Current Affairs Daily Current Affairs 22

13thMarch,2022 ; Daily Current Affairs

Daily Current Affairs   Date : 13thMarch,2022

 (30+ Questions hit in Prelims 2021 from this series)

Covers 4 Most relevant Sources

  • The Hindu
  • Indian Express
  • PIB
  • Mint

Index

  • Kuposhan Se Azadi Rallies (PIB)
  • Union Budget 2022-23: New Vibrant Villages Programme (TH, pg 1)
  • Maternal Mortality Ratio (MMR) (TH, pg 8)
  • What are Bypolls or By-elections?(TH, pg 9)
  • Geneva Conventions (TH, pg 15)
  • Pineal Gland (TH, pg 14)
  • NASA’s Perseverance Rover (TH, pg 14)
  • CRISPR/Cas9(TH, pg 14)
  • Hypocretin/orexin (Hcrt/Orx) Neurons (TH, pg 14)
  1. Kuposhan Se Azadi Rallies (PIB)

  • Context:With an aim to create awareness on under-nutrition, anaemia and low birth babies amongst rural women, more than 5000 trainees from both Deen Dayal Upadhayaya Grameen Kaushalya Yojana (DDU-GKY) and Rural Self Employment Training Institutes (RSETI) organised more than 100 rallies across the country.
  • The ‘Kuposhan Se Azadi’ rallies were organised as part of Iconic Week celebrations by the Ministry of Rural Development (MoRD) under the Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav Campaign.

Analysis

Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Grameen Kaushalya Yojana (DDU-GKY)

  • DDU-GKY, launched in 2014, is a nationwide placement-linked skill training program funded by the Ministry of Rural Development (MoRD).
  • DDU-GKY seeks to build the placement linked skills of the poor rural youth and place them in wage employment across various sectors of the economy.
  • The programme has an outcome led design with guaranteed placements for at least 70% trained candidates.
  • The DDU-GKY programme is being implemented in 27 states and 3 UTs for rural poor youth with an emphasis on placements.

Rural Self Employment Training Institutes (RSETI)

  • RSETI (Rural Self Employment Training Institutes) programme is a three-way partnership between the Ministry of Rural Development (MoRD), State Governments and Sponsor Banks.
  • The Banks are mandated to open at least one RSETI in their lead district to provide training to rural youth to take up self-employment/ entrepreneurship ventures.
  • RSETI program runs with an approach of short-term training & long-term handholding of entrepreneurs.
  • Rural poor youth between the age group of 18-45 years are eligible to join training.
  • The RSETIs have become established as pioneers in capturing the aspirations of the rural poor youth and turning them into profitable entrepreneurs by training them in the domain and entrepreneurial skills.
  1. Union Budget 2022-23: New Vibrant Villages Programme (TH, pg 1)

  • Context:The Union government plans to open the villages along the Chinese border for tourists under the Vibrant Village programme announced in the Union Budget 2022-23.

Analysis

  • The Union Budget 2022-23 has announced that villages on the northern border will be covered under the new Vibrant Villages Programme of the Ministry of Rural Development.
  • The activities will include construction of village infrastructure, housing, tourist centres, road connectivity, provisioning of decentralized renewable energy, direct to home access for Doordarshan and educational channels, and support for livelihood generation.
  • The programme aimsto enhance infrastructure in villages along India’s border with China, in states like Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, and Arunachal Pradesh.
  • The following major programmes are being operated by the Ministry of Rural Development in rural areas:
  • Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act – MGNREGA for providing wage employment,
  • National Rural Livelihoods Mission (RL) – NRLM (NRLM) for selfemployment and skill development,
  • Housing for All: Pradhan Mantri Awaas Yojana- PMAYG for providing housing to BPL households,
  • Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana – PMGSY for construction of quality roads,
  • National Social Assistance Programme – NSAP for social pension,
  • Shyama Prasad Mukherjee RURBAN Mission – (SPMRM) for the development of a cluster of villages that preserve and nurture the essence of rural community life with focus on equity and inclusiveness without compromising with the facilities perceived to be essentially urban in nature,
  • Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Grameen Kaushalya Yojana – DDUGKY to transform rural poor youth into an economically independent and globally relevant workforce,
  • Mission Antyodaya – (MA) to bring optimum use and management of resources allocated by 27 Ministries/ Department,
  • Sansad Adarsh Gram Yojana (SAGY) for holistic development of the identified Gram Panchayats, leading to sustainable improvement in Standard of Living.
  1. Maternal Mortality Ratio (MMR) (TH, pg 8)

  • Context: Kerala has yet again emerged on top in maternal and child health, recording the lowest Maternal Mortality Ratio (MMR) of 30 (per one lakh live births) in the country.

