Daily Current Affairs and MCQs for UPSC - September 23, 2020 (The Hindu, Economic Times, PIB)

Brucellosis

Focus: GS2.

Topic: Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources.


Context

  • As the novel coronavirus pandemic continues, the health commission of Lanzhou City in China announced this week that a leak in a biopharmaceutical company last year caused an outbreak of brucellosis disease.
  • More than 3,000 people have been infected with the disease since and no fatalities have been reported so far.

About Brucellosis

  • Brucellosis is a bacterial disease that mainly infects cattle, swine, goats, sheep and dogs.
  • Humans can get infected if they come in direct contact with infected animals or by eating or drinking contaminated animal products or by inhaling airborne agents.
  • According to the WHO, most cases of the disease are caused by ingesting unpasteurised milk or cheese from infected goats or sheep.
  • Symptoms of the disease include fever, sweats, malaise, anorexia, headache and muscle pain.
  • While some signs and symptoms can last for long periods of time, others may never go away.
  • These include recurrent fevers, arthritis, swelling of the testicles and scrotum area, swelling of the heart, neurologic symptoms, chronic fatigue, depression and swelling of the liver or spleen.
  • Human to human transmission of the virus is rare.

About the Highlights

  • The website of the health commission of Lanzhou City mentions a “Brucells antibody-positive incident” that occured at the Lanzhou Veterinary Research Institute on November 28 last year.
  • While in the process of producing a veterinary vaccine for the disease between July 24 and August 20, 2019, the factory used expired disinfectants that caused incomplete sterilisation of waste gas.
  • This waste gas, which was carrying the disease-causing virus, subsequently formed aerosols as a result of which people were exposed.

Source: The Hindu.

Tata group to launch India's first low cost Covid-19 test 'Feluda'

Focus: GS2.

Topic: Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources.


Context

  • The Drug Controller General of India (DCGI) gave approval for the commercial launch of India's first Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats (CRISPR) coronavirus test 'Feluda', developed by the Tata Group and CSIR-IGIB (Institute of Genomics and Integrative Biology).
  • This test uses an indigenously developed, cutting-edge CRISPR technology for detection of the genomic sequence of SARS-CoV-2 virus. CRISPR is a genome-editing technology to diagnosing diseases.

Background

  • As per an official release issued Ministry of Science and Technology, The Tata CRISPR test, powered by CSIR-IGIB, received regulatory approvals from DCGI for commercial launch, as per ICMR guidelines, meeting high-quality benchmarks with 96% sensitivity and 98% specificity for detecting the novel coronavirus.
  • The Tata CRISPR test is the world's first diagnostic test to deploy a specially adapted Cas9 protein to successfully detect the virus causing Covid-19.

About the Highlights

  • The launch marks a significant achievement for the Indian scientific community, moving from research and development to a high-accuracy, scalable and reliable test in less than 100 days.
  • The Tata CRISPR test achieves accuracy levels of traditional RT-PCR tests, with quicker turnaround time, less expensive equipment, and better ease of use.
  • Moreover, CRISPR is a futuristic technology that can also be configured for the detection of multiple other pathogens in the future.
  • The approval for the Tata CRISPR test for COVID-19 will give a boost to the country's efforts in fighting the global pandemic.
  • The commercialisation of Tata CRISPR test reflects the tremendous R&D talent in the country which can collaborate to transform India's contributions to the global healthcare and scientific research world.
  • According to the release, the Group has worked closely with CSIR-IGIB and ICMR to create a high-quality test that will help the nation ramp up Covid-19 testing quickly and economically, with a 'Made in India' product that is safe, reliable, affordable, and accessible.

Source: LiveMint

Get Started with UPSC Preparation

Current Affairs

Detailed Analysis

IAS Counselling

by Subject Experts

Free Material

for UPSC Preparation

Cargo plane crashes at Aden Adde International Airport in Somalia's capital, Mogadishu

Focus: GS3.

Topic: Disaster and disaster management.

Context

  • In Somalia, a cargo plane crashed at Aden Adde International Airport in capital Mogadishu.
  • The Somalia Civil Aviation Authority confirmed the incident after witnesses claimed they saw the crash.

