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‘’Paper 4-GS-III, Topic: Conservation & Environmental Pollution degradation – Water Quality Index set to be announced soon

Committee formed from various States

    What you need to know:

  • A certain and easy way to find out pollution levels in water will be introduced in the coming weeks.
  • Based on the proposal of the Telangana State Pollution Control Board (TSPCB), the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) is working on coming up with a Water Quality Index, on the lines of Air Quality Index (AQI).
  • A committee has been formed with senior environment scientists from Telangana, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh and other States to formulate models to assess the water quality.

   Three models:

  • The members felt that the present classification was not rational. Taking four perimeters into consideration, the committee has developed three different models.
  • Initially, we tried to develop models with several parameters but failed. We decided to limit the parameters to only four.
  • Since developing an index for water quality is complex than air quality, we decided to have three different models for lakes and rivers, ground water and coastal waters.
  • The parameters that will be considered will differ for each of the model,” said a senior scientist of the Telangana State Pollution Control Board.
  • By this month end, the final draft of the Water Quality Index will be ready and it will reviewed by the Chairman of the CPCB after which it will be made public.

   Central Pollution Control Board:

  • It has responsibilities to conduct monitoring of water and air quality, and maintains monitoring data.
  • The agency also works with industries and all levels of government in a wide variety of voluntary pollution prevention programs and energy conservation efforts.
  • It advises the central government to prevent and control water and air pollution
  • The board conducts environmental assessments and research.

   Source: 121 India

‘’Paper 3-GS-II, Topic: Development of sectors relating to Health – Only PSUs may be let to make Oxytocin

Hormone known to cause side effects

   What is important to know:

  • After being banned in retail markets, the Drug Controller will soon restrict manufacturing of controversial hormone drug Oxytocin to public sector undertakings (PSUs).
  • The drug is used by diary owners and farmers to boost milk production and make vegetables look bigger and fresher.

   For childbirth:

  • Oxytocin is a hormone known to trigger a wide variety of physical and psychological effects and is commonly used to facilitate childbirth.
  • The Government of India banned retail sale of the hormone in 2014 after it was found that indiscriminate use of Oxytocin in milch animals and by farmers was causing irreversible hormone damage.
  • The Health Ministry’s idea is to restrict everything is to public sector and as the drug regulator, we agree with the government’s thinking.
  • The move has been proposed by animal rights activist and Women and Child Development Minister Maneka Gandhi.
  • Misuse of Oxytocin is leading to early sterility in milch animals at an unprecedented rate. Despite it being a Schedule H drug.

   Implications:

  • To human health are humongous, from reproductive complications to hormonal imbalances. One major reason for such blatant misuse of this drug is the absence of robust veterinary services in India.
  • It would be in the interest of the dairy industry and consumers to restrict manufacture and import of Oxytocin as has been directed by the Himachal Pradesh High Court,” said Gauri Maulekhi, animal rights activist and a close associate of Ms. Gandhi.

   HC order:

  • In March 2016, the Himachal Pradesh High Court directed the Central government to “consider the feasibility of restricting the manufacture of Oxytocin only in public sector companies and also restricting and limiting the manufacture by companies to whom licences have already been granted.

   Source: Live Science

‘’Paper 3-GS-II, Topic: Bilateral & Global groupings & agreements – $1 mn fund to bolster BRICS media

Action plan calls for balanced reporting & joint development of digital platform

   Brief:

  • The Brazil-Russia-IndiaChina-South Africa (BRICS) grouping has signalled its intent to expand its footprint in the global media space.
  • During an inaugural session of the BRICS Media Forum in the Chinese capital, Cai Mingzhao, president of Xinhua News Agency and executive president of the Forum, announced that the news agency will invest $1 million for boosting media cooperation in the five-nation grouping.
  • The plan will promote six objectives, including “balanced reporting”— a view shared by several speakers at the forum, who called for alternative media narrative, which did not take the cue from Washington or London.
  • The proposal would also focus on joint development of BRICS digital media, financial information services and promoting people- topeople contacts.
  • The BRICS media forum is the result of a joint initiative by Xinhua News Agency, Brazil’s CMA Group, Russia’s Sputnik News Agency and Radio,

   Digital challenge:

  • The theme of a BRICS-driven alternative media was also highlighted by Mukund Padmanabhan, editor of The Hindu.
  • He also highlighted that the BRICS media has to evolve in tune with the explosion of the digital media that is still searching for a viable “revenue model” without compromising the basic values of quality journalism.
  • He stressed that the media has a “duty and social responsibility” to ensure that “traditional values such as accuracy, fairness and truth are not forsaken in the interests of speed, sensationalism, and more eyeballs”.

   Innovation is key:

  • Besides, he underscored that the BRICS media must innovate, across multimedia platforms, in order “to remain unique and relevant so that people are willing to pay for what is produced rather than let some platform such as Google, Facebook or Twitter exploit its commercial value”.
  • Vladimir Kazbekov, the Vice President of the New Development Bank, the multilateral lender for the BRICS, concurred that the media from the emerging economies must expand its influence in the “global media space” in order to challenge the often “highly biased content” of the current mainstream media.

   Source: The Hindu