Current Affairs Notes from PIB - May 2013 - Part 2

1. Mangroves are woody, specialized types of trees of the tropics that can live on the edge, where rainforests meet oceans. Found on sheltered coastlines and river deltas, they grow in brackish wetlands between land and sea where other plants can't grow. They protect the coastline and prevent erosion by collecting sediment from the rivers and streams and slowing down the flow of water. There are about 39.3 million acres of mangrove forests in the warm coastlines of tropical oceans all over the world. More than 10.5 million acres, or 27% of mangrove forests are found in Southeast Asia.

One of the most biologically diverse forests, mangrove forests are known as the "rainforests by the sea". The forests are the breeding grounds for fish, shrimp, prawns, crabs, shellfish and snails. Mangroves have a very specialised adaptations that enable them to live in salty waters. Breathing roots allow them to survive in anaerobic sediments.

The mangroves and coral reefs areas are categorized as ecological sensitive areas (CRZ-I) where no new constructions are permitted except projects relating to Department of Atomic Energy; pipelines, conveying systems including transmission lines; installation of weather radar for monitoring of cyclones movement and prediction by Indian Meteorological Department and construction of trans harbour sea link and without affecting the tidal flow of water. 

2. One of the key components of National Rural Health Mission is to provide every village with a trained female community health activist called ASHA or Accredited Social Health Activist. Selected from the village itself and accountable to it, ASHA works as an interface between the community and the public health system. 

ASHA acts as a bridge between the ANM and the village. She is accountable to the Panchayat. She is an honorary volunteer, receiving performance-based compensation for promoting universal immunization, referral and escort services for RCH, construction of household toilets, and other healthcare delivery programmes. She facilitates preparation and implementation of the Village Health Plan along with Anganwadi worker, ANM, functionaries of other Departments and Self Help Group members.

3. Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan - There has been a significant reduction in number of out of school children in the country following the inception of Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan. The number of out of school children in the age group of 6 to 14 has come down to 30 lakhs in 2012. It was 80 lakhs in 2009. The scheme is a flagship programme of the Central Government for achievement of universalization of elementary education in a time bound manner. It is mandated by a constitution amendment making free and compulsory education to the children of 6 to 14 years of age group a fundamental right. 

Under the Scheme to promote education for all, more than one lakh 95 thousand primary schools and more than one lakh upper primary schools have been sanctioned. About 20 lakh teachers’ posts have been sanctioned under Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan since inception of the scheme. To improve infrastructure in the school about 18 lakhs additional classrooms have been sanctioned and about 2 lakh 30 thousand drinking water projects have been approved. Steps have also been taken to provide over eight-and-a half lakh toilets in the schools so that students can have access to proper sanitation. The Scheme alongwith other initiatives of the Government including Mid Day Meal has helped in checking dropouts of the kids particularly the girl child. 

4. Wholesale Price Index for ‘All Commodities’ (Base: 2004-05 = 100). Weightage: PRIMARY ARTICLES (Weight 20.12%), FUEL & POWER (Weight 14.91%), MANUFACTURED PRODUCTS (Weight 64.97%).

5. A rotavirus vaccine protects children from rotaviruses, which are the leading cause of severe diarrhea among infants and young children. Each year an estimated 453,000 children die from diarrhoeal disease caused by rotavirus. There are two effective rotavirus vaccines: Rotarix by GlaxoSmithKline and RotaTeq by Merck. The clinical study demonstrates for the first time that the India-developed rotavirus vaccine ROTAVAC in collaboration with Bharat Biotech under the Public-Private Partnership mode is efficacious in preventing severe rotavirus diarrhoea in low-resource settings in India.

6. NRLM - The mandate of NRLM to ensure that at least one member from each identified rural poor household, preferably a woman, be brought under the Self Help Group (SHG) network in a time-bound manner, the ultimate target being full coverage of BPL families.

7. Declaration of the Year 2013 as “Water Conservation Year-2013. Water is a natural resource, fundamental to life, livelihood, food security and sustainable development. It is also a scarce resource. India has more than 18 percent of the world`s population, but has only 4 percent of world`s renewable water resources with 2.4 percent of world`s land area. There are further limits on utilizable quantities of water owing to uneven distribution over time, as 75 percent of annual rainfall is received in just four months. Also region wise it varies from 10 cm rainfall in Rajasthan to 1000 cm in North Eastern Region. 

In addition, there are challenges of frequent floods and droughts in one or the other part of the country. With a growing population and rising needs of a fast developing nation as well as the given indicators of the impact of climate change, per capita availability of water is likely to go down from 1545 cubic metre per year in 2011 to 1341 cubic metre per year in 2025. The increasing demand of water for various purposes will further strain with the possibility of deepening water conflicts among different user groups as drinking water need is going to rise by 44 percent, irrigation need by 10 percent, industry need by 81 percent respectively by 2025. 

Water Conservation is also the key objective of the National Water Mission which is one of the eight National Missions under the National Action Plan for Climate Change. This envisages conservation, minimizing wastage and ensuring more equitable distribution of water resources both across and within States through integrated water resources development and management. 

8. Mainstreaming of AYUSH under National Rural Health Mission: (Ayurveda, Siddha, Unani& Homeopathy Education). A total number of 11478 AYUSH doctors and 4894 AYUSH para-medics have been appointed on contract basis at Primary Health Centres and Community Health Centres with the assistance from NRHM mission flexipool.

9. Mahila Kisan Sashaktikaran Pariyojana to empower rural women farmers. Mahila Kisan Sashaktikaran Pariyojana (MKSP) was announced in the budget of 2010-11 as a sub – component of the National Rural Livelihoods Mission (NRLM) to meet the specific needs of women farmers. The aim of the programme is also to achieve socio-economic and technical empowerment of the rural women farmers, predominantly small and marginal farmers.

10. WHO Polio Eradication Certificate for India - World Health Organization (WHO) has removed India from the list of countries with active endemic wild polio virus transmission. Polio free is certified for WHO regions by the Regional Certification Commission and not for individual country. The South-East Asia Regional Commission for Polio Eradication (SEA-RCCPE) has examined the data of 31 states/Union Territories of India and has accepted the report of the Indian National Certification Committee for Polio Eradication. 

11. As per Plastic Waste (Management and Handling) Rules, 2011, manufacturing, stocking, distribution, sale on use of plastic carry bags of less than 40 micron in thickness is prohibited.

12. Forrest cover in India - 21.05%. Mizoram - 90%, Punjab - 3.5%, Kerala - 44%.

13. Chhau dance is a genre of Indian tribal martial dance which is popular in the Indian states of Odisha, Jharkhand and West Bengal .

14. India is the Second Largest Producer of Fruits, Vegetables and Foodgrains. China first and Brazil third.