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Stay informed with relevant current affairs from trusted sources like The Hindu, Indian Express, PIB, and more. Our daily news analysis includes Prelims Facts and Important Editorials presented in a concise and bulletised format. Get free daily updates up to 4 P.M. (except Sundays). Don’t miss the Daily Revision Quiz to reinforce your knowledge. Good luck!
Here are the topics covered for 2nd November 2023:
GS-2: Regional Maritime Security and Cooperation, Multilingualism in India
GS-3: Haemoglobin’s role in cartilage cells, Type 2 – Diabetes Risk
Facts for Prelims: Carbon Nanoflorets , Mera Yuva Bharat (MY Bharat)
Regional Maritime Security and Cooperation
- The 4th edition of the Goa Maritime Conclave (GMC) – 2023, hosted by the Indian Navy and organized under the Naval War College in Goa, has recently concluded
- The theme for this year’s conclave was “Maritime Security in the Indian Ocean Region: Converting Common Maritime Priorities into Collaborative Mitigating Frameworks.”
- The event brought together representatives from twelve Indian Ocean nations, including Comoros, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Madagascar, Malaysia, Maldives, Mauritius, Myanmar, Seychelles, Singapore, Sri Lanka, and Thailand.
- The Goa Maritime Conclave serves as a platform for high-level naval and defence officials from various Indian Ocean Region (IOR) nations to discuss shared maritime challenges and enhance regional cooperation.
- It facilitates the exchange of ideas among Chiefs of the Navy and Heads of Maritime Agencies to address contemporary and future maritime challenges while promoting cooperative strategies for improved interoperability.
Address by Defense Minister:
- During the conclave, India’s Defense Minister referred to the concept of the “Prisoner’s Dilemma” to emphasize the importance of countries collaborating instead of pursuing conflicting interests.
- The Prisoner’s Dilemma, when applied to international relations, explains situations where countries face strategic decision-making challenges driven by mutual fear and mistrust, such as in arms races.
Maritime Security and Self-Reliance:
- The Defense Minister highlighted the need for multinational collaborative mitigation frameworks in the Indian Ocean Region to address common maritime challenges. He also stressed the importance of self-reliance in the defence sector as a means to enhance regional security and prosperity.
Rule-Based Maritime Order:
- The importance of a free, open, and rule-based maritime order was emphasized, with a commitment to adhering to international maritime laws, particularly the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) 1982.
- The Goa Maritime Conclave (GMC) – 2023 serves as a crucial forum for promoting regional cooperation and addressing common maritime challenges in the Indian Ocean Region.
- The emphasis on collaboration, adherence to international maritime laws, and the significance of a rule-based maritime order underscores the commitment to securing the Indian Ocean and safeguarding national and regional interests.
- India’s proactive engagement in maritime security efforts is vital for the stability and prosperity of the region.
Multilingualism in India
- In an increasingly interconnected world, multilingualism is gaining recognition for its multifaceted benefits, from cognitive advantages to enriching diverse cultures. India, known for its abundance of languages and scripts, serves as a prime example of the importance of embracing multilingualism.
Multilingual Diversity in India:
- India stands out as one of the most linguistically diverse countries globally, with over 19,500 languages spoken across the nation. This diversity offers a unique opportunity for Indians to be multilingual, enabling them to use more than one language in communication.
- According to the 2011 Census of India, more than 25% of the population speaks two languages, while approximately 7% speak three languages. Recent studies suggest that young Indians are more multilingual than the older generation, with about half of the urban population aged 15 to 49 years speaking two languages.
Contributions of Multilingualism to India’s Diversity
- India’s multilingualism goes beyond numerical diversity; it is deeply rooted in culture, identity, and history. The country’s languages reflect its diverse and pluralistic society, where people from different religions, ethnicities, castes, and classes coexist and interact.
Benefits of Multilingualism
- Cognitive Enhancement: Multilingualism can improve cognitive abilities, such as memory, attention, problem-solving, and creativity. Research indicates that bilinguals and multilinguals tend to have better executive functions, responsible for planning, organizing, and controlling mental processes.
- Social and Emotional Skills: Multilingualism can enhance social and emotional skills, fostering empathy, perspective-taking, and intercultural competence. Learning different languages enables individuals to access different cultures, values, and worldviews, promoting understanding and appreciation of diversity.
