UPSC Prelims News of 27 February 2023
‘Zombie Drug’ Xylazine
Context: A new drug known as Xylazine or “tranq” has caused major havoc in cities across the United States by causing deadly symptoms such as skin rotting.
About the ‘Zombie drug’ Xylazine
- Xylazine, also known as “tranq”, is a medication that is primarily used in veterinary medicine as a sedative, analgesic, and muscle relaxant.
- It belongs to a class of drugs called alpha-2 adrenergic agonists and is used to help calm and immobilize animals during medical procedures or surgeries.
- Although xylazine is primarily used in veterinary medicine, it has also been used illicitly in humans as a recreational drug, often in combination with other substances such as opioids.
- Symptoms: When Xylazine is used in illicit way in combination with opioids, it causes symptoms such as excessive sleepiness, respiratory depression, and raw wounds, which can become severe and spread quickly.
- If the ulcers are not treated, they can turn into dead skin called eschar, which necessitates amputation.
- What does zombie mean? It refers to a human who lacks the ability to speak or move (as in voodoo belief and in fictional stories), and who is believed to have died and been supernaturally reanimated.
One District One Product (ODOP)
Context: The Union Government recently launched One District One Product (ODOP) Catalogue to promote indigenous products from each district of the nation.
One District One Product (ODOP)
- Launch: ODOP programme has been launched under Department of Commerce (DoC) and Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT), Ministry of Commerce & Industry.
- Aim: It is aimed at creating sustainable employment at the district level while promoting holistic socio-economic development.
- The idea is to select, brand, and promote one product from each district of the country.
- It focuses on Districts of the country as units for converting into a manufacturing and export hub by identifying products with export potential in the Districts.
- GI Tagging: Recently, the ODOP mapped and tagged the overlapping tribal products at the ongoing Aadi Mahotsav organized by Tribal Co-operative Marketing Federation of India in Delhi.
- The ODOP and GI tagging was done for a range of products, including:
- Kullu Shawl from Kullu, Himachal Pradesh
- Darjeeling Tea from Darjeeling, West Bengal
- Blue Pottery from Jaipur, Rajasthan
- Bidriware from Bidar, Karnataka
- Pattachitra paintings from Puri, Odisha
- Bagh Prints from Dhar, Madhya Pradesh
- Coffee from Wayanad, Kerala
- Bastar Craft from Kondagaon, Chattisgarh
- Rice-Jeeraphool from Balrampur, Chhattisgarh.
- The tagging was intended to create awareness about the sources of products representing different districts of India.
- The ODOP and GI tagging was done for a range of products, including:
What is GI Tagging of Goods?
- Geographical Indications (GI) of Goods are defined as that aspect of industrial property which refer to the geographical indication referring to a country or to a place situated therein as being the country or place of origin of that product.
- Such a name conveys an assurance of quality and distinctiveness which is essentially attributable to the fact of its origin in that defined geographical locality, region or country.
- Under Articles 1 (2) and 10 of the Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property, geographical indications are covered as an element of IPRs.
Context: A medicinal plant commonly called Bor Thekera in Assamese, has been found to have cardioprotective potential.
About Bor Thekera plant
- Garcinia pedunculata, a medicinal plant commonly called ‘Bor Thekera‘ in the Assamese language, traditionally forbidden for raw consumption, has been found to protect from heart diseases.
- Use of the plant: The sun-dried slices of the ripe fruit are used for culinary and medicinal purposes and are known to have therapeutic properties like anti-inflammatory, anthelmintic, antibacterial, antifungal, anti-diabetic, hypolipidemic, nephroprotective, and even neuroprotective activity.
- Potential application: The Scientists of Institute of Advanced Study in Science and Technology (IASST) explored this medicinal plant’s potential to prevent heart diseases.
- Medicinal Effects: Administration of the dried pulp of the ripe fruit of the medicinal plant reduced cardiac hypertrophy indicators and oxidative stress and heart inflammation.
Kaziranga National Park
Context: A “Chintan Shivir” for Ayush will be organized Ministry of Ayush at Kaziranga National Park, Assam.
About Kaziranga National Park (KNP)
- Location: It is situated in the state of Assam & spreads across the districts of Nagaon, Karbi Anglong and Golaghat. It is located on the Southern bank of Brahmaputra.
- National status: KNP was declared as a National Park in 1974 & Tiger Reserve in 2007.
- International status: KNP was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1985 & recognized as an Important Bird Area by BirdLife International.
- Important water bodies: The Rivers of Brahmaputra, Mora Diphlu and Mora Dhansiri.
- Important fauna: It is home to two-thirds of the world’s great one-horned rhinoceroses (Vulnerable, IUCN).
- Vegetation: Dense tropical moist broadleaf deciduous forests and grasslands make up the KNP.
