Daily Current Affairs for UPSC CSE
- Organ Donation
- Bharatnet Project
- Endemic Birds of India report
- Facts for Prelims
1 . Organ Donation
Context: With a waiting list of over three lakh patients and at least 20 persons dying each day waiting for an organ, India’s paucity of organ donations, especially cadaver donations, has been exacting a steep toll.
What is Organ donation?
- Organ donation is the process of surgically removing an organ or tissue from one person (the organ donor) and placing it into another person (the recipient). Transplantation is necessary because the recipient’s organ has failed or has been damaged by disease or injury.
- Importance of Organ donation- Organ donation helps in a transplant that often means a second chance at life. Vital organs such as the heart, pancreas, liver, kidneys, and lungs can be transplanted to those whose organs are failing. It allows many recipients to return to a normal lifestyle. For others, a cornea or tissue transplant means the ability to see again or the recovery of mobility and freedom from pain
Types of Organ donation
There are two types of organ donation: –
- Living Donor Organ Donation: A person during his life can donate one kidney (the other kidney is capable of maintaining the body functions adequately for the donor), a portion of pancreas (half of the pancreas is adequate for sustaining pancreatic functions) and a part of the liver (the segments of liver will regenerate after a period of time in both recipient and donor)
- Deceased Donor Organ Donation: A person can donate multiple organ and tissues after (brain-stem/cardiac) death. His/her organ continues to live in another person body. In the area of Organ Transplantation, ‘cadaver’ refers to a brain-dead body with a beating heart, on life support system.
Organ Donors in India
- India remains a country with one of the lowest organ donation rates in the world. The organ donation rates in India are very poor around 0.3/million, as compared to some western countries where it is as high as 36/million, in the US it is around 26/million population.
- Largest number of deceased organ donors were from Telangana, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Gujarat, and Maharashtra. On the other hand, the most number of living donors was reported from Delhi-NCR, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Maharashtra, and West Bengal. Additionally, the largest number of cadaver transplants took place in Tamil Nadu and Telangana.
What is the Legal Framework related to Organ Transplantation? :
- Organ donation and transplantation is a government regulated activity in India as per the provisions of the Transplantation of Human Organs and Tissues Act 1994 (as amended in 2011)
- The Transplantation of Human Organs Act (THOA), 1994 was enacted in the year 1994 and was adopted in all States except erstwhile State of J&K and Andhra Pradesh which have their own legislation in this regard.
- Main purpose of the Act is to regulate the removal, storage and transplantation of human organs for therapeutic purposes and for the prevention of commercial dealings in human organs
- Under THOA, source of the organ may be:
- Near Relative donor (mother, father, son, daughter, brother, sister, spouse)
- Other than near relative donor: Such a donor can donate only out of affection and attachment or for any other special reason and that too with the approval of the authorisation committee.
- Deceased donor, especially after Brain stem death e.g. a victim of road traffic accident etc. where the brain stem is dead and person cannot breathe on his own but can be maintained through ventilator, oxygen, fluids etc. to keep the heart and other organs working and functional. Other type of deceased donor could be donor after cardiac death.
The Organ Donation process
- Even though millions of people have registered to become organ donors, very few donors pass away in a way that allows organ donation. Here are some additional details about the organ donation process:
- Registering as a Donor
The process of donation most often begins with your consent to be a donor by registering name in the national registry and informing your family. This is the first step to help save potential lives.
- Brain Death Testing
If the patient not responding to treatment and stimuli, doctors will perform a series of tests to determine if brain death has occurred. A patient who is brain dead has no brain activity and cannot breathe on his or her own. Brain death is death and it is irreversible. Only brain dead patients can become potential organ donors.
- Authorizing Donation
The healthcare authorities check if the deceased is registered as a donor on their registry. In India, the family’s consent is mandatory for organ donation and has the final say.
- The matching process
Healthcare specialists determine whether the organ is medically suitable for transplant. A series of tests on various parameters is done to help match an organ to a suitable recipient for transplant.
