Sarat Chandra IAS Academy

Sarat Chandra IAS Academy -UPSC Civils Daily Current Affairs 19th October -2021

CURRENT AFFAIRS 19-10-2021

                                                                                                  

 

Topics

  • The Global Hunger Index: India 101/116
  • World Energy Outlook Report 2021 by IEA
  • World Health Organization (WHO)-Impact of COVID-19 on TB elimination
  • The country’s first One Health consortium by The Department of Biotechnology
  • IISc and Zeolite Oxygen Concentrators

                                                                                                                                                           

 

1.The Global Hunger Index: India 101/116

#GS2-Issues related to health.

 Context :

  • India is ranked 101 out of 116 nations with credible and comparable data in this year’s Global Hunger Index (GHI).

In depth information

 India’s performance:

  • India has dropped seven spots to number 101 out of 116 countries. According to the research, India’s hunger problem is “severe.”
  • It came in fourth place among the countries of South Asia.
  • Only 15 countries were ranked lower than India on the Index.
  • On the index, Bangladesh (76), Nepal (76), and Pakistan (92) did significantly better than India.
  • India was placed 94th out of 107 countries in the Index in 2020.
  • In the last two decades, India’s score on the Index has dropped by ten points.
  • In terms of ‘child wasting,’ or ‘weight for height,’ India ranks among the worst in the world. It fared worse than Djibouti and Somalia in terms of performance.

The GHI approach should be understood.

The GHI is made up of four parts.

  • The first, insufficient calorie intake, affects people of all ages.
  • The data on calorie intake deficiency, which is weighted at 33 percent, comes from the Food and Agriculture Organization’s Suite of Food Security Indicators (2021).
  • The other three, wasting (low weight for height), stunting (low height for age), and death, affect children under the age of five.
  • The World Health Organization, UNICEF, and the World Bank provided statistics on child wasting and stunting (2016-2020), which account for 16.6% of total weight and are supplemented with the most recent data from the Demographic and Health Surveys.
  • The UN Inter-Agency Group for Child Mortality Estimation provided 2019 data on under-five mortality.

Problems with GHI

  • The GHI is primarily aimed at children, with a focus on undernutrition rather than hunger and its hidden forms, such as micronutrient deficiencies.
  • The first factor, calorie deficiency, is problematic for a variety of reasons.
  • Reduced physical activity, better social infrastructure (road, transportation, and healthcare), and access to energy-saving equipment at home, among other factors, may contribute to lower calorie consumption, which does not necessarily imply shortage.
  • Using a consistent calorie norm to calculate deficiency prevalence in a vast and diverse country like India ignores enormous regional imbalances in components that could lead to differential calorie requirements at the state level.

Understanding the link between stunting and wasting, as well as potential solutions

  • India has one of the highest wasting prevalence rates in the world (17.3 percent).
  • However, when compared to squandering, its stunting performance isn’t as bad.
  • In India, child stunting has decreased from 54.2 percent in 1998–2002 to 34.7 percent in 2016–2020, whereas child wasting has remained around 17 percent for the past two decades.
  • Stunting is a long-term, chronic symptom of malnutrition, whereas wasting is a more acute, short-term symptom.
  • Several instances of wasting with little time to recover can potentially result in stunting.
  • To make consistent and rapid gains in child nutrition, it’s critical to effectively combat bouts of wasting caused by such occasional adversity.
  • Way forward: If India can successfully monitor places that are more sensitive to socioeconomic and environmental disasters, it may be able to reduce waste while also improving stunting.

Child mortality is low.

  • India’s significantly superior performance in the other GHI component, child mortality, is worth noting.
  • According to studies, child malnutrition and mortality are frequently linked, as malnutrition plays a key role in enabling child mortality.
  • India, on the other hand, looks to be an outlier in this regard.
  • This means that, while India did not achieve higher nutritional security for all children under the age of five, it was able to save many lives due to the availability and accessibility of better health facilities.

the government’s response

  • According to the Ministry of Women and Child Development, the discovery that the Global Hunger Report 2021 is devoid of ground realities and facts and suffers from major methodological flaws is disturbing.
  • According to the ministry, publishing houses did not do due diligence before issuing the report.

Conclusion

  • The low ranking does not imply that India performs poorly in all areas. This rating should motivate us to examine our policy priorities and measures to ensure that they are capable of effectively addressing the GHI’s concerns, particularly in the case of pandemic-induced nutrition insecurity.

