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Daily Current Affairs IAS | UPSC Prelims and Mains Exam – 6th April 2020

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  • April 6, 2020
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IAS UPSC Prelims and Mains Exam – 6th April 2020

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(PRELIMS + MAINS FOCUS)


Rapid antibody-based tests for COVID-19 hotspots first 

 Part of: GS Prelims and GS-II – Health 

 In News: 

  • According to The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), the rapid antibody based blood test for COVID-19 will be deployed in clusters and hot spots showing high incidence of confirmed cases. 

Key takeaways: 

  • Moreover, over all testing for COVID-19 using real-time reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) is also increasing.  
  • All States/UTs have been issued guidelines for implementing Rapid antibody – based tests. 
  • Reports shall be entered into the ICMR portal similar to results of real-time RT PCR tests for COVID-19.  

Important value additions: 

The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) 

  • It is the apex body in India for the formulation, coordination and promotion of biomedical research.  
  • The ICMR is funded by the Government of India through the Department of Health Research, Ministry of Health.  

Real-time reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR)  

  • It is a laboratory technique combining reverse transcription of RNA into DNA.  
  • It detects the virus.  

Rapid antibody – based test 

  • It uses blood.  
  • It detects the body’s response to the virus.  
  • A positive result tells that the body was exposed to the virus.  

Pooled sampling 

  • It means testing samples from multiple patients with a single PCR test.  
  • It has been used previously in the early stages of the HIV epidemic. 
  • Such tests reduce the time, cost, and resources required.  
  • It identifies infected people in a population and estimates the infection rate.  
  • This allows medical experts to identify community clusters for targeted public health interventions.  

Testing, treatment made available for free under Ayushman Bharat scheme 

 Part of: GS Prelims and GS-II – Health; Welfare schemes  

In News: 

  • The Central government has decided to provide free testing and treatment of COVID-19 under the Ayushman Bharat Scheme. 

Key takeaways: 

  • The empaneled hospitals can use their own authorised testing facilities or tie up with an authorised testing facility for the scheme.  
  • These tests would be carried out as per the protocol set by Indian Council for Medical Research (ICMR).  
  • Private labs approved by the ICMR can carry out the tests.  
  • Private hospitals shall also be covered under Ayushman Bharat Scheme to increase the rate of testing.  

Important value additions: 

Ayushman Bharat Scheme. 

  • It is a flagship scheme of the Indian government’s National Health Policy.  
  • It aims to provide free health coverage at the secondary and tertiary level to its bottom 40% poor and vulnerable population.  
  • It is the world’s largest and fully state sponsored health assurance scheme.  

Jeevan: Prototype ventilator by Railways’ Rail Coach Factory (RCF)  

Part of: GS Prelims and GS-II – Health; GS-III – Science and technology  

In News: 

  • The Railways’ Rail Coach Factory (RCF) in Kapurthala has become the first PSU to develop a prototype ventilator that has an original design and will cost a fraction of what regular ventilators cost. 

Key takeaways: 

  • The prototype is named Jeevan. 
  • It shall go for final testing at the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) before being put to production to aid the country’s fight against COVID-19. 
  • The heart of the device is the compressed air container to work the Ambu bag with air. 
  • It doesn’t have any moving parts like servo motor or piston or link mechanism.  


Centre For Augmenting War With COVID-19 Health Crisis (CAWACH): A platform for start – ups 

Part of: GS Prelims and GS-II – Health; GS-III – Science and technology  

In News: 

  • Department of Science & Technology has approved setting up of a Centre for Augmenting WAR with COVID-19 Health Crisis (CAWACH) to scoutevaluate and support the innovations and start-ups that address COVID-19 challenges. 

Key takeaways: 

  • The Society for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (SINE) shall be the Implementing Agency of the CAWACH. 
  • The CAWACH’s mandate will be to extend timely support to potential startups by providing financial assistance and fund innovations that are deployable in the market within next 6 months. 
  • It will identify upto 50 innovations and startups that are in the area of novel, low cost, safe and effective ventilatorsrespiratory aidsprotective gears and any effective interventions to control COVID-19.  

(MAINS FOCUS)


INTERNATIONAL/ECONOMY

Topic: General Studies 2:

  • Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests.

Oil in Post COVID-19 world 

With COVID-19 pandemic spreading to nearly 180 countries and impacting the global economy by bringing it to near standstill combined with the recent oil-market meltdown can bring changes in Oil Sector post the crisis 

Let us have a look at possible changes and what India should do to prepare for an uncertain & contingent future 

Do You Know? 

  • Presently, the price of oil is nearly $30/bbl. which is at its lowest in a decade, and volatile downwards.  
  • The average price in 2019 was $64/bbl (Crude priceshad hit a record $147/bbl in July 2008) 
  • It is estimated that oil consumption in the current quarter will fall by approx. 25 mbd (nearly that of OPEC’s production) 

Why has Oil Prices reduced? 

The reason is two-fold. 

  • One, the Saudis have ramped up production from 9.8mbd to in excess of 12 mbd to hold on to their market share post the failure of OPEC meeting with Russia (click here for details) 
  • Two, the unprecedented COVID-induced fall in demandThe two main drivers of oil consumption — transportation and industry – have nearly stopped. 

Three consequences now hang over the petroleum market. 

