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DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS IAS | UPSC Prelims and Mains Exam – 1st May 2021

  • IASbaba
  • May 1, 2021
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(PRELIMS + MAINS FOCUS)


Drone Delivery Of Covid-19 Vaccines

Part of: GS Prelims and GS – II – Health; Governance

In news

  • Ministry of Civil Aviation (MoCA) and Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) have granted conditional exemption for drone deployment to the Government of Telangana for Experimental delivery of Covid-19 Vaccines.

Key takeaways

  • The permission has been granted within Visual Line of Sight (VLOS) Range using drones.
  • It is valid for a period of one year or until further orders.
  • Earlier this month, similar permission was granted to the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) for conducting feasibility study of Covid-19 vaccine delivery using drones in collaboration with IIT Kanpur.
  • The grant of these permissions is intended to achieve the dual objectives of faster vaccine delivery & improved healthcare access by:
    1. Ensuring primary healthcare delivery at the citizen’s doorstep
    2. Limiting human exposure to COVID congested or COVID prone areas through aerial delivery
    3. Ensuring access to health care to the last mile, especially in remote areas
    4. Possible integration into the middle mile of medical logistics for long range drones
    5. Improving medical supply chain, especially with a third vaccine expected to be commissioned and millions of doses to be transported across India

Scheme For Special Assistance To States For Capital Expenditure For 2021-22

Part of: GS Prelims and GS – III – Economy

In news

  • The Ministry of Finance, Government of India has decided to provide an additional amount of upto Rs. 15,000 crore to States as interest free 50 year loan for spending on capital projects.

Key takeaways

  • The Department of Expenditure has issued fresh guidelines in this regard on the “Scheme of Financial Assistance to States for Capital Expenditure” for the financial year 2021-22.
  • Under the Scheme, financial assistance is provided to the State Governments in the form of 50-year interest free loan. 
  • An amount not exceeding Rs.12,000 crore was earmarked for the scheme for the financial year 2020-21, and a sum of Rs.11,830.29 crore was released to the States.
  • This helped to sustain state level capital expenditure in the pandemic year.
  • In view of the positive response to the scheme and considering the requests of the State Governments, the Government has decided to continue the scheme in the year 2021-22.

Do you know?

The Scheme for Special Assistance to States for Capital Expenditure for 2021-22 has three Parts:

  • Part-I: It is for the North-East and Hill States 
  • Part-II: It is for all other States not included in Part-I. This amount has been allocated amongst these States in proportion to their share of central taxes as per the award of the 15th Finance Commission for the year 2021-22.
  • Part-III: It is for providing incentives to States for monetization/recycling of infrastructure assets and disinvestment of the State Public Sector Enterprises (SPSEs).
  1. An amount of Rs.5,000 crore is allocated for this part of the scheme.
  2. Under this part, States will receive interest free 50 years loan ranging from 33% to 100% of the amount realised by them, through assets monetization, listing and disinvestment.

Legal Metrology (Packaging Rules 2011)

Part of: GS Prelims and GS-III – Economy 

In news

  • According to the Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Importers of medical devices, used particularly for providing oxygen support to Covid-19 patients, are now allowed to import these devices without prior mandatory declaration for the next three months, the said in a notification.

Key takeaways 

  • The importers can make all necessary declarations after the custom clearance, but before they are sold to consumers. 
  • The Legal Metrology (Packaged Commodities) Rules, 2011, make it mandatory to get the approvals prior to the import.
  • Department of Consumer Affairs administers the Legal Metrology Act 2009. 

Do you know? 

  • The act provides for application of legal requirements to measurements and measuring instruments.
  • The objective of Legal Metrology is to ensure public guarantee from the point of view of security and accuracy of the weighments and measurements.
  • The Legal Metrology (Packaged Commodities), Rules 2011 are primarily intended to ensure that the consumers are able to make informed choices by being informed of essential declarations on the pre-packed commodities.

