UPSC Daily Current Affairs : 13-April-2020

Major Topics Covered :

  1. HEAD LICE DRUG AGAINST CORONAVIRUS - IVERMECTIN

  2. YUKTI ( YOUNG INDIA COMBATING COVID WITH KNOWLEDGE, TECHNOLOGY AND INNOVATION )

  3. PM JANAUSHADHI KENDRA PEOPLE ARE WORKING AS CORONA WARRIORS-MANDAVIYA

  4. NIHANGS

  5. THE PUNJAB CLINICAL ESTABLISHMENTS (REGISTRATION, REGULATION& TRANSPARENCY) ACT, 2019

  6. CHILD ABUSE AMID LOCKDOWN

  7. CII SUGGESTION ON REOPENING OF SECTORS




HEAD LICE DRUG AGAINST CORONAVIRUS - IVERMECTIN

Why in news?

  • A recent study conducted by the researchers from the Victorian Infectious Diseases Reference Laboratory, Royal Melbourne Hospital in Australia, has found that the head lice drug, Ivermectin, could potentially be used to kill the coronavirus.


Highlights:

  1. To test how it performs against the novel coronavirus, the researchers infected some cells with the COVID-19 virus. These infected cells were then exposed to the head lice drug, Ivermectin. There was a significant reduction in the virus in just 24 hours. In the next 24 hours, there was a complete annihilation of the virus.

  2. The researchers found that just a single dose of Ivermectin had successfully killed the virus in a petri dish.

  3. The initial findings of the study are being seen as a ray of hope as this drug’s effectiveness against COVID-19 have been described as “promising” by top experts in the field.

  4. The usage of the drug to cure COVID-19 positive patients still remains to be checked, though the Ivermectin drug has already been established as a drug safe for human consumption.

  5. If the human trials turn out to be successful, it will significantly speed-up the development for a COVID-19 treatment. 

  6. The experts have also recommended people to not consume or hoard this drug, as human trial is still underway. 

  7. Aside from potentially being able to fend off the novel coronavirus, the drug, known as Ivermectin, has also shown to be effective against other viruses including HIV, Dengue, influenza and Zika virus in vitro.


Source : Times of India (https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/life-style/health-fitness/health-news/can-head-lice-drug-kill-coronavirus/articleshow/75097063.cms )



YUKTI ( YOUNG INDIA COMBATING COVID WITH KNOWLEDGE, TECHNOLOGY AND INNOVATION )

Why in news?

  • Union Minister for HRD Shri Ramesh Pokhriyal “Nishank” has launched a web-portal YUKTI (Young India Combating COVID with Knowledge, Technology and Innovation) today in New Delhi. 


Highlights:

  • It’s a unique portal and dashboard  to monitor and record the efforts and initiatives of MHRD. The portal intends to cover the different dimensions of COVID-19 challenges in a very holistic and comprehensive way.

  • The primary aim is to keep the academic community healthy, both physically & mentally and to enable a continuous high-quality learning environment for learners. The portal is an effort of HRD Ministry to achieve this goal in these difficult times.

  •  It will cover the various initiatives and efforts of the institutions in academics, research especially related to CoVID, social initiatives by institutions and the measures taken for the betterment of the total wellbeing of the students.

  •  The portal will cover both qualitative and quantitative parameters for effective delivery of services to the academic community at large.

  • The portal will also allow various institutions to share their strategies for various challenges which are there because of the unprecedented  situation of COVID-19 and other future initiatives. 

  • This portal will give inputs for better planning and will enable MHRD to monitor effectively its activities for coming six months.

  • The portal will also establish a two-way communication channel between the Ministry of HRD and the institutions so that the Ministry can provide the necessary support system to the institutions. 

  • It will help in critical issues related to student promotion policies, placements related challenges and physical and mental well-being of students in these challenging times


Source : PIB (https://pib.gov.in/PressReleseDetail.aspx )



PM JANAUSHADHI KENDRA PEOPLE ARE WORKING AS CORONA WARRIORS-MANDAVIYA

Why in news?

