Sarat Chandra IAS Academy

Current Affairs of 30th August-2020

 

1) Supply chain resilience initiative:

What does supply chain resilience mean?

  • In the context of international trade, supply chain resilience is an approach that helps a country to ensure that it has diversified its supply risk across a clutch of supplying nations instead of being dependent on just one or a few.
  • Supply Chain Resilience Initiative (SCRI) is a direct response to the individual economies and companies who are concerned about the Chinese political behaviour and the disruption which may lead to supply chains.
  • The purpose of creating the supply chain will be to improve its resilience across the Indo-Pacific, which through such an effort will be able to develop a sound economic profile to its security logic.
  • India, Australia, and Japan have started the discussions for the launch of a trilateral Supply Chain Resilience Initiative (SCRI) in order to reduce the dependency on China. The initiative which was first proposed by Japan might be executed.

What is the Objective?

It can be assumed that the objective of the Japanese proposal is two-fold, one is to attract foreign direct investment to turn the Indo-Pacific into an ‘economic powerhouse’ and second to build a mutually complementary relationship between the partner countries.

What is Japan Proposing?

  • In addition, the U.S.-China trade tensions have caused alarm in Japanese trade circles for a while now.
  • If the world’s two largest economies do not resolve their differences, it could threaten globalisation as a whole and have a major impact on Japan, which is heavily reliant on international trade both for markets for its exports and for supplies of a range of primary goods from oil to iron ore..
  • As part of the country’s economic stimulus package, the Japanese government recently earmarked $2.2 billion to incentivise its companies to move their manufacturing out of China.
  • This was not a protectionist move — the manufacturing could, but did not have to, return to Japan. This was a nudge to diversification of risk — where those manufacturing lines could be relocated out of China to other third countries.

What is likely to have spurred Japan to eye India as a partner for the SCRI?

  • Japan is the fourth-largest investor in India with cumulative foreign direct investments touching $33.5 billion in the 2000-2020 period accounting for 7.2% of inflows in that period, according to quasi government agency India Invest.
  • Imports from Japan into India more than doubled over 12 years to $12.8 billion in FY19. Exports from India to the world’s third-largest economy stood at $4.9 billion that year.

Where does Australia stand?

  • Australia, Japan and India are already part of another informal grouping, the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue, or the Quad, which includes the U.S.
  • China has been Australia’s largest trading partner and that it counts for 32.6% of Australia’s exports, with iron ore, coal and gas dominating the products shipped to Asia’s largest economy.
  • But relations including trade ties between the two have been deteriorating for a while now. China banned beef imports from four Australian firms in May, and levied import tariffs on Australian barley.
  • In June, China’s education Ministry warned its students aspiring to study or already studying in Australia, of ‘rising racism’ in that country, urging them to re-assess their aspirations.

What does India stand to gain, or lose?

  • Following the border tensions between the two highly populous Asian neighbours, partners such as Japan have sensed that India may be ready for dialogue on alternative supply chains. Earlier, India would have done little to overtly antagonise China.
  • But an internal push to suddenly cut links with China would be impractical. China’s share of imports into India in 2018 (considering the top 20 items supplied by China) stood at 14.5%, a by the Confederation of Indian Industry in February 2020.
  • In areas such as Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients for medicines such as paracetamol, India is fully dependent on China. In electronics, China accounts for 45% of India’s imports, the analysis showed.
  • Chinese supplies dominate segments of the Indian economy. Sectors that have been impacted by supply chain issues arising out of the pandemic include pharmaceuticals, automotive parts, electronics, shipping, chemicals and textiles.
  • Over time, if India enhances self-reliance or works with exporting nations other than China, it could build resilience into the economy’s supply networks.
  • While India appears an attractive option for potential investors both as a market and as a manufacturing base, trade experts point to the need for India to accelerate progress in ease of doing business and in skill building.

 

2) Draft Health Data Management Policy:

Context: The National Health Authority (NHA) has released the draft Health Data Management Policy of the National Digital Health Mission (NDHM) in the public domain. The draft is the maiden step in realising the NDHM’s guiding principle of ‘Security and Privacy by Design’ for the protection of individuals’ data privacy.

The key objectives of this Policy are:

  • To provide adequate guidance and to set out a framework for the secure processing of personal and sensitive personal data of individuals who are a part of the NDHE in compliance with all applicable laws
  • To safeguard digital personal health data, including the personal health identifier, the electronic health records and electronic medical records, by implementing adequate technical and organisational measures across the NDHE ecosystem
  • To create a system of digital personal and medical health records which is easily accessible to individuals and health service providers and is purely voluntary in nature, based on the consent of individuals.
  • To increase awareness of the importance of data privacy and instil a privacy-oriented mindset among the members of NDHM and its ecosystem partners
  • To ensure national portability in the provision of health services
  • To establish appropriate institutional mechanisms for auditing of the NDHE as needed and to encourage stakeholders and ecosystem partners to adopt the data protection principles set out in this Policy
  • To leverage the information systems existing in the Indian health sector by encouraging conformity with the defined data privacy standards and integrating such existing systems with NDHE.

 

3) Draft Health Data Management Policy:
Context: The National Health Authority (NHA) has released the draft Health Data Management Policy of the National Digital Health Mission (NDHM) in the public domain. The draft is the maiden step in realising the NDHM’s guiding principle of ‘Security and Privacy by Design’ for the protection of individuals’ data privacy.

