Current Affairs

UPSC Daily Current Affairs | Prelims and Mains Exam 23rd March 2020

Carissa Kopilii

  • Carissa kopilii is a multi-utility wild berry, greenish and sour when raw and blackish and sweet when ripe.
  • The fruits were difficult to find amid a profusion of thorns.
  • The “sun-loving” plant was distributed sparsely, rooted in rocky crevices along the Kopili riverbed (in Central Assam) at altitudes ranging from 85-600 meters above sea level.
  • The plant is threatened due to hydroelectric project on the river and water turned acidic because of coal mining in Meghalaya upstream.
  • The Carissa carandas (distant cousin of Carissa Kopilli) , was also among several thorny plants the British had grown 140 years ago for a 1,100-mile barrier apparently to enforce taxes and stop the smuggling of salt.
  • Carissa Carandas has been used as a traditional herbal medicine for a number of ailments such as diarrhoea, anaemia, constipation, indigestion, skin infections and urinary disorders.
  • The leaves have been used as fodder for silkworms while a paste of its pounded roots serves as a fly repellent.
  • Carissa kopilii, yielding white flowers from August-October and fruits from November-January, should have all the medicinal and utilitarian properties of Carissa Carandas.

Rushikulya River

  • The Rushikulya River is one of the major rivers in the state of Odisha and covers entire catchment area in the districts of Kandhamal and Ganjam of Odisha.
  • The Rushikulya originates at an elevation of about 1000 metres from Daringbadi hills of the Eastern Ghats range.
  • The place from where the river originates, Daringbadi is called the ‘ Kashmir of Odisha ‘.
  • The river meets the Bay of Bengal at Puruna Bandha in Ganjam.
  • Its tributaries are the Baghua, the Dhanei, the Badanadi etc.
  • It has no delta as such at its mouth.
  • Gahirmatha marine sanctuary and Rushikulya rookery coast in Ganjam district are main Olive Ridley Nesting sites in Odisha.
  • After 7 years, recently over one lakh turtles have laid eggs along Rushikulya coast.

Olive Ridley

  • The olive ridley sea turtle (Lepidochelys olivacea), also known commonly as the Pacific ridley sea turtle, is a species of turtle in the family Cheloniidae.
  • The species is the second smallest and most abundant of all sea turtles found in the world.
  • Lepidochelys olivacea is found in warm and tropical waters, primarily in the Pacific and Indian Oceans, but also in the warm waters of the Atlantic Ocean.
  • This turtle and the related Kemps ridley turtle are best known for their unique mass nesting called arribada, where thousands of females come together on the same beach to lay eggs.
  • Usually, olive riddles prefer to nest in darkness, sometimes due to pressure of delivery time, they may be opting to nest at daytime.
  • Each nest dug up by the turtles, on an average, contains around 100 eggs, the incubation period is around 45 days.

Bulk Drug Park

  • Union cabinet approved the relaunch of a scheme to set up three bulk drug parks and four medical device parks for a total outlay of ₹3,400 crore over five years.
  • This comes amid the coronavirus epidemic that hit supply of crucial pharmaceutical raw materials from China.
  • Under the scheme, the Centre will give grants-in-aid to states with a maximum limit of ₹1,000 crore per bulk drug park, effectively up to ₹3,000 crore in total.
  • The parks will have common facilities such as solvent recovery plant, distillation plant, power & steam units, and common effluent treatment plant.
  • A similar scheme has been announced for medical devices, with the Centre providing a maximum grant-in aid of ₹100 crore per park.
  • The government also announced a production-linked incentive scheme to promote domestic manufacturing of critical key starting materials (KSMs), drug intermediates and active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs) in the country.
  • Bulk drug and medical devices park schemes are not new and were first suggested in February 2015 by a committee headed by V.M. Katoch, the then secretary of department of health research.
  • The committee had suggested setting up of six bulk drug parks, which was announced by the government later that year along with medical device parks.
  • The plan was shelved a couple of years later due to lack of interest by pharmaceutical companies.

