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Here are the topics covered for 8th December 2023:
GS- 1: Global Positioning System (GPS)
GS-3: Sickle Cell Disease, CITES, Aquaculture Crop Insurance Scheme
Fact for Prelims:Project Gemini, International Sugar Organization
Global Positioning System (GPS)
The Global Positioning System (GPS) continues to play a pivotal role in various sectors globally. Understanding its functionality, precision, and global impact is crucial in recognizing its revolutionary influence.
The GPS, initiated in 1973 by the U.S. Department of Defense, consists of three segments: space, control, and user.
The space segment comprises 24 satellites in six orbits, ensuring global coverage and accurate positioning.
Ground-based stations manage the control segment, ensuring satellite performance and adherence to Standard Positioning Service (SPS) standards.
The user segment spans diverse sectors, with an estimated 6.5 billion GNSS devices globally, expected to reach 10 billion by 2031.
Functionality of GPS:
- GPS operates through satellite-transmitted radio signals (L1 and L2 frequencies), triangulated by GPS receivers for precise location determination.
- Error adjustments, including relativistic effects, enhance accuracy in GPS calculations.
- Satellites maintain precise time using atomic clocks, critical for accurate location determination.
Global Presence of GNSS:
- Several countries operate their GNSS alongside GPS, including Russia (GLONASS), the EU (Galileo), China (BeiDou), and India (NavIC).
- India\’s NavIC, with seven satellites, facilitates ground-based navigation with master control facilities in Karnataka and Madhya Pradesh.
- India also operates the GPS-Aided Geo Augmented Navigation (GAGAN) system, ensuring safety in civil aviation applications.
Impact of GPS on Various Sectors:
- GPS has revolutionized navigation across sectors like agriculture, military operations, and urban realms.
- The precision of GPS calculations, incorporating error adjustments, has made it indispensable in diverse applications.
- The continuous growth in the number of GNSS devices globally underscores its pervasive influence.
- India\’s NavIC and GAGAN contribute significantly to satellite-based navigation systems.
- NavIC\’s presence in the geostationary and geosynchronous orbits enhances regional navigation capabilities.
- GAGAN, developed by ISRO and the Airports Authority of India, focuses on safety in civil aviation applications.
- The Global Positioning System remains a cornerstone of modern navigation, influencing diverse sectors globally.
- Understanding its precision, global collaborations, and the contribution of systems like India\’s NavIC and GAGAN is crucial for acknowledging its transformative impact.
Sickle Cell Disease
- The recent approval by the United Kingdom\’s drug regulator of the world\’s first gene therapy treatment for sickle cell disease and thalassemia signals a significant breakthrough in medical science.
Understanding Sickle Cell Disease:
- Inherited Blood Disorder: Sickle Cell Disease is an inherited blood disorder characterized by flawed haemoglobin, the molecule in red blood cells (RBCs) responsible for carrying oxygen to the body\’s tissues.
- Atypical Hemoglobin Molecules: Individuals with this disease possess atypical haemoglobin molecules called haemoglobin S, which distort RBCs into a sickle or crescent shape.
- Impact on Oxygen Delivery: Sickle Cell Disease interferes with the normal delivery of oxygen to the body\’s tissues.
Effects on Blood Flow:
- Normal vs. Sickle Cell RBCs: In a healthy state, RBCs are disc-shaped and flexible, facilitating easy movement through blood vessels.
- Sickled RBCs: Due to a genetic mutation, sickle cell disease transforms RBCs into crescent or sickle shapes, hindering their flexibility. This alteration can lead to blockages, disrupting blood flow to various parts of the body.
Causes of Sickle Cell Disease:
- Defective Gene: The root cause is a defective gene known as the sickle cell gene.
- Inheritance: Sickle cell disease manifests only if an individual inherits two such genes – one from each parent.
- Early Stage: Symptoms include extreme tiredness, fussiness due to anaemia, painful swelling of hands and feet, and jaundice.
- Later Stage: The disease progresses to severe pain, anaemia, organ damage, and susceptibility to infections.
- Curative Measures: A bone marrow transplant or stem cell transplant can cure sickle cell disease.
- Symptomatic Relief: Various treatments exist to alleviate symptoms, manage complications, and extend life.
- Exploring Gene Therapy: The recent approval of gene therapy in the UK represents a significant advancement in potential cures for sickle cell disease.
- In conclusion, Sickle Cell Disease and Thalassemia pose significant health challenges, but advancements such as gene therapy offer promising avenues for more effective and curative treatments.
- The recent UK approval signals hope for improved outcomes and quality of life for individuals affected by these conditions.
- The 77th meeting of the Standing Committee of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) recently concluded in Geneva, Switzerland, showcasing pivotal outcomes for India\’s endeavours in wildlife conservation.
- International agreement preventing international trade in wild animals and plants from threatening species\’ survival.
- Currently, 184 Parties to CITES.
- Entered into force in 1975, with India becoming the 25th party in 1976.
Red Sanders\’ Removal from Review of Significant Trade (RST):
- Previous Scrutiny: India had been subjected to the Review of Significant Trade (RST) process for Red Sanders since 2004, amplifying scrutiny on species exports to assess Convention adherence.
- Achievement: Due to India\’s compliance and robust reporting, it has been exempted from RST, a momentous triumph for the protection of Red Sanders, a tree species endemic to Andhra Pradesh facing threats from illegal activities.
