Daily Current Affairs, 8th August 2018
Topic: Women related issues.
All-women expedition to Mt. Manirang
What to study?
- For Prelims: Mt. Manirang- location and other key facts.
- For Mains: Related to women empowerment.
Context: An all-women expedition team has begun its journey to Mt. Manirang from Himachal Pradesh. The expedition commemorates the silver jubilee of 1993 Women Everest expedition.
The 1993 Women Everest expedition:
- The Indo-Nepalese women’s Everest expedition in 1993 was the first all women expedition, launched by Indian Mountaineering foundation.
- It was funded by the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports.
- The 21-member team was led by Ms. Bachendri Pal.
- The historic expedition set up several world records at the time which included the largest number of persons (18) of a single expedition to climb Mount Everest, largest number of women (six) from a single country to climb Mount Everest.
- Santosh Yadav, member of the team, became the first woman in the world to climb Mount Everest, while Miss Dicky Dolma became the youngest women (19) years in the world to climb the highest peak in the world.
About Mt. Manirang:
- Manirang is one of the highest mountains in the Indian state of Himachal Pradesh. It lies on the border between Kinnour and Lahaul and Spiti district.
- Mount Manirang (Altitude: 6593 mtr. / 21625.04 ft) is known as the crown of the Spiti valley.
- The whole region is situated in the rain shadow area and more or less lies dry other than winter.
Topic: Statutory, regulatory and various quasi-judicial bodies.
Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH)
What to study?
- For Prelims: INTACH- key facts.
- For Mains: Significance and the need for preservation of heritage sites.
Context: The Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH) has called for transforming heritage buildings in Rajasthan into “economic assets” for the society. Economic benefits could be derived from these properties as an alternative to paying for their upkeep on a regular basis.
About Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH):
- The Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH) is a non-profit charitable organisationregistered under the Societies’ Registration Act, 1860.
- Aim:It was founded in 1984 with the vision to create a membership organisation to stimulate and spearhead heritage awareness and conservation in India.
- Contributions:Since 1984, INTACH has pioneered the conservation and protection of India’s natural and cultural heritage and is today the largest membership organisation in the country dedicated to conservation.
- In 2007, the United Nations awarded INTACH a special consultative status with United Nations Economic and Social Council.
Topic: Issues related to health.
What to study?
- For Prelims: Scrub typhus and Japanese encephalitis.
- For Mains: Awareness and the need for prevention of outbreaks.
Context: As per recent findings by a team of experts, Scrub typhus is key encephalitis cause in eastern U.P. This finding is important, given that the mite-borne disease can be treated easily if doctors look for it early.
What is Scrub Typhus?
Scrub typhus is an infectious disease with symptoms similar to any viral fever. However, it is not caused by a virus, but by a parasite called Orientia tsutsugamushi, which is transmitted by the bite of infected mite larvae in soil containing scrub vegetation.
- The disease is also known as bush typhus because the mites (Leptotrombidium deliense, commonly known as trombiculid mite) that cause it reside in vegetation predominantly comprising small shrubs.
- The disease is more common during the wet season when the mites lay eggs. Incubation period (time between bite and beginning of symptoms) is 10 – 14 days.
It is usually transmitted by mites that are found in the shrubs in hilly areas. It can also be transmitted by lice, ticks and fleas.
Causes of Scrub Typhus:
- The species which transmits Scrub typhus are found in areas which have heavy scrub vegetation.
- Orientia tsutsugamushi gets transmitted through the bite of trombiculid mites. These mites feed on rural and forest rodents, including voles, rats and field mice.
- A person develops infection after the bite of the mite larva. When a person gets bitten by this mite, it leaves a characteristic black colored eschar which helps with the diagnosis.
- The symptoms of scrub typhus are similar to chikungunya. At onset there is fever, headache, bodyache, cough and gastrointestinal symptoms. Patients with a mild infection may recover without any other symptoms. However, roughly every second patient develops a visible black scab at the point of the bite, with a swelling of the lymph nodes.
- In about a third of cases, a delayed onset of rashes occurs 4-6 days into the disease. Severe cases typically include encephalitis and interstitial pneumonia due to vascular injury. The fatality rate is 7%.
- Other symptoms include high fever, skin rashes, respiratory problems, red eyes and unconsciousness. Some of the patients also develop joint pains, which is characteristic of chikungunya.
- It may progress on to respiratory distress, pneumonitis (inflammation of lung tissue), and multi-organ failure.
What needs to be done?
