UPSC Prelims News of 30 October 2022
Context: Indian Air Force (IAF) and French Air and Space Force (FASF) are participating in a bilateral exercise, named ‘Garuda VII’ at Air Force Station Jodhpur.
About Garuda VII
- It is the seventh edition of the bilateral air exercise between India and France that is taking place after a gap of two years.
- This joint exercise will provide a platform for both the countries to enhance operational capability and interoperability, while also sharing best practices.
- Participation of the IAF and FASF in this exercise will promote professional interaction, exchange of experiences and enhancement of operational knowledge, besides strengthening bilateral relations between the two countries.
Other Defence Exercises between India and France
- Shakti – Army exercise
- Varuna – Naval exercise
- Desert Knight-21 – Air exercise
WHO’s Fungal Pathogen List
Context: WHO released the first-ever report highlighting a list of priority fungal pathogen, which contains 19 fungi that represent the greatest threat to public health.
Highlights of the Report
- The report indicates that the incidence and geographic range of fungal diseases are both expanding worldwide as a result of global warming and the increase of international travel and trade.
- The incidence of invasive fungal infections increased significantly among hospitalized patients, during the Covid-19 pandemic.
- As fungal infections are increasingly becoming resistant to treatment, risks for the development of more invasive forms of infections in the general population are also growing.
- Priority categories: The WHO has divided the list into three categories: critical, high and medium priority.
- The critical group: Includes Candida auris (highly drug resistant), Cryptococcus neoformans, Aspergillus fumigatus, and Candida albicans.
- The high group: Includes a number of other fungi from the Candida family as well as others such as Mucorales (causes mucormycosis or “black fungus” infection).
- The medium group: Includes fungi such as Coccidioides spp and Cryptococcus gattii.
- The invasive types of fungal infections often affect severely ill patients and those with significant underlying immune system related conditions.
- Vulnerable populations include those with cancer, HIV/AIDS, organ transplants, chronic respiratory disease, and post-primary tuberculosis infection.
Context: International educational consultation agencies have expressed interest in helping the National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) set up PARAKH.
More on the News:
- The consulting firm for PARAKH will initially be selected on a three-year-contract, which will be renewed each year based on its performance.
- Educational Testing Services (ETS), American Institutes for Research (AIR) and the Australian Council for Educational Research (ACER) have all expressed interest in consultation.
- Mandate of agency: The consulting agency will help the PARAKH team to incorporate international evidence to strengthen assessment systems in India to meet Covid-19 and other challenges.
- PARAKH (Performance Assessment, Review and Analysis of Knowledge for Holistic Development) is envisaged as an instrument for setting up comparative measures and equivalence among school examination boards and promoting collaboration among them.
- Functions: PARAKH is expected to address the issue of disparities in scores of students of different boards by setting standards for student assessment and evaluation for all school boards in the country.
- It will not just conduct future rounds of National Achievement Surveys (NAS) and other surveys on learning outcomes, but also review NAS 2017/2018 and 2021 exercises to identify areas for improvement.
- PARAKH will manage India’s participation in international assessments like the Program for International Student Assessment (PISA), Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS), or Progress in International Reading Literacy Study (PIRLS).
Context: The Miya Museum opened in Goalpara district of Assam was shut down within two days.
More on the News:
- Reasons given for shutdown: Many leaders of the ruling party believed that the museum was a cultural intimidation and was constructed as a bid to appropriate Assamese culture.
- The decision to shutdown was taken as a house allotted under the Prime Minister’s Awas Yojana-Gramin scheme was converted into a museum in violation of the rules.
- The museum showcased the culture of Bengali-speaking or Bengal-origin Muslims in Assam.
- Origin: Bengali-speaking Muslims are pejoratively referred to as ‘Miya’ in Assam. This distinguishes them from Assamese Muslims known as ‘khilonjia’ (indigenous).
- Their ancestors had settled in the Brahmaputra valley after migrating from present-day Bangladesh during the British rule.
- Composition: The Miyas make up for the bulk of Assam’s Muslims accounting for more than 34% of the State’s 3.3 crore people.
- Majority of the Miya community live in the char-chaporis (sandbars or river islands) of Assam. They have been trying to project their culture as indigenous to Assam.
- Culture: The community has unique songs (bhatiali related to the river, magan geet or harvest songs, noi khelor geet or boat songs etc), equipment to catch fish and farm, as well as different kinds of boats.