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27th August 2022

Centre identifies 75 tribal districts for focused TB interventions

Context

Ministry of Tribal Affairs and TB division of Ministry of Health and Family welfare organized a national conclave recently to disseminate the learnings of the 100-day Aashwasan Campaign under ‘Tribal TB Initiative’.

About

Tribal TB Initiative

  • Tribal TB Initiative is a joint initiative of the Ministry of Tribal Affairs and Central TB Division, Ministry of Health.
  • It is supported by United States Agency for International Development (USAID) as technical partner and Piramal Swasthya as implementing partner.

Aashwasan Campaign

  • The Aashwasan Campaign started in January, 2022 for active case finding for TB in 174 tribal districts of India, under the ambit of the Tribal TB Initiative.
  • It was flagged off in Nandurbar District, Maharashtra.
  • Under the initiative, door-to-door screening for TB was undertaken covering 68,019 villages. 

75 tribal districts for focused TB interventions:

To mark 75 years’ of India’s Independence, 75 high burden tribal districts have been selected for focused interventions in the coming months.

A three-pronged strategy for the 75 Districts was presented, to be centered on:

  • Generating demand for TB services through continued engaged with community influencers who have been mapped during this process for community mobilization, increasing awareness on TB, symptoms, spread and treatment processes, and addressing stigma and fear associated with TB.
  • Improving the delivery of TB services by enhancing the TB testing and diagnosis infrastructure, leveraging PIPs and other sources of funding to address implementation gaps and provision of customized solutioning
  • Decreasing the risk of transmission and decreasing the pool of infections through active case finding campaigns.

About Tuberculosis:

  • TB is caused by a bacterium called Mycobacterium tuberculosis, belonging to the Mycobacteriaceae family consisting of about 200 members.
  • In humans, TB most commonly affects the lungs (pulmonary TB), but it can also affect other organs (extra-pulmonary TB).
  • TB is a very ancient disease and has been documented to have existed in Egypt as early as 3000 BC.
  • TB is a treatable and curable disease.
  • Transmission: TB is spread from person to person through the air. When people with lung TB cough, sneeze or spit, they propel the TB germs into the air.

Vaccine

  • Currently, the following two vaccines have been developed and identified for TB, and are under Phase-3 clinical trial:
    • VPM (Vaccine Projekt Management) 1002
    • MIP (Mycobacterium Indicus Pranii)

 

Important Facts

  • World TB Day is observed on March 24.
  • TB Mukt Bharat (TB-free India): India is committed to ending the TB epidemic by 2025, five years ahead of SDG target timeline.
  • Important national and international initiative to end TB
    • National TB Elimination Programme (NTEP)
    • National Strategic Plan (NSP) for Tuberculosis Elimination (2017-2025)
    • The Nikshay Ecosystem (National TB information system)
    • Nikshay Poshan Yojana (NPY- financial support)
    • TB Harega Desh Jeetega Campaign.
    • TB Free India Campaign
    • Revised National Tuberculosis Control Programme (RNTCP)
    • International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease (The Union)

Chhattisgarh’s forest ‘by mistake’

Context

The Union Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change has objected to the transfer of thousands of hectares of land without following due process by Chhattisgarh from its Forest to the Revenue Department for setting up industries and for building road, rail, and other infrastructure.

About
  • Chhattisgarh government has described these areas as non-forest land that was earlier given “by mistake” to the Forest Department.

Non-Forest Land means an area managed for uses other than for the production of timber and other forest products or for the maintenance of woody vegetation for such indirect benefits as protection of catchment areas, wildlife habitat, or recreation.

  • Environment Ministry has warned that the land in question is “undemarcated protected forests”, which cannot be used for non-forest purposes without clearance under the Forest Conservation (FC) Act, 1980.

Protected forests are either demarcated or undemarcated, based on whether the limits of the forest have been specified by a formal notification.

Forests in Indian law

  • Broadly, state Forest Departments have jurisdiction over two types of forests notified under the Indian Forest (IF) Act, 1927:
    • Reserve Forests (RF), where no rights are allowed unless specified; and
    • Protected Forests (PF), where no rights are barred unless specified.
  • Certain forests, such as village or nagarpalika forests, are managed by state Revenue Departments.
  • The FC Act, 1980, applies to all kinds of forests, whether under the control of the Forest or the Revenue Department.
    • It requires statutory clearance before forests can be used for any non-forest purpose such as industry, mining, or construction.
  • In 1976, forests were included in List III (Concurrent List) under the Seventh Schedule of the Constitution.

