UPSC Daily Current Affairs : 03-April-2020

Major Topics Covered :

  1. FIVE LAYER MASKS BY DRDO

  2. WORLD COULD FACE A FOOD CRISIS: UN, WTO

  3. INDIA ON GHANI’s TALK TEAM

  4. MEDICAL DEVICES AS DRUGS OVER COVID-19

  5. RUSSIA’S FRIENDLY HAND TOWARD US

  6. UN CLIMATE CHANGE CONFERENCE UK 2020 (COP26)

  7. 960 FOREIGNERS BLACKLISTED

  8. GEOFENCING APP TO QUARANTINE VIOLATORS


FIVE LAYER MASKS BY DRDO

Why in news?

  • A laboratory under the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) has made arrangements to make 20,000 five-layered masks a day and the DRDO was also engaged in minor modification of ventilators so that one machine could support four patients at a time.


Highlights:

  • A five-layered nanotechnology mask N99 is being made on a war footing. A total of 10,000 have already been made and soon per day production will be extended to 20,000.

  • Chief of the Defence Staff Gen. Bipin Rawat said that separate hospitals have been identified to exclusively deal with COVID-19 and more than 9,000 hospital beds were available. 


Source : Hindu



WORLD COULD FACE A FOOD CRISIS: UN, WTO

Why in news?

  • The heads of three global agencies warned of the risk of a worldwide “food shortage” if authorities fail to manage the ongoing COVID-19 crisis properly.


Highlights:

  • Many governments around the world have put their populations on lockdown causing severe slow-downs in international trade and food supply chains. Panic buying by people going into confinement has already demonstrated the fragility of supply chains as supermarket shelves emptied in many countries.

  • Uncertainty about food availability can spark a wave of export restrictions, creating a shortage on the global market.

  • In the midst of the COVID-19 lockdowns, every effort must be made to ensure that trade flows as freely as possible, specially to avoid food shortage(s)


Source : Hindu



INDIA ON GHANI’s TALK TEAM

Why in news?

  • Welcoming Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani’s decision to form a team for intra-Afghan negotiations that will include the Taliban, the government said this is a “positive step” for the process of reconciliation in the country.


Highlights:

  • Indian Government view the formation of the team as a positive step which would lead to a peaceful and stable future for Afghanistan free from the scourge of externally sponsored terrorism.

  • India’s statement also follows similar statements by the UN’s mission in Afghanistan UNAMA, other countries and even Mr. Ghani’s arch political rival former Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah, that have all hailed his announcement on March 27 of a 21-member negotiating team that included five women, to talk to the Taliban.

  • Although the Taliban rejected the announcement initially, claiming that it was not “inclusive enough”, the group sent a delegation to the Bagram Base outside Kabul on Tuesday to talk about the release of prisoners that had been decided in the U.S.-Taliban agreement in February.

  • India sent its envoy to witness the signing of the U.S.-Taliban deal but has been cautious in welcoming its content and sceptical of dealing with the Taliban. 


Source : Hindu



MEDICAL DEVICES AS DRUGS OVER COVID-19

Why in news?

  • The National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA) has dispelled all fears over Covid-19 causing disruption in supply of active pharmaceutical ingredients (API).

Highlights:

  • NPPA has increased the ceiling price of 883 scheduled formulations, in compliance of the provisions of Drugs Price Control Order (DPCO) 2013. In another change, it brought in medical devices under price control by defining them as ‘drugs’, under the DPCO.

About NPPA :

  • NPPA is an organization of the Government of India which was established, to fix/ revise the prices of controlled bulk drugs and formulations and to enforce prices and availability of the medicines in the country, under the Drugs (Prices Control) Order, 1995.

  • The organization is also entrusted with the task of recovering amounts overcharged by manufacturers for the controlled drugs from the consumers. It also monitors the prices of decontrolled drugs in order to keep them at reasonable levels.

Functions of NPPA :

  • To implement and enforce the provisions of the Drugs (Prices Control) Order in accordance with the powers delegated to it.

