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Here are the topics covered for 13 September 2023: Ayushman Bhav Health scheme, Tea Production and Export, Retail inflation, Climate Change Affecting Food Security, Nipah Virus, Black Hole.
Table of Contents
- Ayushman Bhav Health scheme
- Tea Production and Export
- Retail inflation
- Climate Change Affecting Food Security
Facts for Prelims
- Nipah Virus
- Black Hole
Ayushman Bhav Heath Scheme
- Honourable President of India, Smt. Droupadi Murmu, virtually launched Ayushman Bhav Campaign on September 13, 2023.
About the Scheme
- This initiative aims for nationwide healthcare coverage, providing Ayushman cards, ABHA IDs, and raising awareness about key health schemes and conditions.
- It comprises:
- Ayushman Apke Dwar 3.0: Distributes Ayushman cards to eligible PM-JAY beneficiaries.
- Ayushman Melas at HWCs and CHCs: Offers ABHA IDs, primary healthcare, teleconsultation, and referrals.
- Ayushman Sabhas: Conducts awareness sessions, distributes cards, and promotes health schemes including NCDs, TB, sickle cell disease, blood, and organ donation.
Tea Production and Export
- Recently India’s tea exports saw a slight dip in volume compared with the year earlier period. Also, Worldwide tea exports have seen a decline, including shipments from major producers such as Kenya, China and Sri Lanka.
India : Production and export
- India is the world’s second-largest tea producer, known for its high-quality tea due to geographical advantages, investments, and market strategies.
- In 2020-21, India produced 1,283 million kg of tea, and production figures for subsequent months in 2022 indicate a steady output.
- The northern region, primarily Assam and West Bengal, accounts for approximately 83% of India’s annual tea production, with key production areas in Assam including the Assam Valley and Cachar, and in West Bengal, Dooars, Terai, and Darjeeling.
- The southern states of Tamil Nadu, Kerala, and Karnataka collectively contribute about 17% of the nation’s total tea production.
- Tea production in India in January-July rose 0.1% to 622.7 million kg. India exports almost 17% of the tea produced.
- India ranks among the top 5 global tea exporters, accounting for about 10% of total exports.
- Russia, Iran, UAE, USA, the UK, Germany, and China are some of the major importers of tea from India.
- Black tea constitutes the majority of India’s tea exports, making up 96% of the total. Types of tea exported include black tea, regular tea, green tea, herbal tea, masala tea, and lemon tea.
- Overall tea exports between January and June this year slid 0.8% to 96.3 million kilogram
Reasons for contraction in Tea export
- Recessionary pressure in Europe(a top export destination for Darjeeling tea).
- It is beset by problems on several fronts: Price, demand, production and labour. If global demand going tepid wasn’t enough, it now faces challenges from climate change.
- Erratic weather patterns, extreme temperatures and insufficient rainfall have severely affected both the quantity and quality of tea production.
- The difference between day and night temperatures has led to an attack of insects that has affected the gardens.
- It needs to focus more on production and export of orthodox tea as world demand is more for those teas.
- Centre must address structural issues and extend WTO compliant sops.
- All stakeholders, including tea producers, industry leaders, retailers, government bodies, and experts, to come together and collaborate on finding innovative solutions to make tea a piping-hot product.
- Recently India’s retail inflation eased slightly to 6.83% from the 15 month high of 7.44%, but the rise in food prices remained elevated at around 10%. This data is released by the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation.
Reasons for ease in Retail inflation
- A 5.8% sequential drop in vegetable prices contributed almost half the decline in Consumer Price Index (CPI).
- A slight dip in the inflation rate for clothing, footwear, housing and miscellaneous items also helped in easing inflation.
- Measures like supplying tomatoes at subsidised prices helped in keeping inflationary pressure low
- The recent measure taken by government to lower LPG prices will have a positive impact on inflation, this comes in after reduction in windfall tax on domestically produced crude oil.
Significance of Decline in Retail Inflation
- Relief to consumers in time of high inflation, which indirectly will have positive development on economy.
- Decline of Retail Inflation will have positive affects on numerous businesses grappling with reduced demand in the wake of rising inflation.
