IAS प्रिलिम्स ऑनलाइन कोर्स (Pendrive)
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News Analysis

  • 25 Sep 2019
  • 20 min read
Indian Economy

Recycle and Reuse Policy

Recently, the Union Ministry of Environment, Forests & Climate Change has drafted a National Resource Efficiency Policy, in order to double the recycling rate of key materials and enable the upcycling of waste.

Key Highlights

  • In the backdrop of the concerns over depleting resources in India because of rising factory output, urbanization, and increasing population, the pressure on existing resources has significantly increased.
  • In a circular economy, the use and dispose model won’t work further. The emphasis is to be laid upon reusing and regenerating resources as much and as long as possible so as to make the resources sustainable.
    • This can be done in two ways: firstly, recycling the materials, and secondly, increasing the efficiency of usage of these resources.
    • Recycling is basically dealt with by industries alone but the Resource efficiency needs to be followed across all sectors and demands focused intervention from all the stakeholders.
    • Hence, the government formulated the National Resource Efficiency Policy that envisions how the existing policies are currently working for the promotion of resources, and how life cycle thinking can be promoted across the different stakeholders so that they do not feel isolated.
      • The policy helps to develop resource-efficient strategies for different sectors and adopt them into a three-year action plan.

  • The linear production and consumption model is leading towards a lot of wastage in the entire value chain.
    • Opportunities at each and every stage of the product cycle exist which can be utilized, especially at a time when the economy is going through a rough patch.
  • After the National Green Tribunal imposed a ban on more than ten years old diesel vehicles in the National Capital Region, more vehicles life came to an end.
    • Under the framed policy, the government plans to set up:
      • Collection centres to collect such vehicles and carry out the deregistration process, and
      • Shredding centres which would segregate materials for recycling.
    • The plan is to ensure 75% recycling rate for vehicles made before 1990, 85% recycling rate for vehicles made between 1990 and 2000, and 90% recycling rate for vehicles made after 2000.
  • Another concern is related to the plastic waste that contributes to 8% of the total solid waste that is addressed by this policy.
    • The draft policy aims to achieve a 100% recycling and reuse rate polyethylene terephthalate (PET) plastic by 2025.
  • The policy is like a guiding document. The need of the hour is to actively implement the framed rules on ground, by the respective ministries and departments. Also, every sector of the economy must move towards sustainable use of resources and proactively accept sustainable alternatives.

Source: Mint


Indian Polity

Right To Be Forgotten

Recently, the European Court of Justice has allowed Google not to remove the links related to sensitive personal data worldwide.

  • As per the European law, Google is not under any obligation to remove such information globally on its search engine versions in lieu of request made by any particular state.

Background

  • The case between France and Google to remove sensitive information available globally on the Google related to certain class of people was a test of whether individuals have the right to demand the removal of personal data from internet search results without stifling free speech and legitimate public interest.
  • The court in its judgment limited the reach of the online privacy law known as ‘right to be forgotten’, restricting people’s ability to control what information is available about them on the internet and stated that the balance between privacy and free speech must be taken into account while deciding if websites should be delisted over the internet.

European Court of Justice

  • The European Court of Justice (ECJ) is the highest court in the European Union in matters of European Union law, established in 1952.
  • The Court of Justice of the European Union, which has its seat in Luxembourg, consists of two courts: the Court of Justice and the General Court (created in 1988).
  • Its main function as set out in Article 164 of the Treaty of Rome is to ensure that in the application and interpretation of the EU law uniformly across all EU member states and to certify that countries and EU institutions abide by EU law.

Right to be Forgotten in Indian Context

  • Right to be forgotten refers to the ability of an individual to limit, delink, delete, or correct the disclosure of the personal information on the internet that is misleading, embarrassing, or irrelevant.
    • It allows for the lawful removal of personal information of an individual if such request is made.
  • The right to be forgotten is distinct from the right to privacy because the right to privacy comprises of the information that is not publicly known, whereas the right to be forgotten involves removing information that was publicly known at a certain time and not allowing third parties to access the information.
  • Legislative Stand: In India, there are no legal provisions related to it.
    • Neither the Information Technology (IT) Act 2000 (amended in 2008) nor the IT Rules, 2011 deals with the right to be forgotten.
    • Only Section 27 of the draft Data Protection bill has listed out three scenarios in which an individual will have the right to restrict or prevent continuing disclosure of personal data, also known as the right to be forgotten.
    • This will be applicable if data disclosure is no longer necessary, or the consent to use data has been withdrawn, or if data is being used contrary to the provisions of the law.
  • Judicial Stand: There have been instances, where the High courts have upheld the right of an individual to be forgotten.
    • For instance, the Karnataka High Court upheld a woman’s right to be forgotten stating that the right is in line with the trend in the western countries. In the sensitive cases involving women in general and highly sensitive cases involving rape or affecting the modesty and reputation of the person concerned, it must be adhered to.
    • The Delhi High Court, in another case had asked from the Centre and Google whether the right to privacy included the right to delink from the Internet the irrelevant information.

