UPSC Prelims News of 7 October 2022
Context: The Central government has approved the extension of Online Building Plan Approval System (OBPAS) under eChhawani portal to five more Cantonment Boards, namely Agra, Ranikhet, Babina, Jammu and Cannanore.
About eChhawani portal
- It is a unified portal for 62 Cantonment Boards. And it’s a project of the Directorate General of Defence Estates, Ministry of Defence.
- Using eChhawani portal citizens can avail all civic services offered by respective Cantonment Board.
- It aims to improve citizen interaction with Cantonment Boards while making Cantonment Board employees better equipped, informed and responsive to public needs with transparency and in an effective manner.
What are Cantonment Boards?
- They are a civic administration body functioning under the provisions of the Cantonments Act, 2006.
- They are under the administrative control of the Ministry of Defence.
- There are 62 Cantonment Boards in India, managed by Directorate General Defence Estates (DGDE).
- They are primarily meant to accommodate the military population and their installations.
- It provides for public health, water supply, sanitation, primary education, and street lighting, among other things, to the residents of the cantonment.
- It also provides for training and administration of the Army in the said area.
- The members are partly elected and partly nominated.
- While the elected members hold the office for a term of 5 years, the nominated members continue as long as they hold the office.
- The Station Commander of the Cantonment is the ex-officio President of the Board.
- An officer of the IDES or Defence Estates Organization is the Chief Executive Officer who is also the Member-Secretary of the Board.
Context: Lecanemab, an experimental Alzheimer’s drug made by Eisai Co Ltd, and Biogen has shown some promising results in slowing the advance of the disease.
- It is an antibody that targets and removes toxic clumps of a protein called amyloid beta that accumulate in the brains of Alzheimer’s patients.
What is Alzheimer’s Disease?
- It is a progressive neurologic disorder that causes the brain to shrink (atrophy) and brain cells to die.
- Alzheimer’s disease is the most common cause of dementia — a continuous decline in thinking, behavioral and social skills that affects a person’s ability to function independently.
- Out of the approximately 50 million people worldwide with dementia, between 60% and 70% are estimated to have Alzheimer’s disease.
- Women have a higher risk of having Alzheimer’s disease than men.
- Alzheimer’s disease is thought to be caused by the abnormal build-up of proteins in and around brain cells.
- One of the proteins involved is called amyloid, deposits of which form plaques around brain cells.
- The other protein is called tau, deposits of which form tangles within brain cells.
- Memory loss is the key symptom of Alzheimer’s disease. Early signs include difficulty remembering recent events or conversations.
- As the disease progresses, memory impairments worsen and other symptoms develop.
- Cure: There’s currently no cure for Alzheimer’s disease. But there is medicine available that can temporarily reduce the symptoms.
Context: Banni festival is an annual festival celebrated in Andhra Pradesh.
- Festival was celebrated by people under Vijayanagara Empire. It is believed to be a very ancient festival.
- Banni actually refers to mock fight for capturing the idols during the Banni festival.
Banni Festival Strange Celebration
- Every year, on the night of Dussehra festival (Vijayadashami), hundreds of men head towards Devaragattu temple in Kurnool district of Andhra Pradesh.
- They carry long sticks or lathis with them for hitting each other with these sticks.
- People reach here from Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka both as the temple is located on the border of these states.
- Stick Fight Ritual: A traditional ritual held between groups of villagers with the winning group taking hold of the idols and taking them in a procession to their respective village.
- It is believed that the village which prevails in this fight will enjoy a good agricultural yield that year.
- Supreme Court had put a ban on this festival in 2008, but the ritual has continued to be held over the years.
Context: US legislation ‘NOPEC bill’ has emerged again as a possible tool to address high fuel prices following the recent decision of OPEC countries on steep production cuts.
- Recently, OPEC+ countries have decided to cut oil production by 2 million barrels per day. This is the largest cut since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.
- This has led to a sharp increase in crude prices.
What is NOPEC?
- The No Oil Producing and Exporting Cartels (NOPEC) bill of the USA intends to protect U.S. consumers and businesses from engineered oil spikes.
- After the OPEC+ decision, the White House said it would consult with congress on ‘additional tools and authorities’ to reduce the groups control over energy prices, an apparent reference to the NOPEC.
- The NOPEC bill would tweak U.S. antitrust law to revoke the sovereign immunity that has protected OPEC+ members and their national oil companies from lawsuits.
- If signed into law, the U.S. attorney general would gain the option to sue the oil cartel or its members, such as Saudi Arabia, in federal court.
Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC):
- About: It is a permanent, intergovernmental organization, created at the Baghdad Conference in 1960, by Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, and Venezuela.
- Objective: It aims to manage the supply of oil in an effort to set the price of oil in the world market, in order to avoid fluctuations that might affect the economies of both producing and purchasing countries.
- Headquarters: Vienna, Austria.
- It currently had 13 members which include Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Algeria, Angola, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Libya, Nigeria, the Republic of the Congo, and Venezuela.
- OPEC membership is open to any country that is a substantial exporter of oil, and which shares the ideals of the organization.
- OPEC Plus was created in 2016 when OPEC countries decided to ally with other oil-producing countries outside the group to cut down the global output of oil.
- It refers to a group of 23 oil-producing countries that includes 13 members of OPEC and 10 other oil-producing countries (Russia, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Brunei, Kazakhstan, Malaysia, Mexico, Oman, South Sudan and Sudan).