Daily Current Affairs – 21-07-2023

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    ‘Functioning of National Akademis and Other Cultural Institutions’ Report

    Syllabus: GS1/Art & Culture

    News

    • The Department Related Standing Committee on Transport, Tourism and Culture recently released its report ‘Functioning of National Akademis and Other Cultural Institutions’. 

    About the report:

    • It evaluated bodies under the ministry of culture like the Lalit Kala Akademi, the Sahitya Akademi and the National School of Drama.
    • It recommended that the Government formulate a policy emphasising uniformity among all the Akademis in terms of the tenure of the chairman or resident, representation and election of the general council and the minimum number of meetings to be held each year. 
    • It also suggested that one Member of Parliament be included on the Governing Board of each of the Institutions on the lines of the AIIMS to provide them ground reports.

    Various Bodies under the Ministry of Culture

    • Lalit Kala Akademi (National Academy of Art), New Delhi:
      • It was established on 5th August 1954 and was registered under the Societies Registration Act 1860, on 11th March 1957. 
      • It was established to direct its focus on activities in the field of Visual Arts.
      • The Akademi along with its Regional Centres (Chennai, Lucknow, Kolkata, Bhubaneswar, Garhi) and sub-centres (Shimla, Ahmedabad, Agartala, Patna) organise exhibitions workshops, camps lectures, retrospectives shows and many other art activities.
    • The Sahitya Akademi (India’s National Academy of Letters), New Delhi:
      • It was formally inaugurated on 12 March 1954 and was registered as a society on 7 January 1956, under the Societies Registration Act, 1860.
      • It is a national organisation set up to work actively for the development of Indian letters and to set high literary standards, to foster and co-ordinate literary activities in all the Indian languages and to promote through them all the cultural unity of the country. 
      • It is the central institution for literary dialogue, publication and promotion in the country and the only institution that undertakes literary activities in 24 Indian languages, including English. 
    • It has so far brought out over 6000 books, the present pace of publication being one book every 19 hours. 
    • Akademi gives 24 awards annually to literary works in the languages it has recognized and an equal number of awards to literary translations from and into the languages of India.
    • It also gives special awards called Bhasha Samman for significant contribution to the languages not formally recognized by the Akademi as also for contribution to classical and medieval literature. 
    • A project office for the promotion of Tribal and Oral literature has also been set up in the North Eastern Hill University Campus, Shillong
    • Languages Recognised: 22 languages enumerated in the Constitution ofIndia(Eighth schedule), English and Rajasthani. 
    • Head Office: Rabindra Bhavan,New Delhi. It houses all the three National Akademies, namely, the Sangeet Natak Akademi, the Lalit Kala Akademi and the Sahitya Akademi.
    • Centre for Oral and Tribal Literature: The Akademi proposes to archive the original oral texts available in audio and audio-video formats accompanied by translation in written forms in Scheduled languages and English for wider distribution. The idea is to create a ‘House of Voices’.
    • Sangeet Natak Akademi, New Delhi:
      • It is the apex body in the field of performing arts in the country.
      • It was set up in 1953 for the preservation and promotion of the vast intangible heritage of India’s diverse culture expressed in forms of music, dance and drama. 
      • The Chairman of the Akademi is appointed by the President of India for a term of five years. 
      • It has constituent units: 
      • Jawaharlal Nehru Manipur Dance Academy (JNMDA) at Imphal, and 
      • Kathak Kendra in Delhi. 
      • Besides the constituent units, the Akademi presently has five centres:
        1. 1. Kutiyattam Kendra, Thiruvananthapuram.
        2. 2. Sattriya Kendra, Guwahati.
        3. 3. North-East Centre, Guwahati.
        4. 4. North-East Documentation Centre, Agartala. 
        5. 5. Chhau Kendra, Chandankiyari.
      • The Sangeet Natak Akademi Awards are the highest national recognition conferred on practising artists. In 2006 it instituted annual awards to young artists – the Ustad Bismillah Khan Yuva Puraskar. 
    •  The National School of Drama, New Delhi:
    • It is one of the foremost theatre training institutions in the world and the only one of its kind in India. 
    • It was set up by the Sangeet Natak Akademi as one of its constituent units in 1959. In 1975, it became an independent entity and was registered as an autonomous organization under the Societies Registration Act XXI of 1860, fully financed by the Ministry of Culture. 
    • Training in the School is intensive and is based on a thorough, carefully planned syllabus. As a part of their training, students are required to produce plays which are then performed before the public.

