A) Agriculture, Geography, Environment and Biodiversity
1. Explained: Why Cyclone Burevi will not be as strong as Cyclone Nivar? (IE)
- Context: Seven days after Cyclone Nivar hit the Karaikal coast, another cyclone, Burevi, named by the Maldives, is expected to cross Tamil Nadu’s southernmost district of Kanyakumari.
- This is the third cyclone formed within the last 10 days in the Arabian Sea and the Bay of Bengal, put together.
Will Cyclone Burevi be as strong as Cyclone Nivar?
- Developed in the Bay of Bengal, the very severe cyclone Nivar, had hit near Karaikal on November 25.
- Unstable sea conditions, in the southwest region of Bay of Bengal, continue due to the recent crossing of Nivar.
- This is why meteorologists say there is a high possibility that Cyclone Burevi would not strengthen beyond the intensity of a cyclonic storm.
- Due to upwelling caused by Nivar, Cyclone Burevi will have limited intensity.
- When such consecutive systems develop in the same region of the ocean, the predecessor system leads to upwelling — the process in which cooler waters from lower ocean surfaces are pushed towards upper ocean surfaces.
- In the absence of warm sea surface conditions, any cyclone, in this case Burevi, will not get enough fuel to intensify further while at sea.
- The IMD has indicated that Burevi will remain a cyclonic storm (wind speed 62 to 88 km/hr) till December 5, before it weakens into a deep depression.
B) Science and Technology, Defence, Space
2. World AIDS Day | India must gear up to end HIV/AIDS by 2030: experts (TH)
- Context: The theme of World AIDS Day, to be observed on December 1, is ‘Ending the HIV/AIDS epidemic: resilience and impact.’
- The method to achieve this by 2030 is to ensure life-saving anti-retroviral therapy reaches all those who are infected and that all persons living with HIV know their status.
- Also, the aim is to ensure that those on ART are viral suppressed so that infection is negligible.
- It is now proved that low viral load and effective treatment that suppresses the virus makes the disease non-transmittable.
- India adopted the test and treat strategy of the WHO as a national policy to achieve the target of 90:90:90 by 2020.
- 90–90–90 is an ambitious treatment target of the WHO, to which India is a signatory, to help end the AIDS epidemic.
- By 2020, 90% of all people living with HIV will know their HIV status.
- By 2020, 90% of all people with diagnosed HIV infection will receive sustained antiretroviral therapy.
- By 2020, 90% of all people receiving antiretroviral therapy will have viral suppression.
- By 2030, it aimed to make accessible ART to every PLHIV, which in turn reduces the viral load in their blood to undetectable levels. This would result in making negligible their risk of transmitting the HIV.
- The 2017 National Health Policy and the UN Sustainable Development Goals aim to end AIDS by 2030.
- As per the UNAIDS Report 2020, Asia Pacific region saw a 12% decline in new HIV infections and a 29% decline in AIDS-related deaths over the last decade. But the maximum decline of 66% in new infections was in India.
- In India, 79% of PLHIV were aware of their status and of this 71% were on ART, amounting to only 55% of all PLHIV. The number of those virally suppressed had increased but not the target of 90-90-90.
- India has the third highest HIV burden with 2.35 million.
- Mizoram has the highest HIV/AIDS prevalence rate in India. Two other north-eastern States — Manipur and Nagaland — follow Mizoram in that order.
- The Love Brigade campaign of Mizoram is a collaboration between the society and the bike and taxi associations for distributing free condoms to their clients in a “non-stigma approach” while riding with them.
- The provision of generic Anti-Retroviral drugs (ARV) from India to the world has had a critical impact in controlling the HIV epidemic.
- India’s unique HIV prevention model is centered around the concept of ‘Social Contracting’ through which the Targeted Interventions (TI) programme is implemented.
- Under the Test and Treat Policy of India, approximately 50,000 people living with HIV (PLHIV) who were lost to follow-up were linked back to Anti-Retroviral Treatment services through ‘Mission SAMPARK.’
