Daily Current Affairs : 27th March

Daily Current Affairs for UPSC CSE

Topics Covered

  1. Drugs and Clinical Trials Rules, 2019
  2. India’s carbon dioxide emissions up 5%
  3. Multidimensional Poverty Index
  4. Produced Water
  5. Facts for Prelims – Mankading

1 . Drugs and Clinical Trials Rules, 2019

Context : The Union Health Ministry has notified the Drugs and Clinical Trials Rules, 2019, with the government stating that the move is aimed at promoting clinical research in the country.

About Drugs & Clinical Trials Rules 2019

  • These rules will apply to all new drugs, investigational new drugs for human use, clinical trial, bioequivalence study and Ethics Committee.
  • The highlights of the notification include reduction in time for approving applications, which has now come down to 30 days for drugs manufactured in India and 90 days for those developed outside the country
  • The rules stated that in case of no communication from Drugs Controller General of India, the application will be deemed to have been approved. It said the requirement of a local clinical trial may be waived for approval of a new drug if it is approved and marketed in any of the countries to be specified by the Drugs Controller General with the approval of the government.
  • As per the new rule, the requirement of a local clinical trial may be waived for approval of a new drug if it is approved and marketed in any of the countries (EU, U.K., Australia, Japan and U.S.) specified by the Drugs Controller General with the approval of the government.

Benefits

  • India has the second largest population in the world and the highest disease burden but does less than 1.2% of global clinical trials
  • The new rules will ensure patient safety, as they would be enlisted for trials with informed consent. The ethics committee will monitor the trials and decide on the amount of compensation in cases of adverse events.
  • This will lead to more stability and growth in clinical research being done in India, which will ultimately ensure that patients have access to faster and more effective treatment.

2 . India’s carbon dioxide emissions up 5%

Context : IEA report shows China, U.S. & India together accounted for nearly 70% of the rise in energy demand

Key Findings

  • India emitted 2,299 million tonnes of carbon dioxide in 2018, a 4.8% rise from last year
  • India’s emissions growth this year was higher than that of the United States and China — the two biggest emitters in the world — and this was primarily due to a rise in coal consumption. China, the United States, and India together accounted for nearly 70% of the rise in energy demand.
  • The United States, the largest emitter, was responsible for 14% whereas India’s contribution is 7%

India’s Commitments

  • As per its commitments to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, India has promised to reduce the emissions intensity of its economy by 2030, compared to 2005 levels. It has also committed to having 40% of its energy from renewable sources by 2030 and, as part of this, install 100 GW of solar power by 2022.
  • However the IEA report, made public on Tuesday, showed that India’s energy intensity improvement declined 3% from last year even as its renewable energy installations increased 10.6% from last year.

Global Energy Consumption

  • Global energy consumption in 2018 increased at nearly twice the average rate of growth since 2010, driven by a robust global economy and higher heating and cooling needs in some parts of the world.
  • Demand for all fuels increased, led by natural gas, even as solar and wind posted double digit growth. Higher electricity demand was responsible for over half of the growth in energy needs.
  • Energy efficiency saw lacklustre improvement. As a result of higher energy consumption, carbon dioxide emissions rose 1.7% last year and hit a new record, the authors of the report said in a press statement.
  • The United States had the largest increase in oil and gas demand worldwide. Gas consumption jumped 10% from the previous year, the fastest increase since the beginning of IEA records in 1971.

About International Energy Agency

  • The IEA works to ensure reliable, affordable and clean energy for its 30 member countries and beyond.
  • Main areas of focus: energy security, economic development, environmental awareness and engagement worldwide.
  • The IEA examines the full spectrum of energy issues including oil, gas and coal supply and demand, renewable energy technologies, electricity markets, energy efficiency, access to energy, demand side management and much more. Through its work, the IEA advocates policies that will enhance the reliability, affordability and sustainability of energy in its 30 member countries and beyond.
  • Today, the IEA is at the heart of global dialogue on energy, providing authoritative analysis through a wide range of publications, including the flagship World Energy Outlook and the IEA Market Reports; data and statistics, such as Key World Energy Statistics and the Monthly Oil Data Service; and a series of training and capacity building workshops, presentations, and resources.