About the Highlights

  • Markings on the plane indicate that it is operated by Silverstone Air in neighboring Kenya.
  • There was no immediate confirmation of any casualty.
  • Photos posted from the scene showed the plane's cockpit crushed against concrete barrier just steps from the sea.
  • The heavily fortified airport is home to diplomatic missions and serves as a hub for humanitarian flights in the Horn of Africa nation.

Source: AIR News.

The Proposed FCRA Amendment Will Deal Another Blow to India's Non-Profit Sector

Focus: GS3.

Topic: Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization of resources, growth, development and employment.


Context

  • The Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Amendment (FCRA) Bill, 2020 has been introduced in the current parliament session.
  • The amendment seeks to make specific changes to the FCRA law, first introduced in 2010 by the UPA government and whose rules were amended in 2012, 2015 and 2019.
  • The law provides the framework under which organisations in India can receive and utilise grants from foreign sources. 

Background

  • This primarily affects the non-profit sector in India, comprising a wide range of organisations – NGOs that implement development projects, research organisations, civil society activists, etc.
  • Governments have argued that the receipt and use of foreign grant funds need to be regulated to ensure that they are not used to hurt the national interest.

About the Highlights

  • Nobody denies that there should be greater transparency when it comes to activities that are funded by foreign sources.
  • As demonstrated during the ongoing pandemic and the migrant workers’ crisis, NGOs and activists routinely make up for gaps in government programmes, by reaching the unreached, supplementing the quality and quantity of services provided, and speaking for those whose voices are marginalised.
  • Restraining non-profit organisations is equal to restraining democracy itself.
  • But several elements of the FCRA rules and their vague definitions of national interest make it hard to believe that the government sees this sector as an ally.
  • The government has used the FCRA as an instrument for harassment of political rivals or activist organisations such as Amnesty International.
  • Starting from environmental activism to religious activities – a wide range of organisations has come under the scanner of government authorities in recent years.

About the central objectives

  • To prohibit any grants from abroad being made to organisations that involve ‘public servants’, or in other words, any organisation that is “controlled or owned” by the government; 
  • To prohibit the transfer of grants received under FCRA to any other person or organisation; 
  • To lower the cap on administrative expenses that can be funded by FCRA funds from 50% to 20%; 
  • To expand the power of the Ministry of Home Affairs, GoI to cancel FCRA certificate for more than 180 days; 
  • To make Aadhaar mandatory for persons who control recipient organisations, and 
  • To stipulate that foreign grants can only be received at the State Bank of India at New Delhi.

Source: The Wire.

MoU signed between AYUSH Ministry and WCD Ministry for controlling Malnutrition as a part of POSHAN Abhiyaan

Focus: GS2.

Topic: Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources.


Context

  • A Memorandum of Understanding was signed between the Ministry of AYUSH and Ministry of Women and Child Development in New Delhi for controlling Malnutrition as a part of POSHAN Abhiyaan.
  • The MoU will see some time-tested and scientifically proven Ayush-based solutions being adopted for controlling malnutrition in the country.
Background
  • On this occasion, Shri Shripad Naik said that Ayurveda and other AYUSH systems have much to contribute in dealing with mild and moderate mal-nutrition by way of many specific measures such as right intake of diet by the pregnant women, feeding practices by lactating mothers, use of traditional products augmenting milk secretion, nutritional food for children etc.
  • He further said that India enjoys the distinction of having the largest network of traditional health care systems which are widely accepted owing to its wide accessibility, affordability, safety and trust of people.
  • This has given the ministry leverage to integrate relevant systems of medicine where it has wider acceptance.

About the Highlights

  • As a major outcome of the MOU, the Ministry of AYUSH and Ministry of WCD would be working together towards integrating Ayush in POSHAN Abhiyaan and management of malnutrition through the principles and practices of Ayurveda, Yoga and other Ayush systems.
  • POSHAN Abhiyaan or National Nutrition Mission is Government of India’s flagship programme under Ministry of Women & Child Development to improve nutritional outcomes for children, pregnant women and lactating mothers.
  • The specific areas identified for co-operation include: (i) Integration of AYUSH into POSHAN Abhiyaan and (ii) Control of malnutrition through the principles and practices of Ayurveda, Yoga and other Ayush systems.
  • The two Ministries have also decided to launch the hashtag #Ayush4Anganwadi for generating awareness about the activities on the digital media.

