Daily Current Affairs | 5th June 2020

World Environment Day 2020

Each year, June 5 is celebrated as the World Environment Day. The World Environment Day 2020’s theme is ‘Celebrate Biodiversity‘, and it will be hosted in Colombia, in partnership with Germany. 

  • Since 1974, World Environment Day has been started celebrating as an annual event on every 5th  June to raise the importance of the healthy and green environment in the human lives, to solve the issues of the environment by implementing some positive environmental actions by government, organisations and individual as a whole.
  • In 1972, the conference was held on Human Environment which began from 5th to 16th June at United Nations. Here, the World Environment Day was first established to be celebrated every year by running some effective campaigns by the United Nations General Assembly and United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).
  • The first time World Environment Day was celebrated in 1974 with the theme “Only one Earth”.
  • Initially, it was started as a flagship campaign for raising awareness on budding environmental issues from marine pollution and global warming, to sustainable consumption and wildlife crime.
  • The aim of this day is to encourage people worldwide to take care of the Earth or become an agent of change.
  • World Environment Day has grown to become a global platform for public outreach, with participation from over 143 countries annually.

 

India to boost infrastructure in areas along China border

To ramp up infrastructure along the China border, the Ministry of Home Affairs has decided to spend 10% funds of Border Area Development Programme (a Centrally Sponsored Scheme) only on projects in Ladakh, Arunachal Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand and Sikkim.

  • The Border Area Development Programme (BADP) has been allocated ₹784 crore in the 2020-21 fiscal and the money is distributed to the border States and Union Territories depending on various criteria such as the length of the international border and population. In 2019-20, ₹825 crore was granted for the scheme.
  • The projects for developing strategically important villages and towns in border areas that have been identified by the border guarding forces will be given priority. Around ₹78.4 crore has been parked for projects in areas inhabited along the 3,488 km China border.

What will be constructed?

  • Construction of roads, bridges, culverts, primary schools, health infrastructure, playfields, irrigation works, mini-stadiums, indoor courts for basketball, badminton and table tennis can be undertaken within 10 km of the border.
  • Forces such as the Border Security Force (BSF), deployed along the Bangladesh and Pakistan borders; the Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) on the China border; the Sashastra Seema Bal along the Nepal border; and the Assam Rifles stationed along the Myanmar border would provide independent feedback on the projects in the blocks concerned and may be tasked to conduct social audit of the works
  • No NGO or private institution could be hired for infrastructure related work, the guidelines said.

Significance

The creation of infrastructure “would help integrate these areas with the hinterland, create a positive perception of care by the country and encourage people to stay on in the border areas leading to safe and secure borders”.

Border Area Development Programme

  • It is a centrally sponsored scheme which aims to meet the special development needs of the people living in remote and inaccessible areas situated near the international border and to saturate the border areas with the essential infrastructure through convergence of Central/State/BADP/Local schemes and participatory approach.
  • The funds under BADP are provided to the States as a 100% non-lapsable Special Central Assistance.
  • The Department of Border Management, Ministry of Home Affairs has been implementing the Border Area Development Programme (BADP) through the State Governments as part of a comprehensive approach to Border Management.
  • BADP was initiated in the border areas of the western region during that Seventh Five Year Plan period for ensuring balanced development of border areas through development of infrastructure and promotion of a sense of security among the border population.
  • The programme now covers 394 border blocks of 111 border districts in 17 States, which includes 167 border blocks in 55 districts of 8 North East, States (including Sikkim), located along the international land border. Under this programme priority is given to the areas closer to the border.

 

Global Vaccine Summit 2020: immunisation in the time of COVID-19

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has addressed the virtual Global Vaccine Summit hosted by UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson in which over 50 countries – business leaders, UN agencies, civil society, government ministers, Heads of State and country leaders participated.

India has pledged USD 15 million to GAVI, the international vaccine alliance.

What is GAVI?

  • GAVI, the Vaccine Alliance, is a public–private global health partnership with the goal of increasing access to immunisation in poor countries. It is a United Nations-backed organisation which coordinates vaccinations across the world.
  • It was created in the year 2000 as a successor to the Children’s Vaccine Initiative, which had been launched in 1990.
  • GAVI brings together developing country and donor governments, the World Health Organisation, UNICEF, the World Bank, the vaccine industry in both industrialised and developing countries, research and technical agencies, civil society, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and other private philanthropists.
  • It has an observer status in World Health Assembly.
  • GAVI supports many vaccine programmes such as Human Papillomavirus Vaccine, Polio Vaccine, Japanese Encephalitis, Typhoid, Cholera, Rotavirus, Yellow fever, Pentavalent vaccine etc.