    Way Ahead

    • Governance issues in these institutions require a systematic and proactive approach.
    • There is a need to enhance transparency and accountability and promote a culture of ethical conduct and integrity within them.

    Source: TH

    Canalisation of Rivers in Punjab

    Syllabus: GS-1/Geography

    Context

    • Recently, intense rainfall across Punjab, Haryana, and Himachal Pradesh, causes  a massive influx of water into Punjab’s rivers. 
      • Experts talked about the canalisation of rivers could be a solution.

    Canalisation of rivers

    • It means to regulate the water of a river by directing  into specific channels which could be regulated through mini dams or by constructing Dhussi Bandhs, to control flow, connecting canal systems to rivers, and fortifying earthen embankments when necessary.
    • This process aims to optimize water distribution, prevent flooding, improve navigation, and enhance overall water resource use.

    Current State of Canalisation of rivers in Punjab

    • There are three perennial rivers i.e.Sutlej, Beas and Ravi and one non-perennial river i.e. Ghaggar, in the state.
    • There are 100 local rivulets (small streams of water), choes and khads, which run during monsoon, and fall into these main rivers. 
    • Only three perennial rivers are canalised by making dams. 
      • Bhakra dam on Sutlej, 
      • Pong dam on Beas and 
      • Ranjit Sagar dam on Ravi
    • Dhussi Bandhs, which are weak at several places and get breached with a little heavy flow in rivers. Ghaggar river is partially canalised.
    • There is hardly any canalisation system for Nallahs and they flow to the brim during the monsoon .
    • A multitude of small earthen dams with limited capacity exists in districts like Hoshiarpur. But many local rivulets, rainwater drains, and Nallhas lack proper canalisation, exacerbating flood risks.

    Can Canalisation play a role in Flood Prevention?

    • The installation of canalisation would aid in the control of both local rain and dam releases. Long-term canalisation procedures, combined with regular strengthening of Dhussi Bandhs.
    • The canalization of rivers and development of riverfront areas will expand activities leading to widening of the base of Punjab’s economy, diversifying economic activities and sources of livelihood for the State’s rapidly growing younger generation. 

    Advantages of Canalisation of Rivers

    • To manage water flow during seasons of excessive rainfall or snowmelt. Flooding concerns can be decreased by diverting excess water into regulated channels.
    • It makes it easier for boats, ships to navigate by providing regular water depths and removing obstructions.This is especially important in the transportation and trade industries.
    • It enables a more regular and stable supply for a variety of applications, including drinking water, irrigation, and industrial activities, by managing the flow of water.

    Challenges in Canalisation

    • Environmental Impact: It has potential to modify natural ecosystems, impacting aquatic habitats, fishing, and water quality. 
    • Regular maintenance is required to prevent silt buildup, erosion, and infrastructure damage in canalized water basins.

    Source: IE

     

    Thoppikkallu 

    Syllabus: GS1/ Art and Culture

    News: 

    • A large number of megalithic hat stones were found from a single site-Nagaparamba, in Kuttippuram village, near Thirunavaya, on the banks of the Bharathapuzha river in Kerala.

    About

    • Hat stones, popularly called Thoppikkallu in Malayalam, are hemispherical laterite stones used as lid on burial urns during the megalithic period.
    • A large number of megalithic burial sites and relics were found at Nagaparamba during the salvage excavation.
    • Archaeologists say it could arguably be the largest number of hat stones in an unprotected site in the State.
    • A large number of earthen urns and iron implements were also found with unique features, which could ostensibly throw light on the life and culture of people who lived in those parts more than 2,000 years ago.

    About Megalithic Period

    • The word ‘megalith’ derived from the Latin mega (large) and lith (stone).
    • Megaliths were constructed either as burial sites or commemorative memorials. 
    • These are sites with actual burial remains, such as dolmenoid cists (box-shaped), cairn circles (stone circles) and capstones ( mushroom-shaped burials found mainly in Kerala). 
    • The urn containing the mortal remains was usually made of terracotta. Commemorative  megaliths include memorial sites such as menhirs
    • This megalithic culture lasted from the Neolithic Stone Age to the early Historical Period (2500 BC to AD 200) across the world. 
    • In India, archaeologists trace the majority of the megaliths to the Iron Age (1500 BC to 500 BC), though some sites precede the Iron Age, extending up to 2000 BC.

