Ojaank IAS Academy




24 August 2022 – Current Affairs

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Tomato Flu Identified in Kerala

Paper 2 – International Relations
Why Should You Know?
Centre government issues advisory to states on Tomato Flu as it was first identified in the Kollam district of Kerala on May 6 and as of July 26.
In details –
  • The Centre has issued an advisory to states on Hand Foot and Mouth Disease (HFMD), commonly known as Tomato Flu.
  • According to the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Tomato Flu was first identified in the Kollam district of Kerala on May 6 and as of July 26, more than 82 children younger than 5 years with the infection have been reported by the local government hospitals.
  • The other affected areas of Kerala are Anchal, Aryankavu, and Neduvathur. This endemic viral illness triggered an alert in the neighbouring states of Tamil Nadu and Karnataka.
  • Additionally, 26 children (aged between 1-9 years) have been reported as having the disease in Odisha by the Regional Medical Research Centre in Bhubaneswar. To date, apart from Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Haryana and Odisha, no other regions in India have reported the disease in their State and Union Territories by the virus.
  • HFMD is characterized by fever, sores in the mouth, and a skin rash. It begins with mild fever, poor appetite, malaise, and often a sore throat.
What is Tomato Flu 
  • According to the study, it is an infectious disease that mostly affects children between the ages of one and five years. In some cases, it has also manifested itself in a new form of hand, foot and mouth disease among immunocompromised adults, the study reported.
  • In addition, because the immune system of an adult is usually stronger than that of a child, infections are rarely diagnosed in them.
  • Although the symptoms of tomato flu are similar to those of COVID-19, it is not related to SARS-CoV-2. The study found that this could be an effect of chikungunya or dengue fever in children.
Symptoms –
  • The primary symptoms of tomato flu in children are similar to those of chikungunya, including fever, rash and joint pain, body aches and fatigue, similar to those experienced in COVID symptoms.
  • Other symptoms include swollen joints, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, dehydration and increased body temperature, which are similar to dengue.
Why the name Tomato Flu?
  • The infection got its name from the red and painful blisters that burst all over the body, which gradually turn into the size of a tomato.
Detection –
  • If such symptoms are seen in any person, he/she is advised to undergo molecular and serological tests for dengue, chikungunya, zika virus, varicella-zoster virus and herpes.
  • If these infections are ruled out, the tomato flu virus can be confirmed.
Treatement –
  • The disease is currently being treated as contagious and the Lancet study on ‘Tomato Flu in India’ has shown that ‘no specific drug exists’ to treat tomato flu.
  • Although the study noted that the flu was ‘self-limiting’, the study said that tomato flu should be considered dangerous and rapidly spreading.
  • The treatment of tomato flu is similar to that of chikungunya, dengue and hand, foot and mouth disease. Patients need to isolate, rest, drink plenty of fluids, and sponge up warm water to relieve irritation and rashes.
  • The study also suggests ‘adjuvant therapy’ of paracetamol and other symptomatic treatment for fever and body aches.

Benami Transactions (Prohibition) Act of 1988

Paper 2 – Constitution
Why Should You Know?
The Supreme Court strikes down provision of 1988 Benami Law.
In details –
  • The Supreme Court  has struck down one of the provisions of the Benami Transactions (Prohibition) Act of 1988, which provides for the punishment of a maximum jail term of three years or a fine or both for those indulging in benami’ transactions.
  • The apex court termed the provision unconstitutional on the ground of being manifestly arbitrary.  A bench comprising Chief Justice N V Ramana and Justices C T Ravikumar and Hima Kohli said.
  • The court hold section 3(2) of the Benami Transactions (Prohibition) Act, 1988 as unconstitutional.
  • The verdict came on the appeal of the Centre challenging the Calcutta High Court judgement in which it was held that the amendment made in the 1988 Act in 2016 would be applicable with prospective effect.
About Benami Transactions (Prohibition) Act, 1988 –
  • Benami Transactions (Prohibition) Act, 1988 (name changed to Prohibition of Benami Property Transactions Act, 1988 by section 3 of the 2016 amendment is an Act of the Parliament of India that prohibits certain types of financial transactions.
  • The act defines a ‘benami’ transaction as any transaction in which property is transferred to one person for consideration paid by another person.
  • Such transactions were a feature of the Indian economy, usually relating to the purchase of property (real estate), and were thought to contribute to the Indian black money problem.
  • The act bans all benami transactions and gives the government the right to recover property held benami without paying any compensation.
  • The act came into force on 5 September 1988. Although benami transactions are now illegal.

