Current Affairs 22 November

Who are the Sentinelese?

An American national was killed allegedly by the Sentinelese tribe in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands after he illegally entered the protected zone on November 16.

Who are the Sentinelese?

The Sentinelese are a negrito tribe who live on the North Sentinel Island of the Andamans. The inhabitants are connected to the Jarawa on the basis of physical, as well as linguistic similarities. Their numbers are believed to be less than 150 and as low as 40.

Based on carbon dating of kitchen middens by the Anthropological Survey of India, Sentinelese presence was confirmed in the islands to 2,000 years ago. Genome studies indicate that the Andaman tribes could have been on the islands even 30,000 years ago.

How are they protected?

The Govt. of India issued the Andaman and Nicobar Islands (Protection of Aboriginal Tribes) Regulation, 1956 to declare the traditional areas occupied by the tribes as reserves. It prohibited entry of all persons except those with authorisation. Photographing or filming the tribe members is also an offence. The rules were amended later to enhance penalties.

But restricted area permits were relaxed for some islands recently. In a major step earlier this year, the Indian government excluded this island and 28 others in the Union Territory from the Restricted Area Permit or RAP regime till December 31, 2022. The lifting of RAP means foreigners can go to the island without permission from the government.

Why are they said to be vulnerable?

It is said they have made little to no advancement in the over 60,000 years and still live very primitive lives, surviving mainly on fish and coconuts.

They are very vulnerable to germs since they have not had contact with the outside world. Even a common flu virus carried by a visitor could wipe out the entire tribe.
Since the 1960s, there have been a handful of efforts to reach out to the tribe but all have largely failed. They have repeatedly, aggressively made it clear that they want to be isolated.

What is Restricted Area Permit (RAP) regime?

RAP regime was notified under the Foreigners (Restricted Areas) Order, 1963.

Under it, foreign nationals are not normally allowed to visit protected or restricted area unless Government is satisfied that there are extra-ordinary reasons to justify their visit.
Every foreigner, except citizen of Bhutan, who desires to enter and stay in protected or restricted area, is required to obtain special permit from competent authority having power to issue such permits to foreigner, seeking it.
Citizens of Afghanistan, China and Pakistan and foreign nationals of Pakistani origin are exception and are not allowed to enter such areas.
What to study?

For Prelims: Who are Sentinelese? Where is North Sentinel Island located?
For Mains: Threats and challenges faced by tribes in India, how they shall be protected, legal and legislative measures necessary.

‘Institution’s Innovation Council (IIC)’Program

The government has launched the ‘Institution’s Innovation Council (IIC) program under Innovation cell of MHRD.

About ‘Institution’s Innovation Council (IIC) program:

The purpose of formation of network of Institution’s Innovation Councils (IICs) is to encourage, inspire and nurture young students by exposing them to new ideas and processes resulting in innovative activities in their formative years.
The program aims to institutionalize innovation and develop a scientific temperament in the country.
More than 1000 Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) have already formed IICs in their campuses and enrolled for the IIC network managed by MHRD’s Innovation cell to promote innovation through multitudinous modes leading to an innovation promotion eco-system in their campuses.

Way ahead:

The educational advancement in higher education can only be achieved by encouraging best practices in innovation and advance research and Innovation Cell has undertaken many initiatives in this direction such as implementing programs like Atal Ranking of Institutions on Innovation Achievement (ARIIA), Smart India Hackathon (SIH)- 2019, etc.

Innovation cell:

Ministry of Human Resource Development has established an “Innovation cell” at AICTE with a purpose to systematically foster the culture of Innovation in all Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) across the country.

e-registration must for jobs in 18 countries

Ministry of External Affairs is planning to bring in a rule according to which Passport holders with “non-Emigration Check Required (non-ECR)” status will have to get themselves registered with the Ministry of External Affairs before taking up jobs abroad.

The non-ECR category of passengers include Indians paying income tax and those with educational qualification above matriculation.
As of now only ECR category passport holders were required to get emigration clearance from the office of the Protector of Emigrants to seek employment abroad.

Key facts:

The rule, which takes effect on January 1, is aimed at the welfare of Indians going abroad. It applies to jobs in 18 countries, including the six Gulf Cooperation Council nations, which have the largest number of expats.
The objective of the directive is to protect workers with higher educational qualification from not getting into blue collar jobs. Previously only ECR stamped passport holders had to go through the mandatory e-migrate registration since 2015.
All those seeking employment will have to register online via the website Those failing to register at least 24 hours prior to actual departure will be off-loaded at the airports.

Indians working abroad- relevant stats:

Statistics available with the Ministry of External Affairs showed that UAE is one of the five top destination countries for Indians taking up employment. Nearly 1.5 lakh Indians had taken up employment in that country last year. This was followed by Saudi Arabia (78,611); Kuwait (56,380); Oman (43,332) and Qatar (24,759).

The job roles were that of mason (52,833); labour (49,490); carpenter (41,588); helper (23,6700; and electrician (17,703). Incidentally Uttar Pradesh has emerged as the top labour-sending State with 88,450 Indian emigrants registering with the e-migrate system. This was followed by Bihar (69,426); Tamil Nadu (38,341); West Bengal (36,599) and Rajasthan (32,184).

The other countries where registration is required are Afghanistan, Indonesia, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Libya, Malaysia, Sudan, South Sudan, Syria, Thailand and Yemen.

What to study?

For Prelims: What is non- ECR status?
For Mains: About the new rule, its significance, challenges involved and why it is needed?

ICMR releases guidelines for antibiotics’ judicious use

To ensure judicious use of antibiotics in healthcare facilities, the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) has released Antimicrobial Stewardship Guidelines to advise hospitals in setting up Antimicrobial Stewardship Programmes (AMSP) for the purpose.

Need for AMSP:

Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is a major public health challenge, and with very few new antibiotics in the pipeline, it is important to use the existing drugs judiciously. Since inappropriate use of antibiotics is rampant in India, there is an urgent need to improve antibiotic use in hospitals, which can be achieved through implementation of good AMS programmes.

The guidelines and their significance:

These guidelines provide guidance for setting up structure and processes of Antimicrobial Stewardship Programmes in healthcare institutions.
It will help discuss essential elements of antimicrobial stewardship, diagnostic stewardship besides providing information on tools that can be used to measure progress.

What is Antimicrobial resistance and why is it on rise?

Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is a major public health challenge, which is recognised as high priority area by the government. The increasing consumption of antibiotics is one of the key drivers of antimicrobial resistance seen in bugs.
Irrational prescription of broad-spectrum antibiotics, poor regulations around sale of antibiotics, self-medication, lack of education and awareness regarding responsible use of antibiotics have been identified as some of the key factors driving antimicrobial resistance in our country.
The National Health Policy, 2017, terms antimicrobial resistance as one of the key healthcare issues and prioritises development of guidelines regarding antibiotic use, limiting over-the-counter use of antibiotics and restricting the use of antibiotics as growth promoters in livestock.

What to study?

For Prelims: About ICMR and what is antimicrobial resistance?
For Mains: AMR- concerns, vulnerability, measures in place and global efforts needed in this regard.
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