Daily Analysis

An in-depth analysis of the best and most relevant editorials of the day from the best dailies known for civil services preparation.

DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS,13th March 2019

53% of working women say their workplaces are male dominated

Focus: GS1.

Topic: Issues related to women.

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Why in News?

For 97% of working women, life has changed post migration, said a survey by ICICI Lombard on the physical and mental health of working women through their career span.

Background

  • The study surveyed working women in the age group 22-55 years, covering aspects like migration for work, resuming work post maternity and women at work facing menopause. 
  • The objective of the survey was to understand issues faced by working women at the workplace.

Study findings

  • While gender equality at the workplace has become a byword in the corporate sector, the survey has brought forth the fact that 53% of the working women believe their workplaces are still male dominated.
  • Of this, 46% belong to the age group 22-33 years, followed by 35% group from the age group 34-44 years. 
  • Women in the telecom and manufacturing sector experienced more instances of gender discrimination than any other sector.
  • Another interesting facet of the survey was in that 62% of the respondents believed that recognition at par with male counterparts notwithstanding, there is a gap when it comes to remuneration.
  • This was found to be more prevalent in the manufacturing and financial sector.
  • The imbalance thus created puts extra pressure on women leading into ‘increased frustration levels (66%)’, ‘working beyond their capacity to prove their mettle (64%) and ‘stress due to high expectations (62%)’.
  • Workplace abuse was an aspect faced more by older women (45-55 years), with a majority of them reporting this to HR (43%), but a significant lot (32%) also quitting on account of this.

Highlights

  • Migration for work has proved to be a positive change for 97% of working women, enhancing self-confidence and financial independence. 
  • Cultural shock, though, is a major challenge.
  • Also, women migrating post 30 are more prone to stress as it is mentally difficult to accommodate in formal office environment, the survey said.
  • Respondents to the survey relating to menopause revealed that depression is a common emotion impacting 89% of working women, leading 42% of them to take leave once a month. 
  • In order to relieve that stress, 49% of the women engaged in activities like yoga, while others preferred morning/evening walks and zumba.
  • However, gym and outdoor sports are almost negligible.
  • The study involved online quantitative interviews with 1500 working women, across five locations.

Source: The Hindu. 

Scientists rediscover wood snake last seen in 1878

Focus: GS3.

Topic: Bio diversity.

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Why in News?

  • A species of wood snake that wasn’t seen for 140 years has resurfaced in a survey conducted by scientists in the Meghamalai Wildlife Sanctuary.
  • The species are endemic to the Meghamalai forests and the Periyar Tiger Reserve landscape.

About the snake

  • The findings of the surveys, conducted over two years (2014-2016), were published in the Journal of the Bombay Natural History Society last month. 
  • The snake is a ‘point endemic’ (found only in Meghamalai). 
  • It was found in the same region that Colonel Beddome alluded to, and the morphological characters match with his specimen.

Highlights 

  • The local population of wood snakes was last spotted and recorded by British military officer and naturalist Colonel Richard Henry Beddome in 1878, who went on to describe it as a new species, Xylophis indicus.  
  • The specimens he collected were deposited by the officer in the Natural History Museum, London, and labelled as being from “the dense heavy evergreen forests on the mountains at the south of the Cumbum valley, Madura.” 

Source: The Hindu. 

Arecanut gets its first GI tag for ‘Sirsi Supari’

Focus: GS3.

Topic: Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment.

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Why in News?

  • For the first time in the arecanut sector, ‘Sirsi Supari’ grown in Uttara Kannada has received the Geographic Indication (GI) tag. 
  • It is cultivated in Yellapura, Siddapura and Sirsi taluks. 

Key points

  • Totgars’ Cooperative Sale Society Ltd., Sirsi, is the registered proprietor of the GI.
  • The Registrar of Geographical Indications, under the Union government, Chennai issued the certificate to the society on March 4, 2019. 
  • Its GI number is 464.

