Today Current Affairs: 22nd May 2021 for UPSC IAS exams, State PSC exams, SSC CGL, State SSC, RRB, Railways, Banking Exam & IBPS, etc
Table of Contents
Kyasanur Forest Disease:
A new point-of-care test has been found to be highly sensitive in the rapid diagnosis of Kyasanur Forest Disease (KFD).
- This disease is also known as monkey fever.
- It is developed by Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR)-National Institute of Virology.
- It includes a battery-operated Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) analyser, which is a portable, lightweight and universal cartridge-based sample pre-treatment kit and nucleic acid extraction device that aid in sample processing at the point of care.
- It would be beneficial for the diagnosis of KFD as the outbreaks mainly happen in remote areas, where there is lack of well-equipped sample handling and laboratory testing facilities.
- It would be useful in quick patient management and controlling further spread of the virus.
About Kyasanur Forest Disease:
- It is caused by the Kyasanur Forest disease Virus (KFDV), which primarily affects humans and monkeys.
- It was first identified in 1957 in a sick monkey from the Kyasanur Forest in Karnataka. Since then, between 400-500 human cases per year have been reported.
- Eventually, KFD emerged as a grave public health problem spreading through the entire Western Ghats.
- In nature, the virus is maintained mainly in hard ticks (Haemaphysalis spinigera), monkeys, rodents, and birds.
- To humans, it may occur after a tick bite or contact with an infected animal (a sick or recently dead monkey).
- Characterized by chills, frontal headache, body ache, and high fever for five to 12 days with a case fatality rate of 3 to 5%.
7th Meeting Of The BRICS Astronomy Working Group (BAWG):
India virtually hosted the 7th meeting of the BRICS Astronomy Working Group (BAWG) under the Science, Technology, and Innovation track of the BRICS 2021.
- The Inter-University Centre for Astronomy and Astrophysics (IUCAA), Pune, and Department of Science and Technology (DST) coordinated the meeting.
- BRICS is an acronym for the grouping of the world’s leading emerging economies, namely Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.
- In 2001, the British Economist Jim O’Neill coined the term BRIC to describe the four emerging economies of Brazil, Russia, India, and China.
- The grouping was formalized during the first meeting of BRIC Foreign Ministers’ in 2006.
- South Africa was invited to join BRIC in December 2010, after which the group adopted the acronym BRICS.
- India has assumed the BRICS Presidency from January 2021.
About BRICS Astronomy Working Group:
- It provides a platform for BRICS member countries to collaborate in the field of astronomy, recommending that the focal points in each country should present the scientific results of the work being carried out in each country.
- This will help seek funding support to realize the flagship project whenever funding opportunities are announced by BRICS funding agencies.
- At the meeting, the members indicated future directions of research in this area such as building a network of intelligent telescope and data network, the study of transient astronomical phenomena in-universe, big data, artificial intelligence, machine learning application to process the voluminous data generated nowadays due to enhance multi-wavelength telescope observatory.
Mobile Monitoring Software (NMMS) App And Area Officer Monitoring App:
Union Minister of Rural Development launched National Mobile Monitoring Software (NMMS) app and the Area officer monitoring App.
- The NMMS App permits taking real-time attendance of workers at Mahatma Gandhi NREGS worksites along with a geotagged photographs, which will increase citizen oversight of the program besides potentially enabling processing payments faster.
- Area Officer Monitoring App facilitates them to record their findings online along with time-stamped and go-coordinate tagged photograph for all the schemes of Deptt of Rural Development- Mahatma Gandhi NREGS, PMAYG, PMGSY.
- This would also enable not only better record keeping of inspections by field and supervisory officials but also facilitate analysis of the findings for better program implementation.
Surplus Transfer : RBI:
The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) announced a surplus transfer of ₹99,122 crore for the 9-month period from July 2020 to March 2021.
- The higher-than-expected dividend or surplus transfer to the government comes as the government is expecting a sharp sequential fall in tax collections due to the severe second wave of COVID-19 which has forced lockdowns in several States.
- This surplus likely reflects the central bank’s higher income from their open market operations as well as receipts from FX sales.
- The government had budgeted to receive a surplus of about ₹50,000 crores from the RBI to be accounted for in the budget estimates for 2021/22, while in the previous full accounting year, the RBI had transferred ₹57,128 crores as surplus.
- Barring 2018/19, this is the highest ever transfer by the RBI in an accounting period. In FY19, ₹1.76 lakh crore was transferred to the government which included a one-time transfer of extra reserves.
- The government is likely to find it challenging to meet its privatization and disinvestment target of $24 billion while goods and services tax (GST) revenues are also likely to fall.
- The RBI also decided to maintain a Contingency Risk Buffer at 5.50% in line with recommendations of the Bimal Jalan Committee report.
- RBI will move to an April to March accounting year from 2021/22, from a July to June year.
Pandit Deendayal Upadhyay National Welfare Fund For Sportspersons:
The Ministry of Youth Affairs & Sports (MYAS) has approved an amount of Rs 2 Lakh for Karnataka’s V Tejaswini Bai, who won the Arjuna Award in 2011 and was a member of the Women’s Kabaddi team that won gold medals at the 2010 and 2014 Asian Games respectively.
- The financial assistance has been approved from the Pandit Deendayal Upadhyay National Welfare Fund for the Sportspersons (PDUNWFS).
About the Fund:
- Set up in March, 1982 with a view to assisting outstanding Sportspersons of yesteryear, living in indigent circumstances who had brought glory to the Country in sports.
