Daily Current Affairs : 7th and 8th September

Daily Current Affairs for UPSC CSE

Topics Covered

  1. Great Indian Bustard
  2. Genetic Lineage of Indus Valley Settlers
  3. Avian Influenza
  4. Genomic Grid
  5. High-level task force to identify infrastructure projects for ₹100 lakh-crore worth investment 
  6. Facts for Prelims : Logistics Pact with Korea, Craniopagus twins , Robert Mugabe

1 . Great Indian Bustard

Context :Noting the high mortality rate of the Great Indian Bustard, the National Green Tribunal has directed the Centre to prepare a time-bound action plan within two months for protection of the birds.

About Great Indian Bustard

  • The Great Indian Bustard or Indian bustard is a bustard found on the Indian subcontinent.
  • It is Listed in Schedule I of the Indian Wildlife (Protection)Act, 1972, in the CMS Convention and in Appendix I of CITES,
  • Critically Endangered on the IUCN Red List and the National Wildlife Action Plan (2002-2016).
  • It has also been identified as one of the species for the recovery programme under the Integrated Development of Wildlife Habitats of the Ministry of Environment and Forests, Government of India.
  • It is the State bird of Rajasthan

2 . Genetic Lineage of Indus Valley Settlers

About the Study

  • A study of DNA from skeletal remains excavated from the Harappan cemetery at Rakhigarhi argues that the hunter-gatherers of South Asia, who then became a settled people, have an independent origin.
  • The researchers who conducted the study contend that the theory of the Harappans having Steppe pastoral or ancient Iranian farmer ancestry thus stands refuted.
  • The finding also negates the hypothesis about mass migration during Harappan times from outside South Asia, they argue.

Key Findings

  • The Rakhigarhi study was reported in a paper titled “An Ancient Harappan Genome Lacks Ancestry from Steppe Pastoralists or Iranian farmers” in the journal Cell.
  • Researchers had successfully sequenced the first genome of an individual from Harappa and combining it with archaeological data, found that hunter-gatherers of South Asia had an independent origin, and authored the settled way of life in this part of the world.
  • They do not contain genome from either the Steppe region or ancient Iranian farmers.
  • The genetic continuity from hunter gatherer to modern times is visible in the DNA results
  • Study finds that the same hunter-gatherer communities developed into agricultural communities and formed the Harappan civilisation.
  • The researchers also suggest that there was a movement of people from east to west as the Harappan people’s presence is evident at sites like Gonur in Turkmenistan and Sahr-i-Sokhta in Iran.
  • As the Harappans traded with Mesopotamia, Egypt, the Persian Gulf and almost all across South Asia, there was bound to be movement of people resulting in a mixed genetic history. India had a heterogeneous population right from the beginning of settled life. There was a hint that settled life and domestication went from South Asia to West Asia.
  • Not only did the researchers find an absence of Anatolian-related ancestry, they saw that Iranian-related ancestry in South Asians comes from a lineage that separated from ancient Iranian farmers and hunter-gatherers before those groups split from each other, nearly 9,000 years ago.
  • The researchers, therefore, concluded that farming in South Asia was not due to the movement of people from the farming cultures of the west and that local foragers adopted it.
  • Researchers find no trace of the Anatolian-related ancestry that is a hallmark of the spread of farming to the west, but the Iranian-related ancestry they detected in South Asians comes from a lineage that separated from ancient Iranian farmers and hunter-gatherers before those groups split from each other

3 . Avian Influenza

Context : On September 3, India was again declared free of the H5N1 virus, which causes avian influenza or bird flu, the earlier such declaration having come in 2017. In the last two years, there had been outbreaks of the disease in Odisha, Bihar, and Jharkhand.

About Influenza

According to the WHO, influenza is known to affect 5-10% of adults and 20-30% of children across the world every year. The many kinds of viruses causing influenza are identified by a standard nomenclature issued by the World Health Organization (WHO) in 1980.

The four influenza types

  • The WHO defines influenza as “a contagious, acute respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses, usually influenza A or B subtypes.”
  • The influenza virus, which causes the illness, is of four types: A, B, C, and D. According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), only the influenza A and B viruses are known to cause epidemics. The C type virus usually causes mild respiratory illness, while the D type virus typically affects cattle and is not known to infect humans.
  • The disease is often confused with a heavy cold, which has the same symptoms — headaches, runny nose, cough, and muscle pains.

