Weekly Current Affairs Prelims ( 19th to 25th August 2018)

Kerala floods: Rescue and Relief operations

Weekly Current Affairs Prelims ( 19th to 25th August 2018)

 

Topic: 5 of the deadliest diseases spread by mosquitoes

Topic in syllabus: General Science

 

5 of the deadliest diseases spread by mosquitoes

Why in news:  World Mosquito Day:

World Mosquito Day is observed on August 20 to commemorate British doctor Sir Ronald Ross’ 1897 discovery that female mosquitoes transmit malaria to humans.

5 of the deadliest diseases spread by mosquitoes are:

* Malaria 
Malaria is caused by parasites transmitted through bites of infected female Anopheles mosquitoes. Some of the best ways to prevent malaria include insecticide treated mosquito nets, indoor spraying with insecticides and antimalarial drugs. Quinine is a medication used to treat malaria.

* Dengue
Dengue infection causes flu-like illness. World Health Organization (WHO) says the global incidence of dengue has grown dramatically over the recent decades and about half of the world’s population is at risk.Dengue is found in tropical and sub-tropical climates and mostly in urban areas.While there is no specific treatment for dengue, early detection lower fatality rates.

* Zika virus

Zika virus disease is caused by a virus transmitted by Aedes mosquitoes, which bite during the day. Symptoms are mild and include fever, rash, conjunctivitis, muscle and joint pain, or headache, which last for 2 to 7 days. What complicates the matter is that most people do not develop symptoms. If contracted during pregnancy, it can cause infants to be born with microcephaly and other congenital malformations, known as congenital Zika syndrome. It can also cause preterm birth and miscarriage.

* Chikungunya

Chikungunya spreads through the bite of the Aedesaegypti mosquito, which also causes dengue. Symptoms include headaches, fever, nausea, vomiting, and muscle pain. Acute infection can last for a few weeks.

* Yellow fever

Yellow fever is an acute viral hemorrhagic disease transmitted by infected mosquitoes. Symptoms of yellow fever include fever, headache, jaundice (hence the name ‘yellow’ fever), muscle pain, nausea, vomiting and fatigue. A small proportion of patients who contract the virus develop severe symptoms, and half of those die could die within 7 to 10 days. Epidemics of yellow fever occur when infected people introduce the virus to areas with high mosquito density and where people have little or no immunity due to lack of vaccination.

 

Sample Question:

Q. Which of the following diseases are not spread by mosquitoes?

a. Chikungunya

b. Zika Virus

c. Typhoid

d. Yellow fever

 


Topic: Kerala floods: Rescue and Relief operations

Topic in syllabus: General issues on Environmental Ecology, Bio-diversity and Climate Change

 

Kerala floods: Rescue and Relief operations

Why in news:

Floods in Kerala.

National Crisis Management Committee (NCMC) chaired by Cabinet secretary P.K. Sinha is reviewing the rescue and relief operations in Kerala.

  • Central assistance of ₹600 crore was released to the Kerala government.
  • Centre has also approved 89, 540 tonnes of additional grains for Kerala (apart from 1.18 lakh tonnes of foodgrains what Kerala receives under the National Food Security Act)
  • Under the National food security Act, 52.3% of the rural population and 39.5% of the urban population receive subsidized food grains — wheat is sold at ₹2 per kg and rice at ₹3 per kg.
  • Centre has granted tax exemption on relief items from abroad.
  • UAE has offered ₹700 crore to Kerala. It contrasted to the ₹600 crore given by the Indian government so far for relief and rehabilitation process.
  • India had declined the aid offer of the U.S. after the tsunami hit the southern coasts in 2004. The then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said India was capable of managing the domestic crisis as well as help other tsunami-hit countries.
  • Maldives and Saudi Arabia have also pledged to help. Ministry of External Affairs yet to respond whether India accepts the relief fund from other countries.

Classifications of disasters, and how does this affect funding?

  • According to the National Disaster Management Policy, the State governments have to provide disaster relief from their respective State Disaster Response Funds (SDRFs), and only for a “calamity of severe nature”, will additional assistance be provided from the National Disaster Response Fund (NDRF).
  • There is, however, no provision in the law or rules for the government to designate a disaster as a “national calamity”.

About NDRF:

  • The National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) is a specialised force constituted “for the purpose of specialist response to a threatening disaster situation or disaster” under the Disaster Management Act, 2005.The “Apex Body for Disaster Managementin India is the National Disaster Management Authority(NDMA). The Chairman of the NDMA is the Prime Minister.
  • The responsibility for disaster management in India’s federal system is that of the State Government. The ‘nodal Ministry’ in the central government for management of natural disasters is the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA).
  • When ‘calamities of severe nature’ occur, the Central Government is responsible for providing aid and assistance to the affected state, including deploying, at the State’s request, of Armed Forces, Central Paramilitary Forces, National Disaster Response Force (NDRF), and such communication, air and other assets, as are available and needed.
  • National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) is under the National Disaster Management Authority. The head of the NDRF is designated as Director General. The Director Generals of NDRF are IPS officers on deputation from Indian police organisations. Director General wears the uniform and badges of rank of an army three-star general.
  • The NDRF is a top-heavy organisation which in addition to the Director General has several Inspector Generals (IG) and Deputy IGs, who fly flags and wear army-style badges of rank.

