Current Affairs Analysis

12th & 13th April 2020 Current Affairs Analysis – IASToppers

Yanomami Tribe; Homeopathy system of medicine; Impacts of Social Isolation on Human Body; Remdesivir; Schedule VII of the Companies Act, 2013; History of Indian Tea; Agra Model of containment; Pathanamthitta Model; Bhilwara Model; Classification of WTO member countries; Advantages of developing country status in WTO; Seismic noise; Pattachitra style of painting; Meru Jatra Festival and Mahavishub Sankranti; Kalaripayattu; Easter; Mukhyamantri Cancer Rahat Kosh; YUKTI; Doctor at your doorstep scheme; Paralympics
By IASToppers
April 13, 2020

Contents

Polity & Governance

  • Success of a local shutdown: Centre showcases Agra model of containment
  • Wanted, a collective national endeavour

Government Schemes & Policies

  • Telemedicine Guidelines Approved for Homoeopathic Practitioners
  • CM fund contributions to not qualify as CSR spend
  • TRAI wants set top boxes to be made interoperable

Issues related to Health & Education

  • Drug candidate remdesivir, on trial now, holds promise

Social Issues

  • Social Isolation causing Social recession
  • People with disabilities have special issues during virus outbreak

Economy

  • Use the COVID crisis to transform the agri- marketing system

Bilateral & International Relations

  • USA accusing china over developing status of WTO

Indian History

  • Work resumes at Assam tea gardens after a fortnight

Art & Culture

  • Pattachitra style of painting
  • Ban on Meru Jatra festival
  • 6 theme-based microsites to promote tourism spots

Geophysical Phenomena

  • How coronavirus lockdown reduced Earth’s seismic noise levels

Key Facts for Prelims

  • Easter
  • Mukhyamantri Cancer Rahat Kosh
  • Yanomami Tribe
  • YUKTI
  • Doctor at your doorstep scheme
  • Paralympics

For IASToppers Current Affairs Analysis Archive, Click Here

Polity & Governance

Success of a local shutdown: Centre showcases Agra model of containment

The Centre showcased the Agra model at the daily COVID-19 briefing, and it is also being shared with other states as best practice.

What is Agra Model of containment?

  • Nearly 259 team were set up for screening purpose which covered about 100 homes per day; doctors sat at a nearby civil dispensary, and people who showed symptoms could visit them.
  • Hotspot area was identified within radius of 3-km from the epicentre while a 5 km buffer zone was identified as the containment zone.
  • Agra covered 1.63 lakh households in a few days, took about 1000 samples. A security guard was roped in to supply daily needs to the families.
  • They utilise their existing Smart City Integrated with Command and Control Centre (ICCC) as war rooms.
  • Under the cluster containment and outbreak containment plans, Agra identified epicenters, delineated impact of positive confirmed cases on the map and deployed a special task force as per the micro-plan made by the district administration.
  • In these containment zones, urban primary health centres were roped in with 1,248 teams including ANMs/ASHA/AWW, reaching out to 9.3 lakh people through household screening.
  • Agra was also the earliest reference to community transmission in an official statement.

Pathanamthitta (Kerala) Model

  • As a first step, Pathanamthitta district of Kerala sealed its borders. Unlike other parts of the country where only persons with travel history from abroad were being screened, it decided to do so for all entering the district, from overseas, other states or even districts, creating a database of the same. Details of those who entered the district from abroad and across the country since January were added to the database.
  • In a first, it also decided to prepare route maps of the positive cases. A flow chart was publicised to help people see if they had been present at a stated travel path at a particular time.
  • It launched a call centre from where enquiries were made twice daily to those under quarantine, regarding medical and non-medical requirements. A group of engineering students designed a ‘Corona RM’ app, where the call centre counsellors would upload requirements of those under home quarantine.
  • It then put in place geo-mapping of those under observation. With limited kits, they could test only 200 samples a day. So they chose categories like international travellers, inter-state travellers, health workers, migrant workers, senior citizens under observation etc.

