Factly :-News Articles For UPSC Prelims | 1 June, 2021

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Jan 30 Declared World “Neglected Tropical Diseases” Day by WHA

What is the News?

The 74th World Health Assembly has declared January 30 as ‘World Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTD) Day.

About World Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTD) Day:

  • The first World Neglected Tropical Diseases(NTD) Day was celebrated informally in 2020.
  • UAE moved the proposal to recognize this day as ‘World NTD Day’
  • Significance: World NTD Day commemorates the simultaneous launch of the first NTD road map and the London Declaration on NTDs on 30 January 2012.

About Neglected Tropical Diseases(NTD):

  • Neglected Tropical Diseases(NTD) are a group of infections. These diseases are most common in the tropical regions of Africa, Asia, and the Americas among marginalized communities. The basic reason behind them is no access to clean water or safe ways to dispose of human waste.
  • Caused by: A variety of pathogens such as viruses, bacteria, protozoa, and parasitic worms.
  • These diseases generally receive less funding for research and treatment than diseases like tuberculosis, HIV-AIDS, and malaria.
  • Some examples of NTDs include snakebite envenomation, scabies, yaws, trachoma, Leishmaniasis, and Chagas disease.
  • Cases: NTDs affect more than a billion people globally. However, the diseases are preventable and treatable.

About London Declaration:

  1. London Declaration on Neglected Tropical Diseases was a collaborative disease eradication program. It launched on 30 January 2012 in London.
  2. Based on: World Health Organization 2020 roadmap to eradicate or prevent transmission of neglected tropical diseases.
  3. This declaration aimed to eliminate or control 10 neglected diseases by 2020 by providing more than US$785 million to support research and development.
    • Great progress has been made since 2012, but not all the goals have been met by 2020.

WHO’s New Roadmap for NTDs for 2021-30:

  • The World Health Organization(WHO) has launched a new road map to
    • prevent, control, eliminate and eradicate a set of 20 diseases termed neglected tropical diseases by 2030.
    • Reducing the number of people in need of NTD treatment by 90%.
    • Elimination of at least one NTD in more than 100 countries.
    • Complete elimination of dracunculiasis (guinea worm) and yaws
  • Strategy: The roadmap calls for three strategic changes in approach to end NTDs:
    1. From measuring process to measuring impact.
    2. From disease-specific planning and programming to collaborative work across sectors.
    3. Lastly, From externally driven agendas on programmes that are country-owned and country-financed.

Source: Down To Earth

2nd “Positive Indigenisation list” Notified by Defence Ministry

What is the News?

The Defence Ministry has notified the second negative import list of 108 items. These items can now only be purchased from indigenous sources as per Defence Acquisition Procedure (DAP) 2020. The list has now been renamed as the ‘positive indigenisation list’.

Note: The first positive indigenisation list of 101 Defence Items was announced in August 2020. This means that the second list takes the total number on the list to 209.

What does Positive Indigenisation List mean?

  • Positive indigenisation list essentially means that the Armed Forces—Army, Navy, and Air Force—will only procure all of these 209 items from domestic manufacturers.
  • The manufacturers could be private sector players or defense Public Sector Undertakings(DPSUs).

Why was the Positive Indigenisation List announced?

  • India has been one of the largest importers of weapons in the world for over a decade.
    • As per Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, India was the second-largest importer between 2014 and 2019. It imported weapons worth US$ 16.75 billion during this period.
  • Hence, the government wants to reduce the dependence on imported items in defense.
  • Further, the list encourages Indian Defence Industry to step up and manufacture the items mentioned in the Negative List for the needs of the forces.
  • Moreover, the list is also in line with the government’s target to reach a turnover of USD 25 billion by 2025 through indigenously manufactured defence products

What does the Second Negative list contain?

  • The second list lays special focus on weapons and systems which are currently under development/trials and are likely to translate into firm orders in the future.
  • It comprises defence items such as complex systems, sensors, weapons and ammunition like helicopters, Airborne Early Warning and Control (AEW&C) systems among others.

Implementation of the List:

  • This second negative list is planned to be implemented progressively with effect from December 2021 to December 2025.
  • The government of India has also bifurcated the capital procurement budget for 2020-21 between domestic and foreign capital procurement routes.
    • Out of Rs 1.35 lakh crore allocated for capital acquisition for defence in this year’s budget, the government has reserved more than 60% for domestic procurement.

Source: The Hindu

“Sedition law” needs relook, especially for media: Supreme Court

What is the News?

The Supreme Court of India has said that Section 124A of the Indian Penal Code that deals with sedition requires interpretation, particularly in the context of media freedom.

What was the case?

  • A petition was filed in the Supreme Court after the Andhra Pradesh Police had registered a suo moto Sedition Case against two TV Channels.
  • These channels broadcasted programmes of a rebel Lok Sabha MP from the ruling party who criticised the government and the Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh. So the sedition case was filed against these channels.

What did the petitioners argue?

  • The petitioners said that the case against them constitutes an attempt to silence the electronic media. They also argued the case as an assault on the freedom of speech and expression under Article 19(1)(a) of the Constitution.
  • Moreover, the allegations in the FIR do not establish any offences under the provisions which have been invoked against them.

What did the Court say?

  • The Supreme Court has restrained the Andhra Pradesh police from taking coercive action against two TV news channels charged with sedition. However, the court did not stay the investigation in the case.
  • Moreover, the court observed that there was a need to define the scope of offences under Section 124A (sedition) Section 153A (promotion of communal hatred) and Section 505 (statements conducing to public mischief) of the Indian Penal Code.
    • This was especially needed in the context of media freedom and particularly on the issue of the rights of the press and free speech.

