Tiger Census, RTE, Education Down to Earth 16th to 31st 2019 (Download PDF)

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MCQ Tracker – Target Prelims: Change in definition of tiger census, Phytosanitary certificate, Methyl bromide, Fall armyworm, Gaur – Vulnerable - IUCN, Green New Deal, Green Marshall Plan, Colistin, Kangech, Vitamin B12, Higher Education, RTI Act.

Highlights Chandrayaan-2, India’s second mission to the moon, will study the cold traps and fossil records of the early solar system in the south poleThe Gaur or the Indian bison, which is the largest extant bovine, forages a tea plantation near Coonoor city in Tamil Nadu. Listed as a vulnerable species by IUCN, its population has declined by more than 70 per cent during the last three generations

  • UN Climate Action Summit to be held in New York between September 23 and 29. The companies, which have a combined market capitalisation of US $1.3 trillion, have agreed to meet the new targets set under the SR 1.5 report released by UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change last December. The report says the world will have to cut its greenhouse gas (ghg) emissions by 45 per cent in the next 11 years and bring it to zero by 2050 to limit the global rise of temperatures to 1.5oC above the pre-industrial level
  • Green Climate Fund (set up in 2010 to assist developing countries adapt climate mitigation practices) will also get replenished soon with countries such as Norway and Germany agreeing to double their contributions.
  • 164 land and environmental activists were killed in 2018 across the world, which averages to over three every week
  • 30 of the murdered activists were in the Philippines, making it the most vulnerable country
  • > 50% of the killings took place in Latin America, which has consistently ranked as the worst-affected continent since Global Witness began publishing data on killings in 2012
  • India -69 % area is dryland. The dryland population vulnerable to water stress, drought intensity and habitat degradation is projected to reach 178 million people by 2050 at 1.5°C warming, increasing to 220 million people at 2°C warming, and 270 million people at 3°C warming

Highlights

  • FOR THE first time ever, a deep-learning algorithm has taught itself an efficient way to solve a Rubik’s cube, which has over 43 quintillion possible combinations—but only 1 solution
  • RESEARCHERS AT the University of Michigan, USA, have harnessed organic semiconductors to build an ultra-lightweight camera sensor that is more flexible and light-sensitive than traditional sensors made of inorganic semiconductors. The organic sensor—made from carbon-rich compounds — can also withstand cosmic radiation, making it attractive for use in space
  • TIRUMALA, A temple town in Andhra Pradesh’s Chittoor district, treats 83 per cent of its wastewater and uses it for a number of non-potable purposes such as maintaining and developing gardens, parks and forest area and cultivating sandalwood.
  • The Supreme Court has stayed an order of the Uttarakhand High Court that prohibits mining within 1 km upstream and downstream of the river bridges within the state
  • National Green Tribunal (NGT) has asked the Delhi government to immediately comply with a December verdict that had ordered it to deposit `25 crore for the environment damage caused by plastic burning
  • Supreme Court has ordered the Meghalaya government to transfer Rs. 100 crore to the Central Pollution Control Board for environmental restoration due to coal mining

Timber Mafia In Odisha

  • Work by Dengajhari village in Odisha’s Nayagarh district
  • Urbanisation in the 1970s fuelled rampant timber smuggling in the hills adjoining the village that has just 31 families – streams dried off
  • Women patrolled with lathis – faced verbal abuse.
  • By the mid-90s, the natural sal forests in the hills started to regenerate.
  • Deer, boar, peacock, monkeys and bears can be easily spotted in the forest

Tiger Census

  • Odisha, Chattisgarh and Jharkhand AP and Telangana registered decline in tiger population.
  • overall tiger population in the country has improved from 1,411 in 2006 to 2,967 in 2018
  • The states with the highest tiger population are Madhya Pradesh (526), Karnataka (524) and Uttarakhand (442). The high numbers could have been due to the change in the methodology. Till 2014, tigers older than 1.5 years were counted. In the recent census, the cutoff age was reduced to one year.

