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Weekly Current Affairs (22nd to 31st May 2024) Part - 1 | Current Affairs & Hindu Analysis: Daily, Weekly & Monthly - UPSC PDF Download

Early Cancer Detection in India and CRC Tumour Breakthroughs

Context:

  • A recent report by NITI Aayog shed light on the concerning gaps in cancer detection in India, posing significant public health risks.
  • In the United States, researchers discovered a unique subtype of Fusobacterium nucleatum in colorectal cancer (CRC) tumors, potentially enhancing early detection and targeted treatment.

Key Highlights of the NITI Aayog Report on Early Cancer Detection in India

  • The report identified substantial gaps in cancer screening at Ayushman Bharat Health and Wellness Centres (HWCs).
  • Less than 10% of the visited HWCs had completed a single round of screening for non-communicable diseases, including cancer.
  • Screening for breast cancer relied on self-examination, while cervical cancer screening was not fully operationalized, and oral cancer screening was conducted on a case-by-case basis.
  • Infrastructure and necessary resources at the HWCs were not up to par with operational guidelines.
  • Low awareness levels and insufficient capacities among HWC staff were identified as reasons for the screening gaps.
  • Auxiliary Nurses and Midwives (ANMs) lacked adequate training on the essential screening methods.
  • HWC staff had limited knowledge about the need for annual screening for hypertension and diabetes.

India's Initiatives Related to Cancer

  • National Programme for Prevention and Control of Cancer, Diabetes, Cardiovascular Diseases, and Stroke
  • National Cancer Grid
  • National Cancer Awareness Day
  • HPV Vaccine
  • Ayushman Bharat- Health & Wellness Centres (AB-HWCs)

Key Highlights of the Study Regarding Colorectal Cancer

  • Researchers studied Fusobacterium nucleatum bacteria in 130 human CRC tumors, identifying a distinct subtype.
  • The subspecies Fusobacterium nucleatum animalis (Fna) showed a significant association with CRC tumors.
  • Fna comprised two evolutionary lineages (clades) - Fna C1 and Fna C2, with Fna C2 notably linked to CRC tumors.
  • Fna C2 possessed unique genetic traits facilitating its association with cancer, such as metabolizing specific compounds found in the human gut.
  • Physically, Fna C2 bacteria are elongated and slender, potentially aiding in evading the immune system and colonizing host tissues.
  • Fna C2's ability to survive in acidic conditions challenges previous beliefs about how Fusobacterium reaches the gut, potentially influencing early CRC diagnostic tests and targeted treatments.
  • However, selectively targeting Fna C2 without impacting other gut bacteria poses a significant challenge.

Harnessing Biomass Cultivation on Degraded Land

Weekly Current Affairs (22nd to 31st May 2024) Part - 1 | Current Affairs & Hindu Analysis: Daily, Weekly & Monthly - UPSC

Context: The first meeting called by the Principal Scientific Adviser of the Government of India discussed biomass cultivation on degraded land for green biohydrogen production and bioenergy generation.

Key Highlights

  • Seaweed Cultivation: Emphasized the potential of seaweed cultivation for biomass as a source for bioenergy and promoting a marine biomanufacturing start-up ecosystem.
  • Plant-Based Biomass: Deliberated on utilizing various plants like algae, molasses, and sugarcane for biomass production.

Government Initiatives

  • National Green Hydrogen Mission: Aims to kickstart focused trials for biomass-based green biohydrogen production.
  • Ministry of New & Renewable Energy (MNRE): Shared insights on Ministry programs for Bioenergy and the National Biomass Atlas for surplus agri-residue data.

Economic and Strategic Aspects

  • Data Utilization: Presented the Bhuvan portal by the National Remote Sensing Centre (NRSC) and ISRO for biomass assessment and stressed the importance of biomass data characterization.

Explanation of Biomass Cultivation on Degraded Land

Definition: Growing organic matter on land unsuitable for conventional agriculture due to factors like soil erosion, salinisation, or deforestation.

Benefits:

  • Soil Restoration: Rebuilding soil quality, preventing erosion, enhancing biodiversity, and acting as carbon sinks.
  • Carbon Sequestration: Absorbing carbon dioxide and aiding in climate change mitigation.
  • Bioenergy Production: Utilizing biomass for green biohydrogen and various energy forms.
  • Food Security: Promoting food security by cultivating biomass on degraded lands without affecting food crop areas.

Challenges in Biomass Cultivation

  • Soil Quality: Rehabilitating soil nutrients for successful cultivation.
  • Species Adaptation: Selecting resilient species suitable for harsh conditions.
  • Water Management: Developing efficient irrigation methods.
  • Economic Viability: Aligning biomass cultivation with market demand and ensuring economic sustainability.
  • Biodiversity Impact: Minimizing disruption to local ecosystems.

