IASCLUB Daily Current Affairs : 15 May 2019

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Kerala to de-link ICU care from organ donation

Topic: GS–II: Social Justice   Health

Kerala is moving towards the mandatory certification of brain death at intensive care units (ICU) in all medical facilities in the State, irrespective of whether organ donation takes place.

More in news:

  • The government, after legal consultations, will soon issue executive orders de-linking brain death certification and organ donation, so that there is more clarity as to how clinicians should proceed with ICU care for a patient who has been declared brain-dead, but whose family has refused consent for organ donation.
  • According to the proposed guidelines, once brain death is diagnosed as per the existing legal and clinical requirements and the certification process is completed, ICU care will be continued only if organs are to be retrieved for possible donation.
  • If organ donation is not a possibility, then all care will be stopped so that scarce ICU resources may be utilised better.
  • The decisions were taken at a meeting of senior health administrators, transplant surgeons, neurologists, and critical care specialists on developing parameters for universal brain death certification.
  • This will mean that once a patient has been certified as brain dead, he/she need not be kept unnecessarily in the ventilator, unless the family wishes to donate organs.
  • In India, brain death has been defined only in connection with organ donation, in the Transplantation of Human Organs Act 1994. The Act does not specify whether ICU care may be withdrawn if a patient is brain-dead but organ donation has not been proposed.

Quick, cheap diagnostic test for Haemophilia A

Topic: GS–II: Social Justice/Health

The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR)’s National Institute of Immunohaematology, Mumbai, has developed a cost-effective Point-of-Care (POC) diagnostic test for severe Haemophilia A and Von Willebrand Disease (VWD), a genetic disorder caused by missing or defective Von Willebrand factor (VWF), a clotting protein.

More in news:

  • This is the first in the world POC test for specific diagnosis of any common bleeding disorder. Working cost of these kits is less than ₹50 in comparison to existing conventional test for the diseases that costs around ₹4,000 to ₹1, 0000.
  • The diagnosis can be done within 30 minutes of blood sample collection.
  • Patients with severe Haemophilia A or VWD can have life threatening spontaneous or post-traumatic bleeding like brain haemorrhage and gastrointestinal bleeding or they may have bleeding into joints or superficial bleeding from the nose or gums.

Project to use technology to study crop yield estimates

Topic: GS -III: Economic Development

In a bid to reduce the delay of crop insurance claim settlements and increase the accuracy of compensation due to farmers, a pilot project will test the use of technology to determine yield estimates at the panchayat level this summer.

More in news:

  • Technologies such as satellite and remote sensing data, unmanned aerial vehicles and artificial intelligence will be used to assess yield estimates without the need of time-consuming and laborious crop-cutting experiments, according to the parameters of the project issued.
  • Crop yield information is essential for the Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana to work, but the number of CCEs needed for accurate determination of yields have increased multi-fold.
  • PMFBY guidelines call for four CCEs at the gram panchayat level.The number of CCEs for production estimates itself may go up six to seven times.
  • The current methodology of yield estimation is also affected by the lack of current year information at the time of planning of CCEs, thus affecting the precision of estimates.

Encouraging results

  • The Agriculture Ministry has tried several methods to deal with this situation, including smart sampling methods to improve the way CCEs are selected, as well as the use of technology to reduce the number of CCEs needed through accurate extrapolation methods.
  • The pilot project to optimise CCEs through technology was carried out in 11 States in kharif season 2018 and in the ongoing rabi season 2018-19.
  • The new study, to be carried out in the kharif 2019, aims to directly estimate yields without using CCEs.
  • The pilot project will focus on paddy, soybean, cotton, bajra, maize, sorghum and groundnut. Technologies to be used include satellite data, unmanned aerial vehicles, advanced intelligent crop simulation models, artificial intelligence and the Internet of Things. Final results are expected by February 2020.

Wayanad sanctuary is tiger kingdom in Kerala

Topic: GS -III: Bio-diversity

A monitoring programme of the Forest Department for 2017-18 has found that the Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary (WWS), a biodiversity hotspot in the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve, holds the largest tiger population in Kerala.

