04-04-2021 Current Affairs Summary

04-04-2021 Current Affairs Quiz

Health Minister Harsh Vardhan approves National Policy for Rare Diseases

The Health Ministry announced on April 3, 2021, that the Union Health Minister Dr. Harsh Vardhan has given approval to the ‘National Policy for Rare Diseases 2021’. It will reduce the high cost of treatment for rare diseases and will increase focus on domestic research.

According to the press statement from Health Ministry, the policy document has been uploaded on the health ministry website as different stakeholders, for quite some time, have been demanding a comprehensive policy for the management and prevention of rare diseases.

As the cost of treatment of rare diseases is prohibitively expensive, various High Courts and Supreme Court earlier had expressed concern about the lack of a national policy for the rare diseases in the country.

Financial Support under Rastriya Arogya Nidhi

The Union Health Ministry has informed that financial support of up to Rs. 20 lakh under the Rastriya Arogya Nidhi Scheme has been proposed for the treatment of those rare diseases that require only one-time treatment. 

Beneficiaries for such financial assistance will not be limited only to BPL families but the benefit will also be extended to about 40 percent of the population, who are eligible under the government’s Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana.

Government to replace all normal bulbs with LED bulbs in next few years

Union Minister of Environment Prakash Javadekar
said recently that the central government plans to change all normal bulbs of 40 to 60 watts with LED bulbs in a few years from now. He informed that the Narendra Modi government has replaced almost two billion normal bulbs with LED bulbs in the last six years. The Minister informed this while addressing the Sri Ram College Commerce Business Conclave through a video conference. 

The Minister informed that the initiative will not only help save carbon emissions but also help save energy. He also mentioned that India is one of the leading countries in renewable energy and its renewable energy capacity currently stands at 136 GigaWatt.

India making great strides towards affordable, secure, and cleaner energy 

India has been making great strides in ensuring Indian citizens access to affordable, secure, and clean energy. Around 700 million people in India gained access to round-the-clock electricity between 2000 and 2018. India has also made significant progress in reducing the use of traditional biomass in cooking, which is the primary cause of indoor air pollution that particularly affects women and children. The government has encouraged clean cooking with liquefied petroleum gas and it continues to promote cleaner cooking and off-grid electrification solutions, including a shift toward using solar photovoltaics (PV) for cooking and charging batteries.

Centre prioritizes vaccination for people above 45 yrs as 88% of COVID deaths in this age group

The central government has prioritized vaccination for all people above 45 years as 88 percent of COVID-related deaths reported in India have been from the age group of 45 years and above. The government expanded its vaccination drive to include everyone above 45 years from April 1, 2021. Prior to that, health workers, frontline workers, and all people above 60 years and those above 45 years with co-morbidities were being vaccinated. However, given the current spike in coronavirus cases in the country, the government decided that it was paramount to vaccinate all those above 45 years to prevent COVID-related deaths. This was shared by NITI Aayog Member (Health) Dr. V.K. Paul, who said that people fulfill two responsibilities when they get vaccinated. First that they protect their own lives and second that they break the chain of transmission of the coronavirus infection. Ads by Jagran.TV The NITI Aayog member also asserted that India's vaccines are safe and effective. He added saying that all available data demonstrates that Indian vaccines are effective against both, UK and Brazilian variants of Coronavirus.

Over 7.3 crore COVID-19 vaccine doses administered in India India has administered 

over 7,30,54,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccine
so far, crossing a significant milestone. Over 30,93,000 vaccine doses were given to the beneficiaries in the last 24 hours, informed the  Union Health Ministry on April 3, 2021. The cumulative vaccination figure includes over 6 crores of the first dose of the vaccine and around 1 crore of the second dose. The country's  COVID-19 recovery rate has also reached 93.36 percent with the recovery of over 44000 people in the last 24 hours. This comes as India reported 89,129 new COVID-19 cases and 714 coronavirus-related deaths in the last 24 hours, which is the highest tally of new infections since September 2020. The total number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the country has now reached 1,23,92,260 and the death toll has gone up to 1,64,110.

