Current Affairs 15th March, 2019

PAPER – 1 AND PAPER – 3

Topics Covered

1. Women Empowerment

2. Science and Technology

First person on Mars may be a woman

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What to read?

Prelims and Mains – NASA making space inclusive to women and About Women in Space and The Challenges

The first person to set foot on Mars is likely to be a woman , NASA said.

Note - (Alyssa Carson is an astronaut in training from U.S.A.

In the year 2033 – when Alyssa is 32-years-old – she plans to soar off to the red planet. Once on alien soil, she will grow food, conduct science experiments, and look for signs of life over a two to three year period).

  • NASA recently announced that it will have its first all-female spacewalk at the end of the month, when astronauts Anne McClain and Christina Koch will get to float around in space.

  • NASA is ‘committed to making sure that we have a diverse set of talent’.  

  • NASA is looking forward to the first woman on the Moon

Women in Space

  • Women of many nationalities have worked in space. The first woman in space, Soviet cosmonaut Valentina Tereshkova, flew in 1963.

  • Space flight programs were slow to employ women, and only began to include them from the 1980s. Most women in space have been United States citizens, with missions on the Space Shuttle and on the International Space Station.

  • Three countries maintain active space programs that include women: China, Russia, and the United States of America.

  • In addition, a number of other countriesCanada, France, India, Iran, Italy, Japan, South Korea, and the United Kingdom — have sent women into orbit or space on Russian or US missions.

Women in space face many of the same challenges faced by men

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  • Physical difficulties posed by non-Earth conditions and psychological stresses of isolation and separation.

  • Scientific studies on female amphibians and non-human mammals generally show no adverse effect from short space missions, although the effect of extended space travel on human female reproduction is not known.


PAPER – 1 AND PAPER – 3

Topics Covered

1. Geography

2. Indian Economy

GI tag for Coorg Arabica Coffee, Wayanad Robusta Coffee, Chikmagalur Arabica Coffee, Araku Valley Arabica Coffee and Bababudangiris Arabica Coffee

Image result for GI tag for Coorg Arabica Coffee, Wayanad Robusta Coffee, Chikmagalur Arabica Coffee, Araku Valley Arabica Coffee and Bababudangiris Arabica Coffee

What to read?

Prelims – About the uniqueness of each Coffee variety in particular

The Geographical Indications Registry has granted the Geographical Indication (GI) tag to Coorg Arabica Coffee, Wayanad Robusta Coffee, Chikmagalur Arabica Coffee, Araku Valley Arabica Coffee and Bababudangiris Arabica Coffee.

Coorg Arabica Coffee

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  • Coffee cultivation is an integral part of the lives of the people of Kodagu district and forms the backbone of the economy of the district till today. The district has a unique biotic and abiotic conditions which provides uniqueness to the Coffee grown in it.

  • The terrain provided for coffee by the broader landscape provides it a unique aroma and flavour notes to the coffee when roasted.

Wayanad Robusta Coffee

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  • The flora of Wayanad is characteristic of the Western Ghats and the plantation crops grown in the cool climate.

  • Coffee based farming system is a notable feature of Wayanad. Coffee is grown both as pure crop and as mixed crop along with pepper. Wayanad produces almost around 90% of the state’s Coffee produce which literally concludes that the coffee economy of Kerala is highly correlated with the coffee economy existing in Wayanad. Robusta coffee produce is more than 95% of the total coffee cultivation done in Wayanad.

Chikmagalur Arabica Coffee and Bababudangiris Arabica Coffee

Image result for GI tag for Coorg Arabica Coffee, Wayanad Robusta Coffee, Chikmagalur Arabica Coffee, Araku Valley Arabica Coffee and Bababudangiris Arabica Coffee

  • These are both grown in Chikmagalur district, Karnataka which is also known as the birthplace of coffee in the country, as per the application petitions.

