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Current Affairs 28 September 2023

CONTENTS

  1. India Ageing Report 2023
  2. Impact of Rising Temperatures on Milk Production in Indian Regions
  3. Parliament Standing Committee’s Report on NEP 2020 Implementation in Higher Education
  4. China-Pakistan Economic Corridor
  5. Supreme Court Calls for Enhanced Self-Regulation in TV News Channels
  6. International Coffee Organization
  7. Vibrio Vulnificus

India Ageing Report 2023


Context:

The India Ageing Report 2023 was released recently by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and the International Institute for Population Sciences (IIPS).

Relevance:

GS II: International Relations

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Key highlights of the report
  2. United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA)
  3. International Institte for Population Sciences (IIPS)

Key highlights of the report

Key Data Sources:

  • The report relies on the latest available data from various sources, including the Longitudinal Ageing Survey in India (LASI) from 2017–18, the Census of India, Population Projections by the Government of India spanning from 2011 to 2036, and the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs’ World Population Prospects for 2022.

Projection of Elderly Population:

  • The report forecasts a substantial increase in India’s elderly population, doubling from 149 million in 2022 to 347 million in 2050.

Decadal Growth Rate:

  • The current decadal growth rate for India’s elderly population stands at 41%, and at this pace, it is estimated that the elderly will constitute over 20% of the total population by 2050.
  • By 2046, the elderly population is expected to surpass the population of children aged 0 to 15 years.

Population Aged 80 and Above:

  • The report projects a growth rate of around 279% in the population aged 80 and above between 2022 and 2050, with a predominant presence of widowed and highly dependent elderly women.

Vulnerabilities of Elders:

  • Over 40% of India’s elderly population falls within the poorest wealth quintile, with approximately 18.7% living without any income.
  • Such high levels of poverty among the elderly can adversely affect their quality of life and healthcare utilization.
Higher Life Expectancy for Women:
  • On average, women exhibit higher life expectancy at both age 60 and age 80 compared to men. However, variations exist across Indian States and Union Territories.
  • The sex ratio among the elderly has been steadily rising since 1991, while the overall population sex ratio remains stagnant.
Inter-State Variations:
  • States in southern India and some northern states like Himachal Pradesh and Punjab report a higher share of elderly population compared to the national average in 2021.
  • This gap is expected to widen by 2036.
  • States with higher fertility rates and slower demographic transitions, including Bihar and Uttar Pradesh, anticipate an increase in the elderly population share between 2021 and 2036.
  • Central and northeastern regions, in contrast to southern and western India, have a younger profile as indicated by the aging index.
Challenges Faced by Elderly Population:
  • Poverty among the elderly is not uniform and is gendered, with older women more likely to be widowed, living alone, having no income, fewer assets, and full dependence on family support.
  • The feminization and ruralization of India’s aging population are noted as major challenges.
Suggestions and Recommendations:
  • A special focus on older persons in disaster-preparedness plans is called for.
  • The government should increase awareness about schemes for older persons.
  • All Old Age Homes should be brought under regulatory oversight.
  • Efforts should be made to facilitate in-situ (at-home) aging, including creating short-term care facilities and encouraging the formation of elderly self-help groups.
  • Multigenerational households for the elderly should be promoted.
  • The report highlights the lack of credible data on various issues related to the elderly in India.

UN Population Fund (UNFPA):

  • UNFPA, originally known as the United Nations Fund for Population Activities from 1969 to 1987, is a trust fund under the jurisdiction of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).
  • Established in 1969, it is the largest international source of assistance for population programs.
  • UNFPA plays a significant role in implementing the 1994 Programme of Action of the International Conference on Population and Development.
Mission:

UNFPA is the United Nations’ sexual and reproductive health agency with a mission to create a world where every pregnancy is wanted, every childbirth is safe, and every young person’s potential is fulfilled.

  • Functions: UNFPA carries out its mission through the following functions:
  • Reproductive Health: UNFPA supports programs and initiatives related to reproductive health, encompassing family planning, ensuring safe motherhood, and the prevention and treatment of sexually transmitted diseases.
  • Population Issues: It addresses population problems in both developed and developing countries and explores strategies to tackle them effectively.
  • Gender Equality: UNFPA works on issues related to the status of women, focusing on closing the gender gap in education and promoting gender equality.
Program Implementation:

UNFPA’s assistance programs are initiated and carried out only in response to requests from governments.

