of levees systems.
    • Levee is an embankment built to prevent the overflow of a river.

Significance for India

India can potentially leverage these global practices and harness multiple benefits by implementing NbS.

  1. Protecting coastal cities – Planting mangroves can play a crucial role in climate-proofing India’s coastal cities
  2. Mitigating Urban Heat Islands – NbS can be an effective tool in mitigating urban heat island problems.
  3. Creating resilient cities – By protecting cities against urban flooding and improving air quality.
    • Programmes such as GrowGreen, funded by the European Union or the Sponge City programme in China, have been exemplary examples of managing urban floods and addressing urban heat stress.
  4. Fulfilling international obligations – NbS effectively link the long-term agenda of ecosystem restoration announced by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), Sendai framework and others.

Major roadblocks

The failure of developed countries  to mobilize $100 billion Climate fund post the Paris Agreement, 2015 and secure new financial resources for the implementation of NbS in developing countries is acting as major roadblock for effective implementation of NbS.

Editorial 03 :-

India’s schoolchildren need their childhood back

Context: Indian schools have been closed for 16 months and counting apart from sporadically opening for the higher-grade students.

Impact of School Closures.

  • In-person school education teaches children to share, wait for their turn, negotiate, and compromise; by depriving them of social contact, children are deprived of essential learning and development.
  • For children from economically weak backgrounds, schools are a key source of nutrition (mid-day meals scheme). Closure of schools means adverse impact on the access to nutrition.
  • For some, schools serve as safe spaces from the chaos of their homes. Without schools they are more vulnerable to abuse from others & getting trapped into anti-social activities
  • For many children, particularly those who do not have educated parents or cannot afford home tutors, the denial of education results in learning losses and, ultimately, denial of a chance to earn a livelihood.
  • Continuation of school closure is not required because Sero surveillance among children (<18 years) shows that more than 50% of children from both urban and rural areas had antibodies. This means they were already infected and developed antibodies.

 It is possible to think about starting schools in areas where the community level of infection is low. A one-size-fits-all approach across India will not work.

As immediate measures, governments should:

  • Vaccinate: Call for lists of school staff and procure full vaccination for them.
  • Reduce vaccine gap: Scientists should confirm if the gap between doses can be made shorter to school staff akin to health-care workers
  • Awareness Campaign: Engage relevant experts to undertake public campaigns to make school staff and parents aware of the low risk of transmission in schools and low severity in children
  • Issue guidance for staggered re-opening of primary schools — e.g., 50% attendance or smaller groups of students on alternate days or weeks;
  • Hybrid System: Upgrade school infrastructure to facilitate a hybrid system of learning where parents who do not wish to send their children to school have the choice to continue with online learning.
  • Formulate and issue guidance on COVID-19 protocols to be adopted by schools — distancing to the extent possible, outdoor classes weather-permitting, masking, hand hygiene, and proper ventilation
  • Greater investment in paediatric facilities, and implementation of systems to track local level of infections

Conclusion

Director of Education for UNICEF, said, “There are many countries in which parents can go out and have a nice steak dinner, but their seven-year-old is not going to school. “We need to come together to fix that problem and give our young children their childhood back.

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