27thFebruary,2022 ; Daily Current Affairs

Daily Current Affairs   Date : 27thFebruary,2022

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

Covers 4 Most relevant Sources

  • The Hindu
  • Indian Express
  • PIB
  • Mint

Index

  • Ayushman Bharat Digital Mission (ABDM) (TH, pg 9)
  • Universal Immunization Programme (UIP) (PIB)
  • Reintroduction of Cheetahs in India (TH, pg 9)
  • The Concept of Airspace (TH, pg 10)
  • Glycogen Reserves(TH, pg 11)
  • Devastation in Spring (TH, pg 11)
  • Time Dilation Clocked (TH, pg 11)
  • Multi-nation air exercise cancelled (TH, pg 7)
  • Fallen soldiers not ‘martyrs’, says Army (TH, pg 7)
  • Same species of tree had different patterns of carbon dioxide storage (TH, pg 11)
  • Forest cover outside the recorded forest area (TH, pg 11)

 

  1. Ayushman Bharat Digital Mission (ABDM) (TH, pg 9)

  • Context:The Union Cabinet has approved the national roll-out of Central Sector Scheme, Ayushman Bharat Digital Mission (ABDM) of Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.

Analysis

  • The Ayushman Bharat Digital Mission (earlier known as the National Digital Health Mission) was launched on 15th August 2020.
  • Three key registries of (ABDM) are namely Health ID, Health Professional Registry (HPR), Health Facility Registry (HFR) and digital infrastructure for data exchange have been developed.
  • Health IDs are also known as ABHA – Ayushman Bharat Health Accounts.
  • Creation of Health ID is voluntary.
  • Under ABDM, every Indian will get a Health ID card.
  • Every time you visit a doctor or a pharmacy, everything will be logged in this card.
  • From the doctor’s appointment to the medication, everything will be available in your health profile.
  • The National Health Authority (NHA), the attached office of the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare which runs the Ayushman Bharat Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana, would “design, build, roll-out and implement the ABDM.
  • The ABDM would be a voluntary programme to reduce the gap among stakeholders, such as doctors, hospitals and other healthcare providers, by connecting them in an integrated digital health infrastructure.
  • The mission will improve equitable access to quality healthcare by encouraging use of technologies such as telemedicine and enabling national portability of health services.
  • Not only will ABDM facilitate evidence-based decision making for effective public health interventions, but it will also catalyse innovation and generate employment across the healthcare ecosystem.
  • Digital health solutions like CoWIN, Arogya Setu and eSanjeevanihave demonstrated the role of technology in enabling access to healthcare.
  • Covid Vaccine Intelligence Network (CoWIN): It is a cloud-based IT solution for planning, implementation, monitoring, and evaluation of Covid-19 vaccination in India.
  • AarogyaSetu: It is India’s main contact tracing app, and has been developed by the National Informatics Centre under the Ministry of Electronics & Information Technology. AarogyaSetu is designed to keep track of other app users that a person came in contact with. It then alerts app users if any of the contacts tests positive for COVID-19.
  • eSanjeevani: It is the Tele-Medicine platform rolled out by Health Ministry.This platform has enabled two types of telemedicine services viz. Doctor-to-Doctor (eSanjeevani) and Patient-to-Doctor (eSanjeevani OPD) Tele-consultations.
  1. Universal Immunization Programme (UIP) (PIB)

  • Context: Union Minister for Health and Family Welfare launched the National Polio Immunization Drive for 2022 by administering polio drops to children below five years of age in the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.

Analysis

  • India conducts one National Immunization Day (NID) and two Sub-National Immunization Day (SNIDs) for polio every year to maintain population immunity against wild poliovirus and to sustain its polio free status.
  • India has been free of polio for more than a decade, with the last case of wild poliovirus reported in January 2011.
  • However, India continues to remain vigilant to prevent re-entry of the poliovirus into the country from neighboring countries of Afghanistan and Pakistan, where wild poliovirus continues to cause the disease.