- The Human Immunodeficiency Virus and Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (Prevention and Control) Act, 2017 has provided a legal and enabling framework for safeguarding the human rights of the infected and affected populations.
- The ante-natal treatment protocol has evolved. Every pregnant woman mandatorily undergoes the Rapid Test and irrespective of the level of CD4 count (that checks the immunity strength in those with HIV-infection) is put on treatment.
- Earlier only those with higher CD4 count got priority to get the drugs while others had to wait to buy them.
- Now the drugs in various effective combinations are provided free to all in the Government run Anti-Retroviral Therapy (ART) clinics.
- Also, the upgrading of blood banks, testing and quality of voluntary blood donors [following the ban on sale of blood] has ended the transmission of HIV infection through blood transfusions.
Global Prevention Coalition (GPC) for HIV Prevention.
- Member States of GPC had agreed to reduce new adult HIV infections by 75% at the end of 2020 from 2010 levels.
- UNFPA, formally named the United Nations Population Fund, is the United Nations sexual and reproductive health agency.
- United Nations Programme on HIV and AIDS (UNAIDS) is leading the global effort to end AIDS as a public health threat by 2030 as part of the Sustainable Development Goals.
Antiretroviral therapy (ART)
- Antiretroviral therapy (ART) consists of the combination of antiretroviral (ARV) drugs to maximally suppress the HIV virus and stop the progression of HIV disease.
- ART also prevents onward transmission of HIV.
- While there is no cure, effective Anti-Retroviral Treatment (ART) drugs are available which can prolong the life of an HIV positive person, thus enhance the quality of life as well.
- Patient has to take life long treatment once initiated on ART. It is freely available at ART centres across India.
Cause of concern
- But the Government’s focus has now shifted from prevention to only treatment with the withdrawal of global and bilateral funds.
- Also, with the decline in prevalence rate, the Information Education Campaigns suffered a setback and the conversations around AIDS diminished.
- India is a low spender on healthcare. While the country’s health budget has remained between 1.2 % and 1.6 % of GDP in the last decade vis-a-vis the growth in population, the Government reduced the expenditure for ongoing AIDS projects by up to 60 %. As a result, the preventive interventions took a hit.
National AIDS Control Organization (NACO)
- In 1986, following the detection of the first AIDS case in the country, the National AIDS Committee was constituted in the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.
- In 1992 India’s first National AIDS Control Programme (1992-1999) was launched, and National AIDS Control Organization (NACO) was constituted to implement the programme.
- An additional important institutional mechanism, National Council on AIDS comprising of 31 Union Ministries, 7 Chief Ministers and leading Civil Society representatives under the chairmanship of the Prime Minister of India was created to garner political commitment.
All about HIV AIDS
What is HIV?
- HIV stands for Human Immuno-deficiency Virus.
- HIV after entering the human body gradually destroys the immune system, i.e. the ability to fight infections/ diseases.
What is AIDS?
- AIDS stands for Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome.
- It is the later stage of HIV infection.
- It is a condition in which a group of symptoms appear as the immune system becomes very weak.
- It can take around 8-10 years from the time of HIV infection to the stage of AIDS.
- HIV infected people can lead symptom–free and productive lives for years.
Do all people with HIV have AIDS?
- Being diagnosed with HIV does not mean a person will also be diagnosed with AIDS.
- Healthcare professionals diagnose AIDS only when people with HIV infection begin to get severe opportunistic infections (OIs), or their CD4 cell counts fall below a certain level.
How do people get infected with HIV?
- HIV can be transmitted through:
- Unprotected sex with an HIV infected person;
- Transfusion of HIV infected blood or blood products;
- Sharing of needles contaminated with HIV infected blood; and
- from HIV infected mother to her baby – during pregnancy in her womb through her blood, at the time of birth when the baby is passing through the mother’s genital tract or after delivery through breast milk.
