Sarat Chandra IAS Academy

Daily Current Affairs 27th September -2021

Sarat Chandra IAS Academy -UPSC Civils Daily Current Affairs 27th September -2021

Daily Current Affairs 27th September -2021

                                                                                                  

Topics                                                                                                                                                    

  • Centre notifies scheme for promotion of ‘Medical Device Parks’
  • UN Food Systems Summit
  • Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act
  • Botanical Survey of India publication on new Plant Discoveries 2020
  • Chang’e-5 probe

 

 

1) Centre notifies scheme for promotion of ‘Medical Device Parks’

 

#GS2 #Government policies and interventions #Growth & Development – Government Initiatives for Generating Employment #Make in India

 

Context:  The Union government has recently launched the Scheme for “Promotion of Medical Device Parks” to support the medical devices industry.

  • The Department of Pharmaceuticals, Ministry of Chemicals and Fertilizers has notified the Scheme which is in line with ‘Aatmanirbhar Bharat’.

 

Medical Device Industries:

  • The medical device industry is a unique combination of engineering and medicine.
    • It involves the creation of machines that are used to support life within the human body.
    • Medical devices include Surgical Equipment, Diagnostic equipment like Cardiac imaging, CT scans, X-ray, MRI and Ultrasound-imaging including hand – held devices; Life Support equipment like ventilator, etc. as well as Implants and Disposables.
  • The current market size of the medical devices industry in India is estimated to be nearly $10 bn.
  • The Medical device sector is projected to register a CAGR of almost 15% and is expected to reach ~$12 bn in 2021-22.
  • India’s medical devices industry is poised for significant growth in the next five years with the market size expected to reach $50 bn by 2025.
  • 100% FDI is allowed under the automatic route for both brown field and green field setups. Strong FDI inflows reflect the confidence of global players in the Indian market
  • Medical devices sector in India is very small in size as compared to the rest of the manufacturing industry.
    • India has a 75-80% import dependency on medical devices, with exports at Rs. 14,802 crore (US$2.1 billion) in 2019.
    • The US, Germany, China, Japan, and Singapore constitute the five largest exporters of high technology medical equipment to India.

 

Key Details on the Scheme:

  • Parks under the scheme will provide common infrastructure facilities at one place thereby creating a world class ecosystem for the medical device manufacturing in the country and also reducing the manufacturing cost significantly.
  • The total financial outlay of the scheme is Rs. 400 crore and the tenure of the scheme is from FY 2020-2021 to FY 2024-2025
  • The financial assistance to a selected Medical Device Park would be 70% of the project cost of common infrastructure facilities.
    • In case of North Eastern States and Hilly States, financial assistance would be 90% of the project cost. Maximum assistance under the scheme for one Medical Device Park would be limited to Rs. 100 crores.
  • Maximum assistance under the scheme for one Medical Device Park would be limited to Rs. 100 crores.
  • The Centre has granted in-principal approval for the parks in Himachal Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh

 

Related Initiatives:

  • In July 2021, the government announced to build medical park in Uttar Pradesh, which is expected to generate an estimated Rs. 500 crore (US$ 67.13 million) business in the state.
  • The Government of Andhra Pradesh is establishing the Andhra Pradesh MedTech Zone (APMTZ), which will house all capital-intensive scientific facilities, laboratories, etc., and will be leased to manufacturers in Vishakhapatnam.
  • In June 2021, the Quality Council of India (QCI) and the Association of Indian Manufacturers of Medical Devices (AiMeD) launched the Indian Certification of Medical Devices (ICMED) 13485 Plus scheme to undertake verification of the quality, safety and efficacy of medical devices.
  • In January 2020, the government set up a National Medical Devices Promotion Council to promote local manufacturing of high-end medical devices and attract investments in the sector.
  • The Government of India recognised medical devices as a sunrise sector under the ‘Make in India’ campaign in 2014.

 

Road Ahead:

  • Medical device companies should develop India as a manufacturing hub for domestic and international markets, undertake India-based innovation in combination with indigenous manufacturing, collaborate across the Make in India and Innovate in India schemes, and produce Low to Medium technology products to cater to the underpenetrated domestic markets.

