Factly :-News Articles For UPSC Prelims | 29 Apr, 2021

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“Trachoma” eliminated from Gambia as a public health problem

What is the News?

The World Health Organization(WHO) recently validated the Gambia for its elimination of trachoma as a public health problem. This makes it the second country after Ghana in the African Region to achieve this milestone. This year, the WHO also validated Côte d’Ivoire for its elimination of sleeping sickness(another Neglected Tropical Disease).

About Trachoma:

  • Trachoma is a neglected tropical eye disease. It is caused by the infection due to the bacterium Chlamydia trachomatis.
  • Transmission: Trachoma spreads through personal contact (via hands, clothes or bedding). It also transmits by flies that contact with the discharge from the eyes or nose of an infected person.
  • Vulnerable Group: Trachoma mainly affects children. It is becoming less common with increasing age.
  • Impact: Repeated infections in childhood lead to scarring of the inner side of the upper eyelids. This will result in the inward turning of the eyelid margin. This painful condition is known as trachomatous trichiasis. If left untreated, this condition can result in visual impairment and blindness.

Global Elimination of Trachoma by the year 2020 (GET2020).

  • The WHO in 1996 launched the Global Elimination of Trachoma by the year 2020 (GET2020).
  • Purpose: It supports countries to implement the SAFE strategy in Trachoma elimination. Further, it also strengthens national capacity through epidemiological assessment, monitoring, surveillance, project evaluation and resource mobilization.

SAFE Strategy:

  • WHO adopted the SAFE strategy in 1993. Its mandate is to provide leadership and coordination to international efforts in eliminating trachoma as a public health problem. The SAFE strategy also reports on the progress towards that eliminating Trachoma.

Source: WHO

“Classical swine fever” vaccine and “Sheep Pox Vaccine” – Technology transfer done

What is the News?

ICAR-Indian Veterinary Research Institute has transferred the Technology for the Classical swine fever(CSF) & Sheep Pox Vaccines to M/s Hester Biosciences through Agrinnovate India Limited.

About the technology transfer:

ICAR-IVRI has developed both the CSF vaccine and Sheep pox vaccine. But to provide commercialisation and build sustainable public-private partnerships ICAR-IVRI decided to perform technology transfer. Further, the technology transfer will also help in the following,

  • It will provide the Vaccine at a cheaper price and ensure longer immunity of livestock.
  • It is a great game-changer for the farmers or people involved in animal husbandry practices

 About Classical swine fever(CSF):

  • Classical swine fever(CSF) also known as hog cholera. It is a contagious viral disease of domestic and wild swine(pigs).
  • Caused by: It is caused by a virus of the genus Pestivirus of the family Flaviviridae.
  • Transmission: The most common method of transmission is through direct contact between healthy swine and those infected with the CSF virus.
  • Humans are not affected by this virus. Swine are the only species known to be susceptible.
  • Treatment: The disease has a 100% mortality. However, Vaccination can prevent the spread of the disease.

Vaccine for CSF:

  • In India, the disease is controlled by a lapinized CSF vaccine. This vaccine is produced by killing large numbers of rabbits.
  • To avoid this, the ICAR-IVRI developed a Cell Culture CSF Vaccine (live attenuated). This is developed using the Lapinized Vaccine Virus from a foreign strain.
    • Live attenuated vaccines use a weakened (or attenuated) form of the germ that causes a disease.
  • The new vaccine has been extensively tested for safety and potency. It has been found to induce protective immunity from the 14th day of the Vaccination till 18 Months.

About Sheep Pox Disease:

  • Sheep Pox is a highly contagious viral disease of sheep caused by a poxvirus.
  • The disease is the most severe of all the animal pox diseases. It can result in some of the most significant economic consequences due to poor wool and leather quality.
  • Transmission: The sheep pox virus is an aerosol. So it can be transmitted via contact with an infected animal.
  • Treatment: There is no treatment for the sheep pox virus, thus efforts are directed towards prevention.

Vaccine for Sheep Pox:

  • A live attenuated Sheep Pox Vaccine using indigenous strain was developed by the Institute for preventive vaccination in the sheep population.
  • The Vaccine is safe, potent and immunogenic [efficacious] for sheep aged more than six months of age. Also, it protects the Vaccinated animals for a period of 40 months.

Agrinnovate India Limited:

It is a registered Company under the Companies Act, 1956. It is owned by the Government of India in the Department of Agricultural Research and Education (DARE).


  • It aims to work on the strengths of DARE’s Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR)
  • Further, Agrinnovate India also promotes the development and spread of R&D and its outcomes through IPR protection, commercialization and forging partnerships for the public benefit.

Source: PIB

What is “Maharashtra’s two-child norm” for govt employees?

What is the News?

A woman officer from the Maharashtra Prison Department has three children. But she suppressed that information to the authorities during the inquiry. As this is a violation of  Maharashtra Civil Services rules, she was dismissed from service recently.