About the Supari

  • The particular arecanut is medium in size, somewhat flat and rounded in shape, somewhat ash coloured, and has a hard seed.
  • The arecanut grown in these taluks have unique features like a round and flattened coin shape, particular texture, size, cross-sectional views, taste, etc. 
  • These features are not seen in arecanut grown in any other regions.
  •  Its average dry weight is 7.5 g and average thickness is 16 mm.
  • This particular variety has a unique taste due to differences in chemical composition. 
  • The total average flavonoids content in it is around 90 whereas in others it is around 80.
  • The total carbohydrates in ‘Sirsi Supari’ are 23% to 26%, total arecoline is 0.11% to 0.13%, total tannin content is 14.5% to 17.5%.
  • ‘Sirsi Supari’ is used both as ‘chali’ (white arecanut) and red arecanut.
  • The ‘chali’ variety is made by peeling the ripened nuts and sun drying them later.
  • The red arecanut is produced by harvesting the tender nuts, then boiling and colouring them, then making them into different grades and finally sun drying them.

Source: The Hindu.

WHO strategy to fight flu pandemics

Focus: GS2.

Topic: Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources, issues relating to poverty and hunger.

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Why in News?

The World Health Organization launched a strategy to protect people worldwide over the next decade against the threat of influenza, warning that new pandemics are “inevitable”. 

About Influenza epidemics

Influenza epidemics, largely seasonal, affect around one billion people and kill hundreds of thousands annually, according to WHO, which describes it as one of the world’s greatest public health challenges. 

The strategy

  • WHO’s new strategy, for 2019 through 2030, aims to prevent seasonal influenza, control the virus’s spread from animals to humans and prepare for the next pandemic, WHO said.
  • The new strategy called for every country to strengthen routine health programmes and to develop tailor-made influenza programmes that strengthen disease surveillance, response, prevention, control, and preparedness.
  • WHO recommends annual flu vaccines as the most effective way to prevent the spread of the disease, especially for healthcare workers and people at higher risk of influenza complications.
  • It also called for the development of more effective and more accessible vaccines and antiviral treatments.
  • Due to its mutating strains, vaccine formulas must be regularly updated and only offer limited protection currently.

Source: The Hindu.

Plastic in focus at UN environment forum

Focus: GS3.

Topic: Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment.

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Why in News?

  • Countries from around the world set their sights on a pivotal deal to curb plastic waste, a source of long-term pollution and worsening contamination of the ocean's food chain.
  • Thousands of delegates, business leaders and campaigners are in Nairobi for the five-day UN Environment Assembly, the top annual forum on the planet's environmental crisis. 

Background

The UN wants individual countries to sign up to "significantly" reduce plastic production, including a phasing out of single-use plastics by 2030 -- a goal inspired by the 2015 Paris Agreement on voluntary reductions of carbon emissions.  

Highlights

  • The world currently produces more than 300 million tonnes of plastics annually, and there are at least five trillion plastic pieces floating in our oceans, scientists have estimated.
  • Microplastics have been found in the deepest sea trenches and high up Earth's tallest peaks, and plastic consumption is growing year-on-year.
  • The Nairobi meeting comes against the backdrop of a series of UN reports outlining in stark terms the damage mankind is doing to the planet, much of it due to reckless consumption.

Source: The Hindu. 

Indians face age-related issues earlier than Swiss

Focus: GS2.

Topic: Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources.

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Why in News?

People living in India experience the health problems associated with ageing at an early stage than those living in Japan or Switzerland, according to a first-of-its-kind study published in The Lancet Public Health.

Background

  • Researchers at the University of Washington in the U.S. and colleagues found that a 30-year gap separates countries with the highest and lowest ages at which people experience the health problems of a 65-year-old.
  • They found that 76-year-olds in Japan and Switzerland, and 46-year-olds in Papua New Guinea have the same level of age-related health problems as an “average” person aged 65. 

Highlights

  • The analysis also found that people living in India experience the similar health problems well before they turn 60.
  • These disparate findings show that increased life expectancy at older ages can either be an opportunity or a threat to the overall welfare of populations, depending on the ageing-related health problems the population experiences regardless of chronological age.
  • Age-related health problems can lead to early retirement, a smaller workforce, and higher health spending.
  • Government leaders and other stakeholders influencing health systems need to consider when people begin suffering the negative effects of ageing.
  • These negative effects include impaired functions and loss of physical, mental, and cognitive abilities resulting from the 92 conditions analysed, five of which are communicable and 81 non-communicable, along with six injuries.
  • The study is the first of its kind, where traditional metrics of ageing examine increased longevity, this study explores both chronological age and the pace at which ageing contributes to health deterioration.
  • The study uses estimates from the Global Burden of Disease study (GBD).
  • The researchers measured “age-related disease burden” by aggregating all disability-adjusted life years (DALYs), a measurement of loss of healthy life, related to the 92 diseases.
  • Countries such as China and India are performing better in all-burden rankings, researchers said.