Funding to NDRF and SDRFs

  • The NDRF is funded through a National Calamity Contingent Duty levied on pan masala, chewing tobacco and cigarettes, and with budgetary provisions as and when needed.
  • A provision exists to encourage any person or institution to make a contribution to the NDRF. However, this source of funding has not been tapped so far, according to the government.
  • The 14th Finance Commission recommended changes to this structure once the cess was discontinued or subsumed within the Goods and Services Tax. However, the government, instead, decided to continue with the National Calamity Contingent Duty even in the GST regime.
  • The SDRF corpus is contributed by the Union government and the respective State governments in a 75:25 ratio for general category States and 90:10 for Special Category States.
  • The allocation of the SDRF for each State is done by the Finance Commission, and the Centre contributes its specified share each financial year. The Central share of SDRF is released in two equal instalments, in June and then in December.
  • The Union government has maintained a steady flow of funds to the NDRF each year, ranging from ₹5,690 crore in 2015-16 to a budgeted amount of ₹2,500 crore for the current financial year.
  • In addition, the Centre has also been contributing to the SDRFs every year, amounting to ₹8,374.95 crore in 2016-17 and ₹7,281.76 crore in 2017-18.

NDRF fund allocation to States

  • In 2017-18, up to December 27, 2017, the Union government released NDRF funds to nine States — Arunachal Pradesh, Bihar, Himachal Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala, Nagaland, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, and Telangana — over and above its contributions to their respective SDRFs. The recipient of the highest amount was Karnataka, which got ₹913 crore that year.
  • Over the four years till December 27, 2017, the Centre has released the most cumulative funds to Maharashtra (₹5,244.69 crore), Karnataka (₹5,122.45 crore), Uttar Pradesh (₹4,949.04 crore), Tamil Nadu (₹3,115.31 crore), and Madhya Pradesh (₹1,958.93 crore).
  • For specific calamities, the Centre released ₹1,365.67 crore for the Chennai floods of 2015 and ₹76 crore after Cyclone Vardah in 2016. Andhra Pradesh received ₹400 crore and ₹230 crore after Hudud ravaged Visakhapatnam.

 

Sample Question:

Which of the following are correct regarding National Disaster Response Force?

  1. The NDRF is funded through a National Calamity Contingent Duty levied on pan masala, chewing tobacco and cigarettes, and with budgetary provisions as and when needed.
  2. National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) is under the National Disaster Management Authority. The head of the NDRF is designated as Director General.

Choose the Correct Code:

a) 1 only

b) 2 only

c) Both

d) None

 


Topic 3: Steering Committee sets action plans for 5G roadmap in India

Topic in syllabus: Infrastructure

 

Steering Committee sets action plans for 5G roadmap in India

Why in news:

The Steering Committee constituted for identifying the 5G deployment roadmap for India submitted its 5G high level forum report titled ‘Making India 5G Ready’ to Telecom Secretary, Aruna Sundararajan.

The key recommendations and action plan for the report include spectrum policy; regulatory policy; education and awareness promotion; application and use case labs; participation in international standards; development of application layer standards; and major 5G trials.

The committee has suggested that government may announce its policy by December 31 and issue necessary notifications. It has also asked for setting up a Standing Committee with five-year term to advice on building Spectrum Technology Infrastructure.

For education and awareness promotion, it has suggested for appointing a full time Senior Programme Coordinators (SPC) with TDSI. It has suggested for appointment of a full time SPC within IIT-Madras to implement recommendations of Task Force.

Action plan

The steering committee was constituted last year to articulate the vision for 5G in India and to recommend policy initiatives and action plans to realise this vision. It has prioritised three action plans for 5G in India — Deployment, Technology and Manufacturing.

Under Deployment, it has talked about rolling out early, efficient and pervasive 5G networks to maximise the value offered bybthus new technology. In technology, it has suggested for building India’s industrial and R&D capacity in the design and IP dimensions of 5G. Under manufacturing, it suggested for expanding the manufacturing base in 5G for both semiconductor fabrication as well as assembly and test plants.

The High Level Forum focussed on Deployment as the initial thrust area and a Steering Committee was constituted with Professor AJ Paulraj as Chair. Seven task forces were set up to study — spectrum policy, regulatory policy, education and awareness promotion programme, application and use case labs, development of application layer standards, major trials and; demonstration and participation in international standards.

 

Sample Question:

Q. A committee headed by Professor AJ Paulraj has recently submitted report on which issue?

a) Spectrum allocation

b) Regulation of cellular operators

c) Functioning of e-commerce websites

d) Roadmap for 5G in India

 


Topic: ICOMOS

Topic in syllabus:General issues on Environmental Ecology, Bio-diversity and Climate Change

 

ICOMOS

Why in news: 

The ICOMOS, a global monument conservation body, has launched an initiative to assess the damage to the rich cultural and built heritage in flood-devastated Kerala and set up an emergency response platform.

