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Here are the topics covered for 09 August 2023: Donating Organs in India, Strengthening Urban Health Resilience in the wake of Climate Change, State of Elementary Education in Rural India 2023, ASEAN-India S&T Development Fund: Fostering Collaborative Progress, Guidelines for Usage of Artificial Sweeteners, Co-Firing Biomass Pellets in Thermal Power Plants, Learning from the CHIPS Act: Strengthening India’s Semiconductor Future, The Emergence of Local Currencies in Global Trade and Finance, Conservation Initiatives for Deepor Beel: Simang and Kumbhi Kagaz, First Climate-Adjusted Sovereign Credit Rating: A Paradigm Shift, India-Vietnam Relations, Exercise Malabar, International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples, State of Tribals in India, ECOWAS.
Table of Contents:
GS Paper 2:
- Donating Organs in India
- Strengthening Urban Health Resilience in the wake of Climate Change
- State of Elementary Education in Rural India 2023
- ASEAN-India S&T Development Fund: Fostering Collaborative Progress
GS Paper 3:
- Guidelines for Usage of Artificial Sweeteners
- Co-Firing Biomass Pellets in Thermal Power Plants
- Learning from the CHIPS Act: Strengthening India’s Semiconductor Future
- The Emergence of Local Currencies in Global Trade and Finance
- Conservation Initiatives for Deepor Beel: Simang and Kumbhi Kagaz
- First Climate-Adjusted Sovereign Credit Rating: A Paradigm Shift
Prelims Related Facts
- India-Vietnam Relations
- Exercise Malabar
- International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples
- State of Tribals in India
GS Paper 2
Donating Organs in India
Courtesy: The Hindu
- Critical shortage of organ donations, particularly deceased donations.
- Ministry of Health modifies National Organ Transplantation Guidelines.
Status of Organ Donation in India
- Growing Demand and Persistent Shortage:
- Over 300,000 patients on waiting list.
- Supply of organ donors not keeping up.
- Approx. 20 individuals die daily while awaiting transplants.
- Slow Growth in Donor Numbers:
- Donor count increased from 6,916 (2014) to 16,041 (2022).
- Deceased organ donation rate consistently below one donor per million population.
- Prevalence of Living Donors:
- Living donors account for 85% of all donors.
- Deceased organ donations, especially for kidneys, liver, and heart, remain low.
- Regional Disparities:
- Highest number of deceased organ donors in Telangana, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Gujarat, and Maharashtra.
- High number of living donors in Delhi-NCR, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Maharashtra, and West Bengal.
- Kidney Transplants:
- Substantial gap between demand (200,000) and supply (10,000).
Challenges Regarding Organ Donation
- Lack of Awareness and Education.
- Family Consent and Decision-Making.
- Organ Trafficking and Black Market.
- Medical Eligibility and Compatibility.
- Donor Incentives and Compensation.
- Infrastructure and Logistics.
Highlights of New National Organ Transplantation Guidelines
- Removed Age Cap.
- No Domicile Requirement.
- No Registration Fees.
- Partner with artists, influencers, and celebrities for impactful campaigns.
- Organize seminars for medical professionals.
- Collaborate with educational institutions for awareness.
- Host community-driven events showcasing success stories.
- Engage religious leaders to debunk myths.
- Introduce program to honour donors and families.
- Foster collaborations between healthcare institutions.
- Promote organ donation as a selfless act of compassion.
Strengthening Urban Health Resilience in the wake of Climate Change
The recent monsoon season in India has exposed the vulnerabilities of urban households to climate change-induced events. Marginalized urban areas, like slums, are particularly at risk due to poverty and lack of social safety nets. Research indicates that lower socio-economic households are more susceptible to diseases like malaria and dengue, with urban populations being disproportionately affected. Disease management faces challenges in coordination, especially across state borders. To address this, urban health systems need revitalization and increased investment to enhance resilience. The focus should extend beyond cities to towns, and surveillance and information systems should be consolidated. Proactive climate adaptation strategies are crucial for resource-scarce environments, ensuring readiness to tackle complex challenges.
- Recent monsoon season in India highlights vulnerabilities of urban households to climate change-induced events.
- Marginalized urban areas, such as slums, are particularly vulnerable due to poverty and lack of social safety nets.
