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Prelims Booster

27th October – Prelims Booster

India Energy Forum

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has delivered the inaugural address at 4th India Energy Forum recently. The theme of this edition is “India’s Energy Future in a world of Change”.

Highlights of the PM’s address –

  • The Prime Minister pointed that India is the third largest and the fastest growing aviation market in terms of domestic aviation and Indian carriers are projected to increase their fleet size from 600 to 1200 by 2024.
  • The Prime Minister said India’s Energy Plan aims to ensure energy justice while fully following India’s global commitments for sustainable growth. This means more energy is needed to improve the lives of Indians with a smaller carbon foot-print. He envisioned India’s energy sector to be growth centric, industry friendly and environment conscious. He said that is why India is among the most active nations in furthering renewable sources of energy.
  • The Prime Minister listed the interventions which made India the most attractive emerging market for clean energy investment viz, distributing more than 36 crore LED bulbs, reducing the cost of LED bulbs by 10 fold, installing over 1.1 crore smart LED street-lights in the last 6 years. He said these interventions have enabled an estimated energy savings of 60 billion units per year, estimated green-house gas emission reduction of over 4.5 crore tonnes of Carbon dioxide  annually and monetary savings of around  Rs. 24,000 crore annually.
  • The Prime Minister remarked that India is well on track to meet the global commitment.  He said the target to increase the installed renewable energy capacity to 175 GW by 2022 has been further extended to 450 GW by 2030.

India’s energy map –

The Prime Minister said India’s energy map will have seven key drivers –

  1. Accelerating our efforts  to move towards a gas-based economy
  2. Cleaner use of fossil fuels particularly petroleum and coal.
  3. Greater reliance on domestic sources to drive bio-fuels. 
  4. Achieving the renewables target of 450 GW by 2030. 
  5. Increasing the contribution of electricity to de-carbonise mobility
  6. Moving into the emerging fuels including hydrogen.
  7. Digital innovation across all the energy systems.

World Polio Day

October 24 is observed as World Polio Day every year in order to call on countries to stay vigilant in their fight against the disease. As per the WHO, since 1980, the cases of wild poliovirus have decreased by over 99.9 per cent as a result of vaccination efforts made around the world.

World Polio Day was established by Rotary International over a decade ago to commemorate the birth of Jonas Salk, who led the first team to develop the vaccine against the disease.

In the last three decades, the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI), led by national governments and the WHO, has been monitoring the disease situation globally.

What is ‘Polio’?

  • According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “Polio is a crippling and potentially deadly disease that affects the nervous system… Because the virus lives in the faeces (poop) of an infected person, people infected with the disease can spread it to others when they do not wash their hands well after defecating (pooping). People can also be infected if they drink water or eat food contaminated with infected feces.
  • Most people with polio do not feel sick. Some people have only minor symptoms, such as fever, tiredness, nausea, headache, nasal congestion, sore throat, cough, stiffness in the neck and back, and pain in the arms and legs. In rare cases, polio infection causes permanent loss of muscle function (paralysis). Polio can be fatal if the muscles used for breathing are paralysed or if there is an infection of the brain.
  • The virus multiplies in the intestine, from where it can invade the nervous system and can cause paralysis. Once that happens, the patient is crippled for life because there is no treatment for the affliction. Polio infection, however, can be easily prevented by a vaccine.
  • There are three variants of the poliovirus, numbered 1 to 3. For a country to be declared polio-free, the wild transmission of all three kinds has to be stopped. For eradication, cases of both wild and vaccine-derived polio infection have to be reduced to zero.

Recent outbreaks –

  • In 2019, polio outbreaks were recorded in the Philippines, Malaysia, Ghana, Myanmar, China, Cameroon, Indonesia and Iran, which were mostly vaccine-derived (a rare strain of the virus genetically mutated from the strain in the vaccine).
  • According to the WHO, if the oral vaccine-virus is excreted and allowed to circulate in an un- or under-immunised population for at least 12 months, it can mutate to cause infections.
  • As per the CDC, Afghanistan and Pakistan are the two countries that are the last stronghold of the wild poliovirus. In Pakistan, the number of reported wild poliovirus cases has increased in 2020.

Status in India –

India was declared polio-free in January 2014, after three years of zero cases, an achievement widely believed to have been spurred by the successful pulse polio campaign in which all children were administered polio drops. The last case due to wild poliovirus in the country was detected on January 13, 2011.

Oaxaca

Recently, Prime Minister Narendra Modi extolled the virtues of Khadi – the handwoven cloth popularised by Mahatma Gandhi. He made a reference to the region of Oaxaca in Mexico, where he said khadi was being manufactured, and narrated an anecdote about how khadi reached the Latin American country after a local resident became influenced by a film on Mahatma Gandhi.

What is Mexico’s Khadi Oaxaca?

  • Khadi Oaxaca is a farm-to-garment collective which comprises around 400 families, which live and work on traditional farms and homesteads in the Oaxaca region of southern Mexico.
  • It has been founded by Mark “Marcos” Brown, an American living in Mexico, and his wife, Kalindi Attar.
  • The project says it uses cotton produced and cultivated on the Oaxaca coast, and produces chemical-free clothing, relying on locally harvested plant-based dyes.