  • Bababudangiris Arabica Coffee” is grown specifically in the birthplace of coffee in India and region is situated in the central portion of Chikmagalur district

  • Higher elevation area is predominantly Arabica growing track and known for its unique flavour and aroma. Selectively hand‐picked and processes by natural fermentation, the cup exhibits full body, acidity, mild flavour and striking aroma with a note of chocolate.

Araku Valley Arabica Coffee

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  • It is grown around Visakhapatnam district in Andhra Pradesh and Koraput district in Odisha, is light to medium in strength, has a pleasant acidity with a citrus note of grape fruit and a mild jaggery-like sweetness.


PAPER – 1 AND PAPER - 2

Topics Covered

1. India after Independence

2. International Organisations

Jawaharlal Nehru on permanent UNSC membership of India

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What to read?

Prelims – About Permanent membership in UNO

Mains – Advantages of India being a permanent member and India’s efforts towards it

Here is Jawaharlal Nehru’s statement in reply to a question in the Lok Sabha on September 27, 1955 by Dr. J.N. Parekh on whether India had refused a seat informally offered to her in the U.N. Security Council.

  • Prime Minister Nehru has categorically denied any offer, formal or informal, having been received about a seat for India in the UN Security Council.

  • The Prime Minister said: “There has been no offer, formal or informal, of this kind. Some vague references have appeared in the press about it which have no foundation in fact. The composition of the Security Council is prescribed by the UN Charter, according to which certain specified nations have permanent seats. No change or addition can be made to this without an amendment of the Charter.

  • Our declared policy is to support the admission of all nations qualified for UN membership

India is striving hard to get a membership in the UN security council,as part of it’s strategy to get a permanent status India is playing a very active role in maintaining good bilateral relations with nations who are supporting for a permanent membership for India.

Providing financial aids to countries like Afghanistan,Burundi,Myanmar etc. to get support from these nations,and India’s role among the ASEAN,SAARC,BRICS countries is also important to get this coveted status and thus join the 5 permanent countries in UN security council.

Permanent members of UNSC

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The current permanent members of the Security Council are the five nations that were made permanent members in the charter when the United Nations was founded, and the five nations that are legally recognized as “nuclear weapons states” (although permanent membership is not officially contingent on the possession of nuclear weapons). Those five countries are:

  • United States

  • United Kingdom

  • France

  • Soviet Union (now Russia)

  • Republic of China (now the People’s Republic of China)

  • India and China

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    At the time that China became a permanent member, it was not a particularly strong or influential country. However, it was one of the “big four” Allies during World War II, and had a strong relationship with the United States. It was in the interests of the other Allied powers on the Security Council, particularly the United States, to build Chinese influence and relations, and to recognize the nation as a key player in the war. India was also one of the charter members of the UN, joining in 1945 (the same time as the P5), but it was not an independent nation during WWII. (Its legal independence and partition came about in 1947, after which Pakistan applied for membership separately.)

    Benefits of being a permanent member in UNSC

    A general increase in prestige and influence, and of course, veto power.

    Criticisms of UNSC

    Its general ineffectiveness, its strong bent towards the already powerful P5, the veto power itself and the issue of geographic representation.


    PAPER – 2

    Topics Covered

    1. Issues and Management in Health Sector

    Public health measures for controlling West Nile Virus

    What to read?

    Prelims – About West Nile Virus

    A seven year old boy from Malappuram District of Kerala is suffering from a West Nile Virus (WNV), a mosquito-borne disease, mostly reported in the continental United States.

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    Steps taken to monitor the spread

    • Union Minister of Health and Family Welfare is closely monitoring the situation and has spoken to the State Health Minister of Kerala in this regard.

    • The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) has also been alerted and a close watch is being maintained at Central and State level.  There are no reports available so far for spread of this virus in other parts of the country.

    What is West Nile Virus?

    First detected in a woman in West Nile district of Uganda in 1937, the virus was later identified in birds (crows and columbiformes) in Nile delta region in 1953.