 

2.World Energy Outlook Report 2021 by IEA

# GS3-Mineral & Energy Resources, Environmental Pollution & Degradation

 Context :

  • The World Energy Outlook (WEO) Report 2021 was recently released by the International Energy Agency (IEA).
  • Every year, the World Energy Outlook (WEO) delivers crucial analyses and insights into energy demand and supply trends.
  • At the Conference of Parties (COP26) conference, the 2021 report put pressure on nations to advocate for more climate action (in Glasgow, UK).
  • Earlier this year, the IEA announced its ‘Net Zero by 2050’ Net Zero Emissions (NZE) Roadmap.

In depth information

Increase the percentage of renewables in your energy mix:

  • Solar, wind, hydropower, and bioenergy, among other renewable energy sources, must account for a far larger share of the comeback in energy investment following the coronavirus pandemic.
  • The world is not investing enough to satisfy future energy needs, and the uncertainties are causing a tumultuous period ahead.
  • Renewable energy continues to be in high demand. However, renewable energy progress is still far too sluggish to bring global emissions to net zero by 2050, as the IEA believes, which will help limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius.
  • Initially, the IEA was in favour of continuing to invest in fossil fuels.
  • However, it has steadily shifted to a “stronger tone pressing decision-makers to address climate change.”

Measures to Reduce Emissions:

  • It’s possible that the additional investment isn’t as difficult as it appears. Measures that pay for themselves would account for more than 40% of the required carbon reductions, such as:
  • Improving efficiency, reducing gas leakage, or installing wind or solar in areas where these technologies are now the most cost-effective electricity generation options.
  • Various Situations: The International Energy Agency (IEA) looked at two scenarios:
  1. STEPS (Stated Policies Scenario):
  • This examines the policies and actions that countries have already implemented. Regardless of the measures, annual global emissions will remain constant as developing countries expand their infrastructure.
  • Temperatures in 2100 would be 2.6 degrees Celsius higher than pre-industrial levels under this scenario.
  1. Make a Net-Zero pledge:
  • This report examines countries’ commitments to reach net-zero emissions, with clean energy investment potentially doubling over the next decade.
  • If countries meet their commitments on schedule, global average temperature rises will be roughly 2.1 degrees Celsius by 2100, which is an improvement but still significantly beyond the 1.5 degrees Celsius target agreed under the Paris accord.

Major Recommendations:

 Electrification without Pollution:

  • In comparison to the [stated promises scenarios], this necessitates a doubling of solar PV and wind deployment.
  • Generation with Low Emissions:

  • A major expansion of other low-emissions generation, including the use of nuclear power where appropriate; a massive expansion of electricity infrastructure and all forms of system flexibility, including hydropower; a rapid phase-out of coal; and a push to increase the use of electricity for transportation and heating.
  • Efficiency in Energy Use:
  • An unwavering commitment to energy efficiency, as well as steps to reduce energy service demand through material efficiency and behavioural change.
  • Methane Emissions Reduction: A push to reduce methane emissions from fossil fuel operations, as well as a significant boost to clean energy innovation.
  • Clean Energy Decade:

  • To make the 2020s the decade of enormous renewable energy deployment, COP26 will need to provide clear guidance.
  • Population and Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in India from 2020 to 2050:
  • India will overtake China as the world’s most populated country this decade, and by 2050, India will have surpassed 1.6 billion people, while China’s population is expected to decline.
  • Over the next three decades, India’s GDP will increase at a greater rate than China’s [5.3 percent vs. 3.6 percent].
  • Production of Coal:
  • The banking sector in India has been strained by about 50 GW of Financially Stressed Coal Assets (NPAs).
  • By 2030, India’s coal demand is predicted to increase by roughly 30%.
  • According to their pledges, India will be the second largest user of unrestricted coal after China, accounting for around 15% of global consumption for electricity generation in 2030.
  • Pollution in the Air:
  • People will continue to be exposed to air pollution if clean energy transitions are not accelerated.
  • Air pollution has been connected to 1.67 million premature deaths in India, or more than three deaths every minute.

India’s Efforts Were Appreciated:

  • India’s success in financing a rapid development of solar photovoltaics (pv) in pursuit of its 450 GW objective for renewables by 2030 is a notable example of developing economies mobilising funds for clean energy projects.
  • The World Health Organization’s recent survey results for India revised the prior clean cooking access percentages.
  • This is owing to faster development than originally anticipated, thanks in major part to the Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana LPG distribution programme.

