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Daily Current Affairs

13-September-2023

Daily Current Affairs For UPSC ,Daily Current affairs of The hIndu and Indian Express.

1) Nipah Virus

Topic: GS2-Health

Context:

  • Nipah which is a zoonotic disease has killed two people and at least two others have been found infected by the virus and are under treatment in Kerala’s Kozhikode district.

Past Outbreaks:

  • Nipah virus was first recognized in 1999 during an outbreak among pig farmers in Malaysia when pigs in the farms came in contact with the bats who had lost their habitats due to deforestation.
  • It was also recognized in Bangladesh in 2001, and nearly annual outbreaks have occurred in that country since.
  • The disease has also been identified periodically in eastern India.
  • In subsequent outbreaks in Bangladesh and India, consumption of fruits or fruit products (such as raw date palm juice) contaminated with urine or saliva from infected fruit bats was the most likely source of infection.

Symptoms:

  • In infected people, it causes a range of illnesses from asymptomatic (subclinical) infection to acute respiratory illness and fatal encephalitis.
  • There are currently no drugs or vaccines available for Nipah virus infection.
  • Intensive supportive care is suggested to treat severe respiratory and neurologic complications.

Preventive Measures:

  • Raising awareness: In the absence of a vaccine, the only way to reduce or prevent infection in people is by raising awareness of the risk factors and educating people about the measures they can take to reduce exposure to the Nipah virus.
  • Reducing the risk of bat-to-human transmission: Efforts to prevent transmission should first focus on decreasing bat access to date palm sap and other fresh food products.
  • Reducing the risk of animal-to-human transmission: Gloves and other protective clothing should be worn while handling sick animals or their tissues, and during slaughtering and culling procedures.
  • Reducing the risk of human-to-human transmission: Close unprotected physical contact with Nipah virus-infected people should be avoided. Regular hand washing should be carried out after caring for or visiting sick people

WHO response:

  • WHO is supporting affected and at-risk countries with technical guidance on how to manage outbreaks of the Nipah virus and on how to prevent their occurrence.
  • The risk of international transmission via fruits or fruit products (such as raw date palm juice) contaminated with urine or saliva from infected fruit bats can be prevented by washing them thoroughly and peeling them before consumption. Fruit with signs of bat bites should be discarded.

2) LAC focus as Defence minister inaugurates 90 border infrastructure projects

Topic: GS3- Internal security, Geography

Context:

  • As many as 90 border infrastructure projects from the Nechiphu tunnel that will provide all weather connectivity to the strategic Tawang region of Arunachal Pradesh to the foundation stone for a key military airfield in eastern Ladakh’s Nyoma across 11 states and Union Territories were inaugurated Tuesday by Defence Minister Rajnath Singh.

Details:

  • Of the 90 projects of the Border Roads Organisation, 64 are in Arunachal Pradesh, Ladakh and Sikkim.

How will it benefit India?

  • These projects will help in faster mobility of troops and equipment to the Line of Actual Control in case of a contingency.
  • Also improve overall connectivity for the population.
  • Nyoma airfield “will act as a staging ground for Indian troops at forward posts in eastern Ladakh and will be a game-changer for our armed forces”

Other Projects:

  • In the last three years, India has ramped up infrastructure development along the LAC, both in eastern Ladakh and the North-East.

Nechipu Tunnel:

  • The 500 metre long tunnel on the Balipara-Charduar-Tawang road will provide round the year connectivity to the strategic Tawang sector.
  • The Tawang region provides the easiest access to the Brahmaputra plains and the shortest route to Tezpur in Assam.
  • The lines of communication from Tawang also stretch to Guwahati and the extended Siliguri Corridor, which makes it militarily important.
  • The tunnel will bypass the Nechiphu Pass that has foggy weather conditions, a major hindrance for military convoys and other traffic.
  • It will facilitate faster mobility of troops and equipment to the LAC by cutting short the existing distance by around 5 km.
  • India uses Bomdila, Nechiphu and Se La for deployment of forces.

Shinku La Tunnel:

  • BRO will soon set a record with the construction of the Shinku La tunnel, the world’s highest tunnel at an altitude of 15,855feet.
  • It will connect Lahaul-Spiti in Himachal Pradesh to the Zanskar Valley in Ladakh and provide all-weather connectivity.

Way Forward:

  • Through its infrastructure projects, the BRO is not only securing India’s borders, but also playing a key role in the socio-economic development of farflung areas.
  • It is playing a pivotal role towards securing national interests.

