Facts in News

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    Health

    Scrub Typhus

    Syllabus: GS 2/Health

    In News 

    • Mathura in western Uttar Pradesh have reported cases of a mystery fever, which has been identified as scrub typhus.

    About 

    • Scrub typhus, also known as bush typhus, is a disease caused by a bacteria called Orientia tsutsugamushi
    • It is spread to people through bites of infected chiggers (larval mites). 
      • Apart from India, cases of scrub typhus have been reported from rural areas of Indonesia, China, Japan and northern Australia.
    • Symptoms: 
      • The most common symptoms of scrub typhus include fever, headache, body aches, and sometimes rash. Most cases of scrub typhus occur in rural areas of Southeast Asia, Indonesia, China, Japan, India, and northern Australia. Anyone living in or travelling to areas where scrub typhus is found could get infected
    • Impact: 
      • The site where the chigger bites develop a dark, scab-like region, which is also known as eschar. 
      • After contracting the infection, a person can experience mental changes, ranging from confusion to coma.
      • Some of the patients also develop joint pains, which is characteristic of chikungunya. The infection can lead to respiratory distress, inflammation of the brain and the lungs, kidney failure and then multi-organ failure, ultimately leading to death.
    • Prevention and Treatment:
    • No vaccine is available to prevent scrub typhus. It suggested the risk of contracting the infection by avoiding contact with infected chiggers.
    • When travelling to regions where scrub typhus is common, people should avoid areas with lots of vegetation and brush where chiggers may be found.
    • If someone gets infected by scrub typhus then it should be treated with the antibiotic doxycycline
      • Doxycycline can be used in persons of any age.
    • Antibiotics are most effective if given soon after symptoms begin.
    • People who are treated early with doxycycline usually recover quickly.
    • It has been advised to dress children in clothing that covers arms and legs, or cover crib, stroller, and baby carrier with mosquito netting in order to keep scrub typhus at bay. 

    Biodiversity and Environment

    Irrawaddy Dolphin
    Syllabus: GS 3/Species in News 

    In News 

    • A six-foot-long Irrawaddy dolphin was found dead in Odisha’s Chilika Lake.

    About Irrawaddy Dolphins

    • Scientific Name: Orcaella brevirostris
    • Habitat: Irrawaddy dolphins are found in coastal areas in South and Southeast Asia, and in three rivers: the Ayeyarwady (Myanmar), the Mahakam (Indonesian Borneo) and the Mekong. 
      • The Mekong River Irrawaddy dolphins inhabit a 118-mile stretch of the river between Cambodia and Lao PDR.
      • These dolphins have a bulging forehead, short beak, and 12-19 teeth on each side of both jaws.
    • Conservation Status: Irrawaddy dolphins fall under Schedule I of the Indian Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972 and are mentioned in the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Endangered Species.

    Image Courtesy: IWC

    Chilika Lake

    • It is a brackish water lagoon that is spread over the Puri, Khurda and Ganjam districts of Odisha on the east coast of India.
    • It is Asia’s largest salt-water lagoon and is separated from the Bay of Bengal by a sandy ridge.
    • It is the largest wintering ground for migratory birds on the Indian subcontinent.
    • Chilka Lake is selected as a wetland of international importance under the Ramsar Convention. 
    • The Ramsar Convention on Wetlands of International Importance especially as Waterfowl Habitat is an international treaty for the conservation and sustainable use of wetlands.

    Defence

    Exercise ZAPAD 2021

    Syllabus: GS 3/Defence

    In News

    • The Indian Army contingent will participate in the multination military exercise named ‘ZAPAD 2021’ at Nizhny in Russia.
    • ZAPAD 2021 is a 13-day exercise.

    About 

    • ZAPAD 2021 is one of the theatre level exercises of the Russian Armed Forces and will focus primarily on operations against terrorists
    • Over a dozen countries from the Eurasian and South Asian Regions will participate in this signature event.
    • The NAGA Battalion group participating in the exercise will feature an all Arms combined task force. 
      •  The Indian Contingent has been put through a strenuous training schedule that encompasses all facets of conventional operations including mechanised, airborne & heliborne, counter-terrorism, combat conditioning and firing.
    • Aim: 
      • It is aimed at boosting anti-terror cooperation and enhancing military and strategic ties amongst the participating nations while they plan & execute this exercise.

     

    Biodiversity and Environment

    Ladakh adopts State animal and bird

    Syllabus: GS3/ Species in News

    In News

    • Ladakh announced the name of its state bird and animal.

    About

    • The snow leopard (Panther unica) and black-necked crane (Grus nicricollis) shall be the State animal and State bird respectively.
    • Black-necked cranes and snow leopards are two endangered species.
    • Black-necked cranes are only found in Ladakh’s Changtang region. The bird is classified as Near-Threatened, as per the IUCN classification; whereas Snow leopard has been classified as vulnerable.
    • In India, the Snow leopard’s geographical range encompasses a large part of the western Himalayas including the UT of Jammu and Kashmir, UT of Ladakh, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand and Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh in the eastern Himalayas.
    • In total, there are about 7,500 snow leopards left in the world, out of which 500 are in India.