The key objectives of this Policy are:

  • To provide adequate guidance and to set out a framework for the secure processing of personal and sensitive personal data of individuals who are a part of the NDHE in compliance with all applicable laws
  • To safeguard digital personal health data, including the personal health identifier, the electronic health records and electronic medical records, by implementing adequate technical and organisational measures across the NDHE ecosystem
  • To create a system of digital personal and medical health records which is easily accessible to individuals and health service providers and is purely voluntary in nature, based on the consent of individuals.
  • To increase awareness of the importance of data privacy and instil a privacy-oriented mindset among the members of NDHM and its ecosystem partners
  • To ensure national portability in the provision of health services
  • To establish appropriate institutional mechanisms for auditing of the NDHE as needed and to encourage stakeholders and ecosystem partners to adopt the data protection principles set out in this Policy
  • To leverage the information systems existing in the Indian health sector by encouraging conformity with the defined data privacy standards and integrating such existing systems with NDHE.

 

4) National Sports Awards:

Context: President of India virtually presents National Sports and Adventure Awards, 2020

National Sports Day celebrated on 29 August, is a day to celebrate the remarkable achievements of all those exemplary sportspersons who have represented India in various sports and made our nation proud.

National Sports Awards:
Introduced in the year 1976, the National Sports Awards include the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna award, the Arjuna award, Dronacharya award, the Dhyan Chand Award, Maulana Abul Kalam Azad (MAKA) Trophy, and Rashtriya Khel Protsahan Puruskar Award for the year 2020.

Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award is given for the spectacular and most outstanding performance in the field of sports by a sportsperson over a period of four years.
Arjuna Award is given for consistent outstanding performance for four years.

Dronacharya Award goes to the coaches for producing medal winners at prestigious international sports events.

Dhyan Chand Award is for life time contribution to sports development.

Rashtriya Khel Protsahan Puruskar is given to the corporate entities (both in private and public sector) and individuals who have played a visible role in the area of sports promotion and development.

Overall top performing university in inter-university tournaments is given Maulana Abul Kalam Azad Trophy.

In addition to these Sports Awards, the spirit of adventure among the people of the country is recognized by bestowing the Tenzing Norgay National Adventure Award.

 

5) National Pharmaceuticals Pricing Authority (NPPA):

Context: Ministry of Shipping and Minister of State in the Ministry of Chemicals and Fertilizers acknowledged the important role being played by NPPA, “29th August is an important day for India as NPPA was founded to control the prices of essential & life saving medicines. NPPA is working tirelessly with the goal of Healthy Nation as envisioned by Prime Minister and is helping to save crores of rupees of common men.” NPPA is using digital technology to discharge its functions, NPPA is propelling Digital India mission by:

  • Pharma Sahi Daam-app to check prices of medicines
  • Pharma Jan Samadhan-public grievance system to help people resolve their problems.
  • Pharma Data Bank-online information collection from Pharma manufacturers.”

NPPA:

  • NPPA was set-up as an independent Regulator on 29th August, 1997 for pricing of drugs.
  • To ensure availability and accessibility of medicines at affordable prices.
  • The regulator, an attached office of the Department of Pharmaceuticals (DoP), Ministry of Chemicals & Fertilizers was created vide Government of India Resolution published in the Gazette of India number 159 dated 29th August, 1997.

Functions:

  • NPPA include fixation and revision of prices of Scheduled drugs under Drug (Price Control) Orders issued from time to time,
  • Monitoring and enforcement of prices and ensuring availability and accessibility of all medicines and medical devices, including non -scheduled drugs.

 

6) Bharat Air Fibre:
The Bharat Air Fibre services are being introduced by Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) as a part of the Digital India initiative by the Government of India.
-To provide the residents wireless internet connections on demand. It is being scaled pan-India.
Aim: To provide BSNL fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) wireless connectivity up to a range of 20 km from the BSNL points of presence.

Features:

  • The connectivity speed is 100 Mbps and BSNL is offering various broadband plans in wire line segments.
  • There is a huge demand for high-speed broadband service in the present situation as there is the migration of people from metro cities to rural areas due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
  • The service is becoming popular due to Work from Home (WFH), e-learning, online shopping, gaming and entertainment, etc. amidst lockdowns.
  • BSNL is also providing unlimited free voice calling.

 

7) Migration of butterflies:

  • In a departure from the past the annual Migration of butterflies from the hill ranges of Eastern Ghats towards the Western Ghats is an early phenomenon this year
  • Usually butterfly migration in South India begins in October November with the onset of North East monsoon From the plains to the Ghats and in April June just before the advent of south West Monsoon from the Ghats to the Plains
  • The dark blue Tiger, Blue Tiger, common crow and the double branded are involved in migration
  • Change in rainfall pattern and a considerable increase in the number of sunny days could be among the reasons

 

8) Tree of life:

  • The African Baobab, known as the tree of life can live for over a thousand years
  • It is for used for order medical compound and other products
  • Study about the tree show that they are 168 chromosomes this will be used in genetic conservation efforts

 

9) Memory t-cells:

  • A T-cell is a type of lymphocyte which develops in the thymus gland hence the name and plays a central role in the immune system
  • T-cells can be distinguished from other Lymphocytes by the presence of t-cell receptor on the cell surface
  • These immune cells originate as precursor cells derived from bone marrow and developed into several distinct types T-cells once they have migrated to thymus gland
  • Native T- cells are those that haven’t previously responded to a pathogen.
  • When they recognise a pathogen they rapidly divide and Express molecules such as cytokine proteins that help to fight infection
  • These responding cells are called effector t-cells which migrate into inflamed tissues and kill infected cells
  • Once the pathogen is eliminated most affected cells die but a small pool of long-lived memory cells remain that is poised to respond rapidly if re infection occurs
  • Memory T-cells only reduce covid -19 severity

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