1. Budgetary crisis in major oil-exporting country

  • Qatar needs an oil price of around $40/bbl to balance its fiscal activities.  
  • Algeria needs an excess of $100/bbl and Saudi Arabia requires around $80/bbl. 
  • Reduction in oil prices means lack of adequate financial resources to sustain their social and economic commitments. 
  • Even though some of these countries have abundant sovereign reserves, the long term outlook (of price rise) doesn’t look positive 
  • This means that countries have to cut back subsidies & increase taxes which may cause political unrest 
  • Impact on India: Political instability in oil supplying nations endangers our supply security 

2. The international oil industry will be reconfigured

  • Large number of companies are finding it difficult to cover their cash costs and have been forced to shut their operations 
  • Those that will survive the crisis will have substantially slimmed balance sheets and reduced valuations 
  • Exxon’s market capitalisation has, for instance, halved over the March 2020 .

3. Impact on India:  

  • International interest in divestment plans of BPCL reduces 
  • The $40-billion Ratnagiri refinery project by Saudi Aramco and UAE may be slowed down 
  • A drop in the intensity of domestic exploration. 

 4. Behaviours will shift that will deepen uncertainties.

  • Social distancing may change the dynamics of “shared mobility”.  
  • Teleporting may reduce business travel impacting oil demand 
  • Increased environmental consciousness may accelerate the push towards decarbonisation 
  • As a result, the old statistics models used in petroleum sector may not hold true for business & investment projections 

Steps that India should take to tackle the post-COVID petroleum order 

  • India should build into its oil supply plans in the likelihood of civil strife in oil producing countries. 
  • It should fill the oil caverns with strategic reserves. 
  • It should increase its imports of gas (LNG) from Australia, Africa and the US. This will reduce the political risks of dependency on oil supplies from the Middle East. 
  • Provide autonomy to Oil-PSUs, the lack of it has stifled management and operational efficiency of these companies. 
  • India should create an institutional basis for an integrated energy policy – that makes optimum use of renewable & non-renewable sources of energy 

Connecting the dots 

  • Airline industry in Post-COVID world 
  • India’s INDCs pledged in Paris deal 

POLITY/ FEDERALISM

Topic: General Studies 2

  • Functions and responsibilities of the Union and the States, issues and challenges pertaining to the federal structure

COVID-19: Inter-State Movement (Kerala-Karnataka Case study) 

The lockdown imposed by authorities in the wake of COVID-19 pandemic has restricted inter-state movement which has opened up the questions on Federalism in India.  

This has been exemplified in the Kerala-Karnataka border issue 

Brief Background of the issue 

  • NH-66 connects the Kasargod district of Kerala with Mangalore of Karnataka  
  • Many in Kasargod district of Kerala depend on medical facilities in Mangalore for emergencies, while others rely on inter-State movement for essential medicines to reach them 
  • Karnataka had closed the NH on 21st Marchwhich was opposed by Kerala 
  • Karnataka’s action was based on the fact that Kasaragod has Kerala’s largest number of positive cases of COVID-19 

What has been Judiciary’s stand on this? 

  • The Kerala High court observed that the Mangaluru-Kasaragod stretch was part of the National Highway network and has directed the Centre to ensure free vehicle movement on this stretch. 
  • Karnataka contended that it was not bound to act on an order issued by the Kerala High Court.  
  • Centre is yet to act on this order 

Concerns raised in this issue 

  • Article 21Denying emergency medical aid amounts to a violation of the right to life and liberty 

Similar actions by Kerala government 

  • Kerala Governor promulgated the ‘Kerala Epidemic Diseases Ordinance, 2020’ to arm itself with extraordinary powers to deal with the pandemic. 
  • One of its clauses says the State can seal its borders for such period as necessary – similar to what Karnataka government has done 
  • Another provision empowers Kerala government to restrict the duration of essential or emergency services, including health, food supply and fuel 

Human Rights Vs State’s Public Health Security  

  • Whether legal measures taken by the State to prevent the further spread of an epidemic can extend to a point where there is no exception even for medical needs 

Division of Power: 

  • Inter-State migration and quarantine are under the Union List 
  • While the prevention of infectious diseases moving from one State to another is under the Concurrent List 
  • This means that States have the power to impose border restriction 
  • However, the responsibility to prevent a breakdown of inter-State relations over such disputes is on the Centre. 

Way Ahead 

  • The concern of Karnataka is legitimate given that there is a danger of spread of infection from a district which is an hotspot of the COVID-19 
  • Nevertheless, its actions should not cause constraints on movement of essential medicinal supplies 
  • Centre has to broker an agreement between both states at least for the movement of essential items needed for health & survival. 

Connecting the dots 

  • Interstate Council and Zonal Councils 
  • NH-766 between Kerala & Karnataka and its issues 

(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. Real-time reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction detects the virus.  
  2. Rapid antibody – based test detects the body’s response to the virus.  

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 Consider the following statements:

  1. Free testing and treatment of COVID-19 shall be available under the Ayushman Bharat Scheme. 
  2. The testing can be done only by the government hospitals.  

Which of the above is/are correct?

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

Q.3 Consider the following statements:

  1. Prototype ventilator named Jeevan is developed by Ministry of Health and welfare.  
  2. The heart of the device is compressed air container.  

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 Centre for Augmenting War with COVID-19 Health Crisis is a platform for which of the following?

  1. Medical Health professionals  
  2. NGOs 
  3. Startups and innovations  
  4. Various government ministries 

ANSWERS FOR 4th April 2020 TEST YOUR KNOWLEDGE (TYK)

1 C
2 C
3 C
4 C

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