Bhilwara Model

  • Rajasthan’s Bhilwara was one of the early hotspots for COVID-19.
  • The city was completely isolated with Section 144 CRPC being imposed.
  • In the first phase, essential services were allowed; in the second phase, there was a total shutdown with the city and district borders sealed and checkposts set up at every entry and exit point. All trains, buses and cars were stopped.
  • The District Magistrates of neighbouring districts too were asked to seal their borders. The containment zone is usually 3 km around the epicentre, and the buffer zone is 7 km.
  • The containment and buffer zones were turned into ‘No-Movement’ zones and cluster mapping was done for COVID-19 cases.
  • Through this, six areas were identified and special teams were deployed for continuous screening of suspected cases. The containment and buffer zones, all ambulances and police vehicles, the screening centre and quarantine centres, the Collectorate, Police Line and other public-dealing offices were disinfected on a daily basis.
[Ref: Indian Express]

Wanted, a collective national endeavour

There is no toolbox on how to deal with COVID-19. Mistakes will be made but we should be able to admit failure, and change course when we have to.

Suggestions

  • Representatives of all political parties should work together to deal with what we are told is the severest crisis since Independence.  We must open our doors as wide as possible to advice from the best minds and most skilled persons.
  • Centre must have the State Governments as equal partners while taking decisions. The most productive effort will be an equal partnership between the Centre and the States.
  • Centralisation of decision-making in the Prime Minister’s Office should change. There should be major involvement of Health Minister in such decisions.
  • We should have thought about Jaan bhiJahaan bhi (“Life and economy are both important”) before imposing the lockdown, not now three weeks later. We should not have messaged the lockdown as an act done in fear or as a “curfew” but as a difficult decision in which the government would be with the citizen right through.
  • Centre should be giving the States more resources for their health services and expanded welfare programmes.
  • Uncertainty and fear among the people calls for assurance from the highest levels on a regular basis, indeed every day, about what is being done. This would also signal that the Centre is sensitive to the difficulties that citizens are experiencing.
  • India must be unique in the world for increasing social tensions in such times. After many members of the Tablighi Jamaat event, government should have speak forcefully against intense wave of Islamophobia.
[Ref: The Hindu]

Government Schemes & Policies

Telemedicine Guidelines Approved for Homoeopathic Practitioners

In international webinar organised by the Central Council for Research in Homoeopathy (CCRH), the approval of the Telemedicine guidelines for homoeopathic practitioner were announced.

  • This webinar was arranged on World Homoeopathy Day (10th April), commemorating the 265th birth anniversary of Dr. Samuel Hahnemann, the founder of Homoeopathy.

About Homeopathy system of medicine

Homeopathy is a medical system that was developed in Germany more than 200 years ago. 

It’s based on two unconventional theories:

  • Like cures like— a disease can be cured by a substance that produces similar symptoms in healthy people
    • Law of minimum dose—lower the dose of the medication, the greater its effectiveness. Many homeopathic products are so diluted that no molecules of the original substance remain.
  • Homeopathic products come from plants, minerals or animals.
  • Homeopathic products are often made as sugar pellets to be placed under the tongue; they may also be in other forms, such as ointments, gels, drops and tablets.
  • Treatments are “individualized” or tailored to each person – it’s common for different people with the same condition to receive different treatment.

Challenges

  • A number of homeopathy key concepts don’t agree with fundamental scientific concepts. For example, it’s not possible to explain in scientific terms how a product containing little or no active ingredient can have any effect. This creates major challenges to clinical investigation of such products. For example, researchers cannot confirm that an extremely dilute mixture contains what is listed on the label.
  • Another research challenge is that homeopathic treatments are highly individualized, and there is no uniform prescribing standard for homeopathic practitioners.
  • Certain homeopathic products (called nosodes) have been promoted by some as substitutes for conventional immunizations, but the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says there’s no credible scientific evidence to support such claims. 
  • Homeopathic practitioners expect some of their patients to experience “homeopathic aggravation” (a temporary worsening of existing symptoms after taking a homeopathic prescription). Researchers have not found much evidence of this reaction in clinical studies.
  • While many homeopathic products are highly diluted, some products sold or labeled as homeopathic may not be; they can contain substantial amounts of active ingredients, which may cause side effects or drug interactions. 
[Ref: PIB]

CM fund contributions to not qualify as CSR spend

The Ministry of Commerce has clarified that the contributions to the Chief Minister’s Relief Fund or the State relief fund will not qualify as Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) expenditure, while any donation to the PM CARES Fund will.