Universal Immunization Programme (UIP) 

  • The Government of India launched the Universal Immunization Program (UIP) in 1985.
  • The UIP provides free of cost vaccines to all children across the country to protect them against 12 life threatening diseases.
  • These twelve vaccine preventable diseases are Tuberculosis, Pertussis, Diphtheria, Tetanus, Hepatitis B, Polio, Pneumonia and Meningitis due to Haemophilus Influenzae type b (Hib), Measles, Rubella, Rotavirus diarrhoea and Japanese Encephalitis (JE).
  • Rubella, JE and Rotavirus vaccine are given in select states and districts.
  • Universal Immunization Programme has introduced several new vaccines like Pneumococcal Conjugate Vaccine (PCV), Rotavirus vaccine, and Measles-Rubella vaccine (MR) in the recent past.
  • Further, to provide additional protection to our children, the Government of India has also introduced the injectable Inactivated Polio Vaccine into its routine immunization program.
  1. Reintroduction of Cheetahs in India (TH, pg 9)

  • Context: The Indian government is planning to introduce the now extinct cheetah in India.

Analysis

  • The action plan states that a cohort of 10-12 young cheetahs that are ideal for reintroduction would be imported from Namibia or South Africa as a founder stock during the first year.
  • The proposed site for introduction is the Kuno Palpur National Park (KNP) in Madhya Pradesh. The Kuno National Park was also supposed to be a site for the Asiatic Lion that is now confined to Gir.
  • The Nauradehi and Kuno-Palpur Wildlife Sanctuaries in Madhya Pradesh, Velavadar National Park in Gujarat and Tal Chapar sanctuary and Shahgarh Landscape in Rajasthan have also been declared potentially suitable for the reintroduction of the cheetah.
  • In 1952, the cheetah was officially declared extinct from India.
  • It is the only large mammal to have been declared extinct in our country in recorded history, mainly by over-hunting in India in historical times.
  • Today, the cheetah is found only in the arid regions of eastern Iran in Asia, and in isolated populations in Africa.
  • Cheetahs are genetically fragile and lose cubs in a litter prematurely, affecting the establishment of a viable population.

African Cheetah and Asiatic Cheetah

  • Before Namibia, India had approached Iran for Asiatic cheetahs, but had been refused.
  • The Asiatic cheetah is classified as a “critically endangered” species by the IUCN Red List (African cheetah is vulnerable), and is believed to survive only in Iran.
  • Physically, there are barely any differences between the Asiatic and African sub-species of cheetahs.

Why does National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) want to reintroduce cheetahs?

  • Reintroductions of large carnivores have increasingly been recognised as a strategy to conserve threatened species and restore ecosystem functions.
  • Just as the tiger is the flagship species of the forest, the cheetah is the flagship species of the grasslands, scrublands and open forests.
  • Therefore, with the reintroduction of the cheetah, these dryland ecosystems of India will have a chance to return to their natural state.
  • While the cheetah has a soft coat of fur with a unique spotted pattern which makes it a target for some poachers, there is no demand for the cheetah’s body parts like there is for the tigers.
  • Thus, unlike the tiger, the cheetah does not have a huge price on its head and poaching is much less of a threat.
  • Cheetahs are a non-aggressive species that do not attack humans. Among large carnivores, cheetah present the lowest level of conflict with human settlements, as they prefer wild game and are thus unlikely to threaten large livestock.

Vanishing wildlife: Species that have gone extinct in India

  • According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature, a new study has shown that since 1750, more than double the number of plants havedisappeared from the wild than birds, mammals and amphibians combined.
  • India is home to 11.5% of all flora and about 6.49% of all the fauna species in the world.
  • One of the most notablespecies of plants that has gone extinct is Lastreopsiswattii.
  • Among mammals, the cheetah and the Sumatran rhinoceros are considered extinct in India.
  • The pink-headed duck is feared extinct since 1950 and the Himalayan quail was last reported in 1876.
  • Factors like “competition, predation, natural selection, and human induced factors like hunting, habitat degradation” are some of the important reasons that have led to these extinctions.
  1. The Concept of Airspace (TH, pg 10)

  • Context:Many European countries have closed their airspace to flights by Russian carriers in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, starting from midnight.

Analysis

  • Airspace is the portion of the atmosphere controlled by a country above its territory, including its territorial waters.
  • It is not the same as aerospace, which is the general term for Earth’s atmosphere and the outer space in its vicinity.
  • Airspace may be further subdivided into a variety of areas and zones, including those where there are either restrictions on flying activities or complete prohibition of flying activities.