Chhattisgarh Case:

  • The recorded forest area in Chhattisgarh covers 44.21% of its geography
  • In March 2022, state government announced that over 300 sq km of “Orange” area in the Bastar region had been handed over to the Revenue Department.

Orange Area:

  • Under the zamindari system, villagers used local malguzari (livelihood concessions) forests for firewood, grazing, etc.
  • When zamindari was abolished in 1951, malguzari forests came under the Revenue Department.
  • In 1958, the government of undivided Madhya Pradesh notified all these areas as PFs under the Forest Department.
  • In 1965, Madhya Pradesh amended the Indian Forest Act, 1927 to allow denotification of PFs and return it to the Revenue Department.
  • Since 2003, a case has been pending in the Supreme Court on rationalising these orange areas that have remained a bone of contention between the two Departments.
  • The coming of Forest Conservation Act in 1980, led to a situation where the rights of lakhs of villagers, including those settled by the government through pattas, remained restricted since now the state government required central clearance for non-forest use of forest land. 
    • In 2020, a task force set up by Madhya Pradesh to resolve the deadlock recommended that patta-holders should not be considered encroachers since they were given land by government officials.
  • In December 1996, the SC defined ‘forest’ after its dictionary meaning, irrespective of the status of the land it stands on. It also defined forestland as any land thus notified on any government record irrespective of what actually stands on that land.  
    • To meet this broad definition, Madhya Pradesh in 1997 framed a “practical yardstick”, an area no smaller than 10 hectares with at least 200 trees per hectare, to identify forests in Revenue areas for handing over to the Forest Department.

‘Vikrant’: India’s first indigenous aircraft carrier

Context

The nation’s first Indigenous Aircraft Carrier (IAC-1) will be commissioned in September.

About

Indigenous Aircraft Carrier 1: Vikrant

  • IAC Vikrant is the largest warship to have ever been built in India and is also the first indigenously designed and built Aircraft Carrier for the Indian Navy.
  • IAC Vikrant is 262 m long and 62 m wide and displaces approx 43000 T when fully loaded, having a maximum designed speed of 28 Knots with an endurance of 7500 NM.
  • Designed by Indian Navy's in-house Directorate of Naval Design (DND) and built by the CSL, a Public Sector Shipyard under the Ministry of Ports, Shipping and Waterways
  • It is capable of carrying more than 30 assorted aircraft including combat jets and helicopters.
  • The ship will be capable of operating 30 aircraft including MiG-29K fighter jets, Kamov-31 Air Early Warning Helicopters, MH-60R Seahawk multi-role helicopters, as well as the Advanced Light Helicopters (ALH) built by Bengaluru-based Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd, and the indigenously manufactured Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) (Navy).
  • The carrier is equipped with the latest state of the art equipment and systems.
    • It boasts a fully-fledged state of the art medical complex with the latest medical equipment facilities including major modular OT, emergency modular OT, physiotherapy clinic, ICU, laboratories, CT scanner, X-Ray machines, dental complex, isolation ward and telemedicine facilities.

Why will the new warship IAC-1 be named ‘INS Vikrant’?

  • The name ‘INS Vikrant’ originally belonged to India’s much-loved first aircraft carrier, a source of immense national pride over several decades of service before it was decommissioned in 1997.
  • The original ‘Vikrant’, a Majestic-class 19,500-tonne warship, which was acquired from the UK in 1961, played a stellar role in the 1971 War with Pakistan.
  • India deployed the ‘Vikrant’ in the Bay of Bengal, and its two air squadrons of Sea Hawk fighter jets and Alize surveillance aircraft were used in strikes on ports, merchant ships, and other targets, and to prevent Pakistani forces from escaping through maritime routes.

Proposed carrier:

  • Since 2015, the Navy has been seeking approval to build a third aircraft carrier for the country, which, if approved, will become India’s second Indigenous Aircraft Carrier (IAC-2).
  • This proposed carrier, to be named ‘INS Vishal’, is intended to be a giant 65,000-tonne vessel, much bigger than both IAC-1 and the ‘INS Vikramaditya’.

Do you Know?