 

 

2) UN Food Systems Summit

 

#GS2 #Important International Institutions – UN & its Agencies #Issues Relating to Poverty & Hunger #Food Security

 

Context: The first-ever UN Food Systems Summit has been organized in an effort to spur national and regional action to deliver the UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) through transforming food systems.

  • It featured commitments from more than 85 heads of state around the world.
  • The Summit brought together world leaders, experts, farmers and producers, indigenous peoples, the private sector and civil society, uniting participants to align agri-food production and consumption with the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
  • The Summit will launch bold new actions to deliver progress on all 17 SDGs, each of which relies to some degree on healthier, more sustainable and equitable food systems.

 

Background:

  • The UN Food Systems Summit, including a Pre-Summit, was conceived following conversations with the joint leadership – the Food and Agriculture Organization, the International Fund for Agricultural Development and the World Food Programme – at the High-level Political Forum in July 2019.
  • The Pre- Summit took place in Rome in July 2021.

 

Objectives of the summit:

  • Raise awareness of food systems’ centrality to the entire sustainable development agenda, and the urgency of transforming food systems, particularly in the wake of a global pandemic.
  • Align stakeholders around a common understanding and narrative of a food system framework as a foundation for concerted action, making food and food systems a more widespread issue for advocacy and action to achieve the 2030 Agenda.
  • Recognize the need for inclusivity and innovation in food systems governance and action.
  • Motivate and empower stakeholders who support food systems transformation through the development of improved tools, measurement, and analysis.
  • Catalyse, accelerate, and enlarge bold action for the transformation of food systems by all communities, including countries, cities, companies, civil society, citizens, and food producers.

 

Five action areas to help inform the transitions needed to realise the vision of the 2030 agenda have emerged from the Summit process. These include:

  1. Nourish all people
  2. Boost nature-based solutions
  3. Advance equitable livelihoods, decent work and empowered communities
  4. Build resilience to vulnerabilities, shocks and stresses
  5. Support means of implementation

 

Why food systems?

  • Food systems are the sum of actors and interactions along the food value chain—from input supply and production of crops, livestock, fish, and other agricultural commodities to transportation, processing, retailing, wholesaling, and preparation of foods to consumption and disposal.
  • Food systems also include the enabling policy environments and cultural norms around food.
  • Ideal food systems would be nutrition-, health-, and safety-driven, productive and efficient (and thus able to deliver affordable food), environmentally sustainable and climate-smart, and inclusive.
  • The health of our food systems profoundly affects the health of our bodies, as well as the health of our environment, our economies and our cultures.
  • When they function well, food systems have the power to bring us together as families, communities and nations.
  • To realize this vision, continued investments must be made in agricultural research and development and technological innovations, paving the way for programs and policies that are based on sound evidence.

        

 

 

 

3) Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act

 

#GS2 #Fundamental Rights #GS3#Role of external state and non-state actors in creating challenges to internal security.

Context:  The Office of High Commissioner of Human Rights, United Nations, has expressed its concerns over Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Actof India and has called the situation as ‘worrying.

 

Key Details on the issue:

  • United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights has observed that the state of Jammu & Kashmir has the highest number of cases registered under Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act [UAPA] across the Country.
  • It also highlighted concerns regarding the cases of Journalists who are under detention “for exercising their right to the freedom of expression”.
  • Previously, in October 2020 also, the office of UN High Commissioner for Human Rights expressed concern over the use of the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act and Unlawful Activities Prevention Act to “stifle the voices” of activists and non-governmental organisations in India.
  • Referring to the two laws as “vaguely defined”, it cited examples of use of the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act against human rights organisation Amnesty International India, leading to the shutting of its operations in the country and the slew of arrests of activists made under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act.
  • However, it does acknowledge the Government’s efforts to counter terrorism and promote development in the region (J&K), but also cautioned that such restrictive measures can result in human rights violations and foster further tensions and discontent.

 

About the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act:

  • Originally enacted in 1967, the UAPA was amended to be modelled as an anti-terror law in 2004, 2008 and in 2019.
  • The Act assigns absolute power to the union government, by way of which if the Centre deems an activity as unlawful then it may, by way of an Official Gazette, declare it so.
  • It has death penalty and life imprisonment as highest punishments.
  • Under UAPA, both Indian and foreign nationals can be charged.
  • It will be applicable to the offenders in the same manner, even if crime is committed on a foreign land, outside India.

