Daily Current Affairs : 15th May

Daily Current Affairs for UPSC CSE

Topics Covered

  1. Services Trade Restrictiveness Index (STRI)
  2. Coastal Regulation Zones
  3. Haemophilia A and Von Willebrand Disease 
  4. Facts for Prelims : Artemis Mission, Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary

1 . Services Trade Restrictiveness Index (STRI)

Context : India has found problems with the current method under which the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) ranks countries based on their services trade policies, indicating the outcomes are biased and counter-intuitive.

About STRI

  • OECD Services Trade Restrictiveness Index (STRI) is a unique, evidence-based tool that provides information on regulations affecting trade in services in 22 sectors across all OECD member countries and Brazil, the People’s Republic of China, Costa Rica, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Russian Federation, and South Africa, it was launched in 2014.
  • The STRI toolkit can support policymakers to scope out reform options, benchmark them relative to global best practice, and assess their likely effects; for trade negotiators to clarify restrictions that most impede trade, and for businesses to shed light on the requirements that traders must comply with when entering foreign markets.

Issues in finding Trade Restriction in Service Sectors

  • The problem in services, is that for a long time there wasn’t any way to know whether a country’s policies were restrictive.
  • Even if you could ascertain that, one didn’t know what to do about it since services trade is usually regulated by domestic regulations and not border tariffs.
  • The manufacturing trade has a well-documented system of classification of commodities through which you can tell exactly what the commodity is and also what the applied tariffs and effective tariffs are, and, hence, identify how restrictive any country’s policies are

Issues Raised by India regarding STRI

  • The index seems to show the Indian services sector as one of the most restrictive, particularly in policy areas like foreign entry. This seems surprising as since 1991, the one area that has seen maximum liberalisation in India is FDI
  • There are both theoretical and empirical inconsistencies in the OECD methodology for example, change in regulatory measures in one policy area can lead to dramatic changes in the STRI in another policy area which is not very useful for policy purposes
  • Data seems to have been generated by rather arbitrary procedures and reflects a developed country bias

Alternative Provided by India

  • India has come up with a “better and more reliable” mechanism to measure restrictiveness in the services trade, and has approached China, Brazil, Indonesia, Turkey and South Africa to highlight the importance of the new system.
  • The alternative indicator satisfy all the statistical properties and it also shown to be correct for most of the limitations of the OECD methodology, and hence, can be used as a better indicator of the true [policy] position of an economy,

2 . Coastal Regulation Zone

Context : Unbridled construction activities in eco-sensitive areas with natural water flow have a devastating effect and lead to natural calamities like those seen in the recent floods in Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Uttarakhand, the Supreme Court warned.

About the News

  • The observations are part of its direction to the authorities in Kerala to demolish certain apartment blocks situated in ecologically sensitive areas in Maradu panchayat within a month. In a detailed order published lately, the court declared the permission given by the panchayat authorities for their construction as illegal and void.
  • It said the area in which the construction was carried out was part of tidal influenced water body and strictly restricted under the provisions of the Coastal Regulation Zone notifications. Uncontrolled construction activities in these areas would have devastating effects on the natural water flow that may ultimately result in severe natural calamities,” the Bench said in the order.
  • Expert opinions suggest that the devastated floods faced by Uttarakhand in recent years and Tamil Nadu this year are immediate result of uncontrolled construction activities on river shores and unscrupulous trespass into the natural path of backwaters,

About CRZ

  • CRZ Rules govern human and industrial activity close to the coastline, in order to protect the fragile ecosystems near the sea.
  • With the objective of conservation and protection of the coastal environment, Ministry of Environment and Forest and Climate Change notified the Coastal Regulation Zone Notification in 1991, which was subsequently revised in 2011. The notification was amended from time to time based on representations received.
  • The Ministry of Environment, Forest & Climate Change constituted a Committee in June 2014 under the Chairmanship of Dr. Shailesh Nayak to examine the various issues and concerns of Coastal States/UTs and other stakeholders for recommending appropriate changes in the CRZ Notification, 2011. In 2015 the committee submitted the report About CRZ

About CRZ Rules 1991

  • They sought to restrict certain kinds of activities, like large constructions, setting up of new industries, storage or disposal of hazardous material, mining, or reclamation and bunding, within a certain distance from the coastline.
  • The basic idea is: because areas immediately next to the sea are extremely delicate, home to many marine and aquatic life forms, both animals and plants, and are also threatened by climate change, they need to be protected against unregulated development.
  • In all CRZ Rules, the regulation zone has been defined as the area up to 500 m from the high-tide line. Several kinds of restrictions apply, depending on criteria such as the population of the area, the ecological sensitivity, the distance from the shore, and whether the area had been designated as a natural park or wildlife zone.

CRZ Types

  • CRZ I – It refers to the ecologically sensitive areas, essential in maintaining ecosystem of the coast. These lie between the HTL and LTL. Only exploration of natural gas and extraction of salt is permitted
  • CRZ II – These areas form up to the shoreline of the coast. Authorized structures are not allowed to be constructed in this zone
  • CRZ III – This includes rural and urban localities. Only certain activities relating to agriculture and public utilities allowed here
  • CRZ IV – This includes the aquatic area up to the territorial limit (12 nautical miles). Fishing and allied activities permitted in this zone. Solid waste can be let off in this zone.

Implementation Authority

  • While the CRZ Rules are made by the Union Environment Ministry, implementation is supposed to be done by state governments through their Coastal Zone Management Authorities.
  • The states are also supposed to frame their own coastal zone management plans in accordance with the central Rules.