Global Hunger Index

India has been ranked 94 on the 2020 Global Hunger Index (GHI), lower than neighbours like Bangladesh and Pakistan. The GHI showed that nearly 690 million people in the world are undernourished; 144 million children suffer from stunting, a sign of chronic undernutrition; 47 million children suffer from wasting, also a sign of acute undernutrition.

What is the Global Hunger Index?

  • The GHI is an annual peer-reviewed publication by Concern Worldwide and Welthungerhilfe. It aims to track hunger at global, regional and national levels. It uses four parameters to calculate its scores.
  • One third of the score comes from the level of undernourishment in a country, which is the share of the population with insufficient caloric intake, and uses Food and Agriculture Organization data.
  • The other three parameters are based on children under the age of five years. A third of the score comes from child mortality rate, which often reflects the fatal mix of inadequate nutrition and unhealthy environments. The remaining third of the score is based on child wasting, which is the share of children who have low weight for their height, reflecting acute undernutrition, and child stunting, which is the share of children who have low height for their age, reflecting chronic undernutrition. These parameters use information from the World Health Organization, the World Bank and the United Nations, although all these international organisations draw from national data, which, in India’s case, includes the National Family Health Surveys (NFHS). There is always a time lag in such data, so the 2020 scores are based on data from 2015-19.
  • This results in a 100-point scale, with zero meaning no hunger at all. Countries scoring 9.9 and less are classified as having a low severity. A score between 10 and 19.9 is considered moderate, that from 20 to 34.9 is serious, and a score of 35 or more is alarming.

Performance of India –

  • In 2020, India falls in the ‘serious’ category on the Index, with a total score of 27.2. This is a definite improvement from the situation two decades ago, when it scored 38.9 and fell into the ‘alarming’ category. However, its scores are abysmal when compared to its peers in the BRICS countries. China and Brazil both scored under five, and are considered to have very low levels of hunger. South Africa is ranked 60 with a score of 13.5, indicating moderate levels of hunger.
  • In the serious category, India stands with some of the poorest African nations, as well as its own South Asian neighbours, all of whom have better scores except Afghanistan. India is tied at the 94th rank out of 107 countries, sharing the rank with Sudan.
  • In terms of overall undernourishment, 14% of India’s population does not get enough calories, an improvement from almost 20% in 2005-07. The child mortality rate is 3.7%, a significant drop from 9.2% in 2000. Many countries fare worse than India on these two parameters.
  • India’s poor score comes almost entirely from the child stunting and wasting parameters. Almost 35% of Indian children are stunted, and although this is much better than the 54.2% rate of 2000, it is still among the world’s worst. Also, 17.3% of Indian children under five are wasted, which is the highest prevalence of child wasting in the world. There is no change from two decades ago, when it was 17.1%. In fact, the situation improved to 15% in the 2010-14 data period, but worsened again by 2015-19.

Causes of high child stunting and wasting –

  • Poor state of maternal health, more than anything else is the root cause. Mothers are too young, too short, too thin and too undernourished themselves, before they get pregnant, during pregnancy, and then after giving birth, during breast-feeding.
  • Poor sanitation, leading to diarrhoea, is another major cause of child wasting and stunting. At the time of the last NFHS, almost 40% of households were still practising open defecation. Only 36% of households disposed of children’s stools in a safe manner. One in 10 children under the age of five suffer from diarrhoea.

How do different Indian States compare?

  • Almost one in three children in Jharkhand show acute undernutrition, with a 29% rate of wasting. Although this is the worst State by far, other large States such as Tamil Nadu, West Bengal, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Karnataka also have one in five children who are wasted.
  • Interestingly, other States that usually fare poorly on development indices, such as Bihar, Rajasthan and Odisha, actually do better than the national average, with 13-14% rates of wasting. Uttarakhand and Punjab, along with several north-eastern States, have levels of child wasting below 10%.
  • In terms of stunting, Bihar performs the worst, with 42% of children too short for their age. Other populous States like Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh also have stunting rates just below 40%, and so does Gujarat. At the other end of the scale, Jammu and Kashmir has only 15% stunted children, while Tamil Nadu and Kerala are around the 20% mark.

MCQs

1. Which of the following statement(s) is/are correct?

  1. India is the third largest aviation market in terms of domestic aviation.
  2. India has distributed over 36 crore LED bulbs at 1/10th of the cost and installed over 1.1 crore of LED street-lights in the last six years.
  3. India has set an ambitious target of increasing the installed renewable energy capacity to 450 GW by the year 2030.

