April 24th Current Affairs
- April 25, 2021
- Posted by: admin
- Category: Culture Current Affairs Daily News Defense & Security Disaster Management Economy Education Environment & Ecology Ethics Geography Governance Health History International Relation Persons in News Polity Science & Technology Social Issues Sports Uncategorized UPSC Notification Videos
1. EXERCISE VARUNA – 2021
The 19th edition of the Indian and French Navy bilateral exercise ‘VARUNA-2021’ is scheduled to be conducted in the Arabian Sea from 25th to 27th April 2021.
- The exercise will see high tempo-naval operations at sea, including advanced air defence and anti-submarine exercises, intense fixed and rotary wing flying operations, tactical manoeuvres, surface and anti-air weapon firings, underway replenishment and other maritime security operations.
- Units of both navies will endeavour to enhance and hone their war-fighting skills to demonstrate their ability as an integrated force to promote peace, security and stability in the maritime domain.
- On completion of exercise VARUNA-21, to consolidate accrued best practices and enhance interoperability, Indian Navy’s guided-missile frigate INS Tarkash will continue to exercise with the French Navy’s Carrier Strike Group (CSG) from 28th April to 1st May 2021.
- During this period, the ship will take part in advanced surface, anti-submarine and air-defence operations with the French CSG.
- Significance of exercise
- VARUNA-21 highlights growing bonhomie and showcases increased levels of synergy, coordination and inter-operability between the two friendly navies.
- These interactions further underscore the shared values as partner navies, in ensuring freedom of seas and commitment to an open, inclusive Indo-Pacific and a rules-based international order.
2. RBI extends States’ Ways and Means credit to Sept.
The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) decided to continue with the existing interim Ways and Means Advances (WMA) scheme limit of ₹51,560 crores for all States/ UTs shall for six months i.e., up to September 30, given the prevalence of COVID-19.
- Based on the recommendations of the Advisory Committee on WMA to State Governments, 2021 (chaired by Sudhir Shrivastava) the RBI had revised the WMA Scheme of States and Union Territories (UTs), it said.
- The WMA limit arrived at by the Committee based on a total expenditure of States/ UTs, works out to ₹47,010 crores. The RBI said it would review the WMA limit thereafter, depending on the course of the pandemic and its impact on the economy.
- The Special Drawing Facility availed by State Governments/ UTs shall continue to be linked to the quantum of their investments in marketable securities issued by the Government of India, including the Auction Treasury Bills, it said.
What exactly is Ways and Means Advances (WMA)?
Simply put, it is a facility for both the Centre and states to borrow from the RBI. These borrowings are meant purely to help them to tide over temporary mismatches in cash flows of their receipts and expenditures. In that sense, they aren’t a source of finance per se. Section 17(5) of the RBI Act, 1934 authorises the central bank to lend to the Centre and state governments subject to their being repayable “not later than three months from the date of the making of the advance”.
How much does the RBI charge on these advances?
The interest rate on WMA is the RBI’s repo rate, which is basically the rate at which it lends short-term money to banks. That rate is currently 4.4%. The governments are, however, allowed to draw amounts in excess of their WMA limits. The interest on such overdraft is 2 percentage points above the repo rate, which now works out to 6.4%. Further, no state can run an overdraft with the RBI for more than a certain period.
What are the existing WMA limits and overdraft conditions?
For the Centre, the WMA limit during the first half of 2020-21 (April-September) has been fixed at Rs 120,000 crore. This is 60% higher than the Rs 75,000 crore limit for the same period of 2019-20. The limit for the second half of the last fiscal (October-March) was Rs 35,000 crore. For the states, the aggregate WMA limit was Rs 32,225 crore till March 31, 2020. On April 1, the RBI announced a 30% hike in this limit, which has now been enhanced to 60%, taking it to Rs 51,560 crore. The higher limit will be valid till September 30. The central bank, on April 7, also extended the period for which a state can be in overdraft from 14 to 21 consecutive working days, and from 36 to 50 working days during a quarter.
3. World Malaria Day: April 25
Every year, the World Malaria Day is celebrated on April 25 by the World Health Organisation and several other international organisations.
Theme: Reaching the Zero Malaria Target
World Malaria Day
The World Malaria Day is one of the eleven official Global Public Health campaigns marked by the World Health Organisation .The other ten are World AIDS Day, World Hepatitis Day, World No Tobacco Day, World Chagas Disease Day, World Tuberculosis Day, World Patients Safety Day, World Blood Donor Day, World Health Day, and World Antimicrobial Awareness Week.
