29th Oct Current Affairs News Analysis | Prelims & Mains 2020

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IASbhai Current Affairs News Analysis | Prelims & Mains 2020-21 is an initiative to dilute major articles from leading Newspapers in India which are most relevant to UPSC preparation –‘THE HINDU, LIVEMINT , INDIAN EXPRESS’ and help millions of readers who find difficulty in answer writing and making notes everyday. Hence we choose articles on daily basis and analyse them with respect to UPSC PRELIMS 2021.

“There is only one way to avoid criticism: do nothing, say nothing, and be nothing.” – Aristotle

HIGHLIGHT INFO:

ORANGE COLOUR: Important for Prelims.

RED COLOUR: Important for Mains.

BLACK COLOUR: Must Read !

BLUE COLOUR : Important Links/Survey.

PINK COLOUR: Reports/Themes/Summits.

29th Oct Current Affairs News Analysis | Prelims & Mains 2021

IndiGen Program

      HEADLINES:

Indian genome sequences: 32 variations found unique

      WHY IN NEWS:

Results from the extensive computation analysis of 1,029 sequenced genomes from India were published earlier this week in the journal Nucleic Acid Research, according to a press statement.

SYLLABUS COVERED: GS 3: Biotechnology : Genome Sequencing

      ISSUE: 

Thirty-two per cent of genetic variations in Indian genome sequences are unique as compared to global genomes

INDIGEN INITIATIVE

STUDIED BY

The research had been carried out by:

  • Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR)-Institute of Genomics and Integrative Biology, Delhi
  • CSIR-Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology, Hyderabad.

KEY FINDINGS

  • A genetic variant or variation is used to refer to a specific region of the genome which differs from another genome.

The computational analysis led to the identification of 55,898,122 single nucleotide variants in the India genome dataset.

  • Comparisons with the global genome datasets revealed that 18,016,257 (32.23 per cent) variants were unique and found only in the samples sequenced from India.
  • The research was carried out as part of the IndiGen Program of CSIR.

INDIGEN PROGRAM

  • The Council for Scientific and Industrial Research has sequenced the entire genomes of 1008 Indians in six months.
  • It is under a mission that was aimed at demonstrating capability and scalability of Indian research institutions.

This initiative, called IndiGen, was undertaken by two CSIR institutions —

  • Institute of Genomics and Integrative Biology (IGIB), Delhi
  • Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB), Hyderabad.

LAUNCH

  • The programme was started in April 2019.
  • It was in order to fill the gap of whole genome sequences from different populations in the country.

AIM

  • IndiGen programme aims to undertake whole genome sequencing of a thousand Indian individuals representing diverse ethnic groups from India.

The objective is to create a pilot dataset to enable genetic epidemiology of carrier genetic diseases towards enabling affordable carrier screening approaches in India.

  • The programme also hope to mine allele frequencies for genetic variants for estimating population scale prevalence for diverse clinical applications.
  • The human genome data sets would also be utilized for prioritizing Pharmacogenomics variants specific for Indian population for optimizing therapy and minimizing adverse events.

FUNDING

IndiGen is funded by the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) India through grant MLP1809

SIGNIFICANCE

  • The whole genome sequencing of 1,029 self-declared healthy Indians drawn from across the country has been completed under the IndiGen Program.

The data collected under the IndiGen Program could provide useful insights for clinicians and researchers .

  • It will let researchers in comprehending genetics at the population and the individual level.

IndiGen Program | UPSC

VARIANT NUMBER COMPARISONS IN VARIOUS DATASETS

      IASbhai WINDUP: 

  • It could also enable the identification of genetic markers for variations causing genetic diseases.

It was in October 1990 that the Human Genome Project, a 13-year international effort, was formally begun .

  • The aim was to discover all the estimated 20,000-25,000 human genes and make them accessible for further biological study.
  • The project was completed in 2003.
     SOURCES:DownToEarth | 29th Oct Current Affairs News Analysis

Is SARS-CoV-2 becoming more stable?

      HEADLINES:

Is SARS-CoV-2 becoming more stable? A new study tracks virus’ evolution

      WHY IN NEWS:

  • The virus also showed signs of stabilising around some proteins, according to the study
  • It was published in Evolutionary Bioinformatics on October 26, 2020.
SYLLABUS COVERED: GS 3:Health:Diseases

      ISSUE: 

The novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 is mutating to become more “successful and stable

STUDIED BY

  • The study was conducted in a span of four months from January to May.
  • A total of 15,366 genome sequences were acquired and tracked as on May 7.