Longest freight train of Indian Railways

Paper 3- Infrastructure
Why Should You Know?
Recently Indian Railways conducted operational trial of its longest freight train Super Vasuki.
In details –
  • On the occasion of 75 years of independence of India, Amrit Mahotsav is being celebrated in the country. On this occasion, Indian Railways has made it memorable by conducting trial run of longest goods train. Indian Railways has named it Super Vasuki Train.
  • The railway was operated by South Eastern Central Railway.
  • The 3.5 km long Super Vasuki goods train with 295 coaches traveled between Korba in Chhattisgarh and Rajnandgaon in Nagpur carrying 27000 tonnes of coal on 15 August.
  • Indian Railways has reported that it took about four minutes for Super Vasuki to pass through a station during this journey.
  • According to the Railways, Super Vasuki has been prepared by combining five normal freight trains.
  • It is noteworthy that A 3000 MW power plant can be run throughout the day with as much coal as can be carried in Super Vasuki at a time. This is almost three times more than the current freight train capacity of the Railways.

AK-203 assault rifles

Paper 3 – Science & Technology
Why Should You Know?
Indo-Russian Rifles Private Limited (IRRPL) to manufacture AK-203 assault rifles in Amethi, Uttar Pradesh
In details –
  • Indo-Russian Rifles Private Limited (IRRPL), a joint venture between India and Russia, will manufacture 6.1 lakh AK-203 assault rifles at a cost of over Rs 5,000 crore in Amethi, Uttar Pradesh.
  • Training of Indian workers of this factory will start soon and the manufacturing process will reach 100% indigenization level in three years.
  • The AK-203 assault rifles will replace the INSAS assault rifles made in India and the older AK-47.
  • Do-Russian Rifles Private Limited (IRRPL) was set up jointly between the then Ordnance Factory Board of India OFB [now Advanced Weapons and Equipment India Limited (AWEIL)] and Munitions India Limited (MIL)] and Rosoboronexport (RoE) and Kalashnikov of Russia.
  • In December 2021, India and Russia signed an agreement worth Rs 5,124 crore. This is the biggest defense deal between the two countries in recent years.
  • The deal also has a provision for complete technology transfer. Also rifles will be exported to friendly countries.
  • Kalashnikov has already supplied 70,000 Russian-made rifles under a large order for AK-203 assault rifles.
About AK-203 assault rifles –
  • The AK-203 is a Russian gas-operated, magazine-fed, select fire assault rifle designed to chamber the 7.62×39mm cartridge.
  • It is one of the latest iterations of the AK series of assault rifles originally designed by Mikhail Kalashnikov.
  • The AK-203 was developed in the 2010s by Kalashnikov Concern in Russia. The firearm was originally known as AK-103M before being renamed to AK-203 in 2019.
  • The prototype development of predecessor of AK-203 rifle, dubbed as AK-200 series began in 2007.
  • The first prototype of AK-200 was developed and tested in 2010.In 2013, for the Ratnik programme AK-200 was modified and renamed as AK-103-3.
  • In 2016, AK-200 series project was revived and upgraded the AK-103-3 assault rifle prototype with KM-AK kit developed as part of the Obves programme.
  • The upgraded assault rifle prototype was initially designated as AK-300 and then as AK-100M and finally in 2019 as AK-203.

