Daily Current Affairs and MCQs for UPSC - April 04, 2020 (The Hindu, Economic Times, PIB)

COVID-19: IISc team building ventilator prototype using local parts

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

  • In the COVID-19 crisis, if a worst case scenario is assumed, about 0.006 percent of the population will require critical care with access to ventilators.
  • For a population of 125 Crores, this translates to about 75,000 patients who might need ventilator access.

About the project

  • The global supply chain has been severely disrupted due to the crisis, and there are no indications on when it will be restored.
  • A group of Scientists and students in Indian Institute of Science in Bengaluru have developed an indigenous ventilator prototype.
  • The Scientists and Students in Indian Institute of Science have developed a prototype of an indigenous ventilator under project Praana.
  • The project is a voluntary effort to help the nation at the time of crisis.
  • The team in the Electrical Communication Engineering Department of Indian Institute of Science, led by Associate Professor Gaurab Banerjee has designed the ventilator using materials readily available in India.
  • The prototype has mass flow sensors and controllers which accurately tell how much oxygen is flowing and what volume the patient is inhaling in one breath.
  • Pneumatics is built around mass produced water filter hardware.
  • The control system is built around open source industrial controller.

Source: AIR.

NPPA establishes price monitoring unit in JK

Focus: GS2.

Topic: Statutory, regulatory and various quasi-judicial bodies.

Context

Ø  Jammu & Kashmir Union Territory has become 12th State where the Price Monitoring & Resource Unit (PMRU) has been set up by the National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA).

Background

  • The suggestion to set up PMRUs was made due to lack of a field-level link between the NPPA and the State Drugs Controllers to monitor drug prices.
  • Kerala was the first state to set up a price monitoring and research unit (PMRU) to track violation of prices of essential drugs and medical devices under the Drugs Price Control Order (DPCO).

About PMRUs

  • PMRUs have already been set up by NPPA in 11 States.
  • The PMRU (a registered society) is to function under the direct control and supervision of the State Drug Controller of Jammu & Kashmir. 
  • The unit is to be funded by NPPA for its recurring and non-recurring expenses. 
  • The PMRU shall help NPPA and State Drug Controllers in ensuring availability and accessibility of medicines at affordable prices.
  • The PMRU will make reports with respect to availability and over-pricing of medicines for taking action under the provisions of Drug Price Control Order (DPCO).

Highlights

  • National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority is a government regulatory agency that controls the prices of pharmaceutical drugs in India.
  • It was formed on 29 August 1997.
  • NPPA fixes ceiling prices of essential medicines that are listed in Schedule I of DPCO, 2013.
  • This decision has significance as PMRU will assist NPPA and Governments in checking overpricing.
  • It will also help in identifying causes & addressing local issues of shortages/hoarding in the current situation of COVID-19 pandemic.

Source: PIB.

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Aarogya Setu, a COVID19 tracker App, informs you if you come in close proximity with positive cases

Focus: GS2.

Topic: Important aspects of governance, transparency and accountability, e-governance- applications, models, successes, limitations, and potential; citizens charters, transparency & accountability and institutional and other measures.

Context

The Government today launched a mobile app developed in public-private partnership to bring the people of India together in a resolute fight against COVID-19.

Background

  • The App, called ‘AarogyaSetu’ joins Digital India for the health and well-being of every Indian.
  • The App will enable people to assess themselves the risk for their catching the Coronavirus infection.
  • It will calculate this based on their interaction with others, using cutting edge Bluetooth technology, algorithms and artificial intelligence.

