Daily Current Affairs

Prelims Prominence - January 27, 2018

Health Care Sector

Human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine
HPV vaccine gets immunisation nod

  • The National Technical Advisory Group on Immunization (NTAGI), an advisory body that recommends vaccines for India’s Universal Immunization Programme (UIP), has given the green signal to the introduction of the Human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine in the UIP.

Enlighten about the History -

  • As of today, two HPV vaccines are available in India, developed by Merck Sharp &Dohme (MSD) and GlaxoSmithkline (GSK), while one vaccine developed by an Indian firm is in clinical trials.
  • But a 2012 writ petition in the Supreme Court of India asks for the licences of the MSD and GSK vaccines to be revoked, because they were allegedly approved by the Drug Controller General of India (DCGI) without adequate clinical trials.
  • This is why the inclusion of these vaccines in the UIP will wait till the Supreme Court decides on the case

Enlighten about the controversy -

  • HPV vaccines have been at the centre of a controversy in India since 2009, when a clinical trial conducted by the American non-profit PATH, in partnership with the Andhra Pradesh and Gujarat governments, went wrong.
  • Around 24,000 pre-adolescent girls were given MSD and GSK vaccines in the trial, overseen by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) and DCGI.
  • When eight of these girls died, health activists said PATH and others had violated research-ethics by giving the girls the vaccine without informed consent from their parents.
  • They also pointed out that trial-researchers had not set up a system to track the vaccine’s side-effects.
  • These allegations led to a 2012 writ petition in the Supreme Court by the activists, demanding action against the DCGI, ICMR, PATH, MSD, GSK and the two State governments. The case is still continuing.

Enlighten about HPV Statics -

  • India has one of the world’s highest burdens of HPV-related cancer.
  • Around 67,000 women die from this disease each year, more than India’s maternal mortality burden of 45,000.
  • But opponents of the HPV vaccine say it is unnecessary, because screening for cervical cancer alone can prevent many deaths.
  • Proponents say that while screening is important, it is difficult to implement this in Indian healthcare settings.

WHO report -

  • The World Health Organization and Global Advisory Committee, among others, have declared the vaccine safe.

Government Schemes

To link 73 airports, helipads
The Centre will fund the scheme partly from the dividend paid by the Airports Authority of India.

  • 73 underserved and unserved airports and helipads would be connected under the phase 2 of the regional connectivity scheme UDAN.
  • Interglobe Aviation, the parent firm of IndiGo, was awarded a maximum of 20 proposals followed by SpiceJet with17. Jet Airways won 4 proposals.

Enlighten about UDAN - 2

  • The scheme will provide around 26.5 lakh seats per annum that will be covered with [an] airfare cap of ₹2,500/hr of flying
  • Around two lakh RCS (regional connectivity scheme) seats per annum are expected to be provided through helicopter operations
  • The States with maximum number of airports and helipads which will see activation under UDAN 2 scheme include Uttarakhand (15), Uttar Pradesh (9), Arunachal Pradesh (8), Himachal Pradesh (6), Assam (5) and Manipur (5).
  • Some of the cities that would now be connected include Kargil, Darbhanga, Kasauli, Bokaro, Dumka, Hubli, Kannur and Pakyong, among others.
  • This was the first time bids were received from helicopter operators under the scheme.

Funding -

  • The UDAN scheme would now be partly funded by the dividend that AAI (Airports Authority of India) paid to the Government of India.
  • The Finance Ministry has agreed to fund the UDAN scheme through the dividend that AAI pays to the government every year


Bank recapitalisation plan

  • The government announced the details of the ₹2.1 lakh crore recapitalisation plan for public sector banks (PSBs) it had announced in October 2017, including a reforms package across six themes like customer responsiveness, responsible banking, and increasing credit offtake.
  • The capital infusion plan for 2017-18 includes ₹80,000 crore through recapitalisation bonds and ₹8,139 crore as budgetary support.