Indian government provides NRs 800 crores financial aid to Nepal for road construction project

The Indian Embassy in Kathmandu informed on March 31, 2021, that the Indian Government has provided Nepali Rs. 800 crores of grant assistance for strengthening road infrastructure in the Terai region in Nepal. The grant has been provided under a Memorandum of Understanding. According to the release by Indian Embassy, Indian Ambassador to Nepal, Vinay Mohan Kwatra, and Nepal Minister for Physical Infrastructure and Transport, Basant Kumar Nembang dedicated to Nepalese the Terai Roads built with the grant assistance of India. The Nepalese government, under the Memorandum of Understanding, has identified 10 priority roads to be built under the Indian Government funding of NR 800 crores. The road project in Nepal is executed under the ‘Indian Government Funding and Government of Nepal implementation’ modality.

The Terai Road Project in Nepal has helped in strengthening road infrastructures in the Terai Region and has facilitated the people-to-people relationships between the border areas of India and Nepal. The roads also provide easy and smooth travel to people of over 149 villages, 284 wards, 18 municipalities, 18 village municipalities, and 1 sub-metropolitan city. The completed Hulaki roads with Indian assistance complement the other major border infrastructure that is developed by India in Nepal such as cross-border railway lines and check posts at Biratnagar and Birgunj.

Union Minister Mansukh Mandaviya launches first-of-its-kind cruise service between Surat and Diu

The Union Minister of State for Ports, Shipping, and Waterways Mansukh Mandaviya
on March 31, 2021, flagged off the first-of-its-kind cruise service from Hazira Port of Surat to Diu via video conferencing. As per the statement by the Ministry of Ports, Shipping and Waterways, the Union Minister in his inaugural address stated that the development of cruise tourism is the prime focus of the Indian Government under the leadership of PM Modi. 

Earlier in November 2020, PM Modi had inaugurated the ‘Hazira-Ghogha’ RoPAX Service to save journey time and the cost of travel. PM Modi earlier inaugurated Hazira-Ghogha RoPAX Service and within four months of its inauguration, the ferry service was utilized by one lakh passengers and thousands of vehicles to save the cost of travel and journey time from Hazira (Surat) to Ghogha (Bhavanagar).

New Butterfly species discovered in the Western Ghats

A new taxon of the Lycaenid butterfly has been discovered by researchers in the Western Ghats. The taxon belongs to the Nacaduba genus and it was sighted by a specialist team comprising Dr. Kalesh Sadasivan and Baiju K from Travancore Nature History Society, Ramasamy Naicker from Theni and Rahul Khot of the Bombay Natural History Society. This is the first time that a butterfly species was discovered by an all-Indian research team from the Western Ghats. The species have now been added to the expanding list of butterflies in India.

World in 2030: Public Survey Report

The World in 2030: Public Survey Report
was recently published by UNESCO. The report was published by the organization based on the survey held between May 2020 and September 2020. The survey collected responses from more than 15,000 people from all over the world. According to the report, Climate Change, Violence and Conflict, Loss of Biodiversity and discrimination and inequality, water and housing, lack of food are the four biggest challenges to peaceful societies of 2030. According to the participants, education is the only crucial solution to many difficulties to be faced in 2030. However, the North Americans (US, Canada) believe in science and not in education. Apart from education, the only other solution is international cooperation.

Tribes India Contest by TRIFED

The TRIFED (Tribal Cooperative Marketing Development Federation Limited), Ministry of Tribal Affairs, and the Government of India have launched two interesting competitions for the tribal people. They are the “Be the Brand Ambassador of Tribes India” and “Be a Friend of TRIBES INDIA” contest. The contests were launched in association with MyGov.in.

Indian Railway Electrification: New record

The Indian Railways has achieved the highest ever electrification of sections during 2020-21. It has covered 6,015 kilometers of electrification in a single year. This is 37% higher than that achieved in 2019-20.

National Register for Driving Licenses 

The Ministry of Road Transport recently announced that the National Register for Driving Licenses is to be created. This is being done to remove duplication of driving licenses in the country. Most of the states are already on the SARATHI portal of the National Informatics Centre. These states have been instructed to migrate to the newly created national register.

