GS PAPER II NEWS
We should be cautious and careful while looking at the new variants: PM
Why in News
- The Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi, today chaired a high-level meeting to discuss the status of COVID-19 and Omicron, Concern New Variants (VOCs), public health response measures for prevention and management of COVID-19, health infrastructure including availability of medicines. The status of Oxygen Cylinders and Concentrators, Ventilators, PSA Plants, ICU/Oxygen Supported Beds, HR, IT interventions and vaccinations including strengthening of infrastructure was reviewed.
- Officials briefed the Prime Minister on the emerging status of new variants globally, with an eye on the rise in cases in countries with high vaccination coverage and presence of Omicron variants.
- The Prime Minister was also apprised of the technical and priority actions recommended by WHO in the context of Omicron.
- Scenario of COVID-19 and Omicron situation in the country including states with more cases, districts reporting more confirmed cases and clusters reporting more cases were also briefed to the Prime Minister.
- Details of Omicron cases reported in the country, their travel history, immunization status and recovered cases were given.
- After sharing the first advisory of the Union Health Ministry with the states, the Prime Minister was also briefed about the various steps taken since November 25, 2021.
- In addition, the Prime Minister was briefed about revised travel advisories for international travelers, review meetings with States/UTs on COVID-19 public health response measures, expediting vaccination, installation of oxygen supply equipment, etc.
- After the presentation by the officers, the Prime Minister directed the officers to maintain a high level of vigilance and surveillance at all levels.
- He directed to work in close coordination with the states to support the efforts to control and manage public health measures at the central level also under a ‘total government’ approach.
- The Prime Minister directed the officials that the Centre’s strategy for a proactive, focused, collaborative and coordinated fight against the pandemic should be adopted as a guide in all future actions.
- The Prime Minister directed that one should be cautious and careful while looking at the new variants. He said that the fight against the pandemic is not over yet and the need for continued adherence to COVID safe practices remains paramount even today.
- The Prime Minister was apprised of the progress of vaccination across the country. He was apprised that more than 88 percent of the eligible population has been given the first dose of COVID-19 vaccine and more than 60 percent of the eligible population has been given the second dose.
- The officials informed the Prime Minister that the door-to-door ‘Har Ghar Dastak’ vaccination campaign to mobilize and vaccinate people has been able to motivate people to take the COVID-19 vaccine, and thereby increase the vaccine coverage. Encouraging results have been obtained.
- The Prime Minister directed that the states need to ensure that the eligible population is fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and move towards achieving the overall target.
GS PAPER II
Conformity Assessment Scheme of Milk Products
Why in News
- Prime Minister today launched a dedicated portal and logo for the Scheme for Conformity Assessment of Milk Products in Varanasi.
- This portal and logo have been developed by Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) with the help of National Dairy Development Board (NDDB).
- Quality and food safety are very important factors to ensure safe, nutritious and hygienic milk and milk products for the consumers and also very important for the long term operation of the dairy sector.
- NDDB and BIS have been involved in these processes and certification of products.
- On the one hand, ‘Quality Mark’ is being provided by NDDB to the dairy plants of the cooperatives that follow the process standards in the dairy value chain, which will help in creating brand identity for the cooperative dairies and promoting trust among the consumers. We do.
- On the other hand, BIS has plans for product certification for manufacturers including dairy product processors, through which food safety has also been ensured at the production stage, allowing licensees to use ‘ISI Mark’ on their products.
- Earlier product and process certification was not integrated making it difficult for dairy plants to finally take advantage of certification. In addition, there was a lack of awareness among consumers about the quality of milk and milk products.
- An Integrated Conformity Assessment Plan has been prepared by BIS with the help of NDDB, with the initiative of Department of Animal Husbandry and Dairying, Government of India and after consultation with wider stakeholders.
- It is a unique and first of its kind certification scheme keeping in view the perishable nature and short storage and utility period of milk and milk products as well as the extensive cold-chain involved in the production and supply of milk and milk products.
- Bringing it under the ‘Product-Food Safety Management System-Process’ certification under one umbrella with the respective logo, BIS-ISI mark, NDDB-quality mark and an integrated logo featuring Kamdhenu cow already being provided is.
- It is an important step towards ensuring quality and food security of milk and milk products across the country as it is a conformity assessment scheme.
GS PAPER III
Agra Metro Rail Project
Why in News
- The Government of India and the European Investment Bank (EIB) signed a financial agreement for the first installment of a loan of 250 million euros for the Agra Metro Rail Project.
- Prime Minister had started the construction work of Agra Metro Project in Agra, Uttar Pradesh through video conference last year.
- EIB has approved a total loan of 450 million Euro for the Agra Metro Rail Project.
- The objective of the project is to provide a safe, reliable, economical and environment friendly public mass rapid transit system for the city of Agra, which will improve the traffic flow in Agra and support planned urban development efforts.
- The funding from the EIB will help in the construction of a 29.4 km long metro corridor in Agra city, including Corridor-1 (14 km) from Sikandra to Taj East Gate and Agra Cantt to Kalindi Vihar Corridor-2 (15.4 km) .
- In addition, the project will improve the economic productivity of the city and boost employment generation.
- The Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs is the Government of India’s main ministry for the project and Uttar Pradesh Metro Rail Corporation Ltd. (UPMRCL) is the implementing agency.
GS PAPER III
Why in News
- DRDO successfully conducted the flight test of indigenously developed High-speed Expendable Aerial Target (HEAT) Abhyas today from Integrated
- Test Range (ITR), Chandipur off the coast, Odisha. During the flight trial, High subsonic speed trajectory at a very low altitude with high endurance was demonstrated.
- Two boosters provided initial acceleration during launch and a small turbo jet engine is used to sustain high subsonic speed with long endurance.
- The indigenous data link designed by Bengaluru based Industry partner has been successfully flown and tested during the flight.
- The performance of the system during the entire flight duration has been confirmed from the data captured by various Range instruments deployed.
- Aeronautical Development Establishment (ADE), bengaluru based DRDO laboratory along with other DRDO laboratories has developed this indigenous unmanned aerial target system to meet the requirement of aerial targets of Indian Armed Forces.
- The aircraft is controlled from a ground based controller and indigenously developed MEMS based Inertial Navigation System along with the Flight Control Computer which helps it to follow the pre-designated path in a fully autonomous mode.
- Raksha Mantri Shri Rajnath Singh said that the successful test is noteworthy testimony of synergy between scientists and industry.
- Secretary DD R&D & chairman DRDO complimented scientists of the laboratory, their team members and associated industry partners for the successful development efforts.
GS PAPER III
Army Secure Indigenous Messaging Application
Why in News
- Indian Army launched a contemporary messaging application named Army Secure Indigenous Messaging Application, a new generation state-of-the-art web based application, completely in-house developed by a team of officers from Army Corps of Signals has been done.
- The application is being deployed on the Army’s internal network as a replacement for the Army Wide Area Network (AWAN) messaging application that has been in service for the last 15 years.
- The application has been installed on military owned hardware and its future updation is possible. This messaging application caters to the future user requirements and provides a better experience to the users.
- It has many contemporary features including multi-level security, message prioritization and tracking, dynamic global address book and various options to meet military requirements.
- This future-ready messaging application will meet the real time data transfer and messaging needs of the Army, especially in the backdrop of the current geopolitical security environment and is in line with the Make in India initiative of the Government of India.
- Indian Army has adopted automation on a large scale, especially after the spread of COVID-19 and the Army is taking substantial steps towards paperless operations.
- Army Secure Indigenous Messaging Application will give further impetus to these efforts and will be integrated with other applications already deployed by the Army on its captive PAN Army network.