17 Jun | UPSC Current Affairs: Teesta River, DHIS, Binsar Sanctuary, IEDs, Planet Nine & More


Teesta River

  • News: West Bengal’s Kalimpong is facing widespread devastation due to heavy rains that caused flooding in the Teesta River.
  • Definition
      • The Teesta River, a tributary of the Jamuna River (Brahmaputra River), flows through India and Bangladesh.
  • Origin:
      • The river originates as Chhombo Chhu from a glacial lake, Khangchung Chho, at an elevation of 5,280 meters in the northeastern corner of the state.
      • Teesta Khangse glacier and Chho Lhamo are also considered sources of the Teesta River by many authors.

Planet Nine

  • Length and Drainage:
      • The total length of the river is 309 kilometers (192 miles).
      • It drains an area of 12,540 square kilometers.
  • Course:
      • The Teesta River flows south, cutting a deep gorge through the Siwalik Hills east of Darjeeling (West Bengal), and turns southeast to run through the Sivok Khola pass onto the plains of West Bengal.
      • Originally, the river continued southward to empty directly into the upper Padma River (Ganga River).
      • Around 1787, the river changed its course to flow eastward, crossing the Rangpur region of Bangladesh to join the Jamuna River near Chilmari after a total course of about 320 kilometers (200 miles).
  • Major Tributaries:
      • Left-bank Tributaries: Lachung Chhu, Chakung Chhu, Dik Chhu, Rani Khola, Rangpo Chhu.
      • Right-bank Tributaries: Zemu Chhu, Rangyong Chhu, Rangit River.

See more: Green Technologies: Meaning, Types, Opportunities and Challenges | UPSC


Digital Health Incentives Scheme (DHIS)

  • News:  The central government has given a year-long extension to the Digital Health Incentive Scheme (DHIS).
  • Definition:
      • It is a national initiative spearheaded by the National Health Authority (NHA) to foster the adoption of digital health practices across India. 
      • Launched on January 1, 2023, as part of the Ayushman Bharat Digital Mission (ABDM), the scheme aims to build a robust digital health ecosystem and improve the quality of patient care. 
      • Initially set to conclude earlier, the scheme has now been extended to remain in effect until June 30, 2025.
  • Key Features and Objectives:
      • Eligibility
        • Health facilities such as hospitals and diagnostic labs, digital solution companies, and other healthcare providers are eligible to participate.
        • Incentives are awarded based on the number of digital health records created and linked to patients’ Ayushman Bharat Health Account (ABHA) numbers.
        • Healthcare institutions and digital solution entities can register through the Health Facility Registry (HFR) and ABDM Sandbox, respectively.
      • Qualifying Transactions: 
        • Eligible transactions include creating any ABHA-linked health records such as teleconsultations, lab reports, prescriptions, and more.
  • Objectives and Impact:
      • Promote Digital Health:
        • The scheme encourages healthcare providers to adopt digital health practices, thereby enhancing patient care and reducing administrative burdens.
      • Enhance Quality of Care:
        • By digitizing health records, the scheme facilitates evidence-based quality care and seamless access to patient records.
      • Boost Digital Health Transactions:
        • The scheme aims to increase digital health transactions, contributing to a robust digital health ecosystem.
  • National Health Authority (NHA):
      • The NHA is the apex body responsible for implementing the Ayushman Bharat Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (AB PM-JAY).
      • It is tasked with designing strategy, building technological infrastructure, and implementing the National Digital Health Mission to create a national digital health ecosystem.
      • Originating as the National Health Agency, a registered society since 2018, it was reconstituted as the National Health Authority in January 2019 following a Cabinet decision to grant it full functional autonomy.
  • Why has the scheme been extended?
      •  It is meant to incentivise providers of digital health solutions such as hospital’s health management information system (HMIS) and laboratory management information system (LMIS) to make available the right software at an affordable cost.


