Daily Current Affairs for 7th Sep 2021

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Nipah Virus

Why in News

Recently, a 12-year old boy died after getting infected by Nipah Virus in the Kozhikode district of Kerala.

Key Points

  • The Nipah Virus infection was confirmed for the first time in Kerala in 2018 with the blood and body fluid samples of two individuals who had died of viral fever.
  • This was the first time that the deadly disease was detected in the state.
  • Nipah Virus is known to have a high fatality rate and spreads through pigs, bats, and other animals.

Nipah Virus

  • According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), Nipah Virus is a zoonotic disease, caused by fruit bats and is known to be potentially fatal to humans as well as animals.
  • As per WHO, it was first detected in 1998 during an outbreak of the disease that took place in Kampung Sungai Nipah, Malaysia.
  • The deadly virus first appeared in domestic pigs and has been found among several species of domestic animals including goats, cats, dogs, sheep, and horses.
  • Nipah Virus is capable of infecting human beings as well and can also be fatal.

Signs and symptoms

  • Human infections range from asymptomatic infection to acute respiratory infection (mild, severe), and fatal encephalitis.
  • Infected people initially develop symptoms including fever, headaches, myalgia (muscle pain), vomiting and sore throat. This can be followed by dizziness, drowsiness, altered consciousness, and neurological signs that indicate acute encephalitis.
  • Some people can also experience atypical pneumonia and severe respiratory problems, including acute respiratory distress.
  • Encephalitis and seizures occur in severe cases, progressing to coma within 24 to 48 hours.
  • The incubation period is believed to range from 4 to 14 days. However, an incubation period as long as 45 days has been reported.
  • The case fatality rate is estimated at 40% to 75%. This rate can vary by outbreak depending on local capabilities for epidemiological surveillance and clinical management.


  • There are currently no drugs or vaccines specific for Nipah virus infection.


India Plastics Pact

Why in news

India became the first Asian country to launch the India Plastics Pact.

India Plastics Pact

  • The India Plastics Pact was launched by the British High Commissioner to India Alex Ellis at Confederation of India (CII)’s 16th Sustainability Summit.
  • It is a joint initiative between the CII and World-Wide Fund for Nature, India (WWF India).
  • The Pact was launched on 3rd September, 2021, with the objective at bringing together leading businesses at a national level to build a circular system for plastics.

Objective of India Plastics Pact

  • To empower businesses, government, and the entire plastics value chain to transition towards a circular economy for plastics in India,
  • To stimulate innovative new business models to reduce the total amount of plastic packaging,
  • To build a stronger recycling system to ensure that plastic packaging can be effectively recycled and converted into new products.
  • Identification of blockages at incorporating recycling content in packaging, design of reusable packaging, and removal/elimination of unnecessary plastics packaging.

Targets of India Plastics Pact

  • The Pact comprises four targets which aim to reduce, innovate, and re-imagine plastic packaging. The targets of the Pact are to be achieved by 2030.
  • Ensure 100% of plastic packaging is reusable or recyclable;
  • Ensure 50% of plastic packaging is effectively recycled;
  • Ensure 25% content recycled content across all plastic packaging;
  • Create a list of unnecessary or problematic plastic packaging and take actions to address them through re-design and innovation.

Significance of India Plastics Pact

  • The India Plastics Pact is the first of its kind initiative in Asia that will boost India’s efforts to limit single-use plastics and other initiatives in the renewable sector.
  • The Pact also provides a strong platform for Indian businesses to drive actionable, sustainable solutions, and move toward a circular economy.
  • The Pact also contributes to the key pillar of ‘Protecting the climate and environment’ of the 2030 Roadmap over the next decade.
  • The Pact also contributes to the Un-plastic Collective which is a platform co-partnered by UN Environment Programme-India, WWF India, and CII in 2019.
  • The Un-plastic Collective aims to minimize the externalities of plastics on the social and ecological health of the planet.

Need of Plastics Pact

  • India generates 9.46 million tonnes (MT) of plastic waste annually. Of the 9.46 MT, 40% is not collected.
  • 43% which approximately half of all plastics produced in India are used in packaging, most of it is single-use plastic in nature.


Workers have right to sit

Why in News

Recently, Tamil Nadu has introduced a Bill in the Legislative Assembly to amend the ‘Tamil Nadu Shops and Establishments Act, 1947’ to make it mandatory for establishments to provide seating facility at workplace.