Can I get HIV from getting a tattoo or through body piercing?
- It is recommended that instruments that are intended to penetrate the skin be used once, then disposed of or thoroughly cleaned and sterilized.
- Personal service workers who do tattooing or body piercing should be educated about how HIV is transmitted and take precautions to prevent transmission of HIV and other blood-borne infections such as hepatitis B virus.
Can I get AIDS from sharing a cup or shaking hands with someone who has HIV or AIDS?
- While HIV is found in saliva, sharing cups or utensils has never been shown to transmit HIV.
Can HIV be transmitted through an insect bite?
- No, Insects cannot transmit HIV. Research has shown that HIV does not replicate or survive well in insects.
- HIV does not reproduce or live in the mosquito’s saliva. HIV is a fragile virus that does not live outside the human body.
Is there a connection between HIV and other sexually transmitted infection?
- Sexually Transmitted Infection (STI) can increase a person’s risk of becoming infected with HIV five to eight times more. The STI causes ulcers or discharge from genitalia, STI increases the chance of acquiring and transmitting the chance of HIV infection.
3. All about Cloning (TH)
- Strictly speaking, cloning is the creation of a genetic copy of a sequence of DNA or of the entire genome of an organism.
- The copied material is called a clone.
- Geneticists have cloned cells, tissues, genes and entire animals.
- In the latter sense, cloning occurs naturally in the birth of identical twins and other multiples.
- But cloning can also be done artificially in the laboratory via embryo twinning or splitting: an early embryo is split in vitroso that both parts, when transferred to a uterus, can develop into individual organisms genetically identical to each other.
- In the cloning debate, however, the term ‘cloning’ typically refers to a technique called somatic cell nuclear transfer (SCNT).
- SCNT involves transferring the nucleus of a somatic cell into an oocyte from which the nucleus and thus most of the DNA has been removed. (The mitochondrial DNA in the cytoplasm is still present).
- The manipulated oocyte is then treated with an electric current in order to stimulate cell division, resulting in the formation of an embryo.
- The embryo is (virtually) genetically identical to, and thus a clone of the somatic cell donor.
- Dolly was the first mammal to be brought into the world using SCNT.
- Dolly, however, was not 100% genetically identical to the donor animal.
- Genetic material comes from two sources: the nucleus and the mitochondria of a cell. Mitochondria are organelles that serve as power sources to the cell.
- They contain short segments of DNA. In Dolly’s case, her nuclearDNA was the same as the donor animal; other of her genetic materials came from the mitochondria in the cytoplasm of the enucleated oocyte.
- For the clone and the donor animal to be exact genetic copies, the oocyte too would have to come from the donor animal (or from the same maternal line – mitochondria are passed on by oocytes).
- In biomedical research, cloning is broadly defined to mean the duplication of any kind of biological material for scientific study, such as a piece of DNA or an individual cell.
- With the advent of recombinant DNA technology in the 1970s, it became possible for scientists to create transgenic clones—clones with genomes containing pieces of DNA from other organisms.
- Cloning happens all the time in nature—for example, when a cell replicates itself asexually without any genetic alteration or recombination.
- Prokaryotic organisms (organisms lacking a cell nucleus), such as bacteria and yeasts, create genetically identical duplicates of themselves using binary fission or budding.
- In eukaryotic organisms (organisms possessing a cell nucleus) such as humans, all the cells that undergo mitosis, such as skin cells and cells lining the gastrointestinal tract, are clones; the only exceptions are gametes (eggs and sperm), which undergo meiosis and genetic recombination.
- Mitosis is the division of a cell into two daughter cells that are genetically identical to the parent cell.
- Meiosis is the division of a germ cell into four sex cells (e.g. egg or sperm), each with half the number of chromosomes of the parent cell.
- Mitosis is a means of asexual reproduction, whereas meiosis is necessary for sexual reproduction.
