• Current Affairs, 5 May 2020

    INDIA FLAYS NOD FOR GILGIT-BALTISTAN POLLS

    RELEVANT FOR: INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS | TOPIC: INDIA – PAKISTAN

    • The External Affairs Ministry issued a “strong protest” on Monday over an order by the Pakistan Supreme Court allowing the Imran Khan government to hold elections in the region of Gilgit-Baltistan of Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK).
    • India said it had issued a demarcheto protest what it called Pakistan’s attempt to make “material changes” to the disputed area, by bringing federal authority to Gilgit-Baltistan (G-B), which has functioned as a “provincial autonomous region” since 2009.
    • Centre issues demarche
    • On April 30, a seven-judge Bench of the Supreme Court in Islamabad, headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan Justice Gulzar Ahmed, had allowed the government to organise general elections in G-B, and to set up a caretaker government there before that. As a result of the coronavirus lockdown, the demarchewas issued via email to the Minister (Political) in Pakistan’s High Commission in Delhi.
    • “The Government of Pakistan or its judiciary has no locus standion territories illegally and forcibly occupied by it. India completely rejects such actions and continued attempts to bring material changes in Pakistan-occupied areas of the Indian territory of Jammu & Kashmir. Instead, Pakistan should immediately vacate all areas under its illegal occupation,” the Ministry spokesperson said in a statement.
    • Pakistan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) responded to the demarcheby referring to the government’s decision in August last year to amend Article 370 as “illegal and in clear violation of UNSC resolutions”.
    • India’s reaction is consistent with its previous objections against elections in G-B and in other parts of PoK, which it refers to as “Azad Jammu Kashmir”.
    • Government of Pakistan or its judiciary has no locus standi on territories illegally occupied by it external Affairs Ministry

     

    IT’S NOT ECONOMY VS CLEAN AIR

    RELEVANT FOR: ENVIRONMENT | TOPIC: ENVIRONMENTAL CONSERVATION, SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT, AND EIA