  • Ministry of Commerce also said that Ex-gratia payments made to temporary, casual and daily wage workers by companies will be considered as CSR expenditure under the companies law, provided that such payments are over and above disbursement of wages.
  • Under the Companies Act, 2013, certain classes of profitable entities are required to spend at least 2 % of their three-year average annual net profit towards Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) activities.

Schedule VII of the Companies Act, 2013

  • The Chief Minister’s Relief Fund’ or ‘State Relief Fund for COVID-19’ is not included in Schedule VII of the Companies Act, 2013, and therefore any contribution to such funds shall not qualify as admissible CSR expenditure.

Schedule VII shows activities which may be included by companies in their Corporate Social Responsibility Policies Activities relating to:—

  • Eradicating hunger, poverty and malnutrition, and sanitation and making available safe drinking water. 
  • Promoting education, including special education and employment enhancing vocation skills especially among children, women, elderly and the differently abled and livelihood enhancement projects.
  • Promoting gender equality, empowering women; setting up old age homes, day care centres and such other facilities for senior citizens
  • Ensuring environmental sustainability, protection of flora and fauna, animal welfare, agroforestry, conservation of natural resources and maintaining quality of soil, air and water[including contribution to the Clean Ganga Fund]
  • Historical importance and works of art; setting up public libraries; promotion and development of traditional art and handicrafts; 
  • Measures for the benefit of armed forces veterans, war widows and their dependents;
  • Training to promote rural sports, nationally recognised sports, Paralympic sports and Olympic sports
  • Contribution to the prime minister’s national relief fund or any other fund set up by the central govt. for socio economic development and relief and welfare of the schedule caste, tribes, other backward classes, minorities and women;
  • Contribution to incubators funded by Central/state Government or any agency or PSU, and contributions to public funded Universities, Indian Institute of Technology (IITs), National Laboratories and Autonomous Bodies engaged in conducting research in science, technology, engineering and medicine aimed at promoting Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)
  • Rural development projects;
  • Slum area development;
  • Disaster management, including relief, rehabilitation and reconstruction activities.

 [Ref: The Hindu, Livemint]

TRAI wants set top boxes to be made interoperable

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has recommended that all set top boxes (STBs) in India must be interoperable, meaning that consumers should be able to use the same STB across different DTH (Direct-to-home) or cable TV providers.

Closeup personal point of view of unrecognizable man watching tv and changing channels with a remote. Shallow focus on the channel up and down buttons.

Details

  • It also suggested that the Ministry of Information make the required amendments in licensing and registration conditions to make interoperability mandatory.

Platform-specific interoperability

  • Noting that there are technical and commercial constraints to the universal STB, TRAI added that the interoperability should be platform-specific, i.e., STBs are interoperable within the cable TV segment and similarly within the DTH segment.

Coordination committee

  • TRAI also recommended that a coordination committee be set up by the I&B Ministry to steer implementation of revised STB standards.
  • Further, the committee may maintain continuous oversight for setting up of the digital TV standards by Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) to provide for Digital Video Broadcasting Common Interface Plus (DVB CI+) 2.0 port based on ETSI (European Telecommunications Standards Institute) TS 103 605 standards and to have provision for reception of both DTH and cable TV signals.

Need

  • The lack of interoperability of set top boxes between different service providers deprives the customer of the freedom to change her/his service provider.
  • It also creates a hindrance to technological innovation, improvement in service quality, and the overall sector growth.
[Ref: The Hindu]

Issues related to Health & Education

Drug candidate remdesivir, on trial now, holds promise

A recent article has shown that the already-promising drug candidate remdesivir, on trial now, exhibits promising activity against the COVID-19 causing virus and might work well in retarding virus replication.