 READ BASICS

  • Immunityis derived from Latin word “immunis” which means free from burden. In this case burden refers to disease caused by microorganisms or their toxic products.
  • Therefore Immunity is defined as the state of resistance or in susceptibility to disease caused by particular microorganisms or their toxic products. For example some individuals having genetic deficiency of glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase are resistant to malaria. Such individuals are said to be immune to Plasmodium.

Types of immunity:

  • Broadly there are two types of immunity.
  1. Innate or natural immunity
  2. Acquired immunity

Innate or Natural immunity:

  • Immunity with which an individual is born is called innate or natural immunity.
  • Innate immunity is provided by various components such as Skin, mucus membrane, Phagocytic cells etc
  • Innate immunity acts as first line of defense to particular microorganisms.

Mechanism of innate immunity:

  1. Anatomical barrier
  2. Physicochemical barrier
  3. Phagocytic barrier or Phagocytosis
  4. Inflammatory barrier or Inflammation

Types of innate immunity:

  1. Species immunity
  2. Racial immunity
  3. Individual immunity

1. Species immunity:

  • If one species is resistant to certain infection and the other species is susceptible to the same infection then it is called as species immunity.
  • Anatomic, physiological and metabolic differences between species determine species immunity. For example, Birds are resistant to anthrax but Human are susceptible. It is simply because higher body temperature of birds kills Bacillusanthracis.
  • Anatomic differences between species also determine species immunity. For example, Human are more susceptible to skin infection whereas Cattles are more resistant to the same skin infection. It is because of tough and hairy skin (hides) of Cattles.

2. Racial immunity:

  • If one race is susceptible while other race is resistant to same infection, then it is called Racial immunity.
  • For examples; certain African race are more resistant to malaria and yellow fever where are Asian or Americans are susceptible to same infection. Similarly Orientals (East Asia) are relatively resistant to syphilis.
  • Racial immunity is determined by difference in Socio-economic status, habitat, culture feeding habits, environments, genetic, etc.

3. Individual immunity:

  • If one individual of certain race or cast is resistant while other individuals of same race or cast are susceptible to certain infection, then it is called as individual immunity
  • Individual immunity is determined by various factors such as health status, nutritional status, previous illness, personal hygiene, genetic differences etc.
  • For examples; Individual with genetic deficiency of glucose-6 phosphate dehydrogenase are resistant to Malaria.

Acquired or Developed immunity:

  • Immunity which is developed later in life after microbial infection in host is called as Acquired or developed immunity. For example, If an individual is infected with chicken pox virus, he/she become resistant to same virus in later life.
  • Acquired immunity is provided by Antibodies and certain T-lymphocytes.
  • Components of acquired immunity such as Antibodies and T- cells are specific to particular microorganism. Therefore acquired immunity is also known as Specific immunity.

Characteristics of Acquired immunity:

  • Specificity
  • Self/non-self recognition
  • Immunological memory
  • Diversity

Types of acquired immunity:

  1. Active immunity
  2. Passive immunity

1. Active immunity:

  • If host itself produces antibodies, it is called active immunity.
  • It is of two types; artificial active immunity and natural active immunity.
  • Artificial active immunity:Immunity provided by vaccination.
  • Natural active immunity:immunity provided by natural infection.

2. Passive immunity:

  • If host does not produce antibodies itself but antibodies produced in other host provides immunity, than it is known as Passive immunity.
  • It is of two types; natural passive immunity and Artificial passive immunity
  • Natural passive immunity: IgG antibody produced in mother cross placenta and protects fetus up to 6 month old age.
  • Artificial passive immunity:if preformed antibody are injected into host for immunity. Eg. Anti-venom, Rabies vaccine (* it is not a vaccine, it is preformed anti rabies antibody)
NATURAL ARTIFICIAL
ACTIVE Natural active immunity occurs when a person develops immunity as a result of exposure to disease organisms or foreign toxins, venoms, allergens or drugs; generally, on initial exposure, the person develops the disease or has an initial negative response to the toxin or venom. Artificial active immunity occurs when a person develops immunity as a result of exposure to a vaccine designed to protect against disease organisms or foreign toxins, venoms, or allergens; generally, on initial exposure, the person does not develop symptoms of the disease or has only minimal response to the toxin or venom.
PASSIVE Passive active immunity occurs when a mother transmits her own antibodies to her fetus across the placenta or to her infant in her milk; such immunity is transient and relatively short-lived. Passive artifticial immunity occurs when an individual receives antibodies (injections of gamma globulin) or immune cells (leukocyte transfusions or bone marrow transplants) from another individual (who had had exposure to a specific antigen); such immunity may be transient and relatively short-lived (gamma globulin injections or leukocyte transfusions) or it may be permanent (bone marrow transplants).