  • The initiative also aims at setting up a platform for emergency response to the cultural heritage damaged by the floods in Kerala.
  • ICOMOS has also approached the International Centre for the Study of the Preservation and Restoration of Cultural Property (ICCROM)to partner in the post-disaster work.

About ICOMOS:

  • The International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS) is a prestigious non-government organisation.
  • It promotesthe application of theory, methodology and scientific techniques for conservation of architectural and archaeological heritage across the world.
  • ICOMOS is also an advisory body to the UNESCO for cultural heritage, in particular for implementation of the World Heritage Convention.

Other facts:

Rome-based ICCROM is an inter-governmental organisation dedicated to the preservation of cultural heritage worldwide through training, information, research, cooperation and advocacy programmes.

 

Sample Question:

Q. ICOMOS, the International Council on Monuments and Sites, was recently in news due to which of the following reasons?

a) It launched an initiative to assess the intangible value of historical monuments of India.

b) It launched an initiative to assess the damage to the rich cultural and built heritage in flood-devastated Kerala and set up an emergency response platform.

c) It launched an initiative to make database of cultural sites of the country and assess the value of the assets associated with them.

d) It launched comprehensive guidelines for the management of public archaeological sites of India.

 


Topic: TReDS platform

 Topic in syllabus:Economic and Social Development – Sustainable Development, Poverty, Inclusion, Demographics, Social Sector initiatives, etc

 

India’s first TReDS platform

Why in news: 

State-owned aerospace and defence PSU Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) has executed its first digitised invoice discounting transaction on RXIL TReDS platform when it accepted the digital invoice uploaded by Narendra Udyog, a Nasik-based MSME vendor.

This makes HAL the first PSU (public sector unit) to transact on TReDS across platforms.

RXIL, India’s first TReDS platform, enables MSMEs to gain control of their receivables with enhanced visibility and timeliness.

What is TReDS?

TReDS is an online electronic institutional mechanism for facilitating the financing of trade receivables of MSMEs through multiple financiers. The TReDS Platform will enable discounting of invoices/bills of exchange of MSME Sellers against large Corporates including Govt. Departments and PSUs, through an auction mechanism, to ensure prompt realization of trade receivables at competitive market rates.

Salient Features of TReDS:

  • Unified platform for Sellers, Buyers and Financiers.
  • Eliminates Paper.
  • Easy Access to Funds.
  • Transact Online.
  • Competitive Discount Rates.
  • Seamless Data Flow.
  • Standardised Practices.

How does the system work?

A seller has to upload the invoice on the platform. It then goes to the buyer for acceptance. Once the buyer accepts, the invoice becomes a factoring unit. The factoring unit then goes to auction. The financiers then enter their discounting (finance) rate. The seller or buyer, whoever is bearing the interest (financing) cost, gets to accept the final bid. TReDs then settle the trade by debiting the financier and paying the seller. The amount gets credited the next working day into the seller’s designated bank account through an electronic payment mode. The second leg of the settlement is when the financier makes the repayment and the amount is repaid to the financier.

 

Sample Question:

Q. What is TReDS?

a) an online electronic institutional mechanism for facilitating the financing of trade receivables(amounts billed by a business to its customers)of MSMEs.

b) a financial instrument that can be traded online or offline

c) multi role combat aircraft used by Indian Air Force

d) an anti-collision system used in Railways

 


Topic:World’s largest 3D-printed reef installed in Maldives to help save corals

Topic in syllabus:Indian and World Geography – Physical, Social, Economic Geography of India and the World

 

World’s largest 3D-printed reef installed in Maldives to help save corals

Why in news: 

The world’s largest 3-D printed reef has been submerged at Summer Island Maldives, in what is hoped could be a new technology-driven method to help coral reefs survive a warming climate.

The artificial reef, assembled with hundreds of ceramic and concrete modules, was submerged at Summer Island’s ‘Blue Lagoon’ — a sandy part of the lagoon, where the resort hopes to create a new coral reef ecosystem.

About the experiment:

The experiment was aimed at increasing their resilience and longevity against the ongoing environmental rampage. The ceramic structures built closely resemble the original structures found in the Maldives. Ceramic itself is made of calcium carbonate, the same inert substance that occurs in abundance in corals.

Why it matters?

Bleaching poses the most potent danger to corals, which used to abound in the Pacific Ocean and colour its waters in different hues. With imminent threats like increasing temperatures of water bodies and disposal of chemical wastes in oceans, 3D printing technology is hoped to offer a safety net for corals, for posterity.

The technology allows to mimic the complexity of natural reef structures, so as to design artificial reefs that closely resemble those found in nature. This will be a more effective way of growing and restoring corals.

Background:

The Maldives is one of the world’s most climate-vulnerable nations. Rising sea temperatures pose a grave threat to the world’s coral reefs, and mass bleaching events are becoming more common and more severe.

Summer Island Maldives has implemented a number of recent environmental initiatives, including the adoption of solar energy, a ban on the use of plastic straws, phasing out imported drinking water, and coral conservation projects.

 

Sample Question:

Q. The world’s largest 3D printed reef has recently been installed in which of the following places to help save corals?

a)Mauritius

b) Seychelles

c) Maldives

d) Australia