- Will provide more flexibility to RBI in monetary policy decisions
- Food inflation will remain a key monitorable for because, If sustained, it can spill over to other components and steer the headline CPI inflation above the RBI’s target.
- High Inflation can hinder interest rates which will have negative affects on demand and supply, consumer confidence and overall economic growth. Thus keeping check on inflation by policymakers will help in overall economic competitiveness.
Climate Change Affecting Food Security
- The series of disruptive weather and climate phenomena like western disturbance and El Nino has increased the complexity of the Indian precipitation system which hampered its food production.
- Destructive landslides and floods in the western Himalayas and northern India have raised questions about the sustainability of development projects in these areas.
- Climate-driven warming may reduce winter precipitation from the Western disturbance and lead to more intense summer rainfall, raising concerns.
- Evidence emerged that the El Niño phase of the quasi-periodic El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO), a phenomenon in the eastern and central tropical Pacific Ocean, was strengthening and expected to impact the southwest monsoon.
- Over time, the relationship between these phenomena has changed. During El Niño’s impact on the southwest monsoon, the Indian Ocean Dipole’s positive phase (IOD) can offset its consequences.
- Dynamic regression models show that about 65% of the annual variation in the southwest monsoon can be linked to both ENSO and the IOD over many decades.
Affect on Food Security
- Agriculture in India relies on two types of water: green water, which is rain-fed soil moisture utilized by crops, and blue water, found in rivers, lakes, reservoirs, and groundwater, used for irrigation, drinking, industry, and maintaining ecological river flows.
- Climate phenomena like El Niño affect rain-fed agriculture by delaying rains, impacting sowing, and causing hot temperatures that can harm plant growth and soil moisture.
- Despite investments in irrigation systems, around half of India’s cultivated area depends on green water.
- India’s daily diet requires an average of 3,268 liters of water per person, with 75% being green water, highlighting the importance of rain-fed agriculture for food security.
- Even in irrigated regions, dominant crops like rice, tur dal, soybean, groundnut, and maize rely significantly on green water. For instance, during the 2015-2016 El Niño year, India’s soybean production dropped by 28% from the average.
- Following a hot and dry August, hopes are pinned on phenomena like the IOD to mitigate El Niño’s impact on Indian agriculture, food security, inflation, and inter-state water conflicts.
- Emphasis on reducing water-intensive crops like millets to enhance food security amid climate challenges. This may reduce vulnerability to phenomena like El Niño.
- Estimated savings of over 30% in blue water use, with some nutritional improvements but slight calorie reduction.
- Saved water may not help recharge aquifers or restore river flows without proper policies.
- Adaptations include promoting millets and alternative cereal
- Improved forecasting and early warning systems for weather events.
- Need for alternative dam and reservoir management to reduce flood risks and ecological damage.
- Responding to water and climate crises through diversified agro-food systems, reduced blue water dependence, river rejuvenation, and sustainable water-sharing is crucial for the well-being of 1.4 billion people.
FACTS FOR PRELIMS
- Nipah virus is a zoonotic disease, transmitted from animals (e.g., bats or pigs) and through contaminated food or person-to-person contact.
- WHO reports a high fatality rate for Nipah. The fatality rate ranges from 40% to 75%.
- Symptoms include fever, muscle pain, and respiratory issues. Some carriers may show no symptoms.
- Fruit bats of the Pteropodidae family are the natural hosts of the Nipah virus.
- Currently, there are no treatments or vaccines available for both humans and animals.
- The primary treatment for human cases involves providing supportive care.
- To prevent infections, key measures include raising awareness, conducting surveillance, sample testing, research, contact tracing, and patient transportation management.
- It is a extremely compact heavy star formed during supernova explosions and has extremely high density.
- Have a strong gravitational force that even photons (light particles), travelling at a speed of about three lakh kilometres per second, cannot escape from it.
- Black holes have three “layers”: the outer and inner event horizon, and the singularity.
- The event horizon is the boundary around the mouth of the black hole, past which light cannot escape. Once a particle crosses the event horizon, it cannot leave. Gravity is constant across the event horizon.
- The inner region of a black hole, where the object’s mass lies, is known as its singularity, the single point in space-time where the mass of the black hole is concentrated.
- A black hole is identified by the gravitational force it exerts on nearby stars.