RTI Act Amendments

  • RAJASTHAN - right to information evolved and revolutionised India’s governance in the form of Right to Information (RTI) Act, 2005.
  • After the passage of the Right to Information (Amendment) Bill, 2019, Rajasthan is also the state that has to withhold selection of its state information commissioners, even after having issued the notification, because the Centre is yet to prescribe their status, salary and term. The status of information commissioners under the RTI Act, 2005, and according to the Constitution of India, will be totally denied with this amendment, which is designed to encroach upon the states’ power to implement this right within their territory.
  • The amendment cannot stand scrutiny because it violates Article 19 (1) (a) of the Constitution, of which the right to information remains an integral part.
  • The gist of the amendments is: a) the “five year fixed term or up to age of 65 years whichever is earlier” is removed; b) the status, term and salary of the chief information commissioner, which are now equal to that of the chief election commissioner, will be reduced; and, c) it is contemplated to give powers to the Centre to prescribe the term, salary and status of the information commissioners both at the Centre and the states from time to time.
  • Deletion of appointing deputy commissioners
  • Removal of clause - “…may exercise all such powers and do all such acts and things which may be exercised or done by the Central Information Commission autonomo-usly without being subjected to directions by any other authority under this Act”.
  • The speakers of the Lok Sabha and the Vidhan Sabhas, the chairperson of the Rajya Sabha and the Legislative Councils, the chief justice of India and the chief justices of the respective high courts are vested with the power to make rules to implement their RTI Act within their jurisdiction.
  • number of RTI queries filed with the Centre has risen from 24,426 in 2005 - 06 to over 1.4 million in 2017 - 18. “

Climate Change

  • Green New Deal (GND) resolution - cut US emissions by promoting renewable energy and simultaneously address economic and racial inequalities;
  • to switch US power production entirely to zero-emission sources by 2030
  • While advocating that global emissions will have to hit net-zero by 2050 to stay below the global warming threshold of 1.5oC, gnd does not recognise the fact that the US, being a massive historic polluter, should aim at a net zero carbon economy well before 2050.
  • Though Elizabeth Warren has proposed a “green marshall plan”, which is essentially a commitment of $100 billion over 10 years to foreign governments, the amount is too low. It is in the form of loans rather than aid
  • Joe Biden - intends to “lead a major diplomatic push to raise the ambitions of countries’ climate targets”, by convening a climate world summit within his first 100 days in office “to persuade (major carbon emitting nations) to join the US in making more ambitious national pledges”. Biden plans to invest $400 billion over 10 years in clean energy research and innovation, which would be funded by reversing Trump’s tax cuts
  • Kamal Harris - establish an independent Office of Climate and Environmental Justice Accountability to represent the views of frontline communities in rulemaking

Agricultural Imports and Invasive Species

  • 2019 - Onion weed (Asphodelus fistulosus) - Africa, South Europe and West AsiaOnion; Maharashtra
  • 2016 - The rugose spiraling whitefly - Central America - Banana, coconut, mango and jackfruit; Kerala
  • 2014 - Tomato leafminer (Tuta absoluta) - South America –Tomato; Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu
  • 2012 - The papaya mealy bug (Paracoccus marginatus) - North America; Papaya - Assam, West Bengal, Rajasthan, Karnataka, Kerala, Tamil Nadu
  • In the past 15 years, India has faced at least 10 major invasive pest and weed attacks. The most recent was the fall armyworm that destroyed almost the entire maize crop in the country in 2018. India had to import maize in 2019 due to the damage caused by the pest in 2018
  • Countries have animal, plant and health quarantine facilities at all transborder entry points (Hawaii)

IMPORT OF AGRICULTURAL products is governed by the Destructive Insects and Pests Act, 1914. The country has 108 plant quarantine centres located at major airports, seaports and transborder railway stations. The check posts at these quarantine centres are under the control of the Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs (CBITC), which works in close coordination with dppqs. When an agricultural product arrives, customs officials check if it has a phytosanitary certificate or not. This certificate, showing that the product is without any pest or weed infestation, is issued by the government of the exporting country.