- Threats: Floods due to overflowing of Brahmaputra, encroachment of territory, pollution, and loss of biodiversity due to population growth are some of the threats.
Right to be Forgotten
Context: Recently, a doctor brought up the ‘Right to be Forgotten’ in the Delhi High Court after a wrongful arrest in response to a fabricated FIR against him which he claims is causing detriment to his life and personal liberty.
- The “Right to be Forgotten” is the right to remove or erase content so that it’s not accessible to the public at large.
- It empowers an individual to have information in the form of news, video, or photographs deleted from internet records, so it doesn’t show up through search engines, like Google.
Origins of Right to be Forgotten
- The Right to be Forgotten originates from the 2014 European Court of Justice ruling in a case where it was codified for the first time following a Spanish man’s quest to make the world forget a 1998 advertisement saying, “his home was being repossessed to pay off debts.”
- Article 17 of the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) provides for the right to erasure and lays down certain conditions when such a right can be restricted.
‘Right to be Forgotten’ in the Indian context:
- The Right to be Forgotten falls under the purview of an individual’s right to privacy, which is governed by the Personal Data Protection Bill that is yet to be passed by Parliament.
- In 2017, the Right to Privacy was declared a fundamental right (under Article 21) by the Supreme Court in its landmark verdict (Puttuswamy case).
- Section 43A of the Information Technology Act, 2000 says that organizations who possess sensitive personal data and fail to maintain appropriate security to safeguard such data, resulting in wrongful loss or wrongful gain to anyone, may be obligated to pay damages to the affected person.
- While, the IT Rules, 2021 do not include this right, they do however, lay down the procedure for filing complaints with the designated Grievance Officer so as to have content exposing personal information about a complainant removed from the internet.
- The right to be forgotten is distinct from the right to privacy because the right to privacy constitutes information that is not publicly known, whereas the right to be forgotten involves removing information that was publicly known at a certain time and not allowing third parties to access the information.
Context: Recently, Punjab has witnessed protests demanding the release of Bandi Singhs (Sikh prisoners), in jail for more than three decades for various convictions.
- ‘Bandi Singhs’ is a term given to Sikh prisoners who were convicted for involvement in militancy in Punjab.
- Bandi Sikhs, who have been in jail for decades, have no criminal profession or criminal background.
- These are the youth from ordinary homes that were forced to follow the path of violence after India’s independence, especially in 1984.
- Under the influence of this separatist politics, the Sikh prisoners in jails for various crimes have been called Bandi Singhs i.e., Captive Sikhs.
- Many have completed their sentences. Despite being locked up in jails for many years, many of them have never even got parole.
Mad Cow Disease
Context: Brazil has halted its beef exports to China after a case of mad cow disease was confirmed in its northern state of Para.
About Mad Cow Disease:
- Mad cow disease is also known as Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE).
- It is a transmissible, slowly progressive, degenerative, and fatal disease which affects the central nervous system of adult cattle.
- The infectious agent that causes mad cow disease is an abnormal version of a protein normally found on cell surfaces, called a prion.
- When this protein gets altered, it destroys the nervous system tissue- the brain and spinal cord.
- Spread: A cow gets BSE by eating feed contaminated with parts that came from another cow that was sick with BSE.
- A common sign of BSE in cows is incoordination. A sick cow has trouble walking and getting up and may also act very nervous or violent.
- It usually takes four to six years from the time a cow is infected with the abnormal prion to when it first shows symptoms of BSE. This is called the incubation period. During this period, the disease is undetected.
- Once a cow starts to show symptoms, it gets sicker and sicker until it dies, usually within two weeks to six months.
- Treatment: There is no treatment for BSE and no vaccine to prevent it.
Context: Himachal Pradesh has become the first state in India to start the organized commercial cultivation of Liquorice (Mulethi).
- Mulethi commonly known as Liquorice, is an important sweet-tasting perennial shrub.
- It has a sweet taste due to the presence of glycyrrhizin, which is 50 times sweeter than sucrose.
- Suitable climate for cultivation: The plant thrives in a dry and sunny climate and is cultivated in subtropical and warm temperate regions.
- It is used as a natural sweetener in herbal medicines, flavouring in candies and tobacco.
- It is also used in traditional medicines for treating chest and lung diseases, pneumonia, bronchitis, kidney and heart diseases, coughs, low blood pressure, liver toxicity and pancreatic disorders.
- Cultivation: Mulethi is grown mainly in Afghanistan, while minor producing countries include Pakistan, China, Nepal and India.
- India imports 8,047 tonnes of liquorice annually from Afghanistan, China and Nepal. To reduce these imports, India has started the organized cultivation of Mulethi.
- The districts of Hamirpur, Bilaspur, Kangra, Una, Solan and Sirmaur in Himachal Pradesh have potential for its cultivation.