  • United States Navy has 11 aircraft carriers.
  • China too is moving ahead aggressively with its aircraft carrier programme. It has two carriers now, a third is in the making, and another two are likely to be commissioned within a decade.
  • Navy officials point out that even if India gives the IAC-2 project the go-ahead now, it will be over 10 years before the warship is commissioned.

Light tank ‘Zorawar’ for LAC

Context

With the “increased threat” from China along India’s northern borders “likely to remain in the foreseeable future”, the Army is launching Project Zorawar — the induction of indigenous light tanks for quicker deployment and movement in high altitude areas.

About

Project Zorawar:

  • The project has been named ‘Zorawar’ after Zorawar Singh Kahluria, a military general who served under Jammu’s Raja Gulab Singh, known as the ‘conquerer of Ladakh’.  
  • The Army is looking at a light tank with a maximum weight of 25 tons — with a margin of 10 per cent — with the same firepower as its regular tanks.
  • The tank should be armed with Artificial Intelligence (AI), integration of tactical surveillance drones to provide a high degree of situational awareness and loitering munition, along with an active protection system.
  • An active protection system is designed to protect vehicles from anti-tank guided missiles and projectiles away from combat vehicles.  
  • It has been designed in such a way that it will be able to operate in varying terrain from High Altitude Area, island territories as well as marginal terrain.
  • The Army also wants the light tank to be amphibious, so it can be deployed across riverine regions and even the Pangong Tso Lake in Eastern Ladakh.

Why does the Indian Army need light tanks?

In the terrain along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in eastern Ladakh, the Indian Army had to deploy heavier tanks like the T-72 which weighs around 45 tonnes and T-90 with a weight of around 46 tonnes, in the absence of light tanks.

Nagaland gets 2nd railway station after 100 year

Context

Nagaland got its second Railway station on Dhansari-Shokhuvi railway line after a gap of more than 100 years, since Dimapur station was opened in 1903.

About

The new stattion

  • Shokhuvi Railway station is part of the Dimapur-Zubza Railway project.
  • The railway station is an alternative train route for Nagaland and Manipur passengers to Guwahati.

Molvon station at Jornapani, Nagaland, is expected to be completed by next March or April and Phase 2 – Pherima and Phase 3 Zubza which are expected to be completed by 2023 and 2026 respectively.

Dimapur-Zubza Railway project:

  • The project of Broad Gauge (BG) line connectivity from Dimapur (Dhansiri) - Zubza (Kohima) (82.50 km) (suburban city of Kohima, the Capital city of Nagaland) in Nagaland was sanctioned in 2006-07.
  • The hill segment would run an estimated 50km, while the plains segment from Dhansiri station (Karbi Anglong) to Shoxuvi runs an estimated 30km for an estimated total of 80km.
  • The Dimapur-Zubza line will have around 20 tunnels and 19 major bridges.

India votes against Russia in UNSC during procedural vote on Ukraine

Context

India for the first time voted against Russia during a “procedural vote” at the United Nations Security Council on Ukraine.

India currently is a non-permanent member of the UNSC for a two-year term, which ends in December.

About

What did India vote for (just for inviting Ukrainian President)?

  • India has voted for a procedural matter that Russiaopposed at the UN Security Council.
  • Going against Moscow's stance, India joined 12 other members of the Council to vote for inviting Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to speak via a remote video link.
  • While speaking at the meeting, India's Permanent Representative Ruchira Kamboj stuck to New Delhi's distinctive version of neutrality in the Ukraine conflict.

On the 31st anniversary of Ukraine's independence, the UN Security Council met to assess the six-month-old conflict. 

India’s Stand:

  • India has not criticised Russia for its aggression against Ukraine. It is still on its ‘NEUTRAL’ approach.
  • It wants both the countries to return to the path of diplomacy and dialogue.
  • It has also expressed its support for all diplomatic efforts to end the conflict between the two countries.

Points highlighted by Ukrainian President

  • Zelensky, demanded that the Russian Federation be held accountable for its actions against Ukraine.
  • The Ukrainian President called on Russia to cease its “nuclear blackmail” and completely withdraw from the plan.

What West wanted from India?

  • The West has been trying to lead a united, multilateral effort to criticise Russia.
  • They knew that failing to swing India to their side would create a diplomatic loophole for Russia to exploit.
  • The West also wants to discourage India from buying Russian oil.
  • The West is aware of the nature of India’s dependence on Russian arms.
    • The US, for instance, has hinted that it is ready to provide India with alternatives to encourage New Delhi’s diversification of military supplies and lessen its reliance on Russian weapons systems.

