Daily Current Affairs – 08-05-2023

    0
    391

    Bluesky

    Syllabus : GS 3/Science and Technology 

    In News

    • Bluesky has come to the fore as a potential claimant to Twitter’s throne.

    What is Bluesky?

    • It is a micro-blogging platform and social web built on the AT Protocol (Authenticated Transport Protocol). 
    • The CEO of Bluesky is Jay Graber, a software engineer with a background in cryptocurrency. 
      • Bluesky was launched in 2019 by former Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey, who chose Ms. Graber to lead the project
    • Bluesky might be classified as a Twitter competitor due to its founding team but it is different in terms of its structure, as it is meant to form part of a decentralised ecosystem. 
    •  It aims  to “develop and drive large-scale adoption of technologies for open and decentralized public conversation.”
    • Features:  Bluesky is currently in private beta, meaning that only a select group has been allowed to join via invite codes.
      • Regular Bluesky members are also given a new invite code at periodic intervals that they can share with new applicants they deem trustworthy.
      • Platform users also have the ability to set their domains as their handle, making it easier to link their accounts across ecosystems, and authenticate their identity.
      • Moderation of content: It is easier to restrict sign-ups than clean up network abuse after quickly letting in a large number of users.
    • Bluesky will follow automated filtering, manual admin actions, and community labeling to moderate content. 
    • Users spreading hate or bullying others have also been banned from the platform.

    Difference between Bluesky and Mastodon

    • Bluesky and Mastodon both strive to be decentralised social media platforms, Bluesky is still highly controlled by its team of creators, and entry is based on an invite code. 
    • Mastodon has multiple servers that users can join or apply to join, making it less controlled in terms of entry.
      • Mastodon is also older, going back to 2016. Its servers saw over 2.5 million active users late last year .
      • But there are many complaints like Mastodon’s multiple server structure confused users, and that it lacked a significant user base. 
    • Bluesky is newer and opting for a more regimented release of its product.

    What is the AT Protocol?

    • The AT Protocol is an open-source framework for building social apps, meaning people have transparency into how it is built and what is being developed. 
    • It creates a standard format for user identity, follows, and data on social apps, allowing apps to interoperate and users to move across them freely. It is a federated network with account portability.
    • Users of apps built on the AT Protocol would be able to move between platforms without losing their followers, media, work, and data. 

    Source: TH

    Revised numbers for India’s goods trade

    Syllabus :GS 3/Economy

    In News

    • India’s goods trade numbers for February and March 2023 have been revised by over $10 billion from initial estimates.

    Major Highlights 

    • The overall export-import figures for last year have been scaled down by around $3 billion dollars each, with experts flagging petroleum shipments as the main driver for the extraordinarily high revisions of recent export data.
      • India’s oil imports from Russia went up after the Ukraine conflict may be part of the trigger for the fluctuating petroleum trade numbers. 
      • The revisions in core export items or segments like gems and jewellery have been insignificant by contrast.
    • Exports were earlier reckoned to have grown 6% in 2022-23 to hit $447.46 billion, that number has now been pared to $444.4 billion, reflecting a 5.3% rise from 2021-22. The import bill for last year has also been scaled down from $714.24 billion to $711.85 billion, indicating a growth of 16.1%
      • The trade deficit for the year has risen 40.8% to $267.45 bn, slightly higher than the 40% estimated earlier.
    • For February, goods exports have been revised higher by almost $3.1 billion from the initial estimate of $33.9 billion to about $37 billion. 
      • The month’s import bill was raised by over $1.93 billion, the second-highest upward revision for a month, after a $3.08 billion uptick from December’s initial estimate.
    • For March, by contrast, exports seem to have been scaled down by $3.03 billion from the initial $38.38 billion estimate to $35.35 billion, translating into a sharp 20.7% dip year-on-year, pegging outbound shipments’ value at almost the same level as March 2021. 

    Issues and Concerns

    • It is very puzzling and raises uncertainty on the outlook for India’s current account deficit and thereby rupee. With average monthly upward revision in net trade deficit to the tune of $1.5 billion, the cumulative for the year could add up to $18 billion. 
    • Such sizeable revision in trade deficit data turns analysis somewhat challenging.