    Ladakh Territory

    • The new Union Territory of Ladakh consists of two districts of Kargil and Leh. The rest of the former State of Jammu and Kashmir is in the new Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir.
    • It was established as a union territory of India on 31 October 2019, following the passage of the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganization Act.
    • The largest town in Ladakh is Leh, followed by Kargil, each of which headquarters is a district.
    • The Leh district contains the Indus, Shyok and Nubra river valleys. The Kargil district contains the Suru, Dras and Zanskar river valleys.

     

    Source: TH

    Indian Economy

    Special Drawing Rights (SDR)

    Syllabus: GS3/ Indian Economy & related issues

    In News

    • The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has sharply increased its allocation of Special Drawing Rights (SDR) to India, in line with the country’s existing quota in the fund.
    • IMF has increased India’s SDR quota to 12.57 billion. It is equivalent to $17.86 billion at the latest exchange rate.

    Special Drawing Right (SDR) 

    • This is a kind of reserve of foreign exchange assets comprising leading currencies globally and created by the International Monetary Fund in the year 1969.
    • SDR is often regarded as a ‘basket of national currencies’ comprising major currencies of the world – US dollar, Euro, British Pound, Yen (Japan) & the Chinese renminbi (included in 2016). 
    • The composition of this basket of currencies is reviewed every five years wherein the weightage of currencies sometimes get altered.
    • SDR can be freely exchanged between the member countries instead of relying on the currency of any one particular country.

    Need:

    • Before its creation, the international community had to face several restrictions in increasing world trade and the level of financial development as gold and US dollars, which were the only means of trade, were in limited quantities. In order to address the issue, SDR was created by the IMF.

    Determination of SDR Value:

    • The currency value of the SDR is calculated by summing the values of the SDR basket of currencies in U.S. dollars on the basis of market exchange rates. 
    • It is calculated daily (except on IMF holidays or when IMF is closed for business). The valuation basket of SDR is reviewed and adjusted every five years.

    Quotas:

    • Quota (the amount contributed to the IMF) of a country is denominated in SDRs.
    • Members’ voting power is related directly to their quotas.
    • IMF makes the general SDR allocation to its members in proportion to their existing quotas in the IMF.
    • India’s foreign exchange reserves also incorporate SDR other than gold reserves, foreign currency assets and Reserve Tranche in the IMF.

    Reserve Tranche

    • It is a portion of the required quota of currency each member country must provide to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) that can be utilized for its own purposes.

    International Monetary Fund

    • It was established in 1944 in the aftermath of the Great Depression of the 1930s.
    • IMF and the World Bank are also known as the Bretton Woods twins because both were agreed to be set up at a conference in Bretton Woods in the US.
    • It is governed by and accountable to the 190 countries that make up its near-global membership.
      • India became a member in December 1945.
    • Aim: To ensure the stability of the international monetary system (the system of exchange rates and international payments) which enables countries and their citizens) to transact with each other.
      • Its mandate was updated in 2012 to include all macroeconomic and financial sector issues that bear on global stability.
    • Financing: The IMF’s resources mainly come from the money that countries pay as their capital subscription (quotas) when they become members.
      • Each member of the IMF is assigned a quota, based broadly on its relative position in the world economy.
      • Countries can then borrow from this pool when they fall into financial difficulty.
    • Publications:
      • World Economic Outlook
      • Global Financial Stability Report
      • Fiscal Monitor
      • Global Policy Agenda

    (Image Courtesy: IMF)

     

    Source: BS

    Government Scheme

    Atal Pension Yojana (APY)

    Syllabus: GS2/ Government Schemes, GS3/Indian Economy

    In News

    • The Atal Pension Scheme has added more than 28 lakh new APY accounts in FY22. 
      • Overall, enrolments under APY has crossed 3.30 crore as on 25th August 2021

    About the Scheme

    • It was launched in 2015 with the objective of delivering old age income security particularly to the workers in the unorganised sector and the Government providing a guarantee of minimum pension after 60 years of age.
    • It can be subscribed by any Indian citizen in the age group of 18-40 years having a savings bank account/ post office savings bank account.
    • It is administered by the Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority (PFRDA).

    Benefits

    • It provides a minimum guaranteed pension ranging from Rs 1000 to Rs 5000 on attaining 60 years of age, 
    • The amount of pension is guaranteed for a lifetime to a spouse on the death of the subscriber.
    • In the event of the death of both the subscriber and the spouse, the entire pension corpus is paid to the nominee.

    About PFRDA

    • Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority (PFRDA) is the Statutory Authority under the umbrella of the Ministry of Finance, established by an enactment of the Parliament, to regulate, promote and ensure orderly growth of the National Pension System (NPS) and pension schemes to which this Act applies. 
    •  NPS has been extended to all Indian citizens (resident, non-resident, overseas) on a voluntary basis and to corporations for its employees.

    Source: LM