Goaltide Daily Current Affairs 2020

Dec 02, 2020

Current Affair 1:
World Malaria Report 2020

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  1. Globally, there were an estimated 229 million malaria cases in 2019 in 87 malaria endemic countries, declining from 238 million in 2000.


  1. Malaria case incidence (i.e. cases per 1000 population at risk) reduced from 80 in 2000 to 58 in 2015 and 57 in 2019 globally.
  2. Nigeria (27%), the Democratic Republic of the Congo (12%), Uganda (5%), Mozambique (4%) and Niger (3%) accounted for about 51% of all cases globally.

  1. Globally, malaria deaths have reduced steadily over the period 2000–2019, from 736 000 in 2000 to 409 000 in 2019.

  1. Nigeria (23%), the Democratic Republic of the Congo (11%), the United Republic of Tanzania (5%), Mozambique (4%), Niger (4%) and Burkina Faso (4%) accounted for about 51% of all malaria deaths globally in 2019.

  1. The WHO South-East Asia Region accounted for about 3% of the burden of malaria cases globally.
  2. Malaria cases by country in the WHO South-East Asia Region:


  1. India contributed to the largest absolute reductions in the WHO South-East Asia Region, from about 20 million cases in 2000 to about 5.6 million in 2019.
  2. India accounted for about 86% of all malaria deaths in the WHO South-East Asia Region.


  1. Malaria case in South-East Asia Region incidence reduced by 78%, from about 18 to 4 per 1000 population at risk in the period 2000–2019.


  1. Malaria deaths reduced by 74%, from about 35 000 in 2000 to 9000 in 2019.

  1. Sri Lanka was certified malaria free in 2015, and Timor-Leste reported zero malaria cases in 2018 and 2019.

High burden to High Impact (HBHI) Approach

The approach is based on four response elements: galvanizing political will nationally and globally to reduce malaria deaths; using strategic information to drive impact; implementing best global guidance, policies and strategies suitable for all malaria endemic countries; and applying a coordinated country response.

This approach has been led by 11 countries that accounted for 70% of the global burden of malaria which includes India.

Nothing more than this is required now in this report. All important points covered.

Current Affair 2:
New evidence pushes back by 30000 years first use of fire in India

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About 80 km from Prayagraj, in the Belan river valley, scientists have found evidence of that point in India, pushing back the first known controlled use of fire here by 30,000 years.

Before this, the first reported use of fire in the Indian subcontinent was from 18,000-20,000 years ago. Hearths were found in the same valley, considered the first direct evidence of human use of fire.

A small study to prove that charcoal found is from human activity, not forest fires:

For this study, scientists from IISER-Kolkata looked at macrocharcoal (larger than 125 micron) from six archaeological sites in the valley — Deoghat, Koldihwa, Mahagara, Chillahia, Chopani-Mando and Main Belan. They found charcoal from buried soils, which were dated 50,000 years old. But that did not necessarily imply they were the result of human activity.

Which means the human brain was developed enough to control fire. This is the time that the cognitive abilities of prehistoric humans developed. This coincided with the period when they started creating different types of tools. The use of fire was persistent from Middle Paleolithic to Neolithic (from 55,000 to 3,000 years ago) … from the earlier prehistoric populations to the later farming communities.

This is now the 13th oldest evidence of the use of fire in the world. The oldest is from 1.6 million years ago, at Koobi Fora in Kenya.

Current Affair 3:
Warnings of Brahmaputra floods in Tree Ring

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A new study looking at seven centuries of water flow in south Asia's mighty Brahmaputra River suggests that scientists are underestimating the river's potential for catastrophic flooding as climate warms.

The revelation comes from examinations of tree rings, which showed rainfall patterns going back centuries before instrumental and historical records.

The new study, based on the rings of ancient trees in and around the river's watershed, shows that the post-1950s period was actually one of the driest since the 1300s. The rings show that there have been much wetter periods in the past, driven by natural oscillations that took place over decades or centuries. The takeaway: destructive floods probably will come more frequently than scientists have thought, even minus any effects of human-driven climate change.

How tree rings helped?

  1. As trees grow, they incorporate information about the environmental conditions they are living in in their annual growth rings.
  2. Tree rings grow wider in years when soil moisture is high. Trees in the region grow more and put on wide rings in wet monsoon years.
  3. Conversely, in dry monsoon years (or droughts) they grow less and put on narrow rings.
  4. Since some of these trees can live for a long time, by taking a small, pencil-thin tree-core from these trees and measuring their rings under a microscope scientist could learn more about climate conditions for the past several centuries.

The findings are obviously relevant to Assam and Northeast India too. With this, flood risks could be compounded by planned projects in the region.

About Brahmaputra River:

Brahmaputra is one of the largest rivers in the world and rank fifth with respect to its average discharge. The river originates from the Kailash ranges of Himalayas at an elevation of 5300 M. After flowing through Tibet, it enters India through Arunachal Pradesh and flows through Assam and Bangladesh before it joins Bay of Bengal. Only three countries- Tibet (China), India and Bangladesh.