How does Remdesivir stop COVID-19?

  • The SARS-CoV-2 virus exists as a mere strand of RNA and it requires a host to replicate.
  • Scientists have discovered that the active site of RNA dependent RNA polymerase (RDRp), the main machinery to form strands of RNA, shows similarities with the Polio Virus and the Hepatitis C virus, and using that knowledge, they have tried to use known drug candidates that work in that RDRp environment and work back to see if they are effective with the novel coronavirus.
  • They also showed exactly where on RDRp that this drug will bind with. Remdesivir, a nucleotide analogue, then acts as part of the growing RNA chain, fooling the virus into believing it is replicating, and thereby stops true replication.
  • The study indicates sofosbuvir, along with remdesivir as probable candidates.
  • Sofosbuvir is already being made in India to treat Hepatitis C. However, currently, Remdesivir, which is made by the American pharma company Gilead Sciences, is not available in India.
[Ref: The Hindu]

Social Issues

Social Isolation causing Social recession

Just after a few weeks of social distancing because of COVID-19, there is decline in social interactions which might have felt the change in mental and physical health. It is being called the ‘social recession’ — a collapse in our social contacts, matching the economic recession that is looming beyond COVID-19.

Impacts of Social Isolation on Human Body

  • Social isolation (physical state of being alone) can trigger a cascade of stress hormones that produce physiological changes like increased heart rate, increased muscle tension and thickening of blood.
  • Together these physiological changes are called the fight-or-flight response, because it has evolved as a survival mechanism enabling us to cope with physical and psychological threats.
  • The uncertainty, fear of infection and lack of social interactions all can be perceived by our brains as a threat and can inadvertently switch our bodies to fight-or-flight mode.
  • A recent meta-analysis revealed that people who are more socially isolated have higher levels of C-reactive protein (CRP) and fibrinogen (a soluble protein that helps blood to clot), both of which are associated with chronic inflammation and poor physical and mental health.
  • Another study indicated that lack of social connection can be detrimental to a person’s health, respectively increasing mortality risk by 29%.
[Ref: The Hindu]

People with disabilities have special issues during virus outbreak

People with disability are a diverse group, experiencing different hardships in accessing information on prevention and risk of infection.

  • India is home to nearly 150 million people with some degree of disability. Nearly 25-30 million have severe disability.

What are the unique challenges that people with disability face?

  • People with visual impairment and blindness cannot practise social distancing unless there are innovative approaches like keeping a safe distance using a white cane.
  • For the hearing impaired, especially those who are not literate, they cannot hear the message or read it. Since many depend on lip-reading, they are compromised when the person giving a message is wearing a mask.
  • None of the messages in the media is using sign language interpreters. The physically disabled cannot reach a wash basin or may not be able to wash their hands vigorously.
  • Children and adolescents with conditions like cerebral palsy or Down’s Syndrome need to be assisted in feeding.
  • People with mental health issues cannot comprehend the messages. At the same time, people with disabilities have a higher risk of conditions such as diabetes and hypertension which are high-risk factors for COVID-19 mortality.
  • People with communication disabilities don’t know how to express their problems.

How can the public and government help?

  • India has signed up to achieving sustainable development goals of which cornerstone is universal access to health and education and equity (SDG 3).
  • The government and the organisations working with people with disabilities have to make efforts to convert prevention and care messages on COVID into an accessible format.
  • Health facilities should prioritise the needs of people with disabilities over the rest of the population.
  • Mobile health teams can provide them services at home rather than they travel to hospitals. A dedicated helpline can be set up for this so that the medical team can reach them.
  • Students with disabilities also need to be provided support so that they can keep up academically. So the online teaching programmes for them should also be available in an accessible format. 
[Ref: Livemint]

Economy

Use the COVID crisis to transform the agri- marketing system

Because of significant disruption in supply chains as a result of the lockdown, farmers are stuck with a large amount of produce. Due to this glut, farm prices are collapsing, pushing farmers into destitution.

