IASCLUB Daily Current Affairs : 12 June 2019

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Cyclonic storm ‘Vayu’

Topic: GS-I:  Geography

Cyclone Vayu, named by India, is a deep depression and is still to develop into a strong cyclone.

  • Cyclone Vayu is moving towards the North (expected to hit Gujarat coast) and is expected to draw moisture away from the monsoon that in turn will delay the arrival of monsoon.
  • The cyclone is expected to interfere with normal progression, by sucking all the moisture from the monsoon winds towards itself.
  • Cyclonic storm ‘Vayu’ has intensified into a severe cyclonic storm, forcing authorities to put Gujarat on high alert.

Arabian Sea Cyclones

·         Cyclonic activity is less intense in the Arabian Sea, as compared to the Bay of Bengal.

·         In the last 120 years, only 14% of all cyclonic storms have occurred in the Arabian Sea.

Why is the Bay of Bengal More Prone to Cyclones?

·         Temperature difference: Bay of Bengal is warmer than the Arabian Sea, it provide the heat energy to sustain the low-pressure system.

·         The Bay’s surface water keeps getting refreshed, making it impossible for the warm water to mix with the cooler water below, making it ideal for depression.

·         But the Arabian Sea receives stronger winds that help dissipate the heat, and the lack of constant fresh water supply helps the warm water mix with the cool water, reducing the temperature.

·         Absence of large landmass between the Pacific and the Bay, allows cyclonic winds to easily move into the Bay of Bengal.

·         Low-pressure system originating from the Pacific Ocean also travel towards the left to the Bay of Bengal.

A CAPSULE to fight quacks in Kerala

Topic: GS–II: Social Justice   Health

Kerala was scheduled to open a hospital in Thrissur on June 6 that offered a mix of “traditional Indian medicine,” Homoeopathy, “traditional native medicine”, Naturopathy, and German, Korean and Chinese treatment methods.

  • The Minister decided to keep off the event after widespread criticism online and offline. In the forefront of the protests were activists of CAPSULE (Campaign Against Pseudo Science Using Law and Ethics), an initiative of the Kerala Sasthra Sahitya Parishad (KSSP).
  • The idea of CAPSULE was raised after a group of social activists launched a legal battle against a doctor in Thiruvananthapuram who gave advertisements in major newspapers claiming to cure diabetes, cancer and thyroid diseases.
  • Both the State Drugs Control Department and the Kerala State Human Rights Commission issued orders against the doctor later.

‘Threat to public health’

  • Activists of the forum claim to oppose illegal advertisements of medical treatment methods and unauthorised medical practitioners which pose a threat to the public health system.

Joining hands

  • CAPSULE is working in association with organisations such as the Indian Medical Association and the Ayurveda Medical Association of India. K. Radhan, general secretary, KSSP, said the forum, functioning under the health committee of the organisation, would continue to bring to the attention of government departments and the judiciary about such practices.

28 children die of ‘brain fever’ in Bihar

Topic: GS–II: Health

At least 28 children have died in the past one month in Muzaffarpur district of north Bihar, allegedly due to Acute Encephalitis Syndrome (AES), which is locally known as Chamki bukhar (brain fever).

  • Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, has expressed concern over the rising deaths of children in Muzaffarpur. He said, “A team of doctors and medical experts have been sent to Muzaffarpur to monitor the situation and also speed up the awareness drive about complexities and preventive measures about AES”.
  • Every year during summer time, especially in the season of luscious fruit litchi, AES outbreak gets reported and takes the lives of children in the district, which is India’s largest litchi cultivation region.
  • Nitish Kumar had said, “It generally hits those children who go to sleep empty stomach at night and eat litchis fallen on the ground. Earlier, three different teams of doctors had reached three different conclusions about the reason of children’s deaths in summer season in Muzaffarpur.”
  • According to doctors, high temperatures along with excessive humidity is considered to be an ideal situation for the outbreak of AES, which has symptoms of high fever, vomiting, nausea and unconsciousness.
  • Since 2010, 398 children have died in Muzaffarpur due to suspected AES.
Acute Encephalitis Syndrome (AES):

·         Acute Encephalitis Syndrome (AES) including Japanese Encephalitis (JE) is a group of clinically similar neurologic manifestation caused by several different viruses, bacteria, fungus, parasites, spirochetes, chemical/ toxins etc.

·         The outbreak of JE usually coincides with the monsoon and post monsoon period when the density of mosquitoes increases while encephalitis due to other viruses specially entero-viruses occurs throughout the year as it is a water borne disease.

Who is affected?

·         It predominantly affects population below 15 years.

·         There is seasonal and geographical variation in the causative organism.

·         JEV has its endemic zones running along the Gangetic plane including states of UP (east), Bihar, West Bengal and Assam, and parts of Tamil Nadu.

·         In India, AES outbreaks in north and eastern India have been linked to children eating unripe litchi fruit on empty stomachs. Unripe fruit contain the toxins hypoglycin A and methylenecyclopropylglycine (MCPG), which cause vomiting if ingested in large quantities.Hypoglycin A is a naturally occurring amino acid found in the unripened litchi that causes severe vomiting (Jamaican vomiting sickness), while MCPG is a poisonous compound found in litchi seeds that causes a sudden drop in blood sugar, vomiting, altered mental states leading to lethargy, unconsciousness, coma and death. These toxins cause sudden high fever and seizures serious enough to require hospitalisation in young, severely malnourished children.