    • The damage to the global economy from COVID-19threatens to far exceed that of the recession of 2007-2009 and could, according to the International Monetary Fund, trigger the worst recession since the Great Depression of the 1930s. Governments desperate to reopen moribund economies are now tiptoeing around the lockdown to avoid the dreaded “second wave” of the virus.
    • However, as lockdown exit strategies turn their attention to saving livelihoods, there is pressure on governments to lower environmental standards, suspend environmental monitoring requirements and reduce environmental enforcement, in the belief that this is necessary to salvage economic growth. Yet, it would be a mistake to assume that there is a trade-off between saving livelihoods and protecting the environment. The crisis of COVID-19 has highlighted that improving the quality of air in our country is not a matter of choice but an emergency.
    • At the end of March, the US announced a significant reduction in fuel efficiency standards for new cars, which could result in increased gasoline consumption by 80 billion tonnes, pumping increased carbon emissions into the atmosphere. The US Environmental Protection Agency has announced that it will not be enforcing compliance with routine monitoring and reporting obligations of environmental protection, for an indefinite period.
    • On April 15, the UN special rapporteur on human rights and the environment, David Boyd, condemned such steps as “irrational, irresponsible, and jeopardiz[ing] the rights of vulnerable people”, emphasising that COVID-19 must not be used as an excuse to weaken environmental protection. Thirteen European climate and environment ministers, including those of Italyand Spain, the countries worst affected by the virus in Europe, wrote as recently as on April 9 that “we should resist the temptations of short-term solutions in response to the present crisis” and stressed the need to maintain and strengthen EU’s effective regulatory tools to stick to its 2030 climate goals.
    • India has even greater reason to resist the temptation to put clean air on the backburner. First and foremost, people living in areas with higher levels of air pollution face increased risk of premature death from COVID-19. New Delhi was the world’s most polluted capital city for the second straight year in 2019, and India was also home to 21 of the world’s 30 most polluted cities, Swiss-based group IQ AirVisual said in a recent study.
    • The State of Global Air 2019 Report finds air pollution responsible for over 1.2 million deaths in Chinaand India each, based on 2017 data. Whereas China succeeded in reducing air pollution in its cities by 32 per cent on average in four years from 2014-2018, India has had little success. Again, continued air pollution directly translates to mortality under COVID-19.
    • Second, there is enormous inequality in the impact of the COVID-19 fallout. Those who suffer the most from air pollution are the millions who live and toil in the open, who cannot afford air-purifiers or other mitigating measures, as also the elderly and children.
    • Third, there is good evidence that three-quarters of the emerging infectious diseases migrate from wild or domesticated animals into humans. This includes Ebola, SARS, MERS and now COVID-19. Deforestation, industrial agriculture, illegal wildlife trade, climate change and other types of environmental degradation increase the risk of future pandemics.
    • Fourth, from Delhi to Sao Paulo, Bangkok to Bogota, the dramatic improvement in the quality of air and water in the most polluted cities around the world has been transmitted by social media. This may well result in a groundswell of public support for measures to protect the environment.
    • Fifth, it is possible that the cataclysm of corona will jolt the markets into giving a clean, healthy and sustainable environment the economic value it deserves. As Mark Carney, former governor of the Bank of England, wrote in The Economist: “.the traditional drivers of value have been shaken, new ones will gain prominence, and there’s a possibility that the gulf between what markets value, and what people value, will close.”
    • For all these reasons and more, the pandemicis an urgent call to action on the environment — air pollution in particular — on a war footing. In the past, we have never treated air pollution as a national emergency, failing to coordinate between the Centre and state governments. The COVID pandemic has been declared a national disaster in India, under the National Disaster Management Act, 2005. This legislation mandates the disaster authorities at the national, state and district levels under the Act, as well as the Central and state governments, coordinate among themselves and take measures for the prevention and mitigation of the pandemic. Air pollution creates medical conditions that gravely increase the risk of fatalities from COVID-19.
    • Preventing and mitigating the risks of COVID-19, therefore, means the mandate for the disaster authorities is also to tackle air and other forms of pollution head-on.
    • The NDMA is a platform which should be used to combat air pollution as an emergency, with a framework for coordination between different levels of the government. Similar coordination will be required at an international level to continue to work towards reduced emissions under the Paris Agreement. It is a great pity that it takes a pandemic to bring the realisation that economic growth versus clean air is a false dichotomy.

     

    VIRTUAL NAM SUMMIT

    RELEVANT FOR :- INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS/ TOPICS :- NON-ALIGNED MOVEMENT (NAM)

    • The virtual Non-Aligned Movement (NAM)Contact Group Summit on “United against Covid-19” through video conferencing was held recently.
    • The meeting was convened at the initiative of President Ilham Aliyev of Azerbaijan, in his capacity as chair of the Non Aligned Movement.
    • Moreover 30 Heads of State and other leaders had joined the Summit. The Summit was also addressed by the UN General Assembly president and World Health Organisation (WHO) chief.
    • It was the first time that Prime Minister Narendra Modi participated in a NAM Summit since he assumed the office in 2014.
      • Prime Minister Narendra Modi became the first Indian Prime Minister to skip the NAM Summit in 2016 and in 2019.

    Important Points

    • Adoption of the Declaration:
      • The Summit adopted a Declaration underlining the importance of international solidarity in the fight against Covid-19.
    • Creation of Task Force:
    • It also announced the creation of a ‘Task Force’ to identify needs and requirements of member States.
    • A common database reflecting counties’ basic medical, social and humanitarian needs in the fight against Covid-19 will be created.