Suggestions to put the agri-system of India on an efficient path after COVID-19

  • Abolish/reframe the APMC Act and encourage direct buying of agri-produce from farmers/farmer producer organisations (FPOs). The companies, processors, consumer groups, that buy directly from FPOs need not pay any market fee as they do not avail the facilities of APMC yards.
  • The warehouses can also be designated as markets, and the warehouse receipt system can be scaled up. The private sector should be encouraged to open mandis with modern infrastructure, capping commissions.
  • Futures trading should be encouraged by allowing banking finance to hedge for commodity price risks.
  • Promote e-NAM through proper assaying and grading the produce and setting up dispute settlement mechanism; rope in major logistics players for delivery of goods.
  • Procurement must be staggered through coupons and incentives that give farmers an additional bonus for bringing produce to the market after May 10, or so.
  • The amount provided under PM Kisan should be increased from Rs 6,000 to at least Rs 10,000 per farming family to partially compensate them for their losses.
[Ref: The Hindu]

Bilateral & International Relations

USA accusing china over developing status of WTO

President of USA has accused China of taking advantage of the US through the World Trade Organisation (WTO), saying that if Beijing is considered a ‘developing country’, the US should be called one too.

Classification of WTO member countries

There are mainly two types of countries in WTO:

  1. Developed Countries and
  2. Developing Countries – (i) Least Developed Countries and (ii) Developing Countries.
  3. Self-identification by a member either in the developing group or in the developed group is the first step of classification. Then, WTO identifies the Least Developed Countries from the developing country group by adopting the UN based per capita income criteria.

Who are the developing countries in the WTO?

  • There are no WTO definitions of developed and developing countries.
  • Members announce for themselves whether they are developed or developing countries. However, other members can challenge the decision of a member to make use of provisions available to developing countries.

What are the advantages of “developing country” status?

  • The WTO Agreements contain provisions which give developing countries special rights. These are called “special and differential treatment” provisions.

The special provisions include:

  • Longer time periods for implementing Agreements and commitments,
  • Measures to increase trading opportunities for developing countries,
  • Provisions requiring all WTO members to safeguard the trade interests of developing countries,
  • Support to help developing countries build the capacity to carry out WTO work, handle disputes, and implement technical standards, and
  • Provisions related to least-developed country (LDC) Members.
  • Receive protection against sudden import restrictions by developed nations.

However, if a WTO member announces itself as a developing country, it does not mean that it will benefit from the unilateral preference schemes of some of the developed country such as the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP). In practice, it is the preference giving country which decides the list of developing countries that will benefit from the preferences.

Other benefits

  • General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT): It gives developing countries the right to restrict imports to promote the establishment or maintenance of a particular industry.
  • Non-reciprocal preferential treatment: When developed countries grant trade concessions to developing countries, developed countries can’t force the developing countries to make matching offers in return.
  • The Enabling Clause officially called the ‘Decision on Differential and More Favourable Treatment, Reciprocity and Fuller Participation of Developing Countries’ enables developed members to give differential and more favourable treatment to developing countries.
  • General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS): It allows developing countries and countries in transition to restrict trade in services for reasons of balance-of-payment difficulties.
  • Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS): It provides least-developed countries with a longer time-frame to implement all the provisions of the TRIPS Agreement and encourages technology transfer.
  • Waivers: A waiver enables developing and developed-country members to provide preferential treatment to services and service suppliers of least-developed countries (LDCs).

Least developed countries

  • The Classification of least developed countries is based upon the UN identification. The LDCs are identified by the WTO as per the United Nations Economic and Social Council categorization. The categorisation is based upon the per capita income of the countries. The LDCs are the countries with lowest level of per capita income.
  • There are currently 47 least-developed countries on the UN list, 36 of which to date have become WTO members.

