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Prelim Bits 14-09-2022 & 15-09-2022 | UPSC Daily Current Affairs

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September 15, 2022

Arattupuzha Velayudha

  • Arattupuzha Velayudha was born into a well-off family of merchants in Kerala’s Alappuzha district.
  • He challenged the domination of upper castes or ‘Savarnas’ and brought about changes in the lives of both men and women.
  • He was known as the Morning Star of the Kerala Renaissance.
  • Arattupuzha’s role in initiating social reforms - He built two temples in the villages of Arattupuzha and Thanneermukkom.
  • These temples were dedicated to the Hindu god Shiva, in which members of all castes and religions were allowed entry.
  • In 1858, he led Achippudava Samaram strike at Kayamkulam (Alappuzha) to earn women belonging to Kerala’s oppressed groups their right to wear a lower garment that extended beyond the knees.
  • In 1859, this was extended into the Ethappu Samaram strike, the struggle for the right to wear an upper body cloth by women belonging to backward castes.
  • In 1860, he led the Mukkuthi Samaram at Pandalam, for the rights of lower-caste women to wear ‘mukkuthi’ (nose-ring), and other gold ornaments.
  • Apart from issues related to women, Arattupuzha also led the first-ever strike by agricultural labourers in Kerala, the Karshaka Thozhilali Samaram, which was successful.
  • He also established the first Kathakali Yogam (area-based schools for the classical dance form Kathakali) for the Ezhava community in 1861.
  • He was a master of Kalaripayattu, Kerala’s traditional martial arts, which is also considered the oldest of its kind in India.
  • Panicker was murdered by a group of upper-caste men in 1874 at the age of 49. This makes him the ‘first martyr’ of the Kerala renaissance.
  • Recognition - In 1869, he was given the title of ‘Panicker’ by the then-king of Travancore.
  • In 2005, the Kerala government inaugurated the Arattupuzha Velayudha Panicker Research Foundation & Cultural Centre, Thiruvananthapuram.

Nangeli

  • Nangeli was an Ezhava woman who is said to have lived in the 19th century in Alappuzha, Kerala.
  • Nangeli is believed to have cut off her breasts to protest the ‘breast tax’ imposed by the Kingdom of Travancore on women belonging to lower castes.

Kayamkulam Kochunni

  • He is a Robin Hood-like figure in 19th century Alappuzha.
  • The stories about him are an integral part of Kerala’s folklore.
  • A shrine is dedicated to him at Kozhencherry in the Pathanamthitta district, and a small museum at Varanapalli in his native Kayamkulam.

Reference

  1. https://indianexpress.com/article/explained/arattupuzha-velayudha-panicker-malayalam-movie-pathonpatham-noottandu-8149074/
  2. https://www.thehindu.com/entertainment/movies/pathonpatham-noottandu-movie-review-a-package-with-some-punch-despite-its-failings/article65878843.ece
  3. https://www.sahapedia.org/arattupuzha-velayudha-panicker-morning-star-of-the-kerala-renaissance

Board of Trade

The Union Minister of Commerce & Industry chairs the first meeting of the newly reconstituted Board of Trade.

The Board of Trade meeting was focused on

  1. Export target setting,
  2. The New Foreign Trade Policy (FTP) (2022-27), and
  3. The strategies and measures to be taken in order to take forward domestic manufacturing and exports.
  • The Board of Trade (BOT) been reconstituted by merging Council for Trade Development and Promotion with Board of Trade in 2019.
  • This Board advises the Government on policy measures connected with the Foreign Trade Policy in order to achieve the objectives of boosting India’s trade.
  • It provides a platform to state governments and UTs for articulating state-oriented perspectives on Trade Policy to boost tmanufacturing and exports.
  • It also acts as a platform to Government of India for appraising State Governments and UTs about international developments affecting India’s trade.
  • It is an important mechanism for deliberations on trade related issues with industry bodies, associations, export promotion councils, and state and UT governments.

Exports have been one of the most defining features of the government's efforts to make India a developed country by 2047, a vision articulated by PM Narendra Modi, in his Independence Day address this year.

Reference

  1. https://www.pib.gov.in/PressReleasePage.aspx?PRID=1859045
  2. https://www.thehindubusinessline.com/economy/govt-appoints-29-members-in-board-of-trade/article65630409.ece
  3. https://www.moneycontrol.com/news/economy-2/piyush-goyal-to-chair-board-of-trade-meeting-today-9169091.html

‘Triple dip’ La Nina

The Australian Bureau of Meteorology confirmed the occurrence of the ‘Triple dip’ La Niña phenomenon.