About Section 124A of IPC:

  • It is defined as any action that brings or attempts to bring contempt or hatred towards the government of India. Sedition cases are punishable with a maximum sentence of life imprisonment.
  • It is classified as “cognisable”(No need Court warrant to arrest the person) and a “non-bailable” and “non-compoundable” offence.

Source: Indian Express

Kerala’s “Bell of Faith Scheme” for elderly

What is the News?

Kerala’s ‘Bell of Faith’ scheme will be expanded to the villages to reach senior citizens staying alone. Earlier, the scheme was successfully implemented in a number of urban households in Kerala.

About Bell of Faith Scheme:

  • Bell of Faith Scheme was launched by the Kerala Police in 2018. It aims to provide security to senior citizens staying alone as part of Kerala’s Community Policing Scheme.
  • Under the Scheme, police have installed a bell in the senior citizens’ houses.
  • The neighbour will get an alert with an alarm when the senior citizen rings the bell during an emergency.
  • The neighbour can immediately rush to the house or contact the police or hospital.

Significance of the Scheme:

  • The Bell of Faith scheme sets an example for community participation to ensure the well-being and safety of the elderly.
  • Moreover, this scheme can be of great support for the senior citizens during the COVID-19 pandemic as many live in fear for their health.

Source: The Hindu

Supreme Court questions govt on its “Covid-19 vaccine policy”

What is the News?

The Supreme Court questioned the Centre on Covid-19 vaccine policy. It has also said that there needs to be one price for vaccines across the Nation.

What was the case?

  • The Supreme Court of India is hearing the suo moto case on Covid-19 issues (In Re-Distribution of Essential Services and Supplies During Pandemic).

What are the issues raised by the Supreme Court?

 Vaccines Procurement:

  • The Supreme Court has asked the Central Government about the procurement policy of the Covid-19 vaccines adopted by the Central Government.
  • Currently, the Central Government procures just 50% of the vaccines while leaving the States to buy their own.
  • Further, the court also referred to Article 1 of the Constitution that says that India, that is Bharat, is a Union of States. It said that when the Constitution says that we follow the federal rule. Then the Government of India has to procure the vaccines and distribute them to states.

Dual Pricing of Vaccines:

  • The Supreme court asked the Centre on the rationale for the dual pricing of vaccines for the Centre and States.
  • It said that there needs to be one price for vaccines across the Nation.

Different Criteria for Age Groups:

  • The Supreme Court asked the Central Government about the rationale for giving different treatment to the age group 18-44 years as the Centre is giving free vaccines only to the 45+ age group.
  • The court also pointed out that it is the 18-44 age group which got badly affected in the second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Digital Divide and COWIN registration.

  • The Supreme court has also raised questions about making COWIN registration mandatory for getting vaccine slots.
  • The court asked the government to realise the digital divide prevailing in rural India. It said that the vaccination policy is entirely exclusionary of the rural areas.

Source: The Hindu

Union Minister launches “Horticulture Cluster Development Programme”

What is the News?

The Union Minister of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare has launched the Horticulture Cluster Development Programme(CDP).

About Horticulture Cluster Development Programme(CDP):

  • Horticulture Cluster Development Programme(CDP) aims at growing and developing identified horticulture clusters to make them globally competitive.
    • A cluster is a group of enterprises located within an identifiable and, as far as practicable, contiguous area and producing similar products or services.
  • Nodal Agency: The nodal agency for the programme will be the National Horticulture Board(NHB). It will implement the programme as a Central Sector Component of NHB.


  • The Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare(MoA&FW) has identified 53 horticulture clusters. Of which 12 have been selected for the pilot launch of the programme.
    • Based on the learnings from the pilot project, the programme will be scaled up to cover all the identified clusters.
  • These clusters will be implemented through Cluster Development Agencies(CDAs). CDAs are appointed on the recommendations of the respective State/UT Government.

Key Features of the Programme:

  • Firstly, the programme will address all major issues related to the Indian horticulture sector. This includes pre-production, production, post-harvest management, logistics, marketing and branding.
  • Secondly, the programme is designed to leverage geographical specialisation and promote integrated and market-led development of horticulture clusters.
  • Thirdly, the programme is expected to converge with other initiatives of the Government such as the Agriculture Infrastructure Fund.

Significance of the Programme:

  • The programme will benefit about 10 lakh farmers and related stakeholders of the value chain in the Horticulture Sector.
  • The programme is expected to improve the exports of the targeted horticultural crops by approximately 20%.
  • Moreover, the programme is expected to attract an estimated investment of INR 10,000 crore when implemented in all the 53 clusters.

Source: PIB

“AmbiTAG”- India’s First Indigenous Temperature Data Logger

What is the News?

Indian Institute of Technology, Ropar(IIT Ropar) in Punjab has developed a device named AmbiTag.

 About AmbiTag:

  • AmbiTag is the first-of-its-kind Internet of Things(IoT) device. The device will be helpful in the secure transportation of vaccines, blood and body organs, perishable products (food and dairy) among others.
  • How does the device work?
    • The device records real-time ambient temperature during the transportation of perishable products, vaccines, and even body organs and blood.
    • The recorded temperature helps to know whether that particular item transported from anywhere in the world is still usable or perished because of temperature variation.
  • Developed under: AWaDH (Agriculture and Water Technology Development Hub) and its Startup ScratchNest developed the device.
    • AWaDH is a research center at IIT Ropar. Established with support from the Department of Science and Technology(DST) and the Science and Engineering Research Board (SERB). It carries out extensive research in the field of agriculture and water.
  • Significance:
    • AmbiTAG is India’s first indigenous temperature data logger for the cold chain management
    • Moreover, the device is also particularly critical for vaccines including the Covid-19 vaccine, organs, and blood transportation.

Source: PIB


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