 

Herd Immunity

Herd immunity is the indirect protection from a contagious infectious disease that happens when a population is immune either through vaccination or immunity developed through previous infection.

This means that even people who aren’t vaccinated, or in whom the vaccine doesn’t trigger immunity, are protected because people around them who are immune can act as buffers between them and an infected person.

Once herd immunity has been established for a while, and the ability of the disease to spread is hindered, the disease can eventually be eliminated. This is how the world eradicated smallpox, for example.

How does herd immunity work?

The scientific principle is that the presence of a large number of immune persons in the community, who will interrupt the transmission, provides indirect protection to those who are not immune.

To estimate the extent of spread and immunity, epidemiologists use a measure called the ‘basic reproductive number’ (R0). This indicates how many persons will be infected when exposed to an single case; an R0 of more than 1 indicates one person can spread the infection to multiple persons.

Scientific evidence shows that a person with measles can infect around 12-18 persons; and a person with influenza can infect around 1.2-4.5 persons, depending on the season. On the basis of the available evidence from China, and according to various experts, R0 COVID-19 ranges between 2 and 3.

There are three ways in which an infection can spread in a community. The first scenario looks at a community that is not immunised. When two infectious cases, both with an R0 value of 1, are introduced, there is a possibility of the entire community being infected, with a few exceptions.

In the second scenario, there may be some persons who have been immunised; and only these immunised persons will not be infected when at least two infectious cases are introduced in the community.

The third scenario is when the majority of the community is immunised. So, when two infectious cases are introduced, the spread can take place only in exceptional cases, like in the elderly or other vulnerable persons. Even in such a situation, the immunised persons protect the non-immunised by acting as a barrier — which is herd immunity.

When do we know that a population has achieved herd immunity?

It depends on multiple factors: how effective the vaccine for a given disease is, how long-lasting immunity is from both vaccination and infection, and which populations form critical links in transmission of the disease. Mathematically, it is defined on the basis of a number called “herd immunity threshold”, which is the number of immune individuals above which a disease may no longer circulate. The higher the R0, the higher the percentage of the population that has to be immunised to achieve herd immunity.

Polio has a threshold of 80% to 85%, while measles has 95%. With the current data for COVID-19, experts have estimated a threshold of over 60%. That means more than 60% of the population needs to develop immunity to reach the stage of herd immunity.

Why is herd immunity as a strategy against COVID-19 questionable?

It is very risky to seek herd immunity by allowing a large proportion of the population to get infected. Such a strategy at this stage, experts have underlined, would be based on many unknowns and variables.

To begin with, much about the behaviour of the pathogen is still unclear. There isn’t enough statistically significant data to estimate conclusively how many persons can get the virus from a single infected person.

Second, it can take months, or even longer, to build group immunity to COVID-19. During that time, the need is to protect people who are at greater risk; the numbers so far indicate that people above 55, especially those with co-morbidities like cardiovascular disease and hypertension, are the most vulnerable.

Third, while herd immunity may come about from a pandemic because the people who survive may develop immunity — they also may not — it is important to note that for COVID-19, we still don’t know whether one can become immune to the virus. Nor is it clear whether a person who develops immunity will remain permanently immune.

 

Govt launches TULIP portal to provide internships to graduates, engineers under ‘smart city’ projects

Ministry of Human Resources Development and Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs have recently joined hands to launch an online portal for ‘The Urban Learning Internship Programme (TULIP)’.

TULIP

  • TULIP is a programme for providing internship opportunities to fresh graduates in all Urban Local Bodies (ULBs) and Smart Cities across the country.
  • It is a joint initiative of ‘All India Council for Technical Education’ (AICTE) and Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs.
  • It aims for 1 crore successful internships by the year 2025.

