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UPSC Daily Current Affairs : 19-May-2020

Topic Covered :

  1. Kashmir is India’s internal matter, says Taliban; denies plan to target Delhi

  2. Government implements Shekatkar Committee recommendations related to creating border infrastructure

  3. LISA Procedure

  4. Rare palm from Andamans gets second home 

  5. China accuses India of building “illegal” facilities at Galwan valley in Aksai Chin area

  6. India says no to using pandemic as portal for trade commitments at WTO

  7. Poison Pills


Why in news?

  • The Taliban on Monday denied claims on social media that it could join Pakistan-sponsored terrorism in Kashmir, underlining that the Taliban was clear that it “does not interfere in internal affairs of other countries”.


  • The strong clarification comes a day after officials monitoring social media noted a spike in posts around claims that a Taliban spokesperson Zabihullah Mujahid said it was impossible to be friends with India unless the Kashmir dispute is resolved.

  • Diplomats based in Kabul and Delhi told Hindustan Times that the Taliban spokesperson’s clarification came after India worked the backchannels to confirm reports about the group’s approach to India, and on Jammu and Kashmir.

  • Analysts have also underlined that the Taliban wasn’t a monolithic body and comprises people holding different beliefs. For example, while the group has deep linkages with the Pakistani deep state, there are also some who favour an independent line.

Source : Hindustan Times ( https://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/kashmir-is-india-s-internal-matter-says-taliban-denies-plan-to-target-delhi/story-sOgG3yPsMenP4nZDKRbygL.html )


Why in news?

  • Government has accepted and implemented three important recommendations of Committee of Experts (CoE) under the Chairmanship of Lt General D B Shekatkar (Retd) relating to border Infrastructure. These were related to speeding up road construction, leading to socio economic development in the border areas.


  • On the matter related to creating border infrastructure, the Government has implemented recommendation of CoE to outsource road construction work beyond optimal capacity of Border Roads Organisation (BRO).

  • It has been made mandatory to adopt Engineering Procurement Contract (EPC) mode for execution of all works costing more than Rs 100 crore.

  • The other recommendation relating to introduction of modern construction plants, equipment and machinery has been implemented by delegating enhanced procurement powers from Rs 7.5 crore to Rs 100 crore to BRO, for domestic and foreign procurements. 

  • New Technology like blasting technology for precision blasting, use of Geo-Textiles for soil stabilisation, cementitious base for pavements, plastic coated aggregates for surfacing, is also being used to enhance the pace of construction.

  • The land acquisition and all statutory clearances like forest and environmental clearance are also made part of approval of Detailed Project Report (DPR).

  • Further, with the adoption of EPC mode of execution, it is mandatory to award work only when 90 per cent of the statutory clearances have been obtained, implementing the recommendation of CoE regarding obtaining prior clearances before the commencement of the project.

Source : PIB ( https://pib.gov.in/PressReleseDetail.aspx?PRID=1624956 )


Why in news?

  • A recent medical technique, known as less invasive surfactant administration (LISA), has been started at J.K. Lon Government Children’s Hospital, Jaipur for treatment of lung disease or respiratory distress syndrome among premature babies. 


  • Most of the premature babies admitted to the hospital’s neonatal intensive care unit had the problem of less mature lungs, resulting in difficulty in breathing at the time of birth. They needed ventilatory support with surfactant administration via endotracheal tube placed in air pipe for treatment.

  • The ventilatory support was gradually weaned and babies were put on non-invasive ventilation like continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) after maturation of lungs.

  • Hospitals have been giving the directly administered medication in windpipe for treating breathing problems, but this has its own side effects.

  •  LISA technique had been found to be very helpful in minimising the side effects.

  • The surfactant is administered via a thin feeding tube, instead of endotracheal tube, which is immediately removed after the procedure, while the baby is on the CPAP machine.

  • LISA has been developed as a lung protective strategy for respiratory management and ventilation in view of the mechanical ventilation causing damage to the preterm lungs of newborns.