The World Malaria Day was established by the 60th session of the World Health Assembly. Earlier it was widely known as the African Malaria Day.
Malaria is caused by Plasmodium parasite. The disease spreads to the humans through the bite of female Anopheles mosquito.
Malaria in India
- According to the World Health Organisation, India represents to 3% of the global malaria. India once nearly eliminated Malaria.
- However, Malaria came back to India in the beginning of twenty first century. In 2009, there were 1.5 million Malarial cases in India. India has set a target of becoming Malaria free country by 2027 and malaria elimination by 2030.
National Strategic Plan for Elimination of Malaria
- The plan was launched by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare. The above target was set under this plan. The plan is designed based on the Global Technical Strategy of Malaria (2016-2030).
- The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare recently announced that, in 2020, 116 Indian districts reported zero malaria cases.
Malaria has been eliminated in Europe, United States, parts of Asia and Latin America. However, the disease is re-emerging in these regions as drug-resistant and insecticide-resistant.
Drug Controller General Of India (DCGI) gave a restricted emergency use approval to the Zydus Cadila’s ‘Virafin’ for treating the patients showing moderate COVID-19 symptoms.
- Virafin is a pegylated interferon alpha-2b(PegIFN), which when subcutaneously injected to the patient in the early stages of infection, resulted in their faster recovery.
- For the development of Virafin, Zydus appreciated the support provided by DBT-BIRAC COVID 19 Research Consoritum through NBM, for conducting the Phase II human clinical trial studies. The studies confirmed the safety, tolerability and efficacy of Virafin.
- The studies also reported that Viarfin reduces viral load and aid in managing the disease in a better way, such as reduction in the need for supplemental oxygen, thereby reducing the respiratory tension caused due to low oxygen levels.
- The Department of Biotechnology (DBT), under the Ministry of Science & Technology, promotes the use and application of biotechnology in the areas of agriculture, healthcare, animal sciences, environment and industry.
- It is focused on attaining new heights in biotechnology research, shaping biotechnology into a premier precision tool of the future for creation of wealth and ensuring social justice – specially for the welfare of the poor.
Biotechnology Industry Research Assistance Council (BIRAC) is a not-for-profit Section 8, Schedule B, Public Sector Enterprise, set up by Department of Biotechnology (DBT), Government of India as an Interface Agency to strengthen and empower the emerging Biotech enterprise to undertake strategic research and innovation, addressing nationally relevant product development needs.
About Zydus Cadila:
Also known as Cadila Healthcare Limited is an Indian multinational pharmaceutical company headquartered in Ahmedabad, Gujarat, India primarily engaged in the manufacture of generic drugs.
5. Distribution of e-property cards under SWAMITVA scheme.
The Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi launched the distribution of e-property cards under the SWAMITVA scheme on National Panchayati Raj day. 4.09 lakh property owners were given their e-property cards on this occasion
About SWAMITVA scheme
- SVAMITVA (Survey of Villages and Mapping with Improvised Technology in Village Areas) was launched by Prime Minister on 24th April 2020 as a Central Sector Scheme to promote a socio-economically empowered and self-reliant rural India.
- The Scheme has the potential to transform rural India using modern technical tools of mapping and surveying.
- It paves the way for using the property as a financial asset by villagers for availing loans and other financial benefits.
- The Scheme will cover around 6.62 Lakh villages of the entire country during 2021-2025.
- The pilot phase of the Scheme was implemented during 2020–2021 in the States of Maharashtra, Karnataka, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Madhya Pradesh and select villages of Punjab and Rajasthan.
National Panchayati Raj Day:
Every year, the National Panchayati Raj Day is celebrated on April 24.
The first National Panchayati Raj day was declared by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on April 24, 2010.
It is celebrated on April 24 as the Panchayati Raj System of India came into effect on April 24, 1993.
Awards Presented on the Day:
The Ministry of Panchayati Raj has been awarding the best performing Panchayats/States/UTs across the country in recognition of their good work.
Awards are given under various categories namely,
- Deen Dayal Upadhyay Panchayat Sashaktikaran Puraskar,
- Nanaji Deshmukh Rashtriya Gaurav Gram Sabha Puraskar,
- Child-friendly Gram Panchayat Award,
- Gram Panchayat Development Plan Award and
- e-Panchayat Puraskar (given to States/UTs only).