Issues with the Initial CRZ Rules of 1991

  • States found the 1991 Rules to be extremely restrictive as they complained that if applied strictly, the Rules would not allow simple things like building decent homes for people living close to the coast, and carrying out basic developmental works.
  • The 1991 Rules also created hurdles for showpiece industrial and infrastructure projects such as the POSCO steel plant in Odisha and the proposed Navi Mumbai airport in the first decade of the new century.

CRZ Rules 2011

  • The Centre notified fresh CRZ Rules in 2011, which addressed some concerns. An exemption was made for the construction of the Navi Mumbai airport. (The POSCO project had failed to take off due to other reasons.) Projects of the Department of Atomic Energy, which plans to set up nuclear power plants near the coast, were exempted.
  • After even these Rules were found inadequate, however, the Environment Ministry in 2014 set up a six-member committee under then Earth Sciences Secretary Shailesh Nayak to give suggestions for a new set of CRZ Rules. The committee submitted its report in 2015.
  • Simultaneously, the Chennai-based National Centre for Sustainable Coastal Management defined a new high-tide line along India’s entire coastline to remove ambiguities.
  • Separately, the Survey of India defined a hazard line along the coasts — to be used mainly for disaster management planning.
  • Based on these and other inputs, the Environment Ministry issued fresh CRZ Rules in December 2018, which removed certain restrictions on building, streamlined the clearance process, and aimed to encourage tourism in coastal areas

The current situation

  • The January this year, the government notified new CRZ Rules with the stated objectives of promoting sustainable development and conserving coastal environments.
  • For the so-called CRZ-III (Rural) areas, two separate categories have been stipulated. In the densely populated rural areas (CRZ-IIIA) with a population density of 2,161 per sq km as per the 2011 Census, the no-development zone is now 50 m from the high-tide level, as against the 200 m stipulated earlier. In the CRZ-IIIB category (rural areas with population density below 2,161 per sq km) continue to have a no-development zone extending up to 200 m from the high-tide line.
  • The new Rules have a no-development zone of 20 m for all islands close to the mainland coast, and for all backwater islands in the mainland.

3 . Haemophilia A and Von Willebrand Disease 

Context : The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR)’s National Institute of Immunohaematology, Mumbai, has developed a cost-effective Point-of-Care (POC) diagnostic test for severe Haemophilia A and Von Willebrand Disease (VWD), a genetic disorder caused by missing or defective Von Willebrand factor (VWF), a clotting protein.

About Haemophilia and Types

  • Hemophilia is a bleeding problem. People with hemophilia do not bleed any faster than normal, but they can bleed for a longer time. Their blood does not have enough clotting factor. Clotting factor is a protein in blood that controls bleeding.
  • Hemophilia A, also called factor VIII (FVIII) deficiency or classic hemophilia, is a genetic disorder caused by missing or defective factor VIII, a clotting protein. Although it is passed down from parents to children, about 1/3 of cases are caused by a spontaneous mutation, a change in a gene.
  • Hemophilia B is less common. A person with hemophilia B does not have enough factor IX (factor nine). The result is the same for people with hemophilia A and B; that is, they bleed for a longer time than normal.

About Von Wilebrand Disease

  • VWD is the most common type of bleeding disorder. People with VWD have a problem with a protein in their blood called von Willebrand factor (VWF) that helps control bleeding.
  • When a blood vessel is injured and bleeding occurs, VWF helps cells in the blood, called platelets, mesh together and form a clot to stop the bleeding.
  • People with VWD do not have enough VWF, or it does not work the way it should. It takes longer for blood to clot and for bleeding to stop.
  • It is named after Dr. Erik von Willebrand, a Finnish physician, published the first description of an inherited bleeding disorder that was different from hemophilia in 1926

Difference between VWD and Haemophilia

  • VWD and hemophilia are different types of bleeding disorders. VWD is caused by a problem with von Willebrand factor, whereas hemophilia is caused by a problem with another type of clotting factor (factor VIII in hemophilia A; factor IX in hemophilia B).
  • Though both disorders are usually inherited, the inheritance pattern (the way the genes are passed down from parent to child) is different.
  • Symptoms of VWD are usually milder than symptoms of hemophilia, but serious bleeding episodes can occur in either condition.

About Point of Care Diagnostic Test

  • This is the first in the world POC test for specific diagnosis of any common bleeding disorder. Working cost of these kits is less than Rs. 50 in comparison to existing conventional test for the diseases that costs around Rs. 4,000 to Rs. 1,0000
  • The diagnosis can be done within 30 minutes of blood sample collection.

4 . Facts for Prelims

Artemis Mission

  • Artemis is the name of new moon mission by NASA to be launched by 2024
  • In Greek mythology, Artemis is the twin sister of Apollo, whose name was used by NASA for the series of spacecraft that first landed Americans on the moon in 1969.
  • Under the plan, a mission to land on the moon would take place during the third launch of the Space Launch System. Astronauts will include a woman who will be the first woman to walk on the moon, would first stop at the orbiting lunar outpost. They would then take a lander to the surface near its south pole, where frozen water exists within the craters.

Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary

  • Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary (WWS) in Kerala is a biodiversity hotspot in the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve, holds the largest tiger population in the State.
  • Of the total 176 tigers in the State, 75 were identified from the WWS
  • The Periyar and Parambikulam tiger reserves followed suit, where 25 tigers each were captured in camera traps
  • There are no tigers in the Idukki Wildlife Sanctuary and the adjoining Kottayam and Kothamangalam forest divisions as the landscape is cut off from the adjacent mainland (Munnar and Malayattoor forest divisions). 
  • As the WWS and the adjoining tiger reserves in Karnataka and Tamil Nadu constitute a major tiger habitat in the country, the sanctuary has the potential to get the status of a tiger reserve.
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