It collaborates with governments and other partners to fund and support various projects, research endeavors, and advocacy programs.

International Institute for Population Sciences (IIPS):

  • IIPS is a prominent research and training institution specializing in population studies, located in Mumbai, India.
  • It was established in 1956 through collaboration between the Government of India, the United Nations, and the Sir Dorabji Tata Trust.

Regional Center:

  • IIPS serves as a regional center for the Asia and Pacific region, making it a hub for population research and studies in this geographic area.

Autonomous Organization:

  • IIPS operates as an autonomous organization under the purview of the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, Government of India.
  • This autonomy allows it to carry out its research and training activities independently.

Research and Funding:

  • The institute is involved in extensive research activities related to population studies, utilizing both its own resources and external funding.
  • Through research, it contributes valuable insights and knowledge in the field of population studies.

-Source: The Hindu


Impact of Rising Temperatures on Milk Production in Indian Regions


Context:

A 2022 study in ‘Lancet’ projected that rising temperatures could lead to a 25% reduction in milk production in India’s arid and semi-arid regions by the year 2085. This estimate ranks second highest in India, following Pakistan, which is expected to experience a 28.7% reduction. In humid and sub-humid areas, the projected reduction stands at 10%.

Relevance:

GS III: Agriculture

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Impact of Heat Stress on Cattle
  2. Status of Milk Production in India
  3. Challenges Faced by Dairy Farmers
  4. The Way Forward for Dairy Farming Sustainability

Impact of Heat Stress on Cattle

  • Effects on Mating Behavior:
    • Elevated temperatures disrupt natural mating behavior in cows, reducing the duration and intensity of oestrus (readiness to mate) expression.
  • Reduced Conception Rates:
    • During summer seasons, conception rates in cows can decrease by 20 to 30%, according to a study published in Lancet.
  • Lactating Cows’ Sensitivity to Heat:
    • Lactating dairy cows are more sensitive to heat stress compared to non-lactating (dry) cows.
  • Challenge for High-Yield Cows:
    • Cows that produce higher milk yields are more challenged by heat stress due to the positive relationship between milk production and heat production.
  • Impact on Milk Production:
    • The increasing temperatures, especially affecting cross-bred cows, pose a significant challenge to India’s milk production, potentially leading to a decline in per capita consumption.
  • Direct and Indirect Effects of Climate Change:
    • Climate change affects the dairy sector both directly and indirectly.
    • Direct effects include stress on animals due to changes in the temperature-humidity index, directly impacting milk production.
    • Indirect effects involve adverse climate events affecting feed and water availability for cattle.

Status of Milk Production in India

  • Total Milk Production: According to ‘Basic Animal Husbandry Statistics 2022,’ India’s total milk production in 2021-2022 reached 221.06 million tonnes, solidifying its position as the world’s largest milk-producing country.
  • Contribution of Indigenous Cattle: Indigenous cattle contribute 10.35% of the total milk production in India.
  • Contribution of Non-Descript Cattle: Non-descript cattle contribute 9.82% to the total milk production in the country.
  • Contribution of Non-Descript Buffaloes: Non-descript buffaloes contribute 13.49% to the total milk production in India.
  • Top Five Milk-Producing States: The top five major milk-producing states in India are Rajasthan (15.05%), Uttar Pradesh (14.93%), Madhya Pradesh (8.06%), Gujarat (7.56%), and Andhra Pradesh (6.97%).
  • Global Significance: India’s milk production accounts for approximately 23% of global milk production, underscoring its substantial contribution to the world dairy market.

Challenges Faced by Dairy Farmers

  • Government Policies Impacting Productivity:
    • Dairy farmers allege that government policies introduced to enhance milk production, such as sex-sorted semen production, may have unintended consequences and potentially reduce overall productivity.
  • Sex-Sorted Semen Policy:
    • The sex-sorted semen policy aims to produce female calves with a claimed accuracy of up to 90% to boost milk production and control the population of stray cattle.
    • Over the next five years, 5.1 million pregnancies are expected to be established under this program, with a subsidy offered for sex-sorted semen.
  • Overlooking Male Cattle:
    • The policy’s focus on female calf production may overlook and eliminate male cattle, which could serve as an energy source in farming.
  • Underutilization of Male Cattle:
    • Male cattle can have utility in agriculture, but their potential role has not been adequately considered.
  • Challenges in Selling Unproductive Female Cattle:
    • Farmers face difficulties in selling unproductive female cattle due to anti-slaughter rules in many states, which affects the overall management of dairy herds.