Recommendation: India should require all room air conditioners to have a default set point temperature of 24 degrees Celsius and stricter minimum performance standards in order to improve efficiencies as cooling and power demand grows.

Next Steps

  • Even as the global economy more than doubles in size and the worldwide population grows by 2 billion people, the world faces a daunting task of cost-effectively reforming the energy sector within 30 years.
  • The primary interim measures that must be completed until 2030 in order for the world to reach Net Zero Emissions by 2050 are to engineer inexpensive and green energy from hydrogen and renewable energy while making them available to everybody.

 

3.World Health Organization (WHO)-Impact of COVID-19 on TB elimination

#GS 2-Issues related to health.

Context:

  • The World Health Organization has released its Global Tuberculosis Report (WHO).

In depth information

  • The novel coronavirus illness (COVID-19) pandemic has thrown the world’s progress toward tuberculosis (TB) elimination in 2020 into disarray.
  • The greatest impact was felt in terms of new case detection. Because of the limited availability to diagnostics and the restrictions established to contain the epidemic, a huge number of cases went unreported. The number of new cases increased steadily from 2016 to 2019, but then dropped sharply to 20% in 2020.
  • Because of the significant decline in TB case notifications in 2020 compared to 2019, the gap between the number of persons who really caught the disease and the number of new people diagnosed “widened dramatically” in 2020. According to the research, the gap is projected to be over 4.1 million cases.
  • India saw the greatest reduction in the number of new cases discovered. India accounted for 41% of the total number of cases that decreased in 2020 compared to 2019. As a result, a huge number of tuberculosis cases went missing throughout the country.
  • The most serious consequence of the drop in new case reporting is an increase in tuberculosis fatalities.
  • TB was the world’s 13th greatest cause of death until 2019. It is now expected to be the second leading cause, only after COVID-19, due to significant setbacks.
  • The ‘End TB Strategy’ targets for reducing TB disease burden by 2020 included a 35% reduction in TB fatalities. Instead, throughout the same time period, the global decline was only 9.2 percent.

What is tuberculosis (TB)?

  • The bacteria Mycobacterium tuberculosis causes tuberculosis, an infectious disease.
  • It usually affects the lungs (pulmonary tuberculosis), but it can also affect other parts of the body.
  • The disease is spread when persons with pulmonary tuberculosis exhale bacteria into the air, such as by coughing.

India’s initiatives in this area are as follows:

  • India is working hard to implement its fully financed National Strategic Plan to End Tuberculosis.
  • 50 million people have been treated in the last few years.
  • India aims to achieve national TB prevention treatment scale-up (TPT).
  • In the remaining 18 months, it aims to reach the UNHLM targets of 40 million people starting TB treatment and 30 million people starting TPT internationally.
  • Sub-national Certification of States and Districts began in 2020, and the effort awards districts/States-UTs points for “Progress Towards TB Free Status” in various categories, as evaluated by graded TB incidence reduction milestones.

 

4.The country’s first One Health consortium by The Department of Biotechnology

#GS3-HealthGovernment Policies & Interventions

 Context

  • The Department of Biotechnology has announced the formation of the country’s first One Health consortium.
  • The Indian government’s Department of Biotechnology is part of the Ministry of Science and Technology.

In depth information

 What is the ‘One Health’ Consortium’s mission?

  • The One Health Consortium was formed to keep track of major viral, bacterial, and parasite diseases caused by zoonotic and transboundary pathogens in India.
  • The group will also investigate the utilisation of existing diagnostic tests as well as the creation of new approaches for illness surveillance and understanding.

Organizations that are part of the ‘One Health’ Consortium

  • The DBT-National Institute of Animal Biotechnology in Hyderabad leads the One Health Consortium, which includes 27 organisations.

Significance:

  • It will take a holistic approach to understanding human, animal, and wildlife health in order to reduce the impact of future pandemics.

A One Health Idea

  • One Health is a philosophy that acknowledges that human health is inextricably linked to the health of animals and our shared environment.
  • The framework for One Health’s vision comes from an agreement between the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the World Organisation for Animal Health, and the World Health Organization (WHO) (OIE).
  • Its goal is to promote research collaborations and knowledge sharing across numerous disciplines, such as human health, animal health, plants, soil, environmental, and ecosystem health, in order to improve, protect, and defend the health of all species.