 

2019 Amendment:

  • Under the Act, the union government may designate anorganisation as a terrorist organisation if it: (i) commits or participates in acts of terrorism, (ii) prepares for terrorism, (iii) promotes terrorism, or (iv) is otherwise involved in terrorism.
  • The Bill additionally empowers the government to designate individuals as terrorists on the same grounds.
  • Under the Act, investigation of cases may be conducted by officers of the rank of Deputy Superintendent or Assistant Commissioner of Police or above. The Bill additionally empowers the officers of the NIA, of the rank of Inspector or above, to investigate cases.

 

Issues with the Act:

  • Between 2016 and 2019, the period for which UAPA figures have been published by the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB), a total of 4,231 FIRs were filed under various sections of the UAPA, of which 112 cases have resulted in convictions.
  • This frequent application of UAPA indicates that it is often misused and abused like other anti-terror laws in the past in India such as POTA (Prevention of Terrorism Act) and TADA (Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Act).
  • The Delhi High Court laid down some important principles upon the imposition of Section 15, 17 & 18 of the Act while delivering a judgment defining the contours of the otherwise “vague” Section 15 of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967, (UAPA).
  • The court’s judgment notes that as the UAPA is meant to deal with terrorist offences, its application must be limited to acts that can reasonably fall within a plausible understanding of “terrorism”.

 

Way Forward:

  • Provisions of UAPA should be followed in letter and spirit, without its callous usage to wrongfully implicate individuals.
  • Officers must work to ensure professional integrity, follow the principle of objectivity and avoid any misuse.
  • Judiciary should carefully examine the cases of alleged misuse. Arbitrariness and subjectivity under the law should be checked through Judicial review.

 

 

4) Botanical Survey of India publication on new Plant Discoveries 2020

 

#Gs3 #Biodiversity and conservation #Types of Biodiversity – Genetic, Species, Ecosystem, etc.

 

Context: The Botanical Survey of India, in its new publication Plant Discoveries 2020 has added 267 new taxa/ species to the country’s flora.

  • In 2020, 202 new plant species were discovered across the country and 65 new records were added.

 

Key Details:

  • The new Discovery to the flora of India include 119 species of seed plants, 57 species of fungi, 44 species of lichens, 21 species of algae, 18 species of microbes, five species of bryophytes and three species of fern and fern allies.
  • India has about 45,000 species of plants, already identified and classified, which account for about 7% of the total plant species of the world.
  • With these new discoveries the latest estimate of plant diversity in India stands at 54,733 taxa including 21,849 angiosperms, 82 gymnosperms, 1310 Pteridophytes, 2791 bryophytes, 2961 lichens, 15,504 fungi, 8979 algae and 1257 microbes.
  • About 28% of the Indian plants are endemic to the country.

 

New Discoveries’:

  • Nine new species of balsams (Impatiens) and one species of wild banana (Musa pradhanii) from Darjeeling.
  • One species each of wild jamun (Sygygium anamalaianum) from Coimbatore.
  • Fern species (Selaginella odishana) Kandhamal in Odisha.

 

Distribution:

  • The Indian flora is mainly concentrated in 03 major centres of floristic diversity viz., the Himalayas, the Western Ghats and Andaman & Nicobar Islands, which are part of four of the thirty-four identified ‘global biodiversity hotspots’, viz., Himalayas, Western Ghats and Sri Lanka, Indo Burma (NE India and Andaman Islands), and Sundaland (Nicobar Islands).
  • An assessment of the geographical distribution of these newly discovered plants reveals that 22% of the discoveries were made from the Western Ghats followed by the Western Himalayas (15%), the Eastern Himalayas (14%) and the Northeast ranges (12%).
  • The west coast contributed 10% while the east coast contributed (9%) in total discoveries; the Eastern Ghats and south Deccan contribute 4% each while the central highland and north Deccan added 3% each.

