Daily Current Affairs : 19th and 20th January

Daily Current Affairs for UPSC CSE

Topics Covered

  1. Environment Clearance for Exploratory Drilling
  2. Study on Endemic Plant Habitats in Eastern Ghats
  3. Stagflation
  4. Coronavirus
  5. Nehru Memorial
  6. India-Pakistan trade freeze hits thousands
  7. Tougher Law against Sexual Harassment at work
  8. K4 Missile
  9. Irrawaddy Dolphin
  10. Bru Agreement
  11. Facts for Prelims

1 . Environment Clearance for Exploratory Drilling


Context : The Environment Ministry has exempted oil and gas firms, looking to conduct exploratory drilling, from seeking an environmental clearance. The clearance is for both on-shore and offshore drilling explorations and the process is an ecologically-intensive exercise that involves digging multiple wells and conducting seismic surveys offshore.

Background

  • Until today, even exploratory surveys have merited the highest level of environmental scrutiny — called category ‘A’ — that required project proponents to prepare an environment impact assessment (EIA) plan, have it scrutinised by a Centrally constituted committee of experts and subject the proposal to a public hearing involving the local residents of the proposed project site.

About the Amendment

  • While public hearings, even for category A projects are frequently exempted if they are offshore, the new amendments demote exploratory projects to the category of ‘B2’. This means it will be conducted by the States concerned and will not require an EIA.
  • The move is part of a larger process of ‘decentralisation’ by the Centre in that it seeks to farm more regulatory actions to State and local units. Environmentalists aver that this can mean lax oversight.
  • Developing an offshore or onshore drilling site as a hydrocarbon block will however continue to merit a “category A” treatment

Concerns

  • Since the exploratory drilling process is an ecologically-intensive exercise that involves digging multiple wells and conducting seismic surveys offshore, environmentalists fear that the exemption could lead to lax oversight over such projects.
  • Environmentalists note with concern that this move is part of a continuing trend of the larger lack of oversight by the Environment Ministry and making the projects more business-friendly by focusing on ease of doing business.

2 . Study on Endemic Plant Habitats in Eastern Ghats


Context : Eastern Ghats has over 450 endemic plant species, the region remains one of the most exploited and degraded ecosystems of India. With intensifying agricultural practices, urbanisation and pressures from mining and deforestation, the precious habitat of endemic and rare, endangered and threatened (RET) species could be reduced, even leading to species loss, notes a new study.

About the Study

  • The study team looked at available plant species data and identified 22 endemic species recorded from over 250 locations and 28 RET species recorded from nearly 800 locations in the Eastern Ghats.
  • They then studied the soil, land use, anthropogenic activities and climate changes in these areas. They used simulations to predict how the area will change by 2050 and 2070.

Findings

  • According to the study by 2050 the total human population in the Eastern Ghats region is expected to reach 2.6 million, raising pressure from anthropogenic activities. There will be a demand for land for food, road and other activities leading to encroachments and threat to the habitats of endemic and RET species.
  • Unsupervised tourism also affects the distribution of these species. Ecotourism with regulatory guidelines is a positive way to educate and promote conservation.
  • The highly threatening human activities in the Eastern Ghats area are mining, urbanisation/settlements, dam construction, firewood collection and agricultural expansion
  • The endemic species were found to be distributed in the core areas of the forests – Kalahandi, Mahendragiri, Nallamalai-Seshachalam, Kolli and Kalrayan hill forests. On the other hand, the rare, endangered and threatened species were distributed not only in the core areas but also in the periphery of the forests, thus taking a greater hit from anthropogenic disturbances.
  • The mean temperature and rainfall were all crucial for the plant species and simulations showed that the temperature is likely to increase by 1.8 degree Celsius by 2050 to 1.98 degree Celsius by 2070. The rainfall is also projected to increase by 113 millimetre by 2050 and 160 millimetre by 2070.
  • The team adds that the regional or local climate change (warming) has led to frequent prolonged non-rainy days, increased number of days with maximum and minimum temperatures resulting in loss of soil moisture and soil degradation. These factors have also contributed to the occurrence of frequent forest fires, eliminating regeneration of the less-frequent endemic species in the forest.

3 . Stagflation


Context : The rise in retail price inflation to a nearly six-year high of 7.35% in December has led to increasing worries that the Indian economy may be headed towards stagflation. Steady rise in wider inflation figures over the last few months amidst falling economic growth has led to fears of stagflation.