KEY FINDINGS

  • While the virus mutated fast by adapting to its host environment in some regions exhibiting significant intrinsic disorder.
  • The virus showed signs of slowing around single versions of some proteins.
  • The team tracked mutation rate in the virus’s proteome — the collection of proteins encoded by genetic material.

Researchers found increasing mutations in the nucleocapsid protein, which packages the virus’s ribonucleic acid after entering a host cell.

  • Also , The 3a viroporin protein, which creates pores in host cells to facilitate viral release, replication, and virulence.

      IASbhai WINDUP: 

The virus is changing, but it is keeping the things that are most useful or interesting for itself.

     SOURCES:DownToEarth | 29th Oct Current Affairs News Analysis

Geo-tagging glitch

      HEADLINES:

Parliamentary panel asks Twitter for affidavit on geo-tagging glitch

      WHY IN NEWS:

The Joint Committee of Parliament on the Data Protection Bill sought an affidavit from Twitter Inc.,

SYLLABUS COVERED: GS 3: Media

      ISSUE: 

Twitter India “apologised” and claimed it to be a “mistake” as the app’s geo-tagging had suffered a technical glitch ; Ladakh was shown as a part of China

WHAT IS GEO-TAGGING ?

  • Geotagging is the process of attaching location information in the form of geographical metadata to digital media like web sites, videos, and photographs.

Geotags may also be applied to digital output and communications such as tweets or status updates on social media.

  • Geo-tagging uses latitudes and longitudes to precisely locate where an image is taken.

OTHER CONCERNS RAISED

  • The joint parliamentary committee on Personal Data Protection Bill on Wednesday asked Twitter and Amazon to furnish their balance sheets.
  • Twitter representatives told the panel that the company “respects the sensitivities of India”.

The members asked both firms why they can’t store data generated in the country in India.

  • The panel also pulled up Twitter for showing Jammu and Kashmir as part of China.

      IASbhai WINDUP: 

  • Twitter had last week responded to the controversy over the geo-tagging issue, saying it was a mistake which was swiftly resolved.

To a query on “targeting” for elections, it is learnt that Twitter officials said the site has banned political advertising since last year.

  • Twitter officials were also asked to explain its response mechanism for hate speeches and corrective mechanisms in place for breaches like the one which showed J&K as part of China.
     SOURCES:THE IE | 29th Oct Current Affairs News Analysis

‘20% rural students lack books’ : ASER

      HEADLINES:

‘20% rural students lack books’

      WHY IN NEWS:

Annual State of Education Report (ASER) 2020 report is out !

SYLLABUS COVERED: GS 3: Education

      ISSUE: 

Only 1 in 10 had access to online classes, finds ASER

ASER 2020

  • ASER 2020 was conducted in 26 states and four Union Territories.
  • A total of 52,227 households and 59,251 children in the 5-16 age group were surveyed.

29th Oct Current Affairs News Analysis

HIGHLIGHTS

  • About 20% of rural children have no textbooks at home, according to the Annual State of Education Report (ASER) survey .
  • In Andhra Pradesh, less than 35% of children had textbooks, and only 60% had textbooks in Rajasthan.
  • More than 98% had textbooks in West Bengal, Nagaland and Assam.

In the week of the survey, about one in three rural children had done no learning activity at all.

  • About two in three had no learning material or activity given by their school that week.
  • A third of children with smartphone access still did not receive any learning materials.
  • A majority of the country’s 25 crore students are still at home after seven straight months.

      IASbhai WINDUP: 

  • Yet, most children (70.2 per cent) said they did some form of learning activity that week through material shared by tutors or family members themselves.
  • We will take up this issue in a separate article today. We believe in research and analysis 🙂
     SOURCES:THE HINDU & PIB | 29th Oct Current Affairs News Analysis

NAMP Dashboard

      HEADLINES:

Dashboard to monitor air quality of Indian cities

      WHY IN NEWS:

The dashboard launched Wednesday, set up by climate and energy news site CarbonCopy in association with Mumbai-based start-up Respirer Living Sciences, presents a comparative picture of particulate matter (PM) for all 122 cities since 2016.

SYLLABUS COVERED: GS 3: Air Quality

      ISSUE: 

Delhi ranked as the most polluted state on an average of 3 years’ PM10 monitoring data, followed by Jharkhand and Uttar Pradesh.

