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Monthly DNA

13 Apr, 2021

52 Min Read

China – Sri Lanka relations

GS-II : International Relations India and its neighborhood

China – Sri Lanka relations

  • China on Monday signed a $500 million loan agreement with Sri Lanka, in a move that Colombo hopes would boost its foreign reserves that are under severe strain since the pandemic struck last year.
  • This is the second instalment of the $1 billion loan sought by Sri Lanka last year. The first was released in March 2020, just as the pandemic hit Sri Lanka.
  • The approval comes a month after Sri Lanka obtained a currency swap facility from China for $1.5 billion. Meanwhile, the Beijing-based Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) also sanctioned Sri Lanka’s request for a $180 million loan in February. Sri Lanka already owes more than $ 5 billion to China from past loans.
  • Sri Lanka, like many pandemic-hit countries, is facing an acute economic crisis for over a year now, with its rupee plummeting to nearly 203 against the U.S. dollar.
  • The country’s foreign reserves dropped to $ 4.05 billion in March this year, after its exports and tourism sector earnings, and foreign remittances dropped considerably in the last 12 months.
  • Sri Lanka is due to repaying some $ 4.5 billion of its outstanding debt this year and the government has said it is “exploring all options”.
  • India extended a $400 million swap facility through the Reserve Bank of India and provided a three-month rollover, but the facility was not further extended. The Central Bank of Sri Lanka settled the swap in February this year.
  • Meanwhile, Colombo is awaiting New Delhi’s response to two requests made last year by the government.
  • While PM Mahinda Rajapaksa sought a debt moratorium on the debt Sri Lanka owes India, President Gotabaya Rajapaksa requested Prime Minister Modi for a $ 1 billion currency swap last year. Neither request has been cleared by New Delhi as yet.

Source: TH

Use of Technology in Health Sector

GS-III : S&T Health

Use of Technology in Health Sector

Samsung Case Study

  • Samsung Electronics is recycling its old Galaxy smartphones into healthcare equipment for under-served people in India, Morocco, Vietnam and Papua New Guinea.
  • Old phones will be remodelled as eyecare equipment to screen patients with eye diseases, the company said in a statement.
  • When the South Korea handset maker introduced the recycling programme in 2017, it made a handheld camera to enable diagnosis of an internal organ.
  • The smartphone captured images, and the Galaxy device used Artificial Intelligence (AI) to analyse images for ophthalmic diseases.
  • It then connects to an app that evaluates patient’s data to suggest treatment, Samsung noted.
  • Samsung says the recycling initiative diverts e-waste from landfills to units making medical devices for under-served communities.
  • The electronics company made a portable retina camera using old smartphones, and used it on over 19,000 residents in Vietnam.
  • It now plans to extend the programme to India, Morocco and Papua New Guinea. The company will also make smartphone-based portable colposcopes to screen for cervical cancer.

Practo Case Study

  • Online healthcare platform, Practo, has introduced vernacular language options for its tele-consultation service on both its app and website.
  • The platform will offer consultation in 15 languages, including Marathi, Tamil, Kannada and Bengali, with more to be added soon, the company said in a blog post. Earlier this year, the firm piloted the language options by offering Hindi as the alternate option to users.
  • During this time, 25% of all online consultations on the platform were conducted in vernacular languages, with Hindi, Tamil, Marathi, and Kannada (in that order) emerging as their preferred language(s) for consultation, Practo noted, and added that 65% of all vernacular consults were from users aged 60 and above.