Analysis

  • According to the latest Sample Registration System (SRS) special bulletin on maternal mortality in India (2017-19), brought out by the office of the Registrar General of India, Kerala’s MMR has dropped by 12 points. This puts Kerala way ahead of the national MMR of 103.
  • This is an exciting moment because Kerala has already achieved the target it had set for itself, based on the N. Sustainable Development Goals, of an MMR of 30 by 2020, that too, one year ahead.
  • Another State which has made significant gains is Maharashtra, whose MMR dipped from 55 to 38.

LaQshya (Labour Room Quality Improvement Initiative)

  • ‘LaQshya’ programme of the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare aims at improving quality of care in labour room and maternity Operation Theatre (OT)and to enhance satisfaction of beneficiaries visiting the health facilities and provide Respectful Maternity Care (RMC) to all pregnant women attending the public health facility.

Do you know?

  • Maternal Mortality Ratio (MMR)refers to the number of maternal deaths per 100,000 women of reproductive age in a year.
  • Child Mortality Rate (CMR)refers to the number of deaths of children less than 5 years of age per 1000 live births.
  • Infant Mortality Rate (IMR)refers to the number of deaths of children less than one year of age per 1000 live births.
  • Neo natal Mortality Raterefers to the number of deaths of children less than 28 days per 1000 live births.
  • Peri-natal Mortality Raterefers to the sum total of neo-natal death and foetal deaths (still births) per 1000 live births.
  1. What are Bypolls or By-elections?(TH, pg 9)

  • Context: Bypolls to five vacant parliamentary and assembly constituencies in West Bengal, Chhattisgarh, Bihar and Maharashtra will be held in April, the Election Commission has said.

Analysis

  • By-elections or bypolls are used to fill elected offices that have become vacant between general elections.
  • Under the following circumstances, bypolls can occur for a seat:
  • When the incumbent dies or resigns.
  • When the incumbent becomes ineligible to continue in office.
  • When a constituency election is invalidated by voting irregularities.
  • When a candidate wins a seat after the bypolls he or she will remain in office till the Lok Sabha/Assembly dissolves.

Time limit for By-elections

  • According to Section 151A of Representation of the People Act 1951, the time limit for a bypoll to fill vacancies either for parliament or legislative assembly is six months from the date of occurrence of vacancy provided that nothing contained in this section shall apply if –
  • (a) the remainder of the term of a member in relation to a vacancy is less than one year; or
  • (b) the Election Commission in consultation with the Central Government certifies that it is difficult to hold the by election within the said period (the Election Commission had postponed Rajya Sabha polls, byelections and civic body elections in the wake of the pandemic).
  • A Panchayat/Municipality reconstituted after premature dissolution (i.e. before the expiry of the full period of 5 years) shall continue for the remainder of the period.
  • But if the remainder of the period is less than 6 months,it shall not be necessary to hold elections.
  • A person cannot be a member of both Houses of Parliament at the same time under the Representation of People Act (1951).
  • If a person is elected to both the Houses of Parliament, he must intimate within 10 days in which House he desires to serve.
  • If a sitting member of one House is also elected to the other House, his seat in the first House becomes vacant.
  • If a person is elected to two seats in a House, he should exercise his option for one, otherwise, both seats become vacant.
  1. Geneva Conventions (TH, pg 15)

  • Context: Russia’s armed invasion of Ukraine starting February 24 has set off a steady escalation in hostilities on Ukrainian soil.
  • As the evidence of casualties in the civilian population continues to mount, the world will increasingly look to the Geneva Conventions, a set of principles outlining norms for combatant behaviour during a war, for standards to which the invading Russian forces can be held.
  • Ultimately, if there is a compelling case for prosecuting combatants for war crimes, crimes against humanity, genocide, and the crime of aggression, evidence could be collected for an investigation and trial at the International Criminal Court (ICC).

Analysis

What are the Geneva Conventions guidelines during wartime?

  • The Geneva Conventions are a set of four treaties, formalised in 1949, and three additional protocols, which codify widely accepted ethical and legal international standards for humanitarian treatment of those impacted by war.
  • The focus of the Conventions is the treatment of non-combatants and prisoners of war, and not the use of conventional or biological and chemical weapons, the use of which is governed respectively by the Hague Conventions and the Geneva Protocol.
  • The First Geneva Convention protects wounded and sick soldiers on land during war.
  • This convention extends to medical and religious personnel, medical units, and medical transport.
  • The Second Geneva Convention protects wounded, sick and shipwrecked military personnel at sea during war.
  • This convention also extends to hospital ships and medical transports by sea.
  • The Third Geneva Convention applies to prisoners of war, including a wide range of general protections such as humane treatment, maintenance and equality across prisoners, conditions of captivity, questioning and evacuation of prisoners, transit camps, food, clothing, medicines, hygiene and right to religious, intellectual, and physical activities of prisoners.
  • The Fourth Geneva Convention, which most imminently applies to the invasion of Ukraine by Russian military forces, protects civilians, including those in occupied territory.

Which countries are signatories?