    India’s Stand at the Summit

    • India’s Role in Fight Against Covid-19:
    • India is regarded as the pharmacy of the world especially for affordable medicines.
    • Despite its own needs during Covid-19 pandemic, it has ensured supply of medicines to 123 partner countries including 59 NAM members.
    • India is also active in global efforts to develop remedies and vaccines for Covid-19.
    • Need for the New Template of Globalisation:
    • India stated that Covid-19 has shown limitations of the existing international system. The world needs more representative international institutions and thus world order should be more representative.
    • Thus, in the post-Covid world, a new template of globalisation, based on fairness, equality, and humanity is needed.
    • International Cooperation:
    • NAM should call upon the international community and the WHO to focus on building health-capacity in developing countries.
    • World needs to ensure equitable, affordable and timely access to health products and technologies for all.
    • Other Issues:
    • India also flagged the issues of “terrorism” and “fake news”, calling them “deadly viruses” at a time when the world fights the novel coronavirus.
    • The above issues divide communities and countries creating difficult situations.

    Non-Aligned Movement

    • The Non-Aligned Movement was formed during the Cold War as an organization of States that did not seek to formally align themselves with either the United States or the Soviet Union, but sought to remain independent or neutral.
    • The basic concept for the group originated in 1955 during discussions that took place at the Asia-Africa Bandung Conference held in Indonesia.
    • The Non-Aligned Movement was founded and held its first conference (the Belgrade Conference) in 1961 under the leadership of Josip Broz Tito of Yugoslavia, Gamal Abdel Nasser of Egypt, Jawaharlal Nehru of India, Kwame Nkrumah of Ghana, and Sukarno of Indonesia.
    • NAM does not have a formal constitution or permanent secretariat, and its administration is non-hierarchical and rotational. Decisions are made by consensus, which requires substantial agreement, but not unanimity.
    • It has 120 members as of April 2018 comprising 53 countries from Africa, 39 from Asia, 26 from Latin America and the Caribbean and 2 from Europe (Belarus, Azerbaijan). There are 17 countries and 10 international organizations that are Observers at NAM.
    • The purpose of the organization was enumerated in the Havana Declaration of 1979 to ensure “the national independence, sovereignty, territorial integrity and security of non-aligned countries” in their struggle against imperialism, colonialism, neo-colonialism, racism, and all forms of foreign subjugation.

    MANUFACTURING HITS RECORD LOW

    RELEVANT FOR :- INDIAN ECONOMY/ TOPICS :- INFRASTRUCTURE , GROWTH & DEVELOPMENT

    • According to a recent IHS Markit Indiamonthly survey, Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) fell to 27.4 in April, 2020 from 51.8 in March, 2020.

    Important Points

    • India’smanufacturing sector activity has witnessed contraction in April, 2020 due to national lockdown restrictions.
    • The new business ordershave collapsed at a record pace severely hampering the demand.
    • This is the sharpest deteriorationin business conditions across the manufacturing sector since data collection began over 15 years ago.
    • The deteriorating demand conditions has led themanufacturers to drastically cut back staff numbers.
    • Export ordershave also witnessed a sharp decline.
    • There was also evidence of supply-side disruptiondue to the lockdown.
    • The PMI slipped into contraction mode,after remaining in the growth territory for 32 consecutive months.
    • In PMI’s language, a reading above 50 means expansion, while a score below that denotes contraction.
    • According to the 12-month outlook for productionthe demand will rebound once the Covid-19 threat is diminished and lockdown restrictions are eased.
    • The Index (PMI)is compiled by IHS Markit for more than 40 economies worldwide. IHS Markit is a global leader in information, analytics and solutions for the major industries and markets that drive economies worldwide.\

    Purchasing Managers’ Index

    • Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) is an indicator of business activity – both in the manufacturing and services sectors.
    • It is calculated separatelyfor the manufacturing and services sectors and then a composite index is also constructed.
    • The PMI summarizes whethermarket conditions as viewed by purchasing managers are expanding, neutral, or contracting.
    • The purpose of the PMI is to provide information aboutcurrent and future business conditions to company decision makers, analysts, and investors.
    • The PMI is a number from 0 to 100.
    • PMI above 50 represents an expansionwhen compared to the previous month;
    • PMI under 50 represents a contraction,and
    • A reading at 50 indicates no change.
    • The PMI is usually released at the start of every month. It is, therefore, considered a good leading indicator of economic activity.
    • It is different from the Index of Industrial Production (IIP),which also gauges the level of activity in the economy.