4. What is Darknet? (IE)
- Darknet refers to the deep hidden internet platform that is used for narcotics sale, exchange of pornographic content and other illegal activities by using the secret alleys of the onion router (ToR) to stay away from the surveillance of law enforcement agencies.
- Owing to its end-to-end encryption, darknet is considered very tough to crack when it comes to investigating criminal activities being rendered over.
- The Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) was part of a global ‘Operation Trance’, launched in December 2019, entailing a joint intelligence gathering action on international postal, express mail and courier shipments containing psychotropic drugs (which can only be purchased on a doctor’s prescription) that are abused as sedatives and painkillers.
- India is a party to the 1961 Single Convention, the 1971 Convention Against Psychotropic Substances and the 1988 Convention Against Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances.
- The Narcotics Control Bureau (under the Ministry of Home Affairs) was created in March 1986 under the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1985.
- Given India’s size and the federal nature of our polity, a number of agencies both at the Centre and in the States, including NCB, have been empowered to enforce the provisions of the NDPS Act (so NCB is not the sole authority to enforce NDPS Act).
- Effective coordination between these agencies is vital for the efficacy of our drug law enforcement strategy.
- This coordinating role has been assigned to the Narcotics Control Bureau.
- The Narcotics Control Bureau is one of the organizations exempt from the Right to Information Act, 2005.
Article 47 of the Indian Constitution
- The State shall regard the raising of the level of nutrition and the standard of living of its people and the improvement of public health as among its primary duties and, in particular, the State shall endeavour to bring about prohibition of the consumption except for medicinal purposes of intoxicating drinks and of drugs which are injurious to health.
5. Li-ion batteries (Livemint)
- Context: India has quadrupled its imports of lithium-ion (Li-ion) batteries and more than tripled its import bill on the product, vital for powering a range of devices from cellphones to electric vehicles, from 2016-2018.
- Indian manufacturers source Li-ion batteries from China, Japan and South Korea and the country is among the largest importers in the world.
- The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) manufactures such batteries but volumes are limited and they are restricted for use in space applications.
- In June 2018, Central Electro Chemical Research Institute (CECRI) in Tamil Nadu’s Karaikudi, under the Council of Scientific & Industrial Research (CSIR) and RAASI Solar Power Pvt Ltd signed a Memorandum of Agreement for transfer of technology for India’s first lithium-ion (Li-ion) battery project.
- To promote indigenous development of such batteries, the Union Cabinet in 2019 approved a programme, called a National Mission on Transformative Mobility and Battery Storage in the NITI Aayog (chaired by CEO NITI Aayog) to “drive clean, connected, shared, sustainable and holistic mobility initiatives.”
- Electric vehicles are expected to account for a significant share in the growth of the Li-ion battery demand in India though reports say this is unlikely at least until 2025, because electric cars are still significantly costlier than their combustion-engine counterparts.
- The government has announced investments worth $1.4 billion to make India one of the largest manufacturing hubs for electric vehicles by 2040.
What’s so special about lithium?
- In a lithium-ion battery, lithium metal migrates through the battery from one electrode to the other as a lithium ion.
- Lithium is one of the lightest elements, and it has the strongest electrochemical potential of any element.
- This enables a lithium-based battery to pack a lot of energy storage in a small, light battery.
- As a result, lithium-ion batteries have become the battery of choice in many consumer electronics such as laptops and cell phones.
Lithium-ion Batteries Gain Momentum
- Because of the inherent advantages in lithium-ion batteries, sales have grown exponentially since the turn of the century. This has helped drive down costs consistently.
- However, one country has seized the momentum and established a commanding market lead over its competitors in this space. But it’s not the S., where much of the critical research and development that created the lithium-ion battery took place.
China in the Driver’s Seat
- China is home to 73% of the global lithium cell manufacturing capacity, followed by the U.S., far behind in second place with 12% of global capacity.