Future Strategies

  • Soil Improvement Techniques: Enhancing soil fertility through various methods.
  • Agroforestry: Implementing multi-tiered cropping systems with fast-growing trees and native plants.
  • Drones for Land Diagnostics: Using technology to assess degraded land efficiently.
  • Market Development: Creating markets for biomass products to support economic viability.

Question for Weekly Current Affairs (22nd to 31st May 2024) Part - 1
Try yourself:
What were the key findings of the NITI Aayog report on early cancer detection in India?
View Solution

Inter-Services Organisations Act

Context: The Inter-Services Organisations (ISOs) Act has been recently notified, empowering the leadership of such organizations to manage personnel across military branches.

Key Features:

  • Empowering ISO Leadership: Granting authority to Commanders-in-Chief and Officers-in-Command for disciplinary and administrative control.
  • Constitution and Classification: Recognizing existing ISOs and allowing the formation of new joint service commands.
  • Applicability and Qualifications: Extending the Act to other centrally controlled forces and specifying eligibility criteria for leadership roles.
  • Control and Commanding Officer: Detailing the responsibilities and authorities of Commanding Officers within ISOs.

Significance of Integration of Armed Forces:

  • Enhanced Operational Effectiveness: Improved coordination and unified command structures for better military operations.
  • Faster Decision-Making: Streamlined processes leading to quicker responses during critical situations.
  • Optimum Resource Utilisation: Reduction of duplication and effective resource allocation across services.

Conclusion:

  • The integration of Indian armed forces aims to enhance operational efficiency and modernize military capabilities to meet evolving challenges.

Indian Manufacturing Needs Product Sophistication

Weekly Current Affairs (22nd to 31st May 2024) Part - 1 | Current Affairs & Hindu Analysis: Daily, Weekly & Monthly - UPSC

Context: Recently, the Finance Minister emphasized the necessity for the Indian manufacturing sector to focus on creating more advanced products, with the government prepared to extend policy assistance towards this objective.

What is the Status of India's Manufacturing Sector?

  • The manufacturing domain contributes to 17% of India's GDP and employs over 27.3 million individuals, playing a pivotal role in the nation's economy.
  • The Indian government targets elevating the manufacturing sector's contribution to 25% of the economy's output by 2025 through initiatives like Make in India.
  • Significant sectors such as automotive, engineering, chemicals, pharmaceuticals, and consumer durables are propelling the sector's growth.
  • In FY23, manufacturing exports surged to a record USD 447.46 billion, showcasing a 6.03% increase compared to the prior year (FY22).
  • Key industrial sectors experienced a slowdown in January 2024, marking their slowest growth in 15 months.
  • The Index of Industrial Production (IIP) registered notable growth from April-October 2023, standing at 143.5.
  • Capacity utilization in the manufacturing sector rose to 68.3% in Q2 (2021-22) due to the pandemic's easing.
  • Sectors like Drugs and Pharmaceuticals, Food Processing Industries, and Medical Appliances observed increased FDI inflows.
  • The Economic Survey 2021-22 highlighted a positive growth trend in Gross Value Addition (GVA) despite COVID-19 disruptions.
  • Total employment in the sector rose from 57 million in 2017-18 to 62.4 million in 2019-20.

Opportunities for Manufacturing Sector in India

  • The Indian manufacturing sector benefits from a robust domestic and international demand for its products.
  • India's manufacturing sectors like chemicals, pharmaceuticals, automotive, electronics, and textiles have witnessed substantial growth.
  • Pharmaceutical manufacturing costs in India are significantly lower compared to the US and Europe.
  • Indian manufacturing is integrating into Global Value Chains (GVC), fostering opportunities for regional growth.
  • MSMEs play a vital role in the sector, contributing significantly to GDP and exports.
  • India's manufacturing products are experiencing escalating demand, both locally and globally.
  • The sector has the potential to reach USD 1 trillion by 2025.
  • Growth is fueled by increased production capacity, cost advantages, supportive policies, and private investments.

Challenges to the Manufacturing Sector in India

  • Outdated technology and inadequate infrastructure hinder global competitiveness and quality standards adherence.
  • India faces a shortage of skilled workers necessary for complex manufacturing jobs.
  • Logistics costs in India are 14% higher than the global average, impacting industry competitiveness.
  • Complex regulatory environment and challenging land acquisition processes deter potential investors.
  • China's dominance in manufacturing poses a significant challenge to India, reflected in import dependence.