    Index of Industrial Production

    • The Index of Industrial Production (IIP) is an index which details out the growth of various sectors in an economy such as mineral mining, electricity, manufacturing, etc.
    • It is compiled and published monthly by the National Statistical Organisation (NSO), Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation.
    • The Base Year of the Index of Eight Core Industries has been revised from the year 2004-05 to 2011-12 from April, 2017.
    • The eight core industries comprise 40.27% of the weight of items included in the Index of Industrial Production (IIP).
    • The eight Core Industries in decreasing order of their weightage: Refinery Products> Electricity> Steel> Coal> Crude Oil> Natural Gas> Cement> Fertilizers.

    Difference between PMI and IIP

    • IIP covers the broader industrial sector compared to PMI.
    • IIP shows the change in production volume in major industrial sub sectors like manufacturing, mining and electricity.
    • Similarly, the IIP also gives use based (capital goods, consumer goods etc) trends in industrial production.
    • PMI is more dynamic compared to a standard industrial production index.
    • The PMI senses dynamic trends because of the variable it uses for the construction of the index compared to volume based production indicators like the IIP.
    • For example, new orders under PMI show growth oriented positive trends and not just volume of past production that can be traced in an ordinary Index of Industrial Production.

    LIQUOR REVENUE FOR STATES

    RELEVANT FOR: – INDIAN ECONOMY/ TOPICS: – GOVERNMENT BUDGETING, GROWTH & DEVELOPMENT, MOBILIZATION OF RESOURCES, CAPITAL MARKET, FISCAL POLICY

    • Recently, the central government eased restrictions in the third phase of the nationwide lockdown and allowed the sale of liquor. The Delhi government announced a 70% hike as ‘Special Corona Fee’ in the price of liquor across categories.
    • This shows the importance of liquor to the economy of the states.