  • The Minister of State for Chemicals and Fertilizers Shri Mansukh Mandaviya has said that even in the current difficult circumstances the Pradhan Mantri Janaushadhi Kendra (PMJK) people are working as CoronaWarriors and serving the nation.


Highlights:


About PMJK :

  • Pradhan Mantri Bhartiya Janaushadhi Pariyojana (PMBJP) is a campaign launched by the Department of Pharmaceuticals to provide quality medicines at affordable prices to the masses.

  • PMBJP stores have been set up to provide generic drugs, which are available at lesser prices but are equivalent in quality and efficacy as expensive branded drugs.


Benefits of the scheme :

  • Promote greater awareness about cost effective drugs and their prescription.

  • Make available unbranded quality generic medicines at affordable prices through public-private partnership.

  • Encourage doctors, more specifically in government hospital to prescribe generic medicines.

  • Enable substantial savings in health care more particularly in the case of poor patients and those suffering from chronic ailments requiring long periods of drug use.


Salient features of the scheme –

  • Ensure access to quality medicines

  • Extend coverage of quality generic medicines so as to reduce the out of pocket expenditure on medicines and thereby redefine the unit cost of treatment per person

  • Create awareness about generic medicines through education and publicity so that quality is not synonymous with only high price

  • A public programme involving Government, PSUs, Private Sector, NGO, Societies, Co-operative Bodies and other Institutions

  • Create demand for generic medicines by improving access to better healthcare through low treatment cost and easy availability wherever needed in all therapeutic categories.


Quality Assurance :

  • Each batch of drugs procured is tested random at BPPI's empanelled National Accreditation Board for Testing and Calibration Laboratories (NABL) accredited laboratories thereby ensuring quality, safety and efficacy of medicines and conformance with required standards. Only after being certified by these laboratories, medicines are dispatched to C&F agents, Distributors and JAKs.


Source : PIB and INDIA.GOV.IN (https://pib.gov.in/PressReleseDetail.aspx & https://www.india.gov.in/spotlight/pradhan-mantri-bhartiya-janaushadhi-pariyojana )



NIHANGS


Why in news?

  • After nearly eight hours of surgery, a team of doctors at the PGI on Sunday successfully re-implanted the left hand of Assistant Sub-Inspector (ASI) of Punjab Police that was chopped off in a clash by Nihangs in Patiala early morning.


Highlights:


  • The Nihang or Akali is an armed Sikh warrior order originating in the Indian subcontinent.

  • Nihang are believed to have originated either from Fateh Singh and the attire he wore or from the "Akali Dal" started by Guru Hargobind.

  • Traditionally known for their bravery and ruthlessness in the battlefield, the Nihang once formed the irregular guerrilla squads of the armed forces of the Sikh Empire, the Sikh Khalsa Army.


Gatka :

  • Nihangs have a long history of performing Gatka.

  • More than 30 countries play Gatka and now efforts are being made to induct it into Olympics.

  • Gatka is a unique and inexpensive fighting art developed to defend and display fighting skills and to better exercise self-control.

  • Gatka was standardized as a sport and rules were drafted since 1936.


Source : Tribune (https://www.tribuneindia.com/news/patiala/punjab-cops-severed-hand-re-implanted-after-8-hr-surgery-at-pgi-70214 )



THE PUNJAB CLINICAL ESTABLISHMENTS (REGISTRATION, REGULATION& TRANSPARENCY) ACT, 2019

Why in news?

  • The Punjab government is planning to bring an ordinance “The Punjab Clinical Establishments (Registration, Regulation& Transparency) Act, 2019” in the Cabinet meeting slated to be held on Friday. 


Highlights:

  • With an aim to regulate the functioning of private hospitals in the country, the Union Government had enacted the Clinical Establishment Act 2010, which was adopted by several states.

  • However, instead of adopting the same Act, the then Punjab Government had decided to draft its own and in 2012, constituted a Clinical Establishment Act Drafting Committee.