Select the correct codes from below –

  1. 1 and 2 only
  2. 2 and 3 only
  3. 1 and 3 only
  4. All of the above

Answer – D

ExplanationIndia is the third largest and the fastest growing aviation market in terms of domestic aviation and Indian carriers are projected to increase their fleet size from 600 to 1200 by 2024. India has distributed more than 36 crore LED bulbs, reducing the cost of LED bulbs by 10 fold, installing over 1.1 crore smart LED street-lights in the last 6 years. These interventions have enabled an estimated energy savings of 60 billion units per year, estimated green-house gas emission reduction of over 4.5 crore tonnes of Carbon dioxide  annually and monetary savings of around  Rs. 24,000 crore annually. India is well on track to meet the global commitment.  He said the target to increase the installed renewable energy capacity to 175 GW by 2022 has been further extended to 450 GW by 2030.

2. Which of the following statement(s) is/are correct about the ‘Polio’ disease?

  1. Polio virus attacks the nervous system and may cause permanent loss of muscle function (paralysis).
  2. It only attacks the limbs and debilitates them through paralysis.
  3. World Polio Day is celebrated annually on 24th October to commemorate the day when the first Oral Polio Vaccine was administered to a child in the year 1996.
  4. The polio virus multiplies in the intestine from where it can invade the nervous system and can cause paralysis.

Select the correct codes from below –

  1. 1, 2 and 3 only
  2. 2, 3 and 4 only
  3. 1 and 4 only
  4. 1 only

Answer – C

Explanation – According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “Polio is a crippling and potentially deadly disease that affects the nervous system… Because the virus lives in the faeces (poop) of an infected person, people infected with the disease can spread it to others when they do not wash their hands well after defecating (pooping). People can also be infected if they drink water or eat food contaminated with infected feces. Most people with polio do not feel sick. Some people have only minor symptoms, such as fever, tiredness, nausea, headache, nasal congestion, sore throat, cough, stiffness in the neck and back, and pain in the arms and legs. In rare cases, polio infection causes permanent loss of muscle function (paralysis). Polio can be fatal if the muscles used for breathing are paralysed or if there is an infection of the brain. The virus multiplies in the intestine, from where it can invade the nervous system and can cause paralysis. Once that happens, the patient is crippled for life because there is no treatment for the affliction. Polio infection, however, can be easily prevented by a vaccine.

3. Which of the following statement(s) is/are correct about the ‘Polio’ disease?

  1. Except from the sub-Saharan Africa, the Polio virus has been eliminated from the rest of the world.
  2. India was declared Polio-free in January 2014 after three years of zero cases.

Select the correct codes from below –

  1. 1 only
  2. 2 only
  3. Both 1 and 2
  4. Neither 1 nor 2

Answer – B

Explanation – In 2019, polio outbreaks were recorded in the Philippines, Malaysia, Ghana, Myanmar, China, Cameroon, Indonesia and Iran, which were mostly vaccine-derived (a rare strain of the virus genetically mutated from the strain in the vaccine). According to the WHO, if the oral vaccine-virus is excreted and allowed to circulate in an un- or under-immunised population for at least 12 months, it can mutate to cause infections. As per the CDC, Afghanistan and Pakistan are the two countries that are the last stronghold of the wild poliovirus. In Pakistan, the number of reported wild poliovirus cases has increased in 2020. India was declared polio-free in January 2014, after three years of zero cases, an achievement widely believed to have been spurred by the successful pulse polio campaign in which all children were administered polio drops. The last case due to wild poliovirus in the country was detected on January 13, 2011.

4. Recently, the term ‘Oaxaca’ was in news, it is related to –

  1. Covid-19 vaccine
  2. Spacecraft probing Asteroid Bennu
  3. Anti-Tank Guided Missile procured from Israel
  4. None of the above

Answer – D

Explanation – Recently, Prime Minister Narendra Modi extolled the virtues of Khadi – the handwoven cloth popularised by Mahatma Gandhi. He made a reference to the region of Oaxaca in Mexico, where he said khadi was being manufactured, and narrated an anecdote about how khadi reached the Latin American country after a local resident became influenced by a film on Mahatma Gandhi. Khadi Oaxaca is a farm-to-garment collective which comprises around 400 families, which live and work on traditional farms and homesteads in the Oaxaca region of southern Mexico. It has been founded by Mark “Marcos” Brown, an American living in Mexico, and his wife, Kalindi Attar. The project says it uses cotton produced and cultivated on the Oaxaca coast, and produces chemical-free clothing, relying on locally harvested plant-based dyes.

5. Which of the following is/are correctly matched with respect to the parameters of ‘Global Hunger Index’?

  1. Child mortality – Mortality rate of children under age five
  2. Child Stunting – Children having low height for their age
  3. Child Wasting – Children having low weight for their height

Select the correct codes from below –

  1. 1 and 2 only
  2. 1 only
  3. None of the above
  4. All of the above

Answer – D

Explanation – GHI considers four parameters to for ranking countries –

  • Undernourishment: share of the population that is undernourished, reflecting insufficient caloric intake;
  • Child wasting: share of children under the age of five who are wasted (low weight-for-height), reflecting acute under-nutrition;
  • Child stunting: share of children under the age of five who are stunted (low height-for-age), reflecting chronic under-nutrition; and
  • Child mortality: mortality rate of children under age five.

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