• Current Affairs, 9 April 2020

    NATIONAL NEWS

    1. There will not be any shortage of hydroxychloroquine in the country either today or in the future:India

    • The total number of COVID-19 cases in the country stands at 5,194 as on date. A total of 149 people in the country have died because of the COVID-2019 infection. In the last 24 hours, 773 new cases and 32 deaths have been reported. A total of 402 people have recovered and ha have been discharged. This was informed by the Joint Secretary, Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, Shri Luv Aggarwal, at the daily media briefing on the actions taken, preparedness and updates on COVID-19, held at National Media Centre, PIB New Delhi today.
    • Stating that around 80% of COVID-19 cases are mild or very mild, the Joint Secretary informed that as part of upgrading health infrastructure, COVID Care Centres, as proposed in the guidance document released by the Ministry yesterday, are being set up in adequate number and speed to treat these cases.  Hotels, lodges, schools, stadia, etc. will be used for this purpose. Additionally, required action is being taken in coordination with states to set up adequate number of dedicated COVID Health Centres and dedicated COVID Hospitals, to treat critical and severe cases, he further informed.
    • Shri Aggarwal stated that the Centre and states have taken a series of measures to break the chain of transmission. As cases increase, commensurate response and preparedness is also being adopted. As per guidelines and containment plan, action is being taken to manage COVID-19. He informed that, in Pune Central and Kondhwa regions, door-to-door survey is being undertaken in 35 sq. km. area, where teams are checking travel history, contact history and also co-morbidity factors of every person in households. In Pathanamthitta, Kerala, administration is taking required efforts for surveillance and contact tracing; in particular, technology is being used for preparation of war room and monitoring of clusters and households under quarantine. Required psychological support is also being given.
    • Shri Aggarwal also informed that:
    • HRD Ministry has launched an online training module for capacity building of frontline workers fighting COVID-19.It is called iGOT – Integrated Government Online Training course on COVID-19 pandemic, hosted on the DIKSHA platform. The module aims to train a larger force than is available at present, in order to replace the first line of workers and to tackle potential exponential or geometric increase in positive COVID-19 cases in subsequent stages of the pandemic. This includes Doctors, nurses, paramedics, technicians, Auxiliary Nursing Midwives (ANMs), State Govt. Officers, Civil Defence officials and volunteers of National Cadet Corps (NCC), National Service Scheme (NSS), Indian Red Cross Society (IRCS) and other volunteers.
    • Health Ministry is launching a training module by AIIMS for physicians providing medical care to pregnant ladies who are either COVID-19 suspects or confirmed cases; guidance on antenatal care and labour management will be given.
    • Indian Air Force has been continuing its support against novel coronavirus wherein medical supplies are being transported to equip the state governments and supporting agencies to combat the contagion effectively and efficiently. During the last few days, IAF airlifted essential medical supplies and commodities from nodal points to Manipur, Nagaland and Gangtok in North Eastern region; and the Union Territories of J&K and Ladakh.
    • Centre is also strengthening field level training to ensure adequate infection prevention & control measures in hospitals further.
    • Government is working towards bringing in a major behavioural change in terms of adopting social distancing measures.
    • Stating that we are dealing with an infectious disease, the Joint Secretary reiterated that even if we fail in one area, it can significantly affect the effectiveness of our overall effort. He requested everyone’s full cooperation with respect to lockdown and social distancing measures, so that we are able to win the battle against COVID-19.
    • In reply to a media query, the Joint Secretary replied, “We have asked states and districts to focus on contact tracing and surveillance, and also upgrade hospital infrastructure. We need to continue to be alert in implementing lockdown and social distancing measures, it is a daily battle”. Stating that early identification is key in containing the spread and mortalities due to COVID-19, he said that community support in turn plays an important role in helping to identify cases early.
    • Addressing another media query on hydroxychloroquine, Shri Aggarwal said, there will not be any shortage of hydroxychloroquine in the country either today or in future. “This is being monitored at the highest level”, he said. At the same time, he highlighted that hydroxychloroquine is only for specific sets of people, to be used only based on prescription of registered medical doctors.
    • Informing that the State governments have increased efforts in implementing lockdown in hot spot areas, the Ministry of Home Affairs representative stated:
    • Police monitoring has been intensified and public awareness is being improved with help of community leaders.
    • Various measures such as area mapping and barricading have been taken by districts to enforce social distancing in markets, banks and other areas.
    • Situation regarding essential goods and services is satisfactory. Union Home Secretary, Shri Ajay Kumar Bhalla has written to all State Chief Secretaries to take urgent steps to ensure availability of essential goods, by invoking provisions of the Essential Commodities (EC) Act 1955.Keeping in view possibility of black marketing and hoarding, states can take measures such as fixing of stock limits, capping of prices, enhancing production, inspection of accounts of dealers .
    • Under Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojana, the Government had announced a package of Rs. 1.7 lakh crore, in which there is a component for building and construction workers. Under this component, states have been asked to utilize Building and Other Construction Workers Welfare Fund to provide assistance and support to around 3.5 Crore registered workers to protect them against economic disruptions. States have started implementing this, in order to provide support and assistance to labourers employed in these sectors amidst the nation-wide lockdown. 31 states and UTs have already announced cash transfer benefits ranging from Rs. 1,000 – Rs. 6,000; more than 2 crore workers have been given more than Rs. 3,000 crore rupees; and 29 lakh workers have been given food relief as well.
    • Till date 1,21,271 COVID-19 tests have been done, out of which 13,345 tests were done yesterday, stated the representative of ICMR. He further informed that 139 labs in ICMR network are working actively and 65 private labs have been permitted to do COVID-19 tests.
    • LIVE tweets by @PIBMumbaifrom the media briefing can be found on this thread.

