Current Affairs 24th February

Vaccine rollout for older people soon: Health Ministry #GS3 #SnT

Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan said that COVID-19 vaccination for the older population (over 50 years) is expected to start soon and that the immunisation programme would see greater private sector participation.

Teams sent to States

NITI Aayog’s member (health) V.K. Paul said there was no current scientific data available to establish a direct relation between the recent surge in cases in Maharashtra and other States with the mutant virus strains N440K and E484Q detected in the country.

Dr. Paul said besides the U.K. strain (187 cases), South Africa strain (6) cases and Brazil strain (1 case), India had also found cases with N440K and E484Q. “The variants have been now detected in Maharashtra, Kerala and Telangana

Indradhanush 3.0 to fill gap in immunisation due to COVID #GS3 #SnT

The States and Union Territories (UTs) have rolled out the Intensified Mission Indradhanush (IMI) 3.0 scheme to cover children and pregnant women who missed routine immunisation during the COVID-19 pandemic. More than 29,000 children and 5,000 pregnant women were covered on the first day.

Various States and UTs have started implementation of the Intensified Mission Indradhanush 3.0, a campaign aimed to reach those children and pregnant women who have been missed out or been left out of the Routine Immunisation Programme. This is aimed to accelerate the full immunisation of children and pregnant women through a mission mode intervention. The first phase has been rolled out from February 22 for 15 days.

The campaign is scheduled to have two rounds of immunisation lasting 15 days (excluding routine immunisation and holidays). It is being conducted in 250 pre-identified districts/urban areas across 29 States/UTs.

Remote areas

Beneficiaries from migration areas and remote areas would be targeted as they may have missed their vaccine doses during the pandemic. As per the guidelines released for IMI 3.0, the districts have been classified to reflect 313 low risk, 152 medium risk and 250 high risk districts.

The Ministry said adherence to COVID-appropriate behaviour (CAB) during immunisation activities has been strongly emphasised. The States have been asked to follow a “staggered approach” to avoid crowding at the session sites and even plan break-up sessions if a staggered approach is not effective.

The sessions have also been planned in such a way that not more than 10 beneficiaries are present at the session site at one given point in time.

Benefit of the NewsIndradhanush 3.0

‘Terrorism is a crime against humanity’ #GS3 #Security

Terrorism is a “crime against humanity. Addressing the High Level Segment of the 46th Session of Human Rights Council (HRC), he said India’s commitment to human rights is seen in the way the government has handled the pandemic.

Terrorism continues to be one of the gravest threats to humankind. It is a crime against humanity and violates the most fundamental human right, namely the ‘Right to Life’…Terrorism can never be justified, nor its perpetrators ever equated with its victims,” said Mr. Jaishankar highlighting India’s experience “as an inclusive and pluralistic society and vibrant democracy”.

Major challenge

He highlighted the special importance of the rights that are enshrined in the Constitution as the Fundamental Rights. These continue to evolve through legislation by Parliament, progressive interpretation of laws by the judiciary and active participation of civil society and citizens.

The Minister’s comments came days after India reacted angrily to observations by the Special Rapporteurs on Minority Issues and Freedom of Religion or Belief on apparent erosion of rights in Kashmir and the rest of India.

Our approach to the UN Human Rights Council is guided by our spirit of engagement, dialogue and consultation. We believe that equal emphasis should be placed on both promotion and protection of human rights. Both are best pursued through dialogue, consultation and cooperation among States as well as technical assistance and capacity building.

Government provided “direct food support to 800 million Indians and financial support to 400 million” to counter the impact of the pandemic.

Benefit of the NewsView regarding Terrorism

Govt. will ensure healthcare for all: PM #GS2 #Governance

Stating that the budget allocation for the health sector this financial year has been unprecedented, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said this indicated his government’s commitment to providing healthcare to every citizen. He added that the COVID-19 pandemic had taught the country a lesson on how to be prepared to fight similar challenges in the future.

From medical equipment to medicines, ventilators to vaccines, scientific research to surveillance infrastructure, and doctors to epidemiologists, we have to focus on everything. All this is aimed at being better prepared for any health disaster in the future.

The Prime Minister said this was the inspiration behind the PM AtmaNirbhar Swasth Bharat scheme. “Under this scheme, it has been decided that a modern ecosystem will be developed for research, testing and treatment in the country itself. This scheme will increase our capabilities in every spectrum.

The trust in the country’s health sector has increased manifold all over the world. The world’s attention will definitely shift towards India’s medical education system and there will be a huge influx of foreign students to study medicine in the country.

The government is working with a four-pronged strategy for a healthy India. The first is prevention of illness and promotion of wellness, including measures such as Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, yoga, timely care and treatment of pregnant women and children. The second is to provide cheap and effective treatment to the poorest of the poor. The third is to increase the quality of health infrastructure and healthcare professionals, while the fourth is to work on a mission mode to overcome obstacles.

In his speech, the Prime Minister lauded the efforts of the AYUSH sector during the pandemic and said its infrastructure had also been of great help in the country with regard to increasing immunity and scientific research.

DAC clears bids worth Rs. 13,700 crore #GS3 #Defence

The Defence Acquisitions Council (DAC) headed by Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Tuesday cleared procurement proposals worth Rs. 13,700 crore, including 118 Arjun MK-1A tanks for around Rs. 8,400 crore. The improved tank was formally handed over by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to the Army last week.

Separately, Bharat Forge announced that it has received a Rs. 117.95-crore order from the Defence Ministry under emergency procurement to supply its Kalyani M4 Kalyani M4 armoured vehicles to the Army.

“All these acquisition proposals will be indigenously designed, developed and manufactured. These will include inter alia platforms and systems designed and developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO). Three acceptance of necessities (AoNs) were accorded approval, which include for proposals for the three Services.

Other proposals from the DRDO cleared by the DAC include Nag missile carrier Namica, Arudhra medium power radars, Armour-Piercing Fin-Stabilized Discarding Sabot (APFSDS) 125mm practice ammunition.

With the AoN accorded for the tanks, the Army will now place the indent with the Heavy Vehicle Factory (HVF), Avadi, a defence official said. Within 30 months from the date of indent, the HVF will deliver five tanks called the “pre-production model”.

The Army will put them through General Service Quality Requirement (GSQR) evaluation and accord the Bulk Production Clearance (BPC) if found satisfactory, the official said.

To systematically work towards reducing the time taken for capital acquisition, the DAC also approved that all capital acquisition contracts (delegated and non-delegated) other than design and development cases shall be concluded in two years. The Ministry, in consultation with the Services and all stakeholders, will come up with a detailed plan of action for achieving it.

Blast protection vehicles

The Kalyani M4 is a multi-role platform, designed for quick mobility in rough terrain and in areas affected by mine and Improved Explosive Devices (IED) threats. An official said the deal is for 27 vehicles.

It offers best in-class levels of ballistic and blast protection — up to 50kg TNT side blast or IED, roadside bombs due to its innovative design, built on a flat-floor monocoque hull,” the company said. It successfully completed a series of extreme vehicle trials