Pulitzer Prize – 2022

Paper 2 – Education
Why Should You Know?
Recently Bangladesh-origin painter and story writer Fahmida Azeem selected for the 2022 Pulitzer Prize.
In details –
  • Bangladesh-born illustrator and story writer Fahmida Azeem, who works for America’s online magazine ‘Insider’, has been selected for the 2022 Pulitzer Prize.
  • she is being given this award for the category of Illustrated, Interpretive Reporting and Commentary.
  • Fahmida Azeem, including four Insider magazine journalists—Anthony Dale Colonel, Josh Adams and Walt Hickey—have been selected to work on the persecution of Uighurs in China.
  • Fahmida Azim was born in Bangladesh and settled in America.
  • Her work focuses on themes of identity, culture and autonomy. His works have been published in many international magazines like NPR, Glamour, Scientific American, The Intercept, Vice, The New York Times.
  • The Pulitzer Prize is America’s highest award in the field of journalism, which began in 1917.
  • Joseph Pulitzer had said in his will to start this award. Pulitzer is considered the most prestigious award in journalism not only in America but in the whole world.

MoU for Transgender Persons

Paper 1 – Art & Culture
Why Should You Know?
Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment is going to sign an MoU with National Health Authority On august 24, 2022.
In details –
  • Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment will be signing an Memorandum of Understanding with National Health Authority for providing an Comprehensive Medical Package to Transgender Persons on 24 august 2022 at Nalanda Auditorium, Dr. Ambedkar International Centre, Janpath New Delhi.
  • MoU will be signed in the presence of Dr. Virendra Kumar, Union Minister of Social Justice and Empowerment and Dr. Mansukh Mandaviya, Union Minister of Health and Family Welfare.
  • This joint initiative of the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare and the Ministry of Social Welfare and Empowerment is first of its kind in the Country and will not only give a new direction to our society, but will also provide Transgender Persons rightful and respectable place in the society.
  • The beneficiary should be a Transgender person as notified by Government of India holding a Transgender Certificate & amp; Identity Card issued by the National Portal for Transgender Persons.
  • The scheme would cover all Transgender persons not receiving such benefits from other centre/state sponsored schemes.
  • Being the nodal Ministry for matters related to Transgender Persons, Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment has taken several steps for welfare of Transgender Persons. Ministry enacted “The Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Act, 2019” to bring Transgender Person into the mainstream of the society.
  • Ministry recently launched SMILE scheme which includes several comprehensive measures for Transgender Community. One of these components is Composite Medical Health which provides a Comprehensive Medical Package to Transgender Persons in convergence with Ayushman Bharat Yojana.
  • Under this initiative, each Transgender Person shall receive a medical cover of Rs. 5 Lakh per year and cost would be fully funded by the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment under Support for Marginalised Individuals for Livelihood and Enterprise (SMILE) scheme. The whole process for beneficiary will be completely cashless.
About SMILE Scheme –
  • SMILE scheme means “Support for Marginalized Individuals for Livelihood and Enterprise”.
  • This scheme has been prepared by the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment.
  • Under the scheme, the main focus is on rehabilitation of persons engaged in begging and transgender persons, provision of medical facilities, counselling, basic documents, education, skill development, economic linkages etc.
Sub-Schemes –

Two sub-schemes are included under the SMILE scheme:

  1. Central sector scheme for the welfare and comprehensive rehabilitation of transgender persons.
  2. Comprehensive Rehabilitation of persons engaged in the act of Begging

