GS PAPER II

Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi (PM-KISAN)

Why in News

Recently, Prime Minister released 8th instalment of financial benefit to beneficiary farmers under Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi (PM-KISAN) scheme via video conferencing.

Key Points

  • During interaction with beneficiaries of PM-KISAN scheme, Prime Minister appreciated Arvind from Unnao in Uttar Pradesh for providing training to young farmers of his region on organic farming and new farming techniques.
  • He lauded Patrick from Car Nicobar in Andaman and Nicobar Islands for doing large-scale organic farming.
  • For the first time, the farmers of West Bengal would be getting the benefit of this scheme.
  • He lauded the efforts of the farmers who have made record produce in food grains and horticulture amidst the difficulties during this pandemic.
  • Government is also setting new records in procurement at MSP every year.
  • During this COVID-19 pandemic, Kisan Credit Card’s deadline has been extended and instalments can now be renewed by 30 June. Till now, 2 crore Kisan Credit Cards have been issued in recent years.

Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi (PM-KISAN) scheme

  • Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi (PM-KISAN) is a new Central Sector Scheme under Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare.
  • It provides income support to all landholding farmers in the country to supplement their financial needs for procuring various inputs related to agriculture and allied activities as well as domestic needs.
  • Under this scheme, all farmers will get up to ₹6,000 per year as minimum income support.

Background of Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi (PM-KISAN)

  • The scheme was first conceived and implemented by Government of Telangana as the Rythu Bandhu scheme, where a certain amount is given directly to eligible farmers.
  • The scheme has received accolades from various organisations for its successful implementation, including World Bank.
  • Many economists suggest that this type of investment support is better than farm loan waivers.
  • Then it was announced by Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare during the 2019 Interim Union Budget of India.
  • On 24 February 2019, Prime Minister launched the scheme in Gorakhpur, Uttar Pradesh by transferring the first instalment of ₹2,000 each to over one crore farmers.
  • Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare has awarded the top performing states, districts under PM Kisan Samman Nidhi Yojana.

Similar scheme in other states

  • Annadatha Sukhibhava:
  • It is a welfare program started by Andhra Pradesh Government in 2019.
  • It is to provide ₹15,000 investment support to small and marginal farmer’s family per annum which includes ₹6000 Central Government Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi share.
  • KALIA Scheme:
  • This scheme is launched by the Odisha Government to provide financial assistance to the farmers of the state.

National OPD on e-Sanjeevani portal

Why in News

In order to mitigate the criticality of inadequate availability of specialised medical manpower, veteran defence doctors have come forward to provide free online consultation services on the e-Sanjeevani platform.

E-Sanjeevani platform

  • e-Sanjeevani OPD is a Government of India flagship telemedicine platform under the aegis of Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.
  • This portal is developed by the C-DAC, Mohali.
  • It facilitates free online medical consultation to all citizens of India, as well as provides for online prescription of medicines.

Ex-Defence OPD

  • ‘Ex-Defence OPD’ was launched on 07 May 2021 in a phased manner by Defence Secretary and Surgeon Vice Admiral, Director General of Armed Forces Medical Services.
  • Originally, it was available for Uttar Pradesh, and then extended to Rajasthan on 10 May and Uttarakhand on 11 May as more veteran defence volunteer doctors came onboard.
  • As of today, 85 veteran defence doctors are providing their services on the portal and have provided online consultation to more than 1000 patients.
  • After the successful roll out in 3 states, Ex-Defence OPD, now renamed as Defence National OPD, has been rolled out pan India on 14 May 2021 and is available on e-Sanjeevani web portal.

Mucormycosis

Why in News

Mucormycosis is a fungal infection, is being reported in a few COVID-19 patients during or post recovery.

Key Points

  • As per Health Minister of Maharashtra, more than 2000 people had already been affected by Mucormycosis in the state and 10 people had even succumbed to it.
  • Some patients even lost their eyesight.

Causes of Mucormycosis

  • Mucormycosis or black fungus is a complication caused by fungal infection.
  • People catch mucormycosis by coming in contact with the fungal spores in the environment.
  • It can also develop on the skin after the fungus enters the skin through a cut, scrape, burn, or other type of skin trauma.
  • It can be detected among patients who are recovering or have recovered from COVID-19.
  • Anyone who is diabetic and whose immune system is not functioning well needs to be on the guard against this.
  • According to the Indian Council of Medical Research, the following are the conditions in COVID-19 patients increase the risk of mucormycosis infection:
  • Uncontrolled diabetes
  • Weakening of immune system due to use of steroids
  • Prolonged ICU/hospital stay
  • Co-morbidities / post organ transplant / cancer
  • Voriconazole therapy (used to treat serious fungal infections)

Relation of Mucormycosis with COVID-19

  • The disease is caused by a set of micro-organisms known as mucormycetes, which is naturally present in the environment, seen mostly in soil and in decaying organic matter like leaves, compost and piles.
  • In normal course, our body’s immune system successfully fights such fungal infections.
  • As COVID-19 affects immune system, the treatment of COVID-19 patients involves intake of drugs like dexamethasone, which suppress immune system response.
  • Due to these factors, COVID-19 patients face a renewed risk of failing the battle against attacks mounted by organisms such as mucormycetes.
  • In addition, COVID patients undergoing oxygen therapy in ICU, where humidifier is used, are prone to fungal infection because of exposure to moisture.