Issues of self-identification

  • Some relatively developed countries claim the identity of developing countries to get certain benefits.
  • For instance, South Korea, Israel, Mexico, and Turkey are members of the OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development). However, they sometimes claim to be a developing country in WTO.
  • The Bali Ministerial Conference of WTO in 2013 established a mechanism to review and analyse the implementation of special and differential treatment provisions.
[Ref: Hindustan Times, WTO]

Indian History

Work resumes at Assam tea gardens after a fortnight

Plantation owners and members of the Indian Tea Association (ITA) said preliminary work had began at some major estates and small tea gardens after a fortnight due to the COVID-19 lockdown.

History of Indian Tea

  • The credit for creating India’s vast tea empire goes to the British, who discovered tea in India and cultivated it in enormous quantities between the early 1800s and 1947.
  • In 1776, Sir Joseph Banks, English botanist, recommended that tea cultivation be undertaken in India.
  • In 1780, Robert Kyd experimented with tea cultivation in India with seeds from a consignment stated to have arrived from China. A few decades later, Robert Bruce discovered tea plants growing wild in the Upper Brahmaputra Valley. 
  • In May 1823, the first Indian tea from Assam was sent to England for public sale.
  • Ironically, the native plants flourished, while the Chinese seedlings struggled to survive in the intense Assam heat and it was eventually decided to make subsequent plantings with seedlings from the native tea bush. 
  • After indigenous Assam leaf were shipped to London in 1838, the ‘Bengal Tea Association’ in Calcutta was formed.
  • Having established a successful industry in Assam’s Brahmaputra valley, the feasibility’ of growing tea in the entire range of foot hills of the Himalayas and other parts of India was explored.
  • Today, India is one of the world’s largest producers of tea with 13,000 gardens and a workforce of more than 2 million people involved in its production.
[Ref: The Hindu]

Art & Culture

Pattachitra style of painting

  • Pattachitra style of painting is the most popular art forms of Odisha. The name Pattachitra has evolved from the Sanskrit words patta, meaning canvas, and chitra, meaning picture. Pattachitra is thus a painting done on canvas.
  • The patachitra of Orissa depicts stories from the famous poem, the Geet Govind, and devotional stanzas by ancient poets, singers and writers. The pat was earlier made as a temple offering. Stories are drawn in sections on palm leaf as etchings or as paintings on paper and silk.
  • Deep red, ochre, black and rich blue colours from minerals, shell and organic lac are used in these paintings. The gum of the kaitha tree is the chief ingredient, and is used as a base for making different pigments, on which diverse raw materials are mixed for diverse colours. 
  • Some of the popular themes represented through this art form are Thia Badhia – depiction of the temple of Jagannath; Krishna Lila – enactment of Jagannath as Lord Krishna displaying his powers as a child; Dasabatara Patti – the ten incarnations of Lord Vishnu; Panchamukhi – depiction of Lord Ganesh as a five-headed deity. 
[Ref: Indian Express]

Ban on Meru Jatra festival

Odisha’s Ganjam district administration has banned the Meru Jatra festival and congregations related to it at temples on the occasion of Mahavishub Sankranti.

  • Earlier, the administrations had banned the famous Chaitra festival at Tara Tarini hill shrine that attracts lakhs of devotees.

About Meru Jatra Festival and Mahavishub Sankranti

  • Meru Jatra marks the end of 21-day-long festival of penance named ‘Danda Nata’.
  • Pana Sankranti, also known as Maha Vishuba Sankranti, is the traditional New Year day festival of Buddhists and Hindus in Odisha. On this day, thousands of devotees used to gather at the Tara Tarini hill shrine and other temples.
[Ref: Indian Express]

 6 theme-based microsites to promote tourism spots

Kerala Tourism has geared up for the post-COVID-19 era by coming up with six theme-based microsites in the official website to promote destination and tourism products.

Which are 6 microsites?