- Note: Top producers of lithium in the world as in 2019:
- Australia: 51,000 MT
- Chile: 16,000 MT
- China: 8,000 MT
- China has a major advantage of cheap labor, which has allowed it to dominate many manufacturing industries.
- But China also has more lithium reserves and much greater lithium production than the U.S. (so at least two reasons)
- The soft, silvery metal lithium is also known as “white petroleum.”
- Japan’s Sony was the company that first commercialized the technology, but China was able to catch up because of its ability to manufacture the batteries at larger scales and sell them for
6. Compulsory Licensing on Patented Drugs (Livemint)
- Context: Talks about use of compulsory licensing provisions for manufacture of Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine recently granted approval by UK
- Compulsory licensing is when a government allows someone else to produce a patented product or process without the consent of the patent owner or plans to use the patent-protected invention itself. It is one of the flexibilities in the field of patent protection included in the WTO’s agreement on intellectual property — the TRIPS (Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights) Agreement.
Meaning of Patent
- The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) defines patent as an exclusive right granted for an invention, which is a product or a process that provides, in general, a new way of doing something, or offers a new technical solution to a problem.
- A patentee shall have exclusive rights over his invention for a period of 20 years, and he can exclude others from making any use of his patented product.
What are Compulsory Licenses under the Patents Act?
- Compulsory licenses are authorizations given to a third-party by the Controller General of Patents, Designs and Trade Marks (Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion, Ministry of Commerce & Industry) to make, use or sell a particular product or use a particular process which has been patented, without the need of the permission of the patent owner.
- This concept is recognised at both national as well as international levels, with express mention in both (Indian) Patent Act, 1970 and TRIPS Agreement.
- Under the Doha Declaration on the TRIPS Agreement and Public Health, each member has the right to grant compulsory licenses and the freedom to determine the grounds upon which such licenses are granted.
- Under the Indian Patent Act, any person, regardless of whether he is the holder of the license of that Patent, can make a request to the Controller for grant of compulsory license on expiry of three years, when any of the following conditions is fulfilled –
- the reasonable requirements of the public with respect to the patented invention have not been satisfied
- the patented invention is not available to the public at a reasonably affordable price
- the patented invention is not worked in the territory of India.
- Further, compulsory licenses can also be issued suo motu by the Controller under section 92, pursuant to a notification issued by the Central Government if there is either a “national emergency” or “extreme urgency” or in cases of “public non-commercial use”.
- Even after a compulsory license is granted to a third party, the patent owner still has rights over the patent, including a right to be paid for copies of the products made under the compulsory licence.
- In certain cases recently, the Indian courts have ruled that the provision against anti-competitive practices in the competition act and the provision of compulsory licensing in the patent act are not in exclusion of each other; in fact they have to be read conjunctly.
- The question whether a patentee had adopted anti-competitive practices could also be considered by the Controller.
Cases pertaining to grant of compulsory license
- The grant of a patent implies a statutory monopoly on an invention and throws up the concern that it should not be exploited at the cost of public interest. So, anyone who has a patent licence over an invention is required to submit information related to the working of that patent annually to the patent office.
- The purpose behind mandating this disclosure is to ensure that the public requirement is being consistently met with adequate quantity available to them.
- Three years after a patent has been granted, the Patent Act allows the grant of a compulsory licence to any person.
- The person who gets the compulsory licence can then produce the patented product without the owner’s consent, but it needs to be demonstrated that the patent holder had declined the request to voluntarily provide the licence.
- India’s first ever and the only compulsory license was granted by the Patent Office in March 2012, to Natco Pharma for the generic production of Bayer Corporation’s Nexavar, a life-saving medicine used for treating Liver and Kidney Cancer.