- Recovering the Organs
After removing the organ, surgeons connect it to a machine that keeps them working artificially. Doctors take utmost care while removing the organs. Most organs have limited life spans as below:
- Heart: 4-6 hours
- Liver: 12-24 hours
- Kidney: 48-72 hours
- Heart-Lung: 4-6 hours
- Lung: 4-6 hours
- Transporting the Organs
Surgical teams work round the clock to co-ordinate between the retrieved organ and the recipient for a successful transplant. In some cases, a green corridor is created for an organ transplant. It is a demarcated, cleared out special road route created for an ambulance to enable the retrieved organ meant for transplant to reach the destined hospital within the stipulated time.
What are the Challenges in Organ donations in India?
- Decreased number of Organ donars– Health Ministry data show that the number of donors (including cadavers) grew from 6,916 in 2014 to only 16,041 in 2022. India’s deceased organ donation rate had been under one donor per million population for a decade now. India needs to increase this to 65 donations per million population and for that to happen, public sector healthcare must step up. Even worldwide, only 10% of patients needing organs get them in time. Spain and the U.S. have better organ donation systems, clocking 30-50 donations per million. The need of the hour is to train trauma and ICU doctors to help patients’ families to come forward and donate. In India, living donors comprise 85% of all donors.
- Poor Donar record- Data from 2022 show India’s poor record in cadaver donations. The country registered 1,589 kidney, 761 liver and 250 heart transplants in the deceased category that year. Kidney and pancreas transplants g – rew from three in 2014 to 22 in 2022. In contrast, living donor kidney transplants rose from 4,884 in 2014 to 9,834 in 2022. Liver transplants in this category grew from 1,002 to 2,957.
- Other challenges– Though the Ministry has announced a series of steps to promote organ donations, including doing away with the domicile rule; removal of age bar for registration of recipients; removal of fee for registration for transplant; easing rules on withdrawal of life support (passive euthanasia); facilitation of organ transport across the country; and giving special casual leave for employed organ donors, these are not enough
- Mismatch between demand and Supply- India faces a significant disparity between demand and supply in kidney transplant. The annual need for 2,00,000 kidney transplants highlights the pressing urgency of the situation. However, a mere 10,000 transplants are performed each year, revealing a staggering gap. The demand for deceased donors is substantial because many families lack suitable living donors. Therefore, relying on deceased donors can help partially meet this demand.
- Way forward- Organ donation pledges in India need to translate into actual donations and for that, medical staff need to be educated. They must be able to recognise, identify, inform, and counsel families about brain death and the importance of organ donation.
2 . BharatNet project
Context: The Union Cabinet on Friday approved an outlay of ₹1.39-lakh crore for BharatNet, a project to provide last-mile connectivity across 6.4 lakh villages. The sources said while about 1.94 lakh villages have already been connected, the rest are expected to be connected in the next 2.5 years.
About BharatNet Project
- BharatNet is a project of national importance to establish, a highly scalable network infrastructure accessible on a non-discriminatory basis, to provide on demand, affordable broadband connectivity of 2 Mbps to 20 Mbps for all households and on demand capacity to all institutions, to realise the vision of Digital India, in partnership with States and the private sector.
- The entire project is being funded by Universal service Obligation Fund (USOF), which was set up for improving telecom services in rural and remote areas of the country. The objective is to facilitate the delivery of e-governance, e-health, e-education, e-banking, Internet and other services to the rural India.
About Universal Service Obligation Fund (USOF)
- Apart from the higher capital cost of providing telecom services in rural and remote areas, these areas also generate lower revenue due to lower population density, low income and lack of commercial activity. Thus normal market forces alone would not direct the telecom sector to adequately serve backward and rural areas.
- Keeping in mind the inadequacy of the market mechanism to serve rural and inaccessible areas on one hand and the importance of providing vital telecom connectivity on the other, most countries of the world have put in place policies to provide Universal Access and Universal Service to ICT.
- The New Telecom Policy – 1999 (NTP’99) provided that the resources for meeting the Universal Service Obligation (USO) would be raised through a ‘Universal Access Levy (UAL)’, which would be a percentage of the revenue earned by the operators under various licenses.
