Factly articles for 16th September 2020

13 min read

1.Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Package Insurance Scheme for health workers extended for six months

News: Government of India has extended Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Package Insurance Scheme for Health Workers Fighting COVID-19 for another six months.

Facts:

  • Type: It is a Central Sector Scheme launched in March,2020.
  • Aim: To provide an insurance cover of ₹50 lakh to healthcare providers, including community health workers who may have to be in direct contact of COVID-19 patients and therefore at risk of being infected.It also includes Accidental death on account of contracting COVID-19.
  • Coverage: It covers private hospital staff/retired/volunteer/local urban bodies/contract/daily wage/ad-hoc/outsourced staff requisitioned by States/Central hospitals/autonomous hospitals of Central/States/UTs, AIIMS & INIs/hospitals of Central Ministries drafted for COVID-19 related responsibilities.
  • Is there any age-limit for health workers under this scheme? There is no age limit for this scheme.
  • Implementation: The entire amount of premium for this scheme is being borne by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.It has collaborated with the New India Assurance(NIA) Company Limited for providing the insurance amount based on the guidelines prepared for the scheme.

2.India, US sign statement of intent to boost dialogue on defence technology cooperation

News: India and the United States have signed a statement of intent to strengthen the bilateral dialogue on defence technology co-operation during the 10th Defence Technology and Trade Initiative(DTTI).

Facts:

  • Defence Technologies and Trade Initiative(DTTI): The mechanism was launched in 2012.
  • What is it? It is not a treaty or a law.It is a flexible mechanism to ensure that senior leaders from US and India are persistently focused on the opportunities and challenges associated with growing defense partnership.
  • Aim: To strengthen India’s defence industrial base, explore new areas of technological development and expand U.S.-India business ties.
  • Led by: The initiative is led by Undersecretary of Defence for Acquisition and Sustainment from the United States and Secretary for Defence Protection from India.

3.Union Education Minister launches AICTE-SPICE

News: The Union Education Minister has launched the AICTE-SPICES (Scheme for Promoting Interests, Creativity and Ethics among Students).

Facts:

  • Aim: To promote healthy co-curricular activity amongst the students for their all-round development.
  • Purpose: The scheme provides financial support to institutions for developing students club for well-rounded development of students by promoting their interests, creativity and ethics.
  • Eligibility:
    • AICTE approved institutes with minimum 5 years of existence.
    • Only one proposal per institute for a club (with minimum student members 50) will be admissible.Institute may choose its best performing club for applying under the scheme for the grant.

4.Greenland’s Largest Glacier Crashed Into The Sea

News: A massive chunk of ice of the Nioghalvfjerdsfjorden glacier has broken off because of warmer temperatures in Greenland.

Facts:

  • Nioghalvfjerdsfjorden glacier sometimes referred to as “79 N Glacier is located in Northeast Greenland.It is the Arctic’s largest ice shelf.

Additional Facts:

Other Glaciers in News:

  • Thwaites Glacier: It is located in western Antarctica and flows into Pine Island Bay, a part of the Amundsen Sea.
  • Okjökull (Ok glacier): It was a glacier located in western Iceland on top of the shield volcano Ok.It is the first glacier lost to climate change in the world.

5.Pandemic preparedness: Global spending needs 500 years to match COVID-19 rout

News: Global Preparedness Monitoring Board(GPMB) has released a report titled “A World in Disorder”

Facts:

  • About the report: It is an annual report first published by GPMB in 2019.
  • Purpose of report: The report calls for urgent actions to strengthen the current response to COVID-19 and better prepare the world for future pandemics and health emergencies to bring order out of catastrophe and chaos.

Key Takeaways:

  • The world will take 500 years to spend on preparing for pandemics as much as the loss being driven by the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
  • It has recommended five urgent actions to be taken in order to prevent the next pandemic: a) responsible leadership b) engaged citizenship, c) strong and agile systems for health security d) sustained investment and e) robust global governance for preparedness.

Additional Facts:

  • Global Preparedness Monitoring Board: It is a joint arm of the WHO and the World Bank.
  • Mandate: To apprise key policymakers and the world of system-wide progress towards increased preparedness and response capacity for disease outbreaks and other emergencies with health consequences.

6.Assisted Reproductive Technology Regulation Bill, 2020

News: Government of India has introduced “The Assisted Reproductive Technology (Regulation) Bill, 2020” in the Lok Sabha.

Facts:

  • Aim: To regulate the assisted reproductive technology(ART) clinics and the assisted reproductive technology banks, prevention of misuse,safe and ethical practice of assisted reproductive technology services.

Key Provisions of the bill:

  • National Board: It shall lay down code of conduct to be observed by persons working at ART clinics, to set the minimum standards of physical infrastructure, laboratory and diagnostic equipment and expert manpower to be employed by clinics and banks.
  • Regulatory Boards at State Level: The States and Union Territories shall constitute the State Boards and State Authorities.It shall have the responsibility to follow the policies and plans laid by the National Board for clinics and Banks in the State.
  • National Registry and Registration Authority: It will maintain a Central database and assist the National Board in its functioning.  
  • Punishment: The bill also proposes for a stringent punishment for those practising sex selection, sale of human embryos or gametes, running agencies/rackets/organisations for such unlawful practices.   

Additional Facts:

  • Assisted reproductive technology(ART): It includes medical procedures used primarily to address infertility.It involves procedures such as In Vitro Fertilization(IVF), gamete donation, intrauterine insemination(IUI) among others.

7.NIMHANS develops new Indian Brain Templates, brain atlas

News: A team of neuroscientists from the National Institute of Mental Health and Neuro Sciences(NIMHANS) has studied over 500 brain scans of Indian patients to develop five sets of Indian brain templates and a brain atlas for five age groups covering late childhood to late adulthood(six to 60 years).

Facts:

  • Brain Template: It is a gross representation from various brain images to understand brain functionality in diseased conditions.
  • Need of Brain Template:
    • The Montreal Neurological Index(MNI) template that India uses is based on Caucasian brains which was made by averaging 152 healthy brain scans from just a small slice of the city’s population in North America.
    • However,Caucasian brains are different from Asian brains.Hence, India needs to have its own scale that will measure an Indian brain.
  • Significance:
    • The new population and age-specific Indian brain templates will allow more reliable tracking of brain development and ageing.
    • The templates and atlas will also provide more precise reference maps for areas of interest in individual patients with neurological disorders like strokes, brain tumours and dementia.
    • These will also help pool information more usefully in group studies of the human brain and psychological functions, aiding in understanding of psychiatric illnesses.

8.Formed 16-member committee to study ancient Indian culture

News: an expert committee headed by K.N. Dikshit has been set up. The committee will conduct holistic study of origin and evolution of Indian culture since 12000 years before present and its interface with other cultures of the world.

9.Umar Khalid arrested under UAPA in Delhi riots case: What is this anti-terror law?

News: Student activist Umar Khalid has been arrested under Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA).

Facts:

  • The UAPA is a legislation to provide for the more effective prevention of certain unlawful activities of individuals and associations and for dealing with terrorist activities.
  • The Act defines unlawful activity as any action by an individual or association which is intended to bring about cession/secession or such action as to disrupt or question the sovereignty and territorial integrity of India.
  • Under the Act, the central government may designate an organisation/individual as a terrorist/terrorist organisation if it (a)commits or participates in acts of terrorism, (b)prepares for terrorism (c) promotes terrorism or (d) is otherwise involved in terrorism.