In India, it flows through Arunachal Pradesh and Assam, ONLY TWO STATES.

North Bank Tributaries = Right bank Tributaries.


Current Affair 4:
Approval of new drug in India



US drug maker Moderna is applying for emergency use authorisation for its Covid-19 vaccine. A few days earlier, Pfizer applied for emergency use authorisation for the vaccine. In India, Serum Institute of India, which is trialing a version of the AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine, has said it expects to seek emergency use authorisation within the next two weeks.

Vaccine Authorization in India:

Vaccines and medicines, and even diagnostic tests and medical devices, require the approval of a regulatory authority before they can be administered. In India, the regulatory authority is the Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation (CDSCO).

We will see in bit detail:

When a company in India wants to manufacture/ import a new drug it has to apply to seek permission from the licensing authority (DCGI) by filing in Form 44 also submitting the data as given in Schedule Y of Drugs and Cosmetics Act 1940 and Rules 1945.

In order to prove its efficacy and safety in Indian population it has to conduct clinical trials in accordance with the guidelines specified in Schedule Y and submit the report of such clinical trials in specified format.

But a provision is there in Rule- 122A of Drugs and Cosmetics Act 1940 and Rules 1945 that the licensing authority may waive certain trails if he considers that in the interest of public health he may grant permission for import of new drugs basing on the data of the trials done in other countries.

Similarly, there is another provision in Rule- 122A which says that the clinical trials may be waived in the case of new drugs which are approved and being used for several years in other countries.

Section 2.4 (a) of Schedule Y of Drugs and Cosmetics Act 1940 and Rules 1945 says for those drug substances which are discovered in India all phases of clinical trials are required.

Section 2.4 (b) of Schedule Y of Drugs and Cosmetics Act 1940 and Rules 1945 says that for those drug substances which are discovered in countries other than India; the applicant should submit the data available from other countries and the licensing authority may require him to repeat all the studies or permit him to proceed from Phase III clinical trials.

Section 2.8 of Schedule Y of Drugs and Cosmetics Act 1940 and Rules 1945 says that the licensing authority may require pharmacokinetic studies (Bioequivalence studies) first to show that the data generated in Indian population is equal to data generated abroad and then require him to proceed with Phase III trials.

In summary, the exact requirements of Clinical trials may change from case to case and depend on the extent to which licensing authority is satisfied about its safety and efficacy.

Central Drugs Standard Control Organization (CDSCO)

The Central Drugs Standard Control Organization (CDSCO) is the Central Drug Authority for discharging functions assigned to the Central Government under the Drugs and Cosmetics Act.

Major functions of CDSCO:

Regulatory control over the import of drugs, approval of new drugs and clinical trials, meetings of Drugs Consultative Committee (DCC) and Drugs Technical Advisory Board (DTAB), approval of certain licenses as Central License Approving Authority is exercised by the CDSCO headquarters.


Current Affair 5:
Unnat Bharat Abhiyan Scheme

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Union Education Minister held a review meeting regarding the progress of Unnat Bharat Abhiyan Scheme (UBA) through video conferencing.

You can use this introduction even for your Mains.

As foreseen by Gandhi Ji in his seminal work, ‘Hind Swaraj’, the western developmental paradigm, based on centralized technologies and urbanization, has given rise to serious problems like increasing inequity (leading to crime and violence), and climate change due to rapid ecological degradation.

To ameliorate these problems, it is necessary to promote development of rural areas in tune with Gandhian vision of self-sufficient ‘village republics’, based on local resources and using decentralized, eco-friendly technologies so that the basic needs of food, clothing, shelter, sanitation, health care, energy, livelihood, transportation, and education are locally met. This should be the vision of holistic development of villages.

Now how Unnat Bharat Abhiyan is associated with his?

Unnat Bharat Abhiyan is inspired by the vision of transformational change in rural development processes by leveraging knowledge institutions to help build the architecture of an Inclusive India.

The Mission of Unnat Bharat Abhiyan is to enable higher educational institutions to work with the people of rural India in identifying development challenges and evolving appropriate solutions for accelerating sustainable growth. It also aims to create a virtuous cycle between society and an inclusive academic system by providing knowledge and practices for emerging professions and to upgrade the capabilities of both the public and the private sectors in responding to the development needs of rural India.

Organizational Structure:

In order to implement such an ambitious programme nationwide, it is essential to set-up an adequate structural network with a large number of nodal institutions and a proper mechanism to plan, execute and monitor the activities regularly to be able to create a tangible positive impact. It is also very important to facilitate synergetic collaboration between the concerned ministries, local Panchayat Raj Institutes (PRIs), voluntary organizations, and institutions participating in UBA.

Basic funding for setting up the structural network of UBA and for orientation of UBA teams to enable effective participation i.e. establishing and running the UBA cells of CI, MIs and PIs is to be provided by the Ministry of Education (MOE).

The Indian Institute of Technology Delhi (IIT, Delhi) has been designated as the National Coordinating Institute (NCI) for the UBA scheme.

Don’t learn more than this about this scheme.

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