Vardhan IAS Daily Current Affairs, 29th January 2019

NCAER sign MoU for improving official statistical system of India.

The Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation (MoSPI) signs a MoU with National Council of Applied Economic Research (NCAER) for improving the official statistical system in the country.

It would lead to better monitoring of data related to Gross Domestic Product (GDP), Economic Census, Price Statistics, Index of Industrial Production (IIP), and Annual Survey of Industries (ASI).

Source: PIB

India to participate in Programme for International Student Assessment

The Ministry of Human Resources & Development signed an agreement with Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) for India’s Participation in Programme for International Student Assessment- PISA 2021.

Methodology

Random sampling method will be used to select students by PISA from Kendriya Vidyalaya Sangathan (KVS), Navodaya Vidyalaya Samiti (NVS) and schools in the UT of Chandigarh.

Importance

It would lead to recognition and acceptability of Indian students and prepare them for the global economy in the 21st century.

Background

Due to dismal performance of India in 2009, the government opted out of PISA blaming the questions out of context.

later NDA government in 2016 set up a committee in Kendriya Vidyalaya Sangathan to review the decision which recommended to join PISA.

About PISA

  • It is an international assessment that measures 15-year-old students’ reading, mathematics, and science literacy every three years.
  • PISA is coordinated by the OECD.
  • First conducted in 2000.
  • PISA also includes measures of general or cross-curricular competencies, such as collaborative problem-solving. PISA emphasizes on competency based assessment instead of content.

Source: PIB

Supreme Court to hear Curative petition on Bhopal gas tragedy

Supreme Court agreed to hear the Centre’s plea seeking Rs 7,844 crore as an additional fund from the successor firms of US-based Union Carbide Corporation, now owned by Dow Chemicals, to provide compensation to victims of the 1984 Bhopal Gas Tragedy.

Background

  • In 1984, India witnessed one of the world’s worst industrial disasters in Bhopal when thousands of people died due to accidental leakage of nearly 42 tonnes of toxic gas, methyl isocyanate (MIC).
  • The survivors of the 1984 tragedy have been fighting for long for adequate compensation and proper medical treatment for ailments caused by the toxic leak.

Curative Petitions in India

  • It is the last judicial resort available for redressal of grievances in court which is normally decided by judges in-chamber. It is only in rare cases that such petitions are given an open-court hearing.
  • Art 137- It allows the Supreme Court to review its orders or judgement.
  • Evolution of Curative Petition- In Rupa Ashok Hurra vs. Ashok Hurra (2002) case – The Supreme Court held that in order to prevent abuse of its process and to cure gross miscarriage of justice, it may reconsider its judgements in the exercise of its inherent powers.

Procedure for entertaining curative petitions:

  1. The petitioner will have to establish that there was a genuine violation of principles of natural justice and fear of the bias of the judge and judgement that adversely affected him.
  2. The petition is to be sent to the three senior most judges and judges of the bench who passed the judgement affecting the petition, if available.
  3. If the majority of the judges on the above bench agree that the matter needs hearing, then it would be sent to the same bench (as far as possible) and the court could impose “exemplary costs” to the petitioner if his plea lacks merit.

Source: The Hindu

New Delhi Metallo-beta-lactamase-1 Superbug reached to Arctic

Scientists have found a “superbug” gene in the soil samples taken in Svalbard, Norway.

blaNDM-1 (called New Delhi Metallo-beta-lactamase-1)– It was the first superbug which was detected in a patient who came to India for medical tourism.

Causes of mutation-A select few bacteria will mutate in particular ways that make them resistant to antibiotics. Then, when antibiotics are introduced, only the bacteria that can resist that treatment can survive to multiply further, proliferating the line of drug-resistant bugs.

Image result for genetic mutation causes drug resistance
Source: NIH

Issue

  • Around 2 million people a year in the US develop antibiotic-resistant infections, and 23,000 of them die of those infections.
  • Medical experts are afraid that we’re one step away from deadly, untreatable infections since the mcr-1 E.coli is resistant to that last-resort antibiotic Colistin.
  • The World Health Organization (WHO) is afraid of a post-antibiotic world, where loads of bacteria are superbugs.

Steps to prevent antibiotic resistance

  1. Limit the use of the antibiotic.
  2. Patients should complete the course of the treatment.
  3. Healthy animals used in food production.

UN to declare climate change an international security issue

The UN Security Council recently held an open debate to discuss its concrete impact on peace and security, and focus on tangible ways to diminish the effects of global warming.

India’s concern of declaring climate change as an international security issue by UN

  1. Declaring climate change as an international security issue can potentially give the Security Council the right to take action on it.
  2. A “mere decision of the Council” to take over enforcement of climate change action will disrupt the Paris Agreement and multilateral efforts to find solutions.
  3. UNSC is not a suitable platform to lead a global response to climate change because it requires the collaboration of all countries and stakeholders.
  4. Also, climate-related disasters may not amenable to the processes and solutions used to tackle threats to international peace and security.

Positive sides:

  • Defining climate change as a security challenge could lead to an upgrade in attention and resources devoted to addressing it.
  • Securitising climate change may also help heighten public awareness and help surmounting opposition to addressing the issue.

Why regard climate change as a national security threat?

Climate change has “a multitude of security impacts” with global warming records broken in 20 of the last 22 years.
Few say that there is no bigger security threat than climate change because it endangers the very existence of countries like Maldives.
Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s report in October predicting more heat waves, heavier rain events, higher sea levels and severe damage to agriculture represents “a security risk for the entire world.”
Also, the global average greenhouse gas concentrations of carbon dioxide – which causes global warming – continued rising to record levels in 2018-2019. The last time the Earth experienced similar concentration of carbon dioxide was 3-5 million years ago, when the temperature was 2-3 degrees Celsius warmer and sea level was 10-20 metres higher than now.

Way ahead:

Climate change is not a threat to international peace and security and should only be discussed in specific cases where it is a risk factor. However, enough attention needs to be given as World Economic Forum has ranked extreme weather, natural disasters, climate change and water crises as the top four existential threats in its new Global Risks Report 2019.

Key focus areas should be:

Developing stronger analytical capacity with integrated risk assessment frameworks.
Collecting stronger evidence base so good practices on climate risk prevention and management can be replicated in the field.
Building and reinforcing partnerships to leverage existing capacities within and outside the UN system.