Daily Current Affairs for UPSC Civil Services Exam – 14 September 2021

  1. The Civil Aviation Ministry has granted conditional permission to the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) to use drones in Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Manipur, and Nagaland to deliver vaccines beyond the visual line of sight.
  2. The ICMR has been permitted to use drones up to a height of 3,000 meters to deliver vaccines.
  3. Civil Aviation Ministry had launched the first its kind ‘Medicines from the Sky’ project at Vikarabad in Telangana under which drugs and vaccines will be delivered using drones.
  4. Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) in Mumbai has also received conditional permission to use drones for research, development, and testing purposes in its own premises.
  5. Both the organizations — the IIT and the ICMR — have been granted conditional exemption from Drone Rules, 2021.
  6. This exemption shall be subject to the terms and conditions of the said airspace clearance and shall be valid for a period of one year from the date of approval.

Model tribal villages

  1. Center is planning to transform 36,000 hamlets to “model tribal villages” with an emphasis on rural development, protection of forest rights, and ethnic practices of indigenous people.
  2. The Center is planning to develop these villages in such a manner that various factors like rural development, protection of ethnic or autonomous systems, forest rights, and entrepreneurship can be linked.
  3. Under the program, basic amenities will also be improved in the selected villages.
  4. Villages with over 50 percent tribal population will be given preference for the proposed program

Panthera tigris

  1. The tribals of Similipal in Mayurbhanj district of Odisha reported sightings of “black tigers” — their stripes almost fused together in patches threatening to obliterate parts of their burnished orange coats.
  2. 37% of Panthera tigris in the Similipal Tiger Reserve (in eastern India) are pseudomelanistic, characterized by wide, merged stripes.
  3. This is the result of a rare mutation in one gene, Transmembrane Aminopeptidase Q or Taqpep, recessively inherited The mutation is rarely seen in tigers outside Similipal.
  4. The discovery of the genetic basis for the physical characteristics or phenotype in the wild is a culmination of years of research by a team of scientists led by the National Centre for Biological Sciences (NCBS).
  5. Taqpep p.H454Y is likely absent or extremely rare outside of Similipal

Insights

  1. Two factors are probably driving this change in appearance caused by the rare Taqpep p.H454Y: a founder bottleneck effect when a small subset of a large population, in this case, tigers, establishes a new population, and the resulting genetic drift, where chance, more than natural selection, changes how common or rare genetic variants are.
  2. With shrinking habitats, the tiger population becomes increasingly isolated. This causes inbreeding, resulting in a lack of genetic variation, making them prone to extinction.
  3. That 37% of tigers are showing a particular phenotype may not be very high. But coupled with the phenotype’s absence from everywhere else, this makes it a relatively high percentage.

Kidney Damage

  1. Kidney injury as a complication of COVID-19 is more commonly seen in hospitalized patients.
  2. While the reported prevalence of kidney injury was 7% in a study of 2,650 patients admitted to a large hospital in southern India, a recent large study in the United States reported kidney injury in as many as 46% of 3,993 hospitalized patients, of whom 19% required dialysis.
  3. Patients with COVID-19 kidney injury also have an increased duration of hospitalization, with increased healthcare costs. Unfortunately, there are many more deaths in those who have acute kidney injury.
  4. Understanding the microscopic changes in kidneys after infection with the SARS-CoV-2 virus is important and has been the focus of extensive research.
  5. Thrombi or blood clots, as seen in the lungs and heart, may also be seen in the kidney.
  6. Inflammation (influx of white blood cells) in the kidney has also been described by researchers.
  7. The kidney injury is more commonly seen in kidneys that already have a chronic injury, such as that seen in diabetes or severe blood vessel diseases.

Chandrayaan-2 orbiter

  1. The observations of the Chandrayaan-2 orbiter payloads have yielded discovery-class findings, according to the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO).
  2. The mass spectrometer CHACE-2, in its pursuit, to conduct a first-ever in-situ study of the composition of the lunar neutral exosphere from a polar orbital platform, detected and studied the variability of the Argon-40 at the middle and higher latitudes of the Moon, depicting the radiogenic activities in the mid and higher latitudes of the Lunar interior.
  3. The discovery of Chromium and Manganese on the lunar surface, which are available in trace quantities, by the CLASS payload was announced.
  4. The observations of microflares of the Sun, during the quiet-Sun period, which provide important clues on the coronal heating problem of the Sun, were made by the XSM payload.
  5. The first-ever unambiguous detection of the hydration features of the Moon was achieved by Chandrayaan-2 with its infra-red spectrometer payload IIRS, which captured clear signatures of Hydroxyl and water-ice on the lunar surface.
  6. The DFSAR instrument could study the subsurface features of the Moon, detected signatures of the sub-surface water-ice, and achieved high-resolution mapping of the lunar morphological features in the polar regions.
  7. It has the feat of imaging the Moon from 100 km lunar orbit with “best-ever” achieved resolution of 25 cm with its OHRC.
  8. The DFRS experiment onboard Chandrayaan-2 has studied the ionosphere of the Moon, which is generated by the solar photo-ionization of the neutral species of the lunar tenuous exosphere, it was noted.
  9. The science data archived in the Indian Space Science Data Centre (ISSDC) at Byalalu, near here, are being disseminated to the public through its ‘PRADAN’ portal.

