Sarat Chandra IAS Academy

UPSC Civils Current Affairs 19th May-2021

Topics 

  • Impact of covid on Rural India
  • National security act , 1980
  • Plasma Therapy
  • Russia – Ukraine Conflict
  • Snow leopar

 

1)Impact of covid on Rural India

Context: Panchayati Raj Ministry Issues Advisory for the Guidance of Panchayats to combat the COVID-19 Pandemic.

Body:
What makes rural population more vulnerable to the pandemic?

?Comparatively low level of awareness amongst the rural population.
?Inadequate support systems like,
?Low availability of health professionals [For example, only 29% of specialists were in place in the community health centres in Uttar Pradesh as against the requirement based on official norms]
?Lower level of health infrastructure [For example,As per the latest report of the Rural Health Statistics 2019-20 released by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MOHFW) the number of community health centres in Bihar declined from 101 in 2005 to 57 in 2020]
?Due to inadequate supply and vaccine hesitancy only 15% of the rural population is by far vaccinated.
?Lack of effective communication strategy to enable rural India to adopt Covid-appropriate behaviour
?A large number of migrant workers who returned to cities and towns after the first wave are migrating back to the villages—seeking rural employment. This migration is triggering multiple chains of virus transmission in rural India by the highly infectious variants of the second wave.
Panchayath raj Ministry’s advisory to guide Panchayats include:
?Intensive communication campaign for the awareness of rural communities on the nature of the COVID-19 infection, and preventive and mitigative measures, in accordance with the advice of Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW)
?To draw the frontline volunteers for the campaign from the local community viz. elected panchayat representatives, teachers, ASHA workers etc.
?Providing suitable facilities with necessary protective equipment like finger oxy-meters, N-95 masks, infrared thermal scanning instruments, sanitisers etc.
?Display of the information on availability of testing / vaccination centers, doctors, hospital beds etc on real-time basis to facilitate effective utilization of available infrastructure by the rural citizens.
?To leverage the available IT infrastructure in the Panchayat offices, Schools.
?Providing relief and rehabilitation measures considering the distress and livelihood hindrances that are likely to arise due to the spread of the virus.
?Establishing a proper inter-linkage with the medical facilities at the nearby District and Sub-Districts.
State governments initiative towards this:
?Many States have taken various measures including innovative one worth citing and emulating by other States.
?Transport plan of provisioning of ambulances in each Gram Panchayats to support the health system, two chambered cars and auto rickshaws for the needy, ambulances in frontline treatment centres of Kerala.
?self-proclaimed lockdown by PRIs in Gujarat
?migrant database for capturing the return migrants in the panchayats both from outside the state and within the state by Assam.
?eSanjeevani OPD, free online medical consultation for sick people by Himachal Pradesh are worth commendable.

 

2)National security act , 1980
Context:
?Manipur scribe, activist booked under NSA act.
?The police in Manipur’s capital, Imphal, booked journalist Kishorchandra Wangkhem and political activist Erendro Leichombam under the National Security Act (NSA) of 1980 over their Facebook posts allegedly deriding the death of State BJP president S. Tikendra Singh.
?The duo was arrested on May 13 after the BJP leader died of COVID19. Referring to his death, both had commented that cow urine and dung were not cures for the infection.
About National Security Act:
?It is a preventive detention law
?It allows preventive detention, if authorities are satisfied that a person is a threat to national security or law and order.
?Article 22 (3) (b) of the Constitution allows for preventive detention and restriction on personal liberty for reasons of state security and public order.
?It was promulgated on September 23, 1980.
?As per the National Security Act, the grounds for preventive detention of a person include:

a)Acting in any manner prejudicial to the defence of India, the relations of India with foreign powers, or the security of India.
b)Regulating the continued presence of any foreigner in India or with a view to making arrangements for his expulsion from India.
c)preventing them from acting in any manner prejudicial to the security of the State or from acting in any manner prejudicial to the maintenance of public order or from acting in any manner prejudicial to the maintenance of supplies and services essential to the community it is necessary so to do.