- Research shows lower socio-economic households are more susceptible to diseases like malaria and dengue, disproportionately affecting urban populations.
- Disease management faces coordination challenges, especially across state borders.
- Urban health systems require revitalization and increased investment for enhanced resilience.
- Focus should extend beyond cities to towns for comprehensive protection.
- Consolidation of surveillance and information systems is essential.
- Proactive climate adaptation strategies are crucial in resource-scarce environments.
- Readiness is necessary to tackle the evolving challenges of climate change and health emergencies.
State of Elementary Education in Rural India 2023
Key Findings of the Survey:
- Smartphone Usage and Entertainment.
- Differential Access Based on Class.
- Parental Aspirations and Engagement.
- Reasons for School Dropout.
- Parent-Teacher Meetings and Learning Environment.
- Promote balanced smartphone usage.
- Enhance the educational environment at home.
- Provide more age-appropriate reading materials.
- Address reasons for school dropout.
- Encourage regular parent-teacher interactions.
ASEAN-India S&T Development Fund: Fostering Collaborative Progress
- Founded in 2008 through a collaborative effort between India’s Ministry of External Affairs and the Department of Science and Technology (DST), the ASEAN-India Science and Technology Development Fund (AISTDF) signifies a robust platform for fostering scientific and technological collaboration.
A Multifaceted Mission:
- AISTDF operates with the primary objective of supporting Research and Development (R&D) projects and the associated development of these initiatives.
- The fund aims to stimulate cooperation across diverse fields such as health, infectious diseases, environment, agriculture, energy, biodiversity, food processing, materials development, and space technology.
Strengthening Bonds Through Research:
- The fund’s initiatives encompass promoting biotechnology through capacity building and joint research endeavors.
- Of note is the establishment of the “ASEAN-India Collaborative R&D Program,” facilitating collaborative research ventures and shared facilities between ASEAN member states and India.
Eligibility and Inclusivity:
- AISTDF extends its support to eligible institutions in India, including universities, publicly funded research institutes and labs, and academic research institutions.
- ASEAN member states’ eligible institutions, which align with ASEAN’s funding criteria, also benefit from AISTDF’s provisions.
GS Paper 3
Guidelines for Usage of Artificial Sweeteners
The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) has addressed concerns about the health impacts of artificial sweeteners, particularly aspartame, which has been linked to limited evidence of carcinogenicity in humans according to assessments by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) and the Joint Expert Committee on Food Additives (JECFA) of the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).
Artificial sweeteners are sugar substitutes that provide sweetness with fewer or no calories. These include aspartame, saccharin, sucralose, stevia, and more. They are commonly found in various products such as diet beverages, desserts, and snacks, and are often used in “diet” or “light” items to reduce calorie content. While they have been approved for safety by regulatory bodies like the FDA and EFSA, ongoing research is being conducted to understand their potential long-term effects.
Co-Firing Biomass Pellets in Thermal Power Plants
- Union Minister for Power and New & Renewable Energy highlights Revised Biomass Policy.
- 47 Thermal Power Plants incorporate co-firing of coal with biomass pellets.
Revised Biomass Policy
- Integration of agro residue-based biomass pellets in Thermal Power Plants.
- Mandates 5% biomass co-firing from 2024-25, increasing to 7% in 2025-26.
Government Interventions Related to Biomass Co-firing
- Financial Assistance for biomass pellet manufacturing units.
- Biomass manufacturing under Priority Sector Lending.
- Dedicated Procurement Provision on Government e-Marketplace.
- Revised Model Long-Term Contract for Biomass Supply.
Advantages of Biomass Co-firing
- Carbon Emission Reduction.
- Renewable Energy Integration.
- Economic and Regulatory Benefits.
- Utilization of Biomass Waste.
- Various Biomass Sources.
Learning from the CHIPS Act: Strengthening India’s Semiconductor Future
Drawing insights from the US CHIPS Act, India can improve its semiconductor strategy by focusing on collaboration, workforce development, transparency, and future research. Coordinated government efforts, integrated policies, and fiscal incentives, such as India Semiconductor Mission (ISM), are essential. Workforce expansion through Chips2 Startup (C2S) and accountability via progress reports will enhance India’s semiconductor prowess. Investing in future research aligns with global trends and ensures technological advancement.
