Current Affairs July 31

India’s flood map needs updation

Present flood map

  • Regions susceptible to floods, according to the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA), lie mostly along the Ganga-Brahmaputra river basin, from the northern states of Himachal Pradesh and Punjab, covering Uttar Pradesh and Bihar and stretching to Assam and Arunachal Pradesh in the northeast.
  • The coastal states of Odisha and Andhra Pradesh, parts of Telangana and Gujarat also witness yearly floods,

Need for updation

  • This demarcation, however, is based on estimates made in 1980 by Rashtriya Barh Ayog (RBA) or National Flood Committee formed four-decades ago.
  • Around 40 million hectares of geographical area in India is vulnerable to floods, according to the body.
  • But over the last four decades, India has been reeling from the effects of climate change like many parts of the world. The global rise in temperatures has led to large periods of no rain followed by extreme precipitation, an observation which is becoming a trend.
  • There will be a rise in the frequency of floods in India due to rise in temperatures between 2070 and 2100,


New method to detect colon cancer

  • Colon cancer is one of the most common types of cancer: In India and worldwide. According to the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), it is the third most common cancer in men (663,000 cases in 2014, 10 per cent of all cancer cases) and the second most common in women (571,000 cases in 2014, 9.4 per cent of all cancer cases).
  • Currently, colon cancer gets detected at very late stages.
  • There are two techniques to detect it: CT colonography and colonoscopy or immunohistochemistry.
  • While CT colonography involves low dose radiation, colonoscopy is an invasive process whereas immunohistochemistry can be subjective and sometimes not reproducible.

New method

  • The upregulated micro RNAs, which were named DNA damage sensitive micro RNA’s or `DDSM’s, were found to target a group of cellular proteins  which are essential to maintain the pristine nature of genetic material within each cell of the body.
  • micro RNAs, which are small single-stranded non-coding RNA molecules, silence the expression of many proteins. The micro RNAs are known to bind to the messenger RNA molecules that code for the proteins and thereby either inactivate or destroy them.
  • Experiments involving laboratory mice confirmed that the cells have a greater tendency to form cancers if there is overexpression of these micro RNAs and consequent loss of these genome stabilisers
  • These DDSM can be used for colon cancer detection


Fortification business

  • The Government of India is on course to adopt a policy on mandatory fortification of rice distributed through the social safety network programs such as Integrated Child Development Services and mid-day meal schemes.
  • The scheme was initiated in 2019-20 and Rs 174.64 crore was sanctioned for a three-year pilot run.
  • It was rolled out in recently Madhya Pradesh and fortified rice is being provided through the targeted public distribution system in Singrauli district.
  • This scheme will run till 2023 and rice will be supplied to the beneficiaries at the rate of Re 1 per kilogram.
  • Such interventions of iron fortification are not being monitored and there is no evidence to show that it has any benefit, experts pointed out. Instead, such fortification can be harmful, they argued.
  • For example, consumption of excess iron by pregnant women can adversely affect fetal development and birth outcomes. These children have increased risk of contracting chronic diseases.
  • Anaemia is high among poor children in the rural areas but iron deficiency is more among the urban and rich across the country.
  • Researchers suggested that instead of fortification, the quality of diet should be improved. Increasing the intake of foods from animal sources and fruits would help more, they said.
  • A diverse natural diet is required to meet the normal population need of micronutrients
  • The researchers are worried that the push towards fortification is more to help the industry than the people.
  • “This is an international market driven solution and doesn’t have a scientific logic,”
  • Mandatory fortification will create markets that will be hard to withdraw when we have achieved the target of reduced micronutrient deficiency.


Visualizing Himalaya

  • In a certain sense, our intellectual concerns over the Himalaya have been largely shaped by the assumption of fear, suspicion, rivalry, invasion, encroachment and pugnacity.
  • Ironically it is the Delhi-Beijing-Islamabad triad, and not the mountain per se, that defines our concerns about the Himalaya.
  • The attempt to create a national Himalaya by each of the five nations (Nepal, Bhutan, India, Pakistan, and Tibet/China)that fall within this transnational landmass called the Himalaya.
  • The National Mission on Himalayan Studies, for example, under the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Government of India, is a classic case in point that provides funds for research and technological innovations, but creating policies only for the Indian Himalayan Region (IHR)
  • It needs to be recognised that political borders and cultural borders are not the same thing.
  • Political borders are to be considered as space-making strategies of modern nation-states that do not necessarily coincide with cultural borders.
  • The state has dominated the agenda of defining the domain of non-traditional security (such as human rights, cases of ecological devastation, climate change, human trafficking, migration, forced exodus of people, transnational crime, resource scarcity, and even pandemics)
  • besides setting the tone of an approach to handling traditional security threats (such as military, political and diplomatic conflicts that were considered as threats against the essential values of the state, territorial integrity, and political sovereignty)
  • Google India removed over 1,50,000 pieces of content from its social media platforms in May and June, following complaints received from individual users, according to the transparency report released.
  • The report follows the Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021 that came into force on May 26.
  • The Rules require social media platforms with more than 50 lakh users in India to publish compliance report every month, mentioning the details of complaints received and action taken


  • The Centre had on February 25 notified the ‘The Information Technology (Guidelines for Intermediaries and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021’, which make it mandatory for platforms such as WhatsApp, Signal and Telegram to aid in identifying “originator” of “unlawful” messages, while also requiring social media networks to take down such messages within a specific time frame, set up grievance redressal mechanism as well as assist government agencies in investigation.

Amendments to the General Insurance Business (Nationalisation) Act (GIBNA)

  • The General Insurance Business (Nationalisation) Amendment Bill, 2021 proposes amending the General Insurance Business (Nationalisation) Act, 1972 to remove the requirement for the Centre to hold at least 51 per cent of equity in an insurer.
  • It also proposes a new Section, 24B, which will ensure that the Act stops applying to insurers on and from the date the Centre ceases to have control over them.
  • “With a view to provide for greater private participation in the public sector insurance companies… it has become necessary to amend certain provisions of the Act

Cycle Threshold (ct)

  • Cycle threshold (CT) refers to the number of cycles needed to amplify the viral RNA to a detectable level
  • This may get a bit technical –
  • Once the sample is collected, RNA is extracted and treated with reverse transcriptase enzyme.
  • A complimentary DNA is extracted from an initial RNA
  • Now the DNA can be easily amplified by using a polymerise chain reaction to make billions of copies of a fragment.

Social Networking and Farmers

  • Social networking and knowledge sharing on online platforms have opened up new avenues of opportunity for farmers while providing tech-based solutions.
  • “From knowing about different PVC pipes to discovering innovative farming methods, it is all easy through social media,”
  • Social media is also used to lend emotional support to farmers under stress
  • Challenges of the digital divide disappear in a decade.
  • The divide is a minor challenge compared to the centuries old challenges in agriculture that need attention now