MALUKA IAS
FACTLY
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Date: 23rd November
Sr. No. Topics Points to remember Why in news…???
1. Mobility Index and Congestion factor
  • Mobility Index : it is an index which factors in parameters like traffic, weather and time of the day to arrive at a number. The higher the index, the faster the city.
  • Vehicles and Congestion : The Congestion factor is also directly correlated to the number of registered vehicles (data from 2016) across cities. The higher the number, the greater the congestion factor.
  • Poor road infrastructure is one of the biggest factors contributing to traffic Congestion and mobility in several Indian cities
2. Drought
  • The word ‘drought’ usually brings to mind a period of unusually dry weather, crop damage and water supply shortages, there are guidelines in place for a state government for declaring a drought in a state or area. A manual published by the Ministry of Agriculture in 2016 suggests a three-step approach.
  • The first step is to look at two mandatory indicators — rainfall deviation and dry spell. Depending on the extent of deviation, and whether or not there is a dry spell, the manual specifies various situations that may or may not be considered a drought trigger.
  • The next step is to look at four impact indicators — agriculture, vegetation indices based on remote sensing, soil moisture, and hydrology. Each impact can be assessed on the basis of various indices. “The States may consider any three of the four types of the Impact Indicators (one from each) for assessment of drought, the intensity of the calamity and make a judgement,” the manual states. If all three chosen indicators are in the ‘severe’ category, it amounts to severe drought; and if two of the three chosen impact indicators are in the ‘moderate’ or ‘severe’ class, it amounts to moderate drought.
  • The third step comes in after both previous triggers have been set off. In that event, “States will conduct sample survey for ground truthing… in order to make a final determination of drought. The finding of field verification exercise will be the final basis for judging the intensity of drought as ‘severe’ or ‘moderate’.”
    Once a drought is determined, the state government needs to issue a notification specifying the geographical extent.
  • The notification is valid for six months, unless de-notified earlier.
Large parts of Maharashtra are reeling under drought, aspects of which are being reported in the ‘Dry Wave’ series of this newspaper.
3. Human Microbiome
  • The human body carries diverse communities of microorganisms, which are mainly bacterial. These are referred to as “human microbiome”. These organisms play a key role in many aspects of host physiology, ranging from metabolism of otherwise complex indigestible carbohydrates and fats to producing essential vitamins, maintaining immune systems and acting as a first line of defense against pathogens.
  • Research on the human microbiome has thrown light on various aspects — how different parts of the human body are occupied by characteristic microbial communities, and how various factors contribute in shaping the composition of the microbiome, including the genetics, dietary habits, age, geographic location and ethnicity. These studies laid a strong foundation to decipher the microbiome’s implications on health and a wide range of diseases, said Dr Yogesh Shouche, senior scientist at the National Centre for Cell Science (NCCS) in Pune. Shouche was the lead organiser of the international conference and is the lead coordinator of the proposed project.
  • The project will include collection of saliva, stool and skin swabs of 20,000 Indians across various ethnic groups from different geographical regions. India provides for a wide range of research with more than 4,500 ethnic groups and presence of two global biodiversity hotspots (Himalayan range and Western Ghats).
Various research groups in the country are working on the human microbiome, including Shouche and colleagues. What India lacks is a national microbiome initiative similar to those in other countries. Now, a high-level committee at the Department of Biotechnology has shown a keen interest in the proposed project, Mande of CSIR.
4. Andaman tribes
  • The Nicobar tribes are Mongoloid; the Andaman tribes, including the Sentinelese, are Negrito — evidence for the Homo sapiens migration from East Africa some 70,000 years ago. The Sentinelese are a pre-Neolithic people who have inhabited North Sentinel Island for an estimated 55,000 years without contact with the outside world.
  • They are short statured, possibly due to the “island effect” that causes genetic limitation over time.
    The Sentinelese and other aboriginal tribes of the archipelago are protected under The Andaman and Nicobar (Protection of Aboriginal Tribes) Regulation, 1956. Due to their isolation, it is unlikely the Sentinelese have immunity against even common diseases.
  • A large chunk of the population of the 10 Great Andamanese tribes was wiped out after the indigenous peoples caught syphilis, measles, and influenza on an epidemic scale following contact with the early settlers. Between 1998 and 2004, when the Jarawa started to respond to the state, all government hospitals bordering their reserve opened special wards to treat them for infections.
  • The Sentinelese have, however, remained hostile from the time efforts began to reach out to them in 1967. The government gave up in the mid-1990s, and in order to safeguard their health and sovereignty, decided that no one could enter a 5-km buffer zone around their island, which was already out of bounds.