Source: The Hindu.

Scientists transform black soot into a boon for water purification

Focus: GS3.

Topic: Achievement of Indians in science & technology.

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Why in News?

A group of Indian scientists have come up with a new process which promises to help utilise black carbon soot, which is a major air pollutant, for treating industrial waste containing highly poisonous organic dyes.

About the techniques

  • The scientists have developed two techniques — one to convert black soot into graphene nanosheets, and the second to utilise the nanosheets to remove organic dyes such as crystal violet, rhodamine B, and methylene blue from industrial waste.
  • Treatment of waste water with organic dyes has remained a major challenge. 
  • The currently available methods are generally costly and cumbersome. 
  • According to the scientists involved in the development of the new process, it would offer a cost-effective and sustainable solution.
  • Black soot is available everywhere and even a lay person can convert it into graphene nanosheets at home. 
  • The second process of utilising the nanosheets for treating the waste water is also not very complicated. 
  • One just had to put the nanosheets into industrial waste water, in the presence of sunlight. 
  • The dyes in the water are broken down into simpler and harmless elements and are subsequently isolated.

About Black Carbon soot

  • Black carbon soot is emitted from gas and diesel engines, coal-fired power plants and other processes that involve burning of fossil fuel. 
  • It is known to be highly carcinogenic. 
  • Organic dyes, in turn, are an important component of industrial waste and are generally non-biodegradable and deadly. 
  • They enter water bodies and make them not only unfit for human consumption but also highly poisonous.

Source: Down to Earth.

Prelims Corner

Girnar Wildlife Sanctuary

  • The Girnar Hills in Junagadh district of Gujarat, are famous since ancient times as a place of pilgrimage for both Hindus and Jains.
  • It is part of the Kathiawar-Gir dry deciduous forests ecoregion.
  • Today, it is the only area in Asia, where Asiatic lions occur, and is considered one of the most important protected areas in Asia due to its supported species.
  • The seven major perennial rivers of the Gir region are Hiran, Shetrunji, Datardi, Shingoda, Machhundri, Godavari and Raval.

Map of the Day

Kenya map

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Quote of the Day

“Being the richest man in the cemetery doesn't matter to me. Going to bed at night saying we've done something wonderful, that's what matters to me.” – Steve Jobs 

Mains Answer Writing

1.Discuss the issues faced by working women at the workplace according to the recent survey.
2.Explain how GI Tag can be a game changer for products.
3.Critically analyse the strategy launched by WHO to protect people worldwide over the next decade against the threat of influenza.

Test your Knowledge

1. Consider the following statements:

1.Women in the telecom and manufacturing sector are experiencing more instances of gender discrimination than any other sector.
2.Migration for work has proved to be a positive change for 97% of working women, enhancing self-confidence and financial independence. 

Select the correct answer using the codes given below:

[A] 1 only

[B] 3 only

[C] Both 1 and 2

[D] Neither of the above

2. Meghamalai Wildlife Sanctuary is in?

[A] Andhra Pradesh 

[B] Telangana 

[C] Bihar

[D] Tamil Nadu

3. Consider the following statements ;

1.‘Sirsi Supari’ is large in size, somewhat flat and rounded in shape.
2.This particular variety has a unique taste due to differences in chemical composition.  

Which of the statement(s) given above is/are correct?

[A] 1 only

[B] 2 only

[C] Both 1 and 2

[D] Neither 1 and 2

4. UN Environment Assembly is happening at?

[A] India  

[B] USSR

[C] Kenya 

[D] Israel

5. Phasing out of single-use plastics by 2030 is a goal inspired by 

[A] Paris Climate Summit

[B] Nairobi Earth Assembly

[C] Stockholm Conference

[D] Earth Summit 1996

Answers

1.C 2.D 3.B 4.C 5.A