  • If the product has not been given a phytosanitary certificate, the foreign government is obliged to inform India, in which case DPPQS fumigates the product with methyl bromide and issues a phytosanitary certificate. The fumigation is for two to 48 hours and depends upon the volume and quality of the product, and the country of origin.
  • Moreover, only 57, or only half of India’s plant quarantine centres, are functional
  • The case came to limelight in 2007 after the US Department of Justice released a report stating that DOW AgroSciences, a US company, gave $0.2 million in bribes to India’s quarantine officials between 1996 and 2001 to get its products cleared at different ports in the country. More recently, in 2017, DPPQS transferred the entire staff of the Chennai regional plant quarantine station after cbi seized unaccounted money from officials on the charge of clearing consignments based on fake phytosanitary certificates.
  • 2018 -The fall armyworm (Spodoptera frugiperda) North and South America Maize Karnataka
  • 2014 - Coffee berry borer (Hypothenemus hampei) - North America; Coffee; Kerala, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu
  • 2014 -Eriophyid mite (Aceria guerreronis) - South America; Coconut - South India, West Bengal, Odisha, Gujarat, Maharashtra
  • 2004 -The cotton mealy bug (Phenacoccus solenopsis) - North America; Cotton; Punjab, Haryana, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Karnatak
  • 2019 - Double gee (Emex australis Steinh) - Southern Africa; Wheat; Haryana
  • Farmers and pisciculturists in India import barramundi seeds ( (Asian sea bass) fish) , breed the fish and export them. But the number of seeds often reduces after they are sent for quarantine checks. officials declare that the seeds were found to be dead, but actually the seeds are stolen and illegally sold and cultivated. ”
  • Nepal stopped the entry of agriculture products from India with a phytosanitary certificate on June 17 after the outbreak of acute encephalitis syndrome in Bihar
  • In light of bio-terrorism this must be fixed.

Vitamin B12

  • A water-soluble vitamin, B12 is the most critical element in the metabolism of every cell in the human body. Deficiency can cause anemia, weakness of limbs and dementia. Pregnant women who lack this vitamin can give birth to brain-damaged babies
  • The prescription for a plant-based diet overlooks vitamin B12 deficiency that is primarily present in animal-based diets
  • Indian eats roughly 4 kg of meat per year, as compared to the global average of 43 kg
  • Telangana has the highest number of non-vegetarians in India (98 per cent)
  • Most non-vegetarian Indians largely consume chicken, which has very little amount of vitamin B12 as compared to mutton or sea food
  • B12 is water soluble, the vitamin can be lost during the cooking process
  • when people experience severe acidity or gastric problems, they take antacid tablets. This reduces the secretion of hydro-chloric acid and low pepsin activity within the stomach due to which B12 doesn’t get absorbed.

Sources:

  • Liver (goat, sheep)
  • Shrimp (fresh)
  • Goat meat
  • Egg yolk (hen)
  • Egg whole
  • Buffalo meat
  • Mrigal fish
  • Skim milk powder
  • Cow milk
  • Curd (cow milk)

Higher Education – Glitches

National Medical Commission Act of 2019

  • corporatise medical education and lower the quality of healthcare providers
  • The Indian Medical Association (IMA), which represents the fraternity in the country, proclaimed that no doctor would attend to patients in emergency.
  • NMC Act 2019 as a “historic” reform much needed for the country’s health education and practice. It repeals the Indian Medical Council Act, 1956. The new body, called mci, will replace the Medical Council of India (mci) which was dissolved in 2010 following corruption charges against its president Ketan Desai by the Central Bureau of Investigation
  • NMC would improve access to quality and affordable medical education, and ensure adequate medical professionals. The new body will be responsible for assessing and approving medical colleges, conducting common MBBS (Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery) entrance and exit exams, and regulating medical course fees
  • To check devaluation of merit in admission particularly in private institutions, high capitation fee, an alarming shortage of teachers, and poor internship supervisions
  • The Economic Survey tabled in Parliament shows that 60 per cent of the primary health centres in the country are running with just one doctor, while about 5 per cent have no doctor at all
  • First tabled in Lok Sabha on December 29,2017, the bill was studied by the standing committee headed by Rajya Sabha member Ram Gopal Yadav. It submitted its report to Parliament on March 16,2018.
  • The step to create a cadre of paramedics at a time when the country faces shortage of qualified doctors sounds logical.
  • The concept of CHPS is inspired from the Chinese government’s “barefoot doctors” experiment in the 1960s. The government gave farmers basic training in medical and paramedical practices so that they could provide healthcare in rural areas where trained doctors hesitated to settle
  • National Exit Test (NEXT). This will be treated as the entrance test for postgraduation, give students the licence to practice, and also work as the screening test for students who graduate in medicine from foreign medical colleges.
  • The country has 537 medical colleges. The private medical colleges alone offer 40,000 MBBS seats. Karnataka, a hub for medical institutes, has only 19 government colleges but 40 private ones; Kerala has 10 government and 24 private colleges; and, Telangana has 10 government and 22 private colleges
  • All India Council for Technical Education’s new decision to not allow new conventional disciplines with low employment potential from academic year 2020 - 21
  • In 2017 - 18, just 46 per cent of the 1.5 million students who graduated from various aicte-accredited technical insti-tutes managed to secure a job
  • The placement share was 45 per cent for engineering and technology graduates who, on an average, account for three-fourths of the technical students in the country
  • India Skills Report 2019, published by online skill assessment firm Wheebox and the Confederation of India Industry, says more than 70 per cent of the students in itis and polytechnic institutes were unemployable in 2018. Their unemployment percentage was 53 per cent just four years ago.
  • The poor education quality and a resultant lack of employability mean that students are unwilling to enrol in technical institute
  • non-traditional engineering courses, such as artificial intelligence, the Internet of Things and the Cloud technology to cater to the market rush do not teach students some basic engineering courses like mechanics
  • budget allocated for the Department of Agriculture Research Education, that promotes agricultural research and education in the country, has reduced drastically over the years— from 0.6 per cent of the agricultural GDP in 2010 to 0.4 per cent in 2018