Horizontal boundary

  • By international law, the notion of a country’s sovereign airspace corresponds with the maritime definition of territorial waters as being 12 nautical miles (22.2 km) out from a nation’s coastline.
  • Airspace not within any country’s territorial limit is considered international, analogous to the “high seas” in maritime law.
  • However, a country may, by international agreement, assume responsibility for controlling parts of international airspace, such as those over the oceans.
  • For instance, the United States provides air traffic control services over a large part of the Pacific Ocean, even though the airspace is international.
  • Under the Geneva Convention on the High Seas (1958) as well as under international customary law, the freedom of the high seas applies to aerial navigation as well as to maritime navigation.

Vertical boundary

  • There is no international agreement on the vertical extent of sovereign airspace (the boundary between outer space—which is not subject to national jurisdiction—and national airspace).
  • Vertically, airspace ends where outer space begins.
  1. Glycogen Reserves(TH, pg 11)

  • We store glucose in the form of glycogen in the liver, and the energy demands of the body are met from this reservoir.
  • One day of fasting leads to a 20% decrease in blood sugar levels and depleted glycogen reserves.
  • The body switches to a metabolic mode where energy is obtained from fat-derived ketone bodies and from glucose outside the liver.
  1. Devastation in Spring (TH, pg 11)

  • The Chixulub meteorite impact that killed the dinosaurs, and many other life forms, occurred in springtime, finds a new study published in Nature.
  • The researchers studied growth rings in the bones of exquisitely preserved fish fossils and deduced this.
  • Additional evidence was provided by the distribution, shapes and sizes of bone cells which are known to fluctuate with season.
  1. Time Dilation Clocked (TH, pg 11)

  • Time dilation is a phenomenon predicted by Albert Einstein and refers to the stretching of time intervals when moving at high speeds or passing near intense gravitational fields.
  • According to relativity, time slows the faster you go as you approach the speed of light. Gravitational fields can cause the same slowdown, too: The stronger the field, the greater the time dilation. The closer you are to Earth’s center the more Earth’s gravity is pulling you down, and the more time dilation you experience.
  • Now, in a feat of measurement science, physicists, have shown that two tiny atomic clocks placed a millimetre away from each other tick at different rates.
  1. Multi-nation air exercise cancelled (TH, pg 7)

  • The multi-nation air exercise Cobra Warrior with NATO countries Belgium, the U.K. and the U.S. along with Sweden and Saudi Arabia scheduled to be held in March 2022, which the Indian Air Force (IAF) was to join for the first time, has been cancelled against the backdrop of the Ukraine crisis.
  1. Fallen soldiers not ‘martyrs’, says Army (TH, pg 7)

  • The Army headquarters has issued a letter to all its Commands on the incorrect use of the term “martyr” for soldiers who fell in the line of duty, which it said “may not be appropriate.”
  • Martyr refers to a person who suffers death as a penalty for refusing to renounce a religion or a person who suffers very much or is killed because of their religious or political beliefs.
  • The letter further stated that in order to “preserve the memory and maintain the dignity of Indian Army soldiers” who have made the “supreme sacrifice” while protecting the sovereignty and integrity of the nation, it is requested that “any one of the following terms (as per context) may be used” when referring to them in public in speech or in written form.
  • The six terms suggested are: killed in action, laid down their lives, supreme sacrifice for the nation, fallen heroes, Indian Army braves and fallen soldiers.
  1. Same species of tree had different patterns of carbon dioxide storage (TH, pg 11)

  • A team of scientists researching the consequences of forest loss, examined if the same species of tree had different patterns of carbon dioxide storage when located at a forest edge or further away.
  • The textbook assumption was that trees at forest edges release and store carbon at similar rates as forest interiors, but this isn’t true.
  • A team of researchers found edge trees grew faster than their country cousins deep in the forest, and that soil in urban areas can hoard more carbon dioxide than previously thought.
  • This is likely because the trees on the edge don’t have competition with interior forest, so they get more light.
  1. Forest cover outside the recorded forest area (TH, pg 11)

  • The India State of Forest Report (2021) released in January found that nearly 28% of the forest cover is outside the recorded forest area.
  • About 12% of the forests classified as ‘very dense’ is also outside the recorded areas.
  • Following a trend and noted in previous editions of the forest surveys, the increase in forest cover between 2019 and 2021 was led by growth outside the recorded area and the sharpest increase was in so called ‘open forest’ where any patch over a hectare and having a canopy density more than 10% counts as ‘forest.’
  • This brings in man-made plantations of cash crops such as tea and coffee plantations and mango orchards and even tree-lined avenues in densely built-up cities were being classified as ‘forest’.

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