Important IEA Programmes

  • Clean Energy Transition Programme ; The Clean Energy Transitions Programme (CETP) leverages the IEA’s unique energy expertise across all fuels and technologies to accelerate global clean-energy transitions, particularly in major emerging economies. 
  • Sustainable Development Goal 7 : The International Energy Agency is at the forefront of global efforts to assess and analyse persistent energy access deficit, providing annual country-by-country data on access to electricity and clean cooking (SDG 7.1) and the main data source for tracking official progress towards SDG targets on renewables (SDG 7.2) and energy efficiency (SDG 7.3).
  • Energy Efficiency in Emerging Economies :The Energy Efficiency in Emerging Economies (E4) Programme works closely with six of the world’s largest emerging economies on energy efficiency. Brazil, India, China, Indonesia, Mexico, South Africa
  • Electric Vehicle Initiative : The Electric Vehicles Initiative (EVI) is a multi-government policy forum dedicated to accelerating the introduction and adoption of electric vehicles worldwide. The IEA is the EVI Coordinator.
  • Technology Collaboration Programmes : Technology Collaboration Programmes (TCPs) are independent, international groups of experts that enable governments and industries from around the world to lead programmes and projects on a wide range of energy technologies and related issues

IEA Membership

The IEA is made up of 30 member countries.

Before becoming a member country of the IEA, a candidate country must demonstrate that it has:

  • crude oil and/or product reserves equivalent to 90 days of the previous year’s net imports, to which the government has immediate access (even if it does not own them directly) and could be used to address disruptions to global oil supply;
  • a demand restraint programme to reduce national oil consumption by up to 10%;
  • legislation and organisation to operate the Co-ordinated Emergency Response Measures (CERM) on a national basis;
  • legislation and measures to ensure that all oil companies under its jurisdiction report information upon request;
  • measures in place to ensure the capability of contributing its share of an IEA collective action. An IEA collective action would be initiated in response to a significant global oil supply disruption and would involve IEA Member Countries making additional volumes of crude and/or product available to the global market (either through increasing supply or reducing demand), with each country’s share based on national consumption as part of the IEA total oil consumption.

3 . Multidimensional Poverty Index

Context : India reduced its poverty rate sharply from 55 per cent to 28 per cent in ten years between 2005-06 and 2015-16, according to a new version of the global Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI) developed by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative (OPHI). In India, a total of 271 million (27.10 crore) people moved out of poverty during these ten years, it said.

About Multidimensional Poverty Index

  • The Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI) identifies multiple deprivations at the household and individual level in health, education and standard of living.
  • It uses micro data from household surveys, and—unlike the Inequality-adjusted Human Development Index—all the indicators needed to construct the measure must come from the same survey.
  • Each person in a given household is classified as poor or non-poor depending on the weighted number of deprivations his or her household, and thus, he or she experiences. These data are then aggregated into the national measure of poverty.
  • The MPI reflects both the incidence of multidimensional deprivation (a headcount of those in multidimensional poverty) and its intensity (the average deprivation score experienced by poor people). Example of multiple deprivations – those who are both undernourished and do not have safe drinking water, adequate sanitation and clean fuel.
  • It can be used to create a comprehensive picture of people living in poverty, and permits comparisons both across countries, regions and the world and within countries by ethnic group, urban or rural location, as well as other key household and community characteristics. The MPI offers a valuable complement to income-based poverty measures.

Drawbacks of the Index

  • First, the indicators may not reflect capabilities but instead reflect outputs (such as years of schooling) or inputs (such as cooking fuel).
  • Second, the health data are relatively weak and overlook some groups’ deprivations, especially for nutrition, though the patterns that emerge are plausible and familiar.
  • Third, in some cases careful judgments were needed to address missing data. But to be considered multidimensionally poor, households must be deprived in at least six standard of living indicators or in three standard of living indicators and one health or education indicator, or in two health or education indicators. This requirement makes the MPI less sensitive to minor inaccuracies.
  • Fourth, intra-household inequalities may be severe, but these could not be reflected.
  • Fifth, while the MPI goes well beyond a headcount ratio to include the intensity of poverty, it does not measure inequality among the poor, although decompositions by groups can be used to reveal group-based inequalities.