  • The La Niña weather pattern is one of the three phases of the El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO).
  • La Niña is caused by large-scale cooling of the ocean surface temperatures in the central and eastern equatorial Pacific Ocean.
  • La Niña is also the opposite of the widely-known El Niño, which only occurs when the Pacific Ocean water is higher than normal.
  • ‘Triple dip’ La Niña phenomenon means that the La Niña phenomenon has occurred for the third consecutive year in the Pacific Ocean.
  • The World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) had stated that it is exceptional to have three consecutive years with a la Niña event.
  • Its cooling influence is temporarily slowing the rise in global temperatures - but it will not halt or reverse the long-term warming trend.
  • The WMO has stated that this phenomenon would last until at least the end of the year, and for the first time this century, span 3 consecutive northern hemisphere winters to become a ‘triple dip’ La Nina.

The India Meteorological Department states that, since the 1950s, La Ninã lasting for more than two years has been recorded only on six instances.

  • Reasons for ‘Triple dip’ La Nina - The continuing La Nina may be good for India but not for some other countries.
  • Under climate change conditions, one must expect more such instances.
  • El Niño has been associated with rising heatwaves and extreme temperatures, such as in parts of the US, Europe and China recently.
  • India’s Northeast monsoon rainfall remained subdued during past La Niña events, but the 2021 monsoon is an exception in recent years.
  • In 2021, the southern Indian peninsula experienced its wettest recorded winter monsoon since 1901, receiving a whopping 171% surplus of rainfall between October and December.

Reference

  1. https://indianexpress.com/article/explained/explained-climate/triple-dip-la-nina-india-monsoon-impact-8151437/
  2. https://www.bbc.com/weather/features/62890361
  3. https://thehill.com/policy/equilibrium-sustainability/3638209-what-is-triple-dip-la-nina/

National List of Essential Medicines 2022

The National List of Essential Medicines (NLEM) 2022 was released after revising the NLEM 2015.

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), Essential Medicines are those that satisfy the priority health care needs of the population.

  • The National List of Essential Medicines (NLEM) was first formulated in 1996 by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.
  • It is framed on the lines of the Essential Medicines List (EML) released by the WHO.
  • The NLEM is revised on a regular basis considering the changing public health priorities as well as advancement in pharmaceutical knowledge.
  • The NLEM was revised thrice in 2003, 2011 and 2015, before 2022.
  • The primary purpose of NLEM is to promote rational use of medicines considering three important aspects - cost, safety and efficacy.
  • It helps in optimum utilisation of healthcare resources and budget, drug procurement policies, health insurance, improving prescribing habits, medical education and training and drafting pharmaceutical policies.
  • Furthermore, the NLEM promotes prescription by generic names.
  • In NLEM, the medicines are categorised based on the level of the healthcare system as primary, secondary and tertiary.
  • The list may also include drugs that are still under patent.
  • For revising the NLEM 2015 to release the NLEM 2022, the NLEM independent Standing National Committee on Medicines (SNCM) was constituted by the Union Health Ministry in 2018.
  • The NLEM 2022 has 384 drugs across 27 categories, after 34 new drugs were added to the list and 26 drugs from the previous list have been dropped.

The prices of essential medicines are regulated by the National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority.

The Process for Addition and Elimination

  • Adding the drugs to the list - For inclusion in the NLEM list, the drugs have to be useful in treating diseases that are a public health problem in India.
  • They have to be licensed/ approved by the Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI).
  • They also must have proven efficacy, a safety profile based on scientific evidence, comparatively cost effective, and aligned with the current treatment guidelines.
  • They have to be recommended under the National Health Programs of India.
  • When more than one medicine is available from the same therapeutic class, a prototype that is the best-suited medicine of that class is included.
  • Besides this, the price of the total treatment is considered and not the unit price of a medicine.
  • Fixed dose combinations are usually not included.
  • Eliminating the drugs from the list - A medicine is deleted from the list,
    1. If it is banned in India;
    2. If there are reports of concerns on the safety profile and
    3. If a medicine with better efficacy and is cheaper is available.
  • If the disease, for which a particular medicine is recommended, is no longer a national health concern, the drug is taken off the list.
  • In case of antimicrobials, if the resistance pattern has rendered an antimicrobial ineffective, it is removed from the NLEM.

