Daily Current Affairs for UPSC IAS: 19th November 2020

Daily Current Affairs for Government Exams:

Today Current Affairs: 19th November 2020 for UPSC IAS exams, State PSC exams, SSC CGL, State SSC, RRB, Railways, Banking Exam & IBPS, etc

 

Contents:

  1. Defense Acquisition Procedure of 2020 (DAP 2020):
  2. Fifteenth Finance Commission (FFC):
  3. Chapare Virus:
  4. Study on MGNREGS
  5. Iran nuclear deal:
  6. NPR and Census 2021
  7. Other important current affairs

 

 

1.Defence Acquisition Procedure of 2020 (DAP 2020):

The Indian Air Force (IAF) is looking at leasing trainer aircraft and light utility helicopters (LUH) for a short duration till the indigenous platforms under development are inducted into service.

  • The recently released Defence Acquisition Procedure (DAP), 2020 allows leasing of military platforms.
  • It was unveiled in September this year.
  • The new policy superseded the Defence Procurement Procedure of 2016 from October 1.

Highlights of the new policy:

  • Reservations for Indigenous firms: The policy reserves several procurement categories for indigenous firms.
  • DAP 2020 defines an “Indian vendor” as a company that is owned and controlled by resident Indian citizens, with foreign direct investment (FDI) not more than 49 percent.
  • New Buy (Global–Manufacturer in India) category: This stipulates indigenization of at least 50 percent of the overall contract value of a foreign purchase bought with the intention of subsequently building it in India with technology transfer.
  • Greater indigenous content: It promotes greater indigenous content in arms and equipment of the military procures, including equipment manufactured in India under license. In most acquisition categories, DAP-2020 stipulates 10 percent higher indigenization than DPP 2016.

The “import embargo list” of 101 items that the government promulgated last month has been specifically incorporated into DAP 2020.

  • An embargo is a government order that restricts commerce with a specified country or the exchange of specific goods.

 

2.Fifteenth Finance Commission (FFC):

The Fifteenth Finance Commission (FFC) has made recommendations about the need for reprioritizing public spending to fix the creaky health infrastructure exposed by the coronavirus pandemic.

  • FFC has submitted its report to the President advising how to share tax revenues with states for the Financial Year (FY) 2022-26 period.
  • The FFC report also makes recommendations about performance incentives to states in several reform areas.

Recommendations:

  • FFC has mooted a greater role for public-private partnerships (PPPs) to ramp up the health infrastructure and scale up public spending on health from 0.95% of GDP to 2.5% by 2024.
  • While public outlays should focus on primary health care at the panchayat and municipality level, private players should be relied on for specialty healthcare.
  • The total spending of around 0.95% of GDP is not adequate in relation to the commitments under the National Health Policy of 2017.
  • The 2017 Policy proposes raising public health expenditure to 2.5% of the GDP in a time-bound manner.
  • There is a need for a more holistic approach to encouraging PPP in the health sector. There should be a constant working relationship and the government should not resort to the private sector in the case of an emergency only.
  • The trust deficit that exists between industry and government needs to be bridged.
  • District hospitals can become great grounds for training paramedics, creating health, and employment multipliers.
  • FFC Chairman emphasized on the need to create a cadre for medical officers as mentioned in the All India Services Act 1951.
  • All-India health service is needed to address issues within the health sector.
  • There is a need for substantial improvements in the working conditions for doctors in government hospitals, many of whom are hired on a contract basis by States.

 

3.Chapare Virus:

Researchers from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have recently discovered a rare Ebola-like illness that is believed to have first originated in rural Bolivia in 2004.

  • The virus is named Chapare after the province in which it was first observed.
  • Chapare, is a rural province in the northern region of central Bolivia.

About:

  • Chapare Virus belongs to the same Arenavirus family that is responsible for illnesses such as the Ebola virus disease (EVD). It causes Chapare Hemorrhagic Fever (CHHF).
  • Chapare virus are generally carried by rats and can be transmitted through direct contact with the infected rodent, its urine and droppings, or through contact with an infected person.
  • Symptoms of Chapare Hemorrhagic Fever (CHHF):
    • Hemorrhagic fever much like Ebola.
    • Viral hemorrhagic fevers are a severe and life-threatening kind of illness that can affect multiple organs and damage the walls of blood vessels.
    • Abdominal pain,
    • Vomiting,
    • Bleeding gums,
    • Skin rash,
    • Pain behind the eyes.
  • Transmission: Virus can spread from person to person. Chapare spreads only through direct contact with bodily fluids.
  • Chapare virus is much more difficult to catch than the coronavirus as it is not transmissible via the respiratory route. Instead, Chapare spreads only through direct contact with bodily fluids.
  • Treatment: Since there are no specific drugs to treat the disease, patients generally receive supportive care such as intravenous fluids.
    • Intravenous therapy is a medical technique that delivers a liquid directly into a person’s vein. The intravenous route of administration is commonly used for rehydration solutions or to provide nutrition in those who cannot consume food or water by mouth.