EACH TIME A person pays tax on income, a part of it goes into funding education, including higher education. The Union government levies a cess of 2 and 1 per cent for school and higher education and research respectively

  • The Yashpal Committee, constituted in 2009 with the mandate of advising on “renovation and rejuvenation of the education sector”, identified the need for a “drastic overhaul” of the higher education system.
  • Kasturirangan - reorganise the entire education regime to focus more on quality in higher education institutions

3 Types of universities

  • -research universities which give equal impetus to research and teaching
  • -teaching universities that will lay primary emphasis on teaching with significant focus on research
  • -autonomous degree granting colleges which will look into undergraduate education and research.
  • Kasturirangan has recommended Rs. 20,000 crore for research in higher education institutions. This is aimed at fixing the absence of updated knowledge to make contemporary technical education suitable for new skills that are in demand.
  • government has already approved the Higher Education Commission of India (Repeal of University Grants Commission Act) Bill 2018. single statutory body for higher education will simplify and consolidate the mass of regu-lations and compliances that currently operate in the sector.

Sex Ratio

  • World Health Organization suggests 952 girls for every 1,000 boys as a healthy sex ratio to ensure gender balance. But for decades, the entire state was infamous for sex-selective abortion, infanticide and neglect of the girl child. With 789 girls per 1,000 boys, it had the second-worst srb in 2001, shows the census data; Punjab fared the worst with 754 girls.
  • Child Development Department shows that in 2018, for the first time one district, Jhajjar, crossed the healthy ratio of 952
  • To change their attitude, the state initiated “Aapki Beti Hamari Beti” scheme in which it grants a subsidy of `21,000 to families on the birth of first girl child.
  • brand ambassadors, particularly from Haryana—bronze medallist at the Rio Olympics Sakshi Malik is the new face of BBBP in Haryana; Miss World 2017 Manushi Chhillar campaigns for anaemia-free Haryana; and, wrestling’s famous Phogat sisters have been appointed by the South Delhi Municipal Corporation to promote SBM. Movies such as Dangal (2016) Toilet Ek Prem Katha (2017) and Padman (2018) constructed an enabling environment for behaviourial and mindset shifts
  • Portable ultrasound machines, which can be used by connecting it to a computer, tablet or smartphone, are easily available on e-marketplaces like IndiaMart and Alibaba and cost about US $1800 (`90,000

5G

  • 5G will empower the invention of thousands of new products, technologies and services, increase productivity and allow for new industries to emerge. A global 5G network will unify mobile communication and connect people and devices to everything through the Internet of Things

Indian Drug Market

  • INDIAN CANCER DRUGS ARE CONTAMINATED; CHOLESTEROL MEDICATION HAS SHARDS OF GLASS; AND, BLOOD PRESSURE PILLS CONTAIN A LIVE BUG
  • Jugaad, developed as a survival mechanism in response to failing systems.
  • THE GENERIC INDUSTRY IS PRODUCING POOR QUALITY DRUGS FOR DEVELOPING COUNTRIES WHERE REGULATIONS ARE LAX”
  • THE VOLKSWAGEN EMISSIONS SCANDAL OR THE KOBE STEEL SCANDAL. BUT WHEN I THINK OF ABOUT RANBAXY, THE SCANDAL THAT COMES TO MY MIND IS ENRON, A CORPORATION CORRUPT TO ITS CORE
  • The most recent allegation has been against Bengaluru-based Strides Pharma, which according to usfda regulators, discarded quality records and hid them in a 55-gallon drum in its scrapyard.

- Published/Last Modified on: August 23, 2019

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