           

    • Megaliths are spread across the Indian subcontinent, though the bulk of them are found in peninsular India (around 2,200 megalithic sites), concentrated in the states of Maharashtra (mainly in Vidarbha), Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana.
    • Even today, a living megalithic culture endures among some tribes such as the Gonds of central India and the Khasis of Meghalaya.
    • The very idea of burying the dead along with burial goods indicates strong belief in life after death and possibly rebirth among megalithic people. 
    • Megaliths in peninsular India are associated with a characteristic wheel-made pottery type known as Black and Red Ware, which is found across sites.
    • In fact, megalithic culture finds several references in ancient Tamil Sangam literature. For instance, menhirs are referred to as nadukal, a memorial stone in honour of a fallen hero.
    • Manimekalai (5th century AD), the famous Buddhist epic, refers to the various kinds of burials namely cremation (cuá¹­uvÅÂr), post excarnation burial (iá¹­uvÅÂr), burying the deceased in a pit (toá¹­ukuḻip paá¹­uvÅÂr), rock chamber or cist burial (tÄÂḻvÄÂyiṉ aá¹­aippÅÂr), urn burial encapped with lid (tÄÂḻiyiṟ kavippÅÂr). 
    • The range of iron artefacts recovered indicate that the megalithic people practised a wide range of occupations and included carpenters, cobblers, bamboo craftsmen,etc. a proof of complex social organization. 
    • Bronze figurines of animals like buffalos, goats, tigers, elephants and antelopes have been recovered from inside urn burials at the site of Adichanallur in Tamil Nadu.

    Source: TH

    Expansion of BRICS

    Syllabus: GS2/ Important International Institutions

    In News

    • Recently there have been internal conflicts about the nature and scope of the potential expansion of BRICS.

    About BRICS Expansion

    • A number of governments have stated their interest in joining BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, and China) platform.
      • Several countries, such as Argentina, Nicaragua, Mexico, Uruguay, Nigeria, Algeria, Egypt, Senegal, Morocco, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Turkiye, Syria, Iran, Afghanistan, Indonesia, Thailand, Kazakhstan, and Bangladesh, seem to have evinced an interest in joining the BRICS grouping.

    Rationale behind the expansion

    • Economic strength: The economic strength of the five members of the grouping is not as promising as it was when the platform was first announced in 2009. 
      • Though the BRICS nations certainly represent 43% of the world’s population and around 30% of the global economy, their economic weaknesses are certain.
    • Global challenges: Russia is getting marginalised in the global economy, while China is facing a difficult economic environment with the west turning against it. 
    • China’s anti-western orientation: China is focused on a quick expansion of BRICS with the aim of giving the platform a distinctly anti-western orientation.

    BRICS

    • Members: It is an association of five major emerging economies; Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa.
    • Origin: The term was coined by British Economist Jim O’Neill in 2001, representing emerging economies of the world.
      • The four countries (BRIC) arranged for an annual meeting of Foreign Ministers on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly (UNGA) in 2006. 
      • The success of the meet led to the crystallisation of an annual summit under the aegis of BRIC.
      • Initially, the grouping was termed BRIC as South Africa was inducted in 2010 and from there on it has been referred to as BRICS.
    • Summits:  The governments of the BRICS states have met annually at formal summits since 2009.
      • India hosted the 13th BRICS summit in 2021 virtually.
    • BRICS is an important grouping bringing together the major emerging economies from the world, comprising:
      • 41% of the world population, 
      • 24% of the world GDP 
      • over 16% share in world trade. 
      • Total combined area of 29.3% of the total land surface of the world
    • Over a period of time, BRICS countries have come together to deliberate on important issues under the three pillars of:
      • political and security, 
      • economic and financial and 
      • cultural and people-to-people exchanges.
    • New Development Bank: Formerly referred to as the BRICS Development Bank, is a multilateral development bank established by the BRICS states. 
      • The Bank shall support public or private projects through loans, guarantees, equity participation and other financial instruments.