- Coordinated Government Efforts:
- CHIPS Act’s multi-agency approach underscores success through collaboration.
- India should integrate departments, set priorities, and ensure accountability.
- India Semiconductor Mission (ISM):
- Launched under MeitY, ISM aims for a robust semiconductor and display ecosystem.
- Fiscal incentives for semiconductor and display fab, silicon photonics, sensors, etc.
- Workforce Development and Collaboration:
- CHIPS Act’s emphasis on workforce development benefits India’s Chips2 Startup (C2S) program.
- Universities’ partnerships and certified training programs enhance workforce skills.
- Accountability and Transparency:
- CHIPS Act’s CHIPS Program Office (CPO) ensures project viability and attracts private investments.
- Regular progress reports enhance accountability, trust, and stakeholder confidence.
- Future Research and Innovation:
- CHIPS Act’s funding for advanced technologies highlights the importance of research.
- India should invest in areas with growth potential, aligned with global technology trends.
- CHIPS Act serves as a model for India’s semiconductor policy.
- Collaboration, workforce development, transparency, and research are crucial.
- Implementation ensures India’s semiconductor growth, technological advancement, and global competitiveness.
The Emergence of Local Currencies in Global Trade and Finance
In recent times, India has become an important trading partner for many countries because of its big market. Currency swap agreements involving 23 nations have made transactions with India easier. The Indian rupee has unexpectedly become a key currency for global transactions, especially with Russia. This has helped trade between the two countries.
- Rise of Indian Rupee in International Transactions
- Currency swap deals with 23 countries have been made.
- The Indian rupee is being used for transactions with Russia due to geopolitical tensions.
- This has created a unique way to settle payments using Rupee Vostro accounts.
- Currency Settlement Mechanics
- Rupee Vostro accounts are used for payments between India and Russia.
- Indian importers are paying in rupees through these accounts.
- Even Indian exports to Russia are compensated in rupees from Vostro accounts.
- Challenges and Solutions in Currency Settlement
- Russia is hesitant to hold Indian rupees due to concerns about its value.
- An innovative solution is the use of the Chinese yuan to resolve payment issues for Russian oil imports.
- Historical Context: Similarities with Past Agreements
- Similar challenges were faced in past agreements with the Soviet Union.
- The Indian rupee was used for trade and credit transactions.
- Geo-economic Shift and Broader Implications
- There is a shift towards using local currencies for trade.
- The importance of currencies like the Indian rupee, Russian ruble, Chinese yuan, UAE dirham, and Indonesian rupiah is increasing.
- Regional Agreements and Future Progression
- An agreement between India and the UAE covers trade, remittances, and capital flows.
- This is a step towards a new financial system that challenges the dominance of Northern currencies.
- The Indian rupee is gaining importance in global trade.
- A new financial landscape is emerging, with local currencies playing a larger role.
- There are challenges and potential benefits for a more equitable global economy.
Conservation Initiatives for Deepor Beel: Simang and Kumbhi Kagaz
Deepor Beel Overview:
- Nestled in the lower Assam region, Deepor Beel is a crucial wetland within the Brahmaputra Valley.
- Recognized as the sole Ramsar site in the state (declared in 2002), it serves as a vital haven for both resident and migratory bird species.
- Moreover, it holds immense significance as an ancient route for elephant movement, leading to its designation as a wildlife sanctuary.
Simang: A Local Endeavor to Combat Invasive Water Hyacinths:
- A group of six women initiated Simang, a collective effort to address the invasive water hyacinth issue.
- Water hyacinths, notorious for their rapid multiplication, posed a persistent challenge to the ecosystem’s health.
- Through innovative methods, Simang successfully transforms these weeds into exquisite artifacts and eco-friendly yoga mats.
- The initiative extends its positive impact by generating employment opportunities for 38 women from the local community.
- Notably, even during the COVID-19 pandemic, Simang continued to provide livelihoods by processing raw materials from Deepor Beel and crafting products on their handlooms.
Kumbhi Kagaz: Ecological Restoration and Economic Alternatives:
- The Kumbhi Kagaz initiative focuses on two pivotal objectives: rejuvenating Deepor Beel’s ecological balance and creating alternative livelihood options for the local populace.
