Daily Current Affairs and MCQs for UPSC - April 02, 2020 (The Hindu, Economic Times, PIB)

Coronavirus outbreak: Here's all need to know about Tablighi Jamaat

Focus: GS2.                           

Topic: Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources.

Context

  • Tablighi Jamaat has become a centre of controversy after nearly a quarter of 39 coronavirus deaths in India were linked to this religious gathering of Islamic preachers at Basti Nizamuddin in New Delhi.
  • More than 2,000 people, including foreigners and Indians from across the country, attended the Tablighi Jamaat congregation in Nizamuddin Markaz in violation of government's lockdown orders and exposed many to the COVID-19 threat.

Background

  • The Tablighi Jamaat's chief, Maulana Saad Kandhalvi, and other members of the group have been booked under the Epidemic Disease Act, 1897 and relevant sections of the Indian Penal Code for violating government orders of not organising public gatherings and maintaining social distance to contain the spread of coronavirus.

About Tablighi Jamaat

  • Tablighi Jamaat is a global evangelical Muslim organisation that focuses on urging Muslims to return to practising their religion as it was practised during the lifetime of Prophet Muhammad, particularly in matters of ritual, dress and personal behaviour.
  • The organisation indulges in preaching tours or Chilla across the country throughout the year.
  • The Amir (chief) of the Tablighi Jamaat is selected by the Central Advisory Council (Shura) and elders of the Jamaat.
  • The first Amir of the Tablighi Jamaat was Maulana Muhammad Ilyas Kandhalvi, succeeded by his sons Maulana Muhammad Yusuf Kandhalvi and then Maulana Inam ul Hasan.
  • In 2015, Maulana Saad became the chief of the Tablighi Jamaat.

Source: India Today.

Govt extends foreign trade policy, other export benefits for one year

Focus: GS3.

Topic: Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization of resources, growth, development and employment.

Context

Ø  The government extended the existing foreign trade policy for one year till March 2021 amid the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic outbreak and the lockdown to contain its spread.

Background

  • “The existing foreign trade policy 2015-20 which is valid up to March 31 this year is extended up to March 31, 2021,” the Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) said in a notification.
  • As per the notification, the validity of various import-linked export schemes such as Duty Free Import Authorisation (DFIA) and Export Promotion Capital Goods (EPCG) has been extended by one year.

Highlights

  • To provide continuity in the policy regime, the current FTP, valid till March 31, 2020, has been extended till March 31, 2021.
  • The similar extension has been made in the related procedures by extending the validity of Hand Book of Procedures.
  • The benefit under all the export promotion schemes, except SEIS and other schemes, will continue to be available for another 12 months.
  • The decision on the continuation of SEIS will be taken and notified subsequently.
  • Exemption from payment of IGST (Integrated Goods and Service Tax) and Compensation Cess on the imports made under advance/EPCG authorisations and by EOUs, etc, has been extended up to March 31, 2021.
  • The scheme for providing 'transport marketing assistance on the specified agricultural products' is further extended for one year.
  • The validity period for making imports under various duty-free import authorisations (AA/DFIA/EPCG) expiring between 1.02.2020 and 31.07.2020 has been allowed automatic extension for another six months from the date of expiry.
  • There is no requirement of obtaining such endorsement on these authorisations.
  • The validity period of letter of permission/letter of intent granted to EOU units in STPs/EHTPs/BTPs is further extended up to December 31, 2020.
  • The last date of filing applications for refund of TED/Drawback, Transport and Marketing Assistance has been extended.
  • Extension in time has been allowed for filing various reports/returns, etc under various provisions of the FTP.

Source: Economic Times.

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Who can fish in waters near Natuna Islands and how?

Focus: GS3.

Topic: Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment.

Context

Recently, it seems that Indonesian scholars have been paying much more attention to the fishing activities of Chinese vessels in the waters southwest of Nansha Qundao (Nansha Islands), describing it as a “new action” by China.

Background

  • China’s illegal fishing near the Natunas carries global consequence, reminding regional governments of Beijing’s expanding claims to a waterway through which one-third of the world’s maritime trade flows.
  • But local leaders in the Natunas don’t control what happens near their shores.