The Way Forward for Dairy Farming Sustainability

  • Invest in Research and Innovation: Encourage research and innovation in cattle breeding and management practices to develop strategies that mitigate the impact of climate change on the dairy sector.
  • Promote Sustainability and Renewable Energy: Promote sustainable farming practices within the dairy industry, including the use of renewable energy sources for dairy operations, to reduce the sector’s environmental footprint.
  • Advocate for Inclusive Policies: Advocate for policies that take into account the welfare and utility of both male and female cattle, ensuring a balanced and sustainable approach.
  • Responsible Management of Unproductive Cattle: Explore responsible and ethical options for the management of unproductive female cattle to address the challenges of their care and well-being.
  • Contribute to Climate Mitigation: Recognize that climate change is a universal challenge and that the dairy sector must contribute to both adaptation and mitigation efforts. Work towards reducing greenhouse gas emissions from dairy operations, aligning with global climate goals.

-Source: Down To Earth


Parliament Standing Committee’s Report on NEP 2020 Implementation in Higher Education


Context:

During a special session of Parliament, the Parliament Standing Committee on Education presented a comprehensive report on the “Implementation of the National Education Policy (NEP) 2020 in Higher Education.” The report assessed the advancements and obstacles encountered in the execution of this substantial policy change within India’s higher education sector.

Relevance:

GS II: Polity and Governance

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Major Highlights of the Report
  2. Recommendations for Higher Education Reform
  3. National Education Policy 2020 (NEP 2020)

Major Highlights of the Report

Dominance of State Acts:

  • The report highlighted that a significant portion of India’s higher education system operates under State Acts, with 70% of universities falling under this category.

Enrollment Distribution:

  • Approximately 94% of students are enrolled in State or private institutions, leaving only 6% in Central higher educational institutions, emphasizing the crucial role of States in providing higher education.
Key Issues Discussed
  • Disciplinary Separation: Concerns were raised about the rigid separation of disciplines, which can impede interdisciplinary learning and innovation.
  • Limited Access in Disadvantaged Regions: Access to higher education in socio-economically disadvantaged regions remains limited, hindering the equitable distribution of educational opportunities.
  • Language of Instruction: There is a lack of higher education institutes offering instruction in local languages, potentially excluding a significant portion of the population.
  • Faculty Shortage: A scarcity of qualified faculty members is affecting the quality of education in the higher education sector.
  • Autonomy Challenges: Many institutions lack autonomy, which hinders their ability to adapt and innovate.
  • Diminished Research Focus: The panel noted a decreased emphasis on research within the current higher education system.
  • Ineffective Regulatory Framework: The regulatory framework governing higher education was deemed ineffective, necessitating comprehensive reform.
  • Concerns About MEME System: There were concerns that implementing the MEME system in Indian institutions, while flexible in theory, may not align effectively due to unpredictability in student entry and exits, potentially disrupting the pupil-teacher ratio.

Recommendations for Higher Education Reform

  • Financial Support for SEDGs: Both the Union and State Governments should allocate sufficient funds to support Socially and Economically Disadvantaged Groups (SEDGs) in higher education.
  • Clear Enrolment Targets for SEDGs: Clear targets for the Gross Enrolment Ratio should be set for SEDGs to ensure increased access to higher education.
  • Enhancing Gender Balance: Efforts should be made to enhance gender balance in admissions to Higher Education Institutions (HEIs).
  • Inclusive Admission and Curriculum: Admission processes and curriculum should be made more inclusive to cater to diverse learner needs.
  • Regional Language Courses: Encourage the development of more degree courses taught in regional languages and bilingually.
  • Accessible Infrastructure: Implement specific infrastructural measures to make higher education institutions more accessible to physically challenged students.
  • No-Discrimination Enforcement: Strict enforcement of no-discrimination and anti-harassment rules was recommended to ensure a safe and inclusive environment on campuses.
  • Diversifying Funding Sources: The Higher Education Financing Agency (HEFA) should diversify its funding sources beyond government allocations.
  • Private Sector and International Collaboration: Explore partnerships with private sector organizations, philanthropic foundations, and international financial institutions for funding higher education initiatives.