Common Symptoms

  • Common Symptoms of Mucormycosis:
  • It begins to manifest as skin infection in the air pockets located behind our forehead, nose, cheekbones, and in between the eyes and teeth.
  • It then spreads to eyes, lungs and can even spread to the brain.
  • It leads to blackening or discoloration over the nose, blurred or double vision, chest pain, breathing difficulties and coughing of blood.
  • The Indian Council of Medical Research has advised that not all cases of blocked nose should be considered as cases of bacterial sinusitis, particularly during/after the treatment of Covid-19 patients.
  • One must seek medical help for detecting fungal infection.

Treatment

  • Treatment involves surgically removing all dead and infected tissue.
  • In some patients, this may result in loss of upper jaw or sometimes even the eye. Cure may also involve a 4-6 weeks course of intravenous anti-fungal therapy.
  • Since it affects various parts of the body, treatment requires a team of microbiologists, internal medicine specialists, intensivist neurologists, ENT specialists, ophthalmologists, dentists, surgeons and others.
  • Controlling diabetes is one of the foremost prevention methods. Hence, COVID-19 patients who are diabetic need to take utmost care.
  • Rational use of medicines should be ensured to avoid adverse side effects of the drug.
  • Other than steroids, use of COVID-19 drugs such as Tocilizumob, Itolizumab also suppresses the immune system. And when these drugs are not used appropriately, it increases the risk, as immune system fails to fight the fungal infection.
  • COVID-19 patients to discontinue immune-modulating drugs, a substance that stimulates or suppresses immune system. Maintaining proper hygiene can also help keep the fungal infection away.
  • For patients on oxygen therapy, it should be ensured that the water in the humidifier is clean and is refilled regularly. There should be no leakage of water.
  • Patients should maintain proper hygiene by keeping their hands as well as body clean.

Conclusion

  • After recovering from COVID-19, one should closely monitor and should not miss any warning signs and symptoms mentioned above, as the fungal infection is found to emerge even weeks or months after recovery.
  • One should make judicial use of steroids as per doctor’s advice to avoid risk of infection.
  • Early detection of the disease can ease the treatment of the fungal infection.

GS PAPER III

Iron Dome System

Why in News

Recently, Iron Dome aerial defence system intercepted a Hamas Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) that crossed from Gaza into Israel.

Iron Dome System

  • Iron Dome is a multi­mission system capable of intercepting rockets, artillery, mortars and Precision Guided Munitions like very short-range air defence (V­SHORAD) systems as well as aircraft, helicopters and Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV) over short ranges of up to 70 km.
  • It is an all-weather system and can engage multiple targets simultaneously and be deployed over land and sea.
  • Iron Dome is manufactured by Rafael Advanced Defence Systems and has been in service with Israeli Air Force since 2011. The radar system was developed by Elta.
  • Its development was prompted after a series of rocket attacks on Israel by Hezbollah and Hamas in the 2000s.
  • In the 2006 Lebanon war, around 4,000 rockets were fired on the northern parts of Israel resulting in the death of about 44 Israeli civilians and evacuation of around 250,000 citizens following the development of the system was taken up.

Work of Iron Dome

  • An Iron Dome battery consists of a battle management control unit, a detection and tracking radar and a firing unit of three vertical launchers, with 20 interceptor missiles each.
  • The interceptor missile uses a proximity fuse to detonate the target warhead in the air.
  • The Iron Dome is deployed in a layered defence along with David’s Sling and Arrow missile defence system which are designed for medium and long-range threats.
  • According to a 2013 research paper titled ‘Lessons from the Iron Dome’ in Military and Strategic Affairs, one of the system’s important advantages is its ability:
  • To identify the anticipated point of impact of the threatening rocket,
  • To calculate whether it will fall in a built­up area or not, and
  • To decide on this basis whether or not to engage it.
  • According to the research, it prevents unnecessary interception of rockets that will fall in open areas and thus not cause damage.
  • The system has intercepted thousands of rockets so far and, according to Rafael, its success rate is over 90%.
  • The I­DOME is the mobile variant with all components on a single truck and CDOME is the naval version for deployment on ships.
  • The system has a ‘saturation point’. It is capable of engaging a certain number of targets at the same time.

Limitations of Iron Dome

  • One of the most possible limitations is the system’s inability to cope with very short-range threats as estimates put the Iron Dome’s minimum interception range at 5­7 km.
  • The other factor is the cost of interception is highly expensive.
  • According to a November 2017 commentary on RAND Corporation blog, the system is built to intercept a certain of projectiles and can be overwhelmed by a more capable adversary.

Conclusion

  • Taking North Korea as a context, the study puts estimates of forward deployed conventional artillery of North Korea would be “capable of firing 500,000 shells an hour for several hours, or firing tens­of­thousands of shells per day over an extended period.
  • This rate of fire would easily overwhelm a variant of Iron Dome, which is currently being proposed as a solution.