UPSC CA: 20th October 2020

The National Green Tribunal (NGT)

Context: 

  • The National Green Tribunal (NGT) stated that environmental clearance granted to the Kaleshwaram lift irrigation project in Telangana, having a retrospective effect, is in violation of legal requirements. 

More about news:

  • The NGT have also formed a committee to assess the extent of damage that the project has caused and to identify the restoration measures. 
  • The panel has directed the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) to constitute a seven-member expert committee to suggest relief and rehabilitation measures.

About Kaleshwaram lift irrigation project:

  • It is a multipurpose irrigation project of the Telangana government. 
  • The project is being constructed on the meeting point of River Godavari and River Pranahita. 
  • The project was earlier called as the pranahita chevella project and named as Kaleshwaram project in 2014. 
  • The project will provide irrigation and drinking water to backward areas of Telangana. 
  • It will further help to restore the groundwater level by shifting the usage of ground water from irrigation towards usage of surface water for irrigation. 

About NGT:

  • It is a specialised body set up under the National Green Tribunal Act (2010) for effective and expeditious disposal of cases relating to environmental protection and conservation of forests and other natural resources.
  • NGT is mandated to make disposal of applications or appeals finally within 6 months of filing the same.
  • The NGT has five places of sittings, New Delhi is the Principal place of sitting and Bhopal, Pune, Kolkata and Chennai are the other four.
  • The Tribunal comprises the Chairperson, the Judicial Members and Expert Members. They shall hold office for a term of five years and are not eligible for reappointment.
  • The Chairperson is appointed by the Central Government in consultation with the Chief Justice of India (CJI).
  • A Selection Committee shall be formed by central government to appoint the Judicial Members and Expert Members.
  • There are to be at least 10 and maximum 20 full time Judicial members and Expert Members in the tribunal.

 

Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV)

Context:

  • The recently released 2019 HIV estimates by the National AIDS Control Organization (NACO) of the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare with the technical support of UNAIDS.

Key points: 

  • The 2019 HIV estimates note that there has been a 66.1% reduction in new HIV infections among children and a 65.3% reduction in AIDS-related deaths in India over a nine-year period. 
  • This indicates India’s progress in reducing the HIV impact on children through the prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV.
  • Also, the number of pregnant women living with HIV has reduced and treatment coverage has also expanded.

Steps taken:

  • The ‘Fast-Tracking of EMTCT (elimination of mother-to-child transmission) strategy-cum-action plan’ of NACO, aiming to achieve EMTCT, has been instrumental in mobilising all national, State and partners’ collective efforts.
  • The progress can be mainly attributed to education and communication programmes; increased access to HIV services with innovative delivery mechanisms for HIV testing; counselling and care; and treatment and follow-ups.
  • India made HIV testing for all pregnant women free and HIV treatment is offered the same way nationwide without cost to pregnant mothers living with HIV through the national ‘treat all’ policy.

About HIV:

  • Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) is a lentivirus, which is a sub-classification of the retrovirus. It causes the HIV infection which over time leads to AIDS (Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome). 
  • HIV demolishes a particular type of WBC (White Blood Cells) and the T-helper cells. This virus also makes copies of itself inside these cells.
  • T-helper cells are also known as CD4 cells.
  • The average survival period for a person affected with HIV without treatment is nine to eleven years, subject to the subtype of HIV.
  • HIV infection can occur by the transference of blood, breast milk, vaginal fluid, semen, or pre-ejaculate.
  • HIV occurs as both free virus particles and as a virus inside the infected immune cells within the above-mentioned bodily fluids.
  • A weak immune system makes a person prone to opportunistic infections and cancer.
  • It becomes difficult for a person infected with this virus to recover from even a minor injury or sickness.
  • By receiving treatment, a severe form of HIV can be prevented.

90-90-90 strategy:

  • 90-90-90 marks the treatment target to help end the AIDS epidemic.
  • Although many strategies will be needed to halt the AIDS epidemic, it will be impossible to end the epidemic without bringing HIV treatment to all who need it.
  • There are the envisaged goals of ending the AIDS epidemic by 2030.
  • The main targets under the 90-90-90 strategy include the following:
  • By 2020, 90% of all people living with HIV will know their HIV status.
  • By 2020, 90% of all people with diagnosed HIV infection will receive sustained antiretroviral therapy.
  • By 2020, 90% of all people receiving antiretroviral therapy will have viral suppression.

 

SANT Missile

Context: 

  • India successfully test fired the Stand-Off Anti-Tank Missile named as SANT.

More about news:

  • It will be inducted in the Indian Air Force. 
  • The missile has been developed by the Defence Research and Development Organization (DRDO). 
  • The missile was test fired from the Chandipur test range. 
  • The SANT missile has the capability of lock-on before launch and lock-on after launch.

About SANT Missile:

  • The missile is a variant of the Nag missile and an upgraded version of the HELINA. HELINA is yet another variant of the NAG missile. 
  • The missile was first tested in November 2018 from Pokhran. 
  • This upgraded version comprises a nose-mounted active radar homing seeker that has an extended range of 15 to 20 km.

Other missiles:

  • India in the recent months have conducted many test fires including- RUDRAM anti-radiation missile, New version of shaurya missile, LASER guided anti-tank missile, Brahmos missile with an indigenous booster, Prithvi II missile, RUSTOM II, TORPEDO SMART, ABHYAS, Hypersonic Technology Demonstrator Vehicle, Naval Version of BRAHMOS etc.

 

Frontier Technologies Cloud Innovation Centre

Context: 

  • Recently NITI Aayog has announced the establishment of a Frontier Technologies Cloud Innovation Centre (CIC) with Amazon Web Services, AWS.

Key points:

  • This aims to address societal challenges through digital innovation, which is first of its kind in India.
  • This CIC is part of the AWS CIC Global Programme which provides an opportunity for government agencies, non-profits and educational institutions, for
    • Come together on pressing challenges,
    • Apply design thinking,
    • Test new ideas,
    • Access the technology expertise of AWS.
  • The NITI Aayog Frontier Technologies CIC will be a great enabler to budding innovators and start-ups and help in leveraging emerging technologies such as AI, IOT and robotics, block chain.

 

Malabar naval exercise

Context:

  • The Ministry of Defence of India has announced that Australia will participate in the Malabar 2020 naval exercise, consisting of India, Japan and the U.S.

More about news:

  • Australia had first requested to join the Malabar naval exercises more than three years ago but India had been reluctant over possible concerns that such a move would antagonize China.
  • The move to include Australia comes in the backdrop of India seeking to increase cooperation with other countries in the maritime security domain and in the light of increased defence cooperation with Australia.
  • In June 2020, India and Australia signed the Mutual Logistics Support Agreement (MLSA) and also announced a joint declaration on a shared vision for maritime cooperation in the Indo-Pacific.
  • The move to include Australia will formally bring together the militaries of the four countries in the Quad group – India, Australia, Japan and the United States. This showcases the increasing relevance of cooperation between the four major Indo-Pacific democracies and their shared will to work together on common security interests.
  • High-end military exercises like Malabar would play a key role in enhancing the participant nations’ maritime capabilities, building interoperability with each other.