Way Forward

  • There must be a balance between the right to privacy and protection of personal data (as covered under Article 21 of the Indian constitution), on the one hand, and the freedom of information of internet users (under Article 19), on the other.
  • A comprehensive data protection law must address these issues and minimize the conflict between the two fundamental rights that form the crucial part of the golden trinity (Art. 14,19 and 21) of the Indian constitution.

Source: TH


Science & Technology

Enhancing BCG Vaccine Efficacy

A recent study has found that curcumin in nanoparticle form has the potential to enhance the efficacy of Bacille Calmette-Guérin (BCG) vaccine, used against Tuberculosis (TB).

Curcumin

  • Curcumin is the active ingredient of the dietary spice turmeric (Curcuma longa) and has been consumed for medicinal purposes for thousands of years.
  • It has a wide range of applications such as antibacterial activity, anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant, chemotherapeutic, anti-proliferative, wound healing, antiparasitic, anti-malarial, diabetes, obesity, neurologic, psychiatric disorders and cancer, as well as chronic illnesses affecting the eyes, lungs, etc.
  • Although curcumin has shown therapeutic efficacy against many human ailments, one of the major problems with curcumin is its poor bioavailability.
  • One of the promising approaches to increase the bioavailability of curcumin include the use of nanoparticles.

Lacuna in BCG Vaccine

  • BCG vaccine is effective against disseminated and meningeal TB in young children.
  • The vaccine induces two types of immune cells — effector memory T cells and central memory T cells.
  • The effector memory T cells play a crucial role in mounting an immediate immune response against virulent TB bacteria and also kill them.
  • The central memory T cells help in long-term protection in children. But, after persisting for some time, the central memory cells ultimately diminish. As a result, the protection does not last beyond childhood and adults become vulnerable to TB infection despite BCG vaccination.

Curcumin in Nanoparticle Form & Enhanced Efficiency

  • One way of enhancing the efficacy of the BCG vaccine is by increasing the number of central memory cells so they last longer and confer protection for a longer duration.
  • The researchers found that injecting curcumin nanoparticles, soon after vaccinating the mice with BCG, produced an appreciable enhancement of the central memory T cells.
  • Curcumin also helps in the activation of innate immune cells known as macrophages and dendritic cells. TB bacteria reside and grow inside the macrophages. But once activated by curcumin nanoparticles, macrophages and dendritic cells clear the bacteria.
  • It enhances the level of TB-specific acquired immune cells (Th1 and Th17 cells) and simultaneously reduces the level of certain other cells (Th2 and Tregs) thus improving the efficacy of the BCG vaccine.
    • After TB infection, the levels of Th2 and Tregs cells increase and they inhibit the host-protective effect of Th1 and Th17 responses.
  • It, in a way confers protection against adult pulmonary TB.

Source: TH


Governance

Carcinogen Substances in Ranitidine

After the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) flagged the low-level presence of the carcinogenic substances in Ranitidine, the Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation (CDSCO) has also issued directives to check the presence of carcinogenic substances in Ranitidine.

  • However, the directive to the manufacturers of ranitidine API (active pharmaceutical ingredient) and formulations is just to verify their products and take appropriate measures to ensure patient safety and not to stop production.
  • The drug Ranitidine is commonly prescribed medicine for countering acidity and is available in various formulations including tablets, injections, etc.
  • Some Ranitidine medicines contain a Nitrosamine Impurity called N-nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA) at low levels which are considered as Carcinogenic.
  • Although NDMA may cause harm in large amounts, the levels the FDA found in Ranitidine from preliminary tests barely exceed amounts even found in common foods.
  • CDSCO has also asked states to ensure that the drug is sold only under prescription as it is a prescription drug included in Schedule H.