- Practical Advantages: Being multilingual offers practical advantages, such as expanded career opportunities, enriching travel experiences, and access to a wider range of information and entertainment. It allows individuals to communicate with a more extensive network of people, explore diverse places, and enjoy additional resources.
Constitutional Provisions Related to Languages in India
- Article 29: Safeguards the interests of minorities, ensuring the right to preserve distinct languages, scripts, and cultures, while prohibiting discrimination based on various factors.
- Article 343: Designates Hindi in Devanagari script as the official language of the Union government, with English remaining an official language for a specified period.
- Article 345: Grants states the authority to adopt languages for official purposes, including Hindi, as per their legislative discretion.
- Article 346: Acknowledges India’s linguistic diversity and allows multiple languages to be used in official communications.
- Article 347: Empowers the President to recognize languages as official in a state, provided there is substantial public desire.
- Article 348: Specifies the language of proceedings in the Supreme Court and High Courts, allowing for the use of Hindi or other languages with presidential consent.
- Article 350: Ensures that grievances can be submitted in any language used in the Union or a State, providing accessibility for all citizens.
- Articles 350A and 350B: Address primary education in mother tongues and the appointment of a “Special Officer” for linguistic minorities, respectively.
- Article 351: Grants the Union government the authority to issue directives for the development of the Hindi language.
- Eighth Schedule: Lists the official languages of India, recognizing 22 languages, including six with ‘Classical’ status. These official languages play a crucial role in the country’s governance.
Haemoglobin’s role in cartilage cells
- In a groundbreaking discovery published in the journal Nature, scientists from China have unveiled an unexpected role for haemoglobin in the human body.
- Traditionally, haemoglobin has been known to be primarily present in red blood cells, responsible for oxygen transport and giving blood its characteristic red colour.
- However, this research has revealed that chondrocytes, the cells responsible for producing cartilage, also synthesize haemoglobin, suggesting a vital function in their survival.
Key findings of the discovery:
- Dr. Feng Zhang, a pathologist at the Fourth Military Medical University in China, initially stumbled upon this revelation while studying growth plates, which are cartilaginous tissues found at the ends of long bones.
- He observed spherical structures within these chondrocytes that resembled red blood cells and contained haemoglobin.
- Further investigations using advanced microscopy techniques confirmed that chondrocytes were indeed producing substantial amounts of haemoglobin, forming unique structures they referred to as “haemoglobin bodies” or “Hedy.”
- The critical question was whether these Hedy structures served a functional purpose. To test this, the scientists conducted experiments on genetically modified mice lacking the hemoglobin-producing gene. These mice showed a significant reduction in haemoglobin levels and did not survive past the embryonic stage.
- Moreover, when the gene responsible for haemoglobin production was specifically removed from the cartilage tissue, the chondrocytes in that region also experienced cell death. This indicated that Hedy was essential for the survival of chondrocytes.
- The research team hypothesized that haemoglobin in chondrocytes might be involved in oxygen transport, similar to its role in red blood cells. They found that cartilage cells lacking haemoglobin exhibited signs of hypoxic stress, associated with low oxygen conditions. In contrast, chondrocytes with haemoglobin appeared to release more oxygen in low-oxygen environments, ensuring their survival.
- This groundbreaking discovery challenges our understanding of haemoglobin’s role in the body, highlighting its importance in cartilage tissue. It also sheds light on how chondrocytes adapt to low-oxygen conditions, suggesting an alternative mechanism for energy production that doesn’t rely on oxygen.
- The presence of haemoglobin in cartilage has significant implications for various aspects of medical research. It could provide insights into joint diseases and bone deformities, as chondrocyte dysfunction is often implicated in these conditions.
- The discovery may also have broader implications for stem cell research, potentially influencing the fate of stem cells in growth plates.
- This innovative study has bridged the gap between the fields of haematology and skeletal biology, offering new avenues for exploration and understanding of human physiology. Ultimately, this research opens up exciting possibilities for reinterpreting mechanisms underlying joint diseases and bone-related conditions.
Type 2 – Diabetes Risk
- Two recent studies published in international journals have highlighted a concerning link between air pollution levels and the incidence of type 2 diabetes in the Indian cities of Chennai and Delhi.
