02 March Current Affairs
March 2, 2020
04 March Current Affairs
March 4, 2020
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03 March Current Affairs

Establishment of Chairs in the Name of Eminent Women Scientists

In News:

On the occasion of National Science Day (28th February), the Government has announced 11 chairs in the name of eminent Indian women scientists in various fields.

Theme:

The theme for the National Science Day 2020 is ‘Women In Science’.

Key Points:

The programme intends to encourage, empower women and give due recognition to young researchers excelling in various fields.

The 11 Chairs have been instituted in various areas of research including Agriculture, Biotechnology, Immunology, Phytomedicine, Biochemistry, Medicine, Social Sciences, Earth Science & Meteorology, Engineering, Mathematics, and Physics & Fundamental Research.

Additionally, the University Grants Commission (UGC) and the Ministry of Women and Child Development (MWCD) have jointly established 10 chairs across different universities after eminent womento encourage women to pursue higher education and excel in their chosen fields.

Fishing Cat and Otters

In News:

Recently, the presence of a viable, breeding population of a fishing cat has been found in Chilika Lake.

Details:

Further, the presence of a smooth-coated otter and an Eurasian otter has also been recorded in the lake.

  1. A) Fishing Cat:

Scientific Name: Prionailurus viverrinus

Habitat: In India, fishing cats are mainly found in the mangrove forests of the Sundarbans, on the foothills of the Himalayas along the Ganga and Brahmaputra river valleys and in the Western Ghats.

Protection Status:

IUCN Red List: Vulnerable

CITES: Appendix II

Indian Wildlife Protection Act, 1972: Schedule I

  1. B) Smooth-Coated Otter :-

Scientific Name: Lutrogale perspicillata

Habitat: Smooth-coated otters are distributed throughout India from the Himalayas to the south.

Protection Status:

IUCN Red List: Vulnerable

CITES: Appendix II

Indian Wildlife Protection Act, 1972: Schedule II

  1. C) Eurasian Otter :-

Scientific Name: Lutra lutra

Habitat: Throughout Europe and Asia from Ireland in the west as far as eastern Russia and China. They are also found in north Africa (Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia) and the Middle East (Israel, Jordan, Iraq and Iran).

Protection Status:

IUCN Red List: Near Threatened

CITES: Appendix I

Indian Wildlife Protection Act, 1972: Schedule II

Ekam Fest

In News:

The week long exhibition-cum-fair “EKAM Fest” is being organised by the National Handicapped Finance Development Corporation (NHFDC) in New Delhi from 2nd March, 2020.

Key Points:

EKAM Fest is an effort for promoting entrepreneurship and knowledge among the Divyangjan community. EKAM stands for Entrepreneurship, Knowledge, Awareness and Marketing.

Further, it will help in generating awareness among society about Persons with Disabilities (PwDs) entrepreneurs’ potential.

In the first Ekam Fest, Divyang Entrepreneur and Artisans from all over the country have been invited. The fest will see vibrant products ranging from handicraft, handloom, Embroidery work and dry fruits.

National Handicapped Finance Development Corporation :-

NHFDC is a corporation under the aegis of the Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities (Divyangjan),  Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment and has been working since 1997.

It is registered as a company not for profit and provides financial assistance to the Divyangjan/Persons with Disabilities (Divyangjan/PwDs) for their economic rehabilitation and provides a number of skill development programmes to empower them to grow & sustain their enterprises.

Some of the initiatives of NHFDC :-

NHFDC Swavalamban Kendra (NSK): NHFDC has taken an initiative to establish PwD owned micro skill training Centers throughout the country for skill training of PwDs.

Safe Cabs in Delhi and Indore: NHFDC has made arrangements with Sakha Cabs (Social enterprise) where the PwD owned commercial vehicles will be driven by the women drivers to provide safe taxi options for the women, children and senior citizen commuters.

Safe Drinking Water E Carts: NHFDC has recently agreed to finance E-carts (owned by PwDs) fitted with RO water dispensing vending machines.

Water Crisis in Himalayan Region

In News:

Recently, several towns were surveyed in the Himalayan region of Bangladesh, Nepal, India and Pakistan to understand the challenges of the water crisis in urban areas of these regions.

Key Points:

Eight towns in the Himalayan region of Bangladesh, Nepal, India and Pakistan were nearly 20%-70% deficient in their water supply.

The places surveyed are extremely dependent on springs (ranging between 50% and 100%) for their water, and three-fourths were in urban areas.