    Suggestions 

    • There is a  need for a greater understanding of the trigger for the higher data revisions in recent months and the context for greater concentration of these revisions in the petroleum sector
      • Hence Measures need to be taken accordingly.

    Additional Information 

    Measures to boost exports and reduce the trade deficit

    • The government has taken several steps to reduce import reliance so as to curb the trade deficit. 
      • These include creating/enhancing domestic capacity, incentivizing domestic manufacturing through Production Linked Incentive (PLI) schemes, phased manufacturing plans, timely use of trade remedy options, adoption of mandatory technical standards, enforcement of FTA Rules of Origin (RoO), and development of import monitoring system.
    • Other Steps were taken to boost exports so as to narrow down the trade deficit
      • Foreign Trade Policy 2023: The government has launched the Foreign Trade Policy 2023.
        • The new policy aims to almost triple India’s goods and services exports to $2 trillion by 2030, from an estimated $760 billion in 2022-23.
      • Interest Equalization Scheme on pre and post-shipment rupee export credit has also been extended up to 31-03-2024.
      • Assistance is provided through several schemes to promote exports, namely, Trade Infrastructure for Export Scheme (TIES) and Market Access Initiatives (MAI) Scheme. 
      • The rebate of State and Central Levies and Taxes (RoSCTL) Scheme to promote labor-oriented textile export has been implemented since  2019.
      • The remission of the Duties and Taxes on Exported Products (RoDTEP) scheme has been implemented since 2021.
      • A Common Digital Platform for certificates of Origin has been launched to facilitate trade and increase Free Trade Agreement (FTA) utilization by exporters.
      • The active role of Indian missions abroad in promoting India’s trade, tourism, technology, and investment goals has been enhanced.
      • The package was announced in light of the COVID pandemic to support the domestic industry through various banking and financial sector relief measures, especially for MSMEs, which constitute a major share of exports

    Source: TH

     

    Petersberg Climate Dialogue

    Syllabus: GS3/ Environmental Pollution & Degradation

    In News

    • The Petersberg Dialogue on Climate Change was held in Berlin from May 2-3, 2023. 

    More about the news

    • The Petersberg Climate Dialogue was hosted by Germany and the United Arab Emirates, which is hosting the 28th Conference of Parties (COP28) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. 
    • Ministers from 40 countries attended the conference to discuss the way forward towards COP28
    • The discussions at the event veered around global renewables target, climate finance and Global Stocktake.

    Summit highlights

    • Global renewables target
      • According to members, in order to limit global warming to 1.5°C, the world needs to make sharp cuts in their greenhouse gas emissions
      • They also initiated discussions around a potential global target for renewables at the next climate conference.
    • Fossil fuels: Phaseout production or reduce emissions?
      • Members agreed to be laser focused on phasing out fossil fuel emissions, while phasing up viable, affordable zero-carbon alternatives. 
      • They called for a tripling of renewable energy capacity by 2030 followed by a doubling in 2040, & the address was focused on reducing fossil fuel ‘emissions’
    • On track for $100 billion climate finance:
      • According to members, developed countries are “on good track” to deliver the $100 billion per year they had promised to mobilise by 2020 during the COP15 in 2009
        • Although this is good news, delivering the $100 billion goal in 2023 might be a little too late
      • The $100 billion is likely to be a gross underestimation of the true need for climate finance in developing countries. 
      • A recent estimate pegs climate finance needs at $1 trillion per year by 2030 for emerging markets alone. 
        • This means that climate finance needs are more than 10 times the amount that developed countries have been able to mobilise, 14 years after committing to the $100 billion figure. 
    • Global Stocktake:
      • 2023 is the year for the Global Stocktake
        • Global Stocktake is essentially a periodic review of global climate action which aims to assess whether current efforts will enable us to reach the objectives set out in the Paris Agreement
        • This is the first Global Stocktake year since the Paris Agreement was signed in 2015 and the report has been underway for the past two years. 
          • It is set to be released in September of 2023. 
      • Stocktake outcomes:
        • Members noted that the Global Stocktake outcome should focus on how climate change impacts, actions and responses have a bearing on the developmental priorities of developing countries including eradication of poverty.
        • The first Global Stocktake should seek to convey a message on sustainable lifestyles as well as sustainable consumption to inform the next round of Nationally Determined Contributions and enhanced international cooperation.

