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The Hindu PDF Analysis for UPSC
Stalemate over sharing of Krishna water to continue: Page 4
- The sharing of Krishna river water between Telangana and Andhra Pradesh has not been resolved since the bifurcation.
- Telangana has expressed its disagreement with the 34:66 (Telangana:Andhra Pradesh) water sharing ratio imposed on it since the bifurcation.
- Telangana claims that it is entitled to a 70% share of the 811 tmc ft (thousand million cubic feet) allocated to combined Andhra Pradesh by the KWDT-I (Krishna Water Disputes Tribunal – I) Award.
- The water allocation was divided in a 512:299 tmc ft ratio (Andhra Pradesh:Telangana) without considering the in-basin requirements in the fluoride and drought-affected areas of Telangana.
- Telangana accuses Andhra Pradesh of diverting around 300 tmc ft of water from the Krishna Basin to areas outside the basin, which is a violation of the KWDT-I Award.
- The KWDT-I emphasized that in-basin needs should be prioritized over the needs of areas outside the basin when undertaking new projects.
- Telangana has refused to comply with the orders issued by the Krishna River Management Board (KRMB) without its consent, leading to the matter being referred to the Ministry of Jal Shakti.
India as a Quad-led biomanufacturing hub: Page 6
- The Quad (Australia, India, Japan, and the United States) has established a Critical and Emerging Technology Working Group to monitor trends and explore opportunities in critical and emerging technologies, including biotechnology.
- The potential for Quad cooperation in biotechnology remains untapped, and establishing a Quad-led biomanufacturing hub in India can enhance this cooperation.
- Biomanufacturing uses living systems to produce molecules and materials on a commercial scale and has the potential to transform the global industrial system.
- India’s National Biotechnology Development Strategy aims to position the country as a “Global Biomanufacturing Hub” by 2025, but external support from Quad partners is required to achieve this.
- The Quad nations possess complementary strengths that can be leveraged to create the biomanufacturing hub, with the U.S. providing funding capability and all three countries (Japan, Australia, and the U.S.) possessing advanced biotechnology innovation ecosystems and intellectual property.
- India is an ideal choice to host the hub due to its existing infrastructure, pharmaceutical manufacturing expertise, skilled manpower, and potential for affordable scale.
- Strengthening India’s physical infrastructure, such as increasing fermentation capacity and reducing dependency on China, is crucial for its biomanufacturing sector.
- The proposed hub can facilitate technology transfer, attract investors, and establish a biomanufacturing fund administered through the Quad to support India’s efforts.
- Workforce quality uplift is needed in India, and permanent training facilities can be established in universities around the Quad hub, with experts from Quad countries providing training.
- The hub can centralize government efforts, establish a research collaboration office, harmonize regulations and data-sharing, and secure supply chains for Quad nations.
- By capitalizing on the economic potential of biomanufacturing, India can become a leading player in the field and help the Quad compete globally.
- Jallikattu, a traditional rural sport in Tamil Nadu, has received judicial approval from the Supreme Court after legislative changes exempted it from the law against animal cruelty.
- The Supreme Court has upheld the changes made by the Tamil Nadu Assembly and recognized the cultural sentiment behind jallikattu.
- The conflict between activists and proponents of the sport centers around animal rights and cultural preservation.
- The State government responded to the ban by amending the central Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act and obtained the President’s assent.
- The Supreme Court’s verdict is based on two key findings: the regulations now minimize cruelty and pain, and the legislature’s view that jallikattu is a cultural event.
- The Court has deferred to the cultural sentiment underlying the legislative scheme, but it has not diluted the importance of animal rights in Indian law.
- Organizers and governments still have the responsibility to prevent cruelty and pain to animals during such sports.
- These sports also pose risks to human participants and spectators, so safety measures should be mandated, such as protective gear for participants and proper barricades to ensure spectator safety.
- Cultural preservation, animal welfare, and adherence to safety norms should not be considered mutually exclusive.