Binsar Wildlife Sanctuary

  • News:  In Uttarakhand, Army helicopters airlifted water from Bhimtal in Nainital district, to combat the forest fire raging in Almora district’s Binsar Wildlife Sanctuary. Ex-gratia of 10 lakh rupees has been announced for the families of the deceased. 
  • Binsar Wildlife Sanctuary
      • The Binsar Wildlife Sanctuary is a protected area located in the state of Uttarakhand, India.
      • It is situated in the Kumaon region of the Himalayas, approximately 33 kilometers north of the Almora district.
  • Area:
      • The sanctuary spans around 47 square kilometers.
  • History:
      • Binsar served as the summer capital of the Chand Dynasty rulers, who governed Kumaon from the 7th to the 18th century AD.
      • The sanctuary is located at an elevation of 2,420 meters.
      • Local legend suggests that Binsar was named after the Bineshwar Mahadev Temple, a 16th-century temple dedicated to Lord Shiva.
  • Scenic Views:
      • Binsar is renowned for its rich biodiversity and stunning panoramic views of Himalayan peaks, including Chaukhamba, Nanda Devi, Nanda Kot, Panchachuli, and Kedarnath.
  • Flora:
      • The sanctuary is covered by oak and rhododendron forests at higher altitudes, and chir pine forests at lower elevations.
      • It boasts 25 types of trees, 24 types of bushes, and seven varieties of grasses.
  • Fauna:
      • Binsar is home to more than 200 species of native and migratory birds.
      • Endangered species found here include the Indian red fox, jackals, pine martens, and porcupines.
      • Other wildlife includes leopards, ghorals, wild boars, kakars, monkeys, and Himalayan black bears.
      • Bird species in the sanctuary include the Himalayan monal, koklass pheasant, and Himalayan griffon.
  • What is Ex-gratia Payment? 
      • Ex Gratia meaning, in Latin, is “by virtue of grace” or “by favor”. 
      • Therefore, an ex gratia payment is voluntary because the paying party doesn’t need to compensate the receiver.
      •  Ex gratia meaning is a payment made out of virtue to individuals by an organization or government for claims and damages.

Liquid Improvised Explosive Device

  • News:  Terror groups in the Jammu valley are using difficult-to-detect liquid Improvised Explosive Devices (IED’S). 
  • Improvised Explosive Device (IED): 
      • An Improvised Explosive Device (IED) is an unconventional explosive weapon that can take various forms and be activated in multiple ways. 
      • These devices are employed by criminals, vandals, terrorists, suicide bombers, and insurgents. 
      • Due to their improvised nature, IEDs can range from simple pipe bombs to sophisticated devices capable of causing significant destruction and loss of life.
  • Damage Potential:
      • The extent of damage caused by an IED depends on its size, construction, placement, and whether it uses a high explosive or propellant.
  • Historical Context:
      • The term IED became widely recognized during the Iraq War, which began in 2003.

Liquid Improvised Explosive Device

  • Components of an IED:
      • Initiating Mechanism: This includes a detonator.
      • Explosive Charge: The main component that causes the explosion.
      • Casing or Projectiles: A casing or a collection of projectiles (such as ball bearings or nails) that produce lethal fragments upon detonation.
  • Materials Used as Explosives in IEDs: IEDs can be constructed from a variety of objects and materials, including:
      • Artillery or mortar rounds
      • Aerial bombs
      • Certain types of fertilizers
      • TNT and other explosives
      • IEDs can also contain radiological, chemical, or biological components to enhance their lethal and psychological impact. 

Read also: Mystery of the Far Side of the Moon | UPSC

Planet Nine

  • News: Scientists think there may be a ninth planet hiding in the distant reaches of the solar system. 
  • Planet Nine:
      • Planet Nine is a proposed hypothetical planet in the outer reaches of our solar system. 
      • This concept was introduced to explain specific anomalies in the orbits of distant trans-Neptunian objects (TNOs), particularly those with highly elliptical and clustered paths.
  • Characteristics:
      • Mass: Estimated to be about 5 to 10 times that of Earth.
      • Orbit: Thought to have a highly elliptical orbit with a semi-major axis ranging from 400 to 800 AU (astronomical units). 
        • For reference, one AU is the average distance between Earth and the Sun, which is approximately 93 million miles or 150 million kilometers.
      • Orbital Period: Its orbital period could range between 10,000 to 20,000 years.
      • Distance: At its closest approach to the Sun, it might be around 200 AU, while at its farthest, it could be about 1,200 AU.

Planet Nine

  • Future Prospects:
      • The search for this potential ninth planet in our solar system may soon yield results. 
      • With the opening of the groundbreaking Vera C. Rubin Observatory in 2025, astronomers hope to either confirm the existence of Planet Nine within the next few years or conclusively rule out the idea.
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