Signs and Symptoms

·         Acute encephalitis syndrome (AES) is characterized by an acute onset of fever and clinical neurological manifestation that includes mental confusion, disorientation, delirium, or coma. Apart from viral encephalitis, severe form of leptospirosis and toxoplasmosis can cause AES. Keeping in mind the wide range of causal agents and the rapid rate of neurological impairment due to pathogenesis, clinicians face the challenge of a small window period between diagnosis and treatment.

·         Several government initiatives have been undertaken to educate and improve the hygiene of people living in the JE endemic zones. Government and non-government organizations have been instrumental in providing proper nutrition to the AES-affected population as most of the affected people belong to the lower economic strata of the society.

GDP growth overestimated during 2011-17

Topic: GS -III: Economic Development

Former Chief Economic Adviser (CEA) Arvind Subramanian has said India’s GDP growth in the period 2011-12 to 2016-17 is likely to have been over-estimated, and the tag of the fastest-growing major economy may not hold.

  • In a research paper, ‘India’s GDP Mis-estimation: Likelihood, Magnitudes, Mechanisms, and Implications’, published by Harvard University, Mr. Subramanian has argued that GDP growth during that period was actually 4.5% rather than the 7% presented by official data.
  • “Official estimates place annual average GDP growth between 2011-12 and 2016-17 at 7%. We estimate that actual growth may have been about 4.5%, with a 95% confidence interval of 3.5-5.5%.”
  • Subramanian, whose term as CEA from October 2014 to June 2018 coincided in part with this period of “overestimation”, has stressed that his paper deals with the technical origins of the overestimation and not the political aspects.
  • Responding to Mr. Subramanian’s paper, the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation late on Tuesday reiterated its stance that the methodology adopted was in line with international standards as set by the United Nations and was as such robust.

 Other problems highlighted

  • One of the problems highlighted by the former CEA was that growth numbers no longer correlated with other indicators of economic growth such as electricity consumption, two-wheeler sales, airline passenger traffic, index of industrial production, and export figures, to name a few.
  • In total, Mr. Subramanian looked at 17 such indicators and found that “the correlations between most indicators and GDP growth broke down in the post-2011 period”.

Implications

  • Subramanian derives several implications from the findings of his paper. The first is that growth needed to be restored to high levels. The second that the quality and integrity of data in India needs to be improved, something called for by several other economists. And the third is that “India must restore the reputational damage suffered to data generation across the board”.
  • He also called for the creation of a taskforce to revisit the entire methodology and implementation of GDP estimation.

New agency to develop space warfare weapon systems

Topic: GS -III: Security

To enhance the capabilities of the armed forces to fight wars in space, the government has approved the setting up of a new agency which will develop sophisticated weapon systems and technologies.

More in news:

  • The Cabinet Committee on Security headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi has cleared the setting up of the Defence Space Research Agency (DSRO) which has been entrusted with the task of creating space warfare weapon systems and technologies.
  • The decision was taken at the topmost level some time ago and the agency has started taking shape under a Joint Secretary-level scientist.
  • The agency would be provided with a team of scientists which would be working in close coordination with the tri-services integrated Defence staff officers.
  • It would be providing the research and development support to the Defence Space Agency (DSA) which comprises members of the three services. The DSA has been created “to help the country fight wars in the space”.
  • In March, India had carried out the Anti-Satellite Test (ASAT) which demonstrated its capability to shoot down satellites and joined an elite club of four nations with similar capability. The test also helped the country develop deterrence capability against adversaries who may want to attack Indian satellites to cripple systems in times of war.
  • The Defence Space Agency is being set up in Bengaluru under an Air Vice Marshal-rank officer and will gradually take over the space-related capabilities of the three forces.

CO2 emissions rose by 2% in 2018: study

 Topic: GS-III: Environment

 Global carbon emissions grew by 2.0% last year, the highest rate since 2010-2011, a review by energy giant BP said on Tuesday, calling the trend “unsustainable”.

  • “There is a growing mismatch between societal demands for action on climate change and the actual pace of progress,” said BP chief executive Bob Dudley.
  • The BP Statistical Review of World Energy is viewed as an energy industry standard. It also found that global energy demand grew by 2.9%.

News in brief:

  Budget-maximising model

  • This refers to an economic model which tries to depict the typical behaviour of bureaucrats who work for the government.
  • A government bureaucrat, according to this model, will constantly try to expand the amount of money and other resources that are under his control.
  • The greater the amount of resources under his control, the greater the chances of him wielding power over people who are dependent on these resources.
  • The budget-maximising model of bureaucratic behaviour was first proposed by American economist William Niskanen in the 1968 paper, “The peculiar economics of bureaucracy”.

Editorial section:

 Squandering the gender dividend –The Hindu

Thin-skinned masters –The Hindu

A welcome verdict –The Hindu

The importance of being neighbourly –The Hindu

Saving childhoods –The Hindu

 

 

 

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