  • To deal with all legal matters arising out of the decisions of the Authority;

  • To monitor the availability of drugs, identify shortages, if any, and to take remedial steps;

  • To collect/ maintain data on production, exports and imports, market share of individual companies, profitability of companies etc, for bulk drugs and formulations;

  • To undertake and/ or sponsor relevant studies in respect of pricing of drugs/ pharmaceuticals;

  • To recruit/ appoint the officers and other staff members of the Authority, as per rules and procedures laid down by the Government;

  • To render advice to the Central Government on changes/ revisions in the drug policy;

  • To render assistance to the Central Government in the parliamentary matters relating to the drug pricing.


Source : Business Line


RUSSIA’S FRIENDLY HAND TOWARD US

Why in news?

  • A Russian military plane loaded with medical equipment took off from outside of Moscow after President Vladimir Putin offered Donald Trump help for the US battle with coronavirus.


Highlights:

  • The Russian side offered assistance amid the dire epidemiological situation in America. Trump gratefully accepted this humanitarian aid.

  • Trump and Putin have maintained a close relationship despite tensions between the US and Russia over issues ranging from US intelligence agency findings that Russia interfered in American elections to the Kremlin’s role in Ukraine and Syria. The Kremlin denies that it has meddled in American elections.

  • The shipment comes amid a growing coronavirus outbreak in Russia, where some critics believe the official statistics understate the real situation. Russia on Wednesday reported a 19 per cent increase in cases overnight, bringing the total number of infected to 2,777.

  • The Kremlin hopes that the US will reciprocate with medical assistance as it increases its production capacity if Russia needs help.


Source : Business Line



UN CLIMATE CHANGE CONFERENCE UK 2020 (COP26)

Why in news?

The COVID-19 spread has forced the UN body to postpone its flagship annual climate change conference which was scheduled to be held at Glasgow in United Kingdom (UK) in November.


Highlights:

  • This crucial meet will now be held in 2021 -- the first year of the operationalisation of the the Paris Agreement. 

  • Under the Paris Agreement, which is to be operationalised from January 1 next year, countries including India are expected to take climate actions as per their respective commitments to keep the average global temperature rise within 2 degree Celsius by 2100 from the pre-industrial (1850-1900) level. 

  • The postponement of the Bonn session to later this year and COP to next year does not mean a postponement of climate ambition. This does not let governments off the hook. 

  • Current climate plans put the world on track for a catastrophic 3 or 4 degrees of warming. In these uncertain times, a postponement of COP26 gives governments more time to increase their climate pledges

  • It is also expected in current circumstances that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) - UN body for assessing the science related to climate change - may not be able to submit its sixth assessment report (AR6) on climate change on time. 


Source : Times of India



960 FOREIGNERS BLACKLISTED

Why in news?

  • The Ministry of Home Affairs has blacklisted 960 foreigners, present in India on tourist visas, for their involvement in Tablighi Jamaat activities.


Highlights:

  • MHA has also directed DGPs of all concerned States/UTs and CP, Delhi Police to take necessary legal action against all such violators, on priority, under relevant sections of the Foreigners Act, 1946 and Disaster Management Act, 2005.

  • The Tablighi Jamaat's Markaz in Nizamuddin West has emerged as a hotspot of coronavirus, following which a major area has been sealed and an FIR lodged against its cleric for violating government orders.

  • Tourist visa holders are not allowed to attend religious functions.

  • If a foreigner is put in the Home ministry's blacklist, he or she can't travel to India in future. 


Source : Tribune India



GEOFENCING APP TO QUARANTINE VIOLATORS

Why in news?

  • The Centre is using powers under the Indian Telegraph Act to “fetch information” from telecom companies every 15 minutes to track COVID-19 cases across the country. 


Highlights:

  • The government has tested an application that triggers e-mails and SMS alerts to an authorised government agency if a person has jumped quarantine or escaped from isolation, based on the person’s mobile phone’s cell tower location.

  • The “geo-fencing” is accurate by up to 300 m.

  • On March 29, the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) shared a standard operating procedure (SOP) with all telecom service providers regarding the application called COVID-19 Quarantine Alert System (CQAS).

  • The system will collate phone data, including the device’s location, on a common secured platform and alert the local agencies in case of a violation by COVID-19 patients under watch or in isolation.

  • The States have been asked to seek the approval of their Home Secretaries under the provisions of Section 5(2) of the Indian Telegraph Act, 1885, for the specified mobile phone numbers to request the DoT to provide information by email or SMS in case of violation of “geo-fencing”.


Source : Hindu

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