IAS Gyan

Daily News Analysis


26th March, 2020


Undisturbed mass nesting of Olive Ridleys at Rushikulya

Restrictions in place for the COVID-19 threat are saving lakhs of Olive Ridley turtles from possible disturbance by humans, especially tourists.

Reasons for large scale mass nesting at Rushikulya:

-       Proper maintenance of cleanliness and provision of protection to the turtles at sea since November 2019.

-       Prevention of fishing trawlers in the sea.

-       Forest Department set up 11 offshore camps early this year to monitor the beach.

About Olive Ridleys:

-       The name for this sea turtle is tied to the colour of its shell—an olive green hue.

-       They are currently the most abundant of all sea turtles.

-       Their vulnerable status comes from the fact that they nest in a very small number of places and therefore any disturbance to even one nest beach could have huge repercussions on the entire population.

Mass nesting of turtles:

-       Orissa State, in the north east of India, hosts one of the world's major annual mass-nesting events of marine turtles.

-       Hundreds of thousands of olive ridley turtles come ashore to nest each year in a spectacular "Arribada" (mass arrival).

About Garihmatha Marine Sanctuary:

-         Gahirmatha Turtle Sanctuary is the biggest breeding home of the sea turtles.

-         Gahirmatha is located in Orissa’s Kendrapara District.

-         Gahirmatha Marine Sanctuary is world famous for Olive Ridley sea turtles.

-         The entrance of the River Dhamra is truly the breeding place of the olive Ridley sea turtles. It has been confirmed as a world heritage site.

Reference: https://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/undisturbed-mass-nesting-of-olive-ridleys-at-rushikulya/article31168765.ece


4 ICMR labs to become approval hubs for test kits

The Indian Council for Medical Research (ICMR) has approved three other centres, alongside the National Institute of Virology (NIV), as agencies for approving diagnostic kits. 

These are:

-       The National AIDS Research Institute, Pune

-       The National Institute of Cholera and Enteric Diseases, Kolkata

-       The National Institute of Pathology, New Delhi

-       The National Institute of Virology (NIV) , Pune

About ICMR:

-       The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), the apex body in India for the formulation, coordination and promotion of biomedical research, is one of the oldest and largest medical research bodies in the world.

-       The ICMR is funded by the Government of India through the Department of Health Research, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.

-       The governing body of the council is presided over by the Union Health Minister. It is assisted in scientific and technical matters by a scientific advisory board comprising eminent experts in different biomedical disciplines


Reference: https://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-national/4-icmr-labs-to-become-approval-hubs-for-test-kits/article31168681.ece

An Expert Explains: At a time like this, a unified command is crucial to ensure there is clarity, no confusion

Our current Policy:

-       How one handles events like this are always judgment calls.

-       There is nothing like right or wrong, as it is highly contextual. 

-       Our responses to HIV/AIDS were different from the response to H1N1. In the initial years, we were very cautious with testing under the HIV/AIDS program while under the H1N1 we were aggressive.

-       Both in handling H1N1 and now COVID-19, political leadership has been of a very high order.

-       Infectious disease control is in the concurrent list of the VIIth Schedule. It means that the Union government lays down the strategy, the protocols and the standards for implementation. The states are only to implement.

-       It is a centralized activity with little room for variance or innovation at the state level. 

-       During H1N1, Ministry of Health provided all logistical and financial support to the states to carry out the implementation that was also closely reviewed and monitored.

Challenges in the policy:

-       Commitment at state level is very varied. We should have followed the testing strategy that we followed in H1N1 and without time lag.

-       Needs to have a much tighter grip on states so the response is standardized and calibrated and after taking people into confidence so there is no panic. 

-       Far too many actors — NITI Aayog, ICMR and several people giving different views to the media leading to confusion.

Way forward:

-        Health Minister must meet the state Health Ministers and ensure a more coordinated approach.

-       In matters of infectious diseases, we must have one strategy, one approach and one focal point of leadership.

-       There is need for a guideline of whom and when lockdowns should be enforced.

-       What preparatory work needs to be done, because at all times balance needs to be maintained?

Learning from 2009:

-       Unified command: All agencies must only work to support the Ministry of Health and there must only be one voice to ensure no confusion and have clarity.

-       There is the need to more intensely utilize data analytics to formulate a strategy. 

-       There is a need to institutionalize response mechanisms for coping with such outbreaks. 

-       Such institutionalization down the line can only happen when there is an institutional mechanism for it such as having a Department of Public Health.

-       We need to have a Mission approach to viral epidemics, the way we have for natural disasters.

Challenges in dealing with pandemics:

-       Public health is expensive.