Cow dung Compressed Biogas Project

Paper 1 – Natural Resources
Why Should You Know?
Recently HPCL commenced its first Cow dung to Compressed Biogas Project.
In details –
  • In a transcending move towards green energy and commitment towards environmental stewardship, HPCL commenced its Cowdung to Compressed Biogas Project at Sanchore, Rajasthan.
  • This will be HPCL’s first project under Waste to Energy portfolio. The project is proposed to be commissioned in a year’s time.
  • The plant is proposed to utilize 100 Tons per day of dung to produce biogas, which can be utilized as automotive fuel.
  • The project’s ground breaking ceremony took place at Shree Godham Mahatirth Pathmeda Lok Punyarth Nyas, Village Pathmeda, Tehsil Sanchore District Jalore in Rajasthan which was attended by ED – Bio-fuel & Renewables, Shri Shuvendu Gupta and Senior officials from HPCL.
  • The project is being developed under GOBAR-Dhan scheme launched by Government of India in Apr’18 as a part of the Biodegradable Waste Management component under Swachh Bharat Mission (Grameen) to positively impact cleanliness and generate wealth and energy from cattle and organic waste.
About GOBAR-Dhan scheme –
  • GOBAR-Dhan was launched by the Government of India in April 2018 as a part of the Biodegradable Waste Management component under Swachh Bharat Mission (Grameen) (SMB-G) to positively impact village cleanliness and generate wealth and energy from cattle and organic waste.
  • The main focus of GOBAR-Dhan is to keep villages clean, increase the income of rural households, and generate energy and organic manure from cattle waste.
  • As rural India has already attained the Open Defecation Free (ODF) status, the importance of GOBAR-Dhan has increased as it supports the villages in achieving ODF-plus status, which is an important objective of Swachh Bharat Mission Phase 2.0.
  • Presently, various Ministries/Departments are implementing schemes for the management of cattle and agricultural waste through the setting up of Bio-gas plants. However, a unified approach would be beneficial to ensure convergence among various schemes and to get full benefits from them.
  • Accordingly, GOBAR-Dhan has been designed to provide a common platform for schemes of different Ministries/Departments such as the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE); Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas (MoPNG); Department of Animal Husbandry and Dairying; Department of Agriculture, Cooperation and Farmers Welfare; Department of Rural Development; and Department of Drinking Water and Sanitation (DDWS).
Objectives –
  • To support villages effectively manage their cattle waste, agricultural waste/residue and all other organic waste.
  • To support communities to convert their organic waste (especially cattle waste) to wealth through generation of manure and energy out of waste.
  • To promote environmental sanitation and curb vector-borne diseases through effective disposal of waste in rural areas.
  • To create livelihood opportunities in rural areas and enhance the income of farmers and other rural people by supporting them to convert their waste to wealth.
  • To promote rural entrepreneurship by involving entrepreneurs, SHGs and Youth Groups in the setting up and operation and management of biogas plants.

India-UK cooperation

Paper 2 – International Relations
Why Should You Know?
Recently India-UK agreed to exchange experiences and best practices in areas of working of commercial courts, and ADR mechanisms like arbitration and mediation.
In details –
  • India and the UK have agreed to exchange their experience and practices regarding the working of the Arbitration and Alternative Dispute Settlement Mechanism in commercial courts.
  • The Ministry of Law and Justice said in a release that a comprehensive agreement was reached at the India-UK Joint Consultative Committee meeting.
  • The meeting was held on 18 August in New Delhi.
  • It was also agreed to organize training and capacity building programs in reputed institutions for legal advisors, judicial officers, prosecutors and legal professionals.
  • The Indian delegation was led by Dr. Nitin Chandra, Secretary, Ministry of Law. The UK side was led by Dr. Jo Farrar, Second Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Justice, Government of UK.
  • The Government of India and United Kingdom had on 10th July 2018 entered into a MoU for promoting cooperation between both countries, in the sphere of Law and Justice.
  • A Joint Consultative Committee (JCC) has been constituted in terms of the MoU to carry out its objectives by firming up the way forward in areas of cooperation.
  • The third in-person meeting of the JCC was held at New Delhi on 18th August 2022 at New Delhi.
  • As regards the subject of framing regulations for entry of UK Law Firms and Lawyers under the MoU was concerned, the same was discussed separately in the Legal Services Committee (LSC) meeting held later in the day on 18th August 2022. The Committee consists of officers of both the countries as stated above, and representatives of the Bar Council of India (BCI) and the Law Society of England and Wales.   
  • The Legal Services Committee in its meeting  recalled the outcome of the   India-UK virtual summit held on 4th May, 2021, between the Hon’ble Prime Ministers of India and UK and the launch of the ‘Enhanced Trade Partnership’ (ETP) to unleash the trade potential between the two countries who had also agreed to facilitate each other’s market-access concerns including the opening of  legal services sector in India, on reciprocal basis.

