UPSC Daily Current Affairs : 15-April-2020

Major Topics Covered :

  1. POOL TESTING FOR CORONA

  2. PM’s ADDRESS TO THE NATION

  3. DekhoApnaDesh

  4. COVID-19: US ALLOWS H-1B VISA EXTENSION, RELIEF FOR STRANDED INDIANS

  5. ANDHRA PRADESH ELECTION COMMISSION

  6. IMF APPROVES DEBT RELIEF

  7. CORONA BOND

  8. US – INDIA MISSILE DEAL




POOL TESTING FOR CORONA

Why in news?

  • India is all set to start “pool testing” to speed up results, contact tracing and reduce workload on laboratories. 


Highlights:

  • The pooled testing method involves putting multiple swab samples together, and testing them using a single RTPCR test. If that test is negative, it means that all the people tested are negative.

  • However, if the test is positive, everyone whose samples were part of the test have to be tested separately, to identify positive individuals. 

  • According to officials in the government, the new testing strategy will not only widen reach but will speed up results. 

  • The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) late on Thursday also revised its testing strategy including all symptomatic patients in clusters, hot spots and in large migration gatherings, evacuees centres. 

  • As per the new guideline, all symptomatic patients with influeza like illness (fever, cough, sore throat, runny nose) will be tested. The ICMR has said to conduct RT-PCR within seven days of illness for such patients and after seven days of illness, antibody test should be conducted followed by RT-PCR.


Source : Economic Times ( https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/industry/healthcare/biotech/healthcare/pool-testing-planned-to-speed-up-results-cut-workload-of-labs/articleshow/75090258.cms?from=mdr )


PM’s ADDRESS TO THE NATION

Why in news?

  • PM addresses the nation for 4th time in 4 Weeks in India’s fight against COVID-19


Highlights:

  • The Prime Minister announced the extension of lockdown till 3rd May, 2020. The earlier 21 day lockdown is ending on the 14th of April 2020.

  • Prime Minister also suggested that those areas which are of low risk may be permitted to open up for certain specific activities from 20th April 2020. However, permissions will be withdrawn immediately if lockdown rules are broken, and if there is threat of spread of Coronavirus. Detailed guidelines will follow tomorrow.


Seven steps that need to be followed by every citizen –

  • First, to take special care of the elderly, especially those who have chronic disease. 

  • Second to completely adhere to the ‘Lakshman Rekha’ of Lockdown and Social Distancing; use homemade face-covers and masks without fail.

  • Third to follow the instructions issued by AYUSH ministry to enhance immunity.

  • Fourth to download the Arogya Setu Mobile App to help prevent the spread of corona infection. Inspire others to download the app as well.

  • Fifth to take care of poor families; to fulfil their food requirements.

  • Sixth to be compassionate towards the people who work in every individual business or industry. Do not deprive them of their livelihood.

  • Seventh to pay utmost respect to our nation’s Corona Warriors – our doctors and nurses, sanitation workers and police force.


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



DekhoApnaDesh


Why in news?

  • The Ministry of Tourism has launched its "DekhoApnaDesh" webinar series from today to provide information on the many destinations and the sheer depth and expanse of the culture and heritage of our Incredible India. 


Highlights:

  • The first webinar, which was part of a series that shall unfold, touched upon the long history of Delhi as it has unfolded as 8 cities, each one unique in its character and leaving behind traces which makes Delhi the magnificent city that it is today.

  • The webinar was titled " City of Cities- Delhi's Personal Diary'.

  • The series of  webinars shall be an on-going feature and the Ministry would work towards showcasing the diverse and remarkable history and culture of India including its monuments, cuisine, arts, dance forms. natural landscapes, festivals and many other aspects of the  rich Indian civilization.

  • The webinar shall be available in public domain soon. It will be availableon the Ministry’s social media handles- IncredibleIndia on Instagram and Facebook.


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



COVID-19: US ALLOWS H-1B VISA EXTENSION, RELIEF FOR STRANDED INDIANS

Why in news?

  • In a big relief for thousands of stranded Indian professionals in America due to the coronavirus pandemic, the US government has decided to accept their H-1B visa applications for an extended stay in the country. 


Highlights:

  • The H-1B visa is a non-immigrant visa that allows US companies to employ foreign workers in specialty occupations that require theoretical or technical expertise.

  •  The technology companies depend on it to hire tens of thousands of employees each year from countries like India and China. 

  • The travel restrictions have left a number of H-1B visa holders stranded in the US with their visa permits soon to expire. However, the Department of Homeland Security will shortly start accepting applications for the extension of expiring visas. 

  • Non-immigrants could apply for an extension of stay (EOS) or change of status (COS) permit. Without a visa extension, thousands of students and professionals in the US would have suffered. 

  • According to rules, if an employer terminates the contract of an H-1B holder, the employee needs to find new employment within 60 days, in order to retain the visa status. Indian IT workers have been seeking an extension of this 60 day grace period to 180 days. 

