Factly :-News Articles For UPSC Prelims | 2 June, 2021

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“World No Tobacco Day” and “Tobacco Consumption” in India

What is the News?

Every year, on 31st May, the World Health Organization (WHO) and global partners celebrate World No Tobacco Day (WNTD). This year, the WHO has honoured the health minister of India with the ‘WHO Director-General Special Recognition Award’ for his effort to control tobacco consumption in India.

About World No Tobacco Day:

  • World No Tobacco Day is an annual event organised by the World Health Organisation(WHO) on May 31st.
  • Objective: The day aims to raise awareness about the harmful and deadly effects of tobacco use. Thereby, discouraging the use of tobacco in any form.
  • Theme: “Commit to Quit“. This theme aims to support 100 million people worldwide to give up tobacco through a range of initiatives and digital solutions.

Tobacco Consumption in India:

  • Reduction in Tobacco Use: Due to the efforts of Central and State Governments, the prevalence of tobacco use has decreased by six percentage points from 34.6% in 2009-10 to 28.6% in 2016-17.
  • Deaths due to Tobacco Consumption: In India, every year more than 1.3 million deaths are attributable to tobacco use. This amounts to 3500 deaths per day due to tobacco consumption.
  • Risk of Covid-19: Tobacco smokers face a 40-50% higher risk of developing severe disease deaths from COVID-19.
  • Economic Cost: As per the WHO report, the economic burden of diseases and deaths attributable to tobacco use in India was as high as Rs. 1.77 lakh crores. This amounts to approx 1% of Indian GDP.

Initiatives taken by India to Control Tobacco Consumption:

  • Cigarettes Act,1975: The act mandated the display of statutory health warnings in advertisement and on cartons and cigarette packages.
  • Cigarettes and other Tobacco Products Act(COTPA),2003: The act replaced the Cigarettes Act of 1975. It aims to provide smoke-free public places and also placed restrictions on tobacco advertising and promotion.
  • Prohibition of Electronic Cigarettes Bill, 2019: It aims to prohibit the Production, Manufacture, Import, Export, Transport, Sale, Distribution, Storage and Advertisement of e-Cigarettes.
  • National Health Policy 2017: It has set an ambitious target of reducing tobacco use by 30% by 2025.
  • Tobacco Quit line service -1800-112-356: It was initiated in 2016 to reach a large number of tobacco users. It aims to provide telephone-based information, advice, support, and referrals for tobacco cessation.
  • India has also signed the tobacco control provisions under the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC).

Source: TOI


“State of Finance for Nature Report” demands investment in “Nature-based solutions”

What is the News?

The State of Finance for Nature Report has been released. The report recommended more investments in “Nature-based solutions”.

About State of Finance for Nature Report:

  • Released by: United Nations Environment Programme, World Economic Forum and the Economics of Land Degradation.
  • Purpose: The report tracks the global trends in public and private investment in nature-based solutions. By this, it aims to improve data quality and identify opportunities for governments, businesses and financiers.

Note: Nature-based solutions(NbS) refer to sustainable management and the use of nature to tackle socio-environmental challenges. These challenges range from disaster risk reduction, climate change and biodiversity loss to food and water security as well as human health.

Key Findings of the Report:

  • The current investments in Nature-based solutions amount to USD 133 billion. This is about 0.10% of global GDP. Public funds make up 86% and private finance makes up the remaining 14% of these investments.
  • Public Investment: The largest proportion of public investment is carried out by the United States, with approximately $36 billion a year in NbS spending. It is followed by China, Japan, Germany and Australia.
    • Countries such as Brazil, India and Saudi Arabia are likely spending large amounts of money too. But they do not report internationally comparable data, according to the report.
  • Private Investment: The private investment in Nature-based solutions is mostly contributed by
    • Commercial financial institutions,
    • Investors including insurance companies, asset management firms
    • Philanthropies including foundations and endowments.

Recommendations:

  • Firstly, the report calls for investments in nature-based solutions to triple by 2030 and to increase four-fold by 2050 from the current level.
    • By 2050, the total investment of nature needs will amount to $8.1 trillion, while annual investment should reach $536 billion annually by 2050.
  • Secondly, the report has called for a comprehensive system and framework for labelling, tracking, reporting and verifying the state of finance for NbS. This would improve data comparability and quality as an input to future decision-making.
  • Lastly, the report has recommended reforming taxes, repurposing agricultural policies and trade-related tariffs. It also recommended harnessing the potential of carbon markets to finance Nature-based solutions.