 

4.Study on MGNREGS:

LibTech India had recently conducted a study on MGNREGS. The report was released recently.

Key findings:

  • For most rural workers dependent on the MGNREGS, their labor does not end at the worksite.
  • Many of them are forced to make multiple trips to the bank, adding travel costs and income losses, and face repeated rejections of payment, biometric errors, and wrong information, just to get their hands on their wages.
  • Even in regular times, these last-mile challenges make it hard for workers to access their own wages in a timely manner. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the situation is exacerbated as transport becomes harder, and there is no question of physical distancing at a rural bank.

About MGNREGA:

  • The scheme was introduced as a social measure that guarantees “the right to work”.
  • The key tenet of this social measure and labor law is that the local government will have to legally provide at least 100 days of wage employment in rural India to enhance their quality of life.
  • Key objectives:
    • Generation of paid rural employment of not less than 100 days for each worker who volunteers for unskilled labour.
    • Proactively ensuring social inclusion by strengthening livelihood base of rural poor.
    • Creation of durable assets in rural areas such as wells, ponds, roads and canals.
    • Reduce urban migration from rural areas.
    • Create rural infrastructure by using untapped rural labour.
  • Eligibility criteria for receiving the benefits under MGNREGA scheme:
    • Must be Citizen of India to seek MGNREGA benefits.
    • Job seeker has completed 18 years of age at the time of application.
    • The applicant must be part of a local household (i.e. application must be made with local Gram Panchayat).
    • Applicant must volunteer for unskilled labour.
  • The Ministry of Rural Development (MRD), Govt of India is monitoring the entire implementation of this scheme in association with state governments.
  • Individual beneficiary-oriented works can be taken up on the cards of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes, small or marginal farmers or beneficiaries of land reforms or beneficiaries under the Indira Awaas Yojana of the Government of India.
  • Within 15 days of submitting the application or from the day work is demanded, wage employment will be provided to the applicant.
  • Right to get unemployment allowance in case employment is not provided within fifteen days of submitting the application or from the date when work is sought.
  • Social Audit of MGNREGA works is mandatory, which lends to accountability and transparency.
  • The Gram Sabha is the principal forum for wage seekers to raise their voices and make demands.
  • It is the Gram Sabha and the Gram Panchayat which approves the shelf of works under MGNREGA and fix their priority.

 

5.Iran nuclear deal:

Iran has said that it will “automatically” return to its nuclear commitments if U.S. President-elect Joe Biden lifts sanctions imposed over the past two years.

  • Decades-old U.S.-Iranian tensions escalated after U.S. President Donald Trump unilaterally withdrew from a landmark nuclear agreement in 2018 and then reinforced crippling sanctions.
  • Iran has since May 2019 gradually suspended most of its key obligations under the agreement.
  • While Mr. Trump has sought to maximize pressure on Iran and isolate it globally, Mr. Biden has proposed to offer the Islamic republic a “credible path back to diplomacy”.
  • Besides, America is also obligated to implement Resolution 2231 as a member of the United Nations and its Security Council.
  • On 20 July 2015, the Security Council unanimously adopted resolution 2231 (2015) endorsing the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).
  • Resolution 2231 provides for the termination of the provisions of previous Security Council resolutions on the Iranian nuclear issue and establishes specific restrictions that apply to all States without exception.

Iran nuclear deal:

  • Iran agreed to rein in its nuclear program in a 2015 deal struck with the US, UK, Russia, China, France and Germany.
  • Under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPoA) Tehran agreed to significantly cut its stores of centrifuges, enriched uranium, and heavy-water, all key components for nuclear weapons.
  • The JCPOA established the Joint Commission, with the negotiating parties all represented, to monitor the implementation of the agreement.

Trump and opponents to the deal said it is flawed because it gives Iran access to billions of dollars but does not address Iran’s support for groups the U.S. considers terrorists, like Hamas and Hezbollah.

