Daily Current Affairs and MCQs for UPSC - November 09, 2020 (The Hindu, Economic Times, PIB)

Likelihood of future pandemics, their damage potential, as per a new report.

Focus: GS2.

Topic: Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources, issues relating to poverty and hunger.


Context

  • In a new report released by the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem (IPBES), the authors have warned that future pandemics will emerge more often, they’ll spread more rapidly, do more damage to the world and kill more people than COVID-19, unless significant measures are taken.
  • The IPBES was established by the United Nations, but functions independently.

Background

    Highlights

    • There are over 1.7 million currently ‘undiscovered’ viruses that exist in mammals and birds, out of which up to 827,000 could have the ability to infect people.
    • The report goes on to say that more than 70 per cent of emerging diseases, such as Ebola, Zika and Nipah, are caused by microbes found in animals that spill over due to contact among wildlife, livestock and people.
    • About 30 per cent of emerging infectious diseases are attributed to land use change, agricultural expansion and urbanisation.
    • Further, almost 100 per cent of the pandemics so far, which includes influenza, SARS and COVID-19, have been zoonoses (diseases caused by germs that spread between animals and people).
    • The estimated value of the legal international wildlife trade in 2019 was about $107 billion, a 500 per cent increase since 2005 and a 2000 per cent increase since the 1980s.
    • The estimated cost of the COVID-19 pandemic is somewhere between $8-$16 trillion, while the economic impact of the 2014 Ebola epidemic in West Africa amounted to $53 billion.

    Source: Indian Express.

    The Miyas of Assam, and their char-chapori culture

    Focus: GS1.

    Topic: Salient features of Indian Society, Diversity of India.


    Context

    Months ahead of the Assembly elections, a proposed “Miya museum” reflecting the “culture and heritage of the people living in char-chaporis” has stirred up a controversy in Assam.

    Background

    Last month, Assam BJP minister Himanta Biswa Sarma tweeted out a letter from Congress MLA Sherman Ali that requested the government to expedite the process of constructing a museum “reflecting the culture and heritage of the people living in char-chaporis” in Guwahati’s Srimanta Sankardeva Kalakshetra.

    About Miyas

    • The ‘Miya’ community comprises descendants of Muslim migrants from East Bengal (now Bangladesh) to Assam.
    • They came to be referred to as ‘Miyas’, often in a derogatory manner.
    • The community migrated in several waves — starting with the British annexation of Assam in 1826, and continuing into Partition and the 1971 Bangladesh Liberation War — and have resulted in changes in demographic composition of the region.
    • Years of discontent among the indigenous people led to the six-year-long (1979-85) anti-foreigner Assam Agitation to weed out the “illegal immigrant”, who was perceived as trying to take over jobs, language and culture of the indigenous population.

    About char-chaporis

    • A char is a floating island while chaporis are low-lying flood-prone riverbanks.
    • The website of the Directorate of Char Areas Development puts the population of chars at 24.90 lakh as per a socio-economic survey in 2002-03.
    • Prone to floods and erosion, these areas are marked by low development indices.
    • A UNDP Assam Human Development report from 2014 describes the char areas as suffering from “communication deficits, lack of adequate schooling facilities beyond primary, girl child marriage, poverty and illiteracy.
    • While Bengali-origin Muslims primarily occupy these islands, other communities such as Misings, Deoris, Kocharis, Nepalis also live here.
    • In popular imagination, however, chars have become synonymous to the Bengali-speaking Muslims of dubious nationality.

    Source: Indian Express.

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    ANT Group

    Focus: GS3.

    Topic: Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization of resources, growth, development and employment.


    Context

    • The scheduled initial public offering (IPO) of Ant Group has been delayed, after its plans of listing on the Shanghai and Hong Kong’s stock exchanges were prevented by authorities.
    • The listing was suspended after the regulators had a meeting with Ant Group founder Jack Ma and other top executives of the company.

    Background

    • In 2004, Alibaba, started to build out a super fast payments platform, which it said would enable its users to make payments easily.
    • In order to capitalise on the various offerings of Alipay, Ma brought it under a company called Ant Financial. The company was later re-christened as Ant Group.
    • For now, the Ant Group will have to change its working practices in order to satisfy the authorities if it wishes to float a new IPO. 

    About IPO

    • An initial public offering (IPO) refers to the process of offering shares of a private corporation to the public in a new stock issuance.
    • Public share issuance allows a company to raise capital from public investors.
    • Companies hire investment banks to market, gauge demand, set the IPO price and date, and more.
    • An IPO can be seen as an exit strategy for the company’s founders and early investors, realizing the full profit from their private investment.

    Source: Indian Express.

    CSIR-CDRI Scientist, Dr Susanta Kar, honoured with “Prof.A N Bhaduri Memorial Lecture Award-2020" by the Society of Biological Chemists

    Focus: GS3.

    Topic: Science and Technology- developments and their applications and effects in everyday life Achievements of Indians in science & technology; indigenization of technology and developing new technology.


    Context

    To recognize the significant contributions towards defining the survival tactics of Leishmania donovani, Society of Biological Chemists (India) has chosen Dr Susanta Kar,Senior Scientist, Molecular Parasitology and Immunology, CSIR-CDRI, Lucknow for this year's Prof.A N Bhaduri Memorial Lecture Award.

    About Leishmania Donovani

    • Leishmania Donovani is a protozoan parasite that infects macrophages and is a causative agent of visceral leishmaniasis(Kala Azar), a lethal infectious disease affecting millions worldwide.
    • Susanta Kar’s  research group studied the interaction of Leishmaniawith immune cells like macrophages, dendritic cells and T cells and the fate of these interactions on modulation of various intracellular signalling cascades that ultimately affect immune response/infection progression.