If detected in time, the disease can be cured using antibiotics. Antibiotics like Doxycycline or Azithromycin are commonly used to treat the disease. Dengue and chikungunya are self-limiting viral diseases that do not have any treatment, apart from management of symptoms. In scrub typhus, however, administering antibiotics on time can save lives.
But, getting an early diagnosis is a problem in Himachal, where Indira Gandhi Medical College and Hospital (IGMCH) is the only scrub typhus testing and treating centre.
- Limit the spread of rodents.
- Pets should be cleaned regularly.
- Skin should be properly covered while visiting jungle or area with lot of shrubs.
Topic: mechanisms, laws, institutions and bodies constituted for the protection and betterment of these vulnerable sections.
Restricted Area Permit (RAP) regime
What to study?
- For Prelims: RAP- features, important Islands in Andaman and Nicobar.
- For Mains: Need for RAP.
Context: The Union government has decided to exclude 29 inhabited Andaman & Nicobar Islands from the Restricted Area Permit (RAP) regime, subject to certain conditions, to boost tourism and overall development of Andaman & Nicobar Islands.
- The list of the islands permitted for foreigners visit includes East Island, North Andaman, Smith Island, Curfew Island, Stewart Island, Land Fall Island, Ayes Island, Middle Andaman, Long Island, Strait Island, North Passage, Baratang, South Andaman, Havelock, Neil Island, Flat Bay, Little Andaman, Chowra, Tillang Chong Island, Teressa, Katchal, Nancowry, Kamorta, Pulomilo, Great Nicobar, Little Nicobar, Narcondam Island and Interview Island.
- Foreigners will also be allowed to visit 11 uninhabited Islands, to be notified by Andaman and Nicobar Islands Administration, only for day visits.
- Citizens of Afghanistan, China and Pakistan and foreign nationals having their origin in these countries would continue to require RAP to visit Andaman & Nicobar Islands. In such cases, RAP may be granted only after obtaining prior approval of the ministry of home affairs.
- For visiting Mayabunder and Diglipur, citizens of Myanmar will continue to require RAP which shall be issued only with the prior approval of the MHA.
What is Restricted Area Permit (RAP) regime?
- RAP regime was notified under the Foreigners (Restricted Areas) Order, 1963.
- Under it, foreign nationals are not normally allowed to visit protected or restricted area unless Government is satisfied that there are extra-ordinary reasons to justify their visit.
- Every foreigner, except citizen of Bhutan, who desires to enter and stay in protected or restricted area, is required to obtain special permit from competent authority having power to issue such permits to foreigner, seeking it.
- Citizens of Afghanistan, China and Pakistan and foreign nationals of Pakistani origin are exception and are not allowed to enter such areas.
Topic: e-governance- applications, models, successes, limitations, and potential.
UMANG (Unified Mobile Application for New-age Governance)
What to study?
For Prelims and Mains: Key features of UMANG.
Context: Recognizing the importance of reaching out to the consumers and to safeguard their interests, TRAI has now integrated its Mobile Apps namely DND 2.0 & MyCall with UMANG Platform.
TRAI MyCall App:
TRAI MyCall is an intuitive and user friendly application for Crowdsourced Voice Call Quality Monitoring. The Application helps Mobile phone users to rate their experience about voice call quality in real time and help TRAI gather consumer experience data along with Network data.
A pop up requests the user to rate the call after it ends. Callers simply select their rating in the form of stars and indicate if the calls were made in indoor, outdoor or while travelling. Callerscan also provide additional details such as noise or audio delay or mark a call-drop.
DND 2.0 App:
DND (Do Not Disturb) Services App enables smart phone users to register their mobile number under DND and report spam messages or calls to avoid Unsolicited Commercial Communication (UCC)/Telemarketing Calls/SMS.
About Umang app:
What is it?
Umang is an initiative to promote Digital India program. The term — Umang stands for Unified Mobile Application for New-age Governance and is envisaged to make e-governance. The application is developed by the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) and National e-Governance Division (NeGD) in order to drive Mobile Governance in India.
The key goal of launching this application is to allow the citizens of India do everything online, at just a click – be it making a passport, Aadhaar or Pan, book a gas cylinder, know about your Provident fund account or resolving an Aadhaar related. Umang app basically provides a unified approach where you can install one application to avail multiple government services — almost over 100 of them.
Topic: Issues related agriculture and irrigation.
Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayee Yojana (PMKSY)
What to study?
- For Prelims: PMKSY and LTIF- key features.
- For Mains: Significance of PMKSY.
Context: A revised Memorandum of Agreement (MoA) has been signed amongst Govt. of India (through MoWR, RD & GR), NABARD and National Water Development Agency (NWDA) for funding of central share of 99 prioritized irrigation projects under Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayee Yojana (PMKSY) through Long Term Irrigation Fund (LTIF).
