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Daily Current Affairs IAS | UPSC Prelims and Mains Exam – 1st April 2020

  • IASbaba
  • April 1, 2020
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IAS UPSC Prelims and Mains Exam – 1st April 2020

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(PRELIMS + MAINS FOCUS)


Foreign Trade policy to be extended

Part of: GS Prelims and GS-III – Economy

In News:

  • The Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) extended the existing foreign trade policy (2015-20) for one year till March 2021 amid coronavirus outbreak. 

Key takeaways:

  • Changes related to extending the date of exemptions and extending validity of DFIA and EPCG authorisations for import purposes are also being made. 

Important value additions:

Export Promotion Capital Goods (EPCG):

  • It is an export promotion scheme under which an exporter can import a certain amount of capital goods at zero duty for upgrading technology related with exports.

Duty Free Import Authorisation (DFIA):

  • It is issued to allow duty free import of inputs, fuel, oil, energy sources, and catalysts which are required for production of export products. 

The Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) 

  • It is the agency of the Ministry of Commerce and Industry of the Government of India responsible for administering laws regarding foreign trade and foreign investment in India.

Tablighi Jamaat

Part of: GS Prelims and GS-I – Art and culture 

In News:

  • Over 200 have tested positive for COVID-19 from among 4,000-odd who had gathered in Delhi’s Markaz Nizamuddin, the headquarters of the Tablighi Jamaat. 

Key takeaways:

  • Tablighi Jamaat literally means a society for spreading the faith. 
  • It is a Sunni Islamic missionary movement.
  • It aims to reach out to ordinary Muslims and revive their faith
  • It was launched by Deoband cleric and prominet Islamic scholar Maulana Muhammad Ilyas Khandhalaw in 1927 in Mewat to bring back Meo peasants (mostly Muslims who were largely practicing Hindu traditions) into the fold of traditional Islam.

Ambu Bags 

Part of: GS Prelims and GS-III – Science and technology 

In News:

  • The the government has been urged by IIT – Hyderabad to consider the use of ‘bag valve masks’ as an alternative to meet any surge in demand for ventilators, in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Key takeaways:

  • Bag valve masks are small devices used to deliver breathing support in emergency situations. 
  • They are also known as “ambu bags”.
  • These are currently hand-powered and therefore not suitable for continuous use as a ventilator. 
  • Similar devices can be manufactured which is powered by an electrical source, like a car battery or conventional power supply.
  • It is a portable and affordable device suitable to use even in villages and other remote areas. 
  • Conventional ventilators are generally expensive, hard to produce and not portable. 

Image source: Click here


Convalescent Plasma Therapy 

Part of: GS Prelims and GS-II – Health 

In News:

  • The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved use of blood plasma from recovered patients to treat severely critical COVID-19 patients.
  • This process is called convalescent plasma therapy. 

Key takeaways:

  • Convalescent plasma therapy seeks to make use of the antibodies developed in the recovered patient against the coronavirus.
  • The whole blood or plasma (the colourless fluid part of blood) is taken from recovered patient. 
  • The plasma is then injected in critically ill patients to transfer the antibodies and boost their fight against the virus.

Important value additions:

  • A COVID-19 patient usually develops primary immunity against the virus in 10-14 days. 
  • If the plasma is injected at an early stage, it can possibly help fight the virus and prevent severe illness. 

SAFAR

Part of: GS Prelims and GS-III – Environment

In News:

  • According to the Centre-run System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting and Research (SAFAR), the measures against COVID-19 have led to a drop in PM2.5 (fine particulate pollutant) to a great extent in major cities like Delhi and Pune. 

Key takeaways:

  • With a nationwide lockdown in place, over 90 cities, including Delhi, have recorded minimal air pollution in the last few days.
  • The level of Nitrogen Oxide (NOx) pollution, mainly caused due to a high motor vehicle traffic, has also reduced.
  • NOx pollution can increase the risk of respiratory conditions.

Important value additions:

System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting and Research (SAFAR)

  • It was indigenously developed by Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology, Pune
  • It is run by India Meteorological Department (IMD).
  • The objective is to provide Real-time air quality index on 24×7 basis with colour coding along with 72-hour advance weather forecast. 
  • Another goal is to issue health advisory to prepare citizens well in advance.

Miscellaneous 

GreenCo Rating System

  • GreenCo Rating system has been acknowledged in India’s Intended Nationally Determined Contribution (INDC) document. 
  • It is used as a proactive voluntary action of Indian industry / private sector towards combating climate change.
  • It is developed by Confederation of Indian Industry (CII).
  • CII is a non-government, not-for-profit, industry-led and industry-managed organization

(MAINS FOCUS)


SOCIETY/ GOVERNANCE

Topic: General Studies 1 & 2:

  • Urbanization, their problems and their remedies. 
  • Mechanisms, laws, institutions and Bodies constituted for the protection and betterment of these vulnerable sections.