Highlights

  • On Chinese maps, a line made of nine dashes scoops out most of the South China Sea as China’s.
  • One of the dashes slices through waters north of the Natunas.
  • While Beijing recognizes Indonesian sovereignty over the Natunas themselves, the Chinese Foreign Ministry describes the nearby sea as China’s “traditional fishing grounds.”
  • In 2016, an international tribunal dismissed the nine-dash line as legally baseless.
  • The Chinese government ignored the ruling.
  • Instead, Beijing continued turning contested atolls and islets into military bases from which China can project its power across the South China Sea.
  • The Chinese fishers are helping feed the country’s growing appetite for seafood by trawling the South China Sea.

Source: Diplomat.

Bengaluru life science cluster prepares Covid-19 response

Focus: GS3.

Topic: Science and Technology- developments and their applications and effects in everyday life Achievements of Indians in science & technology; indigenization of technology and developing new technology.

Context

  • The Bangalore Life SciencesCluster (BLiSC) on Wednesday said it is actively participating in the national effort to track, study and counter the Covid-19 pandemic.
  • The government through the the Empowered Committee for Covid-19 Response has asked groups across the three BLiSC units – the National Centre for Biological Science(NCBS), Institute for Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine (inStem) and Centre for Cellular And Molecular Platforms (CCAMP) – to propose projects related to immediate and medium-term responses to the pandemic.

Highlights

  • A subset of proposals is being submitted to the Empowered Committee for fast-track approval.
  • Several proposals are being submitted to national funding agencies including the DBT and DST-SERB, as well as to CSR funding streams.
  • A statement said that immediate-term proposals include solutions for Covid-19 monitoring based on campus capabilities in molecular biology; Genetics and molecular epidemiology for mapping disease spread and disease susceptibility; Technology solutions for multiple aspects of Covid-19 management, including better diagnostic methods and clinical management and techniques for better protection against infection.

Source: The Times of India.

HIV drugs junked: Malaria drug, antibiotic combo now on treatment list

Focus: GS2.

Topic: Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources, issues relating to poverty and hunger.

Context

  • Earlier this month, India had also recommended use of HCQ as a prophylactic in medical workers managing coronavirus patients and caregivers at home, leading to a huge surge in demand.

Background

  • Anti-HIV drugs Lopinavir and Ritonavir are no longer India’s drugs of choice against the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
  • Instead, a combination of hydroxychloroquine (HCQ), used for treatment of auto-immune disorders, and the antibitoic azithromycin has now been recommended for use in severe patients in new clinical management guidelines issued.

About the guidelines

  • The earlier guidelines, dated March 17, which included use of Ritonavir-Lopinavir in high risk patients, now stand repealed.
  • The revised guidelines state: “No specific antivirals have been proven to be effective as per currently available data. However, based on the available information (uncontrolled clinical trials), the following drugs may be considered as an off-label indication in patients with severe disease and requiring ICU management.”
  • Earlier this month, India had also recommended use of HCQ as a prophylactic in medical workers managing coronavirus patients and caregivers at home, leading to a huge surge in demand.
  • The drug regulator had then stepped in to put it on a schedule of the Drugs and Cosmetics Act, which requires stricter control of sales.
  • The drug cannot be sold without prescription.
  • Azithromycin is a commonly used antibiotic, while HCQ is used in treatment of autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis.
  • It is also used in treating malaria.
  • The azithromycin-hydroxychloroquine combination is part of an upcoming multi-country trial anchored by the World Health Organization to examine the efficacy of various drug combinations against COVID-19.
  • The overall documented mortality of COVID-19, as given out by the WHO is 3.4 per cent.
  • India had announced its decision to be part of the WHO global trials, which are also looking at these two drugs.

Source: Times of India.

Test your Knowledge

  1. Consider the following statements wrt ‘Fully Accessible Route’ (FAR):
    1. It enables Non-Resident Indians (NRIs) to invest in specified government bonds with effect from April 1. 
    2. Eligible investors can invest in specified government securities with being subject to investment ceilings.
    3. This scheme shall operate along with the two existing routes, viz., the Medium Term Framework (MTF) and the Voluntary Retention Route (VRR).

Select the correct answer using the codes given below:

  1. 1 and 2 only
  2. 2 and 3 only
  3. 1 and 3 only
  4. AOTA

Solution: C

2. Eligible investors can invest in specified government securities without being subject to any investment ceilings. 

‘Stranded in India’ portal is launched by Ministry of:

    1. Tourism
    2. Culture
    3. Human Resource Development
    4. Home Affairs

Solution: A

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