What is stagflation?

  • Stagflation is an economic scenario where an economy faces both high inflation and low growth (and high unemployment) at the same time.

Is India going through Stagflation

  • The Indian economy has now faced six consecutive quarters of slowing growth since 2018. Economic growth in the second quarter ending September, the most recent quarter for which data is available, was just 4.5%. For the whole year, growth is expected to be around 5%.
  • Most economists have blamed the slowdown on the lack of sufficient consumer demand for goods and services. In fact, insufficient demand was cited as the primary reason behind the low price inflation that was prevalent in the economy until recently.
  • Subsequently, the government and many analysts prodded the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to cut interest rates in order to boost demand. This led to significant friction between the government and the RBI that led to the exit of several top-ranking officials (including the RBI’s former Governor) from the central bank. Eventually, the RBI under Governor Shaktikanta Das obliged by cutting its benchmark interest rate, the repo rate, five times in 2019.
  • The expectation among analysts was that these interest rate cuts would spur demand and boost the economy.
  • In the second half of 2019, prices of goods began to rise at a faster pace on the back of the RBI’s rate cuts. But the growth rate of the economy continued to fall significantly.
  • This combination of rising prices and falling growth has led many to believe that India may be sliding into stagflation.
  • Perhaps the only thing right now that stops many from concluding that the economy is in full-fledged stagflation is the fact that core inflation, which excludes items such as vegetables whose prices are too volatile, remains within the RBI’s targeted range.

Can economists explain stagflation?

  • The conventional view among economists is that there is an inverse relationship between economic growth and inflation.
  • The idea was first proposed by New Zealand economist William Phillips, after whom the “Phillips Curve” is named, based on statistical studies of inflation and unemployment.
  • The inverse relationship between inflation and unemployment was seen as a confirmation of the hypothesis that inflation helps the economy function at its full potential.
  • The logic behind the belief is that, at least in the short term, inflation (by boosting nominal wages but not real wages) can trick workers in an economy to accept lower real wages.
  • Without inflation, it is argued, workers would be unwilling to accept these lower real wages, which in turn would lead to higher unemployment and decreased output in the economy.
  • At the same time, economists argue that an inflation rate beyond a certain level, at which point labour and other resources in the economy are fully employed, will have no employment or growth benefits.
  • Accordingly, policymakers are often advised to maintain a certain inflation rate to ensure that unemployment is kept to a minimum and the economy is operating at full capacity.
  • The simultaneous presence of high inflation and low economic growth under stagflation, however, challenges the conventional view that inflation helps an economy operate at full capacity.
  • It was the stagflation in the United States in the 1970s, caused by rising oil prices after the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries cut supplies abruptly, which first led many to question the validity of the Phillips Curve.

Why is stagflation a problem?

  • Economists who believe that the current slowdown is due to the lack of sufficient consumer demand prescribe greater spending by the government and the central bank to resuscitate the economy.
  • But stagflation essentially ties the hands of the government and the central bank from taking such countercyclical policy steps. With retail inflation now well above the RBI’s targeted range of 2-6%, the central bank is unlikely to assist the economy any time soon by cutting its benchmark interest rate.
  • If the central bank decides to inject fresh money into the economy either by cutting its benchmark interest rate or other unconventional means, it could lead to a further rise in prices and make things worse.
  • A similar rise in inflation could result if the government engages in deficit spending that is funded by the RBI. All this is considered to be bad news at a time when the economy, with significant unemployed resources, is not functioning at its full capacity. Stagflation can also be politically costly to the ruling government. On the one hand, the slowdown in growth could affect peoples’ incomes. On the other, higher inflation could cause a reduction in people’s standard of living as they can afford fewer things.