  • The Geneva Conventions have been ratified by 196 states, including all UN member states.
  • The three Protocols have been ratified by 174, 169 and 79 states respectively.
  • In 2019, perhaps anticipating the possibility of its invading Ukraine in the near future, Russia withdrew its declaration under Article 90 of Protocol 1.
  • By withdrawing this declaration, Russia has pre-emptively left itself with the option to refuse access by any international fact-finding missions to Russian entities, individuals or resources that might potentially, in Moscow’s reckoning, find Russia responsible for violations of the Geneva Conventions standards.
  • Further, the four conventions and first two protocols of the Geneva Conventions were ratified by the Soviet Union, not Russia, hence there is a risk of the Russian government of the day disavowing any responsibility under the Conventions in toto.

What would be the steps for potential prosecution under the Conventions?

  • Under Article 8 of the Rome Statute of the ICC, it is the ICC that has jurisdiction in respect of war crimes.
  • The Geneva Conventions, even when backed by rulings of the ICC, cannot be enforced by third parties to any conflict.
  • However, they have in the past proved effective at raising global awareness of human rights violations across conflict zones, and in some cases led to sanctions or trade embargoes against the belligerents.
  1. Pineal Gland (TH, pg 14)

  • Context: An article in the Hindu.

Analysis

  • The pineal gland (a small, pea-shaped endocrine gland in the brain), at night, releases the hormone melatonin which is involved in regulating the sleep-wake cycle or the circadian rhythm.
  • This has made it a popular supplement for overcoming insomnia, although its effectiveness beyond the short term remains debatable.

Endocrine Gland Vs Exocrine Glands

  • An endocrine glanddischarges hormones into the bloodstream, and an exocrine gland secretes substances through a duct opening in a gland onto an external or internal body surface.
  • Salivary glands and sweat glands are examples of exocrine glands. Both saliva, secreted by the salivary glands, and sweat, secreted by the sweat glands, act on local tissues near the duct openings.
  • In contrast, the hormones secreted by endocrine glands are carried by the circulation to exert their actions on tissues remote from the site of their secretion.
  1. NASA’s Perseverance Rover (TH, pg 14)

  • Context:NASA’s Perseverance rover is all set to move towards the edge of Mars’s Jezero crater that contains the remnants of a delta. None of the samples seen so far appear to be deposited by water.

Analysis

  • The Mars Perseverance rover mission is part of NASA’s Mars Exploration Program, a long-term effort of robotic exploration of the Red Planet.
  • NASA’s newest rover Perseverance is looking for signs of habitable conditions on Mars and microbial life in its ancient past.
  • It will collect Martian rock and sediment samples for analysis on Earth.
  • The mission also provides opportunities to gather knowledge and demonstrate technologies that address the challenges of future human expeditions to Mars. These include:
  • testing a method for producing oxygen from the Martian atmosphere,
  • identifying other resources (such as subsurface water), improving landing techniques, and
  • characterizing weather, dust, and other potential environmental conditions that could affect future astronauts living and working on Mars.
  1. CRISPR/Cas9 (TH, pg 14)

  • Context:The U.S. patent office has awarded key patent rights related to the CRISPR–Cas9 gene-editing tool to the Broad Institute team led by molecular biologist Feng Zhang.
  • It had been locked in a battle with another team that includes biochemist Jennifer Doudna and microbiologist Emmanuelle Charpentier who shared a Nobel Prize for the discovery in 2020.

Analysis

  • CRISPR/Cas9 is a simple but powerful gene-editing technology that can be harnessed to modify, delete or correct disease-causing abnormalities at their genetic sources.
  • CRISPR refers to Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats of genetic information, which some bacterial species use as an antiviral mechanism in combination with the Cas9 enzyme.
  • Cas9 – a CRISPR-Associated endonuclease – acts as “molecular scissors” to cut DNA at a specific locationand inserts a foreign piece of DNA to correct the mutation that causes the disease.
  1. Hypocretin/orexin (Hcrt/Orx) Neurons (TH, pg 14)

  • Context:There is a rare disorder of the nervous system triggered by the loss of Hypocretin/orexin (Hcrt/Orx) neurons.

Analysis

  • Narcolepsy has strange characteristics – an overwhelming desire to sleep in the daytime, even though the total hours of sleep remain unchanged; a tendency to hallucinate as the sleep-wake phases are blurred; frequent loss of muscle tone – cataplexy – during which muscles become flaccid.
  • Patients with this condition have vanishingly low amounts of hypocretin in their cerebrospinal fluids.
  • The study points to the hypothalamus, which lies in the centre of the brain and is the size and shape of an almond.
  • An area in this part of the brain, the lateral hypothalamus, plays an outsized role in wakefulness, feeding behaviour, learning and sleep.
  • Emanating from here are a bunch of nerve cells that fan out and project their nerve ending to all the parts of the central nervous system that are associated with the state of arousal.
  • The chemical message released by these neurons is in the form of small proteins, called hypocretins and also known as orexins ((Hcrt/Orx) neurons) (The two names come from two groups of scientists who independently discovered these neuropeptides in 1998).