Source: TH

Mission Aahaar Kranti

GS-III : S&T Health

Mission Aahaar Kranti

  • The mission is aimed to spread the message of the need for a nutritionally balanced diet and to understand the importance of accessible to all local fruits and vegetables.
  • Vijnana Bharati (Vibha) and Global Indian Scientists’ and Technocrats’ Forum (GIST) have come together to launch the mission with the motto of (Uttam Aahaar Uttam Vichaar) or `Good Diet-Good Cognition’.
  • The `Aahaar Kranti’ movement is designed to address the peculiar problem being faced by India and the world called `hunger and diseases in abundance’.
  • Studies estimate that India produces as much as two times the amount of calories that it consumes. However, many in the country are still malnourished.
  • The root cause of this strange phenomenon is a lack of nutritional awareness in all sections of our society.
  • There is a need for a nutritionally balanced diet also in the context of the current COVID-19 pandemic. A healthy body would be able to handle the infection much better with greater immunity and higher resilience.
  • The United Nations has also declared 2021 as the International Year of Fruits and Vegetables, which vibes very well with Aahaar Kranti.
  • Fruits and vegetables make a large part of a balanced diet.
  • Further, UN sustainable goal # 3 that emphasizes on human well-being reads, “Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages.” This goal too makes Aahaar Kranti more meaningful. Diet and well-being are inseparable partners.
  • India has the unique advantage of having the knowledge of Ayurveda. It is time to also apply this rich knowledge of Ayurveda-based nutrition to practice. The movement will work on this too.
  • The movement proposes to address the current situation of hunger in abundance by working to rouse the people to the values of India’s traditional diet, to the healing powers of local fruits and vegetables, and to the miracles of a balanced diet. It will renew the focus on nutritionally balanced diets – ????? ??? ??????? ???? (Uttam evam santulit aahaar) replete in locally sourced fruits and vegetables.
  • The programme will focus on training teachers, who, in turn, will pass on the message to the multitudes of students, and through them to their families and finally the society at large.
  • Such a strategy was adopted for the eradication of Polio and it turned out to be a grand success.
  • Vijnana Bharati (Vibha) and Global Indian Scientists’ and Technocrats’ Forum have aimed to set Aahaar Kranti as a model for the entire world to follow. India has remained the world leader or Vishwaguru for ages, and in case of diet and nutrition, it has led to several path-breaking efforts in terms of science, technology, and innovations. The new movement will add to that.
  • The mission will work on multiple dimensions simultaneously. In terms of objectives, it will seek to promote better awareness, better nutrition and better agriculture; the messages will be imparted through the curriculum in the form of `what’s and `why’s of nutrition, or through the forms of games or as instructions such as `how to’; and the content will be provided both online and offline and in all vernacular languages besides English and Hindi to reach out to as many as possible.
  • While Vijnana Bharati (Vibha) and Global Indian Scientists’ and Technocrats’ Forum initiated the programme, several other agencies have also joined hands and have agreed to pool in their expertise and resources.
  • Union Ministry of Science and Technology’s Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR)’s Pravasi Bharatiya Academic and Scientific Sampark (Prabhaas) is collaborating, and various central and state government ministries and agencies are involved. More organisations are in the pipeline to join the Mission as it proceeds.

Source: PIB

Bar Headed Geese

GS-III : Biodiversity & Environment Conservation

Bar Headed Geese with a Mongolian Band

Wildlife Science and Conservation Center of Mongolia follow unique conservation methods like banding.

The band consists of details like:

  • Colour of the band- This green colour band
  • Conservation centre name- Wildlife Conservation and Science Center in Mongolia
  • Where is found- Salt lake near Tsakhir soum in province Arkhangai of Central Mongolia.
  • Capture location- N48.126314, E99.143451.
  • Details of Bird- This bird was identified as an adult male, weighed 2815 g.

Bar-headed Goose

The bar-headed goose is a goose that breeds in Central Asia in colonies of thousands near mountain lakes and winters in South Asia, as far south as peninsular India. It lays three to eight eggs at a time in a ground nest. It is known for the extreme altitudes it reaches when migrating across the Himalayas.

It's breeding grounds include Central Mongolia and Tibet. There is even documentation of the species breeding in Ladakh, India.

Conservation status: least concerned.

Sustained observation

At Hadinaru in Karnataka, the Birds are found in winter which is their migratory season.

Source: TH

Lab on Wheels Programme by Delhi Technological University

GS-II : Government policies and interventions Government Schemes & Programmes

Lab on Wheels Programme by DelhiTechnological University

Delhi Education Minister inaugurated Delhi Technological University (DTU) Lab on Wheels programme.

About Lab on Wheels Programme:

  • The Programme aims to impart education in the fields of Mathematics and Science.
  • Especially the students from marginalised and poor economic backgrounds.
  • The programme aims to stimulate their interest in these subjects while pursuing higher education.
  • The programme becomes mutually beneficial if some of these students decide to take admitted to DTU once they finish schooling.