Understanding a human pangenome map: Page 8
- Genome: It refers to the collection of all genes and regions between genes in our chromosomes, serving as the blueprint of life.
- Reference Genome: A reference map used for comparing newly sequenced genomes to understand genetic differences.
- Pangenome Map: Unlike the linear reference genome, the pangenome is a graph representing genetic diversity among individuals. It helps understand human diversity and genetic variations.
- Long-read DNA Sequencing: A technology used to produce contiguous DNA strands, enabling accurate sequencing of repetitive regions and minimizing errors.
- Human Genetic Diversity: While humans are more than 99% similar, there is a 0.4% difference between any two individuals, equivalent to millions of nucleotides.
- Significance of Pangenome Map: It helps explain human diversity, understand genetic variants linked to health conditions, and aids in the discovery of new genes.
- Inclusion of Populations: The current pangenome map lacks representation from populations such as Africa, the Indian sub-continent, indigenous groups in Asia and Oceania, and West Asian regions.
- Implications for India: Although the current map doesn’t include Indian genomes, it will facilitate better mapping of Indian genomes against existing reference genomes. Future pangenome maps with Indian genomes can help in disease prevalence, gene discovery, diagnostic methods, and drug development.
What is the ‘Open Network for Digital Commerce’?: Page 8
- Open Network for Digital Commerce (ONDC): A government initiative aimed at transforming the e-commerce market from a platform-centric model to an open-network model.
- Objective of ONDC: To democratize e-commerce and provide alternatives to proprietary e-commerce sites by enabling buyers and sellers to transact across platforms.
- Comparison with Unified Payments Interface (UPI): ONDC is modeled after the successful UPI project, which allows people to send or receive money irrespective of the payment platforms they are registered on.
- Government’s Motivation: The government aims to break the dominance of a few large platforms in the e-commerce market and address concerns of favoritism and high commissions charged by private platforms.
- Criticisms of ONDC: Critics argue that the benefits of an open network for digital commerce are uncertain, as sellers and buyers already have the freedom to list and shop across platforms. They question the extent of platform dominance and highlight the role of private websites in bridging information gaps for buyers.
- Technological Challenges: The government’s ability to develop an efficient alternative to e-commerce platforms will be tested as ONDC is rolled out. The seamless listing of products from various sellers and maintaining quality services will be key challenges.
- Impact on Platforms: If the rules of the open network prevent platforms from benefiting from investments in on-boarding and listing processes, it may affect the quality of services provided to consumers.
After sugar, it is time to regulate how much salt is being consumed: Page 9
- Salt intake and health concerns: The world has shown increased attention to salt intake and its negative impact on human health after the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Indian Council for Medical Research (ICMR) recommendations: ICMR suggests reducing salt intake by avoiding adding salt while cooking rice or preparing dough, skipping pickles and table salt, and using salt substitutes. It highlights that children under 12 years require only three grams of salt per day.
- World Health Organization’s (WHO) caution: WHO warns that the world is off track to achieve the goal of reducing salt intake by 30% by 2025. Only 5% of WHO member states have mandatory and comprehensive sodium-reducing policies, while 73% lack full implementation of such policies.
- Potential lives saved by sodium reducing policies: Implementing cost-effective sodium reducing policies could save an estimated seven million lives globally by 2030.
- Measures to reduce sodium in the diet: WHO suggests measures such as reformulating food to contain less salt, controlling high sodium food procurement in public institutions, promoting low sodium choices in packed foods, and creating awareness among the population through media campaigns.
- Sodium reduction efforts in India: India lacks a national policy but has voluntary measures to reduce sodium. However, these measures have not been widely adopted, and the general population remains unaware of hidden salt in ready-made and packed foods.
- Effects of excess salt: Excess salt consumption has been linked to atherosclerosis, even in the absence of hypertension. Studies have shown a connection between salt consumption and the occurrence of plaques in arteries.
- Salt awareness campaigns: International organizations like WASH and Sapiens Health Foundation have been spearheading campaigns globally and in India to raise awareness about salt intake and its health implications.