    Expansion challenges

    • Lack of common understanding: China’s attempt to expand the platform is being resisted by India and Brazil.
      • India is keen that first there should be an express delineation of principles that can define the process of expansion. 
      • So, there is a lack of a common understanding among the five members on standards, criteria, and procedures of what an expanded grouping would look like.
    • Sluggish pace of NDB: The New Development Bank, or “BRICS bank”, has seen its already sluggish pace of lending further hobbled by sanctions against founding member Russia.
    • Lack of purpose & coherence: A larger grouping will have to figure out a new purpose in global politics
      • It will also struggle even more with a lack of coherence, something that even a smaller grouping of BRICS has struggled with since its very inception.

    Way Ahead

    • Because the platform works through consensus, it will be difficult for China to push its agenda unilaterally.
    • Even with their strategic divergences, there is much that the BRICS members can do before they go in for an expansion, especially strengthening the New Development Bank by bringing in more stakeholders and exploring the idea of a BRICS currency more seriously.

    Source: ET

    Luna-25 Mission

    Syllabus: GS3/ Science and Technology

    In News

    • Russia’s first moon mission in 47 years Luna-25  failed after the spacecraft spun out of control and crashed into the moon.

    About the Mission

    • Luna 25, also designated the Luna-Glob-Lander, is a Russian lunar lander mission that launched on 11 August 2023. 
    • It was targeted to the south polar region of the Moon. 
    • There were two primary scientific objectives of the mission: to study composition of the polar regolith, and to study the plasma and dust components of the lunar polar exosphere.
    • On 16 August it reached the Moon and fired its engines to enter lunar orbit. 
    • The lunar mission was Russia’s first since 1976, when it was part of the Soviet Union. 
    • Only three governments have managed successful Moon landings: the Soviet Union, the United States and China.

    South Pole of the Moon

    • The lunar south pole is of particular interest to scientists, who believe the permanently shadowed polar craters may contain frozen water in the rocks that future explorers could transform into air and rocket fuel.
    • Until now, all previous lunar landings have been concentrated within the equatorial region, positioned just a few degrees north or south of the lunar equator. 
    • A previous attempt by India, Chandrayaan-2, to land at the south pole in 2019 ended when the spacecraft crashed into the Moon’s surface.
    • India’s Chandrayaan-3 will also be attempting a landing on the south pole on August 23-24.
      • If India achieves the landing as intended, it will join the coveted list of countries such as Russia, the United States and China to have previously achieved a controlled landing and will be the first to land on Moon’s south pole.

    Why is it difficult to land on the Moon’s South Pole? 

    • It is easier and safer to land near the equator. The terrain and temperature are more hospitable and conducive for a long and sustained operation of instruments. 
      • The surface here is even and smooth, very steep slopes are almost absent, and there are fewer hills or craters. 
      • Sunlight is present in abundance, at least on the side facing the earth, thus offering a regular supply of energy to solar-powered instruments.
    • The polar regions of the Moon, however, are a very different, and difficult, terrain. Many parts lie in a completely dark region where sunlight never reaches, and temperatures can go below 230 degrees Celsius. 
      • Lack of sunlight and extremely low temperatures create difficulty in the operation of instruments. 
      • In addition, there are large craters all over the place, ranging from a few centimetres in size to those extending to several thousands of kilometres.

    Source: IE

    Green Hydrogen Standards

    Syllabus:GS3/Environment

    News

    • The Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) has notified the Green Hydrogen Standard for India.

    What is Green Hydrogen?

    • Green Hydrogen: It is produced using electrolysis of water with electricity generated by renewable energy.The carbon intensity depends on the carbon neutrality of the source of electricity (i.e.the more renewable energy there is in the electricity fuel mix, the “greener” the hydrogen produced).
    • Benefit:It is a clean burning element that can decarbonise a range of sectors including iron and steel, chemicals, and transportation. Hydrogen can be stored for long periods of time which can be used to produce electricity using fuel cells.