- While this association has been observed in Western countries and more recently in China, these studies confirm that it also holds true in urban India. Indian cities have persistently ranked among the places with the worst air quality, often exceeding limits set by the World Health Organization.
- These studies are part of the Centre for Cardiometabolic Risk Reduction in South Asia (CARRS) Surveillance Study. Researchers engaged 6,722 adults in Chennai and 5,342 in Delhi, tracking their health over a period from 2010 to 2016 through questionnaires and blood samples to measure fasting plasma glucose (FPG) and glycosylated haemoglobin (HbA1c).
- Air pollution and exposure models, utilizing satellite data and emissions inventories, were also developed.
- A 10 μg/m3 (micrograms per cubic meter) difference in the annual average of PM2.5 (particulate matter 2.5 micrometres or smaller in diameter) was associated with a 9-36% higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
- The long-term follow-up of study participants indicates that the link between type 2 diabetes and air pollution is not solely due to intermittent episodes of high pollution but is connected to long-term exposure to ambient PM2.5.
- For every 10 μg/m3 increase per month in PM2.5 levels, FPG increased by 0.21-0.58 mg/dL (milligrams per deciliter) and HbA1c by 0.012-0.024 in Delhi.
- In Chennai, FPG increased by −0.36-1.39 mg/dL and HbA1c by 0.01-0.06. A 10 μg/m3 change in PM2.5 levels over six months led to a doubling of these ranges in Delhi but did not result in statistically significant findings in Chennai.
- Hypertensive participants in Chennai were found to be more susceptible to developing type 2 diabetes due to long-term exposure to PM2.5, while younger participants in Delhi were more susceptible to the disease.
- There is epidemiological evidence suggesting that ambient PM2.5 concentrations can affect processes within the body, such as insulin resistance and inflammation, due to pulmonary oxidative stress.
- Another study published in the journal Hypertension emphasized a temporal association between high levels of ambient air pollution, increased systolic blood pressure, and the onset of hypertension.
- These studies highlight a significant link between air pollution, particularly PM2.5, and the increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes in Chennai and Delhi. India already faces a substantial burden of noncommunicable diseases, and the impact of poor air quality on respiratory and heart health is a growing public health concern.
- Moreover, recent research has revealed the far-reaching effects of air pollution on various aspects of life, including pregnancy loss. As such, addressing air pollution and its health consequences remains a critical challenge for public health in India.
Fact for Prelims:
- Carbon nanoflorets are a unique class of carbon nanomaterials that resemble tiny marigold flowers. They are made up of interconnected carbon cones that are arranged in a hierarchical structure.
- Carbon nanoflorets can absorb sunlight across a wide range of wavelengths, including visible, infrared, and ultraviolet light. This makes them ideal for solar-thermal applications.
- Carbon nanoflorets can convert sunlight into heat with an efficiency of over 87%, which is significantly higher than other commonly used solar-thermal materials.
- Carbon nanoflorets have a low thermal conductivity, which means that they can retain the heat they generate without dissipating it into the environment. This makes them promising materials for thermal energy storage applications.
- Carbon nanoflorets could be used to develop new solar-powered desalination systems that can produce clean water from seawater more efficiently and sustainably.
- Carbon nanoflorets could be used to develop new types of solar-thermal power plants that are more efficient and cost-effective than existing technologies.
- Carbon nanoflorets could be used to develop new energy-efficient heating and cooling systems for buildings and other structures.
- Carbon nanoflorets could be used to develop thermal energy storage systems that can store heat from renewable energy sources, such as solar and wind power, for later use.
Mera Yuva Bharat (MY Bharat)
- Mera Yuva Bharat (MY Bharat) is an autonomous body under the Department of Youth Affairs, Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports. It was launched on 31 October 2023 on National Unity Day.
- The goal of MY Bharat is to empower the youth of India to contribute to the country’s development. It aims to do this by providing the youth with access to information, resources, and opportunities.
- It will benefit the youth in the age group of 15-29 years.
- MY Bharat will provide the youth with access to quality education and skills training.
- It will support youth entrepreneurship by providing the youth with the resources and guidance they need to start their own businesses.
- MY Bharat will encourage youth volunteering. It will provide the youth with opportunities to give back to their communities.
- It will also provide the youth with the skills and knowledge they need to be effective leaders.