    Highlights

    • Society of Biological Chemists (India) has instituted many awards, in order to recognize the meritorious and significant contributions made by the researchers/scientists on the development of biological sciences in the country, The Society of Biological Chemists (India) or SBC (I) was founded in 1930, with its Head Quarters at Indian Institute of Science, Bengaluru.
    • This prestigious society was registered under the Societies Act in the then Princely State of Mysore.
    • The award is conferred in every two years. 
    • Recipient of the award should be below 50 years of age.
    • The Award is given for Biological Chemistry and Allied sciences, preferably related to parasitic infections.

    Source: PIB.

    Climate change: US formally withdraws from Paris agreement

    Focus: GS3.

    Topic: Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment.


    Context

    • After a three-year delay, the US has become the first nation in the world to formally withdraw from the Paris climate agreement.
    • President Trump announced the move in June 2017, but UN regulations meant that his decision only takes effect the day after the US election.

    Background

    • The delay is down to the complex rules that were built into the Paris agreement to cope with the possibility that a future US president might decide to withdraw the country from the deal.
    • Previous attempts to put together a global pact on climate change had foundered because of internal US politics.

    Highlights

    • The US could re-join it in future, should a president choose to do so.
    • The Paris deal was drafted in 2015 to strengthen the global response to the threat of climate change.
    • It aims to keep the global temperature rise this century well below 2C above pre-industrial levels and to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase even further to 1.5C.
    • The Clinton administration was unable to secure Senate backing for the Kyoto Protocol, agreed in 1997.
    • So in the run up to the Paris climate talks, President Obama's negotiators wanted to ensure that it would take time for the US to get out if there was a change in leadership.
    • Even though the agreement was signed in December 2015, the treaty only came into force on 4 November 2016, 30 days after at least 55 countries representing 55% of global emissions had ratified it.
    • No country could give notice to leave the agreement until three years had passed from the date of ratification.
    • Even then, a member state still had to serve a 12-month notice period on the UN.

    Source: BBC.

    Computation of maintenance to estranged wife to include child care

    Focus: GS1.

    Topic: Role of women and women's organization, population and associated issues, poverty and developmental issues, urbanization, their problems and their remedies.


    Context

    • The Supreme Court ruled that Computation of maintenance to estranged wife will include child care.
    • The Supreme Court said if an estranged wife gave up her job to take care of children and the elderly in the family, then this will have to be taken into consideration by the family court while quantifying monthly interim maintenance payable to her by the husband.

    Background

    • The court also found that pleas for grant of interim maintenance were pending in courts for years even though the law stipulated a 60-day window, from the date of issuance of notice by the court to a husband on the estranged wife’s application, for grant of maintenance.
    • This is the first time that the highest court has considered the sacrifices made by career women in taking care of children.

    Highlights

    • The SC ruled that this would be an added component for enhancing the grant of interim compensation to her, so that she could lead a life almost akin to what she was used to when all was well in the matrimonial home.
    • Normally, the courts take into account the husband’s income and assets while quantifying interim maintenance to an estranged wife.
    • As of now, Neither the Hindu Marriage Act nor the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act specified the date from which interim maintenance was to be granted, leading to exercise of discretion by family courts.

    Source: Indian Express.

    Prasar Bharati signs MoU with Electronics and IT Ministry to launch 51 education TV channels

    Focus: GS2.                                

    Topic: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.


    Context

    India’s public broadcaster Prasar Bharati on Wednesday entered into a MoU with the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology to launch 51 direct-to-home (DTH) education TV channels.

    Background

    The Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed between Prasar Bharati and Bhaskaracharya National Institute for Space Applications and Geo-Informatics under the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology aims to bring quality educational programmes to every household, including those in rural and remote areas, the government said in a statement.

    Highlights

    • “Under the ambit of this MoU, 51 DTH education TV channels comprising Swaymprabha (22 channels) (M/o Education), e-Vidya for classes 1 to 12 (12 channels) of NCERT, Vande Gujarat (Govt. of Gujarat) (16 channels) and DigiShala under M/o Electronics and IT (1 channel) shall be available as DD co-branded channels to all DD FreeDish viewers. This move aims to bring quality educational programmes to every household, including those in rural and remote areas,” it said.
    • The services will be available free of cost for all the viewers 24x7, in line with government’s commitment towards skill development and providing quality education to the last person in the country, it said.
    • “This government initiative will go a long way in achieving Government’s goal of providing education to all,” the statement said.

    Source: AIR News.

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    Test your Knowledge

    1. Which of the following statement(s) is/are correct about enhanced Pinaka rocket:
    • It is developed by ISRO.
    • The enhanced Pinaka along with guidance Pinaka will cover the range between 60 to 90 kilometres and will be deployed by the Indian Army.
    • Enhanced version of the Pinaka rocket would replace the existing Pinaka Mk-I rockets which are currently under production.

    Select the correct answer using the codes given below:

      A. 1 and 2 only
      B. 2 and 3 only
      C. 1 and 3 only
      D. AOTA

    Solution: B

    • The design and development has been carried out by Pune based DRDO laboratories, namely Armament Research and Development Establishment, ARDE and High Energy Materials Research Laboratory, HEMRL.

    1. Gandhian Young Technological Innovation awards is constituted by:

       A. Ministry of Science and Technology
       B. Ministry of Home Affairs
       C. NITI Aayog
       D. PMO

    Solution: A

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