- The Indian Telegraph (Amendment) Act, 2003 giving statutory status to the Universal Service Obligation Fund (USOF) was passed by both Houses of Parliament in December 2003. The Fund is to be utilized exclusively for meeting the Universal Service Obligation.
Tie up with Village Level Entrepreneurs
- BBNL, which is an arm of state-run Bharat Sanchar Nigam (BSNL) now, will be partnering village level entrepreneurs (VLEs) to provide the connectivity.
- The model to take fibre to the home with the help of a local entrepreneur was finalised after the successful completion of a pilot project
- Customer premise equipment and additional fibre required for connecting homes are provided by BBNL, and local entrepreneurs have been tasked with maintaining the network
- Around 3,800 entrepreneurs were involved in the pilot project that was carried out for 60,000 villages, who provided 3.51 lakh broadband connections. Average data consumption per household has been recorded to the tune of 175 gigabytes per month.
- The project is being rolled on a 50 per cent revenue-sharing basis between BBNL and VLE, and the monthly broadband plan price starts from Rs 399 onward.
3. Endemic Birds of India
Context: A recent publication by the Zoological Survey of India (ZSI) points out that about 5% of the birds found in the country are endemic and not reported in other parts of the world. The publication, 75 Endemic Birds of India, was recently released on the 108th foundation day of the ZSI.
About the report
- 75 Endemic Birds of India is a publication of ZSI. It comes at a time when the country is celebrating 75 years of Independence with the ‘Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav’ celebrations.
Endemic Birds of India
- India is home to 1,353 bird species, which represents approximately 12.4% of the global bird diversity. Of these, 78 (5%) are endemic to the country.
- Three of the 78 species have not been recorded in the past few decades.
- They are the Manipur bush quail (Perdicula manipurensis), listed as “endangered” by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species with its last recorded sighting in 1907;
- The Himalayan quail (Ophrysia superciliosa), listed as “critically endangered” with its last recorded sighting in 1876; and
- The Jerdon’s courser (Rhinoptilus bitorquatus), listed as “critically endangered” with its last confirmed sighting in 2009.
- Endemic Birds of Western Ghats– The highest number of endemic species have been recorded in the Western Ghats, with 28 bird species. Some of the species recorded in the country’s bio-geographic hotspot are the Malabar grey hornbill (Ocyceros griseus); Malabar parakeet (Psittacula columboides); Ashambu laughingthrush (Montecincla meridionalis); and the white-bellied sholakili(Sholicola albiventris).
What is endemism?
- Endemism is a term used in biology to talk about the distribution of a taxon limited to a small geographic area and which can therefore be found naturally in that place. In consequence, endemic species are those that live in a limited area, such as a mountain range, lake or island, among others.
What are the threats to endemic species?
- There are two types of threats: direct and indirect threats.
- Direct threats can be caused by the biological character of the species such as low reproductive rate, long-term parental care; high utilization i.e., hunt (egg, nestling, adult): consumption, trade (pet, hobbies and other uses); and natural predation.
- Indirect threats include habitat loss, fragmented forest, land conversion, and restricted range because of requiring a very specific habitat type.
4 . Facts for Prelims
- Kuttikkanam, a picturesque hill station lying between Wagamon and Thekkady.
- It is also known as Ammachi Kottaram. The palace was constructed around 1890. Some additions happened in the 1900s period.
- The 130-year-old palace once served as the summer residence of the kings of erstwhile Travancore.
- An abandoned tunnel which opens from a room inside the palace is believed to link it with the famed Peermade Sreekrishna Swami temple.
- The palace was constructed during the reign of Moolam Thirunal Rama Varma who ruled the Travancore princely state from 1885 to 1924. British planter J.D. Munro supervised its construction.
- The palace had a special hall for discussing day-to-day administrative matters and a stud farm.