Ministry of AYUSH

Central Research Institute (CRI) in Jaipur AYUSH Minister lays foundation stone for Homeopathy Research Institute in Jaipur

  • The third CRI under the aegis of Central Council for Research in Homoeopathy (CCRH), an autonomous body of Ministry of AYUSH for undertaking scientific research in Homoeopathy, with 23 institutes across the country.

State SpecificH

Chief Minister-giHakshelgiTengbang (CMHT)

What -

  • Manipur government’s pioneering health assurance scheme for the poor and disabled people.

Enlighten about the Scheme -

  • The CMHT will provide cashless treatment to the poor at government hospitals, health centres and other empanelled selected private hospitals.
  • The scheme will provide cover up to Rs 2 lakh per eligible family identified from the Socio Economic Caste Census (SECC) in the treatment of seven critical identified critical ailments – cardiovascular diseases, kidney ailments, neurological conditions, liver ailments, cancer, neo-natal diseases and burns per year.
  • The beneficiaries may get themselves enrolled for the scheme with the help of ASHA workers at the kiosks opened in nearby PHCs, CHCs and District Hospitals.
  • The most special aspect of the scheme is its innovative features. Firstly, CMHT will have convergence with Government of India programme like PMÂ’s Jana Aushadhi Programme and Free Diagnostic Programme.
  • Secondly, the scheme will be a truly IT platform driven scheme.


Pradhan MantriKrishiSinchayeeYojana (PMKSY)

What -

  • Assistance of Rs 246.9 crore for nine prioritised projects under the Pradhan MantriKrishiSinchayeeYojana (PMKSY) for Accelerated Irrigation Benefits Programme (AIBP) works.

Released by -

  • The Union Water Resources Ministry

Enlighten About PMKSY

  • PMKSY has been conceived amalgamating ongoing schemes viz. Accelerated Irrigation Benefit Programme (AIBP) of the Ministry of Water Resources, River Development & Ganga Rejuvenation (MoWR,RD&GR), Integrated Watershed Management Programme (IWMP) of Department of Land Resources (DoLR) and the On Farm Water Management (OFWM) of Department of Agriculture and Cooperation (DAC).
  • The scheme will be implemented by Ministries of Agriculture, Water Resources and Rural Development.
  • The major objective of PMKSY is to achieve convergence of investments in irrigation at the field level, expand cultivable area under assured irrigation, improve on-farm water use efficiency to reduce wastage of water and enhance the adoption of precision-irrigation and other water saving technologies (More crop per drop).

Accelerated Irrigation Benefits Programme

  • The Accelerated Irrigation Benefit Programme (AIBP) was launched during 1996- 1997 to give loan assistance to the States to help them complete some of the incomplete major/medium irrigation projects which were at an advanced stage of completion and to create additional irrigation potential in the country.
  • Grant component has been introduced in the programme from April 2004 like other Central Sector Schemes.


Himalayan Research Fellowships Scheme –

Implementing Ministry –

  • The union environment ministry
  • to create a young pool of trained environmental managers, ecologists, and socio-economists
  • This pool will help generate information on physical, biological, managerial and human aspects of Himalayan environment and development
  • This is among the series of programmes that MoEFCC is running for conservation and protection of Himalayas

Enlighten About the scheme

  • The fellowship scheme will be executed through various universities and Institutions working in the Indian Himalayan Region (IHR)
  • Preference will be given to the Institutions from north-eastern states
  • Fellowships will be awarded for a maximum period of three years
  • The financial support will be provided under the National Mission on Himalayan Studies (NMHS)


The Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Bill

  • Passed by the Lok Sabha in 2017

WHO on road safety

  • For effective road safety management, it is imperative to have an institutionalised and sustainable data system
  • This includes information pertaining to drivers, such as types of licences held and a record of violation of traffic laws

India’s position on Road Safety

  • The driver licensing system in India controls and filters the number and quality of drivers on the road
  • Currently, the procedure is largely manual, while the number of licences issued per year is over a crore
  • The Bill addresses each of these challenges by introducing technology in the licensing procedure

Reason of concern -

  • Since 2008, in India, over 55,000 children have lost their lives in road accidents. In 2016 alone
  • The WHO asserts that using child-restraint systems in vehicles decreases the risk of death in a crash