Lessons from COVID-19 shutdown

Many festivals in India attract large gathering and they are held without any mishaps every year. On the other hand, economic announcements are always mired with lots of glitch which affect the common citizens more than the expected.

Lockdown period of 21 days, announced by the central government in the wake of coronavirus pandemic, was done to ensure that the damage that could be caused  due to the virus is mitigated. However, there was a lack of contingency plan which affected the migrant workers, construction workers and daily wage labourers the most.

Do you know? 

  • Total cases globally due to coronavirus are more than 8 lakh. 
  • Global deaths due to the virus have reached more than 40,000.
  • In India, the cases have crossed 1500 mark and 45 people have already lost their lives.

Lessons to be learnt 

  • The orders or announcements from the Centre take time to be absorbed and implemented at the state and district levels in a federal structure like India. Therefore the statement should be simultaneously sent to all states which, in turn, should pass it on immediately to local authorities, of which the police force is the most important. 
  • Clear instructions must be given to the police force about the activities which are banned and which are not banned during a curfew so that the normal business does not get affected and the common people are not thrashed without any reason. 
  • All authorities should assemble after such announcement and use internal channels to pass on the information so that life remains normal with the only ban being on movement.
  • A list containing registered and unregistered factories must be prepared so that it is easy to classify industries and segregate those units which are exempted from those that are not.
  • Proper instructions must be given to the factories so that the orders from the government are not interpreted differently and employees are able to reach their place of work without any harassment at the police check post.
  • Requisite passes must be ready and distributed to the concerned units that are allowed to function to prevent any disruptions.
  • It must be ensured that any kind of shutdown should not lead to scarcity of essential commodities in the market.

Way forward

  • As it is too early to take an informed guess about the extension of the lockdown, the governments at the Centre and the states should make sure that the issues are sorted out at the earliest.
  • Sketch outlining all the instructions and exemptions clearly should be prepared and disseminated widely given that the country is well linked through technology and messaging is easy.
  • Measures should be taken to prevent unnecessary hoarding.
  • Since, all the food products have their origins with farmers, any embargo impacts their sales and income, which has to be protected at any cost.

Conclusion

Lockdown, if implemented and co-ordinated properly, doesn’t create any mishaps as much as ill-planned announcement does. Thus, every stakeholder must do their part to make sure that this pandemic doesn’t make a common man’s life more difficult.

Connecting the dots:

  • Staying at home is a privilege for many. Analyse.

(TEST YOUR KNOWLEDGE)


Model questions: (You can now post your answers in comment section)

Note: 

  • Correct answers of today’s questions will be provided in next day’s DNA section. Kindly refer to it and update your answers. 
  • Comments Up-voted by IASbaba are also the “correct answers”.

Q 1. Consider the following statements:

  1. UnderExport Promotion Capital Goods, an exporter can import certain amount of capital goods at zero duty. 
  2. Directorate General of Foreign Trade is the agency of the Ministry of Commerce and Industry. 

Which of the above is/are correct?

  1. 1 only
  2. 2 only
  3. Both 1 and 2
  4. Neither 1 nor 2

Q 2. The headquarter of Tablighi Jamaat is located at which of the following? 

  1. Delhi
  2. Lucknow
  3. Ajmer
  4. Bhopal

Q 3. Consider the following differences between Ambu bags and conventional ventilators:

  1. Ambu bags are inexpensive to produce while conventional ventilators are not. 
  2. Both required continuous power supply to operate. 

Which of the above is/are correct?

  1. 1 only
  2. 2 only
  3. Both 1 and 2
  4. Neither 1 nor 2

Q 4. Consider the following statements:

  1. Convalescent plasma therapy was recently approved by World Health Organisation. 
  2. Antibodies from the recovered coronavirus patient are transferred to critically ill patient in this therapy. 

Which of the above is/are correct?

  1. 1 only
  2. 2 only
  3. Both 1 and 2
  4. Neither 1 nor 2

Q 5. Consider the following statements regarding SAFAR:

  1. It provides Real-time air quality index on 24×7 bases with colour coding. 
  2. It issues health advisory to prepare citizens well in advance.

Which of the above is/are correct?

a) 1 only

b) 2 only

c) Both 1 and 2

d) Neither 1 nor 2


ANSWERS FOR 31st March 2020 TEST YOUR KNOWLEDGE (TYK)

1 A
2 C
3 C
4 C

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