The VL-SRSAM Missile

Paper 3- Security
Why Should You Know?
DRDO & Indian Navy successfully flight-test Vertical Launch Short Range Surface-to-Air Missile off Odisha coast
In details –
  • Defence Research & Development Organisation (DRDO) and Indian Navy successfully flight tested Vertical Launch Short Range Surface-to-Air Missile (VL-SRSAM) from the Integrated Test Range (ITR), Chandipur off the coast of Odisha on August 23, 2022.
  • The flight test was carried out from an Indian Naval Ship against a high-speed unmanned aerial target for demonstration of vertical launch capability.
  • The missiles, equipped with indigenous Radio Frequency (RF) seeker, intercepted the target with high accuracy. The VL-SRSAM system has been indigenously designed and developed by DRDO.
  • During the test launch, flight path and vehicle performance parameters were monitored using flight data, captured by various Range instruments such as Radar, Electro-optical tracking system (EOTS) and Telemetry systems deployed by ITR, Chandipur.
  • The launch was monitored by senior scientists from various DRDO labs involved in the design and development of the system such as Defence Research & Development Laboratory (DRDL), Research Centre Imarat (RCI), Hyderabad and R&D Engineers, Pune.
  • Raksha Mantri Shri Rajnath Singh has complimented DRDO, Indian Navy and associated teams on the successful flight trial of VL-SRSAM and stated that the missile will prove to be a force multiplier for the Indian Navy.
About VL-SRSAM –
  • The Vertical Launch – Short Range Surface to Air Missile, or VL-SRSAM is a quick reaction surface-to-air missile developed by Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO).
  • VL-SRSAM is based on Astra Mark 1 air-to-air missile with four short-span long-chord cruciform wings that provide aerodynamic stability.
  • VL-SRSAM intended to replace older Barak 1 surface to air missile system onboard Indian Navy warships. It will also be used as short range air defence system for Indian Air Force.
  • The VL-SRSAM missile has a range of 25 to 30 km. It can go up to a maximum height of 12 km. Its speed is more than twice that of Barak-1.
  • It flies at a speed of Mach 4.5 i.e. 5556.6 kilometers per hour.
  • It can be fired from any warship. However, the Indian Navy has not confirmed whether this missile is being tested or not. But the deployment of this missile is likely to happen this year.
  • The specialty of this missile is that it rotates somewhere in 360 degrees and considers it only after eliminating its enemy.
  • During mid-course flight, the missile uses fibre-optic gyroscope based inertial guidance mechanism while in terminal phase uses active radar homing.
  • With lock on before launch (LOBL) and lock on after launch (LOAL) capability, the missile receives mid-course update via datalink.
  • It is noteworthy that DRDO successfully test fired two VL-SRSAM on 22 February 2021 at Odisha coast.
  • Defence Research and Development Laboratory (DRDL), Research & Development Establishment (Engineers), Research Centre Imarat (RCI) and some private sector industries were involved in the design and development of the missile system as part of Development cum Production Partner programme (DCPP).

National Labour Conference of Labour Ministers

Paper 2 – Governance
Why Should You Know?
Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi will address National Labour Conference of Labour Ministers of all States and UTs on 25th August.
In details –
  • Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi will address the National Conference of Labour Ministers of all States and Union Territories on 25th August, 2022 via video conferencing.
  • The two-day Conference is being organised by the Union Ministry of Labour & Employment on 25-26 August, 2022 at Tirupati, Andhra Pradesh.
  • The Conference is being convened in the spirit of cooperative federalism to discuss various significant labour related issues.
  • It will help create further synergy amongst the Centre and State Governments in formulating better policies and ensuring effective implementation of schemes for the welfare of workers.
  • The Conference will have four thematic sessions on integrating e-Shram portal for on-boarding social security schemes to universalize social protection; Swasthya se Samriddhi for improving medical care through ESI hospitals run by State Governments and integration with PMJAY; framing of rules under four Labour Codes and modalities for their implementation; Vision Shramev Jayate @ 2047  with focus on just and equitable conditions of work, social protection to all workers, including gig & platform workers, gender equality at work, among other issues.

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