November 2019

Daily Current Affairs (03-11-19)

GEOGRAPHY

NEW INDIAN MAP SHOWING UTs OF J&K AND LADAKH

Related Topic in KAS Prelims Syllabus:

Geography [Paper-I]: Physical, Social, Economic Geography of World, India and Kerala

Why in News?

  • Survey of India has redrawn the map of India to depict the newly formed Union Territories (UT) of Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) and Ladakh.

News in Detail

  • UT of Ladakh consists of two districts of Kargil and Leh while the rest of the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir is in the UT of Jammu and Kashmir.
  • Out of these, Kargil district was carved out from the area of ​​Leh and Ladakh district.
  • Areas such as Gilgit, Gilgit Wazarat, Chilhas and the Tribal Territory of 1947 that have been occupied by Pakistan are included in the Ladakh UT.
  • Other areas in Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK) such as Mirpur and Muzaffarabad have been included in the J&K UT.

About Survey of India

  • It is the National Survey and Mapping Organization of the country under the Department of Science & Technology.
  • It is the oldest scientific department of the Govt. of India.
  • It was set up in 1767 and has evolved rich traditions over the years.
  • It bears a special responsibility to ensure that the country’s domain is explored and mapped suitably, provide base maps for expeditious and integrated development and ensure that all resources contribute with their full measure to the progress, prosperity and security of our country now and for generations to come.
  • It is headquartered at Dehradun.

New Political Map of India

[Source: The Hindu, PIB]

 

SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY

ROBOTIC SURGERY

Related Topic in KAS Prelims Syllabus:

Science and Technology [Paper-II]: Nature and scope of Science and Technology, Institutes and Organization in India promoting intergration of S&T and Innovation, their activities and contributions

News

  • The robotic surgery facility in the Safdarjung Hospital (SJH), New Delhi was dedicated to the nation by the Union Minister of Health and Family Welfare.
  • It is also the first Central Government hospital in India to start this latest Robot Surgery facility for all poor patients for free.

What is Robotic Surgery?

  • Robotic surgery is a type of surgical procedure that is done using robotic systems.
  • Robotically-assisted surgery was developed to overcome the limitations of pre-existing minimally-invasive surgical procedures and to enhance the capabilities of surgeons performing open surgery.

Benefits

  • Robotic surgery has the advantage of providing minimally invasive surgery, reducing significantly the morbidity & mortality of critically ill, cancer and kidney failure patients.
  • The Robotic system provides 7 degrees of freedom, 3-D vision, 10 times magnification and better dissection with more precision.
  • The operating time also decreases resulting in improvement in turnover of patients and decrease in waiting list of patients for surgery significantly.

[Source: PIB]

 

FIFTH INDIA INTERNATIONAL SCIENCE FESTIVAL (IISF) 2019

Related Topic in KAS Prelims Syllabus:

Science and Technology [Paper-II]: Nature and scope of Science and Technology, National policy on S&T and Innovations, Institutes and Organization in India promoting intergration of S&T and Innovation, their activities and contributions

News

  • PM Modi will inaugurate the Fifth India International Science Festival on November 5, 2019.
  • The four-day science festival is being organized in Kolkata from November 5 to November 8, 2019.

IISF 2019

  • India International Science Festival (IISF) is an annual event organised jointly by Science and Technology related Ministries and Departments of the Government of India and Vijnana Bharati (VIBHA).
  • The prime objective of the festival is to instill scientific temper among the masses, showcase India’s contribution in the field of S&T over the years and encourage translation of its benefits to people.
  • It aims to build a strategy for inclusive advancement of Science and Technology.
  • The theme for IISF 2019 is ‘RISEN India – Research, Innovation, and Science Empowering the Nation’.
  • Vigyan Prasar, an autonomous organisation of the Department of Science and Technology is the nodal agency to coordinate the IISF 2019.

Key Highlights

  • For school students, a Students Science Village has been planned at IISF-2019 where more than 2,500 school students from all over the nation have been invited.
  • Under the Pradhan Mantri Saansad Adarsh Gram Yojana, every Member of Parliament has been asked to nominate five students each along with their teacher from their constituency for the village.
  • Young Scientists’ Conference has also been planned, where 1,500 young scientists and researchers will interact with various subject matter experts of international repute.
  • A vast exhibition of India’s Scientific & Technological prowess will be on display through several expos – most prominent being the Science Expo at Science City.
  • Vigyanika Science Literature Festival will be one of the major highlight of this year’s IISF.
  • The programme Women Scientists & Entrepreneurs Conclave aspires to develop new entrepreneurship and explore new vistas of opportunities in the field of science and technology among women.

About Vigyan Prasar

  • It is an autonomous organisation of the Department of Science and Technology, Government of India.
  • It was set up in 1989 to take on large-scale science and technology popularisation programmes.
  • Its mandate is to promote and propagate scientific and rational outlook in society.

