1. Indian Railways plans to produce over 1,30,000 coveralls (PPEs) in 2 months
- To provide protection to Health Care professionals in fight against COVID 19
- Indian Railways Production Units, Workshops and field units have started manufacturing Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) Coveralls for medical and health-care personnel who get directly exposed to the COVID-19 disease when working amongst infected patients.
- The prototype coverall was tested by Defence Research Development Establishment Laboratory of DRDO at Gwalior, authorised for conducting such tests.
2. Study to identify biomarkers to predict progression from non-severe to severe COVD 19 cases
- Biomarker is a naturally occurring molecule, gene, or characteristic by which a particular pathological or physiological process, disease, etc. can be identified.
- The Science and Engineering Research Board (SERB), a statutory body under the Department of Science and Technology (DST), will support exploration of metabolomics alteration in COVID-19 infected patients conducted by IIT Bombay in collaboration with some hospitals in Mumbai.
- Search for potential diagnostic candidates will involve metabolite profiling of different patient groups with various complications.
- Metabolites are small biomolecules, capable of regulating various pathways in all the living-organisms
3. Ministry of Tourism‘s “DekhoApnaDesh”
- It is a webinar series to showcase the diverse and remarkable history and culture of India
- Due to COVID-19, tourism as a sector is naturally hugely impacted with no movement happening either domestically or from across the border.
- Ministry of Tourism believes in these unprecedented times technology is coming handy to maintain human contact and also keep faith that times will be good to be able to travel again soon.
4. Lifeline Udan flights operated during lockdown to transport medical supplies across the country
- Ministry of Civil Aviation(MoCA) core group was formed with important Stakeholders for undertaking Lifeline UDAN initiative to transport essential medical cargo to remote parts of the country to support India’s war against COVID-19 and Hub & spoke lifeline services were started from 26th March 2020
- In the International Sector, an air-bridge has been established with China for transportation of pharmaceuticals, medical equipment and Covid-19 relief material.
- Within South Asia, Air India transported medical supplies to Colombo.
5. Plenary Meeting of the International Monetary and Financial Committee (IMFC) of the IMF
- The International Monetary Fund (IMF) is an international organization headquartered in Washington, D.C., consisting of 189 countries working to foster global monetary cooperation, secure financial stability, facilitate international trade, promote high employment and sustainable economic growth, and reduce poverty around the world while periodically depending on the World Bank for its resources.
- It was formed in 1944 at the Bretton Woods Conference
- The IMFC advises and reports to the IMF Board of Governors on the supervision and management of the international monetary and financial system, including on responses to unfolding events that may disrupt the system.
- The IMFC meets twice a year, once during the Fund-Bank Annual Meetings in October, and again during the Spring Meetings in April.
- The Committee discusses matters of common concern affecting the global economy and advises the IMF on the direction of its work.
6. MHA issues Advisory on Secure use of ZOOM Meeting Platform
- The Cyber Coordination Centre (CyCord), under the Union Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), has issued an advisory on secure use of ZOOM Meeting Platform by private individuals.
- This advisory states that the platform is not for use by Government officers/officials for official purposes.
- The document makes reference to earlier advisories of the Indian Computer Emergency Response Team(Cert-In) and states that Zoom is not a safe platform.
7. Chitra GeneLAMP-N makes confirmatory tests results of COVID 19 possible in 2 hours
- Sree Chitra Tirunal Institute for Medical Sciences and Technology, Trivandrum, an Institute of National Importance, of the Department of Science and Technology (DST), has developed the diagnostic test kit.
- The confirmatory diagnostic test, which detects the N Gene of SARS- COV2 using reverse transcriptase loop-mediated amplification of viral nucleic acid (RT-LAMP), will be one of the world’s first few if not the first of its kinds in the world.
- The test kit, funded by the DST called Chitra GeneLAMP-N, is highly specific for SARS-CoV-2 N-gene and can detect two regions of the gene, which will ensure that the test does not fail even if one region of the viral gene undergoes mutation during its current spread.
8. CeNS develops portable sensor to ease heavy metal detection in water
- Centre for Nano and Soft Matter Sciences (CeNS) has developed a compact solid-state sensor to detect the heavy metal ions in water. It is a portable device which can help onsite detection in remote areas.
- Heavy metal ions such as lead, mercury and cadmium pose severe potential threats to living beings as they can easily be accumulated in the body and cannot be detoxified by any chemical or biological processes.
- The sensor film was prepared by forming a composite between manganese doped zinc sulfide quantum dots and reduced graphene oxide on a glass substrate.
- These particular quantum dots are water-soluble and have high photoluminescence (~ 30 %) quantum yield, making them suitable for luminescence-based sensing.
- If a drop of water containing heavy metal ions such as mercury, lead, cadmium, etc. are added to the composite film, the emission of the film quenches within seconds.
