The Hindu NOTES – 10th Dec, 2017(Daily News Paper Analysis)

📰 THE HINDU NEWSPAPER– DAILY  Hindu Current Affairs Analysis 10th Dec 2017


Date:- 10-Dec, 2017

Archive



📰 24 years on, OBC workforce in Centre still short of Mandal mark (Social Issue)

In news

  • President Ram Nath Kovind has appointed a five-member commission to examine sub-categorisation of Other Backward Classes (OBCs)“to achieve greater social justice,”
  • A reality check shows that representation of OBCsin the workforce in Central Government offices falls far short of achieving the 27% quota recommended by the Mandal Commission. 

Highlights

  • Data furnished under the Right to Information (RTI) Actby 24 of the 35 Union Ministries, 25 of the 37 Central departments and various constitutional bodies reveal that 24 years since the implementation of the Mandal Commission recommendations, across various groups of employees, the OBCs have not optimally benefited from it.
  • As on January 1, 2017, only 17% of the Group A officers in the 24 Ministries belong to the OBCs. The representation among the Group B officers is even lower at 14%.
  • Only 11% of the Group C employees are from the OBCs and in Group D, the figure is 10%.

Background

  • The Mandal Commission, or the Second Backward Classes Commission, was established in India on 1 January 1979 by the Janata Party government under Prime Minister Morarji Desai with a mandate to “identify the socially or educationally backward classes” of India. It was headed by Bhindeshwari Prasad Mandal, an Indian parliamentarian from Bihar, to consider the question of reservations for people to redress caste discrimination, and used eleven social, economic, and educational indicators to determine backwardness. In 1980, the Commission’s report upheld the affirmative action practice under Indian law by recommending that members of Other Backward Classes (OBC) be granted reservations to 27 per cent of jobs under the Central government and public sector undertakings.

📰 Delhi gets first pollen count station- Bindu Shajan Perappadan {Environment}

In news

Coming as a big relief for patients with asthma and other respiratory disorders, the Vallabhbhai Patel Chest Institute (VPCI) has opened a pollen count station in Delhi, which will be Delhi-NCR’s first ever such station to monitor levels of airborne grass pollen.

Highlights

  • Having a pollen count station will help people with asthma and those with other respiratory ailments to check the forecast and take preventive measures, like taking antihistamines or staying indoors and minimise health risk
  • Many studies found that apart from vehicular and industrial emissions, pollen grains, fungal spores, dust mites, insect debris and animal epithelial are also major contributors towards allergies, breathing problems and respiratory disorders
  • Experts say that for patients with respiratory problems and asthmatics, the pollen count would be an indispensable resource to help manage their symptoms and protect their health.
  • A recent study found that 30% of the population is reportedly suffering from one or the other allergic ailment and most of them are not even aware what exactly is causing their condition to flare up and how to avoid it.
  • While much effort is being made towards raising awareness and education on impact of pollution on health, effects of pollen on health of patients with respiratory disorders is not being given much importance even though it affects a significant number of patients.
  • Having a pollen count station can be crucial for such patients as they can check pollen count for certain locations beforehand and take necessary steps to avoid exposure

📰 J&K facing narco-terrorism {Internal Security}

In news

Jammu and Kashmir is facing narco-terrorism and a majority of drugs being smuggled into the state are from across the Line of Control (LoC). The Director General of Police also sought the cooperation of people, including parents of drug addicts, to root out the menace, terming it as a “very serious issue”.

The DGP claimed that only 20 to 25 per cent of the drugs being smuggled into the State are from Punjab, while the rest are being pumped from across the Line of Control and the international border.

We are faced with narco-terrorism

Narco-terrorism

Narcoterrorism is a term coined by former President Fernando Belaúnde Terry of Peru in 1983 when describing terrorist-type attacks against his nation’s anti-narcotics police. In its original context, narcoterrorism is understood to mean the attempts of narcotics traffickers to influence the policies of a government or a society through violence and intimidation, and to hinder the enforcement of anti-drug laws by the systematic threat or use of such violence.

De-addiction centre

Safe House, being a leader in drug and alcohol treatment standards and practices, delivers one of the highest recovery rates in India. Keeping in mind the need for fresh air, the centre was built around a half an acre quadrangular lawn right outside the patient’s room, making it uniquely advantageous for a long term residential treatment program. Safe House rehabilitation center was started as a greenfield project, with the aim to redefine treatment standards in the de addiction field. We at Safe House provide our patients a safe and homely environment.


📰 GSI finds huge mineral deposits along A.P. coast (Economy)

In news

Large deposits of heavy beach minerals were found along the 974-km Andhra Pradesh coastline during a survey by Geological Survey of India (GSI).

Other Minerals found

This apart, the GSI surveys using satellite data have found huge deposits of manganese in Vizianagaram, bauxite in north coastal Andhra and south Odisha and baryte in Kadapa district.

