UPSC Daily Current Affairs : 04-April-2020

Major Topics Covered :

  1. HEALTH MINISTRY ADVISORY TO THE ELDERLY

  2. LINKAGE BETWEEN BCG VACCINE AND COVID-19

  3. DRDO DEVELOPS BIO-SUITS

  4. TALIBAN ON TERRORISM AND INDIA

  5. RANITIDINE

  6. WTO PEACE CLAUSE

  7. FISHERIES SUBSIDIES AT WTO

  8. GOVERNMENT RESERVES JOBS IN J&K FOR DOMICILES

  9. KERALA KARNATAKA BORDER ROW


HEALTH MINISTRY ADVISORY TO THE ELDERLY

Why in news?

  • The Union Health Ministry issued an advisory to the elderly in the wake of the novel coronavirus pandemic, warning that the disease tends to be more severe among the elderly, resulting in higher mortality.


Highlights:

  • Elderly people are at a higher risk of COVID-19 infection due to their decreased immunity and body reserves, as well as multiple associated co-morbidities such as diabetes, hypertension, chronic kidney disease and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease

  •  It asked the elderly to stay at home, avoid meeting visitors at home and if a meeting is essential, maintain a distance of one metre.

  • The instructions include washing hands and face at regular intervals with soap and water, sneezing and coughing either into the elbow or into a tissue paper or handkerchief, disposing of the tissue paper after coughing or sneezing, washing the handkerchief after use and ensuring proper nutrition through home-cooked fresh hot meals, drinking water frequently and taking fresh juices to boost immunity.

  • The elderly population has also been advised to postpone elective surgeries (if any) such as cataract surgery or total knee replacement as far as possible, do tele-consultation with their healthcare provider and not to go to crowded places such as parks, markets and religious places.


Source : Hindu



LINKAGE BETWEEN BCG VACCINE AND COVID-19

Why in news?

  • Doctors and scientists in India have expressed caution on a study which argues that countries that have deployed the BCG-tuberculosis vaccine in their immunisation programmes have seen fewer deaths from COVID-19.


Highlights:

  • The study argues that 55 middle and high-income countries chosen for the analysis that have a current universal BCG policy had 0.78 deaths per million people, whereas middle and high income countries that never had a universal BCG policy (five countries) had a larger mortality rate, with 16.39 deaths per million people, a significant variation.

  • The BCG vaccine is known to confer a strong immune response that have protective effects beyond just staving off a tuberculosis infection and because COVID-19 was particularly lethal to the elderly, those countries where the elderly were likely to have had a BCG shot in their childhood were likely to be better protected against the coronavirus, the authors argue.

  • However it was premature for India — that has had a consistent TB vaccination policy since 1968 — to take comfort. 


Source : Hindu



DRDO DEVELOPS BIO-SUITS

Why in news?

  • In a major breakthrough, the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) has developed a special sealant as an alternative to seam sealing tape which is critical in personal protective equipment (PPE).


Highlights:

  • A bio suit was developed to keep medical and other personnel engaged in combating COVID-19 safe from the deadly virus.

  • The DRDO has prepared a special sealant as an alternative to seam sealing tape based on the sealant used in submarine applications. Presently, bio suits prepared using this glue for seam sealing by an industry partner has cleared test at the Southern India Textile Research Association (SITRA), Coimbatore

  • Bio suit production in the country by DRDO industry partners and other industries was being hampered due to non-availability of seam sealing tapes. The DRDO can mass produce this glue through the industry to support the seam sealing activity by suit manufacturers.


Source : Hindu



TALIBAN ON TERRORISM AND INDIA

Why in news?

  • Externally supported terrorism does not exist in Afghanistan, the Taliban said and urged India to ensure welfare of its Muslim community. 


Highlights:

  • As per Taliban, There is no externally sponsored terrorism. There are, on the one side, the Afghan people, a liberation force in the shape of Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA), struggling for liberation of the country. On the other side, there are the invading forces.

  • It urged India to not give the name of terrorism to indigenous liberation movement of Afghanistan.

  • Taliban’s pronouncements on a set of long held Indian positions came a day after the Ministry of External Affairs reiterated and hinted at Pakistan’s hand in fomenting terrorism inside Afghanistan and approved the choice of the team from the side of President Ashraf Ghani’s government for the intra-Afghan negotiation.

  • India has consistently supported an Afghan-led, Afghan-owned and Afghan-controlled process for enduring peace and reconciliation in Afghanistan which would lead to a peaceful and stable future for Afghanistan free from the scourge of externally sponsored terrorism

  • The Taliban, however, clarified that it disagrees with some points in the Indian statement especially with the notion of “Afghan-led, Afghan-owned and Afghan-controlled peace process” that India has supported since the 1980s.