    Green Hydrogen Standard 

    • Definition:The ministry has decided to define Green Hydrogen as having a well-to-gate emission (i.e., including water treatment, electrolysis, gas purification, drying and compression of hydrogen) of not more than 2 kg CO2 equivalent / kg H2.
    • The scope of the definition encompasses both electrolysis-based and biomass-based hydrogen production methods. The definition also encompasses green energy preserved in energy storage systems. 
    • The emission thresholds must be met in order for hydrogen produced to be classified as ‘Green’, i.e., from renewable sources.

    National Green Hydrogen Mission

    • The mission aims to make India a Global Hub for production, utilization and export of Green Hydrogen and its derivativesThe initial outlay for the Mission will be  Rs.19,744 crore.
    • The Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) will be responsible for overall coordination and implementation of the Mission.
    • Under the Strategic Interventions for Green Hydrogen Transition Programme (SIGHT), two distinct financial incentive mechanisms – targeting domestic manufacturing of electrolysers and production of Green Hydrogen – will be provided under the Mission.
    • The Mission will result in the following likely outcomes by 2030:
      • Development of green  hydrogen production capacity of at least 5 MMT (Million Metric Tonne) per annum with an associated renewable energy capacity addition of about 125 GW in the country
      • Over Rs. Eight lakh crore in total investments
      • Creation of over Six lakh jobs
      • Cumulative reduction in fossil fuel imports over Rs. One lakh crore
      • Abatement of nearly 50 MMT of annual greenhouse gas emissions

    Benefits of the mission

    • Creation of export opportunities for Green Hydrogen and its derivatives;
    • Decarbonisation of industrial, mobility and energy sectors; 
    • Reduction in dependence on imported fossil fuels and feedstock; 
    • Development of indigenous manufacturing capabilities; 
    • Creation of employment opportunities; and development of cutting-edge technologies.

    Source:PIB

    Acoustic Side Channel Attacks

    Syllabus:GS3/Science and Technology

    News

    • Recently, a study revealed that Artificial Intelligence (AI) can be used to decode passwords by analyzing the sound produced by keystrokes. 

    Background

    • A research paper titled “A Practical Deep Learning-Based Acoustic Side Channel Attack on Keyboards”, revealed that Artificial Intelligence (AI) can be used to decode passwords by analyzing the sound produced by keystrokes. 
    • The study highlighted the accuracy of Acoustic Side Channel Attacks (ASCA) when state-of-the-art deep learning models were used to classify laptop keystrokes and their mitigation. 

    Side Channel Attacks (SCAs)

    • SCAs are a method of hacking a cryptographic algorithm based on the analysis of auxiliary systems used in the encryption method. These can be performed using a collection of signals emitted by devices, including electromagnetic waves, power consumption, mobile sensors as well as sound from keyboards and printers to target devices. 
    • Once collected, these signals are used to interpret signals that can be then used to compromise the security of a device

    Acoustic Side Channel Attacks (ASCA)

    • In an ASCA, the sound of clicks generated by a keyboard is used to analyze keystrokes and interpret what is being typed to leak sensitive information. 
    • These attacks are particularly dangerous as the acoustic sounds from a keyboard are not only readily available but also because their misuse is underestimated by users. 

    Are such attacks new?

    • ASCA attacks have been around since 1950 when acoustic emanations of encryption devices were used to crack their security. Additionally, the United States National Security Agency (NSA) declassified documents listed acoustic emanations as a source of compromise in 1982. 
    • The advent of modern technology that brought more microphones in close proximity to keyboards, made it easier to collect and interpret acoustic data.
    • However, the development of AI and deep learning has increased the risks posed by these attacks.

    Protection against ASCAs

    • There is no explicit means of defense against ASCAs, hence simple changes to typing could reduce the chances of attacks. Using touch-based typing can reduce the chances of successful keystroke recognition from 64% to 40%.
    • Changes in typing style and creating stronger passwords can make it more difficult for criminals to launch successful ASCA attacks.

    Source:TH

    Public Tech Platform for Frictionless Credit

    Syllabus:GS3/Economy

    News

    • The RBI announced a pilot programme for facilitating frictionless and timely credit through seamless flow of required digital information to lenders.

    What is frictionless credit?

    • Frictionless credit is a borrowing approach that seeks to streamline the lending process for consumers.
    • Unlike the traditional credit systems, where individuals need to go through extensive paperwork, credit checks and lengthy approval procedures, frictionless credit promises a smoother and faster experience. 