National Education Policy 2020 (NEP 2020):

The National Education Policy 2020 is a comprehensive reform initiative aimed at modernizing India’s education system to meet the evolving development needs of the country. It replaces the National Policy on Education, 1986, and its 1992 modification, bringing about significant changes and improvements in the education sector.

Key Features of NEP 2020:
  • Universal Access: NEP 2020 focuses on universal access to school education, from pre-school to secondary levels.
  • Structural Changes: It introduces a new educational structure, shifting from the 10+2 system to a 5+3+3+4 system, with a focus on Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) for 3-6-year-olds.
  • Medium of Instruction: Mother tongue or regional language is the medium of instruction up to Grade 5, with options for Sanskrit and other languages. Indian Sign Language (ISL) will be standardized.
  • Inclusive Education: Special emphasis is placed on Socially and Economically Disadvantaged Groups (SEDGs), children with disabilities, and the establishment of “Bal Bhavans.”
  • Integration of Streams: The policy promotes a seamless education system with no rigid distinctions between arts and sciences, curricular and extracurricular activities, and vocational and academic streams.
  • Higher Education Expansion: The aim is to increase the Gross Enrolment Ratio from 26.3% to 50% by 2035, adding 3.5 crore new seats.
  • Research and Innovation: A National Research Foundation is established to boost research culture and capacity.
  • Language Support: Support for Indian languages, including the creation of an Institute of Translation and Interpretation (IITI) and strengthening of language departments.
  • International Collaborations: Facilitation of international collaborations and entry of top-ranked foreign universities.
  • Increased Investment: Joint efforts to increase public investment in education to 6% of GDP.
  • Holistic Assessment: Introduction of PARAKH (Performance Assessment, Review, and Analysis of Knowledge for Holistic Development) as a national assessment center for competency-based and holistic assessment in education.
  • Gender Inclusion: The policy introduces a Gender Inclusion Fund to emphasize gender equality in education and support initiatives empowering disadvantaged groups.
  • Special Education Zones: The establishment of Special Education Zones to address the specific needs of disadvantaged regions and groups, ensuring equitable access to quality education for all.

-Source: The Hindu


China-Pakistan Economic Corridor


Context:

China has refused to further expand cooperation in the areas of energy, water management, and climate change under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).

This refusal signals a strain in the ironclad friendship between the two all-weather allies.

Relevance:

GS-II: International Relations

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Key Points
  2. What is the China–Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC)?
  3. What is Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) One Belt One Road (OBOR)?
  4. India’s perspective of the CPEC
  5. Steps taken by India to Counter the BRI/OBOR

Key Points:

  • Beijing has declined multiple investment proposals from Islamabad.
  • These proposals were related to direct investments in various sectors under the CPEC, such as energy, tourism, water management, and climate change.
  • Evidence of this rejection can be found in the official minutes of the 11th Joint Cooperation Committee (JCC) meeting for the CPEC.
  • The JCC plays a crucial role as the strategic decision-making body for the CPEC.
  • China’s reluctance to expand cooperation in these sectors underscores the challenges faced by both China and Pakistan in deepening their economic relations through the CPEC.

What is the China–Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC)?

  • China–Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is a collection of infrastructure projects that are under construction throughout Pakistan since 2013.
  • CPEC is intended to rapidly upgrade Pakistan’s required infrastructure and strengthen its economy by the construction of modern transportation networks, numerous energy projects, and special economic zones.
  • On 13 November 2016, CPEC became partly operational when Chinese cargo was transported overland to Gwadar Port for onward maritime shipment to Africa and West Asia.
  • A vast network of highways and railways are to be built under the aegis of CPEC that will span the length and breadth of Pakistan.
  • CPEC passes through the disputed region of Kashmir where Indian and Pakistani border guards have occasionally exchanged fire across the Line of Control. The Government of India, which shares tense relations with Pakistan, objects to the CPEC project as upgrade works to the Karakoram Highway are taking place in Gilgit Baltistan; territory that India claims as its own.