Key Features of the programme:

  • Delhi Technological University students will travel in a bus across Delhi & will teach government school students and underprivileged children.
  • The bus will comprise 16 computers, two televisions, one 3D printer, one laptop, cameras and one printer. It will also be Wi-Fi enabled with 100% power back up and fully air-conditioned.
  • The programme will cover basic computer training for students, regular classwork for Class 10 and 12 students, and 3D printing training.

Source: TH

SC's Verdict: People are Free to Choose Religion

GS-II : Indian Polity Supreme court

SC's Verdict: People are Free to Choose Religion

The Supreme Court refused to entertain a PIL seeking directions to the Centre to ban black magic, superstition, and deceitful religious conversion.

What was the case filed?

  • A petition was filed in the Supreme Court seeking to control black magic, superstition & mass religious conversion of SC/STs. The petition also mentions the religious conversions through intimidation, threats & gifts.
  • The plea argued that such forceful religious conversions by use of black magic are common throughout the country.
  • These incidents are against Articles 14 (right to equality), 21(right to life), and 25 (right to religious freedom).
  • Also, they are against the principles of secularism (part of the basic structure of the Constitution).
  • The plea also said that the Centre and States obligated under Article 46 to protect the SC/ST community from social injustice and other forms of exploitation.
  • The petitioner also referred to the 1977 Stanislaus vs State of Madhya Pradesh and Others case.
    • In this case, the Supreme Court Constitution bench explained the “word ‘propagate’ used in Article (25). The court held that it means transmitting or spreading information from person to person or from place to place.
    • Further, the court also held that the Article does not grant the right to convert another person to one’s own religion.

What has the Supreme Court ruled?

  • The Supreme Court refused to entertain the petition. It observed that there is no reason why a person above 18 can’t choose his religion.
  • The Court observed that the fundamental right under Article 25 provides people to freely profess, practise and propagate religion. It is subject to public order, morality and health.
  • Further, the court said that Religious faith is a part of the fundamental right to privacy.
  • Hence, every person is the final judge of their own choice of religion. Courts cannot sit in the judgment of a person’s choice of religion or a life partner.

Source: TH

AICTE's “Lilavati Awards” 2020

GS-II : Governance Education

AICTE's “Lilavati Awards” 2020

Union Minister of Education has presented the AICTE Lilavati Awards 2020 on women empowerment to the winners.

About Lilavati Awards:

  • Lilavati Award is an initiative of the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE).
  • It aims to recognise efforts by AICTE-approved institutions to treat women with equality and fairness.
  • The award has got its name after the 12th-century book called “Lilavati”. The Mathematician Bhaskara II wrote this book.
  • Objective: To create awareness about issues like sanitation, hygiene, health, nutrition, literacy, employment, technology, credit, marketing, innovation, skill development, natural resources, and rights among women.
  • Areas Covered: Women’s health, self-defence, sanitation, literacy, entrepreneurship, and legal awareness.
  • Prize: In each sub-category, the top three winners will receive award certificates as well as prize money.
    • The first prize winner will get Rs. 1 lakh, the second winner will get Rs. 75,000 and the third winner will get Rs. 50,000.
  • Significance: The award ensures the participation of women and enables them to hold higher positions in educational institutions.

Source: PIB

Recent Dolphin Census Report Released

GS-III : Biodiversity & Environment Wildlife & Fauna

Recent Dolphin Census Report Released

The Odisha State Forest and Environment Department released the final data on the dolphin census that covered almost the entire coast of Odisha.

Key Findings:

  • The number of dolphins increased by 311 in Odisha taking the total number up to 544 Dolphins. In the 2020 census, there were a total of 233 dolphins in the Odisha state.
  • Census recorded three species of Dolphins: Irrawaddy, bottle-nose, and humpback dolphins.
  • Irrawaddy Dolphins: The population of Irrawaddy dolphins jumps from 146 in 2020 to 162 this year. These Dolphins mostly reside in Chilika lake. Apart from Chilika, 39 Irrawaddy dolphins were also sighted in the Rajnagar mangrove division.
    • The rise in the Irrawaddy dolphin population in Chilika is due to the eviction of illegal fish enclosures.
  • Humpback Dolphins: The highest growth is observed in the case of humpback dolphins. In 2021, their population increased to 281.
  • Bottlenose Dolphin: The number of bottle-nose dolphins increases from 23 in 2020 to 54 in 2021.