Quality standards for four spices finalised

Part of: GS Prelims and GS-III – Economy 

In news

Key takeaways 

  • The committee forwarded these four new standards to the Codex Alimentarius Commission (CAC) for adoption as full -fledged Codex standards.
  • New work items were also taken up: To develop Codex standards for small cardamom and turmeric, and to develop the first group standard for spices that fall under the class ‘dried fruits and berries’.

Do you know? 

  • CCSCH is the youngest of the Codex Commodity Committees. 
  • The Committee is Chaired by India
  • Spices Board India is its Secretariat.
  • Mandate: To elaborate worldwide, science-based quality standards for spices and culinary herbs, in accordance with the Codex principles of consumer protection and fair trade practices. 
  • Dr M.R. Sudharshan is the current Chairman of the Committee.

Launch of Operation Samudra Setu-II

Part of: GS Prelims and GS – II – International Relations

In news

  • Indian Navy has launched Operation Samudra Setu-II to augment the ongoing national mission for meeting the Oxygen requirements.

Key takeaways

  • Mission deployed Indian Naval warships will undertake shipment of liquid Oxygen filled cryogenic containers and associated medical equipment in support of India’s  fight against COVID-19.
  • Two ships INS Kolkata and INS Talwar have entered port of Manama, Bahrain for embarking and transporting 40MT of liquid oxygen to Mumbai. 
  • INS Jalashwa is enroute to Bangkok and INS Airavat to Singapore for similar missions.
  • Last year Indian Navy had launched Operation Samudra Setu as part of the Vande Bharat Mission and repatriated approx 4,000 stranded and distressed Indian citizens from Maldives, Sri Lanka and Iran.


(Mains Focus)


GOVERNANCE/ HEALTH

Topic:

  • GS-2: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.

India’s Broken Sanitation System

Context: Newly-built “dry latrines” and “hanging toilets” in rural India are the result of the lockdowns of 2020-21 despite the Prohibition of Employment of Manual Scavengers and their Rehabilitation Act, 2013, and a strict ban

Issues

  • Decline in Usage: Sanitary toilet usage has declined because of the COVID-19 scare as, currently, more than six lakh toilets in rural India have acute water shortage
  • Emergence of Open-defecation: Small pits filled with human excrement near construction sites in Uttar Pradesh highlight the re-emergence open-defecation pattern in India
  • Issue of “hanging toilets”: In West Bengal, more toilets are found to be constructed as “raised beds with small holes” at the centre. These confinements, known as hanging toilets, are built by families who do not want to use sanitary toilets as they are always filled with excrement and faeces.
  • Substandard Materials Used: In Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan, the toilets in villages have become “death traps” because of the usage of substandard material for construction. 
  • Poor Upkeep of Toilet Infrastructure: Around 1,20,000 toilets have no water supply and thousands of toilets are completely abandoned, with collapsing roofs, water pipes in poor shape and soggy, broken doors.
  • Hotbeds of disease: The usage of both dry latrines and hanging toilets puts the communities around them at high risk of illness, beyond COVID-19. 
  • Increasing Burden on Sanitation Workers: In rural India, long power cuts with no water coverage amidst the pandemic have again put the burden of maintaining sanitary toilets on sanitation workers. “Dry latrines”(toilets without flush or pit latrines) have been the biggest curse for India’s sanitation workers for it becomes additional burden for them to maintain it.
  • Gender-Based Sanitation Insecurity: There is a disproportionate burden faced by women regarding shortage of or the non-availability of sanitation facilities. Women face threats to their life and feel unsafe while seeking a toilet facility or while going out for open defecation.
  • Corruption: Forfeited bills and corruption by contractors keep toilets from having long-lasting infrastructure. 
  • Impact of Lockdown: The lockdowns have again multiplied the sanitation struggle in India, so much so that people are fearing the outcome of using these toilets every day.