Indian eagle Owl
- The Indian eagle-owl also called the rock eagle-owl or Bengal eagle-owl, is a large horned owl species native to hilly and rocky scrub forests in the Indian Subcontinent. It is splashed with brown and grey, and has a white throat patch with black small stripes.
- It is listed as the Least concern Species as per IUCN Red List
- The Indian eagle-owl was classified as a species only in recent years, thus distinguishing it from the Eurasian eagle-owl.
- Smear Microscopy is a microscopic examination of specially stained smears to detect acid-fast organisms such as Mycobacterium tuberculosis and non- tuberculous mycobacteria (NTM).
- In Sputum smear microscopy, the primary method for diagnosis of pulmonary TB, is a simple, rapid, and inexpensive technique that is highly specific in areas with very high prevalence. Its limitations include low sensitivity and diagnosis of extrapulmonary TB, pediatric TB, and patients coinfected with HIV
- It also identifies the most infectious patients and is widely applicable in various populations with different socio-economic levels.
- The Clouded leopard is a wild cat inhabiting dense forests from the foothills of the Himalayas through Northeast India and Bhutan to mainland Southeast Asia into South China. It was first described in 1821 on the basis of a skin of an individual from China.
- Features- The clouded leopard has large dusky-grey blotches and irregular spots and stripes reminiscent of clouds. I
- It uses its tail for balancing when moving in trees and is able to climb down vertical tree trunks headfirst. It rests in trees during the day and hunts by night on the forest floor.
- The clouded leopard is the first cat that genetically diverged 9.32 to 4.47 million years ago from the common ancestor of the pantherine cats.
- Today, the clouded leopard is locally extinct in Singapore, Taiwan, and possibly also in Hainan Island and Vietnam. Its total population is suspected to be fewer than 10,000 mature individuals, with a decreasing population trend, and no single population numbering more than 1,000 adults. It has therefore been listed as Vulnerable on the IUCN Red List since 2008.
- Threats- The population is threatened by large–scale deforestation and commercial poaching for the wildlife trade. Its body parts are offered for decoration and clothing, though it is legally protected in most range countries.
- Scientists have discovered fossils of an extinct whale species that may have been the largest mammal ever — the Perucetus colossus, believed to have lived on Earth more than 38 million years ago.
- The Perucetus colossus, whose name translates to ‘colossal Peruvian whale’ — so called because it was found in Ica desert in Peru — weighed up to 340 metric tons. The blue whale weighs 180-200 metric tons.
- A Paradigm Shift in Cetacean Evolution – Traditionally, scientists associated the increase in body size among cetaceans, which include whales, dolphins, and porpoises, with their transition from terrestrial to aquatic environments. This evolution was believed to enable them to become active swimmers in deep waters. However, the discovery of Perucetus colossus challenges this long-held assumption.
- Instead of adapting to deep waters, it appears that the ancient whale’s impressive size and skeletal body mass were advantageous in shallow waters. This indicates that the Perucetus colossus might have thrived in shallower habitats, contrary to what was previously believed about the evolution of size in cetaceans.
- The significance of the Perucetus colossus discovery goes beyond its enormous size. The fossils were unearthed in the Ica desert in Peru, contributing to the species’ name, ‘colossal Peruvian whale.’
- Further, the discovery of the Perucetus colossus underscores the importance of paleontological research in enriching our understanding of Earth’s history. It serves as a reminder of the need to preserve and protect planet’s fossil-rich regions, allowing future generations of scientists to unravel more secrets about the evolution of life on Earth.
- The groundbreaking research on Perucetus colossus was a collaborative effort by scientists from Peru, Italy, Germany, France, Switzerland, The Netherlands, and Belgium.
Tiger reserves in Mahdya Pradesh
- Kanha Tiger Reserve- Kanha is one of the oldest wildlife sanctuaries in India. It was declared a National Park in 1955 and recognized as a Reserve Forest in 1879. Then in the year 1973, it was declared a Tiger Reserve. It is spread across an area of around 1949 sq. km of wilderness, located in the Mandla and Balaghat districts of Madhya Pradesh.