     

    1. 540 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 reported in country during last 24 hours

    • A total of 540 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 have been reported in the country during the last 24 hours taking the total number of cases to 5,734.
    • Health and Family Welfare Ministry said that 473 patients have recovered so far and 166 deaths have been reported in the country so far.
    • Indian Council of Medical Research has said that a total of one lakh twenty thousand nine hundred nineteen samples have been tested so far including 13 thousand 143 samples which were tested yesterday. ICMR has approved 139 government laboratories and three collection centres in the country to conduct the test of COVID-19.
    • In addition, 63 private laboratories’ chains have also been given approval for the testing. Meanwhile, ICMR has invited application from Government medical colleges and private medical college to set up a Covid-19 testing facility.

     

    1. Government allows NGOs to buy food grains directly from FCI

    • Government has allowed Non government organisations to buy food grains directly from Food Corporation of India -FCI.
    • Consumer Affairs Ministry said that NGOs and Charitable Organizations are playing important role in providing cooked food to thousands of poor and needy people during the nationwide lockdown.
    • It said, to ensure  uninterrupted supply of food grain to these organization, FCI  has been directed to provide Wheat and Rice to such organizations at the Open Market Sale Scheme (OMSS) rates without going through the e-auction process.
    • only state governments and registered bulk users like Roller Flour Mills are allowed to buy stock from FCI under OMSS rates. These organizations can purchase 1 to 10 Metric tonnes at a time from FCI at the predetermined reserve prices.
    • FCI which has network of more than 2000 godowns in the country  will ensure smooth supply of food grains to these organisations in this hour of crisis. It will help relief camps in their work of feeding poor and migrant workers in the country. The details of lifting of food grain by such institutions will  be intimated to the concerned District Magistrates to ensure that the food grains are utilized for the intended purpose.
    1. Lifeline UDAN portal enables stakeholders to plan and track domestic essential air cargo movement

    • Lifeline UDAN flights transported 39.3 tons of medical supplies across the country on 7th April 2020. Total cargo transported by these flights is around 240 tons during Covid-19 lockdown. 161 flights have been operated under Lifeline UDAN till date covering 1,41,080 Kms.Out of these, 99 flights were operated by Air India and Alliance Air while 54 were operated by IAF. On international route, on 7th April 2020, Air India brought 6.14 tons of medical equipment from Hong Kong and further, Air India lifted 8.85 tons of supplies to Colombo.

    Daily updates on Lifeline UDAN flights are available on the. dedicated Medical Air Cargo related website LIFELINE UDAN along with latest photographs. The link is available on the https://esahaj.gov.in/lifeline_udan. Details of fights and consignments are uploaded constantly by various agencies and Government entities which enables planning to be done effectively by coordinating and collating various details from the portal. Based on any challenges faced by the users, the portal is being updated and modified to suit the requirements and serve the purpose.