What does India want?

Balance between China, Russia and West: India’s core interest lies in balancing China and nurturing strategic partnerships with both the West and Russia.

Why India’s neutral approach is beneficial?

  • Emerging as an important state: With its neutral approach India has emerged as a big, strategically important swing state has invited a lot of global attention.
  • Making best out of all: India has showcased fullest expression of strategic autonomy.
    • It is a posture that relies on diplomatic activism, geopolitical pragmatism, prioritizing national interests over bloc politics and maintaining good relationships with all sides so that these relationships can be leveraged to eke out the best possible outcome for India, even amid moments of global turmoil.
  • Maximise policy space: Strategic autonomy is also an attempt to maximise policy space.
  • Avoiding constraints: India sees bloc politics as a constraint on its actions and choices.

India’s interests in Russia (What explains India’s muted criticisms of Russia)

  • Two factors: The relationship with Russia is vital for India for a variety of reasons.
    • Oil, energy opportunities
    • reliance on Russian arms and legacy systems
  • To wean Russia’s dependence on China: India may also be mute in its criticism of Russia in an attempt to mollify Russia and wean it off its increasing dependence on China.
    • The India-Russia strategic relationship has weakened as China-Russia relations have strengthened.

“Divyang Park’’ in Nagpur

Context

A Samajik Adhikarita Shivir for distribution of aids and assistive devices to Senior citizens under Rashtriya Vayoshri Yojana (RVY Scheme) and to Divyangjan under the ADIP Scheme of the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, Government of India was organized recently.

About
  • It has been announced that Ministry has provided all possible support to establish the first “Divyang Park” of Maharashtra in Nagpur.
  • “Divyang Park” will have different kind of facilities for Divyangjans like sensory garden, textile Pathway touch and smell garden, skill training facility, rehabilitation facility, Sports & infotainment etc.    

Rashtriya Vayoshri Yojana (Rvy)

  • The Scheme is being implemented by Artificial Limbs Manufacturing Corporation of India (ALIMCO) which is a Public Sector Undertaking under the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment.
  • Under this, aids and assistive living devices are provided to senior citizens belonging to BPL category or those senior citizens who earn less than 15000/- per month.
  • The aids and assistive devices viz. walking sticks, elbow crutches, walkers/crutches, tripods/quadpods, hearing aids, wheelchairs, artificial dentures and spectacles are provided to eligible beneficiaries, free of cost.

Rare 3rd consecutive La Nina event

Context

Australia’s Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) predicted that a third consecutive event of La Nina could be underway.

  • However, the United States and UK weather agencies have claimed that the phenomenon is already underway.
About

About La Niña:

  • La Nina is a climate pattern that describes the cooling of surface ocean water along the tropical west coast of South America.
  • Together, La Niña and El Niño are the "cold" (La Niña) and "warm" (El Niño) phases of the El Nino-Southern Oscillation (ENSO). ENSO is series of linked weather- and ocean-related phenomena.
  • Besides unusually warm or cool sea-surface temperatures, ENSO is also characterized by changes in atmospheric pressure.
  • La Niña events sometimes follow El Niño events, which occur at irregular intervals of about two to seven years.
  • The local effects on weather caused by La Niña ("little girl" in Spanish) are generally the opposite of those associated with El Niño ("little boy" in Spanish).
  • La Niña is caused by a build-up of cooler-than-normal waters in the tropical Pacific, the area of the Pacific Ocean between the Tropic of Cancer and the Tropic of Capricorn.
  • Unusually strong, eastward-moving trade winds and ocean currents bring this cold water to the surface, a process known as upwelling.
    • Upwelling can cause a drastic drop in sea-surface temperature. Coastal sea-surface temperatures near Ecuador and Peru dropped nearly 4 degrees Celsius (7 degrees Fahrenheit) during the 1988-89 La Niña events.

Expected Impacts:

  • Additional rainfall along Australia’s east coast this summer.
  • In India, the monsoon will be extending up to October due to La Nina.
  • The India Meteorological India (IMD) has predicted that monsoon withdrawal may begin in the first week of September, but it is likely that some parts of India may witness heavy rains.
  • La Nina could have negative impacts on Indian agriculture.
    • Farmers will be at risk of losing their standing kharif crops if it rains during this period.
    • The harvesting of the kharif crops begins from September-end or early October. And any rain just before that would prove detrimental to the standing crops.

