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GS Paper II- Governance, Polity, Social Justice.

Haryana Bans Use Of Liquid Nitrogen In Drinks, Food Items.

Background

  • Following hospitalisation of a Delhi businessman for drinking a cocktail containing liquid nitrogen this month, the Haryana government has prohibited flushing/mixing of liquid nitrogen with any drink or food article as of 28th July, 2017.
  • Food and Drugs Administration Department’s Commissioner (Food Safety) Saket Kumar said orders to this effect have been issued under Section 34 of the Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006, (Central Act 34 of 2006).
  • The department will now conduct surprise checks in restaurants and bars, especially those in Gurgaon, to check whether the ban was being flouted, officials said.

Key Points Of The Development-

  • Liquid nitrogen (nitrogen in a liquid state at an extremely low temperature) is colourless and has a boiling point of -195.79 °C. It is used in bars to quickly chill glasses, freeze ingredients, provide a smoky effect to drinks and in molecular gastronomy. It releases a large volume of gas as it evaporates, which can burst the stomach if consumed in a sufficiently large quantity.
  • Due to its low temperature, liquid nitrogen can be extremely damaging to body tissue, causing frostbite and cryogenic burning on contact. Moreover, if ingested, it could lead to severe internal damage, destroying tissue in the mouth and intestinal tract.
  • The ban was affected on the recommendation of Gurgaon’s food safety officer K K Sharma. After the cocktail accident, a survey was conducted in Cyber Hub and Sector 29 by the FDA. They noticed that not just the alcohol, liquid nitrogen was being used in food too, which is extremely dangerous, and they compiled the survey report on 24th July, 2017 and sent it to the commissioner. Taking immediate action, he imposed the prohibitions.
  • Any eatery found using liquid nitrogen with any drink or food will be booked under section 34 (i) and (ii) of the Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006. The order said that the eatery may also face closure and/or a penalty.
  • Even though it was a one-off inident, the authorities have been spooked enough to not want to take any chances, concerned that a repeat is not out of the question, with the mushrooming of bars whose owners prefer style over ‘substance’ when it comes to serving cocktails.
  • Some mixologists, and proprietors of bars too feel a lax supervisory regime and worrying disregard for safety make the use of liquid nitrogen too risky a proposition.

Sources- The Times of India, NDTV.

 

GS Paper III- Environment, Technology.

Delhi Metro First To Become 100% ‘Green’.

Background

  • Delhi Metro has become the only completely ‘green’ Metro system in the world for adhering to green building norms for its residential colonies, as per the official release on Friday, 28th July, 2017.
  • Delhi Metro has secured the platinum rating for adherence to green building norms for its 10 residential colonies from the Indian Green Building Council (IGBC).
  • The Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) had earlier received the green certificates for its Phase-3 stations, depots, and sub-stations.

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Highlights Of The Development-

  • The consistent focus on green initiatives has added yet another feather in Delhi Metro Rail Corporation’s (DMRC) cap. The corporation generated as much as 20 MW of solar power in 2017, by adding facilities to generate 2.6 MW of additional power across the Metro network.
  • In fact, DMRC Managing Director Mangu Singh dedicated the new solar power facilities to the nation on 28th July, 2017, during the third edition of the conference on Green Metro Systems, held in association with the Indian Green Building Council (IGBC) and the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), at Metro Bhawan.
  • The National Conference on Green Metro Systems was attended by delegates from all other Metro Systems in the country, who deliberated upon a range of issues regarding adoption of green technologies for planning, constructing, and operating Metro systems.
  • During the event, Singh said that with this initiative, the Delhi Metro has become the world’s first-ever Metro system to get green certification for all its major buildings and installations. As many as 10 residential colonies of the rail corporation were also awarded with the platinum rating for adherence to green building norms by the IGBC.
  • Speaking on the occasion, Singh emphasised upon the need for adopting green technologies for constructing and running Metro systems.
  • Appreciating the DMRC for its various green initiatives, Dr Prem C Jain, Chairman of the IGBC, said that Delhi Metro is the first to become a green Metro. The platinum ratings that they have got are hard-earned and a lot of toil has gone into the process.
  • The DMRC also mentioned ‘Swachh Chetna – An Eco Club’, a joint initiative of the DMRC and Shri Ram School, Gurugram, for its efforts to encourage school children to participate in the more environment-friendly projects and activities.

Sources- The Economic Times, DNA.

 

GS Paper IV- Ethics.

Punjab Becomes First State To Sign MoU With A Global Diagnostic Firm To Fight Hepatitis C.

Background

  • Punjab has become the first state in the country to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with a global diagnostic firm, FIND, to help it diagnose and then properly treat hepatitis C. Health minister Brahm Mohindra was present when the agreement was signed at a function to mark the World Hepatitis Day on Friday, 28th July, 2017.
  • Hepatitis is a viral disease that causes inflammation of the liver, further leading to serious scarring (cirrhosis), which can prove fatal in the long run.

Key Points Of This Development-

  • Under the agreement with the Foundation for Innovative New Diagnostics (FIND), the agency will support the Punjab health department by providing Rapid Test kits for screening of high-risk patients for diseases like HIV, IVDU (Intravenous Drug Users) patients and patients of IVDU coming to Oral Substitution Therapy (OST) centres for hepatitis C.
  • The minister said FIND, an organisation that works with the World Health Organisation (WHO) in the development of the urgently needed diagnostic tests will provide four GeneXpert machines at Sangrur, Bathinda, Tarn Taran and Hoshiarpur for free testing of TB, again among high-risk patients. FIND will also fund the staff for running these machines.
  • Delivering the key-note address at the state level function organised at DHS office, Punjab, to mark the World Hepatitis Day, Mohindra added that with support from the WHO, they are releasing the action plan for injection safety programme, Punjab is also the first state in the country where an injection-safety programme is being implemented in collaboration with the WHO.
  • The minister extended his gratitude towards the WHO team for their valuable technical inputs. He said that Health Department Punjab will be introducing RUPs (Reuse Prevention Syringes) in the state so that blood-borne infections cannot be spread from one patient to another.
  • The minister added that the Punjab model of management of Hepatitis C is unique and the WHO can advocate about their efforts so that a policy or a programme at the national level can be made to address this disease.

Sources- Hindustan Times.