What can be done

  • Some economists suggest that policymakers should stop worrying about inflation and instead focus exclusively on boosting aggregate demand in the economy. India’s nominal GDP growth, a measure of the overall level of spending in the economy, is expected to hit a 42-year low of 7.5% this year. They consider the RBI’s target of keeping inflation from rising above 6% as an arbitrary one and believe that the central bank should further ease its policy stance and the government should spend more on infrastructure and other sectors to boost the economy. Another point raised by these economists is that inflation on the broader level, as measured by the core inflation figures, remains within the RBI’s target range. Core inflation in December was at 3.7%. So greater spending by the government and the RBI will not cause inflation levels to run out of control, they argue.
  • Others, however, are more cautious about advocating a big-spending approach to rescue the economy from stagflation. They point to the fact that monetary easing in the last one year has only raised prices without leading to higher growth rates. So injecting further liquidity into the economy may only stoke higher inflation without boosting economic growth.
  • Some economists even see the severe drop in consumer demand simply as a symptom rather than as the primary cause behind the current slowdown. According to this view, it is natural for spending to drop after the end of a credit-fuelled boom. India’s growth rate, it is worth noting, was boosted by the availability of easy credit over the last decade, or even longer. Further credit expansion by the central bank and debt-fuelled government spending, these economists argue, will not lead to genuine and sustainable economic growth but only to another unsustainable boom followed by a bust. So they instead advocate supply-side reforms to bring about genuine economic growth.

4 . Coronavirus


Context : On December 31, 2019, China informed the World Health Organization (WHO) of a cluster of cases of pneumonia of an unknown cause in Wuhan City in Hubei province. A few patients in Wuhan had been suffering from respiratory illnesses such as pneumonia since early December. Besides providing care, Chinese public health officials began carrying out environmental assessments at the wholesale market and trying to identify the microbe causing the outbreak.

How was the virus identified as a coronavirus?

  • On January 9, 2020, WHO issued a statement saying Chinese researchers have made “preliminary determination” of the virus as a novel coronavirus in a person with pneumonia.
  • They were able to determine the virus by sequencing the genome using an isolate taken from an infected patient.
  • Public health experts are yet to identify the source of the new virus.

What are coronaviruses?

  • Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses with some causing less severe common cold to more severe diseases such as severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) and Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS).
  • While the SARS coronavirus is thought to be an animal virus from an as-yet-uncertain animal reservoir, perhaps bats, that spread to other animals (civet cats) and first infected humans in the Guangdong province of southern China in 2002, the MERS coronavirus was passed on from dromedary camels to humans in Saudi Arabia in 2012.

Has China shared the genome sequence data?

  • On January 11, China shared the whole genome sequence data with WHO and submitted them to the Global Initiative on Sharing All Influenza Data (GISAID) platform to allow researchers across the world to access the data.
  • Sharing the data with GISAID will help other countries to quickly identify the virus, provide care, and also develop specific diagnostic kits, drugs and even vaccines. Since January 11, five more genome sequences have been submitted to GISAID.

Precautions

  • WHO provides general tips to reduce the risk of infection such as washing hands with soap and water, covering one’s nose and mouth while sneezing and coughing, avoiding contact with anyone who has cold or flu-like symptoms, thoroughly cooking meat and eggs, and avoid making unprotected contact with wild or farm animals.

5 . Nehru Memorial Museum and Library


Context : As part of a full revamp of the Nehru Memorial Museum and Library’s executive council, Nripendra Misra, former Principal Secretary to the Prime Minister, has been appointed as the new chairperson. 

Background

  • The Nehru Memorial Museum and Library (NMML), a memorial to Jawaharlal Nehru, the architect of modern India, is housed in the historic Teen Murti House campus located south of Rashtrapati Bhavan in New Delhi
  • Designed by Robert Tor Russel and built in 1929-30 as part of Edwin Lutyens’ imperial capital, Teen Murti House was the official residence of the Commander-in-Chief in India.
  • In August 1948, after the departure of the last British Commander-in-Chief, Teen Murti House became the official residence of independent India’s first Prime Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru, who lived here for sixteen years until his death on May 27, 1964. Soon thereafter, the Government of India decided that the Teen Murti House should be dedicated to him and house a museum and a library.

About NMML

  • Founded as an autonomous institution, the Nehru Memorial Museum and Library (NMML), is dedicated to the objective of promoting advanced research on Modern and Contemporary India.
  • On 1 April 1966, the Government set up the Nehru Memorial Museum and Library Society to manage the institution
  • Over the past four decades, the NMML has emerged as a premier institution of research on the Indian history and society of the modern and contemporary period. Endeavouring constantly to maintain and enhance its reputation as a centre of academic excellence, NMML is simultaneously engaged in trying to popularize the ideas and values of Jawaharlal Nehru and the movement for India’s independence.
  • The General Council and the President and the Vice-President of the Nehru Memorial Museum and Library Society are nominated by the Central Government.
  • Current President is Prime Minister and Vice President is Union Minister of Defence

6 . India-Pakistan trade freeze hits thousands


Context: At least 9,354 families, roughly 50,000 people, in Punjab and about 900 families in Kashmir have been directly impacted by the shutdown of trade between India and Pakistan across the Wagah-Attari border and the Line of Control (LoC) Salamabad-Chakhan da Bagh routes in 2019, says a report.