    Illness caused

    • Commonly found in Africa, Europe, the Middle East, North America and West Asia, the West Nile Virus (WNV) is a viral infection which is typically spread by mosquitoes and can cause neurological disease as well as death in people.

    • The largest outbreaks of the virus were recorded in Greece, Israel, Romania, Russia and USA.

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    How does the virus spread or get transmitted?

    • The disease is transmitted to humans through mosquito bites.

    • Mosquitoes become infected when they feed on infected birds, which circulate the virus in their blood for a few days. The virus gets transmitted into the mosquito’s salivary glands, from where it is injected into humans as well as animals through mosquito bites. The virus can multiply in the process and possibly cause illness.

    • WNL may also be transmitted through contact with other infected animals, their blood or other tissues.


    PAPER – 2 AND PAPER - 3

    Topics Covered

    1. Governance

    2. Energy

    India Energy Modelling Forum

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    What to read?

    Prelims and Mains – About the IEMF and its significance

    The NITI Aayog and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) organized the first workshop on development of the India Energy Modelling Forum (IEMF), which has been envisaged as a pan-stakeholder platform for debating ideas, scenario-planning & discussing the India's energy future.

    About the workshop

    The two-day workshop, being held with the support of the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL), was organized under the Sustainable Growth Pillar of the India-U.S. Strategic Energy Partnership.

    Significance of IEMF

    • The IEMF seeks to provide a platform for leading experts and policy makers to study important energy and environmental issues and ensure induction of modelling and analysis in informed decision making process.

    • The Forum aims to improve cooperation and coordination between modelling teams, the Government of India, knowledge partners and think-tanks, build capacity of Indian institutions, and identify issues for joint modelling activities and future areas of research.

    Related Institution

    United States Agency for International Development

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    • The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) is an independent agency of the United States federal government that is primarily responsible for administering civilian foreign aid and development assistance.

    • With a budget of over $27 billion, USAID is one of the largest official aid agencies in the world, and accounts for more than half of all U.S. foreign assistancethe highest in the world in absolute dollar terms.


    PAPER – 3

    Topics Covered

    1. Science and Technology

    Time saving Drug-resistant TB drug

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    What to read?

    Prelims – Tuberculosis, Drug resistance

    Mains – About the invention

    A new drug cocktail reduces the length of treatment for multidrug-resistant tuberculosis from nearly two years to nine to 11 months with a similar effectiveness, according to a large clinical trial.

    Problem of MDR in TB patients

    • Nearly 6,00,000 people contract multidrug-resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB) every year.

    • Normal tuberculosis is treated with four antibiotics over a six-month period.

    Significance of the new drug

    • The number of pills an MDR-TB patient would have to take could be reduced from an average of 14,000 to an average of 3,360 over the course of treatment.

    • Results showed that the longer, almost two-year treatment course was effective 80% of the time and the shorter treatment plan was effective 79% of the time.

    • Patients could take on average of “only” 14 pills per day for an initial 20-week phase and then 10 pills daily in a second 20-week phase (plus a 16- to 20-week course of injections five times per week), instead of 20 pills every day for two years, as is prescribed in the longer treatment plan.

    Tuberculosis – Why is it a concern?

    Image result for Time saving Drug-resistant TB drug

    TB is the ninth leading cause of death worldwide and the leading cause from a single infectious agent, ranking above HIV/AIDS.

    • TB is an infectious disease caused by the bacillus Mycobacterium tuberculosis.

    • It typically affects the lungs (pulmonary TB) but can also affect other sites.

    • The disease is spread when people who are sick with pulmonary TB expel bacteria into the air, for example by coughing.

    • Broader influences on the TB epidemic include levels of poverty, HIV infection, under nutrition and smoking.

    • Diagnostic tests for TB disease include – Rapid molecular test, Sputum smear microscopy, Culture-based methods

    Without treatment, the mortality rate from TB is high.