Important provision of the bill for children

  • The Bill proposes to mandate the use of protective headgear by every person above the age of four driving, riding or being carried on a two-wheeler
  • The Bill mandates the use of safety belts and child restraints for those under 14 years and introduces a fine of Rs. 1,000 for the driver or guardian for the violation of the same

Provision in bill regarding penalties -

  • The penalty for drunk driving has been increased to Rs. 10,000 for the first offence and Rs. 15,000 for the subsequent one

Whats the way ahead -

  • Being signatory to the Brasilia Declaration on Road Safety, India has committed to reducing(by 2020), the number of road crash fatalities and serious injuries by 50%
  • This will be impossible to achieve if the sole statute governing road safety in India, the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988, is not overhauled
  • The Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Bill, 2017, will serve as the first and most essential step towards fulfilling this vision

Enlighten about The Brasilia Declaration on Road Safety

  • Participants from across the world committed to improve road safety as part of the Brasilia Declaration, which called out for stringent traffic laws to prevent accidents
  • The Brasilia Declaration, adopted at the second global high-level conference on road safety held in Brazil, lays down recommendations on strengthening existing legislations, adopting sustainable transport and strengthening post-crash response.
  • In the declaration, participants reasserted their commitment to reduce the deaths caused due to traffic accidents to half by the year 2020. This target was set under the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.


Clinical Trials
Draft rules for clinical trials

  • Pharmaceutical firms conducting clinical trials of drugs in India will no longer be able to escape responsibility in case of injury or death of participants
  • If the sponsor fails to provide “medical management” to their trials, not only will the trial be cancelled, but the company will also be restricted from holding any more trials

Ease of doing trials

  • For drugs proposed to be manufactured and marketed in India, the permission for trials will be granted within 45 days
  • The proposed regulatory framework also suggests doing away with clinical trials for drugs that have proved their efficacy in developed markets, in a move to speed up the availability of drugs in India

Enlighten about the draft -

  • Companies will have to pay compensation if the drug fails to provide the intended therapeutic effect
  • The sponsor of the trial for bioavailability or bioequivalence (BA/BE) study of a new drug will have to provide free medical management for as long as required
  • BA/BE studies measure the rate and extent of absorption of drugs in the human body


Environment Performance Index -2018

  • India has been ranked 177 among 180 countries in the Environmental Performance Index (EPI) – 2018.
  • This index has been developed by Yale University and Columbia University in collaboration with the World Economic Forum and the Joint Research Centre of the European Commission.
  • Top 5 countries are Switzerland, France, Denmark, Malta and Sweden
  • To bottom countries are Nepal, India, Congo, Bangladesh, Burundi


UNESCO Award Tamil nadu state SrirangamRanganathaswamy temple in Tiruchirapalli.

  • Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi K Palanichamy received UNESCO Award of Merit awarded to the iconic SrirangamRanganathaswamy temple in Tiruchirapalli.
  • The award of merit was awarded by UNESCO Asia Pacific region for the reconstruction activities undertaken in temple without in least affecting its traditional splendour and Vedic rituals.

Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple

  • It is considered as one of the most important of the 108 main Vishnu temples (Divyadesams).
  • It is Vaishnava temple built in Tamil or Dravidian style of architecture. It is located on an islet formed by twin rivers: Coleroon and Cauvery.
  • The temple and 1000 pillared hall were constructed in the Vijayanagar period (1336–1565) on the site of an older temple.
  • It has seven prakaras or enclosures. Its Gopuram also called as “Raja Gopuram is the biggest gopuram in Asia.
  • It annually hosts 21-day festival during the Tamil month of Margazhi (between December and January) which attracts over 1 million visitors.

UNESCO Asia-Pacific awards for cultural heritage conservation programme

  • The UNESCO Asia-Pacific awards for cultural heritage conservation programme is aimed at acknowledging efforts taken to restore and conserve historical structures without affecting their heritage value.
  • The awards are classified under four categories – Awards of Distinction, Awards of Merit, Award of Excellence and Award for New Design in Heritage Context.

Sources – PIB,Hindu,Indian express