[Source: PIB]

 

ENVIRONMENT

GRADED RESPONSE ACTION PLAN (GRAP)

Related Topic in KAS Prelims Syllabus:

Environmental Science [Paper-II]: Issues and concerns related to Environment, its legal aspects, policies and treaties for the protection of Environment at the National and the International level, Environmental Hazards, Pollution

News

  • Environment Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority [EPCA] declared a Public Health Emergency in Delhi-NCR region as pollution levels entered the ‘severe plus emergency’ category.
  • On November 1, 2019, the overall Air Quality Index (AQI) was around 530 in the region.
  • Construction activities, hot mix plants and stone crushers in Delhi, Faridabad, Gurugram, Ghaziabad, Noida and Greater Noida will remain closed till morning of November 5, 2019.
  • Earlier, the EPCA had banned construction activities only for the period between 6 pm and 10 am till November 2, 2019. Now, no construction can take place even in daytime.
  • All these measures are part of the Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP) that has been in effect for 2 years in Delhi and the National Capital Region (NCR).

Causes

  • Current air quality is a combination of the accumulated toxins because of local pollution, which was further spiked because of cracker burning on Diwali night, combined with stubble burning and extremely adverse weather.
  • A recent report found that major causes of pollution in the capital and surrounding cities, were construction dust, vehicle emissions and burning of agricultural waste.

Health Issues

  • People are facing symptoms associated with pollution like irritation in the eyes and throat, dry skin, skin allergies, chronic cough and breathlessness.
  • Air pollution will have adverse health impact including respiratory ailments, particularly on children.

Air Quality Index (AQI)

  • AQI is an index for reporting daily air quality.
  • It is used by government agencies to communicate to the public how polluted the air currently is or how polluted it is forecast to become.
  • Public health risks increase as the AQI rises.
  • Different countries have their own air quality indices, corresponding to different national air quality standards.
  • National Air Quality Index (AQI) is under the aegis of the CPCB.
  • AQI has been developed to inform people about the level of eight pollutants— PM2.5, PM10, Ammonia, Lead, nitrogen oxides, sulfur dioxide, ozone, and carbon monoxide.

What does AQI values say?

An AQI between 0-50 is considered ‘good’, 51-100 ‘satisfactory’, 101-200 ‘moderate’, 201-300 ‘poor’, 301-400 ‘very poor’ and 401-500 ‘severe’. AQI above 500 falls in the ‘severe-plus emergency’ category.

What is ‘Severe+’ or ‘Emergency’ Level of Air Pollution?

  • Air pollution is said to reach emergency levels when PM2.5  levels cross 300 µg/m3 or PM10 levels cross 500 µg/m3.
  • As per the GRAP, these levels that are about five times the standard need to persist for 48 hours or more before an emergency level can be declared.

What is Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP)?

  • GRAP is the guiding principle for air pollution management for Delhi and NCR, pioneered by the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) and implemented by Environmental Pollution (Prevention & Control) Authority (EPCA).
  • It was approved by the Supreme Court in 2016.
  • The Plan institutionalised measures to be taken when air quality deteriorates.
  • GRAP works only as an emergency measure.
  • As such, the plan does not include action by various state governments to be taken throughout the year to tackle industrial, vehicular and combustion emissions.
  • When the air quality shifts from poor to very poor, the measures listed under both sections have to be followed since the plan is incremental in nature.

How does GRAP work?

Suggested Measures

  • Strict enforcement of lower pollution norms: Trucks and buses mixing kerosene and diesel should be impounded, and fined.
  • All construction activity in Delhi should be done with draping, to ensure that dust and dirt doesn’t fly into the air. This is done everywhere else in the world.
  • To prevent burning of wood etc during peak winters, build shelters for the homeless to sleep at night in the winters.
  • Efforts should be made to prevent stubble burning by farmers from neighbouring states of Delhi and Haryana.
  • Buses from other states should be allowed to enter Delhi only if they meet certain pollution norms.
  • There is a need for stringent vigilance and punitive action against all cases of local pollution, from plastic and garbage burning to dust pollution.
  • GRAP could be re-graded by shifting actions two or three steps earlier.
  • Capable staff for monitoring and management could be created by an ‘Environmental Cadre’ that is trained and knows what to do in which situation and how to address environmental problems in a holistic manner.
[Source: The Hindu, Hindustan Times, Indian Express]

 

FACTS OF THE DAY

ICON OF GOLDEN JUBILEE OF IFFI
  • Government of India (GoI) has constituted a special award titled ‘Icon of Golden Jubilee of IFFI’ which will be conferred upon the eminent film personality Rajinikanth.
  • GoI has honoured him with the Padma Bhushan (2000) and the Padma Vibhushan (2016).
  • He was conferred with the “Centenary Award for Indian Film Personality of the Year” at the 45th International Film Festival of India (2014).
  • 2019 marks the 50th year of the International Film Festival of India (IFFI), which is often counted amongst one of the earliest film festivals of the Asian continent.
INDO – GERMAN ENERGY FORUM 2019
  • 8th meeting of the Indo – German Energy Forum was concluded in New Delhi.
  • The Forum took note of the ongoing cooperation under the following four sub-groups:
  • Sub Group-I : Flexibilization in Thermal Power Plants.
  • Sub Group-II : Renewable Energies
  • Sub Group-III : Demand side energy efficiency and low carbon growth strategies
  • Sub Group-IV : Green Energy Corridors
  • The Forum finalized the roadmap for future collaboration between the two countries which include Flexibilisation of existing coal fired power plants, promoting niche markets for Solar Energy and promotion of energy efficiency in buildings through ECBC.

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