About Irrawaddy Dolphins:

  • Irrawaddy Dolphins are oceanic dolphins. They reside in brackish water near coasts, river mouths, and estuaries in South and Southeast Asia.
  • They have a bulging forehead and a short beak. Further, They pop their head out of the water to breathe.
  • Habitat: It extends from the Bay of Bengal to New Guinea and the Philippines.
  • Rivers: They reside in three rivers namely The Irrawaddy (Myanmar), the Mahakam (Indonesian Borneo), and the Mekong.
  • Population: As per estimations, there are less than 7500 Irrawaddy Dolphins in the world. More than 6,000 Irrawaddy dolphins have been reported from Bangladesh.
  • IUCN Status: Endangered

About Humpback Dolphin:

  • Humpback dolphins stay in relatively shallow nearshore waters throughout their range. It includes most of the coastlines in Australia, Africa, and Asia.
  • Species: There are four species of humpback dolphins with very little overlap between their ranges:
    • Indo-Pacific humpback dolphin (IUCN Status: Vulnerable)
    • Indian Ocean humpback dolphin(IUCN Status: Endangered)
    • Atlantic humpback dolphin(IUCN Status: Critically Endangered)
    • Australian humpback dolphin(IUCN Status: Vulnerable)

About Bottlenose Dolphin:

  • Further, Bottlenose dolphins are the most common members of the family of oceanic dolphins.
  • Bottlenose dolphins inhabit warm and temperate seas worldwide. Thus, they are found everywhere except for the Arctic and Antarctic Circle regions.
  • Species: Following are three species of Bottlenose dolphins:
    • Common bottlenose dolphin (IUCN Status: Least Concern)
    • Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphin (IUCN Status: Near Threatened)
    • Burrunan dolphin (IUCN Status: Yet to be classified)

Source: TH

Shaphari Scheme – To Include Shrimp Farms in Aquaculture

GS-III : Economic Issues Agriculture

Shaphari Scheme – To Include Shrimp Farms in Aquaculture

Marine Products Export Development Authority (MPEDA) recently launched a certification scheme for aquaculture called the “Shaphari Scheme”.

About Shaphari Scheme:

  • Safari is a Sanskrit word that means the superior quality of fishery products suitable for human consumption.
  • Purpose: It is an Antibiotics free Certification Scheme.
    • It certifies hatcheries and farms for the production of antibiotic-free shrimp products. By doing that, it aims to:
      1. enhance consumer confidence,
      2. meet international standards
      3. promote hassle-free export
  • The entire certification process will be online to minimize human errors and ensure higher credibility and transparency.
  • The scheme is based on the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization’s technical guidelines on aquaculture certification.
  • The scheme will have two components:
    1. Certifying hatcheries for the quality of their seeds and
    2. Separately approving shrimp farms that adopt the requisite good practices.
  • The certification of fish hatcheries under the Shaphari Scheme will help farmers easily identify good quality seed producers.
    • Those who successfully clear multiple audits of their operations shall receive a certificate for a period of two years.

Objective Behind the Scheme:

  • India is the second-largest fish producer in the world.
  • Fish Sector provides employment to 14 million people in harvesting, processing packaging, and distribution.
  • Frozen shrimp is the largest exported item from India. It constitutes 50.58% in quantity and 73.2% in terms of total U.S. dollar earnings from the sector during 2019-20.
  • India exported frozen shrimp worth almost $5 billion in 2019-20 to the U.S. and China — its biggest buyers.
  • Andhra Pradesh, West Bengal, Odisha, Gujarat, and Tamil Nadu are the major shrimp-producing States.
  • However, a combination of factors had hurt export volumes in recent months including container shortages and incidents of seafood consignments being rejected because of food safety concerns. Hence, the scheme was launched.

Source: PIB

India - Denmark MoU on Atal Innovation Mission

GS-II : Governance NITI Aayog

India - Denmark MoU on Atal Innovation Mission

  • As part of the Indo-Danish bilateral Green strategic partnership, India is all set to take a giant leap towards building a world-class innovation ecosystem as Atal Innovation Mission (AIM) of India’s premier policy think tank NITI Aayog and Embassy of Denmark to India today officially announced their collaboration.

  • Under this ambitious partnership, Innovation Center Denmark in India will collaborate with AIM to support various current and future initiatives of AIM, NITI Aayog and its beneficiaries in India as well as develop global innovation Green economy partnerships addressing SDG goals.

Source: PIB

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