- The scheme was revised in May, 2016 to provide for lump sum ex-gratia assistance to outstanding Sportspersons of yesteryears.
- Provision of pension has been done away with as there is already a Scheme of Pension for Meritorious Sportspersons.
- The Fund shall be utilized for the following objectives:
- To provide suitable assistance to outstanding sports persons now living in indigent sportspersons.
- To provide suitable assistance to outstanding sports persons injured during the period of their training for competitions and also during the competitions, depending on the nature of the injury.
- To provide suitable assistance to outstanding sports persons who bring glory to the country in the international field and who are disabled as an after effect of their strenuous training or otherwise and to provide them assistance for medical treatment.
- To administrator and apply the funds of the Fund to promote the welfare of the sports persons generally in order to alleviate distress among them and their dependents in indigent circumstances.
- To administer and apply the funds of the Fund for active sports persons individually or collectively as a group.
- To do all other things which are incidental to the above objectives.
Defense Institute of Physiology and Allied Sciences (DIPAS), a laboratory of Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), has developed an antibody detection-based kit ‘DIPCOVAN’, the DIPAS-VDX COVID-19 IgG Antibody Microwell ELISA for sero-surveillance.
- The DIPCOVAN kit can detect both spike as well as nucleocapsid (S&N) proteins of the SARS-CoV-2 virus with a high sensitivity of 97 percent and specificity of 99 percent.
- The kit has been developed in association with Vanguard Diagnostics Pvt Ltd, a development and manufacturing diagnostics company based in New Delhi.
- DIPCOVAN is intended for the qualitative detection of IgG antibodies in human serum or plasma, targeting SARS-CoV-2 related antigens.
- It offers a significantly faster turn-around time as it requires just 75 minutes to conduct the test without any cross-reactivity with other diseases.
- The kit has a shelf life of 18 months.
Personal Guarantors Liable For Corporate Debt: SC:
The Supreme Court upheld a government moves to allow lenders to initiate insolvency proceedings against personal guarantors, who are usually promoters of big business houses, along with the stressed corporate entities for whom they gave a guarantee.
- It held that November 15, 2019, government notification allowing creditors, usually financial institutions and banks, to move against personal guarantors under the Indian Bankruptcy and Insolvency Code (IBC) was “legal and valid”.
- The court said there was an “intrinsic connection” between personal guarantors and their corporate debtors.
- It was this “intimate” connection that made the government recognize personal guarantors as a “separate species” under the IBC.
- It was again this intimacy that made the government decide that corporate debtors and their personal guarantors should be dealt with by a common forum — National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) — through the same adjudicatory process.
- Section 60(2) of the Code had required the bankruptcy proceedings of corporate debtors and their personal guarantors to be held before a common forum — the NCLT.
Kalakshetra: Centre For Artistic Endeavour:
It is an arts and cultural academy dedicated to the preservation of traditional values in Indian art and crafts, especially in the field of Bharatanatyam dance and Gandharvaveda music.
- Founded in 1936 by the vibrant visionary Rukmini Devi Arundale.
- The Institution stands testimony to her dream of creating a space where the essence of Indian thought would find expression through artistic education.
- Located in Chennai, the Kalakshetra Foundation, as it is known today, is a vital center for the study and performance of fine arts.
- In 1994, an Act of the Parliament of India recognised the Kalakshetra Foundation as an “Institute of National Importance.”
International Day for Biological Diversity:
The International Day for Biological Diversity (IDB) (International Biodiversity day) is observed on 22nd May every year.
- The United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in 1993 proclaimed 22nd May as IDB to increase understanding and awareness of biodiversity issues.
- The UNGA also declared the period 2011-2020 as the United Nations (UN) Decade on Biodiversity to promote the implementation of a strategic plan on biodiversity and its overall vision of living in harmony with nature.
- It also declared 2021-2030 as the UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development and the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration.
- This year’s theme is “We’re part of the solution” which is a continuation of 2020 theme- Our solutions are in nature.
This serves as a reminder that biodiversity remains the answer to several sustainable development challenges.
- It is a term used to describe the enormous variety of life on Earth. It can be used more specifically to refer to all of the species in one region or ecosystem. Biodiversity refers to every living thing, including plants, bacteria, animals, and humans.
- It is often understood in terms of the wide variety of plants, animals, and microorganisms, but it also includes genetic differences within each species.
- World Wide Fund for Nature in its flagship Living Planet Report 2020 warned that global biodiversity is in steep decline.
- It has revealed a global species loss of 68% in less than 50 years, a catastrophic decline never seen before.
- Need for Conservation:
- It boosts ecosystem productivity where each species, no matter how small, all have an important role to play.
- A larger number of plant species means a greater variety of crops. Greater species diversity ensures natural sustainability for all life forms.
- The world should conserve it so as to maintain the food chain. The disturbance in the food chain may affect the whole ecosystem.
Well-known environmentalist and Gandhian Sunderlal Bahuguna passed away at the age of 94 due to COVID-related complications.
- Sunderlal Bahuguna (1927 – 2021) was an Indian noted Garhwali environmentalist. He was one of the early environmentalists of India.
- He was one of the founders of the Chipko, or hug the tree movement, in the 1970s to save Himalayan forests from cutting down by forest contractors.
- He later spearheaded the Anti-Tehri Dam movement from starting 1980s, to early 2004.
- He also fought against untouchability and later started organizing hill women in his anti-liquor drive from 1965 to 1970.
- He adopted Gandhian principles in his life.
- In 2009, he was awarded Padma Vibhushan Award by the government of India for environment conservation.