About Maharashtra’s two-child norm for Government Employees:

  • Maharashtra’s two-child norm for govt employees has been specified under the Maharashtra Civil Services (Declaration of Small Family) Rules,2005.
  • The rules make the Small Family norm an additional essential requirement for Groups A, B, C, D of the Maharashtra government employees.
  • It mandates filing a small family declaration at the time of applying for a government job.
  • It defines a small family as wife, husband and two children. The definition of child under these rules does not include adopted children.
  • Further, the rules also specify that a person is not eligible for a job with Maharashtra Government if he or she has more than two children after 2005 (date of commencement of rule).
  • The rules also provide that if one or more than one child is born in a single delivery within a year of the commencement, then it shall not be considered for the disqualification of the rules.
  • Further, the rules also empower the state government to give relaxation in a ‘just and reasonable’ manner. But it also mandates to record such reasons for relaxation.


  • Maharashtra is one of the few states in the country that have a ‘two children’ policy for appointment in government jobs. This policy is also applicable even for the elections of some local government bodies also.
  • Other states such as Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, Gujarat, Odisha, Uttarakhand and Assam also have a similar policy.

Source: Indian Express

“Python-5” air-to-air missile – Tejas aircraft permitted to carry

What is the News?

Indigenously-developed Tejas Aircraft has been cleared to carry fifth-generation Python-5 air-to-air missile as part of its weapons package. This move would significantly enhance the combat prowess of the Tejas Aircraft.

About Python-5:

  • Python-5 is a fifth-generation air-to-air missile(AAM) manufactured by Israeli Rafael Advanced Defense Systems.
  • The Python-5 Missile was first used in the 2006 Lebanon war. During the war, it destroyed two Iran made UAVs.

Key Features:

  • The missile can be launched from very short to beyond-visual ranges with greater kill probability and excellent resistance.
  • Python-5 is capable of “lock-on after launch” (LOAL). The missile also has a full-sphere/all-direction (including rearward) attack ability.
  • The missile also features an advanced seeker with an electro-optical and imaging infrared homing seeker. This seeker scans the target area for hostile aircraft, then locks on for the terminal chase.

About Light Combat Aircraft(LCA) Tejas:

  • It is a single-engine, fourth-generation, multirole light fighter aircraft designed by the Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA).
  • Developed by: It was developed in collaboration with Hindustan Aeronautics Limited(HAL) for the Indian Air Force(IAF) and Indian Navy.

Click Here to Read more about LCA Tejas

About other Israeli Missile (Derby):

  • Derby is a beyond visual range (BVR) air-to-air missile (AAM) developed by Israeli defence company Rafael Advanced Defense Systems.
  • The missile can be integrated onto a variety of fighter aircraft such as F-16 Fighting Falcon, Mirage.
  • The missile is capable of engaging aerial threats from short ranges and near-beyond visual range.

Source: The Print

“Kopili fault Zone” – A Reason behind Assam Tremors 

What is the News?

The National Centre for Seismology (NCS) has said that the tremors in Assam can be attributed to the Kopili Fault Zone. The fault zone is located closer to Himalayan Frontal Thrust (HFT).

About the tremors in Assam:

Recently an earthquake of magnitude 6.4 on the Richter scale hit Assam. Following the main tremors, six aftershocks (of magnitude ranging from 3.2 to 4.7) also occurred within two-and-a-half hours. The NCS recently mentioned that these tremors were attributed to the Kopili Fault Zone.

Kopili Fault Zone:

Kopili fault

  • The Kopili fault zone is a 300-km northwest-southeast trending fault. It is extending from the western part of Manipur to the tri-junction of Bhutan, Arunachal Pradesh and Assam.
    • A fault is a fracture or zone of fractures between two blocks of rock. Faults allow the blocks to move relative to each other. This movement may occur rapidly, in the form of an earthquake. Or it may occur slowly, in the form of creep.
  • Seismically Active: This zone is a seismically active area, so it falls into the highest Seismic Hazard Zone V.
  • The zone is associated with collisional tectonics because of the Indian Plate subducting beneath the Eurasian Plate.
    • Subduction is a geological process in which one crustal plate is forced below the edge of another.
  • Characteristics: Kopili fault zone and its neighbouring areas are characterised by alluvial soils. These alluvial soil have a higher potential of trapping seismic waves. Thus making the region the most earthquake-prone zone in North East India.
  • Earlier Earthquakes: Kopili fault zone has witnessed many seismic activities in the past. This includes the 1869 earthquake (7.8 magnitude) and the 1943 earthquake (7.3 magnitude).

About Himalayan Frontal Thrust (HFT):

It is also known as the Main Frontal Thrust (MFT). It is a geological fault along the boundary of the Indian and Eurasian tectonic plates.

Way Forward:

  • The government has to fix the knowledge and policy gap regarding earthquakes in North East India.
  • Further, the government has to build an effective Earthquake mitigation plan.
  • Apart from that, an integrated disaster management plan should be developed for the North East. This plan will help in tackling these types of high-intensity earthquakes.

Source: Down To Earth


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