    Conference of Parties(COP): 

    • About:
      • Every year, the United Nations (UN) organises climate summits where the main agenda of the parties is to limit global temperature rises.
      • These summits are called the Conference of Parties (COP).
    • Participants: 
      • The participants come from 197 countries that have signed the 1992 UN climate agreement.
    • Aim:
      • It aims to stabilise greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere to prevent dangerous interference from human activity on the climate system.
      • The agreement seeks to limit global warming to well below 2°C, preferably to 1.5°C, compared to pre-industry levels.
    • About summits:
      • It was signed in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
      • Since 1994, COPs have been organised every year. This year (2023) marks the 28th such summit, called the COP28 summit. One year was skipped because of the Covid-19 pandemic.
      • 2015 Paris Agreement: 
        • Here all the countries agreed to limit the temperature rise to 1.5-degree Celsius.
      • COP27: 
        • It was concluded in 2022 in the Egyptian resort town of Sharm el-Shaikh.
        • COP27 was labelled as an “implementation” conference, in the sense that countries were determined to solve outstanding questions on climate finance. 
          • This refers to money that developed countries had committed to developing countries to help them turn their economies away from fossil fuels, build infrastructure resilient to climate shocks and access technologies to enable widespread use of renewable energy.
      • COP 28:
        • The 2023 United Nations Climate Change Conference or Conference of the Parties of the UNFCCC, more commonly referred to as COP28, will be the 28th United Nations Climate Change conference, held from November 30th until December 12th, 2023 at the Expo City, Dubai.
    • Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs): 
      • To achieve the targets under the agreement, the member countries have to submit the targets themselves, which they believe would lead to substantial progress towards reaching the Paris temperature goal. 
        • Initially, these targets are called Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs)
        • They are converted to NDCs when the country ratifies the agreement.

    Way ahead:

    • Although the $100 billion pledge might have been met this year, the needs have now escalated. This underlines the urgent need for financial reparations. 
    • COP28 UAE will be a milestone moment when the world will take stock of its progress on the Paris Agreement.
      • The first Global Stocktake (GST), will provide a comprehensive assessment of progress since adopting the Paris Agreement. 
      • This will help align efforts on climate action, including measures that need to be put in place to bridge the gaps in progress.

    Source: TH

    Syria’s return to the Arab League

    Syllabus: GS2/ Effect of Policies and Politics of Developed and Developing Countries on India’s interests

    In News

    • The Arab government representatives recently voted for Syria’s return to the Arab League after a 12-year suspension.

    More about the news

    • Suspension of the membership:
      • Syria’s membership in the Arab League was suspended 12 years ago early on in the uprising-turned-conflict, which has killed nearly a half million people since March 2011 and displaced half of the country’s pre-war population of 23 million.
    • Jordanian initiative:
      • Jordan recently hosted regional talks that included envoys from Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Egypt, and Syria
      • They agreed on a framework called the “Jordanian initiative”, that would slowly bring Damascus back into the Arab fold.
      • All 13 of the 22 member states that attended the session endorsed the decision. 
        • The Arab League generally tries to reach agreements by consensus but sometimes opts for simple majorities.
    • Conflict in Sudan:
      • The conflict in Sudan is also on the agenda of the league’s meeting, as Arab governments try to stabilise a shaky ceasefire in the ongoing fighting that has killed hundreds of people over the past few weeks.