9. Initiatives of Department of Agriculture, Cooperation & Farmers Welfare to promote farming and allied sectors during lockdown
- Exemptions were given by Government of India for agricultural operations keeping in view the harvesting and sowing season -procurement agencies, mandis, farming operations, shops for seeds, fertilizers, etc.
- Launched the All India Agri Transport Call Centre– This Call Centre has been set up for coordination between States for inter-state movement of perishables like vegetables & fruits, agri inputs like seeds, pesticides and fertilizer etc.
- Under the Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi (PM-KISAN) Scheme during the lockdown period from 24.3.2020, about 8.46 crore farmer have been benefitted
- Under the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojana (PM-GKY) about 5516 MT of pulses has been dispatched for delivery to the States/UTs.
- Railways introduced 67 routes for running Parcel Specials to supply essential commodities including perishable horticultural produce,agricultural inputs viz. seed, fertilizer and pesticides, milk and dairy products at fast speed.
10. Key amendment to Environment Impact Assessment(EIA) Notification 2006
- To ramp up availability/production of bulk drugs within short span of time.
- The EIA is a process to evaluate environmental impacts caused due a proposed project.
- The EIA is backed by the Environment Protection Act, 1986.
- There are four stages in EIA cycle. They are screening, scoping, public hearing and appraisal.
- All projects or activities in respect of bulk drugs and intermediates, manufactured for addressing various ailments, have been re-categorized from the existing Category ‘A’ to ‘B2’ category.
- The Categories A and B have only one difference. The Category A projects require mandatory environmental clearance and does not undergo screening.
- On the other hand, category B projects undergoes screening process. Under Category B, there are two types. They are Category B1 and Category B2.
- Category B1 are those projects that require EIA for appraisal and also has to undergo public consultation and category B2 are those that do not require EIA.
- The re-categorization of such proposals has been done to facilitate decentralization of appraisal to State Level so as to fast track the process.
11. RBI launches OBICUS
- OBICUS is Order Books, Inventories and Capacity Utilization Survey (OBICUS).
- The survey provides an insight into the demands of the Indian manufacturing sector. The survey is conducted quarterly (4 times a year). It is being conducted since 2008.
- The survey covers 2,500 companies both in public and private sector. The survey also provides ratio of total inventories to sales. Also, the survey provides ratio of raw materials to finished goods.
12. COVID-19: “Sahyog” Mobile application launched by Survey of India
- To collect information about COVID-19 specific data sets through community engagement.
- The application will help to increase response activities of the GoI towards the pandemic.
- The data collected through the Sahyog application will be used to enhance other applications such as “Arogya Setu” and the Integrated Geospatial platform.
13. Spitting an offence: Section 51 of Disaster Management Act
- The Ministry of Home Affairs issued guidelines for Lock Down 2.0 that was extended till May 3, 2020. According to the new guidelines, spitting in the public was made offensive under National Disaster Management Act.
- Section 51: Under the section, a person denying to obey orders passed under the act is punishable.
- Refusal to abide by the above order shall lead to imprisonment till one year.
14. Fit India Active Day Programme launched under Fit India Movement
- The Ministry of AYUSH has issued guidelines to implement the Fit India Active Day Programme. The programme is launched to make sure children practice fitness even when they stay home.
- The Fit India Movement was launched to encouraged to make sure the citizens stay healthy through sports and physical activities. The movement was launched by PM Modi during National Sports Day, 2019.
15. US stops WHO funding
- It has accused the organization being completely China-centric.
- There are four major kinds of contributions that make up the funds of WHO.
- It includes assessed contribution, voluntary contribution, core voluntary contributions and Pandemic Influenza Preparedness(PIP) contributions.
16. History of Pandemics: Justinian Plague, Black Death and Spanish Flu
- The Justinian Plague was the deadliest pandemic that broke in 6th century. It had spread from Egypt to Constantinople. The disease was named after the emperor Justinian as the disease hit the region during his reign of Byzantine Empire. The disease killed more than 100 million.
- The Black Death killed more than 200 million. It struck China, Syria, India and Egypt. The disease arrived in Europe in 1347.
It also led to Peasant Revolt in England in 1381. Jews were blamed for spreading the illness and were burnt alive in many parts of the country.
- The Spanish Flu broke during the last phase of World War I. It killed more than 50 million people. It was recorded in Europe and later spread to Asia and America. The disease weakened German units and is still considered as one of the reasons for the fall of Germany in the war.
17. Uttar Pradesh: First State to start Pool Testing
- On April 14, 2020, the ICMR (Indian Council of Medical Research) gave permission for the state of Uttar Pradesh to start pool testing of COVID-19.
- Pool testing is being done in the state to increase the number of testing.
- Under pool testing, the samples will be mixed and tested.