Highlights

  • A pilot project under the name ‘Project Uncover’ had been launched in Bundelkhand area of North India and Kadapa and Dharwad areas of Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka last year.
  • The GSI, which deployed officials and equipment available at its marine wing in Hyderabad and at other centres during its 30 year survey, estimated that the minerals such as zircon, ilmenite, limonite and monazite would have a value of at least Rs. 46,000 crore.
  • After signing an MoU with Geosciences Australia for assistance for three years, GSI made intensive search of minerals beyond 300 metres from the coast, ranging up to 1,000 metres. It will be carried out under the deep seismic reflection survey.

Way forward

GSI would procure a geo-technical vessel with drilling facility at a cost of Rs. 250 crore from Vietnam. It is expected to be inducted into GSI fleet of survey vessels by early 2019. GSI has already procured a high-end geo-scientific research vessel Samudra Ratnakar and was phasing out its old ships.

Geological Survey of India (GSI)

  • The beginning of geological investigation in India was in the early part of the nineteenth century.
  •  The Geological Survey of India (GSI) was set up in 1851 primarily to find coal deposits for the Railways. The arrival of Sir Thomas Oldham, Professor of Geology at Trinity College Dublin and the Chief of Irish Geological Survey at Calcutta on 4th March 1851, marked the beginning of the continuous period of the Geological Survey of India.

Missions for GSI

Mission I: Baseline Geoscience, Data Collection

  • Ground and Marine Surveys
  • Remote Sensing and Aerial Surveys

Mission II: Natural Resource Assessment

  • Natural Mineral Resource Assessment
  • Natural Energy Mineral Resources

Mission III: Geoinformatics

  • Data Repository and Management, etc
  • Publication and Information, Library
  • Map, Geoinformatics and Data Integration

Mission IV: Multidisciplinary Geosciences

  • Geotechnical and Geohazards Management
  • Climate Change and Eco-Systems, etc
  • Fundamental Geosciences and Research

Mission V: Training And Capacity Building

  • Training And Capacity Building

📰 The lowdown on the bail-in clause- TCA Sharad Raghavan {Indian Economy}

What is it?

  • A clause in the Financial Resolution and Deposit Insurance Bill 2017, introduced in Parliament in August, has created unease.
  • The clause lays the ground for a ‘bail-in’ of failing financial institutions. Unlike a bail-out, which constitutes the injection of taxpayers’ funds to shore up finances of a financial institution, a bail-in involves the use of depositors’ funds to do the same.
  • In the proposed Bill, the bail-in clause includes a provision of “cancelling a liability owed by a specified service provider” and “modifying or changing the form of a liability owed by a specified service provider”. Bank deposits are a form of liability for the bank as it has to pay interest on them. According to the drafting committee of the Bill, a bail-in can be typically used in cases where it is necessary to continue the services of the ailing financial institution, but the option of selling it is not feasible.
  • The Bill proposes to replace the Deposit Insurance and Credit Guarantee Corporation (DICGC), which guarantees deposits up to a value of Rs. 1 lakh, with a Resolution Corporation which will be empowered to collect the premium that banks pay to the DICGC as an insurance cover for deposits.

How did it come about?

  • The bail-in clause matters because it formalises the risk associated with depositing money in banks. Even now, deposits are not risk-free. In the case of a bank being forced to liquidate, deposits are insured only up to Rs. 1 lakh; the rest is forfeited. This assumes greater importance in the light of the government’s recent efforts to increase banking coverage. About 30.7 crore bank accounts have been opened under the Jan Dhan Yojana.
  • The banking sector is under stress, with non-performing assets rising to alarming levels, especially for public sector banks. The FRDI Bill is complementary to the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code brought in last year for resolving bad loans. But going by experience so far, banks are expected to face substantial haircuts on this front.
  • The government has promised a Rs. 2.11 lakh crore recapitalisation plan on its part, with Rs. 1.35 lakh crore of this coming from bonds. It is against this background that the bail-in clause assumes greater significance. Public sector bank deposits remain the preferred parking place for most Indians’ savings. Unless the government raises the extent of deposits insured before the bail-in clause kicks in, weaker banks could face a run on their deposits.

Way Forward

A Joint Committee of Parliament examining the Bill is expected to give its recommendations in the winter session, set to begin on December 15, even as Finance Minister Arun Jaitley has sought to allay concerns over the safety of deposits by hinting at a possible review of the Bill, which could see “corrections” in the drafting process.


📰 Are there disparities between States on diseases? {Health Issue}

What is the report?

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. A team of scientists evaluated the diseases causing the most premature deaths and ill-health in each State. It found out, for instance, that life expectancy at birth in the country has improved significantly.

What is worrying?

  • However, the report indicated many health inequalities among States, noting 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,” the report pointed out with researchers attributing this 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,” the report said.

Who suffers most?