Background

  • After the Pulwama attack, India imposed economic sanctions on Pakistan which curbed the bilateral trade
  • India also cancelled the Most Favoured Nation (MFN) status to Pakistan
  • There has been the shutdown of trade between India and Pakistan across the Wagah-Attari border and the Line of Control (LoC) Salamabad-Chakhan da Bagh routes.
  • This steps was followed by Pakistan’s counter-measures, including an airspace ban and suspension of trade relations.

About the Report

  • Report is prepared by Bureau of Research on Industry and Economic Fundamentals (BRIEF) and the report is titled as “Unilateral decisions, bilateral losses” authored by researchers at the

Details

  • According to the report the measures that led to a 200% duty increase on imports from Pakistan at Punjab saw even the relatively meagre bilateral trade of $2.56 billion in 2018-2019 dropping to $547.22 million (April-August 2019) – imports dropping from about $500 million to just $11.45 million.
  • Exports to Pakistan “mainly” go through the sea route (about 80%), while imports, including rock salt, dry dates, cement and gypsum, come largely through the land route in Punjab.
  • As a result, members of the Attari Truckers Union, who had invested an estimated 350 crore ($49 million) in the business, have lost all hope of recovering their losses.
  • The closure of LoC trading points in Jammu and Kashmir has put small trade, handicrafts sellers, truckers, labourers, and hotel owners near the LoC in Baramulla and Poonch out of business. The losses don’t account for the much larger impact of restrictions on trade and tourism imposed after the August 5 decision on Article 370, which the Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industry had estimated at approximately Rs 10,000 crore ($1.4 billion) by October 2019.

Justification by the Govt

  • The Union Home Ministry has argued that trade needs to be stopped until a stricter regulatory regime is in place to block the misuse of the route for smuggling weapons, narcotics and fake currency. The ministry has stated in the suspension order that trade would be resumed at a later date considering any change in prevailing circumstances. As per the govt economic sanctions would affect Pakistan’s economy even more than India’s.

What does Most Favoured Nation mean?

  • Article 1 of General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), 1994, requires every WTO member country to accord MFN status (or preferential trade terms with respect to tariffs and trade barriers) to all other member countries.
  • According to the Article countries cannot normally discriminate between their trading partners.
  • If one country is granted a trade concession such as, for example, lower import duties, then all WTO members must be extended the same concessions.This principle is known as the Most Favoured Nation treatment.
  • In accordance with the MFN principle and its obligations under the WTO, India accorded Pakistan MFN status in 1996.
  • However, Pakistan is yet to provide full MFN status for India and it is maintains a Negative List of 1,209 products that are not allowed to be imported from India. In addition, Pakistan permits only 138 products to be imported from India through Wagah/Attari border land route
  • Despite these restrictions, India continues to maintain a substantial trade surplus with Pakistan.

What does revoking MFN mean?

  • Revoking it means India can levy whatever import tariffs it wants.
  • India can now make it very expensive for Pakistan to export its goods to India.

7 . Tougher Law against sexual harassment at Work


Context : The Group of Ministers (GoM) headed by Home Minister Amit Shah, which was constituted to strengthen the legal framework to prevent sexual harassment at the workplace, has finalised its recommendations

Current Scenario

  • The Women and Child Development Ministry had implemented the Sexual Harassment of Women and Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act in 2013. 
  • Act is applicable to government offices, the private sector, NGOs and even the unorganized sector. The Act was mainly based on the Vishaka Guidelines laid down by the Supreme Court in 1997.
  • Act is to provide :
    • Protection against sexual harassment of women at workplace
    • Prevention
    • Redressal of complaints of sexual harassment
  • The act made the employer responsible to prevent or deter acts of sexual harassment at the workplace. The Internal Complaints Committee (ICC) would be constituted to enquire into complaints regarding sexual harassment at the workplace.
  • The Act required the employer to provide requisite assistance to a woman if she chooses to file a complaint under the IPC against the perpetrator, after the conclusion of the enquiry.