Reference

  1. https://www.thehindu.com/sci-tech/health/explained-the-lowdown-on-the-essential-medicines-list/article65890118.ece
  2. https://pharmaceuticals.gov.in/sites/default/files/NLEM.pdf
  3. https://indianexpress.com/article/upsc-current-affairs/upsc-key-september-14-2022-why-you-should-read-national-list-of-essential-medicine-or-crispr-technology-or-coastal-regulation-zone-for-upsc-cse-8151439/

Traffic Separation Scheme

The Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC) - world’s largest container carrier - has taken the lead by re-routing its ships to keep away from colliding the blue whales.

  • Traffic Separation Scheme (TSS) is a routeing measure aimed at the separation of opposing streams of traffic by appropriate means and by the establishment of traffic lanes.
  • A TSS area is an area in the sea where navigation of ships is highly regulated.
  • Each TSS is designed to create lanes in the water with ships in a specific lane all travelling in (roughly) the same direction.
  • A TSS is typically created in locations with large numbers of ship movements and vessels travelling in different directions and where there might otherwise be a high risk of collisions.
  • TSSs are indicated on an admiralty chart in purple, one that has been touched upon even by those starting out their career at sea in all probability.
  • These are imaginary lines that don’t have actual representation through borders on location.
  • But they are complied with by all vessels out at sea as conformity to it is mandatory as per Rule 10 of the Convention on the International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea, 1972 (COLREGs).

The first Traffic Separation Scheme was established in the Dover Strait in 1967.

Reference

  1. https://www.thehindubusinessline.com/news/saving-the-blue-whales-from-ship-strikes/article6588608ece
  2. https://www.imo.org/en/OurWork/Safety/Pages/ShipsRouteing.aspx
  3. https://www.marineinsight.com/marine-navigation/9-common-mistakes-that-can-occur-while-using-traffic-separation-scheme-on-ships/

Cameroon Volcanic Line

A sudden change in the colour and smell of Lake Kuk, in north-west Cameroon, has caused panic among the locals. Fears are driven by an incident that happened 36 years ago at Lake Nyos.

  • Both Lake Kuk and Nyos are crater lakes located in a region of volcanic activity known as the Cameroon Volcanic Line.
  • The Cameroon volcanic line consists of a string of volcanoes that extend from the Atlantic Ocean into Republic of Cameroon.
  • The current period of volcanic activity started approximately 38 Ma ago and extends to the present.
  • The volcanoes here cross the oceanic-continental boundary.
  • The rocks of this volcanic line range in composition from picro-basalt and basalt through intermediate compositions to phonolite and rhyolite.
  • Silica saturated rocks are largely confined to the continental portion of the province.
  • Incidents - Around 36 years ago, Lake Nyos emitted lethal gases (mainly carbon dioxide) that was  released from the Earth’s mantle.
  • This carbon dioxide gas had been accumulating at the bottom of the lake for centuries.
  • Two years earlier, Lake Monoum, about 100km south-west of Lake Nyos, killed 37 people.
  • There are 45 crater lakes in the Cameroon volcanic line that could contain lethal amounts of gases.
  • Other lakes around the world that pose a similar threat include Lake Kivu at the border of Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo, Lake Ngozi in Tanzania and Lake Monticchio in Italy.
  • Managing dangerous lakes - Authorities should immediately restricted access to the lakes where there is a release of gas.
  • Due to the dynamic and active nature of the Cameroon Volcanic Line, there is a possibility that volcanic gases can seep into the lake at any moment.
  • An onsite scientific investigation would determine with certainty the abnormal behaviour of the lakes.
  • An additional step would be for a carbon dioxide detector to be installed the potentially dangerous crater lakes. This would serve as an early warning system for lethal gas releases.

Reference

  1. https://www.downtoearth.org.in/blog/africa/cameroon-s-exploding-lakes-disaster-expert-warns-deadly-gas-release-could-cause-another-tragedy-84899
  2. https://faculty.uml.edu/Nelson_Eby/Research/Cameroon/cvl.htm
  3. https://earthscience.stackexchange.com/questions/2895/is-the-cameroon-line-still-an-active-rift-zone
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