Way Forward

  • Embracing Industry 4.0 technologies can propel the manufacturing sector's GDP share to 25%.
  • Increased investment in infrastructure and improved logistics can attract more business interest.
  • Promoting export-oriented manufacturing can open up new markets and enhance competitiveness.
  • Financial assistance and simplified regulations can support the growth of MSMEs in the sector.
  • Enhanced focus on skill development can address the shortage of skilled labor in manufacturing.
  • Transforming into a global manufacturing hub requires a well-educated and skilled labor force, as evidenced by Vietnam's success.

Initiative to Eliminate Mercury-Containing Medical Devices

Context:

  • The governments of Albania, Burkina Faso, India, Montenegro, and Uganda have collaborated on a $134 million project to eradicate mercury usage in medical devices, combating chemical pollution.

Key Highlights of the Initiative to Eliminate Mercury

  • The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) is spearheading the initiative, supported by the Global Environment Facility (GEF) and implemented by the World Health Organisation (WHO) with the goal of mitigating healthcare's impact on the environment and human health.
  • The project seeks to enhance global mercury waste management and advocate for alternative options.
  • It aims to phase out mercury-containing thermometers and sphygmomanometers by 20% annually, benefiting more than 1.8 million individuals.
  • While mercury-based medical devices like thermometers and sphygmomanometers are safe when undamaged, their breakage or improper disposal can release mercury vapours, contaminating the air and water.
  • Inhaling these vapours poses risks to the lungs, kidneys, and nervous system.

Question for Weekly Current Affairs (22nd to 31st May 2024) Part - 1
Try yourself:
What is the aim of the Inter-Services Organisations (ISOs) Act?
View Solution

Power of ECI to Deregister Political Party

Context:

  • Recently, the Election Commission of India (ECI) highlighted the importance of adhering to the Model Code of Conduct (MCC) by star campaigners to maintain societal harmony.

What does the Derecognition of Political Parties Mean?

Derecognition signifies the withdrawal of recognition of a political party by the ECI, rendering it a registered-unrecognised party.

  • Derecognized parties can still participate in elections but lose the privileges accorded to recognized parties.
  • The ECI possesses the authority to derecognize a party for violations of the Indian Constitution or the Representation of the People Act, 1951.
  • A recognized party is termed a Registered Unrecognised Political Party (RUPP) and is categorized as 'national' or 'State' based on specific criteria.
  • Criteria for recognition entail winning requisite seats or obtaining a stipulated vote percentage in general elections.

Grounds for Derecognition of a Political Party as a National Party

  • Failure to secure minimum votes or seats in general elections.
  • Non-submission of audited accounts or delayed organizational elections.

What does the Deregistration of the Political Party Mean?

Deregistration denotes the annulment of a political party's registration by the ECI, barring it from contesting elections.

  • Registered parties must adhere to the requirements outlined in the Representation of the People Act, 1951.
  • Benefits of registration include tax exemptions, a common symbol for elections, and the designation of 'star campaigners.'
  • Grounds for deregistration involve fraud, declaration as illegal, or non-compliance with constitutional principles.

Power of ECI and Need for Deregistration

The ECI lacks the authority to deregister parties under the RP Act, necessitating potential reforms to ensure electoral integrity.

  • Deregistration mechanisms promote electoral transparency and accountability by eliminating inactive entities.
  • Inactive political parties undermine democracy, necessitating measures to discourage their proliferation.
  • Proposed reforms and recommendations aim to enhance the accountability and functionality of political parties in India.

Way Forward

Various proposals and initiatives have been suggested to improve the electoral system and regulate political party activities.

  • Recommendations include amendments empowering the ECI to deregister parties and penalize defaulters.
  • Initiatives like the National Electoral Fund propose alternative funding mechanisms to discourage inactive parties.
  • Continuous efforts are essential to maintain electoral fairness and strengthen democratic processes in the country.

Naga Insurgency

Context: 

  • Recently, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) has filed a charge sheet in a Guwahati court, accusing the "China-Myanmar module" of the National Socialist Council of Nagaland-Isak Muivah (NSCN-IM) of supporting cadres of two banned Meitei outfits to infiltrate India. The NIA alleges that the NSCN-IM's actions were aimed at exploiting ethnic unrest in Manipur, destabilizing the state, and waging war against the Indian government.

Status of Conflicts in Nagaland and Manipur

History of Conflict in Manipur:

  • Manipur comprises 16 districts, commonly divided into 'valley' and 'hill' districts.
  • The valley region is predominantly inhabited by the Meitei community.
  • The Manipur valley is encircled by low hills and is home to 15 Naga tribes and the Chin-Kuki-Mizo-Zomi group, which includes the Kuki, Thadou, Hmar, Paite, Vaiphei, and Zou peoples.
  • The Kangleipak kingdom of Manipur, a British protectorate, faced raids by Naga tribes from the northern hills.
  • The Kukis, known for their fierce nature like the Nagas, were strategically settled along the ridges to safeguard the Imphal valley.