Issues with the Current Act

  •  The 2013 Act had shortcomings like giving the powers of a civil court to the internal complaints committee (ICC) without specifying if the members need to have a legal background.
  • It only imposed a fine of ₹50,000 on employers for non-compliance. The Act said the employer shall provide assistance to the woman if she chooses to file a complaint under the IPC “against the perpetrator after the conclusion of the enquiry”.

NCRB data

  • As per National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB), the number of sexual harassment incidents at “work or office premises” registered under Section 509 IPC (words, gesture or act to insult the modesty of a woman) were 479 and 401 in the years 2017 and 2018 respectively.
  • The total number of sexual harassment incidents in 2018 including that in public places, shelter homes and others was 20,962. The number of cases continued to be high questioning the effectiveness of the 2013 act.

The Group of Ministers

  • The Group of Ministers (GoM) was constituted in October 2018 in the aftermath of the #MeToo movement, which witnessed many women sharing their ordeal of sexual harassment on social media.
  • The GoM was constituted to strengthen the legal framework to prevent sexual harassment at the workplace.
  • The GoM was reconstituted in July 2019 under the Home Minister. The other members of the GoM include the Finance Minister, Human Resource Development Minister and Women and Child Development Minister.
  • The GoM also examined the report of the Justice J.S. Verma Committee that was constituted in the wake of the Nirbhaya gang-rape and murder in 2012. The Verma committee had recommended an employment tribunal, instead of an ICC, as dealing with such complaints in-house could discourage women from coming out.

About the Revamp

  • The GoM has finalised its recommendations. The recommendations, which include addition of new provisions to the Indian Penal Code, will be put up for comments from the public
  • The proposed amendments would be largely based on the Vishaka Guidelines laid down by the Supreme Court in 1997.

8 . K4 Missile


About K4 Missile

  • India successfully test-fired the 3,500-km range submarine-launched ballistic missile, K-4,
  • The test was carried out by the Defence Research and Development Organsiation (DRDO) from a submerged pontoon off the Visakhapatnam coast around noon.
  • There are very few countries which have managed to achieve this technological breakthrough. Circular Error Probability (CEP) is much more sophisticated than Chinese missiles. The CEP determines the accuracy of a missile. The lower the CEP, the more accurate the missile is.
  • Once inducted, these missiles will be the mainstay of the Arihant class of indigenous ballistic missile nuclear submarines (SSBN) and will give India the stand off capability to launch nuclear weapons submerged in Indian waters. INS Arihant, the first and only operational SSBN, is armed with K-15 Sagarika missiles with a range of 750 km.
  • Given India’s position of ‘No-First-Use’ (NFU) in launching nuclear weapons, the SSBN is the most dependable platform for a second-strike. Because they are powered by nuclear reactors, these submarines can stay underwater indefinitely without the adversary detecting it. The other two platforms — land based and air launched are far easier to detect.
  • The Advanced Technology Project (ATV) began in the 1980s and the first of them, Arihant, was launched in 2009 by then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

9 . Irrawaddy dolphins 


About Irrawaddy Dolphins

  • The Irrawaddy dolphin is a euryhaline (able to tolerate a wide range of salinity) species of oceanic dolphinfound in discontinuous subpopulations near sea coasts and in estuaries and rivers in parts of the Bay of Bengal and Southeast Asia. It is an aquatic mammal.
  • Although sometimes referred to as the Irrawaddy river dolphin, it is not a true river dolphin, but an oceanic dolphinthat lives in brackish water near coasts, river mouths and in estuaries.

Range

  • It has established sub-populations in freshwater rivers, including the Mahakam River, the Mekong, the Ganges and the Irrawaddy River from which it takes its name.
  • Known subpopulations of Irrawaddy dolphins are found in eight places :
    • Bangladesh
    • Laos and Cambodia
    • Philippines
    • Indonesia
    • Thailand
    • India
    • Burma
  • In India, it is mostly present in the brackish-water Chilka Lake. Their Presence has also been recorded from Sunderbans National Park.

Threat

  • Irrawaddy dolphins are more susceptible to human conflict than most other dolphins who live farther out in the ocean.
  • The Irrawaddy dolphin’s proximity to developing communities makes the effort for conservation difficult. Entanglement in fishnets and degradation of habitats are the main threats to Irrawaddy dolphins.
  • Appendix 1 as per CITES
  • Irrawaddy dolphins are listed as an endangered species in the IUCN list, which applies throughout their whole range.
  • The Irrawaddy dolphin is listed on both Appendix I and Appendix II of the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS).