  • But thanks to the powerful lobby of the private practitioners, the draft was never accepted.

  • The draft had important provisions like every private or government hospital has to display the services it offers and mention the fee it charges.

  • Besides, it was also proposed to make it mandatory for all private hospitals to get registered.

  • The draft was not cleared by the Cabinet. The members of the committee had publicly said that the Act was being scuttled by the lobby of big corporate hospitals.

  • In November last year, the state once again posted draft of the Bill on its website and asked for feedback. But once again, the powerful body of private doctors was successful in scuttling the move.

  • Now,  the government is planning to bring an ordinance “The Punjab Clinical Establishments (Registration, Regulation& Transparency) Act, 2019.’ This is aimed to end fleecing of Private doctors during Covid-19.

Source : Tribune (https://www.tribuneindia.com/news/punjab/punjab-government-may-enact-clinical-establishment-act-68980 )



CHILD ABUSE AMID LOCKDOWN

Why in news?

  • Amid the unprecedented lockdown cases of domestic violence and child abuse have reportedly increased considering which two lawyers have written to  Chief Justice of India SA Bobde requesting him to take suo motu cognizance of the case. 


Highlights:

  • Under normal circumstances, it is not considered safe for abused children to stay at home as it might result in further suffering at the hands of their own family members.

  • However, during the lockdown the danger to these children is exacerbated, as they are unable to leave their homes. The isolation has further shattered support networks, making it even more difficult for the victims to seek help or escape.

  • It said child abuse incidents have already risen in India due to the lockdown and will keep increasing if steps are not taken immediately to protect and support the victims of child abuse.

  •  The need of the hour is to issue guidelines to various authorities for protecting children from violence and abuse, which is inflicted upon them by their own family members/ relatives/care takers, taking measures to ensure that counselling is made available to them. 

  • The childline India Helpline has received more than 92,000 calls asking for protection of children from abuse and violence in the past few days during the lockdown period.

  • The top court has by its recent orders acknowledged that violence, including sexual violence may be exacerbated in context of anxiety and stress produced by lockdown and fear of the disease.

  • If positive measures are not taken urgently for protecting rights of the children, their fundamental right to live with dignity and their right to safety would be violated as the children would be exposed to danger


Source : The Statesman ( https://www.thestatesman.com/india/lawyers-write-to-chief-justice-on-rise-in-child-abuse-cases-amid-lockdown-1502876645.html )



CII SUGGESTION ON REOPENING OF SECTORS

Why in news?

  • CII suggests calibrated reopening of sectors based on red, amber and green zones


Highlights:

  • Industry chamber CII on Sunday suggested a “slow and staggered” approach to reopening various sectors based on classification of geographies as red, amber and green, depending upon the incidence of COVID-19 cases.

  • Textiles and apparels, pharmaceuticals, food processing, minerals and metal, besides e-commerce, automobiles and chemicals are the key sectors that need to restart operations in a calibrated manner, as per a report by CII.

  • A more complex point is whether all industries can open in the green zones and which ones should open in the amber zone, assuming that none would be operational in the red zones other than essential and exempt services.

  • All facilities that reopen must have requisite health, sanitation and screening systems in place to protect workers, it said.

  • Various measures have been suggested, such as thermal check, social distancing, factory sanitisation and so on. Any enterprise which does not comply with this on a self-certification basis should be subject to stringent penalties.

  • CII has used four key indicators for prioritisation of sectors for restart. 

  • Sectors that are part of and support the essential goods and services ecosystem,

  • Labour intensive sectors that support jobs and livelihoods,

  • Sectors that are essential for protecting India’s export market share and gain the confidence of global markets

  • Sectors that will help us manage our imports to a minimum based on essential requirements for further production and export


Source : Financial Express ( https://www.financialexpress.com/industry/lockdown-cii-suggests-calibrated-reopening-of-sectors-based-on-red-amber-and-green-zones/1926139/ )


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