21-05-2020: Current Affair Updates of 21 May 2020
(GS PAPER - 2)
Government Policies & Interventions
1. The Government of India has launched a scheme for 100%
solarisation of Konark sun templeand Konark town in Odisha. The scheme will meet all energy requirements of Konark town with
- To take forward the Prime Minister’s vision to develop the
historical Sun temple town of Konark in Odisha as ‘Surya Nagri’.
- To convey a message of synergy between the modern use of solar
energy and the ancient Sun Temple and the importance of promoting solar
- Plan: It envisages setting up of the 10-MW
grid connected solar project and various solar off-grid applications
such as solar trees, solar drinking water kiosks and off-grid solar power
plants with battery storage.
- Funding: 100% Central Financial assistance
(CFA) support of around Rs. 25 crore through the Ministry of New and
- Implementation Agency: Odisha Renewable Energy Development Agency.
(GS PAPER - 2)
2. Less invasive surfactant administration (LISA) is a
recent medical technique which started at J.K. Lon Government
Children’s Hospital in Jaipur. This technique is
used for treatment of lung disease or respiratory distress syndrome
among premature babies.
- It is developed as a lung protective strategy for
respiratory management and ventilation.
- It has been observed that mechanical ventilation causes
damage to the preterm lungs of newborns.
- Infants who are showing evidence of increasing respiratory distress
and rising oxygen requirement are provided with LISA.
- The procedure has yielded encouraging results when it was started
initially for newborn children with the birth weight of less than 1,500
- The regular application of LISA would help save the lives of
3. Swine Flu
- Swine flu caused by
the“swine flu virus”, the H1N1.
- Swine Flu is an
infection of the respiratory tractcharacterized by the usual symptoms
of flu — cough, nasal secretions, fever, loss of appetite, fatigue, and
- It is called swine flu
because it was known in the past to occur in people who had been in
the vicinity of pigs.
- The virus is
transmitted by short-distance airborne
transmission, particularly in crowded enclosed spaces. Hand
contamination and direct contact are other possible sources of
4. Hepatitis B
- It is a viral
infection that attacks the liver and can cause both acute and
- The virus is most
commonly transmitted from mother to child during birth and
delivery, as well as through contact with blood or other body fluids.
- It is the primary
cause of liver cancer.
- Hepatitis B can
be prevented by vaccines that are safe, available and effective.
- Every year, World
Hepatitis Day is celebrated on the 28thof July.
- It is among the four
diseases apart from HIV-AIDS, TB, Malaria for which, the World
Health Organization (WHO) officially endorses disease-specific global
5. Context: Recently, the Haryana government has launched ‘H1N1
Vaccination Campaign for Healthcare Workers’ and Hepatitis-B control Programme.
- India usually witnesses two peaks of H1N1 infection, one
during January to March and another in post
Monsoon between August and October. Thus, precautions through
vaccination for H1N1 is considered to be a better solution.
- The health workers are already facing the risk
of Covid-19 while managing the pandemic, hence focussing on
their health safety has become a top priority for the
- In India, since 2016 about 85,000 persons are being infected by the
H1N1virus and 4,900 deaths have occurred in the last few years.
- It will vaccinate around 13,000 health workers across the state.
- It includes a single dose vaccine and
is effective for a period of one year.
- Hepatitis-B Control Programme
- The Hepatitis-B control programme has been launched under
the National Viral Hepatitis Control programme.
- The National Viral Hepatitis Control Programme aims at both
prevention and treatment of hepatitis which is among the leading causes of
liver cancer, cirrhosis of liver and acute liver failure.
- The programme is a part of the National Health Mission.
(GS PAPER - 3)
Conservation related Issues
6. Context: A new prey and predator estimation in
Tadoba Andhari Tiger Reserve (TATR) in Chandrapur district has found the
presence of 115 tigers and 151 leopards inside the 1,727 sq km of the core
and buffer areas of the reserve in 2019. The estimation was done as part
of the ‘Long-term monitoring of tigers, co-predators and prey species in
- Although the tiger numbers appear to be up as compared to
2018, the population density shows a decline from 5.51 to 5.23 per
100 sq km. This is because of coverage of more area this year.
- The overall tiger count in Chandrapur district alone is more
than 200, which is about two-third of the total number of tigers
in the state.
- It is Maharashtra’s oldest and largest national park.
- Created in 1995, the Reserve includes the Tadoba National Park
and the Andhari Wildlife Sanctuary.
- Tadoba” is taken from the name of the god “Tadoba” or
“Taru”, worshipped by the tribes who live in the dense forests of the
Tadoba and Andhari region, while “Andhari” refers to the Andhari
river that meanders through the forest.
- Tadoba reserve covers the Chimur Hills, and the Andhari
sanctuary covers the Moharli and Kolsa ranges.
(GS PAPER - 3)
Scientific Innovations and Discoveries
7. Context: The Sree Chitra Tirunal Institute for
Medical Sciences and Technology (SCTIMST) in collaboration
with Agappe Diagnostics Ltd. has commercially launched the Agappe
Chitra Magna Kit for detection of Covid-19.
- SCTIMST is an Institute of National Importance under the
Department of Science and Technology (DST).
- Agappe Chitra Magna is a magnetic nanoparticle-based
RiboNucleic Acid (RNA) extraction kit.
- It isolates RNA from the patient sample using magnetic
- SARS-COV-2, the causative virus of Covid-19 pandemic, is
an RNA virus- a long single-stranded polymeric substance present in
all living cells that carries the genetic information of the organism
necessary for life.
- One of the critical steps in detecting this virus is by
confirming the presence of the RNA of the virus in the sample taken
from the throat or nose.
- The magnetic nanoparticle beads bind to the viral RNA and, when exposed
to a magnetic field, give a highly purified and concentrated RNA.
- As the sensitivity of the detection method is dependent on getting
an adequate quantity of viral RNA, this innovation enhances the chances of
identifying positive cases.
- The kit can be used for RNA extraction
for RT-LAMP, RT-PCR and other isothermal and Polymerase
Chain Reaction (PCR) based protocols for the detection of SARS-COV-2.
- The indigenously developed and manufactured RNA extraction
kit would reduce the nation’s dependence on imported kits which
are expensive and thus will bring down the cost of Covid-19 testing.
(Facts for Prelims)
8. National Test Abhyas:
- The AI-powered mobile App has been developed
by National Testing Agency (NTA) to enable candidates to take
mock tests for upcoming exams such as JEE Main, NEET under the NTA’s
- Launched by Human Resources Development Ministry recently.
9. Konark Temple
- Konark was built by King Narasimhadeva I of
the Ganga Dynasty (1238-1264AD) in the 13th century and
is located in Eastern Odisha near the sacred city of Puri.
- The temple is designed in the shape of a colossal
chariot. It is dedicated to the sun God.
- There are two rows of 12 wheels on each side of the Konark sun
- The seven horses are said to symbolize the seven days of the week.
- The temple was used as a navigational point by European sailors.
They referred to it as the‘Black Pagoda’ due to its dark colour and
its magnetic power that drew ships into the shore and caused shipwrecks.
- It is the culmination of Odisha temple architecture.
- It was declared a UNESCO world heritage site in 1984.