10 . Bru Agreement


Context : Twenty-three years after ethnic clashes in Mizoram forced 37,000 people of the Bru (or Reang) community to flee their homes to neighbouring Tripura, an agreement has been signed to allow them to remain permanently in the latter state.

What is in the Bru agreement?

  • All Bru currently living in temporary relief camps in Tripura will be settled in the state, if they want to stay on. The Bru who returned to Mizoram in the eight phases of repatriation since 2009, cannot, however, come back to Tripura.
  • To ascertain the numbers of those who will be settled, a fresh survey and physical verification of Bru families living in relief camps will be carried out.
  • The Centre will implement a special development project for the resettled Bru; this will be in addition to the Rs 600 crore fund announced for the process, including benefits for the migrants.
  • Each resettled family will get 0.03 acre (1.5 ganda) of land for building a home, Rs 1.5 lakh as housing assistance, and Rs 4 lakh as a one-time cash benefit for sustenance. They will also receive a monthly allowance of Rs 5,000, and free rations for two years from the date of resettlement.
  • All cash assistance will be through Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT), and the state government will expedite the opening of bank accounts and the issuance of Aadhaar, permanent residence certificates, ST certificates, and voter identity cards to the beneficiaries.

When will the Bru resettlement take place?

  • Physical verification to identify beneficiaries will be carried out within 15 days of the signing of the deal. The land for resettlement will be identified within 60 days, and the land for allotment will be identified within 150 days.
  • The beneficiaries will get housing assistance, but the state government will build their homes and hand over possession.
  • They will be moved to resettlement locations in four clusters, paving the way for the closure of the temporary camps within 180 days of the signing of the agreement. All dwelling houses will be constructed and payments completed within 270 days.

How did the agreement come about?

  • In June 2018, Bru leaders signed an agreement in Delhi with the Centre and the two state governments, providing for repatriation to Mizoram.
  • Most residents of the camps, however, rejected the “insufficient” terms of the agreement. Only 328 families returned to Mizoram, rendering the process redundant.
  • The camp residents said the package did not guarantee their safety in Mizoram, and that they feared a repeat of the violence that had forced them to flee.
  • On November 16, 2019, Pradyot Kishore Debbarma, scion of Tripura’s erstwhile royal family, wrote to Home Minister Amit Shah seeking the resettlement of the Bru in the state.
  • The Bru were originally from Tripura, and had migrated to Mizoram after their homes were flooded due to the commissioning of the Dumboor hydroelectric power project in South Tripura in 1976, he claimed.

How is this agreement different from the earlier initiatives taken for the Bru?

  • Successive state and central governments had thus far stressed only on peacefully repatriating the Bru, even though the enduring fear of ethnic violence remained a fundamental roadblock. The two other “durable solutions” for refugees and displaced persons suggested by the UN Refugee Agency — local integration or assimilation, and resettlement — were never explored.
  • Apart from their own Kaubru tongue, the Bru speak both Kokborok and Bangla, the two most widely spoken languages of the tribal and non-tribal communities of Tripura, and have an easy connection with the state. Their long stay in Tripura, albeit in exile and in terrible conditions, has also acquainted them very well with the state’s socio-political ecology.

11 . Facts for Prelims


Bilateral Trade and Investment Agreement (BTIA)

  • Bilateral Trade and Investment Agreement (BTIA) is a trade agreement between the European Union and India
  • It is currently negotiated between the countries

Truenat MTB

  • India-made Truenat MTB is a molecular diagnostic test to diagnose pulmonary and extrapulmonary TB and rifampicin-resistant TB
  • It has high diagnostic accuracy as per WHO
  • Truenat MTB will be used as an initial test to diagnose TB thus replacing sputum smear microscopy.

Operation Sahebrao

  • Operation Sahebrao is the operation to fix an artificial limb on a tiger named as Sahebrao. Doctors have claimed that it was the first-ever procedure of its kind across the world.
  • Unfortunately the attempt was failed with the big cat easing its foot out of the limb minutes before regaining consciousness. It was due to the natural reflex to shrink skeletal muscles — found exclusively in the cat family — came into play minutes before the tiger regained consciousness and the prosthetic limb was separated, 
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