Daily Current Affairs for 21st March 2020

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State to study T.N., Bihar’s stand on ‘contentious’ NPR clause

GS Paper II

Topic: Indian Constitution- historical underpinnings, evolution, features, amendments, significant provisions and basic structure.

Mains: Contentious clause

What’s the News?

A Cabinet sub-committee to decide the fate of the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), National Register of Citizens (NRC) and National Population Register (NPR) in Maharashtra will visit Bihar and Tamil Nadu to study how the provisions can be implemented “in its 2010 form” with one amendment.


Women have been in the lead in the protests over CAA, NCR and NPR with the demonstration in Mumbai Central continuing non-stop for almost two months now.

Contentious clause:

  • The committee, headed by State Parliamentary Affairs Minister, held its first meeting on Thursday and decided that Maharashtra must reject the latest NPR amendments, including those related to the contentious clause related to ‘date and place of parents’ birth’ (2010 form)
  • Maharashtra is willing to implement the NRC/NPR if the clause is dropped like in Bihar and Tamil Nadu, committee members believed.
  • Bihar and Tamil Nadu were among the first to pass resolutions not to implement NRC, and said the NPR should be implemented “in its 2010 form” with one amendment.


Tamil Nadu and Bihar study their model and will soon visit these States. Once the visit is complete, Maharashtra government will submit their report to the Chief Minister, who will decide what stand Maharashtra has to take.

In health & healthcare, where Indian stands among countries hit by COVID-19

Paper: II

For Mains: Issues Relating to Development and Management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources.

Context of News:

  • The COVID-19 outbreak has put the spotlight on several country-specific health indicators. With this virus becoming epidemic at least in China, concerns have been raised out once again about the amicable public spending on health care by India.

Unfolding of Covid-19 till Date:

  • The first descriptive research about COVID-19 patients in the US, released by the CDC, found that fatalities were highest amongst those above 85 (10 to 27 per cent). Nearly a third of all cases, 45 per cent of hospitalisations, and 80 per cent of deaths were of patients above 65.
  • Healthcare capacity:
  • The World Health Organization tracks country-wise data on hospital beds per 10,000 people. India stands at the lowest among the seven countries, at seven. Iran has 15, UK 28, US 29, Italy 34, China 42, South Korea 143.
  • There are currently 15,980 isolation beds and 37,326 quarantine beds available in India, according to the Ministry of Health. In other words, there is one isolation bed for every 84,000 Indians , and one quarantine bed for every 36,000 Indians.

How far are we from COVID-19 drugs, vaccine?

  • We are still months away from a vaccine. In a recent interview, WHO chief scientist said: “if everything goes really well, we would probably have a vaccine in the next 12-18 months but even after that there would be the question of availability of sufficient doses. We are probably looking at an 18-24 month window for that.
  • Drug and vaccine development is an elaborate process. Zeroing in on a candidate drug or vaccine may take years.Procedure Follows are:Once a new drug has passed testing in animals, clinical trials kick in. Over three phases, A fourth stage involves collection and analysis of post-marketing data.

How far has work on a vaccine progressed?

  • USA: 
  • A Phase 1 clinical trial has begun in Seattle, funded by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID). The open-label trial will enroll 45 healthy adult volunteers ages 18 to 55 years over approximately 6 weeks. the NIH said in a statement.
  • CHINA:
  • Researchers at the Academy of Military Medical Sciences, affiliated to China’s People’s Liberation Army, have received approval for vaccine trails, which will recruit 108 people between March and December. It will be partnered by Hong Kong-listed firm CanSino Biologics. scientists are exploring options such as using the virus minus its potent elements, or using other attenuated (rendered harmless) vaccines, to introduce the virus into the body to generate a natural immune response against an actual infection.
  • India:
  • The government has revised its clinical management guidelines for COVID-19: The use of Lopinavir/ Ritonavir in PEP regimens for HIV (4 weeks) is also associated with significant adverse events which many a times leads to discontinuation of therapy.The combination is to be used in patients who have hypoxia, hypotension, new onset organ dysfunction (one or more) and also in certain “high risk groups”.

Way Forward:

  • Testing is crucial:
  • Examples of China and South Korea have shown that countries give themselves a fighting chance when they take steps that assume they’re worse off than they appear to be.
  • Testing is central because that leads to early detection, it minimizes further spread, and it quickly treats those found with the virus. Testing is the key behind our very low fatality rate as well. Uncontrolled circulation could lead to cases doubling every two days.
  • Free healthcare helps:
  • A major factor in success or failure in the fight against an epidemic is the degree to which the public responds to the crisis. People must see an incentive to raise their hands to help the government, including by declaring their own illness.
  • Analysts have note that in South Korea and China, where healthcare is heavily subsidised or paid for by the state, people have come forward to test and be treated. Testing is free in India, too.
  • The cost of a pandemic can be very large. The response should be large enough to reduce the effects of the pandemic once it emerges. Low-cost actions such as promoting good hygiene practices are a good place to start, but other actions such as quarantine and other interventions as advocated by epidemiologists, although disruptive, are probably cost effective.

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