    The Public Tech Platform

    • The public platform will be developed by its wholly owned subsidiary, the Reserve Bank Innovation Hub (RBIH). 
    • The proposed end-to-end platform will have an open architecture, open Application Programming Interfaces (API) and standards, to which all financial sector players would be able to connect seamlessly in a ‘plug and play’ model.

    What is the platform for?  

    • Digital delivery of credit (or delivering credit/loans through digital means) is preceded by a process of scrutiny known as credit appraisal. The process attempts to evaluate and accordingly predict the prospective borrowers’ ability for repayment of credit/loan and adhering to the credit agreement. 
    • The process rests on three important pillars, namely;
      • The problem of adverse selection (that results from the asymmetry of information from either the borrower or lender);
      • Measurement of exposure risk and;
      • The assessment of default risk (the probability that the borrower may default in repayment).  

    Significance of the Platform

    • This pre-disbursal process is particularly important for banks since it would in turn determine their interest income and impact on the balance sheet.  
    • Bring together different entities:The data required for the loan disbursement process rests with different entities like central and state governments, account aggregators, banks, credit information companies, and digital identity authorities.. This new platform would bring all of it together in a single place.
    • Linkages with other services:The platform will facilitate linkages with services such as Aadhaar e-KYC, PAN validation, Aadhaar e-signing, account aggregation and house/property search data, among other things.
    • The borrowers would benefit by the resulting lower cost of accessing capital, which would translate into productive investment spending. The lending platform would bring about “reduction of costs, quicker disbursement and scalability”. 

    Source:TH

    Facts In News

    Alzheimer Disease

    Syllabus: GS2/ Health

    In News

    • The researchers have found that the drug named Donanemab slowed cognitive decline in 47% of  Alzheimer patients. 

    About

    • Donanemab is still in trials, following on the heels of another drug, lecanemab.
    • There were a further set of complications associated with donanemab in the trial. Donanemab, like lecanemab and aducanumab, could cause fatal brain bleeding and seizures.  

    As per the oxidative stress hypothesis, the brain remains healthy as long as ‘free radicals’ that are produced in the course of the various biochemical reactions in the body are kept in check by ‘anti-oxidants.’

    Dementia 

    • Dementia is a term for several diseases that affect memory, thinking, and the ability to perform daily activities. The illness gets worse over time.
      • Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form of dementia and may contribute to 60-70% of cases.
    • The build-up of amyloid protein in the brain, believed to be most significantly associated with the disease. Elevated levels of amyloid form plaque and trigger another protein called tau that damages brain cells.
    • There were 55 million globally living with dementia. This number is expected to double every 20 years and be about 78 million by 2030 as per the Alzheimer’s Disease International.
    • India is expected to have about 7.6 million afflicted by 2030, as per the Dementia in India Report, 2020.  

    Antioxidant enzymes

    • Free radicals often damage healthy cells, and are believed to be involved in a range of diseases including Parkinson’s. The natural defence against such unwanted oxidation is a range of ‘antioxidant enzymes’; such as superoxide dismutase (SOD), glutathione peroxidase (GPX), catalase or aldehyde dehydrogenase and nonenzymatic antioxidant factors. 
    • The antioxidant enzymes catalyse the reaction of reduction of free radicals, which diminishes their power and hence oxidative cytotoxicity.
    • As long as there is a balance between the oxidative molecules and antioxidants to neutralise them, the body remains healthy.

    Impacts of Dementia

    • It has significant social and economic implications in terms of direct medical and social care costs, and the costs of informal care.
    • There is often a lack of awareness and understanding of dementia, resulting in stigmatization and barriers to diagnosis and care.

    Source: TH

    Global Initiative on Digital Health’ (GIDH)

    Syllabus: GS2/  Health

    In News

    • The WHO and India’s G20 presidency collaboratively introduced the ‘Global Initiative on Digital Health’ (GIDH).