?Under the National Security Act, an individual can be detained without a charge for up to 12 months.
?The state government needs to be intimated that a person has been detained under the NSA. No such order shall remain in force for more than 12 days unless approved by the State Government.
?A person detained under the National Security Act can be held for 10 days without being told the charges against them.
?Appeal: The detained person can appeal before a high court advisory board but they are not allowed a lawyer during the trial.
Concerns with NSA :
?Basic rights that are denied to a person arrested under NSA:
1.The right to be informed of the reason for the arrest as per section 50 of Criminal procedure code.
2.Sections 56 and 76 of the CrPC also provides that a person has to be produced before a court within 24 hours of arrest.
3.Article 22(1) of the Constitution- which says an arrested person cannot be denied the right to consult, and to be defended by, a legal practitioner of his choice.
?No Record of Detentions under the NSA: The National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB), which collects and analyses crime data in the country, does not include cases under the NSA in its data as no FIRs are registered.
?Some experts argue that the governments sometimes use the NSA as an extra-judicial power.
?NSA has come under wide criticism for its misuse by the authorities. Experts describe the validity of the Act even during peacetime as ‘anachronism’.
Way Forward:
?Preventive detention under NSA has to be strictly maintained with the delicate balance between social security and citizen freedom.
?As per supreme court of India – to prevent “misuse of this potentially dangerous power, the law of preventive detention has to be strictly construed” and “meticulous compliance with the procedural safeguards” has to be ensured.
?The writ of Habeas Corpus is also the protection guaranteed under the Constitution against the unchecked state power of taking people into custody under the NSA.

3)Plasma Therapy
Context: Govt removes plasma therapy as treatment for Covid-19 among adults.
Body:
?Government-appointed task force on Covid-19 on Monday removed plasma therapy from the treatment protocol for adult Covid-19 patients.
?Until now, India’s Covid-19 treatment protocol allowed ‘off label’ use of convalescent plasma therapy but only at the stage of early moderate disease, that is, within seven days of the onset of symptoms, and if there is availability of a high titre donor plasma.
?The Covid-19 treatment protocol is prepared in consultation with the Indian Council of Medical Research, AIIMS New Delhi, among others.
What Changed?
?With more research it has now been evidenced that plasma therapy is not effective on Covid-19 patients in reducing or containing the severity of infection.
?The members of the ICMR-National Task Force for Covid-19 reportedly cited its ineffectiveness and inappropriate use in several cases.
?The decision to remove it from the guidelines comes in the backdrop of some clinicians and scientists writing to Principal Scientific Advisor K VijayRaghavan cautioning against the “irrational and non-scientific use” of convalescent plasma for Covid-19 in the country.
?Results from a trial, published in The Lancet, spanning around 11,000 patients — that again found no benefit — to demote CPT.
?Further evidence is emerging that CPT may be contributing to the evolution of coronavirus mutations.
What is Convalescent Plasma therapy?
?Convalescent plasma therapy uses blood from people who’ve recovered from an illness to help others recover.
?Blood donated by people who’ve recovered from COVID-19 has antibodies to the virus that causes it. The donated blood is processed to remove blood cells, leaving behind liquid (plasma) and antibodies. These can be given to people with COVID-19 to boost their ability to fight the virus.
Who can donate plasma?
?In the case of COVID-19, a plasma donor should have recovered from the infection in around 28 days and should be in the age group of 18 to 60 years. The donor should have a minimum weight of 50 kgs and should not be suffering from any transmissible or chronic diseases.

 

4)Russia – Ukraine Conflict
Context: President Joe Biden affirmed his “unwavering support” for Ukraine in a call to President Volodymyr Zelensky after Kiev accused Moscow of building up military forces on its border.

Analysis:
What is Ukraine Crisis:
?The Ukraine crisis is a power struggle between factions within Ukraine.
?One of the factions wants to align with the European Union and the other with Russia. As one of the founding states of the Soviet Union, Ukraine had been an important contributor to the Soviet Union’s economy between 1920–1991.
?In March of 2014, the current crisis erupted when Russian special forces occupied Ukraine’s Crimean peninsula.
?Russia claimed it was protecting its port access to the Black Sea.
?Between 2014–2018, a military conflict between Ukrainian soldiers and Russian-backed separatists continued in eastern Ukraine. More than 10,000 people were killed.3
?Critics at the United Nations Security Council meeting said Russia’s attack was a violation under international law. The North Atlantic Treaty Organization increased its military presence in the area.

