Today’s important articles/news in various newspapers (7th December)

Dear aspirants, following are the links of various articles taken from various newspapers. Click the link to read further. To get notification, follow the blog. Thank you

1. Solar Alliance comes into existence

Prelims: Particulars of the ISA
Mains: India’s contribution to the ISA

India’s contribution to it

  1. So far, 19 countries are part of the compact — Bangladesh, Comoros, Fiji, France, Ghana, Guinea, India, Mali, Mauritius, Nauru, Niger, Seychelles, Somalia, South Sudan, Tuvalu, Australia, Cuba, Malawi and Peru
  2. The ISA, also sees itself as on a mission to mobilise more than $1000 billion in investments needed by 2030 for “massive deployment” of solar energy
  3. As part of the agreement, India will contribute $27 million (Rs. 175.5 crore approx) to the ISA for creating corpus, building infrastructure and recurring expenditure over five years from 2016-17 to 2020-21
  4. In addition, public sector undertakings of the Government of India, Solar Energy Corporation of India (SECI) and Indian Renewable Energy Development Agency (IREDA), have made a contribution of $1 million (Rs. 6.5 crore) each for creating the ISA corpus fund

Q. What is International solar alliance? How far it will benefit in countering climate change and what is the contribution of India in this project?

2. Pollution from traffic affects foetal growth: study

Mains: Effects of pollution on Infants

  1. According to the British Medical Journal, pregnant women who are exposed to road traffic pollution are more likely to deliver babies with low birth weight
  2. Why is weight important: Weight at the time of birth has an immediate bearing on an infant’s chances of survival — those with low birth weight are more likely to develop a range of complications
  3. The results suggest little evidence for an independent exposure-response effect of traffic related noise on birth weight outcomes
  4. It observed that long-term exposure during pregnancy to NO2, NOx, PM2.5 overall, and specifically from traffic exhaust and non-exhaust sources, and PM10, were all associated with increased risk of low birth weight at term, across London

3. Incentivizing new vaccine development

Prelims: Particulars of the TB disease, Click2read
Mains: Issues discussed in the article, regarding the development of an effective vaccine

Tuberculosis (TB) is one of India’s severest health crises

  1. It kills two Indians every 3 minutes and more than 1,000 people every day
  2. India accounts for 27% of the world’s 10.4 million new TB cases, and 29% of the 1.8 million TB deaths globally
  3. Surely, this says something about the crisis in our public health policy
  4. And receltly, WHO’s deputy governor was saying that India doesn’t have a good TB vaccine

Issues with the current vaccine

  1. TB is difficult to diagnose, and the BCG vaccine that is currently in use (developed in the early 20th century) is ineffective for young people and adults
  2. A new vaccine, cheaper and effective diagnostic tests, and treatment for the drug-resistant strains of TB are needed

Government’s goal of eradicating TB

  1. Government has announced the goal to eliminate TB by 2025
    National Strategic Plan (NSP) for TB Elimination
  2. The main features of the proposed National Strategic Plan (NSP) for TB Elimination, 2017-2025 are providing (i) incentives to private hospitals to follow standard protocols for diagnosis and treatment,
    (ii) giving cash transfers to patients to compensate them for the direct and indirect costs of undergoing treatment as well as incentives to complete treatment
  3. This is in addition to free diagnostics and treatment for TB at government hospitals
  4. Given the fact that incomplete treatment and improper care leads to the development of drug-resistant TB, these interventions are welcome

4. Courts can turn down child repatriation, says Supreme Court

Prelims: Hague Convention of “The Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction”
Mains: Child rights and various provisions related to it

Hague Convention of “The Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction”

  1. It is a multilateral treaty developed by the Hague Conference on Private International Law (HCCH)
  2. It provides an expeditious method to return a child internationally abducted by a parent from one member country to another
  3. The primary intention of the Convention is to preserve whatever status quo child custody arrangement existed immediately before an alleged wrongful removal or retention thereby deterring a parent from crossing international boundaries in search of a more sympathetic court
  4. The Convention applies only to children under the age of 16
  5. The Convention does not alter any substantive rights
  6. The Convention requires that a court in which a Hague Convention action is filed should not consider the merits of any underlying child custody dispute, but should determine only that country in which those issues should be heard

5. New India formula?

Prelims level: Particular of the Finance Commission
Mains level: Challenges and functions related to the 15th Finance Commission

Government’s request to the Finance Commission

  1. The Centre has urged the Commission to finalise its tax-devolution formula after factoring in the impact on the Union’s fiscal situation
    (keeping in mind “the continuing imperative of the national development programme including New India – 2022”)
  2. Taken together with its need for resources for essential spending in areas such as defence, security, infrastructure and climate change, the Centre seems to be seeking a rollback of the 42% share for States

Possible effects of reduction in share of States

  1. The government’s top brass has repeatedly asserted the need for revenue to maintain public spending in the face of flak for high petroleum taxes
  2. But a reduction from the 42% rate could dent States’ faith in the Centre’s claims of cooperative federalism

Mandate of the Commission

  1. Its mandate includes formulating performance-linked incentives for States on a range of desirable outcomes such as
    (i) attaining a replacement rate in population growth,
    (ii) deepening the GST net and
    (iii) improving the ease of doing business
  2. Devising a fiscal nudge for development goals sounds attractive
  3. Though the challenge would lie in quantifying the good from the ugly — especially when one has to reward a State for showing ‘control or lack of it in incurring expenditure on populist measures’

6. What does US recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital mean?

The Palestinians

They will see Trump’s announcement as the end of their hopes and demands for East Jerusalem as a capital of a future independent Palestinian state. Although few Palestinians want a return to violence, many will feel that diplomatic efforts have got them no closer to a state of their own and will see little alternative to direct action.

The state of Israel

The Israeli government will be thrilled. Ever since it captured (and later annexed) East Jerusalem in the 1967 six-day war, Israel has claimed the city as its “eternal and undivided” capital, and have longed for international recognition. It will reinforce the view of many Israeli politicians that there is little to be gained by negotiating with the Palestinians. Some 200,000 Israelis living in settlements in occupied East Jerusalem, illegal under international law, will also celebrate.

7. Let us be realistic about the UNSC

If a permanent Security Council seat is unavailable, India must not spurn other proposals on the table.

8. Recognise the technology constraints

Can law fix what technology has cast in stone? This is the question that the committee of experts led by Justice B.N. Srikrishna must wrestle with as it sets out to craft a data protection law for India. The committee’s recent White Paper has commendably surveyed the landscape of rights and principles that could populate this new legislation.

9. The world of Machine Learning

What is Machine Learning?

Artificial Intelligence (AI) may be the great buzzword of our times but Machine Learning (ML) is really the brass tacks. For general conversation, however, the terms have considerable overlap. Some decades ago, a chess playing programme that beat human players could’ve been crowned ‘artificially intelligent’ but now there are mundane AIs, like the ones Amazon uses to recommend purchases and ‘true’ AI that theorists reserve for a point when machines become intelligent enough to take over the planet.

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