  • According to the USCIS, Indians are the biggest beneficiaries of the H-1B visa programme.


Source : Times of India ( https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/business/india-business/covid-19-us-allows-h-1b-visa-extension-relief-for-stranded-indians/articleshow/75143315.cms )



ANDHRA PRADESH ELECTION COMMISSION

Why in news?

  • Madras High Court retired judge V. Kanagaraj has been appointed as the State Election Commissioner (SEC) of Andhra Pradesh following the overnight expulsion of N. Ramesh Kumar through the ordinance route.


Highlights:

  • State government through an ordinance has limited the tenure of SEC to three years by making an amendment to Panchayat Raj (PR) Act, 1994 for conducting elections to PR institutions.

  • It was stated that an SEC will be entitled to re- appointment for another three years subject to a maximum aggregate period of six years.

  • The ordinance mentioned that the SEC cannot be removed except in the manner and on the grounds as a judge of the HC and the conditions of service will not be varied to his or her disadvantage.


Constitutional Provisions:

  • Articles 243K, 243ZA: The Constitution of India vests in the State Election Commission, consisting of a State Election Commissioner, the superintendence, direction and control of the preparation of electoral rolls for, and the conduct of all elections to the Panchayats and the Municipalities. The State Election Commissioner is appointed by the Governor.

  • Article 243(C3): The Governor, when so requested by the State Election Commission, make available to the State Election Commission such staff as may be necessary for the discharge of the functions conferred on the SEC by clause (1).


Source : First Post (https://www.firstpost.com/politics/andhra-pradesh-removes-state-election-commissioner-from-post-issues-order-curtailing-tenure-of-future-chiefs-from-5-to-3-years-8249261.html )



IMF APPROVES DEBT RELIEF

Why in news?

  • International Monetary Fund approves debt relief for 25 poor countries amid COVID-19 


Highlights:

  • The IMF board approved the debt relief for the countries, nearly all in Africa, but also Afghanistan, Yemen, Nepal and Haiti.

  • The fund together with the World Bank have called for rich nations to stop collecting debt payments from poor countries from May 1 through June 2021.

  • The debt relief will be funded by the IMF’s Catastrophe Containment and Relief Trust (CCRT), which was first set up to combat the West Africa Ebola outbreak in 2015 and has been repurposed to help countries fend off COVID-19.

  • The fund currently has $500 million, with Japan, Britain, China and the Netherlands among its main contributors


Source : IMF ( https://www.imf.org/en/News/Articles/2020/04/13/pr20151-imf-executive-board-approves-immediate-debt-relief-for-25-countries )



CORONA BOND

Why in news?

  • European leaders are seeking the issue of Corona Bond to finance the fight against COVID-19.


Highlights:

  • "Corona bonds" are joint debt issued to member states of the EU. The funds would be common and would come from the European Investment Bank.

  • This would be mutualised debt, taken collectively by all member states of the European Union.

  • Nine EU countries have been calling for such bonds to be issued EU-wide: Spain, Italy, France, Belgium, Luxembourg, Ireland, Portugal, Greece and Slovenia.

  • These nine countries are prone to calling for the mutualisation of European national debts, while others — richer countries in the north of Europe — usually oppose such measures.

  • They are Germany, Netherlands, Austria and Finland, also known as the "Frugal Four" the fiscally conservative EU states.


Highlights : Euro News ( https://www.euronews.com/2020/03/26/what-are-corona-bonds-and-how-can-they-help-revive-the-eu-s-economy )



US – INDIA MISSILE DEAL

Why in news?

  • The U.S. State Department has approved two potential missile deals with India, for an estimated $92 million and $63 million.


Highlights:

  • The first deal, for which Boeing is the contractor, is for 10 AGM-84L Harpoon Block II air-launched missiles and related equipment. These missiles can be fitted onto Boeing’s P-8I (Poseidon-Eight India) maritime patrol aircraft, and are intended to enhance India’s capability in anti-surface warfare while defending its sea lanes.

  • The second deal, for $63 million and principally contracted with Raytheon Integrated Defense System, is for 16 MK 54 All Up Round Lightweight Torpedoes (LWT); three MK 54 Exercise Torpedoes (MK 54 LWT Kit procurement required); and related equipment. 

  • Also included are MK 54 spare parts, torpedo containers, two Recoverable Exercise Torpedoes (REXTORP) with containers and related equipment and support from the U.S. government and contractors.

  • The torpedoes are expected to enhance India’s anti-submarine warfare capability and can be used with the P-8I. 

  • There are no known offset agreements for both deals, the State Department said, and any offset agreement will be defined in negotiations between India and the contractors.


Source : Hindu ( https://www.thehindu.com/news/international/us-approves-sale-of-missile-torpedoes-worth-usd-155-million-to-india/article31336250.ece )


19 views

Recent Posts

See All

Free Resources

Preparing Mains 

UPSC Mock Test

Daily Reading

Join Us