What is Crimea?
?The Republic of Crimea, officially part of Ukraine, lies on a peninsula south of Ukraine between the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov.
?It is separated from Russia to the east by the narrow Kerch Strait.
?Crimea is connected only to mainland Ukraine.
?Crimea is considered by most of the world to be a region of Ukraine that’s under hostile Russian occupation.
?Russia considers it a rightful and historical region of Russia that it helped to liberate.
?Geographically, it is a peninsula in the Black Sea with a location so strategically important that it has been fought over for centuries.
?From Ukraine’s 1991 independence up through February 2014, it was a Ukrainian region that had special autonomy and large Russian military bases.
?Crucially, Crimea spent a very long time before 1991 as part of the Soviet Union and the Russian Empire, and most of its citizens are Russians themselves.
?In early 2014, Russian-backed forces seized control of the Crimean peninsula, and the territory, which has a Russian-speaking majority, voted to join Russia in a referendum that Ukraine and the West deem illegal
?The US and European Union have imposed economic sanctions on Russia to punish Moscow for this.

Why Ukraine Is So Important to Russia
?Russia knows that NATO won’t protect Ukraine since it is not a member, and that encourages to continue to attack.
?Ukraine, which provided the Soviet agricultural output, had been an important contributor to the former Soviet Union’s economy.
? It also supplied heavy industrial equipment and raw materials to industrial sites throughout the former USSR

Implications on India:
?The rift between Russia and Ukraine, which burst out into armed combat when Moscow annexed the Crimean Peninsula from Ukraine in 2014, has created a potential dilemma for India.
?Ukraine has been a source of military technology and equipment for India since its independence.
?Ukraine manufactures the R-27 air-to-air missiles which are in use by the IAF on its SU-30MKI fighters.
?Recently, a Russian press release has objected to the overhaul in Ukraine of military equipment built and sold by Russia.
?Russia has begun objecting to customers dealing with Ukraine.
?The potential for trouble with Russia exists because the Indian Air Force (IAF) is currently collaborating with Ukraine to overhaul its fleet of AN-32s.
?India is Ukraine’s largest export destination in the Asia-Pacific and the fifth largest overall export destination.
?Pharmaceuticals account for the majority of Indian exports to Ukraine.
?There are about 18,000 Indian students studying in Ukraine, mainly in the field of medicine. Indian business professionals work predominantly in the fields of pharmaceuticals, IT, engineering, medicine, education, etc.

5)Snow leopard
Context: The World Wildlife Fund recently claimed that more than 70% of snow Leopard habitats are unexplored. The organisation recently released its report “A spatially explicit review of the state of knowledge in the snow leopard range”.
Key Findings of the report
?Most of the snow leopard researches have been conducted by Nepal, India and China followed by Mongolia and Pakistan.
?There could be only four thousand snow leopards left in the world.
?They are facing continuous threats due to increased habitat loss and degradation, conflict with communities and poaching.

Why only 70%? Why is 100% Exploration not possible?
?As snow leopards live in rugged terrain, it is highly difficult to conduct researches on snow leopard and their habitat. That is why, till date their entire habitat remains unexplored.
Snow Leopard conservation:
IUCN: Vulnerable
Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972: Schedule I
CITES: Appendix I

Conservation of Snow Leopard
?Project Snow Leopard (PSL) : It was launched in 2009 to promote an inclusive and participatory approach to conserve snow leopards and their habitat.
?Snow Leopard is in the list of 21 critically endangered species for the recovery programme of the Ministry of Environment Forest & Climate Change.
?Snow Leopard conservation breeding programme is undertaken at Padmaja Naidu Himalayan Zoological Park, Darjeeling, West Bengal.
?HimalSanrakshak: It is a community volunteer programme, to protect snow leopards, launched on 23rd October 2020.
?Global Snow Leopard and Ecosystem Protection Programme[GSLEP] : It was launched by twelve snow leopard range countries such as India, Nepal, China, Bhutan, Mongolia, Pakistan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Afghanistan and Russia.
?SECURE Himalaya: It is a Global Environment Facility-United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) funded project.

Snow Leopards in India:
?In India, snow leopards are found in Arunachal Pradesh, Sikkim, Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir. These regions contribute to 5% of global snow leopard range.
?Snow Leopard capital of the world: Hemis, Ladakh.
Hemis National Park is the biggest national park of India and also has a good presence of Snow Leopard.

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