India\’s Upgradation in CITES National Legislation Program:
- Legislative Compliance: The meeting elevated India to Category 1 in the CITES National Legislation Program, signifying full compliance with program requisites.
- Legal Amendment: The Wild Life (Protection) Act, 1972, underwent amendment in 2022, incorporating CITES provisions, leading to India\’s reclassification from Category 2 to Category 1.
Advocacy for Big Cat Conservation:
- Conservation Urgency: India actively advocated stringent measures for Big Cats, with a specific focus on Asian Big Cats.
- International Initiative: The call to join the International Big Cat Alliance, launched by the Indian Prime Minister in April 2023, underscores the need for collaborative efforts in big cat conservation.
- The CITES Standing Committee Meeting yielded significant advancements for India, reflecting commendable strides in wildlife preservation.
- From the removal of Red Sanders from heightened scrutiny to legislative compliance upgrades and a proactive stance on big cat conservation, India\’s commitment to global biodiversity conservation is evident.
- The detailed proceedings mark a positive trajectory, emphasizing the critical role of international cooperation and legislative alignment in safeguarding endangered species.
Aquaculture Crop Insurance Scheme
- In recent developments, the Ministry of Fisheries, Animal Husbandry & Dairying has been addressing the technical challenges associated with the implementation of the Aquaculture Crop Insurance scheme, specifically focusing on shrimp and fish farming.
About the scheme:
- This initiative is part of the broader Pradhan Mantri Matsya Sampada Yojana (PMMSY) scheme, aimed at mitigating the risks faced by aquaculture farmers.
- The National Fisheries Development Board (NFDB) has proposed the implementation of this insurance scheme.
the objective of the Scheme:
- The primary objective of the Aquaculture Crop Insurance scheme is to provide basic insurance coverage for brackish water shrimp and fish farming on a pilot basis.
- This pilot program is set to run for one year and will be implemented in selected states, including Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, and Odisha.
What is Aquaculture?
- Aquaculture is the practice of cultivating aquatic organisms in controlled aquatic environments, whether for commercial, recreational, or public purposes.
- This includes the breeding, rearing, and harvesting of aquatic plants and animals, and it can occur in various water bodies, including ponds, rivers, lakes, oceans, and closed systems on land.
Importance of Aquaculture Insurance:
- Aquaculture insurance is a specialized form of insurance designed to cater to the unique risks associated with aquaculture operations.
- This sector is susceptible to various risks, including diseases, adverse weather conditions, water quality issues, and natural disasters, all of which can lead to significant financial losses. Insurance helps manage and mitigate these risks by providing financial protection.
Challenges in Implementation:
- Data Collection and Assessment: The aquaculture industry\’s risks are influenced by complex environmental and biological factors, making the collection and assessment of relevant data challenging.
- Awareness and Education: Many individuals engaged in aquaculture may not be familiar with the concept and benefits of insurance. Raising awareness and providing education on the scheme is crucial for its success.
- Adverse Selection: There\’s a risk of adverse selection, where high-risk participants dominate the scheme, leading to unsustainable premium levels.
- Administrative Complexity: The scheme\’s administration, including claims processing and premium payments, can be operationally complex.
Government Initiatives Related to Aquaculture:
- Fisheries and Aquaculture Infrastructure Development Fund (FIDF): A financial assistance program to support fisheries and aquaculture infrastructure development.
- Blue Revolution: An initiative to enhance fish production and productivity through various measures.
- Extension of Kisan Credit Card (KCC): Providing credit facilities to fishers and aquaculture farmers.
- Marine Products Export Development Authority: Supporting the export of marine products.
- Seaweed Park: An initiative to promote seaweed farming.
- The Aquaculture Crop Insurance scheme under PMMSY aims to mitigate risks for fishers and aquaculture farmers, boost investment, and improve food security. However, it faces challenges related to data, awareness, adverse selection, and administration.
- Successful implementation relies on involving key stakeholders and establishing a governing structure to ensure the scheme\’s effectiveness for shrimp and fish farming in aquaculture.
Fact for Prelims:
- Google has launched Project Gemini, an AI model crafted to emulate human behaviour.
- This advancement is poised to intensify the competition in AI and spark discussions about the advantages and drawbacks of the technology.
- Gemini\’s primary goal is to improve the intuitive and task efficiency of Google\’s AI chatbot Bard, especially in planning-related activities.
- Developed by Google DeepMind, the AI division, Gemini highlights its adept problem-solving abilities in mathematics and physics, potentially contributing to scientific advancements.
- However, apprehensions linger about AI\’s potential consequences, such as job displacement, misinformation propagation, and the potential for triggering destructive behaviour.
International Sugar Organization
- The International Sugar Organization plays a crucial role as an intergovernmental entity dedicated to enhancing the global sugar market.
- It represents a significant portion of the world\’s sugar dynamics, encompassing 87% of global sugar production and 64% of consumption. With a membership of approximately 88 nations, including India, the organization represents a diverse array of countries.
- The ISO administers the International Sugar Agreement (ISA) of 1992, which serves several key objectives:
- Foster international cooperation in matters related to sugar.
- Facilitate intergovernmental discussions aimed at improving the global sugar economy.
- Collect and disseminate valuable market information.
- Encourage the expanded use of sugar, particularly in non-traditional applications.