Way Ahead

  • Re-Evaluating the State of Toilets: The dependence on unimproved water sources in rural India even within sanitary toilets increases the need to re-evaluate the obsession with toilet construction in India. 
  • Reforms for Sanitation Labours: The sanitation system needs to go hand in hand with the water system, combined with an assessment of sanitation behaviour and sanitation labour reforms in India, at every single step.
  • Eradication of Dry Latrines and Hanging Toilets: The usage of both dry latrines and hanging toilets puts the communities around them at high risk of illness, beyond Covid-19. Therefore, both the construction and usage of these units needs to be eradicated.

Conclusion

Instead of focusing so heavily on building new toilets, we need to address the problems of actual toilet usage in rural India.

Connecting the dots:


GOVERNANCE/ HEALTH

Topic:

  • GS-2: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.

Antimicrobial resistance (AMR)

About

  • The phenomenon by which bacteria and fungi evolve and become resistant to presently available medical treatment is known as anti-microbial resistance. It is one of the greatest challenges of the 21st century.
  • Drug resistance in microbes emerges for several reasons. These include 
    • The misuse of antimicrobials in medicine
    • Inappropriate use in agriculture
    • Contamination around pharmaceutical manufacturing sites where untreated waste releases large amounts of active antimicrobials into the environment. 

Concerns

  • Undoes Medical Progress: AMR represents an existential threat to modern medicine. AMR is a slow tsunami that threatens to undo a century of medical progress. 
  • Increased Mortality: AMR is already responsible for up to 7,00,000 deaths a year. Neonatal and maternal mortality will increase due to AMR.
  • Economic Loss: Unless urgent measures are taken to address this threat, we could soon face an unprecedented health and economic crisis of 10 million annual deaths and costs of up to $100 trillion by 2050.
  • Increased Vulnerability to infections: Without functional antimicrobials to treat bacterial and fungal infections, even the most common surgical procedures, as well as cancer chemotherapy, will become fraught with risk from untreatable infections. 
  • Disproportionate Burden on Poor Economies: The low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) of Asia and Africa are at severe risk of being overrun by untreatable infectious diseases.

Way Ahead

  • Comprehensive Surveillance Framework: To track the spread of resistance in microbes, surveillance measures to identify these organisms need to expand beyond hospitals and encompass livestock, wastewater and farm run-offs. 
  • Sustained Investments: Finally, since microbes will inevitably continue to evolve and become resistant even to new antimicrobials, we need sustained investments and global coordination to detect and combat new resistant strains on an ongoing basis.
  • Managing Pharmaceutical Waste: Given the critical role of manufacturing and environmental contamination in spreading AMR through pharmaceutical waste, there is a need to look into measures to curb the amount of active antibiotics released in pharmaceutical waste.
  • Controlled Prescription & Consumer Awareness: Efforts to control prescription through provider incentives should be accompanied by efforts to educate consumers to reduce inappropriate demand.
  • Multi-sectoral Coordination: AMR must no longer be the remit solely of the health sector, but needs engagement from a wide range of stakeholders, representing agriculture, trade and the environment. Solutions in clinical medicine must be integrated with improved surveillance of AMR in agriculture, animal health and the environment. 

(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 Which of the following operation has been launched to augment the ongoing national mission for meeting the Oxygen requirements?

  1. Operation Raahat
  2. Operation Samudra Setu
  3. Operation Samudra Setu-II
  4. Operation Madad

Q.2 Consider the following statements regarding Codex Alimentarius Commission (CAC):

  1. It was established by WHO alone. 
  2. Its objective is to To protect the health of consumers and ensure fair practices in the food trade.

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 regarding Codex Committee On Spices And Culinary Herbs (CCSCH):

  1. India is the host country. 
  2. The committee has developed and finalized standards for cloves, oregano, basil, and ginger in its recently held fifth session

Which of the above is/are correct? 

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

ANSWERS FOR 1st May 2021 TEST YOUR KNOWLEDGE (TYK)

1 D
2 C
3 C

Must Read

On silent pandemic of anxiety and mental ailments:

The Indian Express

On Supreme Court intervention against clampdown on information:

The Hindu

On India-Japan relationship:

The Hindu

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