Significance

  • TULIP would help enhance the value-to-market of India’s graduates and help create a potential talent pool in diverse fields like urban planning, transport engineering, environment, municipal finance etc. thus not only catalysing creation of prospective city managers but also talented private/ non-government sector professionals.
  • TULIP would benefit ULBs and smart cities immensely. It will lead to infusion of fresh ideas and energy with engagement of youth in co-creation of solutions for solving India’s urban challenges. More importantly, it will further Government’s endeavours to boost community partnership and government- academia-industry-civil society linkages.
  • Thus TULIP- “The Urban Learning Internship Program” would help fulfil twin goals of providing interns with hands-on learning experience as well as infusing fresh energy and ideas in the functioning of India’s ULBs and Smart Cities.

 

Arsenic Album 30 and Camphor 1m

Arsenic Album 30 and Camphor 1m are the two homeopathic medicines which have been suggested by the Maharashtra police for all the officers. These medicines will be consumed to increase immunity amid Coronavirus outbreak. It has not been proved scientifically that these medicines increase immunity or not. 

A homeopathic drug, Arsenicum album 30 has become a subject of debate after several states recommended it for prophylactic (preventive) use against COVID19. This was after the Ministry of AYUSH listed the drug among ‘preventive and prophylactic simple remedies’ against COVID19.

  • Arsenicum album is made by heating arsenic with distilled water, a process repeated several times over three days.
  • The health hazards of arsenic contamination in water are well known: long-term exposure to the metal can cause skin cancer, pulmonary and cardiovascular diseases. The homoeopathic drug has less than 1% arsenic.
  • Arsenicum album is considered to correct inflammation in body. It takes care of diarrhoea, cough and cold.
  • It is used commonly by homeopaths to treat anxiety, restlessness, cold, ulcerations, burning pains. It is taken in powder form or as a tablet.

Link with COVID19

  • On January 28, at its 64th meeting, the Scientific Advisory Board of the Central Council for Research in Homoeopathy (CCRH) opined that “Arsenicum album 30 could be taken as prophylactic medicine against Coronavirus infections”.
  • The CCRH released a fact sheet stating this medicine is only a “possible prevention” against flu. The following day, the Ayush Ministry recommended taking the medicine for three days on an empty stomach and repeating the dose after a month if an outbreak continues locally.
  • It was said that the Arsenicum album 30 should be taken daily once in empty stomach for three days. The dose should be repeated after one month by following the same schedule till Corona virus infections prevalent in the community.

Concern

Several homeopaths have pointed out that each individual reacts differently to homeopathic medicines and one medicine cannot be universally held as a prophylactic for all.

 

SC seeks Govt response on pleas over denial of ILP to Assam

Recently, the Supreme Court declined to stay the operation of a Presidential order which petitioners claimed deprived Assam of the powers to implement the Inner Line Permit system in its districts and limit the applicability of the Citizenship (Amendment) Act.

Inner Line

  • A concept drawn by colonial rulers, the Inner Line separated the tribal-populated hill areas in the Northeast from the plains.
  • To enter and stay for any period in these areas, Indian citizens from other areas need an Inner Line Permit (ILP). Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland and Mizoram are protected by the Inner Line, and lately Manipur was added.
  • The concept originates from the Bengal Eastern Frontier Regulation Act (BEFR), 1873.
  • After Independence, the Indian government replaced “British subjects” with “Citizen of India”. In 2013, the Home Ministry told Rajya Saha, “The main aim of ILP system is to prevent settlement of other Indian nationals in the States where ILP regime is prevalent, in order to protect the indigenous/tribal population.”

How is it linked to CAA?

  • The CAA, which relaxes eligibility criteria for certain categories of migrants from three countries seeking Indian citizenship, exempts certain categories of areas, including those protected by the Inner Line system.
  • Amid protests against the Act, the Adaptation of Laws (Amendment) Order, 2019, issued by the President, amended the BEFR, 1873, extending it to Manipur and parts of Nagaland that were not earlier protected by ILP.

Petition

The influential Asom Jatiyatabadi Yuba Chatra Parishad (AJYCP) and All Tai Ahom Students’ Union (ATASU) petitioned the Supreme Court against the Presidential order. Noting that the original BEFR included the then Assam districts of Kamrup, Darrang, Nowgong (now Nagaon), Sibsagar, Lakhimpur, and Cachar, the petition said the order took away the Assam government’s permissive power to implement the ILP. This could have made the CAA inapplicable in these areas, the petition said.

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