Thermal Power Plants Emission Standards 

The Ministry of Environment, Forest, and Climate Change recently amended the rules of thermal power plants emission standards. The new rule has extended the deadline for the thermal power plants within ten kilometers of the National Capital Region and in cities with more than ten lakh population to comply with the new emission norms by the end of 2022. Earlier these power plants were required to comply with the revised norms by December 2019
A task force is to be constituted by the CPCB (Central Pollution Control Board). The task force will categorize thermal power plants into three categories based on their location. The deadline for the thermal power plants in “Non-Attainment Cities” to meet the emission norms has been extended till December 31, 2023. The non-attainment cities are those that have consistently failed to meet the National Ambient Air Quality Standards. Around 124 such cities have been identified by the CPCB. The coal-fired power plants in the rest of the areas have to comply with the new standards by December 2024.

IRDAI: Health Insurance and Motor Insurance Filing Process Standardised 

The Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI) recently standardized the technical notes for filing health and motor insurance policies. The IRDAI has lately been taking up several initiatives to standardize the health insurance products in the country. This is mainly being done to reduce the complexities faced by the customers at the time of renewal or buying an insurance policy.

Biggest Floating Solar Power Plant of India

The biggest floating solar power plant in India is to be set up at Ramagundam in Telangana. The capacity of the solar power plant is 100 MW. It is expected to be opened in May 2021. The solar power plant is being set up at the Ramagundam Thermal Power Plant reservoir. The solar power plant is to be set up in 450 acres of the reservoir. The project is commissioned by NTPC (National Thermal Power Corporation). NTPC aims to reduce its carbon footprints and increase its green energy production to 30% of its capacity through this solar power plant. The cost of the project has been estimated as Rs 423 crores. The power plant will have 4.5 lakh photovoltaic panels. World's largest Floating Solar Power Plant The largest solar power plant in the world is being set up by India on Omkar Eshwar Dam on Narmada river in Madhya Pradesh. The cost of this project is estimated to be Rs 3,000 crores. The project is expected to start its power generation by 2022-23. The panels of the solar power plant are capable of adjusting their positions when the water level of the dam is low. The World Bank, Power Grid, and International Finance Corporation are providing financial aid for the project. The power plant is designed in such a way to withstand strong waves and floods and continue to generate power at the same time.

First Image of Black Hole Magnetic Field 

For the first time, international scientists working on the Event Horizon Telescope (EHT) have created an image showing the magnetic field around a black hole. The black hole is located in M87 galaxy.

Mahendragiri: Odisha’s Second Biosphere Reserve

The Odisha state government has proposed a second biosphere reserve in the southern part of the state at Mahendragiri. It is a mountain in the Gajapati district of the state. It is at an altitude of 1,501 meters. Mahendragiri is also the second-highest peak in the state.
The area of the proposed 2nd biosphere reserve of the state- Mahendragiri Biosphere Reserve is approximately 470,955 hectares. As per a feasibility report prepared by the Biosphere Reserve Committee for the proposed project, the hill ecosystem is acting as a transitional zone between the flora and fauna of southern India and the Himalayas. This makes the region an ecological estuary of genetic diversity. The feasibility report has been submitted to the government which will now be taken up by the Union Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change. Recently, at a workshop titled Integrated Development of Mahendragiri Hill Complex, many environmentalists also urged the state government to send a proposal to center for declaring Mahendragiri a biosphere reserve. At some time, the protected archeological remains of Mahendragiri were listed in the tentative list of Unesco World Heritage Sites, thus, it is easy to declare it as a biosphere reserve. Soura people are the inhabitants at Mahendragiri. Soura is a particularly vulnerable tribal group as well as the Kandha tribe. As per the report of the proposed Mahendragiri Biosphere Reserve, Mahendragiri has diverse vegetation. The rich flora in Mahendragiri represents 40 percent of the reported flora of Odisha, with around 1,358 species of plants. Also, out of the 41 species of threatened medicinal plants found in Odisha (as per the International Union for the Conservation of Nature), 29 are found in the biosphere reserve area. The faunal diversity of the hills consists of 388 species of animals, including 165 species of birds, 27 species of mammals, 23 species of snakes, three species of turtles, 15 species of amphibians, and 19 lizards. Similipal Biosphere Reserve is the first biosphere reserve of Odisha. It was notified on May 20, 1996. It has an area of 5,569-square kilometers.

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