Daily Current Affairs : ALL Components


20-11-2020: Current Affair Updates of 20 November 2020

1. Fifteen Finance Commission Recommendation For Health Sector (Prelims, GS II-Governance)



Why in News?

Ø The Fifteenth Finance Commission (FFC) has made recommendations about the need for reprioritising public spending to fix the creaky health infrastructure exposed by the coronavirus pandemic.



Ø FFC has mooted a greater role for public-private partnerships (PPPs) to ramp up the health infrastructure and scale up public spending on health from 0.95% of GDP to 2.5% by 2024.

Ø There is a need for a more holistic approach to encouraging PPP in the health sector. There should be a constant working relationship and the government should not resort to the private sector in the case of an emergency only. 

Ø District hospitals can become great grounds for training paramedics, creating health and employment multipliers.

Ø FFC Chairman emphasised on the need to create a cadre for medical officers as mentioned in the All India Services Act 1951.


Issues in the Health Sector

Ø India’s general government expenditure on healthcare as a percent of GDP was just 1.0% in 2017, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO) data, placing it at number 165 out of 186 countries in terms of government expenditure on healthcare.

Ø Skewed availability of healthcare across India as poorer States have the worst facilities.

Ø In terms of access and quality of health services, India was ranked 145 out of 195 countries in a Lancet study published in 2018, below countries like China (48), Sri Lanka (71) Bhutan (134) and Bangladesh (132).

Ø Availability of trained epidemiologists is an issue due to low salary and job insecurity in the health system.

Ø There should be one epidemiologist per 0.2 million population. An epidemiologist is a technical person to guide and monitor the process of contact-tracing, marking containment zones and isolating suspected cases.

Ø India’s expenditure on R&D as a percent of GDP has continued to remain stagnant at 0.7% of GDP for three decades, with the public sector accounting for 51.8% of national R&D expenditure.

Ø This compares to around 2.8% of GDP for the USA, 2.1% of GDP for China, 4.4% of GDP for Korea and around 3% for Germany where the dominant sector by spending on R&D is the private sector.



2. Global Prevention Coalition on HIV (Prelims, GS III-Diseases)


Why in News?

Ø Recently, the Union Minister for Health and Family Welfare digitally addressed the Ministerial meeting of the Global Prevention Coalition (GPC) for Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) Prevention.

Ø It was hosted by Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) and United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) on behalf of the Global HIV Prevention Coalition (GPC).


Global HIV Prevention Coalition (GPC)

Ø It is a global coalition of United Nations Member States, donors, civil society organisations which was established in the year 2017 to support global efforts to accelerate HIV prevention.



Ø It includes the 25 highest HIV burden countries, UNAIDS Cosponsors, donors, civil society and private sector organisations.



Ø To strengthen and sustain political commitment for primary prevention by setting a common agenda among key policy-makers, funders and programme implementers.


Significance of the Conference

Ø The conference this year holds significance in achieving the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) commitment to end Acquired Immuno-Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) by 2030.

Ø Member States of the GPC had agreed to reduce new adult HIV infections by 75% at the end of 2020 from 2010 levels.


India Against HIV


India’s unique HIV prevention model



Ø To provide outreach, service delivery, counselling & testing and ensuring linkages to HIV care

Ø Centered around the concept of Social Contracting through which the Targeted Interventions (TI) programme is implemented.

Ø Protected the gains made in HIV during Covid-19 by taking swift and timely action to reach out to the last mile with a robust implementation plan for Anti-Retroviral drugs (ARV) dispensation.

Ø Advisories and guidance notes were issued by National Aids Control Organization (NACO) from time to time aligned with global guidelines in the context.

Ø Revamped its Targeted Intervention (TI) programme to focus on hard-to-reach populations to keep its commitments- People living in prisons and other closed settings were considered as priority populations and interventions launched were gradually scaled up since 2016.

Ø The HIV Counselling & Testing Services (HCTS) and Community based Screening of HIV for improving early diagnosis were also ramped up.

Ø The coverage of testing for HIV across the country was increased to achieve the Elimination of Mother to Child Transmission of HIV.


The Test and Treat Policy

Ø Approximately 50,000 PLHIV who were lost to follow-up were linked back to Antiretroviral Treatment services through Mission SAMPARK, while Viral Load Testing facilities have been scaled up from the existing ten public sector labs to 64 labs across the country.

Ø Enacted the Human Immunodeficiency Virus and Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (Prevention and Control) Act, 2017 which has provided a legal and enabling framework for safeguarding the human rights of the infected and affected populations.


Project Sunrise

Ø A new initiative called 'Project Sunrise' was launched by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare in 2016, to tackle the rising HIV prevalence in north-eastern states in India, especially among people injecting drugs.


3. Chapare Virus (Prelims, GS III-Outbreaks of Viruses)


Why in News?

