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22 May Current Affair : IES-UPSC-SSC-Bank Exam

  1. Nipah Virus affects Kerala
  • The National Virology Institute, Pune, confirmed that the contagious fever that has killed several people in Kozhikode and Malappuram districts is due to Nipah virus.
  • It has killed three people in northern Kerala’s Kozhikode and has caused a public health scare.

Points to Remember:

  • The disease was first reported in the country in 2001 and again six years later, with the two episodes claiming 50 lives.
  • Both times, the disease was reported in West Bengal.
  • Nipah virus or NiV was first identified in Kampung Sungai Nipah in Malaysia in 1998.
  • In 2004, many were infected in Bangladesh after consuming date palm sap contaminated by infected fruit bats.
  • With every new case, doctors and the medical fraternity are leaning new aspects of the Nipah virus and how it affects humans and animals.

Facts about Nipah Virus

  • The fatality by the virus has been reported at anywhere between 75 percent and 100 percent.
  • Nipah virus affects the brain. An infected person will have fever, weakness and lethargy.
  • Nipah virus infection is an example of a zoonotic disease, where animal diseases can be transmitted to people.
  • In a zoonotic disease, the chances of a human being getting the disease will be lesser if the animal is given adequate antibiotics.
  • There have been cases of human-to-human transmission too.
  • The Nipah virus has a tendency to adapt or mutate, like the H1N1 virus. 
    (a) If you get swine flu or influenza vaccination this year, the effect of the vaccination may not last through to the next year because the virus would have mutated by then. 
    (b) And that is why such viruses are very deadly.

What should be done?

  • Public awareness must be created such as taking precautions to ensure that the food is not contaminated by bats, avoiding drinking toddy in open containers near palm trees, and safeguarding oneself after coming into contact with someone who has contracted the virus.
  • This boils down to basic hygiene.
  • The threat of the new virus also highlights the need for India to invest in public health infrastructure.

Source: The Hindu + NDTV

  1. Successful Test Firing of Brahmos to Validate Service Life Extension
  • BrahMos, supersonic cruise missile was successfully test fired from the Integrated Test Range (ITR) in Balasore, Odisha as part of service life extension programme.
  • Success: The precision strike missile flew in its designated trajectory and the key components functioned perfectly.
  • This would result in the huge saving of replacement cost of missiles held in the inventory of Indian Armed Forces.

About BrahMos

  • BrahMos is a joint venture between DRDO of India and NPOM of Russia.
  • The highly versatile BrahMos has emerged as the ultimate weapon of choice in modern warfare with its unmatched speed, precision and firepower.
  • It is a two-stage missile, first being solid and the second one, a ramjet liquid propellant.
  • It has already been introduced in the Army and the Navy, while the Air Force version had witnessed a successful trial.
  • BrahMos variants can be launched from land, air, sea and underwater.

Source: The Hindu

  1. Common Service Centres (CSCs) to reach 2.50 lakh gram panchayats by year-end
  • IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad showcased Dhanauri Kalan village in Gautam Budh Nagar (Uttar Pradesh) as the sixth digital village in the country and said that the CSC programme has transformed into a movement of change bringing services like banking, pensions, digital literacy, and telemedicine to rural and remote villages through electronic infrastructure.
  • Positioned as strategic cornerstones of Digital India programme, the CSC model has adopted six villages in the country in the pilot phase.
  • In the initial phase villages following villages have been chosen for the pilot project.
    (a) Piyala and Dayalpur (in Haryana)
    (b) Chandankiyari East and Shivbabudih (in Jharkhand) and 
    (c) Dhanauri Kalan and Sultanpur (in Uttar Pradesh)
  • The digital villages have been equipped with: 
    (a) Solar lighting facility in their community center
    (b) LED assembly unit 
    (c) Sanitary napkin unit (with active participation on Asha and Anganwadi workers) and 
    (d) Wi-fi choupal (rural Wi-Fi infrastructure and a slew of suitable applications). 
    (e) These villages would also have the regular CSC services like banking, health, education, financial services.

Related Information

What is a Digital Village?

  • DigiGaon or Digital Village is conceptualised as a connected village where citizens can avail various e-Services of the Central Government, State Governments and private players in rural and remote villages in the country.
  • These DigiGaons are projected to be change agents, promoting rural entrepreneurship and building rural capacities and livelihoods through community participation and collective action.

What are CSCs?

  • Common Services Centers (CSC) scheme is one of the mission mode projects under the Digital India Programme.
  • CSC are physical facilities for delivering Government of India e-Services to rural and remote locations where availability of computers and Internet was negligible or mostly absent.
  • The network of Common Service Centres (CSCs) therefore act as access points for delivery of digital services.

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Source: Financial Express

  1. Kishanganga hydro project Inaugurated
  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated a hydroelectric power plant in the state of Jammu and Kashmir.
  • The Kishanganga hydropower station has a capacity of 330 megawatts.

Advantages of the Project

  • The region can not only become self-sufficient in power but also produce for other regions of the country.

Issues with Pakistan

  • The project was inaugurated amid protests from Pakistan which says that the project on a river flowing into Pakistan will disrupt water supplies.
  • Pakistan believes that the inauguration of the project without the resolution of the dispute is tantamount to violation of the Indus Waters Treaty (IWT).
  • The Kishanganga project was delayed for several years as Pakistan dragged India to the International Court of Arbitration, which ruled in India’s favour in 2013.

Arguments are given by India

  • India has said the hydropower projects underway in Jammu and Kashmir are “run-of-the-river” schemes that use the river’s flow and elevation to generate electricity rather than large reservoirs and are not against the IWT treaty.

Related Information

Indus Water Treaty

  • The Indus Waters Treaty is a water-distribution treaty between India and Pakistan, brokered by the World Bank.
  • The treaty was signed in Karachi in 1960 by the Prime Minister of India Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru and then President of Pakistan Ayub Khan.
  • According to this agreement, control over the water flowing in three “eastern” rivers of India — the Beas, the Ravi and the Sutlej was given to India, while control over the water flowing in three “western” rivers of India — the Indus, the Chenab and the Jhelum to Pakistan.

Source: Economic Times

  1. Tone Tag
  • ToneTag, a Bengaluru-based financial technology company, is set to introduce sound-based data transfer technology.
  • ToneTag is a technology which is a communication protocol that will enable data transfer using sound waves.

Advantages:

  • For ToneTag to work, a software update can convert the sound around us and the sound that a mobile phone can generate and do a data transfer.
  • There is no hardware dependency as is generally seen in a device with NFC or Bluetooth.
  • Therefore, making payments is soon going to become even easier as you may not need a smartphone for the purpose. A basic feature phone will do.

Source: The Hindu

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