    Significance

    • Commitment of a dialogue:
      • The decision for Syria to return also includes a commitment to ongoing dialogue with Arab governments to gradually reach a political solution to the conflict, in line with United Nations Security Council Resolution. 
      • The Arab League in the decision also set up a communications committee consisting of Saudi Arabia and Syria’s neighbors Lebanon, Jordan and Iraq to follow up on developments.
    • Syria’s willingness to cooperate:
      • In addition to commitments to a gradual resolution to the conflict, the decision also welcomed the Syrian Government’s willingness to cooperate with Arab countries to resolve “humanitarian, security, and political” crises that affected Syria and the region due to the conflict — namely refugees, “the threat of terrorism and drug smuggling”.
    • Earthquake as a catalyst:
      • The Arab rapprochement with Syria accelerated after a deadly earthquake that shattered parts of the war-torn country.
        • The February 6th 2023 earthquake that rocked Turkey and Syria was a catalyst for further normalisation across the Arab world, including regional rivals Saudi Arabia and Iran re establishing ties in Beijing, which had backed opposing sides in the conflict.

    Challenge

    • There is still no Arab consensus on normalisation with Syria. 
    • Several governments did not attend the meeting. 
    • Among the most notable absentees was Qatar, which continues to back opposition groups against Syrian President Bashar Assad’s government, and continues to resist normalisation with Syria.

    Syrian Crisis

    • Pre conflict scenario:
      • Even before the conflict began, many Syrians were complaining about high unemployment, corruption and a lack of political freedom under President Bashar al-Assad, who succeeded his father, Hafez, after he died in 2000.
    • Beginning of uprisings:
      • In March 2011, pro-democracy demonstrations erupted in the southern city of Deraa, inspired by uprisings in neighbouring countries against repressive rulers.
    • The unrest:
      • When the Syrian government used deadly force to crush the dissent, protests demanding the president’s resignation erupted nationwide.
        • The unrest spread and the crackdown intensified. 
      • Opposition supporters took up arms, first to defend themselves and later to rid their areas of security forces. 
      • Mr Assad vowed to crush what he called “foreign-backed terrorism”.
    • Civil War:
      • The violence rapidly escalated and the country descended into civil war
      • Hundreds of rebel groups sprung up and it did not take long for the conflict to become more than a battle between Syrians for or against Mr Assad
      • Syria’s Kurds, who want the right of self-government but have not fought Mr Assad’s forces, have added another dimension to the conflict.
    • Involvement of foreign powers:
      • Foreign powers began to take sides, sending money, weaponry and fighters, and as the chaos worsened extremist jihadist organisations with their own aims, such as the Islamic State (IS) group and al-Qaeda, became involved. 
        • That deepened concern among the international community who saw them as a major threat.
      • Who supports whom?
        • The government’s key supporters have been Russia and Iran, 
        • while Turkey, Western powers and several Gulf Arab states have backed the opposition to varying degrees during the conflict.

    Issues faced by Syria

    • Deaths:
      • More than 5,900 people were killed across Syria and another 8.8 million were affected, according to the UN. 
    • Loss of infrastructure:
      • Thousands of homes and critical infrastructure were destroyed, leaving many families without food, water and shelter.
      • Access to medical care is severely restricted for the sick and injured because only half of the country’s hospitals are fully functional.
    • Displacements:
      • In addition to the bloodshed, more than half of Syria’s pre-war population of 22 million have had to flee their homes. 
      • Some 6.8 million are internally displaced, with more than two million living in tented camps with limited access to basic services.
      • Another 6 million are refugees or asylum-seekers abroad.
    • Inflation:
      • The disaster happened at a time when the prices of food and fuel in Syria were already skyrocketing because of runaway inflation and the collapse of its currency, as well as the global crisis exacerbated by the war in Ukraine.
    • Loss of cultural heritage:
      • Much of Syria’s rich cultural heritage has likewise been destroyed. 
      • All six of the country’s Unesco World Heritage sites have been damaged significantly, with IS militants deliberately blowing up parts of the ancient city of Palmyra.

    Way ahead

    • The UN Security Council has called for the implementation of the 2012 Geneva Communiqué, which envisages a transitional governing body “formed on the basis of mutual consent”.
    • It does not look like it will anytime soon, but everyone agrees a political solution is required.