Ø Researchers from the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have recently discovered a rare Ebola-like illness that is believed to have first originated in rural Bolivia in 2004.

Ø The virus is named Chapare after the province in which it was first observed.

Ø Chapare, is a rural province in the northern region of central Bolivia.


More about Virus

Ø Chapare Virus belongs to the same Arenavirus family that is responsible for illnesses such as the Ebola virus disease (EVD). It causes Chapare Hemorrhagic Fever (CHHF).



Ø Chapare virus are generally carried by rats and can be transmitted through direct contact with the infected rodent, its urine and droppings, or through contact with an infected person.

Ø A disease vector is any agent which carries and transmits an infectious pathogen into another living organism.


Symptoms of Chapare Hemorrhagic Fever (CHHF)

Ø Abdominal pain,

Ø Vomiting,

Ø Bleeding gums,

Ø Skin rash,

Ø Pain behind the eyes.



Ø Virus can spread from person to person.

Ø Chapare spreads only through direct contact with bodily fluids.


Sexually transmission

Ø Researchers also found fragments of Ribonucleic acid (RNA)associated with Chapare, in the semen of one survivor 168 days after he was infected.



Ø Chapare virus is much more difficult to catch than the coronavirus as it is not transmissible via the respiratory route. Instead, Chapare spreads only through direct contact with bodily fluids.

Ø New sequencing tools will help develop an RT-PCR test — much like the one used to diagnose Covid-19 to help detect Chapare.



Ø Since there are no specific drugs to treat the disease, patients generally receive supportive care such as intravenous fluids.

Ø Intravenous therapy is a medical technique that delivers a liquid directly into a person's vein. The intravenous route of administration is commonly used for rehydration solutions or to provide nutrition in those who cannot consume food or water by mouth.

Ø Maintenance of hydration.

Ø Management of shock through fluid resuscitation.

Ø Fluid resuscitation is the medical practice of replenishing bodily fluid lost through sweating, bleeding, fluid shifts or other pathologic processes.

Ø Pain Relief Medicines

Ø Transfusions as the supportive therapy that can be administered on patients.


People at Risk

Ø The disease is also known to be most commonly transmitted in more tropical regions, particularly in certain parts of South America where the small-eared pygmy rice rat is commonly found.


Mortality Rate

Ø As there are very few cases on record, the mortality and risk factors associated with the illness are relatively unknown.

Ø In the first known outbreak, the only confirmed case was fatal. In the second outbreak in 2019, three out of five documented cases were fatal (case-fatality rate of 60%).


Recent Outbreak

Ø The recent biggest outbreak of the ‘Chapare virus’ was reported in 2019, when three healthcare workers contracted the illness from two patients in the Bolivian capital of La Paz.


Ebola Virus Disease

Ø Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) or Ebola Hemorrhagic Fever (EHF), is a viral hemorrhagic fever of humans and other primates caused by ebolaviruses.



Ø Fruit bats of the Pteropodidae family are natural Ebola virus hosts.

Ø Animal to human transmission

Ø Ebola is introduced into the human population through close contact with the blood, secretions, organs or other bodily fluids of infected animals such as fruit bats, chimpanzees, etc.


Human-to-human transmission

Ø Ebola spreads via direct contact (through broken skin or mucous membranes) with:

Ø Blood or body fluids of a person who is sick with or has died from Ebola.

Ø Objects that have been contaminated with body fluids (like blood, feces, vomit) from a person sick with Ebola or the body of a person who died from Ebola.



Ø An experimental Ebola vaccine, called r-VSV-ZEBOV proved highly protective against EVD.



4.Gullian Barre Syndrome (Prelims, GS III-Diseases)


Why in News?

Ø Some patients infected with Covid-19 have been found suffering from Guillain Barre Syndrome (GBS).


Guillain Barre Syndrome

Ø It is a very rare autoimmune disorder in which the patient's immune system attacks nerves.

Ø The exact cause of Guillain-Barre syndrome is unknown, but as per the World Health Organisation (WHO), GBS is often preceded by an infection.

Ø This could be a bacterial or viral infection. It may also be triggered by vaccine administration or surgery.

Ø In the past, patients of Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS), Zika virus, Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV), Herpes virus and Campylobacter jejuni have shown symptoms of GBS.



Ø Weakness or tingling sensations, which usually start in the legs, and can spread to the arms and face.

Ø Difficulty with facial movements, including speaking, chewing or swallowing.

Ø Double vision, rapid heart rate, low or high blood pressure.



Ø There could be respiratory failure as the worst outcome, or weakness and effect on walking and limb movement.



Ø Intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIG).

Ø Plasma therapy.



5. Deemed Forests (Prelims, GS III-Forests & Conservation)


Why in News?

Ø Recently, Karnataka has announced that it would declassify 6.64 lakh hectares (nearly 67%) of the 9.94 lakh hectares of deemed forests in the state and hand it over to Revenue authorities.