The Indian Patents Act, 1970
Inventions that are not patentable (only exam relevant)
- An invention the primary or intended use or commercial exploitation of which could be contrary public order or morality or which causes serious prejudice to human, animal or plant life or health or to the environment;
- The mere discovery of a scientific principle or the formulation of an abstract theory or discovery of any living thing or non-living substance occurring in nature;
- The mere discovery of a new form of a known substance which does not result in the enhancement of the known efficacy of that substance or the mere discovery of any new property or new use for a known substance;
- A method of agriculture or horticulture;
- Plants and animals in whole or any part thereof other than micro-organisms but including seeds, varieties and species;
- Biological processes for production or propagation of plants and animals;
- A mathematical or business method or a computer programme per se or algorithms;
- A literary, dramatic, musical or artistic work or cinematographic works and television productions;
- A mere scheme or rule or method of performing mental act or method of playing game;
- Topography of integrated circuits;
- An invention which in effect, is traditional knowledge;
- Inventions relating to atomic energy.
7. How the central government meets the temporary cash needs? (IE)
- The fund deficit or cash-flow mismatches of the Government are largely managed through:
- Issuance of Treasury Bills,
- Getting temporary loans from the RBI called Ways and Means Advances (WMA) and;
- Issuance of Cash Management Bills.
Ways and Means Advances (WMA)
- The Reserve Bank of India gives temporary loan facilities to the centre and state governments as a banker to government. This temporary loan facility is called Ways and Means Advances (WMA).
- The WMA is a loan facility form the RBI for 90 days which implies that the governments has to vacate the facility after 90 days.
- Interest rate for WMA is currently charged at the repo rate.
- The limits for WMA are mutually decided by the RBI and the Government of India.
- If the WMA is extended for more than 90 days, it will be treated as an overdraft.
- Overdrafts are not allowed beyond 10 consecutive working days.
- The interest rate on overdrafts would be 2 percent more than the repo rate.
WMA scheme for the State Governments
- Under the WMA scheme for the State Governments, there are two types of WMA: Special Drawing Facility or SDF (Special WMA in the past) and Normal WMA.
- SDF is extended against the collateral (mortgaging) of the government securities held by the State Government. Interest rate for SDF is 1% less than the repo rate.
- If the state is not finding enough money, it can opt for the normal WMA which has a higher interest rate.
- The amount of loans under normal WMA are based on three-year average of actual revenue and capital expenditure of the state.
Treasury Bills (T-bills)
- Treasury bills or T-bills, which are money market instruments, are short term debt instruments issued by the Government of India and are presently issued in three tenors, namely, 91 days, 182 days and 364 days.
- Treasury bills are zero coupon securities and pay no interest.
- Instead, they are issued at a discount and redeemed at the face value at maturity.
- For example, a 91 days Treasury bill of ₹100/- (face value) may be issued at say ₹ 98.20, that is, at a discount of say, ₹1.80 and would be redeemed at the face value of ₹100/-.
Cash Management Bills (CMBs)
- Cash Management Bills (CMBs) are short-term instruments introduced to meet the temporary mismatches in the cash flow of the Government of India.
- The CMBs have the generic character of T-bills but are issued for maturities less than 91 days.
D) Indices, Reports, Committees and Organisations
8. Office of the Principal Scientific Adviser (PIB)
- India’s highest science advisory body is the office of the Principal Scientific Adviser (PSA).
- India has had a Principal Scientific Adviser (PSA) since 1999.
- Dr. A. P. J. Abdul Kalam was the first PSA from 1999—2001.
- Dr. R. Chidambaram succeeded Dr. Kalam and was the PSA from 2001-2018.
- Professor K. Vijay Raghavan succeeded Dr. Chidambaram on April 3, 2018 and is the current PSA.
- To harness innovation and effective technology commercialization, the PSA’s office has launched a special initiative called ‘Accelerating Growth of New India’s innovations’ (AGNIi).
- This is aimed at technology upscaling and deployment for deriving economic value, societal benefit and/or strategic purposes from knowledge generated through investments in R&D.
- In the recent past, the Union Cabinet has also approved the setting up of an empowered technology group to help address issues such as “sub-optimal industrial development”.