About the app

  • Once installed in a smartphone through an easy and user-friendly process, the app detects other devices with Aarogya Setu installed that come in the proximity of that phone.
  • The app can then calculate the risk of infection based on sophisticated parameters if any of these contacts is tested positive.
  • The App will help the Government take necessary timely steps for assessing risk of spread of COVID-19 infection, and ensuring isolation where required.
  • The App’s design ensures privacy-first.
  • The personal data collected by the App is encrypted using state-of-the-art technology and stays secure on the phone till it is needed for facilitating medical intervention.
  • The App is ready for pan-India use from day-1 and has highly scalable architecture.
  • This app is a unique example of the nation’s young talent coming together and pooling resources and efforts to respond to a global crisis. 
  • It is at once a bridge between public and private sectors, digital technology and health services delivery and the potential of young India with a disease-free and healthy future of the nation. 

Source: AIR.

IAF airlifts 6.2 tonne essential drugs to Maldives

Focus: GS2.

Topic: India and its neighbourhood- relations.

Context

  • Amidst the Global Corona Crisis, India launched an 18-hour operation, operation Sanjeevani to deliver Maldives 6.2 tonnes of essential medicines and hospital consumables. 
  • Indian Airforce lifted medicines from airports in New Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai and Madurai before delivering to the Maldives.
  • The Indian Army facilitated the transport of these medicines and consumables from warehouses across India to the respective airports.

Background

  • India has been assisting Maldives during the COVID crisis.
  • New Delhi gifted 5.5 tonnes of essential medicines to the Maldives on March 14, 2020, and also sent a 14-member COVID-19 Rapid Response Team of doctors to enhance preparedness.
  • It had evacuated 9 Maldives nationals from Wuhan which was once the epicentre of the crisis.

Highlights

  • The medicines include influenza vaccines, anti-viral drugs such as lopinavir and ritonavir which have been used to treat patients with COVID-19 in other countries, medicines for cardiac conditions, kidney ailments, hypertension as well as consumables such as catheters, nebulisers, urine bags and infant feeding tubes.

Source: Financial Express.

NCC offers its volunteer cadets for national duty to fight COVID-19 under ‘Ex NCC Yogdan’

Focus: GS3.

Topic: Various Security forces and agencies and their mandate.

Context

  • National Cadet Corps (NCC) has offered a helping hand to civilian authorities in the country’s fight against COVID-19 by extending the services of cadets under ‘Exercise NCC Yogdan’.
  • It has issued guidelines for temporary employment of its cadets to augment relief efforts and functioning of various agencies involved in battling the pandemic.

Background

  • The tasks envisaged for NCC cadets include, manning of helpline/call centres; distribution of relief materials/medicines/ food/essential commodities; community assistance; data management and queue & traffic management. 
  • According to the guidelines, cadets should not be employed in handling of law and order situation or for active military duties or at hot spots.   
  • Only Senior Division volunteer cadets above 18 years of age will be employed.
  • They should be employed in small cohesive groups of eight to 20 under the supervision of Permanent Instructor Staff or/and an Associate NCC Officer. 

Highlights

  • For employment of volunteer cadets, State governments /district administration has to send the requisition through State NCC Directorates.
  • Details will be coordinated at Directorate/Group Headquarters/Unit level with state government/local civil authority.
  • Before the cadets are deployed for the duty, ground conditions and laid down requirements are to be ensured.
  • The NCC, which operates under Ministry of Defence, is the largest uniformed youth organisation of the country and has been engaged in conducting various social service and community development activities.
  • The NCC cadets have been contributing to the national cause during natural calamities like floods, cyclone, etc since its inception.

Source: PIB.

Test your Knowledge

1. Consider the following statements wrt Prime Minister’s Citizen Assistance and Relief in Emergency Situations (PM-CARES) Fund:
    1. The fund will be used for combating, containment and relief efforts against the corona virus outbreak and similar pandemic like situations in the future.
    2. The President is the chairman of the trust.
    3. PMNRF is for natural disasters, while PM CARES Fund is for COVID-19 similar pandemic situations.

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. The Prime Minister is the chairman of the trust. Members will include the defence, home and finance ministers.

Project Praana is developed by:

     1. ISRO
     2. IISc, Bangalore
     3. DRDO
     4. CSIR

Solution: B

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