-       There is need to have well trained human resources at all levels and equitably spread out.

-       Primary care must be based on principles of public health.

-       India has a dual burden, and our vulnerability to infectious diseases is very high and so under no circumstances can we let down our vigil. 

-       Infectious diseases do not respect class, caste, or geography.

Reference: https://indianexpress.com/article/explained/coronavirus-unified-command-is-crucial-to-ensure-there-is-clarity-no-confusion-6332483/


‘No community transmission yet’

Health Ministry comment:

-       563 Indians and 43 foreigners have tested positive, with 553 active cases. 

-       The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) had indicated that no community transmission had been found so far.

-       Around 64,000 persons have arrived from other countries to India since March 21, 2020.

-       8,000 had been put in various quarantine facilities and 56,000 were in home isolation.

-       We need to follow all the protocols, guidelines and directions issued by the government, failing which may lead to legal actions under Section 188 of IPC.

-       Gujarat, Assam, Jharkhand, Rajasthan, Goa, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir were setting up hospitals dedicated for the management of COVID-19.

Reference: https://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-national/no-community-transmission-yet/article31168680.ece


Union Cabinet approves recapitalization of RRBs

Cabinet decisions:

-        Approved a Rs. 1,340-crore recapitalization plan for regional rural banks (RRBs) to improve their capital-to-risk weighted assets ratio (CRAR).

-       Capital to Risk (Weighted) Assets Ratio (CRAR) is also known as Capital adequacy Ratio, the ratio of a bank's capital to its risk. The banking regulator tracks a bank's CAR to ensure that the bank can absorb a reasonable amount of loss and complies with statutory Capital requirements.

-       Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs gave its nod for an outlay of Rs. 670 crores as the central share for the scheme.

-       This would provide minimum regulatory capital for one more year viz. up to 2020-21.

About RRB:

-        Required to provide 75% of their total credit as priority sector lending with primary focus on agricultural credit, including small and marginal farmers, as well as micro entrepreneurs and rural artisans.

-       Regional Rural Banks (RRBs) are Indian Scheduled Commercial Banks (Government Banks) operating at regional level in different States of India.

-       They have been created with a view of serving primarily the rural areas of India with basic banking and financial services.

-       They were established in 1975 under the provisions of the Ordinance promulgated on 26th September 1975 and Regional Rural Banks Act, 1976 with a view to developing the rural economy.

-       The Act was amended in 2015 whereby such banks were permitted to raise capital from sources other than the Centre, states and sponsor banks.

-       Currently, the Centre holds 50 per cent in RRBs, while 35 per cent and 15 per cent are with the concerned sponsor banks and state governments, respectively.

Reference: https://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-business/union-cabinet-approves-recapitalisation-of-rrbs/article31168639.ece


Saudi King to chair G20 virtual summit

About the conference:

-       Leaders of the G20 (Group of Twenty) nations will hold a video conference on Thursday. 

-       G20 members will be joined by leaders from invited countries, Spain, Jordan, Singapore, and Switzerland as well as international organizations the United Nations, the World Bank Group, the World Health Organization and the World Trade Organization, the Food and Agriculture Organization, the International Monetary Fund, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.

-       Apart from 19 of the biggest economies of the world, G20 also includes the European Union. 

About G20:

-       ​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​The G20 is the premier forum for international economic cooperation.

-       It gathers the leaders of the largest economies of the world to discuss financial and socioeconomic issues.

-       Collectively, G20 members represent around 80% of the world’s economic output, two-thirds of global population and three-quarters of international trade. 

History of G20:

-       Originated in 1999 at the level of Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors.

-       The G20 gathered for high-level discussions on macro-financial issues.

-       In the wake of the 2008 global financial crisis, the G20 was elevated to include the leaders of member countries.

-       The first G20 Leaders’ Summit took place in Washington D.C. in November 2008.

Working of G20:

-       ​​The presidency of the G20 rotates between member countries every year.

-       The presidency plays a leading role in setting the agenda and organizing the Leaders’ Summit, which is attended by the G20 Heads of State or Government.

-        At the government level, the G20 work is organized around the Finance and Sherpa Tracks, while civil society assembles through Engagement Groups.​​

G20 Participants:

-       ​​​​​​​​​​​​The G20 members are Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Mexico,  â€‹Republic o​f Korea,​Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, ​​​Turkey, the United Kingdom, the United States and the European Union (EU).

-       ​​In addition to the G20 members, other countries are invited to participate. Spain is a permanent guest invitee to the G20 meetings.

Reference: https://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-national/saudi-king-to-chair-g20-virtual-summit/article31168710.ece