    Important Points

    • State’s Earnings from Liquor
    • Liquor contributes a considerable amount to the exchequersof all states and Union Territories (UTs) except Gujarat and Bihar, both of which have enforced prohibition.
    • Andhra Pradesh announced prohibitionin 2019, however, sale of the liquor has been allowed with “prohibition tax”.
    • States levy excise duty onmanufacture and sale of liquor.
    • States alsocharge special fees on imported foreign liquor, transport fee, and label & brand registration charges.
    • A few states like Uttar Pradesh,have imposed a ‘special duty on liquor’ to collect funds for special purposes, such as maintenance of stray cattle.
    • The Reserve Bank of Indiapublished the report ‘State Finances: A Study of Budgets of 2019-20’ in September 2019.
    • It shows that state excise dutyon alcohol accounts for around 10-15% of Own Tax Revenue of a majority of states.
    • In fact, state excise duties on liquor is the second or third largest contributorto the category State’s Own Tax revenue; Goods and Services Tax-GST is the largest. This is the reason states have always wanted liquor kept out of the purview of GST.
    • According to the report, in 2019-20, state GST had the highest share, 43.5%, in states’ Own Tax Revenue,followed by Sale Tax at 23.5% (mainly on petroleum products which are out of GST), state excise at 12.5%, and taxes on property and capital transactions at 11.3%.
    • State Excise
    • Excise duty on production of few items including that onliquor and other alcohol-based items is imposed and collected by state governments and is called ‘State Excise’ duty.
    • Excise dutyis basically a production tax. It is imposed on manufactured items in India that are meant for domestic consumption.
    • Revenue receipts from state excise come mainly from commodities such as Country Spirits; Liquor; Foreign Liquors and Spirits; Medicinal and Toilet Preparations containing Alcohol, Opium etc; Opium, Hemp and other Drugs; Sales to Canteen Stores Depots.
    • Apart from these, a substantial amount comes from licences, fineand confiscation of alcohol products.
    • Sources of Revenue for States
    • Tax Revenue
    • State’s Own Tax Revenue
    • Taxes on Income(agricultural income tax and taxes on professions, trades, callings and employment)
    • Taxes on Property and Capital Transactions(land revenue, stamps and registration fees, urban immovable property tax)
    • Taxes onCommodities and Services (sales tax, state sales tax/VAT, central sales tax, surcharge on sales tax, receipts of turnover tax, other receipts, state excise, taxes on vehicles, taxes on goods and passengers, taxes and duties on electricity, entertainment tax, state GST, and “other taxes and duties”)
    • Share in Central Taxes
    • Article 280of the Indian Constitution requires the composition of the Finance Commission in every five years so that the states can get a reasonable part in the tax revenue of the union government.
    • Non-Tax Revenue
    • These are collected by the governments forproviding/facilitating any goods and service.
    • It is compulsory to pay a part of the income earned/generated and amount of goods and services consumed as tax. However, non-tax revenue becomes payable only when services offered by the government are availed.
    • Components:
    • Interest:It comprises interest of loans given to states and union territories for reasons like non-plan schemes and planned schemes with a maturity period of 20 years and also interest on loans advanced to Public Sector Enterprises (PSEs), Port Trusts and other statutory bodies etc.
    • Dividends and profits, Petroleum license, Power supply fees, Fees for Communication Services, Broadcasting fees, Road, Bridges usage fees, Examination fees etc.

    INSURANCE CLAIMS AMID COVID-19 OUTBREAK

    RELEVANT FOR: – INDIAN ECONOMY/ TOPICS:-  GOVERNMENT POLICIES & INTERVENTIONS

    • Companies that suffered business interruption losses due to the Covid-19 outbreakand lockdown are likely to bat for the “loss of profit” clause in their insurance contracts.
    • Many companies had taken insurance policies to cover loss arising due to certain unforeseen circumstances but the question has risen whether Covid-19 outbreak is covered by such policies.
    • The net result is that they may not get any insurance claim from the insurance companies under the Standard Fire and Special Perils Policy, commonly known as property policy.

    Important  Points

    • Provisions of Property Policy:
    • If the insured plant or office is shut down due to any damage or fire, the company is eligible for claims.
    • Also the Policy specifies if the building insured or containing the insured property becomes unoccupied and so remains for a period of more than 30 days (not applicable for dwellings), the insurance claims may not be applicable.
    • For claim, before the occurrence of any loss or damage to the property, the continuation of the coverage needs to be ensured.
    • Relaxation from Policy Lapse:
    • The insurers have given relief to corporates, which shut their units for more than a month. Their policies will be allowed to be operational despite the clause that if a unit is shut for 30 days continuously, the policy cover will lapse.
    • The above relief is applicable for the “unoccupied properties”for more than one month till May 3 under the property policy.
    • It means companies can claim insurance if the property is damaged due to fire or any other loss even if the factory or unit is not operational during the period till May 3.
    • Force Majeure, or “Act of God” Clause :
    • Most insurers will also use theForce Majeure, or “Act of God” clause but again there is no concrete conclusion or clause stating that loss of profit due to Covid-19 is Force Majeure.
    • Force majeure is a common clause in contracts that essentially frees both parties from liability or obligation when an extraordinary event or circumstance beyond the control of the parties occurs. It prevents one or both parties from fulfilling their obligations under the contract.