Recovery of ozone layer

Context

The concentration of ozone-depleting substances in the atmosphere has reduced to reach a significant milestone this year.

About
  • Levels of ozone-depleting substances (ODSs) in 2022 are back to those observed in 1980 before ozone depletion was significant.
  • However, the pace of reduction in ODSs over Antarctica, which experiences a large ozone hole in spring, has been slower. 
  • National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Ozone Depleting Gas Index for the Antarctic has fallen 26 per cent from peak values in the 1990s, with recovery of the Antarctic ozone layer projected to occur sometime around 2070.

What is Ozone hole?

  • An ozone hole is the thinning of the ozone layer boosted in size by colder temperatures.
  • As the temperature high up in the stratosphere starts to rise, ozone depletion slows, the polar vortex weakens and breaks down.
  • By the end of December, ozone levels return to normal. This time around, however, the process took longer. 
  • The formation of ozone hole in the Antarctic has been an annual occurrence and has been recorded for the last 40 years.
  • Human-made chemicals migrate into the stratosphere and accumulate inside the polar vortex.
  • It begins to shrink in size as warmer temperatures dominate

Ozone:

  • Ozone is a special form of oxygen, made up of three oxygen atoms rather than the usual two oxygen atoms.
  • It usually forms when some type of radiation or electrical discharge separates the two atoms in an oxygen molecule (O2), which can then individually recombine with other oxygen molecules to form ozone (O3).

The science behind ozone depletion

  • Ozone depletion occurs when chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) and halons (gases formerly found in aerosol spray cans and refrigerants) are released into the atmosphere.
  • Ozone sits in the upper atmosphere and absorbs ultraviolet radiaton, another type of solar energy that's harmful to humans, animals and plants.
  • CFCs and halons cause chemical reactions that break down ozone molecules, reducing ozone's ultraviolet radiation-absorbing capacity.

Indian pangolins

Context

Indian Pangolin is one of the most trafficked animals in the world.

About

About Pangolin

  • Pangolins are the only mammal to be covered in scales.
  • To protect themselves, they curl into balls like hedgehogs.
    • When frightened, a pangolin will curl up into a tight ball to protect its tender underside, making it a prime target for illegal poachers.
  • Their name comes from the Malay word ‘pengguling’ meaning ‘something that rolls up’.
  • They are the most smuggled mammal in the world because people want their meat and scales.
  • A pangolin’s tongue can be longer than its body when fully extended and can be 40 cm long.

About Indian Pangolin

  • Indian Pangolins have thick scaly skin.
  • Indian Pangolins Hunted for meat and used in traditional Chinese medicine.  
  • Pangolins are among the most trafficked wildlife species in the world.  
  • Indian pangolin is the largest among eight pangolin species. 
  • Out of the eight species of pangolin, the Indian and the Chinese pangolins are found in India.  
  • Both these species are listed under Schedule I Part I of the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972. 
  • The nocturnal animal lives in burrows and feeds on ants and termites.

IUCN Red List 

  • Indian Pangolin: Endangered 
  • Chinese Pangolin: Critically Endangered

Editorial

RBI Green Challenge

RBI Green Challenge

Context:

While the world is coping with the impact of legacy emissions, the pressure is increasing to achieve climate-compatible growth. The central bank has to be cognizant of the feedback from climate change and make a suitable policy change.

Imminent Risks:

  • Risk to financial system: It is known to all that the exposure of assets to extreme weather events and loss of asset value due to a green transition are risks to the financial system.
  • Threat to stability: Climate change is a significant threat to financial stability and a central bank that does not address climate risk is “failing to do its job”.
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ThinkQ

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QUIZ - 27th August 2022

Mains Question:

Q. “India has the highest global tuberculosis burden and tribal people have higher prevalence of TB compared to national average.” In the light of this statement, discuss the role of Tribal TB Initiative to improve the cascade of TB care and support services among Tribal Population in India. (150 words)

 Approach 

  • Introduction- brief about Tribal TB initiative
  • Prevalence of TB in tribal population 
    • 4% of all TB notified patients are from tribal communities
  • Discuss India’s goal of a “TB Mukt Bharat” 
  • Significance of the initiative 
  • Conclude accordingly 

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