- BandhavgarhTigerReserve- In 1993, Bandhavgarh forest was declared a Tiger Reserve. Located in the Umaria district of Madhya Pradesh, this forest had become a National Park in 1968 when the Maharaja of Rewa had surrendered the forest to the state for its formation.
- Pench Tiger Reserve- Pench Tiger Reserve got its name from the River Pench which flows through the forest, dividing it into two parts. Pench Tiger Reserve is the first park that shares two states;Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra.
- Panna Tiger Reserve- Panna Tiger Reserve was the fifth reserve of Madhya Pradesh and the 22nd of India. Situated in the Vindhyan Ranges, it spreads over the Panna and Chattarpur districts of Madhya Pradesh. Formed in 1981, the Government of India recognized the national park as a Tiger Reserve in 1994.
- Satpura Tiger Reserve- The Satpura Tiger Reserve is located in the Hoshangabad district of Madhya Pradesh. Tiger Reserve is a combination of Bori and Pachmarhi Wildlife Sanctuaries.
Amrit Bharat Station Scheme
- The Amrit Bharat Station Scheme envisages the development of stations on a continuous basis with a long-term approach.
- It involves the preparation of ‘master plans and their implementation in phases to improve the amenities at the stations. The scheme was launched to redevelop 1,309 stations across the country.
- These railway stations in the State are all set to emerge as city centre and urban icons giving a new identity to the town/city in which they are located.
- The stations will become world class with amenities such as roof plaza, shopping zone, food court, children’s play area, provision of segregated entry and exit gates, multi-level parking, lift, escalator, executive lounge, waiting area, travellator and physically challenged-friendly facilities.
- With the integration of multi-modal connectivity, the redeveloped stations will become the centre of socio-economic activities of the region
- C. Subramania Bharathi was a Tamil writer, poet, journalist, Indian independence activist, social reformer and polyglot. He was bestowed the title “Bharathi” for his excellence in poetry. He was a pioneer of modern Tamil poetry and is considered one of the greatest Tamil literary figures of all time.
Bharathi: A poet and a Nationalist
- Significantly, a new age in Tamil literature began with Subramaniya Bharathi. Most part of his compositions are classifiable as short lyrical outpourings on patriotic, devotional and mystic themes. Bharathi was essentially a lyrical poet. “Kannan Pattu” “Nilavum Vanminum Katrum” “Panchali Sabatam” “Kuyil Pattu” are examples of Bharathi’s great poetic output.
- Bharathi is considered as a national poet due to his number of poems of the patriotic flavour through which he exhorted the people to join the independence struggle and work vigorously for the liberation of the country. Instead of merely being proud of his country he also outlined his vision for a free India. He published the sensational “Sudesa Geethangal” in 1908.
Bharathi as a Journalist
- Many years of Bharathi’s life were spent in the field of journalism, Bharathi, as a young man began his career as a journalist and as a sub-editor in “Swadesamitran” in November 1904.
- “India” saw the light of the day in May, 1906. It declared as its motto the three slogans of the French Revolution, Liberty, Equality and Fraternity. It blazed a new trail in Tamil Journalism. In order to proclaim its revolutionary ardour, Bharathi had the weekly printed in red paper. “India” was the first paper in Tamil Nadu to publish political cartoons. He also published and edited a few other journals like “Vijaya”.
Bharthi as a social reformer
- Bharathi was also against caste system. He declared that there were only two castes-men and women and nothing more than that. Above all, he himself had removed his sacred thread. He had also adorned many Dalits with sacred thread. He used to take tea sold in shops run by Muslims. He along with his family members attended church on all festival occasions. He advocated temple entry of Dalits. For all his reforms, he had to face opposition from his neighbours. But Bharathi was very clear that unless Indians unite as children of Mother India, they could not achieve freedom. He believed in women’s rights, gender equality and women emancipation. He opposed child marriage, dowry and supported widow remarriage.
- Bharathi died on 11th September 1921. Bharathi as a poet, journalist, freedom fighter and social reformer had made a great impact not only on the Tamil society but also on the entire human society.