More in news:

  • The study was organised in association with the Parambikulam and Periyar Tiger Conservation Foundations.
  • Of the total 176 tigers in the State, 75 were identified from the WWS, which is part of a large forest complex holding the single largest population of tigers in India.Nine tigers had also been captured by camera stations set up at the North and South Wayanad forest divisions.
  • The Periyar and Parambikulam tiger reserves followed suit, where 25 tigers each were captured in camera traps.
  • Camera traps, where tigers are identified from photographs based on unique stripe patterns, were used to count the tiger population.
  • The forest area in the State was divided into 10 landscapes and 1,640 camera traps were set up. It took nearly a year-and-half to complete the project.
  • The Nilambur North and South forest divisions were excluded from the study as camera traps could not be set up in the forests due to Maoist issues. These areas are expected to support a good tiger population.

India finds OECD index for services trade faulty

Topic: GS -III: Economic Development

India has found problems with the current method under which the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) ranks countries based on their services trade policies, indicating the outcomes are biased and counter-intuitive.

More in news:

  • Launched in 2014, the Services Trade Restrictiveness Index (STRI), computed by the OECD, is now available for 2018 for a total of 45 economies (36 OECD and the rest non-OECD) and 22 sectors.
  • The OECD index has a large number of problems associated with it, including some significant design issues that render it impractical for use, a study commissioned by the Commerce Ministry found.

What are the problems?

  • For example, the index seems to show the Indian services sector as one of the most restrictive, particularly in policy areas like foreign entry.This seems surprising as since 1991, the one area that has seen maximum liberalisation in India is FDI.
  • Initial work suggests that there are both theoretical and empirical inconsistencies in the OECD methodology. For example, change in regulatory measures in one policy area can lead to dramatic changes in the STRI in another policy area which is not very useful for policy purposes.
  • In addition, the data seems to have been generated by rather arbitrary procedures and reflects a developed country bias.
  • In order to rectify this, a new way of measuring restrictiveness in the services trade that would be more robust and would not have a bias either for developed or developing countries.

Building consensus

  • India has approached several developing countries during the recently-concluded World Trade Organization talks in New Delhi to try to build consensus around the new method of measuring trade restrictiveness in the services sector.

Artemis Mission to Moon

Topic: GS -III: Science and Technology

NASA officials unveiled an updated budget request to Congress, seeking more than $1 billion in additional funding in what they called a down payment to accelerate the return of astronauts to the moon by 2024.

More in news:

  • The mission back to the moon would be called Artemis. In Greek mythology, Artemis is the twin sister of Apollo, whose name was used by NASA for the series of spacecraft that first landed Americans on the moon in 1969.
  • NASA had been aiming for a moon return in 2028 until Vice President Mike Pence announced in March that the administration wanted to push that ahead to 2024, during what could be a second term for President Donald Trump.
  • Under the plan, a mission to land on the moon would take place during the third launch of the Space Launch System.
  • Astronauts, including the first woman to walk on the moon, Bridenstine said, would first stop at the orbiting lunar outpost. They would then take a lander to the surface near its south pole, where frozen water exists within the craters.
  • NASA is looking to commercial companies to develop the lander rather than doing that work itself.

News in Brief:

Election petition

  • An election petition calling in question any election can be presented on one or more of the following grounds:
  1. On the date of the election a returned candidate (a candidate who has been declared elected) was not qualified.
  2. Some corrupt practice was committed by a returned candidate or his election agent.
  3. Any nomination was improperly rejected.
  4. The result was materially affected.
  • If any of these is true, the High Court where the petition is submitted declares the election of the returned candidate to be void.
  • A petition can be submitted by any candidate or elector within 45 days of the declaration of the result.

 In 2018, 207 Indians gave up citizenship

  • Since 2010, 290 Indians have renounced their citizenship, and these included 207 in 2018 alone.
  • The data showed that in 2010, only three Indians renounced citizenship. There was no surrender of citizenship from 2012 to 2015.
  • “Economic reasons” were mainly behind the migration of people to other countries for employment and education, and only recently had the Ministry started documenting the reasons.
  • Total 290 are the persons who have renounced Indian citizenship as per Rule 23 of the Citizenship Rules, 2009, under Section 8 of the Citizenship Act, from January 1, 2010, to October 22, 2018.
  • During 2016 and 2017, the number of people who had surrendered Indian citizenship was 19 and 60.
  • The Citizenship Rules were changed in October 2018, and we delegated the powers to register the surrenders at the respective missions and embassies,”.

Editorial Section :

Inching closer to the brink – The Hindu

Missing demand – The Hindu

Facing the climate emergency – The Hindu

Implementation issues in 10% reservation – The Hindu




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