The MoU will enable this Ministry to release Central Assistance to prioritized projects under PMKSY as per the requirements from time to time.
- To cater to the large fund requirement and ensure completion of the projects, the Union Finance Minister, during his Budget speech 2016-17, announced creation of dedicated Long Term Irrigation Fund (LTIF) in NABARDwith an initial corpus of Rs. 20,000 crore for funding of Central and State share for the identified ongoing projects under PMKSY (AIBP and CAD).
- Corpus would be raised by way of budgetary resources and market borrowings to fund fast tracking of implementation of incomplete major & medium irrigation projects.
PMKSY has been conceived amalgamating ongoing schemes viz. Accelerated Irrigation Benefit Programme (AIBP) of the Ministry of Water Resources, River Development & Ganga Rejuvenation (MoWR,RD&GR), Integrated Watershed Management Programme (IWMP) of Department of Land Resources (DoLR) and the On Farm Water Management (OFWM) of Department of Agriculture and Cooperation (DAC).
- The scheme will be implemented by Ministries of Agriculture, Water Resources and Rural Development.
- The major objective of PMKSYis to achieve convergence of investments in irrigation at the field level, expand cultivable area under assured irrigation, improve on-farm water use efficiency to reduce wastage of water and enhance the adoption of precision-irrigation and other water saving technologies (More crop per drop).
Topic: Science and Technology- developments and their applications and effects in everyday life Achievements of Indians in science & technology; indigenization of technology and developing new technology.
What to study?
For Prelims and Mains: Thermal battery technology- key features, significance and potential.
Context: India has become home to the world’s first-ever thermal battery plant. The thermal battery facility, inaugurated in Andhra Pradesh, will be owned by Bharat Energy Storage Technology Private Limited (BEST).
This plant aims to create a new energy storage form that is expected to have commercial applications, while also maintaining a low carbon footprint, and being less dependent on external factors like weather. It could provide energy solutions for electrical grids, transport and telecom services.
What is thermal battery technology?
A thermal energy battery is used for storing and releasing thermal energy. It allows for available energy to be temporarily stored and be released for use whenever necessary. Standard battery technology is based on charging and discharging cycles mainly operated by electricity. The most commonly used Lithium-ion battery works on electrical energy. However, thermal batteries operate on thermal energy, which can be defined as energy created by temperature differences.
How it works?
Thermal batteries use thermal energy to operate, i.e., the energy created by temperature differences. Therefore, the energy transfer in thermal batteries helps store heat when heat travels from one part of the battery setup to the other.
For that to happen, a thermal battery consists of two parts: a cool zone known as sink, and a hot source called source. Both these sides consist of compounds known as phase-changing materials (PCMs), which can change their state of matter on the basis of a physical/chemical reaction.
When the sink of a thermal battery receives heat, it transforms physically or chemically, thereby storing energy, while the source cools down. During operation, the sink is cooled down, so it releases the stored energy, while the source heats up. Depending on the nature of the battery, the system can derive heat from any source, which makes a thermal battery very versatile.
Applications with power grids:
- The possible integration of thermal batteries with power grids is one of its main applications. This will help boost industrial demand and provide substantial support to public transport and telecom grids.
- Thermal batteries can function as long as heat is available for them to operate, which can be helpful in power transmission to remote areas. India’s rising regional energy requirements can be resolved using this technology.
- The telecom industry will also benefit as thermal batteries will help boost signal strength and network connectivity, which will thereby increase internet and smartphone penetration.
Use in e-vehicles technology:
The thermal batteries can be used in electric vehicles as well. India’s automobile industry has an ambitious target of going completely electric by 2030. Car manufacturers can use thermal battery technology to manufacture vehicle with clean energy at minimal maintenance cost and set up charging stations for the same.
Why is it good compared to other technologies?
- Although solar power is considered the most reliable source of energy yet it has pitfalls. The energy generation is not possible after sunset and high rainfall areas, which brings in the need for a robust energy storage infrastructure. Thus, the coming of thermal battery is a landmark development in the field of technology and environmental protection.
- Existing energy storage technologies depend on Lithium-based batteries, which are limited by life cycles, making it a very expensive proposition with replacements needed every six to seven years. They are also low on energy density and need a high footprint.
- Furthermore, Lithium’s sensitivity to extreme temperatures requires the energy storage systems to be placed in conditioned temperatures, requiring about eight to ten per cent energy storage for the cause.
Facts for Prelims:
Thermal battery technology was patented in India by Dr Patrick Glynn in 2016.