- Among the key issues the 12-member panel headed by the Principal Scientific Adviser (PSA) will address is “dual-use technologies not being optimally commercialized.”
- Dual-use technologies have civilian and military applications.
- PSA K. Vijay Raghavan also chairs the Prime Minister’s Science, Technology and Innovation Advisory Council (PM-STIAC), which includes industrialists, scientists and technocrats and is tasked with recommending policy action on science and technology as well as coordinating between different Ministries.
9. World Malaria Report (WMR) 2020 (PIB)
- Context: The World Malaria Report (WMR) 2020 released by WHO, indicates that India has made considerable progress in reducing its malaria burden.
Progress in India
- India is the only high endemic country which has reported a decline of 17.6% in 2019 as compared to 2018.
- India has also contributed to the largest drop in cases region-wide, from approximately 20 million to about 6 million.
- India achieved a reduction of 92% in malaria mortality between the year 2000 and 2019 thereby achieving Goal 6 of the Millennium Development Goals (50-75% decrease in case incidence between 2000 and 2019).
- According to this report, there were 229 million cases of malaria in 2019 compared to 228 million cases in 2018.
- Malaria is a life-threatening disease caused by parasites that are transmitted to people through the bites of infected female Anopheles mosquitoes. It is preventable and curable.
- Children aged under 5 years are the most vulnerable group affected by malaria; in 2019, they accounted for 67% (274 000) of all malaria deaths worldwide.
- In 2019, 6 countries accounted for approximately half of all malaria deaths worldwide: Nigeria (23%), the Democratic Republic of the Congo (11%), United Republic of Tanzania (5%), Burkina Faso (4%), Mozambique (4%) and Niger (4% each).
- The WHO African Region carries a disproportionately high share of the global malaria burden. In 2019, the region was home to 94% of malaria cases and deaths.
- SDG 3aspires to ensure health and well-being for all, including a bold commitment to end the epidemics of AIDS, tuberculosis, malaria and other communicable diseases by 2030.
- It also aims to achieve universal health coverage, and provide access to safe and effective medicines and vaccines for all.
All about Malaria
- Malaria is caused by Plasmodium The parasites are spread to people through the bites of infected female Anophelesmosquitoes, called “malaria vectors.” There are 5 parasite species that cause malaria in humans, and 2 of these species – P. falciparum and P. vivax – pose the greatest threat.
- falciparumis the predominant parasite in Africa and India.
- vivaxis the predominant parasite in the WHO Region of the Americas (North and South America)
Transmission of Malaria
- Anophelesmosquitoes lay their eggs in water, which hatch into larvae, eventually emerging as adult mosquitoes.
- The female mosquitoes seek a blood meal (bites into humans to seek blood)to nurture their eggs.
- Transmission also depends on climatic conditions that may affect the number and survival of mosquitoes, such as rainfall patterns, temperature and humidity.
- In many places, transmission is seasonal, with the peak during and just after the rainy season.
- Malaria epidemics can occur when climate and other conditions suddenly favour transmission in areas where people have little or no immunity to malaria. They can also occur when people with low immunity move into areas with intense malaria transmission, for instance to find work, or as refugees.
Malaria control in India
- The malaria control programme and other Vector Borne Diseases namely Kala-azar, Dengue, Lymphatic Filariasis, Japanese Encephalitis and Chikungunya were integrated into the National Vector Borne Disease Control Programme (NVBDCP) in 2002.
- New tools for malaria prevention and control were introduced under NVBDCP i.e LLINs ; antigen detecting kits for detection of both P. falciparum and P. vivax; and newer insecticides and larvicides.
Long Lasting Insecticidal Nets (LLINs)
- Promoted by WHO and Roll Back Malaria as a cost effective and sustainable method for protection against malaria.
- LLINs make the insecticide last at least 20 washes in standard laboratory testing and three years of recommended use under field conditions.