    SARAS COLLECTION

    RELEVANT FOR: – GOVERNANCE / TOPICS: – GOVERNMENT POLICIES & INTERVENTIONS, SELF HELP GROUPS (SHGS), E-GOVERNANCE, ISSUES RELATING TO DEVELOPMENT, SKILL DEVELOPMENT

    • Recently, the Indian government launched the Saras Collectionon the Government e Marketplace (GeM) portal.
    • It is a unique initiative by the GeM, Deendayal Antyodaya Yojana-National Rural Livelihoods Mission (DAY-NRLM) and Ministry of Rural Development.

    Important Points

    • The Saras Collection showcases daily utility products made by rural Self-Help Groups(SHGs) and aims to provide SHGs in rural areas with market access to Central and State Government buyers.
    • The on-boarding of the SHGs has beeninitially piloted in the states of Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Kerala, Himachal Pradesh, Maharashtra, Odisha, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal.
    • SHGs from all the states and Union Territories (UTs) will be covered rapidly in the upcoming phases.
    • The Saras Collection will provide SHGs with direct access to Government buyerswhich will do away with intermediaries in the supply chain, thus ensuring better prices for SHGs and spurring employment opportunities at the local level.
    • Mechanisms:
    • For Functionaries:They will be provided dashboards at the national, state, district and block level for real time information about the number of products uploaded, their value and volume of orders received and fulfilled.
    • Government buyers:They will be sensitized through system generated messages/ alerts in the Marketplace about availability of SHG products on the portal.
    • GeM will collaborate with State functionariesto address the capacity building and training needs of SHGs and build up their competencies required for order packaging, catalogue management and logistics.
    • GeM will develop online learning resources in vernacular contentfor SHGs with inputs and assistance from the NRLM and the State Rural Livelihoods Missions (SRLMs).
    • For a seamless learning experience,GeM will conduct online webinars, develop videos, eBooks, manual and repository of FAQs.

    Government e-Marketplace

    • GeM is a one-stop National Public Procurement Portalto facilitate online procurement of common use goods and services required by various central and state government departments/organizations/public sector undertakings (PSUs).
    • It was launched in 2016to bring transparency and efficiency in the government buying process.
    • It has been developed by Directorate General of Supplies and Disposals(Ministry of Commerce and Industry) with technical support of National e-governance Division (Ministry of Electronic and Information Technology).
    • It functions under Directorate General of Supplies and Disposals(DGS&D), Ministry of Commerce and Industry.
    • The procurement of goods and services by Ministries and the Central Public Sector Enterprises(CPSEs) is mandatory for goods and services available on GeM.
    • It also provides the tools of e-bidding and reverse e-auctionto facilitate the government users achieve the best value for their money.
    • GeM is a completely paperless, cashless and system driven e-market placethat enables procurement of common use goods and services with minimal human interface.

    COVID-19 IN STATES WITH HIGH SWINE FLU RATES

    RELEVANT FOR: – SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY/ TOPICS: – HEALTH, GOVERNMENT POLICIES & INTERVENTIONS

    • Maharashtra, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Delhi and Tamil Naduaccount for about 70% of India’s confirmed Covid-19 cases till now.
    • Data from the Health Ministry’s National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), show that these are also the states which consistently accounted for the majority of Swine Flu (H1N1) cases, since 2015.
    • The NCDC recorded Swine Flu cases this year as well as part of India’s Integrated Disease Surveillance Programme.