  • They noted it also doesn’t curb Iran’s development of ballistic missiles and that the deal phases out by 2030. They said Iran has lied about its nuclear program in the past.

 

6.NPR and Census 2021:

The office of the Registrar General of India (RGI) has said the schedule or the questionnaire of the National Population Register (NPR) is “being finalized” and the information about the expected date of first phase of Census 2021 is “not available.”

  • The first phase of Census 2021 and updating of the NPR was postponed indefinitely until further orders on 25th March 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
  • As many as 13 States and Union Territories have opposed the update of the NPR due to its link with the proposed National Register of Citizens (NRC) and the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2019 (CAA).

National Population Register:

  • NPR is a database containing a list of all usual residents of the country. Its objective is to have a comprehensive identity database of people residing in the country.
  • A usual resident for the purposes of NPR is a person who has resided in a place for six months or more, and intends to reside there for another six months or more.
  • The NPR was first collected in 2010 and then updated in 2015.
  • It is generated through house-to-house enumeration during the “house-listing” phase of the census, which is held once in 10 years.
  • The last census was in 2011, and the next was scheduled for 2021.

NPR vs Census:

  • The census involves a detailed questionnaire – there were 29 items to be filled up in the 2011 census – aimed at eliciting the particulars of every person, including age, sex, marital status, children, occupation, birthplace, mother tongue, religion, disability, and whether they belonged to any Scheduled Caste or Scheduled Tribe.
  • On the other hand, the NPR collects basic demographic data and biometric particulars.
  • The census is legally backed by the Census Act, 1948.
  • The NPR is a mechanism outlined in a set of rules framed under the Citizenship Act, 1955.

 

Other important current affairs:

1.The Union Minister for Health and Family Welfare digitally addressed the Ministerial meeting of the Global Prevention Coalition (GPC) for Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) Prevention.

  • It was hosted by the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) and United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) on behalf of the Global HIV Prevention Coalition (GPC).
  • Global HIV Prevention Coalition (GPC): It is a global coalition of United Nations Member States, donors, civil society organizations which was established in the year 2017 to support global efforts to accelerate HIV prevention.
  • Membership: It includes the 25 highest HIV burden countries, UNAIDS Cosponsors, donors, civil society and private sector organizations.
  • Goal: To strengthen and sustain political commitment for primary prevention by setting a common agenda among key policy-makers, funders and programme implementers.

2.The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) has warned against the indiscriminate use of convalescent plasma therapy (CPT) for treating COVID-19.

  • The ICMR has found that the therapy “did not lead to a reduction in progression to severe COVID or all-cause mortality in the group that received convalescent plasma therapy (CPT) as compared to the group that did not receive CPT”.
  • The CPT could be used with specific criteria, including that potential donors could give plasma after 14 days of symptom resolution (testing negative is not necessary).
  • A potential recipient should be in the early stage of COVID-19 (three to seven days from the onset of symptoms, but no later than 10 days) and should have no IgG antibody against COVID-19 by an appropriate test.
  • Plasma is the liquid part of the blood.
  • Convalescent plasma, extracted from the blood of patients recovering from an infection, is a source of antibodies against the infection. The therapy involves using their plasma to help others recover.
  • For Covid-19, this has been one of the treatment options. The donor would have to be a documented case of Covid-19 and healthy for 28 days since the last symptoms.

3.Some patients infected with Covid-19 have been found suffering from Guillain Barre Syndrome (GBS).

  • It is a very rare autoimmune disorder in which the patient’s immune system attacks nerves.
  • The exact cause of Guillain-Barre syndrome is unknown, but as per the World Health Organisation (WHO), GBS is often preceded by an infection.
  • This could be a bacterial or viral infection.
  • It may also be triggered by vaccine administration or surgery.
  • In the past, patients of Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS), Zika virus, Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV), Herpes virus, and Campylobacter jejuni have shown symptoms of GBS.
  • Link with Covid-19:
    • The immune system, in an attempt to kill the coronavirus, accidentally starts attacking its own peripheral nervous system.
    • The peripheral nervous system is a network of nerves that lead from the brain and spinal cord (i.e. central nervous system) to different parts of the body. Attacking them can affect limb functions.
    • An interval of 5-10 days is noticed between onset of GBS symptoms and Covid-19 infection, but some doctors say it can also take weeks after Covid-19 infection for a person to develop GBS.

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