Source: Down To Earth


Nearly 10,000 children in country need immediate care: NCPCR tells SC

What is the News?

The National Commission for Protection of Child Rights(NCPCR) has informed the Supreme Court that nearly 10,000 children need immediate care and protection due to the impact of Covid-19.

What was the case?

  • The Supreme Court of India has taken up a suo motu petition to examine ways to protect children. Especially those who have suffered personal loss and trauma due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
  • During the hearing, the Court had asked the states and Union Territories to upload data on the number of affected children since March 2020 on the ‘Bal Swaraj’ portal of NCPCR.
  • Moreover, the Court had also asked NCPCR to provide the statistics on the received information to the court.

What information did NCPCR provide to the Supreme Court?

  • Data: The NCPCR has informed the Court that a total of 1,742 children were orphaned, 140 abandoned and 7,464 children have lost one parent because of the Covid-19 pandemic since March 2020.
  • Age-Wise data: The children aged between eight and 13 form the highest age bracket who are in dire need of help.
  • States: Among States, Uttar Pradesh has the highest number of children in need of protection. This was followed by Bihar and Kerala.
  • Concerns: These children if help is not provided then have a high risk of being pushed into trafficking and flesh trade.

About National Commission for Protection of Child Rights(NCPCR):

  • NCPCR is a statutory body established in 2007 under the Commission for Protection of Child Rights Act (CPCR), 2005.
  • Nodal Ministry: It is under the administrative control of the Ministry of Women & Child Development.
  • Mandate: To ensure all laws, policies, programmes, and administrative mechanisms are in accordance with the child rights perspective. As put forward in the Constitution of India and also the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.

About Bal Swaraj Portal:

  • It was launched by the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR).
  • Purpose: The portal has been created with a purpose for online tracking and digital real-time monitoring mechanism of children who are in need of care and protection.
  • Bal Swaraj Covid-Care: The Commission has extended the use of this portal for tracking children who have lost both their parents or either of the parents during COVID-19.
    • It has provided a link under the name of “COVID-Care” for uploading data of such children by the concerned department on the portal.

Source: The Hindu


China’s shift from “one-child policy” to “three-child policy”

What is the News?

China has announced that it will allow couples to have up to three children after census data showed a steep decline in birth rates.

About China’s One-Child Policy:

  • China’s One-Child Policy was announced in 1980 by then-leader Deng Xiaoping.
  • The policy was adopted out of fear that unchecked population growth would lead to economic and environmental catastrophe. It was also a response to concerns about food shortages.
  • The policy was implemented through several means. Such as, incentivising families financially to have one child, making contraceptives widely available and imposing sanctions against those who violated the policy.
  • However, the policy was also a source of discontent as:
    • The state used brutal tactics such as forced abortions and sterilisations.
    • Controversial for violating human rights
    • Being unfair to poorer Chinese since the richer ones could afford to pay economic sanctions if they violated the policy.

Was the One Child Policy successful?

  • The policy has been blamed for making China’s population aged faster than other countries, impacting the country’s growth potential.
  • It is also suggested that because of the one-child policy, China would be unable to reap the full benefits of its economic growth and will need other ways to support it.

China’s Two-Child Policy:

  • In 2016, China relaxed its One Child Policy. It allowed two children per couple. However, the policy change did little to change the rapid fall in population growth.
  • According to Census 2020, around 12 million babies were born in 2020. This is a significant decrease from the 18 million in 2016 and also the lowest number of births recorded since the 1960s.
  • Hence, this was the reason why China has now relaxed its two-child policy and has allowed couples to have up to three children.

China's birthrate

Will the Three-child policy increase childbirth?

The experts have said that relaxing limits on reproductive rights alone cannot go a long way in averting an unwanted demographic shift. They have said that the reasons for fewer children being born in China are:

  • Rising costs of living, education and supporting ageing parents.
  • Country’s pervasive culture of long working hours.
  • Culture Shift with many couples believing that one child is enough and some expressing no interest in having children.

Source: The Hindu


World Health Assembly Adopts New Resolution to End Malaria

What is the News? 

The 74th World Health Assembly(WHA) has adopted a new resolution to end malaria. It will accelerate efforts towards this aim.