     

    Date Air India Alliance IAF Indigo SpiceJet Total flights
    07.4.2020 04 02 03 09

    Air India and IAF collaborated primarily for J&K, Ladakh, North-East and other island regions.

    Domestic Cargo Operators: Blue Dart, Spicejet and Indigo are operating cargo flights on commercial basis. Spicejet operated 203 cargo flights from 24 March – 7 April 2020 covering 2,77, 080 Kms and carrying 1647.59Tons of cargo. Out of these 55 were international cargo flights. Blue Dart operated 64 domestic cargo flights covering 62,245 Kms and carrying 951.73 Tons of cargo from 25 March – 7 April 2020. Indigo has also operated 8 cargo flights on 3 – 4 April 2020 covering 6103 Kms and carrying 3.14 tons of cargo.

    Domestic cargo by Spicejet (As on 07.4.2020)

    Date No. of Flights Tonnage Kilometres
    07-04-2020 12 96.89 13,634

    International cargo by Spicejet (As on 07.4.2020)

    Date No. of Flights Tonnage Kilometres
    07-04-2020 2 20.57 5,236

     

    Blue Dart cargo uplift (As on 07.4.2020)

    Date No. of Flights Tonnage Kilometres
    07-04-2020 6 89.600 7131.30

     

    1. Jammu & Kashmir Union Territory has become the 12th State where the Price Monitoring & Resource Unit (PMRU)

     

    • Jammu & Kashmir Union Territory has become the 12th State where the Price Monitoring & Resource Unit (PMRU) has been set up by National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA). 
    • Kerala, Odisha, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Punjab, Haryana, Nagaland, Tripura, Uttar Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh and Mizoram.
    • It is a registered society and shall function under the direct control and supervision of State Drug Controller of respective states. The unit shall be funded by  NPPA for its recurring and non-recurring expenses.
    • Help NPPA and State Drug Controller in ensuring availability and accessibility of medicines at affordable prices.
    • Organise seminars, training programs and other information, education and communication (IEC) activities in the areas of availability and affordability of medicines for all.
    • Collect samples of medicines, collect and analyse data and make reports with respect to availability and over-pricing of medicines for taking action under the provisions of Drug Price Control Order (DPCO).

     

    1. “Samadhan” challenge for students to fight covid-19

    • In order to empower innovation among students the Innovation Cell of the Ministry of Human Resources Development (HRD) and All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) in collaboration with Forgeand InnovatioCuris launched a mega online challenge – SAMADHAN.
    • Its objective is to search and develop measures for government agencies, health services, hospitals and other services for quick solutions to the COVID-19 epidemic and other such calamities.
    • Applications to participate in this competition started from 7 April 2020 till 14 April 2020. The names of the contestants going forward in this competition will be declared on 17 April 2020 and such contestants are expected to submit their entries between 18-23 April 2020. The final list will be released on 24 April 2020, after which the grand online jury will decide the winners on 25 April 2020.

     

    1. Ahmedabad India’s No.1 Smart City

     

    • To keep the social distancing norm fulfilled amid COVID-19, smart cities are collaborating with certified doctors and health experts to provide online medical consultation facilities to citizens.
    • This decision of collaboration was taken on the lines of guidelines issued by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW) along with NITI (National Institution for Transforming India) Aayog and Indian Medical Council (ICM) to allow remote delivery of medical services during the lockdown period.
    • Under this doctors can write prescriptions based on telephonic, textual or video conversations — chat, images, messaging, emails, fax and others. This will reduce the risk of Covid-19 spread.
    • Ahmedabad again named as India’s No.1 Smart City
    • The city of Ahmedabad in Gujarat has been ranked as the top Smart City in India for its execution of smart projects in handling COVID-19 pandemic. The Command and Control Centreof Ahmedabad’s Smart City Development Ltd (SCDL) has played a key role in this achievement with proper enforcement and monitoring of lockdown.
    • Key Initiatives taken by Command and Control Centre of SCDL:
    • It carried out surveillancethrough the 3,500 cameras installed all across the city. In case, any violations found, police actions were taken against the offenders.
    • Initiation of vegetable-on-wheels, as part of which e-rickshaws visits residential societies to facilitate sale of vegetables.
    • Helpline number ‘155303’ is provided for senior citizens to avail essential goods and can also complain about lack of services or improper civic work on this helpline.
    • Variable messaging display screenshave also been put up at 38 locations in the city to educate citizens about precautions to be taken against coronavirus.