Chandrayaan-2

  1. Chandrayaan-2 is the second spacecraft in the Indian series of Lunar exploration satellites.
  2. It comprised an orbiter, a lander named Vikram, and a rover named Pragyan to explore the unexplored South Polar region of the Moon.
  3. It was launched on July 22, 2019, from the Sriharikota spaceport by GSLV Mk-III.
  4. It was inserted into a lunar orbit on August 20, 2019, with the firing of thrusters on the orbiter.
  5. The orbiter and lander modules were separated as two independent satellites on September 2, 2019.
  6. Vikram lander’s descent was as planned and normal performance was observed up to an altitude of 2.1 km from the Lunar surface on September seven, 2019.
  7. Communication from the lander (with the six-wheeled Pragyan rover accommodated inside it) was lost and the lander had a hard landing on the lunar surface.
  8. A successful soft-landing would have made India the fourth country after the erstwhile Soviet Union, the United States, and China to do so, according to ISRO officials.
  9. The orbiter, placed in its intended orbit around the Moon, will enrich our understanding of the Moon’s evolution and mapping of minerals and water molecules in polar regions, using its eight advanced scientific instruments, according to ISRO.

CRISPR

  1. Leveraging advancements in CRISPR-based genetic engineering, researchers have created a system that restrains populations of mosquitoes that infect millions each year with debilitating diseases.
  2. The “precision-guided sterile insect technique” (pgSIT), alters genes linked to male fertility—creating sterile offspring—and female flight in Aedes aegypti, the mosquito species responsible for spreading diseases including dengue fever, chikungunya, and Zika.
  3. The pgSIT uses CRISPR to sterilize male mosquitoes and render female mosquitoes (which spread disease) flightless.
  4. The system is self-limiting and is not predicted to persist or spread in the environment, two safety features that should enable acceptance for this technology.

UN Flash appeal

  1. The international community has announced over $1.2 billion in aid for the Afghanistan humanitarian crisis with the U.N.
  2. It underlines the importance to engage with the Taliban to ensure continued humanitarian assistance in the country and address other concerns including terrorism, human rights, and the nature of the government.
  3. The United Nations convened a high-level ministerial event in Geneva on the humanitarian situation in Afghanistan to highlight the acute needs in the country and underscore the urgent funding support and actions required by international partners to support the people of Afghanistan.
  4. U.N. agencies and non-governmental partners launched a flash appeal seeking $606 million for the remainder of the year to bring vital relief to 11 million people in the war-torn nation.

Children’s Code

  1.  U.K. government brought into effect the Age Appropriate Design Code or the Children’s Code, as an amendment to the Data Protection Act, 2018,
  2. It is operationalizing a set of regulations that will make using the digital space safer for children.
  3. While the Code is officially in place only in the U.K., tech majors such as TikTok, Instagram and YouTube have tightened safety rules for children, and campaigners hope this will become the norm globally.

What is the Children’s Code?

  1. The Children’s Code is a data protection code of practice for online services likely to be accessed by children.
  2. It has the potential to completely transform the way that companies collect, share, and use children’s data, requiring them to offer children a high level of privacy protection by default.
  3. It sets out 15 standards for online services, including apps, games, toys and devices, and even news services.
  4. Unless the service provider is able to prove that children do not access the service at all, it is required to consider making changes as per the Code.

QUAD

  1. U.S. President Joe Biden will host Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Prime Minsters Yoshihide Suga of Japan, and Scott Morrison of Australia at the first-ever Quad leaders summit in Washington DC on September 24.
  2. The summit will discuss deepening ties, fighting COVID-19 and climate change, cooperation on emerging technologies and cyberspace, and promoting a free and open Indo-Pacific.
  3. The last Quad leaders summit was held virtually in March 2021, owing to the COVID-19 crisis.

Insights

  1. TheQuadrilateral Security Dialogue is a strategic dialogue between the United States, Japan, Australia and India that is maintained by talks between member countries.
  2. The dialogue was initiated in 2007 by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, with the support of U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney, Australian Prime Minister John Howard, and Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.
  3. The dialogue was paralleled by joint military exercises of an unprecedented scale, titled Exercise Malabar.
  4. The diplomatic and military arrangement was widely viewed as a response to increased Chinese economic and military power, and the Chinese government responded to the Quadrilateral dialogue by issuing formal diplomatic protests to its members.