  • The subject of providing seating facility to the employees was placed in the State Labour Advisory Board Meeting held on September 4, 2019 and was unanimously approved by the members of the Board.
  • A few years ago, workers of textile showrooms in Kerala had gone on a protest demanding the ‘Right to Sit’, prompting the government there to amend the Kerala Shops and Establishments Act in 2018 to provide seating arrangements for them.

Highlights of the bill

  • Kerala is the only other State to have legislated on the ‘right to sit’, and that, in response to protests conducted by sections of the labour force.
  • In Tamil Nadu, the government has taken a proactive step by introducing a legislation that will provide a chair to each worker, and a whole lot of dignity, besides helping the employees avoid the discomfort and health issues arising from remaining on their feet throughout the day.
  • The Bill will benefit thousands of employees of large and small establishments, especially those working at textile and jewellery showrooms.
  • The bill seeks to amend the Tamil Nadu Shops and Establishments Act, 1947, by adding a sub-section.
  • Section 22-A reads, “The premises of every establishment shall have suitable seating arrangements for all employees so that they may take advantage of any opportunity to sit which may occur in the course of their work and thereby avoid the ‘on their toes’ situation throughout the working hours.”


UAE’s new visa

Why in News

The United Arab Emirates has announced a new class of visas intended to ease the restrictions faced by foreigners in pursuing employment opportunities in the country.

Key Points

  • The new category, referred to as “green visa”, comes as a part of a wider array of measures introduced by the Arab world to boost the economy and reduce reliance on oil.
  • Besides UAE, Saudi Arabia and Qatar have recently opened up their countries to wealthy investors with reforms to their paid permanent residency programs and property ownership rules.

Green Visa of UAE

  • Under the green visa, foreigners will be allowed to work in the UAE without being sponsored by an employer. This will be a marked change from the norm which requires a prospective worker to be sponsored via an employer, who, in turn, applies for a work permit from the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation.
  • The green visa will enable visa holders to sponsor their parents. Additionally, it will increase the cap on the age of children who can be sponsored by the holder from 18 to 25.
  • The program will also allow the holder a grace period of up to three months to look for a new job if they lose their old one. Under the previous policy, a worker had only 30 days to leave the country if fired.
  • The UAE Ministry of State for Foreign said that the visa targets “highly skilled individuals, investors, business people, entrepreneurs, as well exceptional students and postgraduates,” according to an AFP report.
  • However, there is no clarity on when the visa will come into effect. Details of how to apply for it to remain to be seen.

Why now?

  • Though expatriates make up over 80% of UAE’s population, residency regulations and work permit for them remain tightly controlled. However, this is slowly changing, with the government warming up to the idea of easing regulatory hurdles for wealthy expats and investors.
  • The recent coronavirus pandemic has furthered the woes of Middle Eastern economies already struggling from low oil prices.
  • The UAE is also competing with regional economic rival Saudi Arabia which recently announced reforms aimed at upping its status as an industrial hub.
  • According to a Bloomberg report, the Saudi government has said that from Jan. 1, 2024, it will no longer sign government contracts with foreign companies that base their Middle East headquarters outside the country.
  • Under Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman Al Saud, the country had also unveiled the ambitious Vision 2030 plan aimed at opening up the country to foreign talent.
  • This is not the first time UAE has announced changes to permit provisions in recent years. In 2019, the UAE launched the 10-year “golden visa”, aimed at welcoming rich residents and highly skilled workers into the country. Saudi Arabia and Qatar too had launched similar schemes.


Dugong Sanctuary

Why in news

For the first time in India, Tamil Nadu is going to established ‘Dugong Conservation Reserve’ in the Palk Bay on the southeast coast of the state.

About Dugong

  • Dugong is an herbivorous sea mammal, or sea cow that primarily feeds on seagrasses and spends most of its time in seagrass beds.
  • They are listed as Vulnerable on the IUCN Red List and are protected in India under Schedule I of the Wild (Life) Protection Act, 1972.
  • Dugong have very small brain in comparison to their body size and have a distinct dolphin-like tail.
  • The dugong never enters freshwater and is, therefore, the only exclusively herbivorous marine mammal.

Dugongs in India

  • According to the Wildlife Institute of India, Dugongs are protected in India and found in Gulf of Mannar, Palk Bay; Gulf of Kutch and Andaman and Nicobar Islands.
  • Dugong’s population has now reduced to about 200 individuals and is believed to be continuously declining in its number and range.


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