What is Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) One Belt One Road (OBOR)?

  • One Belt One Road (OBOR), also called the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), the brainchild of Chinese President Xi Jinping, is an ambitious economic development and commercial project that focuses on improving connectivity and cooperation among multiple countries spread across the continents of Asia, Africa, and Europe spanning about 78 countries.
  • Initially announced in the year 2013 with the purpose of restoring the ancient Silk Route that connected Asia and Europe.
  • The project involves building a big network of roadways, railways, maritime ports, power grids, oil and gas pipelines, and associated infrastructure projects.
  • The project covers two parts. The first is called the “Silk Road Economic Belt,” which is primarily land-based and is expected to connect China with Central Asia, Eastern Europe, and Western Europe.
  • The second is called the “21st Century Maritime Silk Road,” which is sea-based and is expected to will China’s southern coast to the Mediterranean, Africa, South-East Asia, and Central Asia.
  • Landlocked Nepal has recently joined OBOR by signing a deal that will help it improve cross-border connectivity with China, and Pakistan is set to benefit from the $46 billion China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) that will connect southwestern China to and through Pakistan, allowing access to Arabian Sea routes.

India’s perspective of the CPEC

  • India has opposed CPEC since inception in view of its opaque nature and uneven balance towards Beijing.
  • As the corridor passes through Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK), India has flagged its objection about Chinese project “that ignores its core concerns on sovereignty and territorial integrity”. The strategic location of port of Gwadar could be used against Indian SLOCs, threatening hydrocarbon supply through the Strait of Homruz.
  • With Chinese control over transport routes in Pakistan and growing Chinese relations with Iran, India’s access to Afghanistan and Central Asia may be restricted.
  • As Chinese economic influence increases in South Asian countries, the balance may tilt towards Beijing, with even a futuristic containment policy towards India.
  • Further as CPEC integrates Pakistan and China economically, politically and militarily, any future conflict for India could be on two fronts.

Steps taken by India to Counter the BRI/OBOR

  • India has taken its own steps to provide practical alternatives to BRI which are economically viable and strategically balance Chinese spreading sphere of influence.
  • India has rightly transformed its ‘Look East’ policy to ‘Act East’ policy. Strong relations with Vietnam, pursuance of Trilateral Highway project, proposed Mekong-Ganga Economic Corridor, strengthening BIMSTEC and developing maritime relations with Indonesia and Singapore are steps in this ambit.
  • Further with ‘Go West’ strategy, India is pursuing to be a partner in International North South Transport Corridor, ensuring access to Central Asia.
  • India’s interest in development of strategic Chabahar port in Iran is viewed as a counter to Gwadar. Additionally, India and Japan are also collectively working on ‘Asia Africa Growth Corridor’ (AAGC).
  • On the strategic front, India has donned the role of a ‘Net Security Provider’ in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR).
  • The Indian Navy, transforming its operational philosophy to ‘mission-based deployment’ is playing a key role in ‘securing the seas’.
  • Through the conduct of joint naval exercises such as Malabar, Varuna, MILAN, coordinated patrol with neighbouring regional navies; participation in RIMPAC (Rim of Pacific Exercise), KOMODO multinational exercises; goodwill visits to foreign ports and HADR (Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief) – the Indian Navy has built strong partnerships with strategic partners.
  • Further, through strong security relations with the IOR countries such as Seychelles, Mauritius and Oman and leading role in promoting collective security forums like Indian Ocean Naval Symposium (IONS), India has gained a leading and respectful position in the IOR.

-Source: The Hindu


Supreme Court Calls for Enhanced Self-Regulation in TV News Channels


Context:

The Supreme Court of India has voiced concerns about the lack of discipline and accountability in TV news channels and called for enhanced self-regulation. It has requested suggestions from representative bodies of TV news channels, News Broadcasters and Digital Association (NBDA) and News Broadcasters Federation (NBF), to strengthen the mechanism for dealing with channels that violate regulations. This matter arose from NBDA’s petition challenging the Bombay High Court’s decision to deny legal recognition to the self-regulatory mechanism employed by news channel associations.

Relevance:

GS II: Polity and Governance

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Problems with Current Self-Regulation Mechanism of TV News Channels
  2. Implications of the Case

Problems with Current Self-Regulation Mechanism of TV News Channels:

  • Balancing Free Speech and Accountability: Striking a balance between the fundamental right to free speech and ensuring accountability and discipline among news channels is challenging.
  • Voluntary Associations: The current self-regulation mechanism relies on voluntary associations like NBDA and NBF to issue guidelines for broadcasters.
  • Insufficient Penalties: Fines imposed by self-regulatory bodies like NBSA may not be seen as a sufficient penalty for channels engaging in unethical reporting, as channels may consider these fines as a cost of doing business.
  • Lack of Regulation by NBF: NBF, representing half of the news broadcasters, has not framed any regulations and is not registered with the government.
  • Ineffectiveness in Curbing Violations: The current self-regulation system does not effectively prevent TV channels from breaking rules, particularly in sensationalizing sensitive topics.
  • Registration Requirements: The government’s Cable Television Networks (CTN) Amendment Rules in 2021 require the registration of self-regulatory bodies, which some bodies like NBSA have refused, while others like PNBSA are registered.
  • Concerns of Monopolistic Control: There are concerns that self-regulatory bodies like NBDA might be perceived as attempting to create monopolistic control over the complaints redressal mechanism, bypassing government or statutory oversight.

Implications of the Case:

Direct Impact on TV News Channels:
  • TV news channels facing allegations of violating journalistic norms may experience stricter regulations and penalties.
  • The outcome of the case will determine whether they maintain their current level of immunity and autonomy.
Indirect Impact on Media and Democracy:
  • The case’s outcome will influence the functioning and integrity of the media and democracy.
  • It may strengthen or weaken the media’s accountability and transparency.
  • It can encourage or discourage responsible and ethical journalism practices.
Overall Impact:
  • The case will shape the future of news reporting in India, affecting both news channels and the broader media landscape.
  • It will have consequences for public trust in the media and the protection of free speech rights.

-Source: The Hindu


International Coffee Organization


Context:

International Coffee Organization (ICO), in collaboration with the Coffee Board of India, Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Government of India, Government of Karnataka is hosting the 5th World Coffee Conference (WCC) at Bengaluru.

Relevance:

GS II: International Relations

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. International Coffee Organization (ICO)
  2. Coffee Cultivation: Key Aspects

International Coffee Organization (ICO)

Establishment and UN Affiliation:

  • The International Coffee Organization (ICO) was established in 1963 under the auspices of the United Nations, following the ratification of the first International Coffee Agreement in 1962.

Unique Intergovernmental Organization:

  • ICO holds the distinction of being the sole intergovernmental organization dedicated to coffee. It serves as a platform that brings together governments engaged in coffee exporting and importing.

Global Representation:

  • Currently, the ICO collectively represents a substantial share of the world’s coffee activities, with its member countries contributing to approximately 93% of global coffee production and accounting for approximately 63% of global coffee consumption.

Mission:

  • The primary mission of the ICO is to enhance and fortify the worldwide coffee sector while fostering its sustainable growth within a market-oriented framework. This approach is designed to benefit all stakeholders involved in the Global Coffee Value Chain (G-CVC).

Membership:

  • The ICO boasts a membership of 49 countries. These members include 42 coffee-exporting nations and 7 countries that are primarily coffee importers.

Indian Involvement:

  • India is an active member of the International Coffee Organization, participating in its initiatives and contributing to its mission and objectives.

Coffee Cultivation: Key Aspects

  • The global coffee production is primarily dominated by two species, which are Coffea Arabica (commonly referred to as Arabica) and Coffea Canephora (often known as Robusta).
Climatic Requirements:
  • Coffee cultivation is highly sensitive to climatic conditions. The following factors are crucial for successful coffee production:
  • Climate: It thrives in regions characterized by a hot and humid climate.
  • Temperature: The ideal temperature range for coffee growth typically spans from 15°C to 28°C.
  • Rainfall: Adequate rainfall is essential, with an annual precipitation ranging between 150 to 250 cm.
  • Soil: Coffee plants flourish in well-drained, loamy soil that is rich in humus and contains essential minerals such as iron and calcium.
  • Shade Growth: It is a common practice to cultivate coffee under the canopy of shade-providing trees.
  • Dry Weather during Ripening: Dry weather conditions during the ripening stage of coffee berries are imperative.
  • Elevation: Coffee crops are usually grown on hill slopes, typically at elevations ranging from 600 to 1,600 meters above sea level.
Coffee-Producing States in India:
  • Coffee cultivation in India is primarily concentrated in several states. These states include Karnataka, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, and Odisha. Among them, Karnataka holds a prominent position as the leading coffee producer, contributing to over 70% of the country’s total coffee output.