    About

    • It is a World Health Organization (WHO)-managed network, with the aim of consolidating the evidence and amplifying the gains in global digital health. 
    • The GIDH will promote equitable access to digital health by addressing challenges such as duplication of efforts and “products-focused” digital health transformation. 
    • Its key components will leverage existing evidence, tools and learnings and will be co-created through a transparent and inclusive process. 
    • The GIDH will aim to align efforts to support the Global Strategy on Digital Health 2020–2025 (an ongoing WHO project), quality-assured technical assistance to develop and strengthen standards-based and interoperable systems aligned to global best practices, and facilitate the use of quality assured digital transformation tools that enable governments to manage digital health transformation.

    Digital Health 

    • Digital health is a proven accelerator to advance health outcomes towards achieving Universal Health Coverage and the health-related Sustainable Development Goals by 2030.  
      •  India’s effort for establishing a comprehensive digital health ecosystem through the Ayushman Bharat Digital Mission. 
    • Digital health interventions improve health care in many ways, from supporting individuals in managing their health and wellness journeys, to enabling care providers to adhere to guidelines and provide high quality care, to strengthening health systems by improving supply chains and workforce management.

    Source: TH

    Piripkura Tribe

    Syllabus: GS-2 Vulnerable Section

    Context

    • Brazil found the last survivors of an Amazon tribe. Tamandua is one of the last three known survivors of the Piripkura people.

    About the Piripkura Tribe

    • The Piripkura tribe is a small and isolated indigenous community.
    • They are distinguished by their severe isolation and minimal contact with the outside world.
    • For years, they have purposefully avoided contact with mainstream civilization and have kept their ancient way of life.
    • Their land is located within the Amazon rainforest, an area rich in biodiversity and critical to the region’s ecological equilibrium.
    • The Piripkura tribe is thought to be made up of only three people.
    • Due to their isolation and the challenges concerned , it is difficult to estimate the total of their population. 
    • They come across different types of dangers to their survival, such as illicit logging, mining, and land encroachment.

    Source: IE

    White-bellied Sea Eagles

    Syllabus: GS3/Conservation of Environment

    News

    • The nests of the white-bellied sea eagles were found on powerline towers in Ramanathapuram of Tamil Nadu. 

    About the white-bellied sea eagle:

    • The white-bellied sea eagle (Haliaeetus leucogaster) is a resident raptor belonging to the family Accipitridae
    • It has a wide distribution range on the sea coast of India from Mumbai to the eastern coast of Bangladesh, and Sri Lanka in southern Asia, through all coastal south-eastern Asia, southern China to Australia.
    • The raptor, a diurnal monogamous bird of prey, is categorised as being of ‘least concern’ on the Red List of the IUCN.
    • Feeding mainly on sea snakes and fish, the bird is occasionally seen in inland waters along tidal rivers and in freshwater lakes. 
    • It occupies the same localities for years and generally builds nests in tall trees near the seacoast, tidal creeks, and estuaries.

    Source: TH

    Turmeric Supplements

    Syllabus: GS2/Health

    In News

    • Australia’s Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA), warned Australians of the risk of liver injury from using medicines and herbal supplements containing turmeric or its active ingredient, curcumin.

    About 

    • The TGA had received 18 reports of liver problems experienced by consumers taking products containing curcuma longa (turmeric) and/or curcumin. 
    • The evidence from nine of these reports had enough information to suggest that a liver injury may have been caused by curcuma longa or a curcumin product.
    • TGA concluded that  there is a “rare risk” of liver injury from taking curcuma longa and/or curcumin in medicinal dosage forms. 
      • People with existing or previous liver problems were more likely to develop this rare adverse event.

    Is it risky to consume Dietary Turmeric?

    • The TGA warning says that the risk of liver injury did not appear to relate to curcuma longa consumed in “typical” dietary amounts as a food. As a staple ingredient in South and South East Asian cuisine, turmeric is also used in Ayurvedic and Chinese-medicine concoctions. 
    • Several studies, over the last five decades, have investigated the properties of curcumin and report it to have antioxidant properties that can help with inflammation. These include arthritis and infections. 

    Safe Consumption Limit

    • The European Food Safety Authority has set an acceptable daily intake of 180 mg of curcumin per day for a 60 kg adult as the safe level of consumption. 
    • A World Health Organization/Food and Agricultural Organisation advisory recommends 3 mg/kg of body weight. 
    • India’s Food Safety and Standards Authority of India has standards that packaged turmeric must comply with but nothing on the recommended dietary allowance.

    Source: TH