CHINA PASSES THREE-CHILD POLICY INTO LAW

CONTEXT:
In a major policy shift aimed at increasing the country’s declining birth rate, China on Friday relaxed its previous two-child norm and endorsed a three-child policy mooted by the ruling Communist Party. The resolution was passed along with several others during a meeting of the National People’s Congress (NPC).
BACKROUND
• China embarked upon its one-child policy in 1980 when the Communist Party was concerned that the country’s growing population, which at the time was approaching one billion, would impede economic progress.
Steps taken under one child poicy
The policy, which was implemented more effectively in urban areas, was enforced through several means, including
• incentivising families financially to have one child,
• making contraceptives widely available,
• imposing sanctions against those who violated the policy
Concern
• However, the one-child limit was also a source of discontent as the state used brutal tactics such as forced abortions and sterilisations.
• It was also met with criticism and remained controversial for violating human rights, and for being unfair to poorer Chinese since the richer ones could afford to pay economic sanctions if they violated the policy.
Backfire
1. The enforcement is unequal.
2. It is a human rights violation.
3. Shrinking work population.
4. Gender imbalance due to the strong cultural preference of boys for labor and work.
5. Increase in abortions and female infanticide.
6. Extra babies end up being illegal and never becoming a citizen,due to fines.
7. Intrudes on people’s personal values and opinions.
TWO-CHILD POLICY
• From 2016, the Chinese government finally allowed two children per couple –– a policy change that did little to arrest the rapid fall in population growth. China’s 2020 census data, released earlier this month, shows the country’s rate of population growth falling rapidly despite the 2016 relaxation.
• Last year, 1.2 crore babies were born in China, down from 1.465 crore in 2019 — a fall of 18 per cent in one year, as per its National Bureau of Statistics. The country’s fertility rate has now dropped to 1.3, far below the replacement level of 2.1 necessary for each generation to be fully replenished.

CHALLENGES AHEAD FOR CHINA
• Experts say relaxing limits on reproductive rights alone cannot go a long way in averting an unwanted demographic shift.
• The main factors behind fewer children being born, they say, are rising costs of living, education, and supporting ageing parents.
• The problem is made worse by the country’s pervasive culture of long working hours.
• There has also been a cultural shift during the decades in which the one-child policy remained in force, with many couples believing that one child is enough, and some expressing no interest in having children.

Zycov-DNA Based Vaccine
CONTEXT:
• Zycov¬D, first vaccine for those above 12, gets nod.It is also the only DNA based vaccine in the world and can be administeredwithout a needle, purportedly minimising chances of reactions.
CONCEPT:
• Viral vector-based vaccines differ from most conventional vaccines in that they don’t actually contain antigens, but rather use the body’s own cells to produce them. They do this by using a modified virus (the vector) to deliver genetic code for antigen, in the case of COVID-19 spike proteins found on the surface of the virus, into human cells.
• By infecting cells and instructing them to make large amounts of antigen, which then trigger an immune response, the vaccine mimics what happens during natural infection with certain pathogens – especially viruses.
• A DNA or RNA vaccine has the same goal as traditional vaccines, but they work slightly differently. Instead of injecting a weakened form of a virus or bacteria into the body, DNA and RNA vaccines use part of the virus’ own genes to stimulate an immune response. In other words, they carry the genetic instructions for the host’s cells to make antigens.
• This has the advantage of triggering a strong cellular immune response by T cells as well the production of antibodies by B cells.
The Difference Between DNA and RNA Vaccines
• DNA and RNA vaccines work the same way as each other, but have some differences. With a DNA vaccine, the virus’ genetic information “is transmitted to another molecule that is called the messenger RNA (mRNA)”.
• This means with an RNA or mRNA vaccine, you’re one step ahead of a DNA vaccine.
• The mRNA goes into the cell, and the cell translates it into proteins, which are the ones that the organism sees and induces the immune response.
• Another difference between a DNA and RNA vaccine is that a DNA vaccine delivers the message via a small electrical pulse, which “literally pushes the message into the cell.”
• DNA Vaccine – “The advantage is that this vaccine is very stable at higher temperatures. The disadvantage is that it requires a special device that provides the electrical pulse.”
Advantages of DNA Vaccine
• The immune response focused on the antigen of interest
• Cost-effective
• Less risk for infection
• Antigen presentation by MHC class I and class II molecules
• Long-term persistence of immunogen
Limitations of DNA Vaccine
• Risk of affecting genes controlling cell growth
• Possibility of tolerance to the antigen
• Potential for atypical processing of bacterial and parasite proteins
• Limited to protein immunogens

CORBETT NATIONL PARK
CONTEXT
The Delhi High Court on Monday asked the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) to consider as representation a petition to stop the alleged illegal construction of bridges and walls within tiger breeding habitat of the Corbett Tiger Reserve.
Concept –
• Jim Corbett National Park is the oldest national park in India and was established in 1936 as Hailey National Park to protect the endangered Bengal tiger.
• It is located in Nainital district and Pauri Garhwal district of Uttarakhand and was named after hunter and naturalist Jim Corbett.
• The Park was the first to come under the Project Tiger initiative.
• The Park encompasses the Patli Dun valley formed by the Ramganga river.
• Ramganga, Sonanadi, Mandal, Palain and Kosi are the major rivers flowing through the Corbett National Park.
• The national park is a protected area covered by the World Wide Fund (WWF) for Nature under their Terai Arc Landscape Program.
National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA)
• National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) is a statutory body under the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change.
• It was established in 2005following the recommendations of the Tiger Task Force.
• It was constituted under enabling provisions of the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972, as amended in 2006, for strengthening tiger conservation, as per powers and functions assigned to it.
GEO-HERITAGE SITES
Context –
• GSI lists geo-¬tourism sites in NE to visit after ‘unlock’.
Concept –
• Geological Survey of India (GSI) declares geo-heritage sites/ national geological monuments for protection and maintenance.
• The term geological heritage is used for natural geological or geo-morphological features that have aesthetic, intrinsic or scientific and educational value, that provide unique insight into geological processes affecting the formation or evolution of Earth.
• While there are 147 UNESCO Global geoparks spread across 41 countries, India is yet to have one of its own.
• 34 approved geo¬-tourism or geo¬-heritage sites in India
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