Current Affairs for SSC CGL Exams - 08 JUNE 2020
Centre to bring in guidelines for COVID vaccine trials
- The government is readying a document that will lay down guidelines for companies and institutions working on potential COVID-19 vaccines.
- The COVID-19 pandemic has prompted regulators across the world to issue emergency use authorisation for certain drugs and trials on potential vaccines to accelerate the approval process without compromising on objectively assessing whether the potential vaccine or investigational drug provides some additional benefit or reprieve over being defenceless.
- There are five promising candidate vaccines from India, including Covaxin from Bharat Biotech and one from ZydusCadilla, which were cleared by the Drug Controller General of India for early human trials.
- No process in vaccine developmment trials would be skipped, said Ms.Swarup. However it was possible for different phases of the trial to be conducted in parallel. Generally, data from a Phase-1 trial — where a vaccine candidate is tested on few people to test if it’s safe — informs a Phase-2 trial, where it is again tested on new group of people to check whether it stimulates the immune system to produce antibodies.
Defence ministry plans large scale construction activities along border areas
- Defence Minister Rajanth Singh has said that the construction of strategic roads, bridges and tunnels in the border areas will be expedited. Mr. Singh said, Border Roads Organisation (BRO) is working vigorously towards this goal. The Minister reviewed the ongoing infrastructure projects of BRO at a high-level meeting in New Delhi yesterday.
- During the meeting, the state of forward connectivity to border areas was reviewed and the consistent need of boosting the ongoing projects and to expedite the construction of strategic roads, bridges and tunnels in the border areas was discussed.
- While lauding the BRO for its achievements, Mr. Singh exhorted it to continue its work to achieve even greater laurels. The BRO has also inducted latest equipment and machines and has introduced modern construction methods after successful trials to expedite works on surfacing with cementations base, use of plastics, geotextiles, and various techniques for slope stabilisation.
Finance commission holds talks with World Bank and its high level health department
- Fifteenth Finance Commission today held meeting with the World Bank and its High level Group (HLG) on Health Sector. For a better understanding of the contours of country’s Health Sector it was held.
- In view of the Union Government’s need and intention for reprioritization of its health spending, the 15th Finance commission held a detailed meeting with representatives of the World Bank, NitiAayog and member of the Commission’s High level group on the health sector.
- Dr.Junaid Ahmad, country director, World Bank said, the bank has recently successfully concluded a 20 year long partnership with Government of India in the area of HIV.
- Mr Ahmad said, health was not just a social expenditure but also important for economic growth and development of the country. The meet decided to develop and roll-out real time surveillance and reporting system for Human and Animal Health Surveillance as most future outbreaks will be Zoonotic.
- Strengthening of national and state institutions to effectively prepare for pandemics (NCDC) and develop ICMR as a global centre for excellence in medical research was also discussed.
- Finance Commission Chairman, Mr Singh stated that the Commission, for the first time, will devote an entire chapter on health financing.
- Finance ministry upholds role of CPSE’s in pushing growth in the economy
- Union Finance Minister NirmalaSitharaman held review meeting with CMDs of 23 Central public sector enterprises (CPSEs) yesterday to boost expenditure in the economy.
- Secretaries of Ministries of Petroleum and Natural Gas, Power, Coal, Mines and Atomic Energy also attended the meeting. In 2019-20, the capital expenditure (CAPEX) by the 23 CPSEs stood at one lakh 66 thousand 29 crore against the target of one lakh 64 thousand 822 crore rupees, which is 101 per cent.
- Mrs Sitharaman said, CPSEs have a very important role in giving a push to the growth of the economy. She encouraged the CPSEs to perform better to achieve targets and to ensure that the capital outlay provided to them for the year 2020-21 is spent properly and within time.
India-U.S reaffirm commitment towards peaceful Indo-pacific region
- India and the US have reaffirmed their commitment to work towards ensuring a free, open, inclusive, peaceful and prosperous Indo-Pacific. They also agreed on the need to deepen cooperation in the United Nations, especially during India's membership of the United Nations Security Council.
- Foreign Secretary Harsh VardhanShringla and the US Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs David Hale exchanged views on a number of regional and global issues of shared interests during the virtual foreign office consultations between the two countries yesterday.
- They reviewed the entire gamut of engagements under the India-US Comprehensive Global Strategic Partnership, including political, economic, commercial, regional and international cooperation.
- In the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic, they agreed to further strengthen the bilateral health partnership, including on pharmaceuticals and vaccine development. They agreed to remain in touch and move forward on the bilateral agenda through a range of mechanisms like the 22 ministerial that India will host later this year.
- Mr Shringla and Mr Hale discussed ways to further enhance mutually beneficial trade and people-to-people ties, including through visa facilitation for students and professionals.
::SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY::
Centre releases new guideline for evaluation of nano based agri inputs
- Union Minister for Science and Technology, Dr Harsh Vardhan and Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar today released the ‘Guidelines for Evaluation of Nano-based Agri-input and food products in India through video link.
- On the occasion, Dr Vardhan said, these Guidelines will help policy makers and regulators to frame effective provisions for future novel nano-based products in the agri-input and food sectors of India.
- He said, it will also encourage the Indian innovators and industries to develop and commercialize new nano-based formulations and products in these sectors. He said, compared to bulk form of chemical inputs in crops, use of nano-nutrients can reduce nutrient run-off into ground and surface water and thus can reduce environmental pollution.
- The Agriculture Minister highlighted that the formulation of these ‘Guidelines’ is one of the most important steps for delineating quality, safety and efficacy assessment of the novel nano-formulations which can be commercialized.
- Mr Tomar said, these guidelines are also intended to provide transparent, consistent and predictable regulatory pathways for nano-based agri-input and food products in the country. He termed it as an excellent initiative, which has brought on board all the Departments and Ministries dealing with Nanotechnology, and nano based products.
- Mr Tomar added that the Guidelines will pave the way for significant benefits for our mission on ‘Doubling Farming Income by 2022’ and ‘National Mission on Sustainable Agriculture.
Bahadursingh steps down as chief coach of Indian athletics team
- With the Sports Authority of India (SAI) not granting him a contract extension, Olympian Bahadur Singh’s 25-year reign as the chief coach of Indian athletics has come to an end.
- A former Asian Games shot put gold medallist, the 74-year-old’s finest moment as chief coach came in the 2018 Jakarta Asian Games where India won 20 medals, including eight gold.