Bulk drugs (or) Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients

  • A bulk drug also called active pharmaceutical ingredient (API), is the chemical molecule in a pharmaceutical product (medicines we buy from the chemist) that lends the product the claimed therapeutic effect.
  • API (Active Pharmaceutical Ingredient) means the active ingredient which is contained in medicine.
  • For example, an active ingredient to relieve pain is included in a painkiller.

Key Starting Materials

  • Raw material refers to chemical compounds that are used as a base to make an API.
  • An API starting material (or) Key Starting Material is a raw material, intermediate or an API that is used in the production of an API.
  • It is incorporated as a significant structural fragment into the structure of the API.

AYUSH Health and Wellness Centre

  • The Union Cabinet has approved the inclusion of the AYUSH Health and Wellness Centre (AYUSH HWC) component of Ayushman Bharat in the National AYUSH Mission (NAM).
  • The move is aimed at establishing a holistic wellness model based on AYUSH principles and practices.
  • It focuses on preventive, promotive, curative, rehabilitative and palliative healthcare by integrating with the existing public health care system.
  • The National Health Policy 2017 (NHP, 2017) has advocated mainstreaming the potential of AYUSH systems (Ayurveda, Yoga and Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha, Sowa-rigpa and Homoeopathy) within a pluralistic system of Integrative healthcare.
  • NHP, 2017 also empowers masses for ‘self-care’ to reduce the disease burden and out of pocket expenditure and to provide informed choice to the needy public.

National AYUSH Mission

  • Department of AYUSH, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare launched the National Ayush Mission (NAM) in 2014.
  • It a centrally sponsored scheme.
  • It was launched with the basic objective of promoting Ayurveda, Yoga, Siddha & Unani and Homoeopathy (AYUSH) medical system through cost effective services, strengthening of educational systems, and sustainable availability of ASU & H raw-materials and facilitate the enforcement of quality control of (ASU &H) drugs.

Ayushman Bharat 

  • Ayushman Bharat Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (AB PM-JAY) is a flagship scheme of the Indian government’s National Health Policy.
  • It aims to provide free health coverage at the secondary and tertiary level to its bottom 40% poor and vulnerable population.
  • PM-JAY is the world’s largest and fully state sponsored health assurance scheme.

Central Grants to Local Bodies

  • Union government has released Rs 2,570 crore pending instalment of the grants to six states under the 14th Finance Commission that had been withheld pending local bodies elections.
  • This aims to ensure that the basic services provided by local bodies are not affected amid coronavirus scare.
  • The amounts to Andhra Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh, Meghalaya, Nagaland, Odisha, Tamil Nadu have been released for urban and rural local bodies wherever applicable.
  • The amount released totals Rs Rs 2,570.0813 crore, with Rs 940.8063 crore for rural local bodies and Rs 1,629.275 crore for urban local bodies.
  • Tamil Nadu will be the biggest beneficiary as its urban local bodies will get Rs 987.85 crore followed by Andhra Pradesh which will get Rs 431 crore and Rs 186.58 crore for Odisha.
  • Besides the taxes devolved to states, another source of transfers from the center to states is grants-in-aid.
  • As per the recommendations of the 14th Finance Commission, grants-in-aid constitute 12% of the central transfers to states.
  • The 14th Finance Commission had recommended grants to states for three purposes:
  1. Disaster relief,
  2. Local bodies,
  3. Revenue deficit.

Reunion Island

  • Reunion Island is a remote Indian Ocean island located between Madagascar and Mauritius.
  • It is an overseas region of France.
  • The island’s capital is Saint-Denis which is home to one-fifth of the population.
  • The Island is home to one of the world’s most active volcanoes, the Piton de la Fournaise which is also a World Heritage site.
  • India and France have conducted joint patrols from the Reunion Island for the first time. (This is different from annual Indo-French Military Joint Exercise Shakti).

Source: The Hindu

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