  

Significance:

  • Every year, new plant discoveries are compiled and documented by BSI, which plays a vital role to fulfil India’s global commitment of comprehensive documentation and identification of plant diversity of the country.
  • India is a signatory to the ‘Convention on Biological Diversity’ (CBD) and is committed to work towards the prime objective of Global Strategy of Plant Conservation.
    • CBD, a legally binding treaty to conserve biodiversity, has been in force since 1993. It has 3 main objectives:
      • The conservation of biological diversity
      • The sustainable use of the components of biological diversity
      • The fair and equitable sharing of the benefits arising out of the utilization of genetic resources

About Botanical Survey of India:

  • The Botanical Survey of India (BSI), established in 1890, serves the nation by providing scientific basis for conservation and sustainable use of wild plant diversity through survey, documentation, taxonomic research and environmental awareness.
  • BSI was formally instituted by East India Company (EIC) on 13 February 1890under the direction of Sir George King who became first ex-officio director.
  • The Calcutta Garden became the headquarters of the Survey and was given regional responsibility for Bengal, Assam, North East, Burma, and the Andaman and Nicobar Islands.
  • It comes under the control of Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEFCC)

Functions:

  • Botanical Survey of India is actively engaged in the ex-situ conservation throughits chain of Botanic gardens established in different regional circles.
  • They are actively engaged in collection, introduction, multiplication and maintenance of germ plasm of orchids, bamboos, palms, medicinal plants, legumes, ferns, wildedible plants, insectivorous plants, gymnosperms and other economically important plant species.
  • Exploration of Plant Resources
  • Inventorisation of Endangered Plant Species.

 

 

 

5) Chang’e-5 probe

 #GS3 #Awareness in Different Fields – Space

 

Context: Recently, scientists presented the early-stage findings that use geological mapping to link ‘exotic’ fragments in the collected samples to features near the landing site of China’s Chang’e-5 lunar mission.

 

Background:

  • On December 16, 2020, China’s Chang’e-5 lunar mission delivered to Earth nearly 2 kg of rocky fragments and dust from the Moon, putting China on course to become the first country to successfully retrieve lunar samples since the 1970s.
  • Chang’e-5 landed on an area of the Moon (the ‘far side’) andretrieved fragments of the youngest lunar rocks ever brought back for analysis in laboratories on Earth.
    • The rocks are also different to those returned decades ago.

 

Key Findings:

  • 90% of the materials collected by Chang’e-5 likely derive from the landing site and its immediate surroundings, which are of a type termed ‘mare basalts’.
  • These volcanic rocks are visible to us as the darker grey areas that spilled over much of the nearside of the Moon as ancient eruptions of lava. Yet 10% percent of the fragments have distinctly different, ‘exotic’ chemical compositions.

 

Significance of the findings:

  • The distinct 10% fragments may preserve records of other parts of the lunar surface as well as hints of the types of space rocks that have impacted the Moon’s surface.
  • Scientists have looked at the potential sources of beads of rapidly cooled glassy material.
  • They have traced these glassy droplets to extinct volcanic vents known as ‘Rima Mairan’ and ‘Rima Sharp’.
  • These fragments could give insights into past episodes of energetic, fountain-like volcanic activity on the Moon.
  • The young geological age of the rocks at the landing site narrows the search, as only craters with ages less than 2 billion years can be responsible, and these are relatively rare on the side of the Moon that faces Earth.

 

About the Chang’e 5probe:

  • Change 5is the fifth lunar exploration mission of the Chinese Lunar Exploration Program, and China’s first lunar sample-return mission.
  • It is an unmanned spacecraft. The probe is named after the mythical Chinese moon goddess.
  • Chang’e-5 was the first lunar sample-return mission since the Soviet Union’s Luna 24 in 1976.
  • The mission made China the third country to return samples from the Moon after the United States and the Soviet Union.

 

Landing site:

  • The Chang’e-5 landing site is located on the western edge of the nearside of the Moon in the Northern Oceanus Procellarum.
  • This is one of the youngest geological areas of the Moon with an age of roughly two billion years.
  • This area is characterized by some of the youngest mare basalts on the Moon (~1.21 billion years old),with elevated titanium, thorium, and olivine abundances.
  • The Chang’e-5 mission is expected to realize four “firsts” in China’s space history:
    • The first time for a probe to take off from the surface of the Moon.
    • The first time to automatically sample the lunar surface.
    • The first time to conduct unmanned rendezvous and docking in lunar orbit.
    • The first time to return to Earth with lunar soil samples in escape velocity.

Daily Current Affairs 27th September -2021

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