- LLINs have a double effect, working as a physical barrier preventing the mosquitoes from reaching their pray, but also as a chemical barrier: the insecticide repels the mosquitoes or kills them when they enter into contact with the net.
National Framework for Malaria Elimination (NFME 2016- 2030)
The Framework has four objectives.
- Eliminate malaria from all 26 low (Category 1) and moderate (Category 2) transmission states/union territories (UTs) by 2022;
- Reduce the incidence of malaria to less than 1 case per 1000 population per year in all states and UTs and their districts by 2024;
- Interrupt indigenous transmission of malaria throughout the entire country, including all high transmission states and UTs (Category 3) by 2027; and
- Prevent the re-establishment of local transmission of malaria in areas where it has been eliminated and maintain national malaria-free status by 2030 and beyond.
Directorate of National Vector Borne Disease Control Programme (NVBDCP)
- It is the central nodal agency for the prevention and control of vector borne diseases i.e. Malaria, Dengue, Lymphatic Filariasis, Kala-azar, Japanese Encephalitis and Chikungunya under the National Vector Borne Disease Control Programme (NVBDCP) in India.
- It is one of the Technical Departments of Directorate General of Health Services, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.
10. Interpol: Global alert for vaccine fraud (TH)
- Context: Interpol has issued a global alert to law enforcement agencies of its 194 member countries, asking them to prepare for the targeting of COVID-19 vaccines, both physically and online, by organised crime networks.
- The Interpol Orange Notice outlines potential criminal activity in relation to the falsification, theft and illegal advertising of COVID-19 and flu vaccines, with the pandemic having already triggered unprecedented opportunistic and predatory criminal behaviour.
- The notice includes examples of crimes in which individuals were found to be advertising, selling and administering fake vaccines.
- The alert was issued on the day the U.K. authorised a COVID-19 vaccine for use from next week stating that vaccines were the prime target of organised crime.
Interpol’s mandate/members/HQ etc already discussed in detail: Refer 12 Nov 2020 file.
E) Polity, Bills, Acts and Judgements
11. Right to Dignity (TH)
- Context: The Supreme Court ordered the Centre to compulsorily install CCTV cameras and recording equipment in the offices of central agencies CBI, NIA, Enforcement Directorate, Narcotics Control Bureau, Department of Revenue Intelligence, Serious Fraud Investigation Office and “any other agency which carries out interrogations and has the power of arrest”.
- “As most of these agencies carry out interrogation in their office(s), CCTVs shall be compulsorily installed in all offices where such interrogation and holding of accused takes place in the same manner as it would in a police station, this would be used as a measure to protect the fundamental right to dignity and life, the court said.
- Large posters informing people about the CCTV coverage should be prominently placed at the offices of these central agencies and police stations.
Right To Live With Human Dignity
- In Maneka Gandhi v. Union of India the Supreme Court gave a new dimension to Art. 21 and held that the right to live is not merely a physical right but includes within its ambit the right to live with human dignity.
- Another broad formulation of the theme of life to dignity is to be found in Bandhua Mukti Morcha v. Union of India.
- Characterizing Art. 21 as the heart of fundamental rights, the Court gave it an expanded interpretation. SC observed:
- “It is the fundamental right of everyone in this country… to live with human dignity free from exploitation. This right to live with human dignity enshrined in Article 21 derives its life breath from the Directive Principles of State Policy and particularly clauses (e) and (f) of Article 39 and Articles 41 and 42 and at the least, therefore, it must include protection of the health and strength of workers, men and women, and of the tender age of children against abuse, opportunities and facilities for children to develop in a healthy manner and in conditions of freedom and dignity, educational facilities, just and humane conditions of work and maternity relief.
- “These are the minimum requirements which must exist in order to enable a person to live with human dignity and no State neither the Central Government nor any State Government-has the right to take any action which will deprive a person of the enjoyment of these basic essentials.”