    Arab League

    • About:
      • The Arab League or the League of Arab States is a regional organization in the Arab world, which is located in Northern Africa, Western Africa, Eastern Africa, and Western Asia. 
      • The Arab League was formed in Cairo on 22 March 1945
    • Members:
      • Currently, the League has 22 members.
    • Goal:
      • The League’s main goal is to “draw closer the relations between member states and co-ordinate collaboration between them, to safeguard their independence and sovereignty, and to consider in a general way the affairs and interests of the Arab countries’..

     

    Source: TH

     

    Switching on India’s smart electricity future

    Syllabus: GS3/ Conservation/Environmental Pollution & Degradation

    In Context

    • More than 5.5 million smart meters have been installed in India, and over 100 million sanctioned. 
      • The target is to replace 250 million conventional electric meters with prepaid smart meters by 2025-26. 

    What are these Smart Meters?

    • A smart meter is an electronic device that records information such as consumption of electric energy, voltage levels, current, and power factor. 
    • Smart meters communicate the information to the consumer for greater clarity of consumption behavior, and electricity suppliers for system monitoring and customer billing. 
    • Smart meters typically record energy near real-time, and report regularly, short intervals throughout the day.

    Smart Meter National Programme

    • Working to rapidly establish its stated goal of pan-India universal electricity access, the government of India is enabling Smart Grids which can offer affordability and other benefits to consumers. 
    • The first step towards realising Smart Grids is the implementation of Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI).
      • The objectives of AMI are 
        • Remote meter reading for error free data, 
        • Network problem identification, 
        • Load profiling, 
        • Energy audit and 
        • Partial load curtailment in place of load shedding.
    • The Smart Meter National Programme is being implemented to deploy smart meters across the country
      • The scheme is being implemented by Energy Efficiency Services Limited (EESL), a JV of PSUs under the Ministry of Power.

    Significance

    • A recent study by the Council on Energy, Environment and Water (CEEW) found that the majority of smart meter users have already begun to experience some of the technology benefits
      • The study covered about 2,700 urban households that use prepaid or postpaid smart meters across six States
        • Half the users reported improvements in billing regularity, and two-thirds said paying bills had become easier
        • Around 40% of users alluded to multiple co-benefits such as a greater sense of control over their electricity expenses, a drop in instances of electricity theft, and improved power supply to the locality. 
        • In fact, 70% of prepaid smart meter users said they would recommend the technology to their friends and relatives. 
    • These findings give confidence that India’s smart metering transition is heading in the right direction.

    Issues

    • Some issues were also faced by the users. For instance, 
      • Half the users were not using the smart meter mobile app
      • Many were unable to access detailed electricity bills, leaving them doubtful about their bill computation and deductions. 
    • Solving these will help bring a smart-meter revolution in India.

    Suggestions

    • User-centric design:
      • As India marches towards its vision of a financially sound and digitalised power sector through smart metering interventions, it must pursue a user-centric design and deployment strategy.
    • Awareness generation:
      • The Ministry of Power should drive a nationwide campaign to educate consumers about smart meter benefits and improve the uptake of smart meter apps. 
    • Accessibility of Apps:
      • The apps should be accessible to users from diverse socio-economic backgrounds and provide actionable tips and information
        • This is important, as user satisfaction with smart meters is linked to their ability to access and decipher online bills and perceived technology benefits. 
      • High-user satisfaction in Assam and high uptake of the mobile app in Bihar indicate learning opportunities on how to scale smart meter usage for discoms in other States.
    • Role of Discoms:
      • The majority of smart meters in India are being deployed by the Advanced Metering Infrastructure Service Providers (AMISPs), responsible for installation and operation of the AMI system for the project lifetime (10 years).
      • Discoms must closely work with AMISPs to ensure a smooth installation and recharge experience for users, to leverage smart meter data for revenue protection and consumer engagement. 
      • For this, discoms will need to strengthen their internal capacity through suitable staffing and training interventions.
    • Innovation & solutions:
      • Discoms, system integrators and technology providers should collaborate to devise innovative and scalable data solutions
      • Effective use of smart meter data is fundamental to unlocking their true value proposition. 
      • This would require an ecosystem that fosters innovation in analytics, data hosting and sharing platforms, and enables key actors to collaboratively test and scale new solutions.
    • Role of policymakers and regulators:
      • Policymakers and regulators must strengthen regulations to empower consumers to unlock new retail markets
        • Currently, important provisions concerning phase-out of paper bills, arrear adjustment, frequency of recharge alerts, buffer time, rebates, and data privacy are scattered across different regulatory orders or simply missing. 
        • Their incorporation within existing State frameworks will be crucial for a positive technology experience for end users.
      • Regulators must also enable simplification and innovation in tariff design and open the retail market to new business models and prosumagers (producers, consumers, and storage users). 
        • Recently, the Ministry of Power proposed amendments to the Electricity Rules to enable time-variable tariffs for all smart meter users.