3) Double whammy: High inflation, falling consumer sentiment

Topic: Economy

Context:

  • The National Statistical Office released the retail inflation data for August. At 6.8%, retail inflation has moderated from 7.4% in July.

What is retail inflation?

  • Retail inflation is the inflation rate (or the rate at which the general prices increase) experienced by average consumers.
  • Typically it is calculated on a year-on-year (YoY)basis.
  • In other words, a 6.8% inflation rate in August implies that the general price level (a composite of food prices, services prices, etc.) facing the consumers was 6.8% higher than in August 2022.

What is Ideal level of inflation?

  • For a growing economy like India, a 4% inflation level is considered ideal.
  • This level of inflation is high enough to incentivize producers because they can make a decent profit while not burdening consumers much.
  • Seen from this prism, 6.8% is outside RBI’s comfort zone and will likely crimp consumer demand.

Significance of food inflation:

  • For a country like India, where a huge population struggles to earn enough to eat, inflation in food prices is of critical significance.
  • Since a large portion of people’s income is spent on food, higher food inflation affects consumer behaviour more.
  • Food items account for 46% of the total “consumer price index (CPI)” and, as such, high food inflation often pulls up the overall or headline inflation. If one takes away the food inflation component, then August’s inflation would be 4.8%.

Consumer sentiment:

  • Indians have been struggling with high retail inflation for a while. Retail inflation has often been above 6%.
  • The latest surge, however, is coming at a bad time because consumer sentiment has started falling just at the time when India enters the festive season.
  • According to the CMIE’s Economic Outlook, consumer sentiments, which had been rising since January, fell by 1.5% in August.
  • This can have a real impact on the economy and Indian businesses that are gearing up to make the best sales of the year.

4. Nipah breaks out again in Kerala, claims two lives

Context:

  • Nipah scare returned to Kerala, with two deaths reorted from Kozhikode districton Tuesday. Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya confirmed that the deaths were due to Nipah virus.
  • suspected cases are currently under surveillance and their samples have been sent to the National Institute of Virology, Pune.
  • A Central government team of four experts has also been sent to Kerala to assist the State government in surveillance and reduction in the response time, said the Minister.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), Nipah has high case fatality ratio, and is an emerging zoonotic disease of public health importance in the South East Asia and Western Pacific WHO Regions.

About Nipah:

virus infection

zoonotic illness that is transmitted to people from animals

Transmitted through contaminated food or directly from person to person.

It causes a range of illnesses, from asymptomatic infection to acute respiratory illness and fatal encephalitis .

5. Analysing where INDIA stand in G20 countries

Context:

  • September 9 and 10, India hosted the 18th G20 Summit in New Delhi.
  • focusing on the theme ‘One Earth, One Family, One Future’ where Food security, climate change, energy, development, healthcare, and digitalisation were deliberated upon at the global forum, formed to discuss economic and financial  
  • G20 member countries: 

The G20 is made up of India, Australia, China, Indonesia, Japan, South Korea, France, Germany, Italy, Russia, Turkey, the United Kingdom, the European Union (EU), Argentina, Brazil, Mexico, Canada, the United States, South Africa, and Saudi Arabia.

  • Thesummit  transferred the G20 Presidency to Brazil. 
  • This analysis evaluates India’s performance in recent decades across various socioeconomic metrics in comparison to its fellow G20 members. 

GDP per capita: 

  • GDP per capita of 19 regions (18 countries plus the EU) between 1970 and 2022. GDP per capita is the sum of gross value added by all resident producers in the economy divided by mid­year population. 
  • India ranked 18 out of the 19 regions analysed.

HDI(Human Development Index) 

  • compares the Human Development Index (HDI) of 19 countries between 1990 and 2021.
  • The HDI is a measure of life expectancy, access to education, and standard of living.
  • India ranked at the bottom of the list. 

  labour force participation rate(LFPR) 

  • compares the labour force participation rate (LFPR) above 15 years of age in the 20 regions between 1990 and 2021­22.
  • its rank slipped to 19, only ahead of Italy’s            

 Share of women in Parliament 

  • Out of 19 regions (18 countries plus the EU) between 1998 and 2022. Despite having seen several women in leadership positions, India’s relative growth in the share of women in Parliament has been slow.
  • India’s rank 18 in 2022, just ahead of Japan (9.9%).

curbing carbon emissions 

  • India has succeeded in curbing carbon emissions over the past three decades. 
  • It has been the lowest emitter of CO2 in 1990 and 2020 among the 20 regions analysed.
  • However, its progress in adopting eco-­friendly energy sources to combat climate change has been relatively slow. 
  • India ranked 13 out of the 20 regions analysed.

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