    Important Points

    • Data History of Swine Flu
    • 2019:Rajasthan, Gujarat, Delhi and Maharashtra accounted for 54%.
    • 2018:Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, Rajasthan and Gujarat accounted for 65%.
    • Uttar Pradesh and Bihar are among India’s most populous states and see intense migrationto other states for work still they have not been in the top list always.
    • Parallels between Covid-19 and Swine Flu
    • Both are caused due to pathogensthat trace their origins to viruses from non-human hosts even though they belong to different families.
    • Both respiratoryviruses that spread through contact.
    • Both infiltrate the lungsand cause characteristic pulmonary infections but they have varying lethality.
    • Swine fluinfections have a higher case fatality rate (deaths per confirmed cases) and can cause significant deaths in children as well as those less than 60.
    • Covid-19 is relatively more dangerousto those above 60 and almost harmless in children.
    • However, due to lack of sufficient research, it cannot be said which age group is safer or not.
    • High number of Covid-19 and Swine Flu cases have been observed in Gujarat and Maharashtra.
    • The relative dominanceof these diseases can be attributed to the migration for work.
    • Observations
    • February-Marchare typical months for influenza (viral infection of upper or lower respiratory tract) in India.
    • Most influenza activity in northern Indiahas been seen during the summer months but in southern and western India, cases occurred mostly during winter
    • According to scientists, due to the novel nature of Covid-19, the possibility of another spike later in the year cannot be ruled out.
    • For Swine flu, this year there is an exceptional rise in testing and active surveillanceacross states otherwise only few states have the infrastructure and system to actively report cases.
    • Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu have 50 testing laboratories each for Covid-19 many of which are also deployed for Swine flu.

    CORONAVIRUS CAUSES BLOOD CLOTS

    RELEVANT FOR: – SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY/ TOPICS: – HEALTH

    • Recently, doctors around the world have noticed a raft of clotting-related disorders in Covid-19patients, which causes benign skin lesions on the feet (Covid toe) to strokes and blood-vessel blockages.
    • Thus, Covid-19 is being seen as less of a typical respiratory disease, and more of one that involves dangerous clotting.

    Important Points

    • Misconception of Only Lung Damage:
    • Initially it was considered that the vastmajority of lung damage in Covid-19 patients was due to viral pneumonia.
    • But the autopsiesof the Covid-19 patients shows that clumps of platelets inside blood vessels, or micro thrombi, to be the reason for rapid and dramatic deterioration of condition of patients.
    • Development of Thrombi:
    • Usually these blood clots are calledthrombi — that form in patients’ arterial catheters and filters used to support failing kidneys.
    • The clots impede blood flow in the lungs, which develop severe blood-oxygen deficiency, causing difficulty in breathing.
    • Pulmonary Embolism:
    • Studies have found that as many as 30% of severely ill Covid-19 patientssuffered a so-called pulmonary embolism — a potentially deadly blockage in one of the arteries of the lungs.
    • Pulmonary embolismoften occurs when bits of blood clots from veins deep in the legs travel to the lungs.
    • According to a study, the prevalence of pulmonary embolism was 1.3% in critically ill patients without Covid-19.
    • Detection of Blood Clots:
    • The D-dimer blood test is being used around the world to monitor clot formation in patients, including those with Covid-19, and patients are also being dosened with heparin and other anticoagulant medications.
    • History of Blood Clotting Diseases:
    • The 1918 Spanish flupandemic, caused by a novel strain of influenza, was also linked to downstream damage from clots that could end lives dramatically.
    • Viruses including HIV, dengue and Ebolaare all known to make blood cells prone to clumping.
    • The pro-clotting effect may be even more pronounced in patients with the coronavirus.

    Issues Involved: Blood Clotting’s with Covid-19

    • Lung damage: If untreated, large arterial lung clots can put overwhelming strain on the heart, causing cardiac arrest.
      • Even tiny clots in the capillaries of lung tissue may interrupt blood flow, undermining attempts to help oxygenate patients with ventilators.
    • Vital organ damage: Clots may form in other parts of the body, potentially damaging vital organs including the heart, kidneys, liver, bowel, and other tissues.
    • Mistaken of Covid-19 recurrence: Covid-19 survivors who have subsequent difficulty breathing, might mistakenly believe it’s a recurrence of coronavirus infection, when it may actually be a reactivation of the whole clotting problem.
    • Subsequent disease: Pulmonary embolism also causes pulmonary hypertension, another dangerous complication that can cause fatigue and shortness of breath.
    • Risk: Patients and doctors alike may not be aware of the risks or the potential need for treatment.