The subtypes

  • Only the influenza A virus is divided into subtypes. The subtype is based on two proteins on the surface of the virus, hemagglutinin (H) and neuraminidase (N).
  • Hemagglutinin has 18 further subtypes while neuraminidase has 11. They are named from H1 to H18 and N1 to N11 in a sequential system that applies uniformly to influenza viruses from all sources.
  • According to the WHO, “Humans can be infected with avian, swine and other zoonotic influenza viruses, such as avian influenza virus subtypes A(H5N1), A(H7N9), and A(H9N2) and swine influenza virus subtypes A(H1N1), A(H1N2) and A(H3N2).”
  • Novel strains of the H1N1 virus have appeared in 1918, 1957, 1968, and most recently in 2009 during the global bird flu outbreak, which the WHO designated a pandemic. The 2009 strain is now known to have replaced the previous strains.

4 . Genomic Grid

Context : In a move to take cancer research to the next level and make treatment viable for people of different economic classes, the government has plans to set up a National Genomic Grid, which will study genomic data of cancer patients from India, said Minister of State for Health and Family Welfare Aswini Kumar Choubey here on Saturday.

About Genomic Grid

  • The grid to be formed will be in line with the National Cancer Tissue Biobank (NCTB) set up at the Indian Indian Institute of Technology, Madras and will collect samples from cancer patients to study genomic factors influencing cancer and identifying the right treatment modalities for the Indian population.
  • “The NCTB is functioning in close association with the Indian Council for Medical Research (ICMR).
  • The genomic samples will help researches to have India-specific studies on cancers.
  • The government plans to set up the National Genomic Grid in the same style with pan-India collection centres by bringing all cancer treatment institutions on board.
  • The grid will have four parts, with the country divided into east, west, north and south

5 . High-level task force to identify infrastructure projects for ₹100 lakh-crore worth investment 

Context : The government on Saturday said it had constituted a high-level task force to identify infrastructure projects for ₹100 lakh-crore worth investment to be made by 2024-25 as India aims to become a $5-trillion economy.

About the Task force

  • The task force, headed by the Economic Affairs Secretary, will draw up a ‘national infrastructure pipeline’ of ₹100 lakh-crore
  • This would include greenfield and brownfield projects costing above ₹100 crore each.
  • The task force will comprise secretaries from different Ministries, senior officials and the NITI Aayog CEO. It will identify technically feasible and financially/economically viable infrastructure projects that can be initiated in 2019-20.


  • To achieve the target of scaling India’s GDP to $5 trillion by 2024-25, the country needs to spend about $1.4 trillion (₹100 lakh crore) from the fiscal 2019-20 to 2024-25 on infrastructure, it added.
  • In the past decade (fiscal 2008-17), India invested about $1.1 trillion in infrastructure.

 The Terms of Reference of the Task Force are as follows:

  1. To identify technically feasible and financially/ economically viable infrastructure projects that can be initiated in FY 2019-20.
  2. To list the projects that can be included in the pipeline for each of the remaining 5 years between FY 2021-25.
  3. To estimate annual infrastructure investment/capital costs.
  4. To guide the Ministries in identifying appropriate sources of financing.
  5. To suggest measures to monitor the projects so that cost and time overrun is minimized.

6. Facts for Prelims

Logstics Pact with Korea

  • India and South Korea have inked a military logistics agreement which will support each other’s navies.
  • Logistics agreement help the Indian Navy and also help in interoperability, especially when it operates in the Indo-Pacific Region in the ports of South Korea.

Craniopagus Twins

  • India’s only successfully separated craniopagus twins from Odisha — Jagga and Balia — were discharged from the All India Institute of Medical Science (AIIMS) here on Friday, two years after they were admitted, operated and started on rehabilitation at the hospital.
  • Conjoined twins are two babies who are born physically connected to each other.
  • Conjoined twins develop when an early embryo only partially separates to form two individuals. Although two fetuses will develop from this embryo, they will remain physically connected — most often at the chest, abdomen or pelvis. Conjoined twins may also share one or more internal organs.

Robert Mugabe

  • Robert Gabriel Mugabe was a Zimbabwean revolutionary and politician who served as prime minister of Zimbabwe from 1980 to 1987 and then as president from 1987 to 2017

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