Kuki-Meitei Divide:

  • Ethnic tensions between the hill communities (Naga & Kuki) and the Meiteis (valley) date back to the kingdom era.
  • The independence movement by the Nagas in the 1950s instigated insurgencies among the Meiteis and Kuki-Zomi.
  • The Kuki-Zomi groups militarized in the 1990s, advocating for 'Kukiland,' which strained their relationship with the Meiteis.
  • Meiteis aim to restore their tribal status as recognized before Manipur's merger with India in 1949.

Reason For Recent Conflict:

  • Issues in the delimitation process in 2020 led to disputes between the Meitei community and tribal groups (Kuki and Nagas) over representation in the Assembly.
  • The coup in Myanmar in February 2021 triggered a refugee influx in India's Northeast, causing tensions in Manipur.
  • Violence erupted following the eviction of a Kuki village, leading to clashes and unrest in the region.
  • Links between NSCN-IM and Imphal valley-based insurgent groups have been highlighted during the ongoing ethnic crisis.

Way Forward

  • Assessment of the criteria for Scheduled Tribe (ST) status for Meiteis based on recommendations from committees such as the Lokur Committee (1965) and the Bhuria Commission (2002-2004).
  • Enhanced surveillance along border areas to prevent the influx of migrants from Myanmar.
  • Strengthening economic and diplomatic ties with neighboring countries to promote regional stability and security.
  • Preservation of the cultural identity of border communities and negotiation of peace agreements with insurgent groups for lasting stability.
  • Regular review of the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act (AFSPA) and implementation of confidence-building measures.
  • Promotion of local community participation in decision-making processes to foster a sense of belonging and involvement.

Transnational Organised Crime

Weekly Current Affairs (22nd to 31st May 2024) Part - 1 | Current Affairs & Hindu Analysis: Daily, Weekly & Monthly - UPSC

Context:

  • Transnational Organised Crime (TOC) involves illegal activities conducted by groups across multiple countries for financial gain.

Forms of Transnational Organised Crime

  • Money Laundering
  • Drug Trafficking
  • Human Trafficking
  • Smuggling of Migrants
  • Illicit Firearms Trafficking
  • Trafficking in Natural Resources
  • Fraudulent Medicines
  • Cybercrime and Identity Theft

Impact of Transnational Organised Crime

  • Global Public Health
  • Resilient and Inclusive Global Economy
  • Planet Health
  • International Peace and Security
  • Local Effects

Importance of Targeting Illicit Profits

  • Targeting illicit profits is crucial for achieving Sustainable Development Goals, disrupting criminal activities, promoting the rule of law, aiding development goals, enhancing global security, and safeguarding vulnerable populations.

Challenges in Controlling TOC

  • Diverse Legal Systems
  • Lack of Consensus
  • Corruption
  • Technological Advancements
  • Armed Conflict

Strategies to Combat TOC

  • Blockchain Forensics
  • Dark Web Infiltration
  • Transparency Initiatives
  • Political Will
  • Real-Time Fusion Centers

The document Weekly Current Affairs (22nd to 31st May 2024) Part - 1 | Current Affairs & Hindu Analysis: Daily, Weekly & Monthly - UPSC is a part of the UPSC Course Current Affairs & Hindu Analysis: Daily, Weekly & Monthly.
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FAQs on Weekly Current Affairs (22nd to 31st May 2024) Part - 1 - Current Affairs & Hindu Analysis: Daily, Weekly & Monthly - UPSC

1. What are some advancements in early cancer detection in India?
Ans.India has made significant progress in early cancer detection through initiatives such as the Initiative to Eliminate Mercury-Containing Medical Devices and breakthroughs in CRC tumour research. Additionally, there is a focus on harnessing biomass cultivation on degraded land for potential cancer-fighting properties.
2. How can Indian manufacturing enhance product sophistication?
Ans.Indian manufacturing can enhance product sophistication by investing in research and development, adopting advanced technologies, and focusing on upskilling the workforce. This will enable the production of high-quality, innovative products that meet global standards.
3. What is the Inter-Services Organisations Act related to?
Ans.The Inter-Services Organisations Act pertains to the regulation and oversight of various inter-services organizations within India, which play a crucial role in coordinating and executing joint operations among the armed forces.
4. What is the power of the ECI to deregister a political party?
Ans.The Election Commission of India (ECI) has the authority to deregister a political party if it fails to adhere to certain guidelines and rules prescribed by the ECI. This power is essential to maintain the integrity and transparency of the political system.
5. How is India addressing the issue of transnational organized crime?
Ans.India is addressing the issue of transnational organized crime through measures such as the Naga insurgency, which aims to tackle cross-border criminal activities. Additionally, there is a focus on collaborative efforts with international partners to combat this global threat.
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