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News:The Global Report on Food Crises 2020 has been released by the Global Network against Food Crises.
- Aim: To provide an analysis of the drivers that are contributing to food crises across the globe and examines how the COVID-19 pandemic might contribute to their perpetuation or deterioration.
Global Network against Food Crises:
- It was launched by European Union, Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and World Food Programme(WFP) during the 2016 World Humanitarian Summit(WHS).
- Aim:To combat food crises from humanitarian and development perspectives and tackle its root causes by promoting coordination among stakeholders and by projects implementation.
News:Ministry of Human Resource and Development(MHRD) launched the VidyaDaan 2.0 programme under its DIKSHA platform.
- Aim: To contribute e-learning content and help children continue their learning anywhere and anytime in the country.
- Under this, academicians and organisations will develop and contribute fun and engaging e-learning content aligned to the curriculum.
- The content will be monitored by a panel of academic experts and released for use on the DIKSHA app to help millions of children across the country continue learning.
Digital Infrastructure for Knowledge Sharing(DIKSHA) Platform:
- Launched Year: 2017
- Nodal Ministry:Ministry of Human Resource and Development.
- Aim:To provide a digital platform to teachers by giving them an opportunity to learn and train themselves and connect with the teacher community.
News:Technology Development Board(TDB) has approved funding for Mylab Discovery Solutions to develop Covid-19 kits.
- Technology Development Board(TDB) is a statutory body established in 1996 under the Technology Development Board Act,1995.
- Nodal Ministry: Ministry of Science and Technology.
- Aim: Toprovide financial assistance to Indian industrial concerns and other agencies attempting development and commercial application of indigenous technology or adapting imported technology to wider domestic applications.
- Composition: It consists of 11 members with Secretary, Department of Science & Technology as Ex-officio Chairperson.
Global Innovation & Technology Alliance (GITA):
- It is a not–for–profit Public Private Partnership(PPP) company promoted jointly by the Technology Development Board (TDB) and the Confederation of Indian Industry(CII).
- Aim: To strengthen India’s innovation ecosystem through supporting and enabling technology and innovation driven enterprises.
News:The Union Health minister has urged the states to use e-Raktkosh portal as a single point for maintaining real-time information on the status of stocks of each blood group.
- e-Raktkosh portal was launched in 2016 by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.
- It is a Centralized Blood Bank Management System that provides a comprehensive IT solution to standardize and streamline the standard operating procedures, guidelines and workflow of blood banks across the country.
News:United Nations Office of Drugs and Crimes(UNODC) has launched “Lockdown Learners Series” under the Education for Justice Initiative.
- Lockdown Learner’s Series aims to sensitize students on the issues such as misinformation, cybercrime, gender-based violence, corruption among others.
Education for Justice Initiative:
- Launched by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime(UNODC) in 2019.
- Aim:To prevent crime and promote a culture of lawfulness through education activities designed for primary, secondary and tertiary levels.
United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime(UNODC):
- Established in 1997 through a merger between the United Nations Drug Control Programme and the Centre for International Crime Prevention.
- Aim:To assist Member States in addressing the issues of drugs, crime and terrorism.
News:Scientists at the CSIR’s Institute of Genomics and Integrative Biology (IGIB) have developed a coronavirus test named Feluda.
- Feluda is a low cost paper strip test which can detect the presence of coronavirus within an hour.
- It uses the gene editing tool CRISPR-CAS9 to target and identify the genome sequences of the novel coronavirus in the samples of suspected individuals.
CRISPR-Cas9(Clustered Regularly Interspaced Palindromic Repeats):
- It is a tool used for gene editing.The technique involves a DNA cutting enzyme and a small tag which tells the enzyme where to cut.
- Cas9 stands for CRISPR-associated protein 9 and is the nuclease part that cuts the DNA.
News:The United States oil markets created history when the prices of West Texas Intermediate(WTI) fell to minus $40.32 a barrel in interlay trade in New York.
- West Texas Intermediate(WTI) is a specific grade of crude oil and one of the main three benchmarks in oil pricing along with Brent and Dubai Crude.