Source : Hindu



RANITIDINE

Why in news?

  • Six months after the US Food and Drug Administration sounded a note of caution on Ranitidine, it has called for a complete withdrawal of the heart-burn drug from the market.


Highlights:

  • The move is expected to impact Indian drug-makers and suppliers of the active ingredient that goes into the medicine.

  • The USFDA requested manufacturers to withdraw all prescription and over-the-counter versions of Ranitidine. The move followed ongoing investigation into the contaminant known as N-Nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA), a probable human carcinogen or cancer causing substance, the USFDA said.

  • The USFDA said, the impurity in some Ranitidine products increases over time and when stored at higher than room temperatures, it may result in consumer exposure to unacceptable levels of this impurity. 


Source : Business Line


WTO PEACE CLAUSE

Why in news?

  • India has invoked the peace clause of the World Trade Organisation. This follows the country exceeding the ceiling of 10 per cent on support it offered rice farmers in the marketing year 2018-19.


Highlights:

  • WTO rules place restrictions on support that developing countries, including India, can offer their farmers, as the global body looks at such support measures as trade distorting.

  • Thanks to India’s constant negotiations, WTO members adopted a decision at the Bali Ministerial Conference in 2013 on public stockholding for food security purposes.

  • This decision allows developing members to invoke the peace clause to protect their public stockholding programmes from legal challenge.

  • Other developing countries, including Indonesia, Egypt and Pakistan, which run food security programmes similar to India, may soon follow suit.


Source : Business Line



FISHERIES SUBSIDIES AT WTO

Why in news?

  • Fisher and farmer organisations from India and other developing countries have called for an immediate halt to the fisheries subsidies negotiations at the World Trade Organisation, which they say are continuing in a “non-inclusive and ad-hoc manner” amid the Covid-19 crisis.


Highlights:

  • Since many developing countries could not participate in the ongoing discussions because of domestic disruptions, a very defective process — giving undue influence to the Chair — is being followed, tabling very ‘biased texts’, the groups pointed out in a representation to WTO DG Roberto Azevedo.

  • WTO members had sought to wrap up fisheries negotiations aimed at curbing the ‘harmful’ fisheries subsidies, estimated at $14-20.5 billion annually, at the ministerial meeting in Kazakhstan in June 2020. 

  • The fisher and farmer bodies pointed out that the draft text tabled by the Chair on March 9, on overfishing and overcapacity, placed the Special and Differential Treatment (SDT), a key demand from India and a number of other developing countries and least developed countries (LDCs), under a placeholder.


Source : Business Line



GOVERNMENT RESERVES JOBS IN J&K FOR DOMICILES

Why in news?

  • The government amended its two-day-old order on Friday night and reserved all jobs in Jammu and Kashmir for the domiciles of the Union territory - people who have stayed there for at least 15 years. 


Highlights:

  • Earlier while laying down the rules for domiciles, the government had reserved jobs up to group 4 only. 

  • However, following angry reactions from local political parties, an amended gazette notification, titled the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation(Adaptation of State Laws) Order-2020, was put out, reserving jobs for the domiciles of the UT, which was formed in October last year after the Centre withdrew the special status of the erstwhile state and announced its bifurcation. 

  • Under the domicile law, anyone who has resided for 15 years in Jammu and Kashmir or has studied for seven years and appeared in Class 10 and Class 12 examinations in an educational institution located in the Union territory is a domicile. 

  • Anyone who is registered as a migrant by the Relief and Rehabilitation Commissioner (Migrants) will also be deemed to be a domicile.

  • The children of all-India services personnel, who have served there for 10 years, also come under the category. 


Source : Times of India



KERALA KARNATAKA BORDER ROW

Why in news?

  • The Supreme Court on Friday ordered the Centre, Kerala and Karnataka to confer immediately and “formulate parameters for passage of patients for urgent medical treatment at the interstate border at Talapadi”.


Highlights:

  • The order came on a series of petitions highlighting Karnataka’s blockade of the border. The blockade, the court was informed, had resulted in deaths as ambulances bound for Mangaluru (in Karnataka) were not being permitted to cross the border.

  • Kasaragod in Kerala has a high number of coronavirus cases and Karnataka’s road blockade toward Mangaluru has sparked a huge row. 

  • Cross-border movement of patients into the state for treatment or diagnosis was restricted in view of a severe shortage of health facilities in the state of Karnataka.


Source : Hindu

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