Source: PIB.

Polls in India pose a formidable challenge amid Covid-19: CEC

Focus: GS2.

Topic: Important International institutions, agencies and fora- their structure, mandate.


Context

Chief Election Commissioner of India Sunil Arora on Monday said “elections in India pose formidable challenges” at the inauguration of the international webinar on the theme “Issues, Challenges and Protocols for Conducting Elections during Covid-19 : Sharing Country Experiences” on completion of one year of chairmanship of the Association of World Election Bodies (A-WEB).

Background

  • According to ECI’s press note, it was an occasion for democracies world over to come together to share experiences of conducting elections during Covid -19.
  • South Korea’s National Election Commission (NEC) detailed the steps it took for the electoral process, in which it is widely believed that no Covid-19 transmission took place.
  • South Korea reportedly grappled with nearly 10,000 Covid-19 cases on April 15.
  • The country, however, became the first one to go ahead with its national elections, which saw a voter turnout of around 30 million.
  • At the presentation, the Koreans said that they had implemented a three-phase voting protocol for patients under quarantine.

About the Highlights

  • Home voting was an option for those who had tested positive until March 28 and special early voting was allowed for those who received a positive result between March 28 and April 11.
  • Eight care centres were set up for the latter, while the registration for home voting was done online and the Commission sent home voting ballot paper.
  • Over 11,000 voters who had self-quarantined on April 15 were asked to collect a token to vote after 6 pm, close of time of voting, to cast their votes in specific polling stations.
  • Korea’s learnings come ahead of the 243-member Bihar assembly elections, which are likely to be held ahead of November this year and have an electoral pool of over 70 million voters.

Source: Hindustan Times.

Stand together and build a just world, UN chief says in message for International Day of Peace

Focus: GS2.                                

Topic: Important International institutions, agencies and fora- their structure, mandate.


Context

  • The UN General Assembly established the International Day in 1981, and two decades later unanimously designated it as a period of non-violence and ceasefire. 
  • This year, the focus is on “Shaping Peace Together.”   

About the Day

  • The International Day of Peace, sometimes officially known as World Peace Day, is a United Nations-sanctioned holiday observed annually on 21 September.
  • It is dedicated to world peace, and specifically the absence of war and violence, such as might be occasioned by a temporary ceasefire in a combat zone for humanitarian aid access.
  • The day was first celebrated in 1981, and is kept by many nations, political groups, military groups, and people.
  • In 2013 the day was dedicated by the Secretary-General of the United Nations to peace education, the key preventive means to reduce war sustainably.
  • To inaugurate the day, the United Nations Peace Bell is rung at UN Headquarters (in New York City).
  • The bell is cast from coins donated by children from all continents except Africa, and was a gift from the United Nations Association of Japan, as "a reminder of the human cost of war"; the inscription on its side reads, "Long live absolute world peace".

Source: UN News.

***********************************************************

Test your Knowledge

  1. Consider the following statements wrt Official Secrets Act :
  1. Official Secrets Act has its roots in the British colonial era.
  2. The original version was The Indian Official Secrets Act (Act XIV), 1889.
  3. It was amended and made more stringent in the form of The Indian Official Secrets Act, 1904, during Lord Rippon’s tenure as Viceroy of India.

Select the correct answer using the codes given below:

    A. 1 and 2 only
    B. 2 and 3 only
    C. 1 and 3 only
    D. AOTA

Solution: A

  • It was amended and made more stringent in the form of The Indian Official Secrets Act, 1904, during Lord Curzon’s tenure as Viceroy of India.

  1. India’s ‘biggest’ film city is proposed in :
    A. Lucknow
    B. Gautam Buddh Nagar
    C. New Delhi
    D. Hyderabad

Solution: B

    Talk to us for

    UPSC preparation support!














Options

Do you want to become an IAS officer like Saumya Sharma?
Study Online at  Neostencil Logo

Your Exam segments is being saved. Please wait....

Select Exam(s) you are interested in

IAS IES/GATE IIT-JEE NEET STATE PSC CSIR UGC NET OTHERS
please enter valid OTP