  • Ayurveda
  • Yoga,
  • Kalaripayattu,
  • Temples of Kerala,
  • Judaism in Kerala
  • Discovering Malabar

Kalaripayattu

  • Kalaripayattu is a martial art, which originated as a style in Kerala, southern India (North Malabar).
  • The word kalari first appears in the Tamil Sangam literature (c. 300 BCE to 300 CE) to describe both a battlefield and combat arena.
  • The word kalari tatt denoted a martial feat, while kalari kozhai meant a coward in war.
  • Each warrior in the Sangam era received regular military training. It is considered to be one of the oldest surviving fighting systems still in existence in the world.
  • It was originally practiced in northern and central parts of Kerala and southern parts of Tamil Nadu.
[Ref: Hindustan Times]

Geophysical Phenomena

How coronavirus lockdown reduced Earth’s seismic noise levels

Scientists at the British Geological Survey (BGS) reported a drop in the Earth’s movement amid the coronavirus lockdown.

What is seismic noise?

  • In geology, seismic noise refers to the relatively persistent vibration of the ground due to a multitude of causes.
  • It is the unwanted component of signals recorded by a seismometer– the scientific instrument that records ground motions, such as those caused by earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, and explosions.
  • This noise includes vibrations caused due to human activity, such as transport and manufacturing, and makes it difficult for scientists to study seismic data that is more valuable.
  • Apart from geology, seismic noise is also studied in other fields such as oil exploration, hydrology, and earthquake engineering.

How do the reduced noise levels help scientists?

  • The seismic noise vibrations caused by human activity are of high frequency (between 1-100 Hz), and travel through the Earth’s surface layers.
  • Usually, to measure seismic activity accurately and reduce the effect of seismic noise, geologists place their detectors 100 metres below the Earth’s surface. However, since the lockdown, researchers have said that they were able to study natural vibrations even from surface readings, owing to lesser seismic noise.
  • Due to lower noise levels, scientists are now hoping that they would be able to detect smaller earthquakes and tremors that had slipped past their instruments so far.
[Ref: Indian Express]

Key Facts for Prelims

Prelims Key Facts

Easter

  • Easter, also called Pascha or Resurrection Sunday, is a festival commemorating the resurrection of Jesus from the dead, occurred on the third day after his burial following his crucifixion by the Romans at Calvary c. 30 AD.
  • The account is found in all four Gospels of the New Testament in the Bible.

Mukhyamantri Cancer Rahat Kosh

  • Under the Mukhyamantri Cancer Rahat Kosh (Chief Minister’s Cancer Relief Fund), the Punjab government provide up to INR 1.5 lakh for diagnosis, treatment and medicines for a cancer patient.

Yanomami Tribe

  • The Yanomami are the largest relatively isolated tribe in South America.
  • They live in the rainforests and mountains of northern Brazil and southern Venezuela.
  • They migrated across the Bering Straits between Asia and America 15,000 years ago, making their way to South America.
  • The Yanomami first came into contact with outsiders in the 1940s. This influx of people led to the first epidemics of measles and flu in which many Yanomami died.
  • During the 1980s, the Yanomami suffered immensely when up to 40,000 Brazilian gold-miners invaded their land. The miners destroyed many villages and exposed them to diseases.
  • After a long international campaign led by Davi Kopenawa Yanomami, Yanomami land in Brazil was finally demarcated as the ‘Yanomami Park’ in 1992 and the miners were expelled.

YUKTI

  • Union Minister for HRD has launched a web-portal YUKTI (Young India Combating COVID with Knowledge, Technology and Innovation).
  • It’s a unique portal and dashboard to monitor and record the efforts and initiatives of MHRD. The portal intends to cover the different dimensions of COVID-19 challenges in a very holistic and comprehensive way.

Doctor at your doorstep scheme

  • It is an initiative of Pune government.
  • With most private physicians closing their clinics, and government dispensaries spending all their available resources on fighting the coronavirus, these mobile clinics have begun to cater to at least 2,500 residents of slums, homeless shelters and old age homes daily.

Paralympics

  • Paralympics or a series of international multi-sport events involving athletes with a range of disabilities.
  • There organised in parallel with the Olympic Games.
  • Eligibility: The international Paralympic committee has established 10 disability categories: impaired muscle power, impaired passive range of movement, limb deficiency, leg length difference, short stature, hypertonia, ataxia, athetosis, vision impairment and intellectual impairment.

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