About the Resolution to End Malaria:

  • The resolution is led by the United States of America and Zambia.
  • The aim of the resolution is to urge the Member States to step up progress on containing the disease. It is in line with WHO’s updated global malaria strategy and the WHO Guidelines for malaria.
  • The resolution called on countries to expand investment, scale-up funding for a global response. Also, it will boost investment in the research and development of new tools.

About WHOs Global Malaria Program:

  • The WHO Global Malaria Program is responsible for coordinating WHO’s global efforts to control and eliminate malaria.
  • The work of the program is guided by the “Global technical strategy for malaria 2016–2030”.

Global Technical Strategy for malaria 2016–2030

  • The WHO’s global technical strategy was adopted by the World Health Assembly in 2015.
  • Aim: The strategy provides a technical framework for all malaria-endemic countries working towards malaria control and elimination.
  • Targets: Its global targets for 2030 include:
    • Reducing malaria case incidence by at least 90%.
    • Reducing malaria mortality rates by at least 90%.
    • Eliminating malaria in at least 35 countries.
    • Preventing a resurgence of malaria in all countries that are malaria-free.

About Malaria:

  • Malaria is a disease caused by Plasmodium parasites that are transmitted to people through the bites of infected female Anopheles mosquitoes.
  • The disease claims more than 400,000 lives annually. In 2019, the world reported an estimated 229 million cases of malaria and 409,000 deaths.
  • However, an estimated 6 million deaths and 1.5 billion cases had been averted since 2000. But the global gains in combating malaria have leveled off in recent years.

Source: Down To Earth


Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Package Insurance Scheme for health workers fighting Covid-19

What is the News?

The government of India has introduced a new system for quick clearance of claims under the “Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Package(PMGKP) Insurance Scheme for health workers Fighting Covid-19”.

What is the New System for Quick Clearance of Claims?

  • Under the New System, the District Collector will be certifying that the insurance claim in each case is in accordance with the guidelines of the scheme.
  • On the basis of this certificate of the Collector, the Insurance Company will approve and settle the claims within a period of 48 hours.
  • Further, the District Collector will also certify the claims even in the case of Central Government hospitals/ AIIMS/ Railways among others.

About Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Package Insurance Scheme for health workers Fighting Covid-19:

  • Launched by: It is a Central Sector Scheme launched by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare in 2020.
  • Aim: To provide comprehensive personal accident insurance cover of Rs. 50 lakh to all healthcare providers who
    • Lost their life due to Covid-19
    • Accidental death on account of COVID-19 related duty.
  • Coverage of the Scheme:
    • All government health centres, wellness centres and hospitals of Centre as well as States has included under this scheme
    • Private hospital staff and retired/volunteer /local urban bodies/contracted/daily wageworker were also included in the scheme.
    • Safai karamcharis, ward-boys, nurses, ASHA workers and other health workers were also covered.
  • Implementation: The scheme is being implemented through an Insurance policy from the New India Assurance Company(NIACL).

Source: PIB


“Litoria Mira” — A Chocolate Frog Species found in New Guinea

What is the News?

A research team led by Griffith University has discovered a new Frog Species in New Guinea. It has been named Litoria Mira.

 About Litoria Mira:

Source: – Indian Express
  • The Litoria Mira or chocolate frog is a tree frog belonging to the genus Litoria.
  • Name: Litoria is the genus of the common tree frog, and Mira comes from Latin mirum which means strange or surprised.
  • When was it discovered? The frog was first discovered in 2016 in the rainforest swamps of New Guinea. However, it took years to complete the genetic analysis and found out that it is a completely new tree frog species.

 

Features:

  • Litoria Mira can be distinguished from all other Litoria. It has a unique combination of moderately large size, webbing on hand, relatively short and robust limbs, and small violet patch of skin on the edge of its eyes.
  • Moreover, it was found that the litoria Mira looks similar to the Australian green tree frog. However, there is only one difference, the former is usually green while Litoria Mira usually has chocolate coloring.

Why do chocolate frogs and Australian green tree frogs look similar?

  • Australia and New Guinea used to be linked by land for much of the late Tertiary period (2.6 million years ago) and share many biotic elements.
  • However, today the island of New Guinea is separated from the ‘horn’ of Queensland by the Torres Strait. New Guinea is dominated by rainforest, and northern Australia by the savannah.
  • Hence, the two frog species have now evolved to become genetically distinct to a point where they will not be able to breed.

Source: Indian Express


 

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