  • It explained that infectious and childhood diseases continue to be significant problems in the poor Empowered Action Group States of north India (Bihar, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Odisha, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand and Assam), which still contributes 37-43% of the total disease burden. These diseases are responsible for the inordinately high burden of premature deaths and morbidity suffered by children under five years of age in these States.
  • The results show that non-communicable disease and injuries have together overtaken infectious and childhood diseases in terms of disease burden in every State, but the magnitude of this transition varies markedly between the poor States and the more developed States, according to the report which is now being used as an important tool for health planners in India to improve health of the people more effectively.

What led to the report?

It was the result of a collaboration between the Indian Council of Medical Research, the Public Health Foundation of India, the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington, and senior experts and stakeholders from about 100 institutions across India. The India State-Level Disease Burden Initiative was led by Dr. Lalit Dandona, who serves as the director of this initiative, and was guided by Dr. Soumya Swaminathan, Deputy Director- General, World Health Organisation.

How will it help?

  • The India State-Level Disease Burden Initiative will update estimates annually for each State based on new data that become available. It will also provide more detailed findings: for example, next year it plans to report the rural-urban differences in disease burden for each State.
  • Detailed topic-specific reports and publications will be produced for major diseases and risk factors for deeper insights to plan their control.
  • The policy applications of these findings include planning of State health budgets, prioritisation of interventions relevant to each State, informing the government’s Health Assurance Mission in each State, monitoring of health-related Sustainable Development Goals targets, and assessing the impact of large-scale interventions based on time trends of disease burden.
  • In addition, the data gaps identified in this estimation process will inform which areas of the health information system of India need to be strengthened.
  • Another important aspect of this major collaborative effort is that scientific capacity is being enhanced in India to generate and analyse large-scale health data, as well as to utilise it to improve our health.

📰 Novel anode for next-generation batteries in electric vehicles (Science & Tech)

Context

One of the factors that determine the success of electric vehicles is the availability of batteries that can be charged quickly and retain enough charge to make long distance travel possible per charge. Researchers at the Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER) Pune have synthesised a new type of anode material to make such a battery possible.

Research

  • Graphite is cheaper and lithium ions can easily be inserted into graphite. But unlike the novel anode material, graphite can’t be tuned.”
  • The researchers tested the capacity by replacing the graphite anode with the novel material (covalent organic framework) and used lithium metal as the cathode and not lithium cobaltate (LiCoO2), which is normally used as the cathode.
  • When tested in a full-cell configuration, the charge will be lower than what has been observed by the researchers. This is because the kinetics of lithium diffusion will be different depending on the cathode material used and the configuration of the battery.
  • The anode made of a few-layer thick (6-8 layers) nanosheets has pores lined by functional groups capable of interacting with lithium ions. The pores provide an easy path for diffusion of lithium ions and helps access the functional groups, which are sites of lithium ion interaction.
  • The ease with which lithium ions go in and come out of the nanosheet anode changes when the time taken to charge the battery changes. When it is charged quickly, the efficiency of lithium ions diffusion drops and capacity of the battery reduces

📰 Knowing our rivers better before changing them {Environment}

Context

Science is yet to understand the complexity of riverine ecosystems which are geologically, hydrologically and ecologically diverse.

In news

  • The recent discovery of an entire freshwater river flowing through the Bay of Bengal (parallel to the eastern coast) is a classic case. Sustained by the waters of the Ganga, Brahmaputra and Godavari, this river has great consequences for biodiversity, ecosystem services and fisheries.
  • Riverine ecosystems are geologically, hydrologically and ecologically diverse, complexities that science is only beginning to unravel, says Krishnaswamy. The discovery of an entire fresh-water river flowing through the Bay of Bengal (parallel to the eastern coast) just two years ago is a classic case
  • This also changes the false discourse (used while constructing dams) that rivers draining their freshwater into the sea are a waste. Freshwater, sediments and nutrients that flow into the sea help sustain mangrove, delatic and estuarine ecosystems, supporting marine fisheries.

Actions and their consequences

  • Embarking on huge transformations like linking rivers which reduces the flow of rivers into oceans and seas could affect ecosystems and livelihoods
  • The lack of interdisciplinary research to study these river systems from economic, ecological, climate and hydrological perspectives could also force us to commit to large-scale transformations without having the knowledge of their consequences
  • The after-effects of some of the large-scale river transformations could create more problems. Making rivers navigational channels, for instance, would involve dredging.In rivers like the Ganga, where sediment has been absorbing pollutants for a long time, there is already evidence that dredging causes the release of toxins including arsenic.
  • Underwater noise (sonar waves due to use of machinery) can interfere with the survival of India’s national aquatic animal — the Gangetic dolphin — which relies solely on sonar and acoustics for survival.
  • The consequences of linking rivers vary from the spread of invasive fish like piranhas to transferring pollutants to intact river systems. “Homogenising our rivers also makes them less resilient to future climate change,”
  • Other vital steps include preventing new dams on the last remaining free-flowing tributaries, as well as a shift to less water-intensive crops that will not only ease the pressure on rivers but also help in food and nutritional security.

 

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
We will be happy to hear your thoughts

      Leave a reply

      This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

      Current Affairs ONLY
      Register New Account
      Reset Password