     

    1. Centre redefines Jammu and Kashmir domicile rules 

    • Centre redefines Jammu and Kashmir domicile rules opening up various categories of jobs in the region to people from across the country.
    • The order has been defined under J&K Civil Services (Decentralisation and Recruitment) Act.
    • In law, domicile is the status or attribution of being a lawful permanent resident in a particular jurisdiction.
    • As per the Changes, who is now deemed to have domicile?
    • Anyone “who has resided for a period of fifteen years in the UT of J&K”.
    • Or has studied for a period of seven years and appeared in class 10th/12th examination in an educational institution located in the UT of J&K.
    • Or those registered as migrants and their children.
    • Or the children of those central government officials, All India service officials, Officials of Public sector undertaking, autonomous body of central government, public sector banks, officials of statuary bodies officials of central universities and recognized research institutes of central government who have served in J&K for a period of ten years.
    • Or children of residents of J&K who reside outside the Union Territory in connection with employment or business or for other professional or vocational reasons, but whose parents fulfil any of the conditions provided in the latest gazette notification will also be entitled to domicile status.

     

    • The Order says that the domiciles will be eligible for the purposes of appointment to any post carrying a pay scale of not more than Level 4. The Level 4 post comprises positions such as gardeners, barbers, office peons and watermen, and the highest rank in the category is that of a junior assistant.

     

    • The orders also empowers tehsildars to issue domicile certificates. The government has been empowered to notify any other officer as the competent authority to issue the certificate.

     

    • The order now formally allows people from outside J&K to apply for jobs in the UT. While Level IV jobs have been reserved for people with domicile status – as per their definition in the order – other non-gazetted and gazetted jobs have been opened for people from across the country, including people domiciled in J&K.

     

    1. Reserve Bank has deferred implementation of countercyclical capital buffers (CCyB)

    • Reserve Bank has deferred implementation of countercyclical capital buffers (CCyB) and extended the realisation period for export proceeds.
    • The RBI had put in place the framework on counter-cyclical capital buffer (CCyB) on February 5, 2015, wherein it was advised that the CCyB would be activated as and when the circumstances warranted.
    • The countercyclical capital buffer is intended to protect the banking sector against losses that could be caused by cyclical systemic risks increasing in the economy.
    • Countercyclical capital buffers require banks to hold capital at times when credit is growing rapidly so that the buffer can be reduced if the financial cycle turns down or the economic and financial environment becomes substantially worse.
    • Banks can use the capital buffers they have built up during the growth phase of the financial cycle to cover losses that may arise during periods of stress and to continue supplying credit to the real economy.
    • The rule was first introduced in Basel III as an extension of another buffer (called the capital conservation buffer). Basel III is a voluntary set of measures agreed upon by central banks all around the world. These measures were drafted by the Bank of International Settlements’ Basel Committee on Banking Supervision in response to the financial crisis of 2007-09, in order to strengthen regulation of banks and fight risks within the financial system.
    1. India’s 40.59% environment-related crimes reported in Rajasthan during 2014-16

     

    • In accordance with the report by the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) for the year ended March 31, 2018, 40.59% of the crimes related to the environment in the country were committed in Rajasthan (RJ) during 2014-16. The major crimes were violation of Forest (Conservation) Act, 1980and Wildlife Protect Act, 1972 which resulted in using of forest land for non-forest purposes without approval of government and capturing, poisoning, snaring or trapping of wild animals respectively.
    • A total of 15,723 crimes related to the environment were registered in the country during 2014-16 and the number of cases in RJ during this period was 6,382, which is 40.59%.
    • The key reason behind this is the non-constitution of state-level inter agency coordination committee and wildlife crime control units in the state despite directions of Wildlife Crime Control Bureau (WCCB). These are responsible for preventing wildlife crimes.
    • There was no regulationon the tourist activities in Ranthambhore Tiger Reserve (RTR) and Sariska Tiger Reserve (STR) due to the absence of local advisory committee (LAC) which caused disturbance to wild animals. RTR is located in SawaiMadhopur district, while Sariska is in Alwar district.
    • The directions of the National Tiger Conservatory Authority (NTCA) was not followed by keeping five of the 10 zones of core areas of Ranthambhore open in the monsoon season.
    • Also, the site selected for construction of the Abheda Biological Parkin Kota is not compatible due to adjoining garbage dumping yard, industrial areas, firing range of the Army, and existence of slums nearby.
    • During 2013-14 to 2017-18, 36,975 new cases of encroachment involving 358.25 sq. km forest land were registered.
    • A total of 15,883 cases of illegal mining in forest areas were registered during 2013-18.