NATIONAL AIR QUALITY MONITORING PROGRAMME

  • A new dashboard launched on Wednesday provides a comprehensive picture of India’s National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS).
  • NAAQS comes under the National Air Quality Monitoring Programme (NAMP).

The Centre had launched the National Clean Air Programme on January 10, 2019 to address air pollution in 122 cities. 

  • These cities are referred to as non-attainment cities as they did not meet the national ambient air quality standards for the period of 2011-15 under the NAMP.

NAMP DASHBOARD

  • The dashboard gives a clear snapshot of which cities had how many monitors, what was their uptime and what is the confidence in that data.
  • When analysing the data, it is crucial to see the number of monitors available in each city,.
  • The increase or decrease of monitoring capacity year over year and the number of readings available per monitor every year.

It establishes a three-year rolling average trend for PM2.5 and PM10 levels across the cities from 2016 to 2018.

      IASbhai WINDUP: 

  • Experts believe that there is a need to study health data in the country by considering air pollution as an important risk factor.
  • It will give a true sense of the burden of respiratory diseases in the country by geographical distribution.
SUGGESTED READING : CLICK HERE for AQI
SUGGESTED READING : CLICK HERE for NAMP DASHBOARD
     SOURCES:THE HINDU & PIB | 29th Oct Current Affairs News Analysis

Covid-19 has and state finances

      HEADLINES:

How Covid-19 has affected finances of state governments

      WHY IN NEWS:

Given the clear inter-linkages between growth and tax revenues and considering the fact that tax revenues fall faster than GDP when growth is negative, tax revenues are likely to be reduced for the next few years, the RBI said.

SYLLABUS COVERED: GS 3: RBI

      ISSUE: 

The quality of spending and the credibility of state budgets will assume critical importance- RBI

STATE FINANCES VS COVID-19

  • The Reserve Bank of India’s study on state governments’ finances, released on Tuesday, indicates that gross fiscal deficits (GFDs) of state governments are set to double in 2020-21.
  • With the Covid-19 pandemic having hit the financial position of states hard, the next few years are going to be challenging.

WHERE ARE GFDS OF STATES HEADED?

  • Half the states have budgeted the GFD-to-GSDP (gross state domestic product) ratio at or above the 3% threshold.

The direction of possible revision is evident from the fact that the average for states presenting their budget before the outbreak of the pandemic is 2.4% of GSDP.

  • Thus, states are grappling with the pandemic with constrained fiscal space.
  • In terms of primary balances, most states are incurring primary deficits in 2019-20, as against primary surpluses at the onset of the global financial crisis.

HOW LONG WILL THE STRESS CONTINUE?

  • The crisis literature focuses on the operation of ‘scissor effects’ — loss of revenues due to demand slowdown, coupled with higher expenditure .
  • The duration of stress on state finances will likely be contingent upon factors such as the lockdown tenure and the risk of new waves of infection.

The quality of spending and the credibility of state budgets will assume critical importance. 

  • The next few years are going to be challenging for the states.

IMPACT ON STATES?

  • When GDP growth is negative, tax revenues are likely to be reduced for the next few years.
  • Pandemic-related spending, particularly on health and other support measures, are likely to keep these expenditures high, prolonging the ‘scissor effects’.

In addition, states’ fiscal position is likely to be affected by a surge in contingent liabilities (guarantees).

  • In this milieu, state governments may have to face the tough choice of putting investment projects on hold.
  • Given the multiplier associated with capital spending, this will inevitably entail growth losses in a vicious cycle.

WHAT HAPPENED DURING EARLIER PANDEMICS?

  • An event study analysis using four pandemics in India — the 1896 plague, the 1918 Spanish flu, the 1957 Asian flu and the 1974 smallpox .
  • It shows that all of these were associated with a contraction/deceleration in GDP.

The 1918 flu registering the sharpest downturn of about 13%.

  • The recovery pattern is similar — a sharp rebound in the immediate subsequent year because of favourable base effects, followed by contraction again.
  • The GDP growth rate finally returning to pre-pandemic levels in 3-4 years.

      IASbhai WINDUP: 

States’ indebtedness is set to rise, and if it is not accompanied by an acceleration in growth, fiscal sustainability will become the casualty.

     SOURCES:THE IE | 29th Oct Current Affairs News Analysis

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