    Way ahead

    • India is on a unique journey of meeting its growing electricity demand while decarbonising its generation sources
    • Smart meters comprise a critical part of the transition toolbox, by way of 
      • enabling responsible consumption, 
      • efficient energy management, and 
      • cost-effective integration of distributed energy resources. 
    • A user-centric design and deployment philosophy will be crucial for the success of India’s smart metering initiative.

    Source: LM

    Commission For Scientific and Technical Terminology (CSTT)

    Syllabus: GS2/ Education, GS2/Polity

    News

    • The Commission for Scientific and Technical Terminology (CSTT) is creating a technical and scientific terminology in 10 Indian languages underrepresented in the learning landscape.

    About

    • These 10 languages are Bodo, Santhali, Dogri, Kashmiri, Konkani, Nepali, Manipuri, Sindhi, Maithili, and Sanskrit. 
    • These are a part of the list of 22 official languages of India’s Eighth Schedule, however, there is a paucity of study material created in them, primarily because of a lack of words to describe scientific phenomena and technical terms. In this background, the CSTT will bring out fundamental (basic) dictionaries with 5,000 words per language. 
    • Significance: The move assumes importance as the National Education Policy 2020 has espoused the use of regional languages as a medium of education in both school and college.

    Commission for Scientific and Technical Terminology (CSTT)

    • Mandate: Its mandate is to evolve standard technical terminology in all Indian Languages. It also publishes quarterly Journals named ‘Vigyan Garima Sindhu’ and ‘Gyan Garima Sindhu’
    • Background: It was established in 1961 by a Presidential Order issued under Article 344 (4) of the Constitution of India. Article 344 deals with “Commission and Committee of Parliament on official language.”
    • Governance: It functions under the Department of Higher Education, Union Ministry of Education.
    • Headquarters: New Delhi.

    List of languages in the Eighth Schedule

    • The Eighth Schedule to the Constitution consists of the following 22 languages: (1) Assamese, (2) Bengali, (3) Gujarati, (4) Hindi, (5) Kannada, (6) Kashmiri, (7) Konkani, (8) Malayalam, (9) Manipuri, (10) Marathi, (11) Nepali, (12) Oriya, (13) Punjabi, (14) Sanskrit, (15) Sindhi, (16) Tamil, (17) Telugu, (18) Urdu (19) Bodo, (20) Santhali, (21) Maithili and (22) Dogri.
    • Of these languages, 14 were initially included at the commencement of the Constitution in 1950.
    • Sindhi language was added in 1967. 
    • Thereafter three more languages viz., Konkani, Manipuri and Nepali were included in 1992. 
    • Subsequently Bodo, Dogri, Maithili and Santhali were added in 2004.

    Source: TH

    Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC)

    Syllabus: GS2/Health, GS3/Science & Technology

    News

    • The World Health Organisation (WHO) recently said that Covid-19 was no longer a Public Health Emergency of International Concern, and that the focus would now be on the long-term management of the infection.

    Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC)

    • Definition: A public health emergency is defined as “an extraordinary event which is determined to constitute a public health risk to other States through the international spread of disease; and to potentially require a coordinated international response”.
    • Coverage: A PHEIC is not only confined to infectious diseases, and may cover an emergency caused by exposure to a chemical agent or radioactive material.
    • Criteria: There are three conditions for declaring a disease a public health emergency. i.e. whether the disease/event 1) is an extraordinary event, 2) is a public health risk to other States through the international spread, and 3) potentially requires a coordinated international response.
    • Implications: Under the 2005 International Health Regulations (IHR), states have a legal duty to respond promptly to a PHEIC. Declaring a PHEIC may lead to restrictions on travel and trade for the host country.
    • Who declares it? The responsibility of declaring an event as an emergency lies with the Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO). In order to declare a PHEIC, the WHO Director-General is required to take advice from an internationally made up committee of experts, the IHR Emergency Committee (EC). 
    • Incidence in Past: In the past decade, WHO has declared public health emergencies for outbreaks including the 2009 H1N1 (or swine flu) pandemic, the 2013–2016 outbreak of Ebola in Western Africa, the 2014 polio declaration, the 2015–2016 Zika virus epidemic, the 2018–2020 Kivu Ebola epidemic, the COVID-19 pandemic, and the ongoing 2022–2023 mpox outbreak.

    Designation of Covid-19 as PHEIC

    • COVID-19 is the disease caused by a coronavirus called the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). The common symptoms of COVID?19 are fever, cough, headache, fatigue, breathing difficulties, loss of smell, and loss of taste. 
    • Background: The viral infection came to light after China reported a cluster of pneumonia cases with no known cause from Wuhan on December 31, 2019. The disease quickly spread worldwide, resulting in the COVID-19 pandemic.
    • Cases/deaths: India has reported 4.43 crore cases and 5.3 lakh deaths due to Covid-19 so far. Globally, the number of infections has crossed 76.5 crore, and caused 69.2 lakh deaths.
    • Designation as PHEIC: In January 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the novel coronavirus infection a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC), a designation that remained in place for over three years.
    • Why has the WHO removed the designation now? Over the last three years, doctors and researchers have figured out methods of transmission; better, cheaper, and point-of-care diagnostics; medicines to prevent viral replication; and vaccines that can prevent severe disease.

                                                                                                                                                          

    Image Courtesy: IE

    Non- Communicable Diseases (NCDs)

    Syllabus GS2/Health, GS3/Science & Technology

    In News

    • The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW) has renamed the ‘NPCDCS’ programme as ‘NP-NCD’ after addition of more non-communicable diseases (NCDs) under it.

    NP-NCD

    • The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW) has added more non-communicable diseases (NCDs) – such as non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, chronic kidney disease etc. – to the National Programme for Prevention and Control of Cancer, Diabetes, Cardiovascular Diseases and Stroke (NPCDCS).
    • In this background the Ministry has decided to rename ‘NPCDCS’ as ‘National Programme for Prevention & Control of Non-Communicable Diseases [NP-NCD].
    • The programme is being implemented under the National Health Mission (NHM) across the country. Under it, 677 NCD district-level clinics, 187 District Cardiac Care Units, 266 District Day Care Centres and 5,392 NCD Community Health Centre-level clinics have been set up.

    National NCD Portal

    • The mobile application (or software) named Comprehensive Primary Healthcare Non-Communicable Disease (CPHC NCD IT) rolled out under the programme for screening and management, will now be renamed ‘National NCD Portal’.
    • The portal enables population enumeration, risk assessment, and screening for five common NCDs, including hypertension, diabetes, and oral, breast and cervical cancers of the population aged above 30 years.

    Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) in India

    • A study titled ‘India: Health of the Nation’s States – The India State-Level Disease Burden Initiative in 2017’ by Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) estimated that the proportion of deaths due to NCDs in India have increased from 37.9% in 1990 to 61.8% in 2016.
    • The four major NCDs are cardiovascular diseases (CVDs), cancers, chronic respiratory diseases (CRDs) and diabetes which share four behavioural risk factors – unhealthy diet, lack of physical activity, and use of tobacco and alcohol. 

    Source: TH