A One Health Idea Importance in present world:

  • Growing Importance: It has become more significant in recent years as a result of a variety of reasons that have altered the relationships between people, animals, plants, and our environment.
  • Human Expansion: As human populations grow and extend into new geographic areas, additional opportunities for illnesses to spread between animals and people arise as a result of close interaction with animals and their habitats.
  • More than 65 percent of infectious diseases affecting people are caused by zoonotic (animal-to-human) transmission.
  • Disturbances in the environment and habitats: Disturbances in the environment and habitats can create new opportunities for illnesses to spread to animals.
  • International travel and trade have expanded the mobility of people, animals, and animal products, which has allowed diseases to spread fast across borders and around the world.
  • Viruses in Animals: Scientists have discovered that over 1.7 million viruses are circulating in wildlife, with many of them being zoonotic.
  • This means that unless early identification is possible, India may face many more pandemics in the future.

Steps taken by the government: National Expert Group on ‘One Health:

  • India established a National Expert Organization on ‘One Health’ in May 2019 as a multi-sectoral, transdisciplinary, collaborative group.
  • The Group recently published its report in April 2021, which included Subject Specific Health Action Plans on recognised Climate Sensitive Diseases and ‘One Health.’
  • Health Insurance for All:Its goal is one of the most significant pledges to equitable excellent healthcare for all, as expressed in the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs no. 3).
  • In 2018, India took a step closer to achieving the SDGs by launching Ayushman Bharat, a national health protection scheme aimed at achieving universal health coverage.
  • In 2017, the Malé Declaration was issued:
  • In the framework of green and climate-resilient healthcare facilities, India signed the Malé Declaration in 2017 and vowed to support climate-resilient healthcare facilities that can resist any natural disaster.

Next Steps

  • The Covid-19 pandemic demonstrated the importance of ‘One Health’ ideas in infectious disease management, particularly attempts to prevent and limit zoonotic illnesses around the world.
  • India needs to expand out this concept across the country and form relevant international research alliances.
  • The development of best-practice guidelines for informal market and slaughterhouse operations (e.g., inspections, disease prevalence assessments) as well as procedures to operationalize ‘One Health’ at every stage down to the village level are required.
  • The necessity of the hour is to raise awareness and enhance investments in order to reach the ‘One Health’ targets.

 

5.IISc and Zeolite Oxygen Concentrators

#GS -3 Developments, Applications & Effects on Everyday Life

 Context : IISc has licenced the technology for creating Zeolite oxygen concentrators to more than 20 companies in India.

In depth information

 Concerning Zeolites

  • Zeolites are 3-D meshes of silica and alumina that are very porous.
  • They can be found in nature and are also mass-produced industrially.
  • They appear in nature where volcanic outflows meet water.
  • Synthetic zeolites have shown to be a significant and cost-effective boon.
  • Molecular sieves are a term that is frequently used to describe them.
  • The zeolites are known for their ion exchange and reversible dehydration abilities.
  • They have an interwoven framework structure that houses massive metal cations (positively charged ions) and water molecules.

 Oxygen concentrators made of zeolite

  • The oxygen concentrator is one biological technology that has entered our language as a result of the pandemic.
  • The scale of oxygen purification has been reduced from industrial-scale plants to the amounts required for a single person thanks to this equipment.
  • Synthetic frameworks of silica and alumina with nanometer-sized pores that are hard and inflexible are at the heart of this technology.
  • In an oxygen concentrator, zeolite 13X beads with a diameter of about a millimetre are packed into two cylindrical columns.

What is the mechanism behind it?

  • The chemistry of separating oxygen from nitrogen in the air is performed by zeolite.
  • Zeolite beads have a surface area of roughly 500 square metres per gramme due to their porous nature.
  • Chemically, nitrogen and zeolite are in a tight embrace at high pressures in the column.
  • Nitrogen is preferentially adsorbed on the zeolite’s surface due to interaction between the negatively charged zeolite and the asymmetric nucleus (quadrupole moment) of nitrogen.
  • As a result, oxygen remains unrestricted and is thus enhanced.
  • When nitrogen is stopped, 90 percent or more oxygen flows out of the column.
  • After this, lowering the pressure in the column releases the nitrogen, which is flushed out, and the cycle is repeated with fresh air.

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