Details of the Index

  • The poorest groups in India — Muslims and Scheduled Tribes — reduced poverty the most over the ten years from 2005-06 to 2015-16
  • The multidimensional poverty index is based on a powerful list of 10 deprivations for poor. The dimensions of poverty range from deprivations of health facilities, education and living standards.
  • Country still has the largest number of people living in multidimensional poverty in the world (364 million people) out of which 156 million (34.5 per cent) are children. In fact, of all the poor people in India, just over one in four-27.1 per cent-has not yet celebrated their tenth birthday
  • But multidimensional poverty among children under 10 has fallen the fastest. In 2005-06 there were 292 million poor children in India, so the latest figures represent a 47 per cent decrease or a 136 million fewer children growing up in multidimensional poverty. “When considering the durable and lifetime consequences of childhood deprivation, particularly in nutrition and schooling, this is a tremendously good sign for India’s future
  • The report said that across the 640 districts in India, the poorest district is Alirajpur in Madhya Pradesh, where 76.5 per cent of people are MPI poor
  • Among states, Jharkhand had the greatest improvement, with Arunachal Pradesh, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, and Nagaland only slightly behind. However, Bihar is still the poorest state in 2015-16, with more than half of its population in poverty. In 2015-16, the four poorest states — Bihar, Jharkhand, Uttar Pradesh, and Madhya Pradesh — were still home to 196 million MPI poor people — over half of all the MPI poor people.
  • A total of 113 million people — 8.6 per cent of India’s people — live in severe poverty

4 . Produced Water

Context : Scientists, including one of Indian origin, have developed a process to remove nearly all traces of oil in produced water — a byproduct from the oil refinery and extraction process.

About Produced Water

  • Produced water is water found in the same formations as oil and gas.
  • When the oil and gas flow to the surface, the produced water is brought to the surface with the hydrocarbons.
  • Produced water contains some of the chemical characteristics of the formation from which it was produced and from the associated hydrocarbons.
  • Several commercial treatments are available, but they are expensive, do not remove all traces of contaminants from water and can be energy-intensive.

About the New Method

  • Researchers at Purdue University in the US have developed a process to remove nearly all traces of oil in produced water. 
  • The process uses activated charcoal foam and subjects it to solar light to produce heat and purify the water. The foam absorbs the oil contaminants from the water.
  • This is a simple, clean and inexpensive treatment process
  • The process meets all environmental standards for clean water from industrial sources and had a total organic carbon of 7.5 milligrams per litre

5 . Facts for Prelims

Mankading

Context : During a match against Rajasthan Royals at the Sawai Mansingh Stadium in Jaipur, Kings XI Punjab captain and bowler Ravichandran Ashwin dismissed Jos Buttler in a run out popularly called ‘Mankading’.

What is Mankading

  • Named after legendary Indian bowler Vinoo Mankad, ‘Mankading’ is a method of run out where a bowler dismisses a non-striker by hitting the bails before bowling when the latter is outside the crease. Though this is a legally permissible dismissal, it is considered against the spirit of the game.
  • The Laws of Cricket 41.16 states that a “Non-striker leaving his/her ground early: If the non-striker is out of his/her ground from the moment the ball comes into play to the instant when the bowler would normally have been expected to release the ball, the bowler is permitted to attempt to run him/her out. Whether the attempt is successful or not, the ball shall not count as one in the over.”
  • The law also states that if the bowler fails in an attempt to run out the non-striker, the umpire shall call and signal Dead ball as soon as possible.
  • The credit for inventing the word ‘Mankading’ goes to the Australian Press. During India’s tour of Australia in 1947, Vinoo Mankad had dismissed Bill Brown, not once but twice by removing the bails when he was outside the crease. Though the then Australian captain Don Bradman supported Mankad, the Australian Press criticised him for being unsportsmanlike.

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