- Efforts in India to reduce salt content: Sapiens Health Foundation aims to involve physicians and food manufacturers in conducting research to lower sodium content in packed foods. The foundation advocates for mandatory salt labeling and follows the example of the U.K. in using signal labeling to indicate high salt content.
- Success in reducing salt consumption: The U.K. has successfully reduced salt content in bread by 30% over the last decade, resulting in the prevention of strokes and cardiovascular events.
- Salt reduction and non-communicable diseases: Salt reduction in the diet has shown to be the most cost-effective measure to control non-communicable diseases and can have positive impacts on conditions like kidney disease and immune system health.
Jaishankar, Blinken meet in Hiroshima, discuss plans for PM’s U.S. visit in June: Page 10
- Meeting between S. Jaishankar and Antony Blinken: External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar and U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken met in Hiroshima to discuss Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s upcoming visit to the U.S. in June.
- Plans for Prime Minister’s visit: Possible plans, including a “short retreat” outside Washington, are being finalized for Prime Minister Modi’s visit to the U.S. in June.
- U.S. President Biden’s comments: U.S. President Biden reportedly praised Mr. Modi during the Quad meeting, mentioning the upcoming visit and joking about attending a state dinner.
- State visit details: The state visit will include a ceremonial welcome at the White House, a state banquet, a lunch at the State Department, and potential address to the U.S. Congress.
- Other events during the visit: Prime Minister Modi is expected to address U.S. CEOs and Chambers of Commerce, attend a reception for the Indian diaspora, and potentially participate in a large diaspora event.
- Possibility of a short trip outside Washington: The two governments are discussing a short trip outside Washington, with options including the U.S. presidential retreat at Camp David or President Biden’s private vacation home.
- Comparison to previous retreats: Prime Minister Modi has previously shared “retreat” sojourns with other world leaders, including Angela Merkel, David Cameron, Vladimir Putin, and Xi Jinping.
- State guest status: Prime Minister Modi will be the third state guest hosted by President Biden during his presidency, following Emmanuel Macron and Yoon Suk-yeol.
- Discussion on religious freedom report: The meeting between Jaishankar and Blinken took place after India rejected a U.S. State Department report on international religious freedom that criticized the Modi government.
- Sidestepping the issue: Indian External Affairs Ministry officials avoided answering questions about whether the issue of religious freedom would be raised during the India-U.S. bilateral meeting.
India, U.S. to hike technology cooperation; coproduction of jet engines on the table: Page I0
- Co-production under iCET: India and the U.S. are discussing possibilities of co-producing jet engines, long-range artillery, and infantry vehicles under the Initiative on Critical and Emerging Technologies (iCET).
- High-technology initiatives during PM’s visit: Some high-technology initiatives are expected to be announced during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s upcoming visit to the U.S.
- Launch of INDUS-X: INDUS-X, a partnership promotion initiative under iCET, is scheduled to be launched in Washington to promote collaboration between the defence innovation ecosystems of India and the U.S.
- Discussions at the India-U.S. Defence Policy Group (DPG): The 17th meeting of the India-U.S. Defence Policy Group discussed defence industrial cooperation, military-to-military cooperation, cooperative activities in the Indian Ocean Region, and ways to enhance defence industrial cooperation.
- Focus on defence industrial cooperation: Considerable focus was given to enhancing defence industrial cooperation, including technology partnership, long-term research and development, and improving supply chain security.
- Jet engine collaboration: Collaboration on jet engine production was discussed, and there are proposals to jointly produce a jet engine for India’s future indigenous jets. General Electric, Safran, and Rolls-Royce are competing for this opportunity.
- Implications of the jet engine deal: If the deal is announced and the U.S. agrees to transfer jet engine technology to India, it will enhance India’s capabilities in the aircraft industry and send a strong message to China about the deepening relationship between India and the U.S.
- Challenges in previous efforts: Previous attempts at co-developing a jet engine have faced challenges due to U.S. domestic legislation.
Source: The Hindu Epaper
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