    Jharkhand Launches Employment Schemes

    Relevant For :- Governance/ Topics:- Government Policies & Interventions

    • Recently, Jharkhand launched three employment schemes — Birsa Harit Gram Yojana (BHGY), Neelambar Pitambar JAL Sammridhi Yojana (NPJSY) and Veer Sahid Poto Ho Khel Vikas Scheme (VSPHKVS) — to create wage employment for workers in rural areas.
    • Earlier, the Odisha government has announced a Rs 100-crore Urban Wage Employment Initiative to generate employment for the urban poor in 114 urban local bodies.

    Important Points

    • These three schemes have been devised in convergence with the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA).
    • Issue:According to the Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy (CIME) data, the State is reeling under severe joblessness with unemployment rate pegged at 47.1% — double that of the national average (23.5%).
    • The arrival of an estimated 5 lakh to 6 lakh stranded migrant workers (due to Covid-19 lockdown) from other states is likely to worsen the situation.
    • Through MGNREGA and these special schemes the state government plans to create 30 crore person days and provide wage employment to the rural people in the coming 5 years.
    • Birsa Harit Gram Yojana (BHGY):
    • The BHGY is envisaged at bringing over two lakh acres of unused government fallow landunder the afforestation programme.
    • About five lakh families will be provided 100 fruit-bearing plants.
    • The initial plantation, maintenance, land work and afforestation will be taken up through MGNREGA.
    • Each family is estimated to receive an annual income of ₹50,000 from fruit harvest after three years while the ownership of land will remain with the government.
    • Neelambar Pitambar Jal Sammridhi Yojna (NPJSY):
    • Under this, the government is aiming at creating agro-water storage units by arresting rainwater and runaway groundwater.
    • Nearly 5 lakh acre of cultivable land can be irrigated through the initiative.
    • An estimated 10 crore person days will be generated through the scheme in the next 4-5 years.
    • Veer Sahid Poto Ho Khel Vikas Scheme (VSPHKVS):
    • Under VSPHKVS, the government is linking sports with rural job schemes for creation of assets in the rural areas in order to give a boost to sports.
    • About 5,000 sports grounds are being planned to be set up, with one each in all the 4,300 panchayats.

    MATHEMATICAL AND SIMULATION ASPECTS OF COVID-19

    RELEVANT FOR:- GOVERNANCE/ TOPICS :- GOVERNMENT POLICIES & INTERVENTIONS

    • The Science and Engineering Research Board (SERB)has approved funding for 11 projects under the MATRICS scheme for studying mathematical modelling and computational aspects to tackle the Covid-19 pandemic.
    • It is a statutory body under the Department of Science and Technology (DST), Government of India.

    Important Points

    • These studies attempt to propose mathematical/simulation models to account for various factors relevant to Covid-19 by modifying the basic SIR (Susceptible-Infected-Recovered) models.
    • An SIR model is an epidemiological model that computes the theoretical number of people infected with a contagious illness in a closed population over time.
    • The name of this class of models derives from the fact that they involve coupled equations relating the number of susceptible people , number of people infected , and number of people who have recovered .
    • Some of suchfactors are heterogeneity of population, the role of asymptomatic (showing no symptoms) population, migration and quarantine, effect of social distancing and lockdown, socioeconomic factors and so on.
    • Aim
    • To study Indian conditions and provide an estimate of Basic Reproduction Number (R0)- the qualitative indicator of the degree of contagiousness of the disease.
    • R0 tells the average number of people who will catch the disease from one contagious person.
    • Thelarger this number, the more contagious is the disease caused by the virus and the faster it will spread in the community.
    • It also aims to identify the maximum likelihood infection tree when infection reports and contact network structure are known to the administration.
    • To identify possible cures of Covid-19 through the study of DNA (DeoxyriboNucleic Acid) structures by creating patterns of DNA of different It was launched in 2017by the Science and Engineering Research Board (SERB).

     

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