     

    INTERNATIONAL NEWS

    1. Brazilian Prez Bolsonaro thanks PM Modi, people of India for helping Brazil tackle COVID-19 outbreak

    • Today, President Bolsonaro in his address to the nation thanked  Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the people of India for helping Brazil tackle the COVID-19 outbreak by providing raw materials for Hydroxychroloquine production.
    • Bolsonaro said that Brazil would receive the raw materials following his direct conversation with Prime Minister Modi. He expressed gratitude towards the Prime Minister and the people of India.
    • US President Donald Trump today thanked India for Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s decision to allow the export of anti malaria drug Hydroxychloroquine to the United States.
    • He tweeted that India’s gesture would not be forgotten and said that Prime Minister Modi’s leadership was helping not only India, but, humanity as well. President Trump also added that extraordinary times call for global cooperation in the fight against COVID-19.
    • Hydroxychloroquine has been identified by the US Food and Drug Administration as a possible line of treatment for the COVID-19. The disease has inflicted more than four lakh Americans, claiming lives of over 13,000.
    • President Trump had requested the Prime Minister to lift the ban on export of Hydroxychloroquine from India and supply the drug to the United States.
    1. US Elections: Joe Biden becomes Democratic nominee as Sanders drops out of Presidential race

    • Former Vice President Joe Biden is now the Democratic nominee for the American Presidential Race. Mr. Biden won the democratic nomination after US Senator Bernie Sanders has dropped out of the Presidential race yesterday. Presidential elections are due in November this year where Biden will now take on US President Donald Trump.
    • Biden took to Twitter and said that Democrats will not only defeat Donald Trump but will also address the climate crisis. He said, if elected, he will make college education affordable and health care available to all.

     

    1. Worldwide number of fatalities from Novel coronavirus rise to 82,726

    • The worldwide number of fatalities from the Novel coronavirus rose to 82,726 today. According to a tally compiled from official sources, by AFP said that more than 1,438,290 declared cases have been registered in 192 countries and territories since the epidemic first emerged in China in December. Of these cases, at least 275,500 are now considered recovered.
    • The tallies use data collected by AFP offices from national authorities and information from the World Health Organisation.
    • United States recorded the most new deaths over that period, with 890. It was followed by Spain, with 757 new recorded deaths.
    • Italy has recorded 17,127 fatalities  while Spain has registered 14,555 deaths. The death toll in the United States is now the third highest, at 12,911 for 399,929 infections — the highest number of cases in the world
    • France has reported 10,328 deaths followed by Britain with 6,159 deaths. China — excluding Hong Kong and Macau — has declared till today 3,333 deaths and 81,802 cases, with 77,279 recoveries.

    SPORTS NEWS

    1. Official mascots of 19th Asian Games unveiled in Hangzhou, China

    • The official mascots of the 19th Asian Games were unveiled at a digital launch ceremony in Hangzhou, China yesterday. The three robots, which are going to be the mascots for the 2022 Hangzhou Asian Games are collectively known as the smart triplets.
    • The Mascots – Congcong, Lianlian and Chenchen, which reflect the internet prowess of Hangzhou city and Zhejiang province, were unveiled at a digital ceremony in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic that has brought the whole world to a stand still.
    • The Olympic Council of Asia’s 19th Asian Games will be held in Hangzhou from September 10 to 25, 2022. It will be the third Asian Games to be hosted by China following Beijing in 1990 and Guangzhou in 2010, with the participation of 45 NOCs of Asia in 42 sports.

     

     

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