-Source: Indian Express


Vibrio Vulnificus


Context:

In recent years, India has faced a growing concern regarding Vibrio vulnificus infections, a dangerous bacterium found in marine environments. However, despite its potential threat, these infections remain significantly underreported in the country.

Relevance:

GS II: Health

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Vibrio Vulnificus
  2. Environmental Factors in India Favoring Vibrio Vulnificus
  3. Consequences of Vibrio Vulnificus Infections

Vibrio Vulnificus

Nature of Bacterium:

  • Vibrio vulnificus is a bacterium known to cause severe infections in humans.

Common Source of Infection:

  • Infection often occurs as a result of consuming undercooked seafood, particularly oysters, which can harbor this bacterium.

Primary Routes of Infection:

  • There are two primary routes through which individuals can contract Vibrio vulnificus:
    • Consuming Infected Raw Shellfish: Eating raw shellfish, contaminated with the bacterium, can lead to infection.
    • Wound Exposure to Contaminated Waters: Infection can also result from open wounds being exposed to waters contaminated with the bacterium.

Transmission Through Marine Organisms:

  • Vibrio vulnificus can be transmitted through various marine organisms, including fish species like eel, derbio, tilapia, trout, and shrimp.

Historical Background:

  • The bacterium was initially documented in Japanese eel in 1975, and the first recorded case of Vibrio vulnificus infection in humans occurred in the United States in 1976. Subsequently, the pathogen was introduced to Spain via imported eels in 1985.

Outbreak in India:

  • India experienced an outbreak of Vibrio vulnificus in a tilapia farm in Kerala in 2018. Tilapia, originally from Africa and West Asia, is one of the most globally traded food fish.

Symptoms of Infection:

  • Symptoms associated with Vibrio vulnificus infection include diarrhea, vomiting, fever, and, in severe cases, the development of flesh-eating diseases that can be rapidly fatal within days.

Environmental Factors in India Favoring Vibrio Vulnificus

  • Temperature Preference:
    • Vibrio vulnificus thrives in warm waters with temperatures exceeding 20°C. India’s average sea surface temperature of 28°C provides an ideal habitat for the bacterium.
  • Climate Change Impact:
    • The effects of climate change, including increased rainfall and reduced coastal salinity, further contribute to the proliferation of Vibrio vulnificus in India’s waters.

Consequences of Vibrio Vulnificus Infections

  • High Mortality Rate: Vibrio vulnificus infections are associated with a significant mortality rate, ranging from 15% to 50%, even when diagnosed and treated promptly.
  • Vulnerable Populations at Risk: Certain vulnerable populations, including individuals with chronic liver disease, cancer, chronic kidney disease, and diabetes, face an elevated risk of infection.
  • Severe Complications: Infections caused by this bacterium can lead to severe complications, including the need for limb amputations, making them a substantial health concern.

Measures to Mitigate Vibrio Vulnificus Risk

Healthcare Awareness:

  • One crucial step is to ensure that healthcare professionals in coastal areas are well-informed about the risks associated with Vibrio vulnificus. This knowledge will enable them to promptly diagnose and treat patients exhibiting relevant symptoms.

Predictive Tools:

  • Researchers are actively working on the development of predictive tools that utilize satellite-based sensors. These tools monitor critical factors such as sea surface temperature and phytoplankton levels, which are known to be associated with an increased risk of Vibrio vulnificus infections. Early detection through such tools can aid in timely preventive measures.

Learning from Japanese Practices:

  • Japan provides an example of a practical measure to reduce the risk of Vibrio vulnificus infections. In this country, bivalves like oysters and mussels are primarily consumed during the winter season, avoiding the summer months when bacteria levels tend to be higher. This practice has proven effective in significantly lowering the risk of infection related to the bacterium.

-Source: Down To Earth


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