About Deemed Forests

Ø Deemed forests, comprising about 1% of India’s forest land, are a controversial subject as they refer to land tracts that appear to be a “forest”, but have not been notified so by the government or in historical records.

Ø The concept of deemed forests has not even been clearly defined in any law including the Forest Conservation Act 1980.

Ø In the T N Godavarman Thirumalpad case 1996, the Supreme Court (SC) accepted a wide definition of forests under the Act and held that the word ‘forest’ must be understood according to its dictionary meaning.

Ø This description covers all statutorily recognised forests, whether designated as reserved, protected or otherwise for the purpose of Section 2 (1) of the Act and also includes any areas recorded as forest in the government record irrespective of the ownership.

Ø The provisions for the conservation of forest and the matters connected therewith applies clearly to all forests irrespective of the ownership or classification.

Ø The freedom to define which tracts of forest qualify as forest has been the prerogative of States since 1996.

Ø However, this only applies to forest land that has not already been historically classified as “forest” in revenue records, or categorised so by the government as “protected” or “reserve forest”.


6. National Population Register (Prelims, GS II-Governance)


Why in News?

Ø The office of the Registrar General of India (RGI)has said the schedule or the questionnaire of the National Population Register (NPR) is “being finalised”.


National Population Register

Ø NPR is a database containing a list of all usual residents of the country.

Ø Its objective is to have a comprehensive identity database of people residing in the country.

Ø A usual resident for the purposes of NPR is a person who has resided in a place for six months or more, and intends to reside there for another six months or more.

Ø The NPR was first collected in 2010 and then updated in 2015.

Ø It is generated through house-to-house enumeration during the “house-listing” phase of the census, which is held once in 10 years. 


Difference between NPR & Census



Ø The census involves a detailed questionnaire - there were 29 items to be filled up in the 2011 census - aimed at eliciting the particulars of every person, including age, sex, marital status, children, occupation, birthplace, mother tongue, religion, disability and whether they belonged to any Scheduled Caste or Scheduled Tribe.

Ø On the other hand, the NPR collects basic demographic data and biometric particulars.


Legal Basis

Ø The census is legally backed by the Census Act, 1948.

Ø The NPR is a mechanism outlined in a set of rules framed under theCitizenship Act, 1955.


Difference between NPR and NRC

Ø According to the Citizenship Rules framed in 2003, the NPR is the first step towards compilation of the National Register of Indian Citizens (NRIC) or NRC.

Ø Section 14A was inserted in the Citizenship Act, 1955, in 2004, providing for the compulsory registration of every citizen of India and the issue of a “national identity card” to him or her.

Ø It also said the Central government may maintain a “National Register of Indian Citizens”.

Ø The Registrar General India shall act as the “National Registration Authority” (and will function as the Registrar General of Citizen Registration).

Ø The Registrar General is also the country’s Census Commissioner.

Ø After a list of residents is created (i.e. NPR), a nationwide NRC could go about verifying the citizens from that list.

Ø Recently, NRC for Assam was prepared.





Why in News?

Ø Housing and Urban Affairs Hardeep Singh Puri launched Safaimitra Suraksha Challenge across 243 Cities to ensure that no life of any sewer or septic tank cleaner is ever lost again owing to the issue of ‘hazardous cleaning'.


More about News

Ø The Challenge, launched on the occasion of World Toilet Day, is aimed at preventing ‘hazardous cleaning’ of sewers and septic tanks and promote their mechanised cleaning.

Ø Representatives from 243 cities across the country took a pledge to mechanise all sewer and septic tank cleaning operations by 30th April 2021.

Ø The initiative is in line with PM Modi’s vision, who has always placed the safety and dignity of sanitation workers at the core of the Swachh Bharat Mission-Urban (SBM-U)

Ø The actual on-ground assessment of participating cities will be conducted in May 2021 by an independent agency and results of the same will be declared on 15 August 2021.

Ø Cities will be awarded in three sub-categories – with population of more than 10 lakhs, 3-10 lakhs and up to 3 lakhs, with a total prize money of ₹52 crores to be given to winning cities across all categories.



8. World’s Children Day (Prelims)


Why in News?

Ø World Children's Day is being observed on 20 November.


About World’s Children Day

Ø World Children’s Day is UNICEF’s annual day of action for children, by children.

Ø World Children’s Day was first established in 1954 as Universal Children's Day and is celebrated on 20 November each year to promote international togetherness, awareness among children worldwide, and improving children's welfare.

Ø November 20th is an important date as it is the date in 1959 when the UN General Assembly adopted the Declaration of the Rights of the Child.

Ø It is also the date in 1989 when the UN General Assembly adopted the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

Ø Since 1990, World Children's Day also marks the anniversary of the date that the UN General Assembly adopted both the Declaration and the Convention on children's rights.

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