Ranitidine

  • Ranitidine is one of the oldest drugs to be used in acidity and upper intestinal ulcers and has been considered to be safer than similar other drugs like proton pump blockers.
  • It is a commonly prescribed medicine for countering acidity and also on the World Health Organisation’s ‘Model List of Essential Medicines’.
  • In India, a host of companies including GlaxoSmithKline, Dr. Reddy’s, Sun Pharmaceuticals sell over 180 versions of the drug. Some commonly known brands of Ranitidine are Zantac, Aztec, Giran, etc.

N-nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA)

  • N-nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA) has been classified by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) as probably carcinogenic to humans.
  • It is an environmental contaminant found in water and foods.
  • It is the same impurity that the US FDA had investigated in blood pressure drugs valsartan and losartan over the last year.

Schedule H drugs

  • Under the Drugs and Cosmetics Rules, 1945 drugs under Schedule H shall have labels displaying the texts "Rx" and "Schedule H” drug.
  • Drugs under this schedule are to be sold by retail on the prescription of a Registered Medical practitioner only.

Carcinogenic Substances

  • A carcinogen is any substance or radiation that promotes carcinogenesis, the formation of cancer.
  • Examples: Abestos, Gamma rays, and Aflatoxin B1, which is produced by the fungus growing on stored grains, nuts, etc.

Source: IE


Important Facts For Prelims

Mobile Apps for Farmers

The Agriculture and Farmer Welfare Minister has launched two agriculture-related mobile applications.

  • CHC Farm Machinery: It is a multilingual app through which farmers can select and order the required machinery at the rates feasible for them from the Custom Hiring Centers located in the radius of 50 Kms.
    • The App is already available to custom service providers for registration and uploading with geo-reference, photographs of agricultural machinery custom service centres and photographs of machinery available in it.
    • Objective: Farmers, especially small and marginal farmers, will have easy access to high value and technical agricultural equipments. This will not only increase the income of the farmers, but it will also take mechanization to maximum farm holdings in a short time frame. n
  • Krishi Kisan App for Geo Tagging:
    • Usage:
      • Any farmer with high quality of crops can utilise this platform to demonstrate best practices of cultivation to other farmers so that this will help other farmers also to adopt these methods.
      • The App will also help in geo-tagging and geo-fencing of crop and give weather forecast message to farmers.
    • Agenda: To improve cultivation methods to ensure higher agricultural productivity.

Source: PIB


Important Facts For Prelims

Siachen Glacier

Since January 2018, nearly 130 tonnes of waste has been brought down from the Siachen Glacier and disposed of.

  • The Army has made bringing down waste a part of the Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for troops under the concept of waste management because in the high altitude areas of 18,000 to 21,000 feet nothing degrades at sub-zero temperatures.
  • The entire Siachen Glacier, with all major passes, is currently under the administration of India since 1984 (Operation Meghdoot).
  • The Siachen Glacier is located in the Eastern Karakoram range in the Himalayas, just northeast of Point NJ9842 where the Line of Control between India and Pakistan ends.
  • It is the Second-Longest glacier in the World's Non-Polar areas.
  • The Siachen Glacier lies immediately south of the great drainage divide that separates the Eurasian Plate from the Indian subcontinent in the extensively glaciated portion of the Karakoram sometimes called the "Third Pole".
  • The Siachen Glacier is part of Ladakh which has now been converted into a Union Territory.
  • The Siachen Glacier is the world's highest battlefield.

Operation Meghdoot

  • It was launched on 13 April 1984, this military operation was the first assault launched in the highest battlefield in the world.
  • The military action resulted in Indian troops gaining control of the entire Siachen Glacier.

Source:TH


Important Facts For Prelims

Dadasaheb Phalke Award

Recently, the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting has announced the Dadasaheb Phalke Award for 2019 will be presented to Amitabh Bachchan.

  • It is the country’s highest film honour conferred for “Outstanding contribution for the growth and development of Indian cinema”.
  • Dadasaheb Phalke Award was introduced by the government in 1969 and it was awarded for the first time to Devika Rani, “the first lady of Indian cinema”.

Dadasaheb Phalke

  • Dadasaheb Phalke directed India's first feature film Raja Harischandra (1913).
  • He was an Indian producer, director, and screenwriter.
  • He is known as “Father of Indian Cinema”.
  • The government of India instituted Dadasaheb Phalke Award in his honour for a lifetime contribution to Indian cinema.

Source: TH


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