- It is sourced primarily from Texas and is one of the highest quality oils in the world which is easy to refine.
- This grade is described as light crude oil because of its relatively low density and sweet because of its low sulfur content.
- It is the underlying commodity of New York Mercantile Exchange’s oil futures contracts.
- Negative Oil Pricing: It means the commodity producers are willing to pay purchasers to take oil off their hands amid fears that most storage facilities will run out of space.
News:Union Cabinet has approved promulgation of an Ordinance to amend the Epidemic Diseases Act,1897 in order to protect healthcare service personnel as well as the property against the violence during epidemics.
Healthcare service personnel: It comprises public and clinical healthcare service providers including doctors, nurses, paramedical workers and community health workers or any other persons empowered by the Act to take measures in order to prevent the outbreak of the disease.
Key Provisions of the ordinance:
- Cognizable and Non-Bailable: Violence against the healthcare workers has been made cognizable and non-bailable offences.
- Compensation: It contains a provision of providing compensation for injury to healthcare service personnel or for causing damage or loss to the property.
- If the damage is done to the vehicles or clinics of healthcare workers then a compensation amounting to twice the market value of the damaged property will be taken from the accused.
- Investigation: The investigation into the cases of attack on healthcare workers will be completed within 30 days and judgment will be pronounced within one year.
- Punishment: The accused of the attack can attract a punishment ranging from 3 months to 5 years and a fine from 50 thousand rupees to 2 lakh rupees.
- In case of grievous injuries, the accused can be sentenced from 6 months to 7 years and they can also be penalized from one lakh to 5 lakh rupees.
News: The Union Cabinet approved investments of Rs. 15,000 crore for ‘India COVID-19 Emergency Response and Health System Preparedness Package’.
Aim: Enhance emergency response to slow and limit COVID-19 in India
- Development of diagnostics and COV1D-dedicated treatment facilities,
- Centralized procurement of essential medical equipment and drugs required for treatment of infected patients,
- Strengthen and build resilient National and State health systems to support prevention and preparedness for future disease outbreaks,
- Set up of laboratories and enhance surveillance activities, biosecurity preparedness, pandemic research
- Engage communities and conduct risk communication activities
News: Iran launched Noor satellite
- It is Iran’s first military satellite.
India’s military satellites:
- GSAT-7 military communications satellite used by Indian Navy
- GSAT-7A: military communications satellite used by the Indian Air Force with Indian Army using 30% of capacity.
News:Technology Information, Forecasting and Assessment Council (TIFAC) is preparing a white paper to strategize revival of post-COVID 19 Indian economy.
- TIFAC is an autonomous technology think tank set up in 1988
- Parent Body: Department of Science & Technology (DST)
- Nodal Ministry: Ministry of Science and Technology
- Mandate: Assess the technology trajectories, and support innovation by networked actions in select areas of national importance.
News:Union Agriculture Minister participated in an virtual meeting of G-20 Agriculture Ministers which was organised by the Saudi Presidency
- The meeting sought to address the issue of Covid-19 impacts on food security, safety and nutrition.
Highlights of the meet:
- No export restrictions or high taxes on food and agricultural products purchased by the World Food Programme (WFP) and other humanitarian agencies.
- The International Fund for Agricultural Development will help in technical assistance, and work to improve resilience in agriculture.
- The G20 AMIS (Agricultural Market Information System) will help coordinate policy responses.
World Food Programme:
- It is the food assistance branch of the United Nations, established in 1961.
- Aim:To eradicate hunger and malnutrition with the ultimate goal of eliminating the need for food aid itself.
International Fund for Agricultural Development
- Established in 1977, it is an international financial institution and a specialised agency of the United Nations. It works to address poverty and hunger in rural areas of developing countries
G20 AMIS (Agricultural Market Information System)
- It is an inter-agency platform to enhance food market transparency and encourage international policy coordination in times of crisis. It was established in 2011 at the request of G20 countries.
- It is an informal group of 19 countries and the European Union with representatives of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank.