CAO Weekly News Roundup- December WEEK -02

 Why is Wassenaar Arrangement important to India?{Defence}

Context

  • Before its nuclear weapons test in 1998, there was no formal recognition that India was capable of producing both nuclear power and nuclear weapons.
  • The reason for this was mainly because India had not acceded to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty which aims to prevent spread of nuclear weapons and weapons technology and promote nuclear disarmament.

What is India’s stand?

  • India wanted to break out into the open and be recognised as a nuclear power like the other nuclear countries
  • For that to happen, India needed to be recognised as a nuclear power and be made part of the global non-proliferation architecture.

What is the Wassenaar Arrangement?

The Wassenaar Arrangement is a grouping of 42 countries, of which India is the latest entrant (on December 8) that seek to bring about security and stability, by fostering transparent practices in the process of sale and transfer of arms and materials and technologies that can be used to make nuclear weapons with a view to prevent any undesirable build-up of such capabilities.

What are the advantages?

  • India will be able to more easily access dual use technologies and materials and military equipment that are proscribed for non-participating members.
  • India will also be able to sell its nuclear reactors and other materials and equipment indigenously produced without attracting adverse reactions. It will also be in a better position to collaborate with other countries in developing such capabilities.

Will it help to join other groups?

There are more or less the same countries in all these groupings, with one crucial exception. China, which has been opposed to India’s entry into the NSG, is not part of both the MTCR as well as the Australia Group. So it should be easier to get into the Australia Group.


 Transforming India’s Green Revolution by Research and Empowerment for Sustainable food Supplies (TIGR2ESS) {Agricultural Policy}

TIGR2ESS is a collaboration between the UK and India

Objective

  • The empowerment of women farmers by helping them to increase agricultural income.
  • To ensure that state resources and services, and knowledge, are equally accessible to women.
  • Promotion of crops of millets for human food that is mainly used as animal feed in India. These crops have better nutrient balance and are more climate-resilient than the preferred staples like wheat. And find ways to increase the value of such crops.
  • To bring together science and social science to drive interventions that work for Indian farmers and their communities.
  • Addressing crop productivity and water use in India and to identify crops and farming practices for different climatic regions.
  • To deliver sustainable practices and improve food security, whilst promoting equal opportunities and enhancing nutrition and health for rural communities across different regions and climatic zones in India.

Key Points

  • Themed, interlinked research projects to address fundamental questions relating to crop productivity and water use in India, and identify appropriate crops and farming practices for different climatic regions. Research will also define the policy requirements for a second Green Revolution.
  • Capacity-building exchanges, enabling leading researchers from India and the UK to work together in framing collaborative research, and junior researchers to access training and skills development opportunities in areas across the research programme.
  • Training workshops, on-farm demonstrations, and education programmesfor communities in rural India, to promote engagement and stimulate entrepreneurship, and empower the next generation of female farmers.

 New island may offer insights into Mars {Science & Tech.}

In news

According to NASA the world’s newest island — formed during a volcanic eruption in the remote Pacific three years ago — may offer clues to how life potentially developed on Mars.

Highlights

  • The island of Hunga Tonga Hunga Ha’apai rose from the seabed about 65 km northwest of the Tongan capital Nuku’alofa in late 2014 or early 2015
  • It had proved more resilient than expected, possibly because warm sea water combined with ash during the volcanic explosion to create a concrete-like substance known as “tuff”.
  • While the island — which initially measured one km wide, two km long and about 100 metres high— has undergone significant erosion, it is now expected to last anywhere from six to 30 years.

Mars had many similar volcanic islands that appeared to have been surrounded by water when they were created.


 PM commissions INS Kalvari to the nation {Defence}

In news

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has commissioned scorpene-class submarine INS Kalvari into the Indian Navy in Mumbai today
It is an excellent example of ‘Make in India’ and will boost the Navy’s might.

Modi thanked France for its collaboration in building the submarine and said, “This is a fine example of the fast growing strategic partnership between India and France.

Features of INS Kalvarinaval growth chart india vs china 650

  • Kalvari is named after the dreaded tiger shark, a deadly deep sea predator of the Indian Ocean.
  • It is a diesel-electric attack submarinethat has been built for the Indian Navy by the Mazagon Dock Shipbuilders Limited.
  • It is the first of six such submarines that will be inducted into the Indian Navy and represents a significant success for the Make in India initiative.The project has been undertaken with French collaboration. 
  • Advanced acoustic silencing techniques”, low radiated noise and the ability to launch a crippling attack on the enemy using precision guided weapons.
  • “The attack can be launched with both torpedoes and tube launched anti-ship missiles, while underwater or from surface.
  • Marking a “generational shift” in submarine operations, Scorpene submarines can undertake varied missions such as anti-surface and anti-submarine warfare, intelligence gathering and mine laying.

Background

  • The first Kalvari, commissioned on December 8, 1967, was also the first submarine of the Indian Navy. It was decommissioned on May 31, 1996 after nearly three decades of service.
  • The project was signed in 2005 for building submarines by the Mazgaon Dock Limited in Mumbai with transfer of technology from France.
  • INS Kalvari is followed by INS Khanderi which is currently undergoing sea trails and expected to be inducted by the end of 2020.
  • The Navy currently possesses 13 conventional submarines and one nuclear attack submarine INS Chakra on lease from Russia.
  • The Navy last inducted a conventional diesel-electric submarine, INS Sindushastra, procured from Russia in 2000.

 Why the vaccine against cervical cancer is not such a simple shot{Health Issue}

In news

A National Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (NTAGI) has proposed that a vaccine against the human papillomavirus (HPV), which causes cervical cancer, be introduced in India’s Universal Immunisation Programme (UIP).

What is the HPV?

  • ‘Human Papilloma Virus (HPV)’ causes penile cancer in men and cervical, vaginal, anal & vulvar cancer in women.
  • It can also cause throat or rectum cancer in both men and women.
  • The virus is transmitted through intimate contact like – sexual intercourse, oral or anal sex.
  • It poses a higher risk for HIV-infected persons, smokers, and people dependent on hormonal contraceptives.

What is the current status of the Vaccination drive?

  • The Vaccine – In India, two vaccines namely “Gardasil” & “Cervarix” are available.
  • These vaccines protects against almost 90% of genital warts in men and women.
  • The HPV vaccine is given thrice within six months to girls aged 9-13 years, before they become sexually active.
  • Post-vaccination, a girl should ideally undergo pap smear tests every three years to check for pre-cancerous or cancerous cells.
  • Government Policy – Punjab and Delhi have already begun vaccination for girls.
  • National Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (NTAGI) has proposed the inclusion of these vaccines in UIP for nationwide implementation.
  • However, the medical community in India is divided over the vaccine’s utility.

Punjab and Delhi have already begun HPV vaccination for girls.

But the medical community in India remains divided over the vaccine’s universal implementation.


 UN releases World Economic Situation and Prospects 2018 Report {Business & Economy}

As per the World Economic Situation and Prospects 2018, the current macroeconomic conditions oer policy-makers greater scope to address some of the deep-rooted issues that hamper progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals.

The report is a jointly published by the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UN-DESA), the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD).

Highlights

  • This year report marks the 70th anniversary of the publication.
  • It is the flagship report on the state of global economy.
  • The report highlights that, global economic growth reached 3 per cent in 2017, the highest growth rate since 2011.
  • It states that, India is set to see the growth accelerating to 7.2% in 2018-19 and 7.4% in 2019-20, up from the 6.7% in 2017-18.
  • The report finds that very few of the least developed countries (LDCs) are expected to achieve SDG target 8.1 (gross domestic product (GDP) growth of at least 7%).
  • The report explains that institutional deficiencies, inadequate basic infrastructure, increased exposure levels of natural disasters, political instability and security challenges have had a negative impact on LDCs’ progress.
  • The report highlights the importance of addressing the impact of growth on environmental degradation and building resilience against climate change.
  • The report recommends policy reorientation focus on four areas: increasing economic diversification; reducing inequality; tackling institutional deficiencies; and strengthening financial architecture.

 2017 Handbook of Statistics {International}

UNCTAD Handbook of Statistics 2017 provide a wide range of statistics and indicators relevant to the analysis of international trade, investment and development. Reflecting the importance of maritime statistics, this edition of the Handbook also includes a new chapter dedicated to this critical topic.

Highlights

  • It is headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland and part of the UN Secretariat.
  • It is a part of the United Nations Development Group (UNDG).
  • It was formed specifically to handle the problems of developing countries dealing with trade, investment and development issues.
  • Other reports published by UNCTAD – Trade and Development Report, World Investment Report, The Least Developed Countries Report, Information and Economy Report, Technology and Innovation Report and Commodities and Development Report

 Physicists Confirm The Existence Of A New Form Of Matter Called “Excitonium” {Science & Tech}

About “excitonium”

  • It is made up of excitons – unusual particles made up of an escaped electron and the hole it has left behind in a material. This quirky quantum-mechanical pairing is possible because, in semiconductors, electrons on the edge of one energy level in an atom are able, when excited, to jump into the next energy level, leaving behind a “hole” in the previous level.
  • This hole acts like a positively charged particle, attracting the negatively charged electron that escaped.
  • It is a condensate, a material where quantum mechanical properties are macroscopic (visible to the naked eye) rather than microscopic. Examples of condensates include superconductors and superfluids.

Background

Scientists used a novel technique called momentum-resolved electron energy-loss spectroscopy (M-EELS) for the study. With their new technique, the group was able to measure collective excitations of the low-energy bosonic particles, the paired electrons and holes


 India state level disease burden report {Health Issue}

The India State-Level Disease Burden report, a first-of-its-kind assessment of causes for diseases in each State from 1990 to 2016, was released recently.

The report is the result of two years of intense scientific work and collaborative effort. The Global Burden of Disease methodology was used for this analysis, which is the most widely used disease burden estimation approach globally.

Indian Council of Medical Research

Worrying trends

  • Scientists evaluated the diseases causing the most premature deaths and ill-health in each State. They found out that life expectancy at birth in the country has improved significantly. However, the report indicated many health inequalities among States.
  • The report notes that while there was a fall in the under-five mortality in every State there was also a four-fold difference in the rate of improvement among them. The per person burden from many of the leading infectious and non-communicable diseases varied 5-10 times between States.
  • This can be attributed to differences in the development status, environment, lifestyle patterns, preventive health measures and curative health services between the States. In the most developed States this transition took place about 30 years ago, but in the poorest States this transition has taken place only over the past few years.

 

 

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