Rural areas have typically garnered much of the attention in terms of development and issues surrounding urban environments have been sidelined.

Factors responsible:

1) Unplanned urbanisation

2) Climate change

3) Across the region, the encroachment and degradation of natural water bodies (springs, ponds, lakes, canals, and rivers) and the growing disappearance of traditional water systems (stone spouts, wells, and local water tanks) are evident.

Although only 3% of the total Hindu Kush Himalayan population lives in larger cities and 8% in smaller towns, projections show that over 50% of the population will be living in cities by 2050, placing stress on water availability.

Although only 3% of the total Hindu Kush Himalayan population lives in larger cities and 8% in smaller towns, projections show that over 50% of the population will be living in cities by 2050, placing stress on water availability.

Under current trends, the demand-supply gap may double by 2050.

Water Crisis in India :-

India tops the list of countries with the most number of people living with water scarcity.

As many as one billion people in India live in areas with physical water scarcity, of which 600 million are in areas of high to extreme water stress.

Approximately 330 million people from 302 districts were affected by droughts in 2016.

Over 21% of the country’s diseases are water related. In 2015, India lost over 1 lakh children under the age of five to diarrheal diseases.

As per a report by NITI Aayog, Bengaluru will soon be among one of the 11 cities in the world to run out of ground water.

The report also states that the ‘Day Zero’ will hit Bengaluru and 20 other major cities (including Delhi) in India by the year 2020 affecting an estimated 100 million people.

Seven Themes for International Women’s Day 2020

In News:

The Ministries of Women and Child Development with other ministries have launched a campaign from 1st-7th March to celebrate International Women’s Day (IWD) 8th March 2020.

Key Points:

The campaign has a theme for all the days beginning from 1st March 2020.

The themes that are being observed include:

1) Education,

2) Health and nutrition,

3) Empowerment of women,

4) Skills & entrepreneurship,

5) Participation in sports,

6) Rural women agriculture,

7) Urban women.

Doordarshan would also be organising special programmes to commemorate the contribution of women members of the Indian Constituent Assembly to honour their contribution in the foundation of the Indian Republic.

Rare Disease Day

In News:

Rare Disease Day is observed on February 29.

Details:

A rare disease, also referred to as an orphan disease, is any disease that affects a small percentage of the population.

Most rare diseases are genetic, and are present throughout a person’s entire life, even if symptoms do not immediately appear.

The most common rare diseases recorded in India are Haemophilia, Thalassemia, sickle-cell anaemia and primary immuno deficiency in children, auto-immune diseases, Lysosomal storage disorders such as Pompe disease, Hirschsprung disease, Gaucher’s disease, Cystic Fibrosis, Hemangiomas and certain forms of muscular dystrophies.

Definition:

While there is no universally accepted definition of rare diseases, countries typically arrive at their own descriptions, taking into consideration disease prevalence, its severity and the existence of alternative therapeutic options. In the US, for instance, a rare disease is defined as a condition that affects fewer than 200,000 people. The same definition is used by the National Organisation for Rare Disorders (NORD).

Concerns and challenges:

They pose a significant challenge to health care systems because of the difficulty in collecting epidemiological data, which in turn impedes the process of arriving at a disease burden, calculating cost estimations and making correct and timely diagnoses, among other problems.

Many cases of rare diseases may be serious, chronic and life-threatening. In some cases, the affected individuals, mostly children, may also suffer from some form of a handicap.

As per the 2017 report, over 50 per cent of new cases are reported in children and these diseases are responsible for 35 per cent of deaths in those below the age of one, 10 per cent of deaths between the ages of one and five, and 12 per cent between five and 15.

Efforts by India towards this:

The Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, in January this year, published a national policy for the treatment of 450 ‘rare diseases’. The Centre first prepared such a policy in 2017 and appointed a committee in 2018 to review it.

Overview of the policy:

The policy intends to kickstart a registry of rare diseases, which will be maintained by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR).

Under the policy, there are three categories of rare diseases — requiring one-time curative treatment, diseases that require long-term treatment but where the cost is low, and those needing long-term treatments with high cost. Some of the diseases in the first category include osteopetrosis and immune deficiency disorders, among others.

Financial assistance: As per the policy, the assistance of Rs 15 lakh will be provided to patients suffering from rare diseases that require a one-time curative treatment under the Rashtriya Arogya Nidhi scheme. The treatment will be limited to the beneficiaries of Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana.

 

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