- Water hyacinths, which had previously disrupted the wetland’s equilibrium, are ingeniously repurposed into 100% biodegradable handmade papers.
- A remarkable outcome of Kumbhi Kagaz’s efforts has been the substantial enhancement of makhana (prickly water lily) growth in the wetland, rendering economic benefits.
- This initiative emerges as a model that showcases the harmonious coexistence of environmental conservation and sustainable livelihoods.
First Climate-Adjusted Sovereign Credit Rating: A Paradigm Shift
Understanding the Concept:
- A groundbreaking research initiative introduces the notion of climate-adjusted sovereign credit ratings, highlighting the interconnectedness between a nation’s financial health and the ramifications of climate change.
Impacts of Emissions Reduction:
- The research underscores the urgent need for emission reduction, revealing that around 59 countries, including India, might experience downgrades in their sovereign credit ratings if emissions are not curtailed.
- In the coming decade, a surge in global corporate debt is projected if the environmental trajectory remains unchanged.
- Research findings indicate potential credit rating declines for countries like Chile, Indonesia, China, and India.
- Notably, countries such as the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom could also face credit rating reductions.
- Averting these potential downgrades necessitates steadfast adherence to the Paris Climate Agreement’s stipulations, ensuring a maximum two-degree rise in global temperatures.
Significance and Bridge Between Climate Science and Finance:
- The research makes a vital contribution by bridging the gap between climate science and concrete financial indicators.
- It serves as a clarion call for action, emphasizing the crucial role of emission reduction in preserving countries’ creditworthiness.
Prelims Related Facts
The 5th India-Vietnam Joint Trade Sub-Commission (JTSC) meeting held in New Delhi aimed to strengthen bilateral ties between India and Vietnam, particularly in areas such as agriculture, textiles, pharmaceuticals, energy, machinery, and more.
India and Vietnam have been actively focusing on enhancing trade and cooperation. The two countries have collaborated on a range of sectors, including defense, strategic partnerships, economic cooperation, and people-to-people contacts. The meeting discussed market access, technical barriers, and explored opportunities for collaboration in various service sectors.
Exercise Malabar is a significant naval exercise involving India, Japan, the United States, and Australia. The exercise aims to promote maritime cooperation and interoperability among the participating countries in the Indo-Pacific region.
Exercise Malabar was initiated in 1992 as a bilateral exercise between India and the United States. Over the years, it has evolved to include Japan and Australia, reflecting the importance of regional security and cooperation. The exercise involves various naval activities such as air defense, sea operations, and joint exercises, with a focus on maintaining a free and open Indo-Pacific.
International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples
The International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples is celebrated globally on August 9th each year. It commemorates the first session of the Working Group on Indigenous Populations in 1982 and aims to raise awareness about the rights, cultures, and challenges faced by indigenous peoples around the world.
Indigenous peoples, constituting about 6.2% of the global population, possess unique cultural and environmental practices. The day serves as a reminder of the need to protect their rights, promote self-determination, and address the common challenges they face. This year’s theme, “Indigenous Youth as Agents of Change,” highlights the role of young indigenous individuals in driving positive transformation within their communities.
State of Tribals in India
India’s tribal population, accounting for around 8.6% of the total population, faces various challenges in terms of education, healthcare, access to clean water, and livelihoods.
Tribal communities often have lower literacy rates, higher infant mortality rates, and limited access to basic amenities. Efforts are needed to address these disparities and ensure that tribal populations receive adequate opportunities for education, healthcare, and sustainable livelihoods. Promoting equitable development and preserving their unique cultures are important aspects of tribal welfare in India.
The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) is a regional intergovernmental organization in West Africa. It was established in 1975 to promote economic integration, cooperation, and development among member states.
ECOWAS comprises 15 member countries, including Benin, Burkina Faso, Ghana, Nigeria, and more. The organization focuses on various areas such as economic growth, political stability, social ties, and cultural collaboration. In light of security challenges and the refugee crisis, ECOWAS plays a crucial role in fostering peace and stability in the region. It collaborates with member states and engages in various regional and international forums to address shared concerns and promote sustainable development.